Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: June 18, 2006
By: Laura Deni


If you come to Vegas and can only see one show - Love - the first show authorized to use the famed Beatles' music - is the show to see. Guy Laliberte the show concept creator has done what most would have thought impossible - he's re-invented the Beatles. He's brought the essence and earmark of the Beatles' music to incredible life on stage, in an awesome production that defies description. You need to see it - enjoy it - hear it and feel it. Never mind explaining it to your friends. Just encourage them to get their own ticket. This $150 million show doesn't have one highlight or some been-waiting-for-it-all-evening grand finale. Every scene is strong.

Show concept creator Guy Laliberte has created a magical, mystical carpet ride. Cirque photography by; Thomas Muscionico, Eric Piche, Nicholas Ruel and Verionique Vial.
In today's current Broadway broad scopate vernacular, Love qualifies as a "jukebox musical." That means that a music catalogue of an artist is used as the basis for turning the songs into a show. With the exception of Jersey Boys, ( See Broadway To Vegas column of November 13, 2005 ) these crappy excuses for creativity are being foisted off on the public as some sort of a musical experience. All of the people that create these abysmal efforts should come to Las Vegas and see how a musical catalogue can be turned into one of the most magnificent theatrical experiences ever staged.

What Walt Disney did with symphony music in Fantasia, Guy Laliberte, Dominic Champagne, Sir George Martin and his son Giles Martin have done for the Beatles' songbook with Love.

Currently in previews at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, the production officially opens with a gala on June 30. Expected to attend are Ringo Starr, George Harrison's widow, Olivia, and son Dhanim, John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and McCartney who turns 64 today, June 18. The birthday boy was in Las Vegas this past week to pass muster on the production. He loved it. So does Broadway To Vegas.

While the unwritten rule is that you don't officially review a show before it opens, Broadway To Vegas doesn't care. When a show is this good, you don't sit around waiting to talk about it.

Patrons enter the theater welcomed by female ticket takers and ushers in blue, British Bobby uniforms while the men are costumed as British Guards. All have British accents - real or acquired.

Sir George Martin - often called the 5th Beatle
Formerly the Siegfried and Roy theater, the venue has undergone a complete make-over and is splendid.

Inside the theater are scrims lighted to looks like a blue sky filled with friendly, white clouds.

There isn't a bad seat in the house. Padded chairs, each boasting a cup holder. During the previews each cup holder contained a Your Opinion Counts question booklet and a pen.

Arrive early - just to hear the magnificent music. Beatles songs - some juxiposeded - with symphonic arrangements.

This show is not somebody putting a Beatles' CD into a sound system and having a choreographer stage a few moves.

First, the songs aren't exactly the way the Beatles recorded them.

George Martin, best known for producing the Beatles, has a creative mind of visionary status. The 80-year old viewed the Love show as scoring a film using an emotional literary license to elevate the Beatles tunes to an art form. That meant juxtaposing. Such as the George Harrison's voice in Within You Without You over the drums and bass backing track for Tomorrow Never Knows. Opening bars of Good Night become the set up to introduce Octopus's Garden but only after George and Giles Martin constructed a digital upshift from the key of D to E. String arrangements for While My Guitar Gently Weeps were done by George and Giles Martin at Air Studios. The engineer was Nick Wollage, assisted by Olga Fitzboy. Paul and Ringo love it while Yoko and Olivia Harrison are thanked in the official program, which costs $18.00.

Although Sir George is garnering most of the headlines, he would be the first to throw accolades towards Giles. The elder Martin suffered a severe hearing loss over a decade ago. The aural mantel fell to his son, who serves his father well. It is Giles that constructed the Party at the Palace concert to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, for which he also produced the album and the DVD.

Apparently father and son wondered what the audience would think of their tinkering with the Beatles' songs, because question six in the booklet asks: Did you recognize any specific changes Sir George Martin and Giles Martin made in the music? The answer choices are; Yes or No. The next questions is: If yes, how satisfied were you with the Love soundscape? The answer choices range from Very Satisfied to Very Dissatisfied.

All total the Your Opinion Counts booklet contains 22 questions, four of which require open ended answers. The booklet also asks for an E-mail address.

After the show Broadway To Vegas only saw five people drop off the booklet and we question when they filled it out and wonder about personal agendas. Booklets filled out ahead of time mean the patron rated the show before seeing it. There is no intermission and we didn't see anyone remaining to scribble answers after the show. Should a person have an at home inspiration to comply, there is no mailing address listed, provided the person was willing to try to fine an envelope to hold the heavy, paper program size fold-over and cough up the money for postage.

All the lonely people. Silvia Fontoura Aderne as Eleanor Rigby. Make-up design by Nathalie Gagnea. Cirque photography by; Thomas Muscionico, Eric Piche, Nicholas Ruel and Verionique Vial.
The reoccurring Sgt. Pepper is portrayed by Rodrigue Proteau. Phillippe Guilottel is the costume designer. Cirque photography by; Thomas Muscionico, Eric Piche, Nicholas Ruel and Verionique Vial.
As to the performance, instead of being staged to focus the patron's eye, there is 360 degree action. All Cirque shows seem to have a re-occurring character and the obvious one for Love is Sgt. Pepper and a delightful Voltzwagon beetle.

With chorography by Hansel Cereza and Dave St. Pierre, Love has more gymnastic floor work and modern dance moves than other Cirque shows. The exquisite Eggman scene features Hassan El Hajjami. The red hued Carnival scene has the trampoline as the musical prop to allows gymnasts Jonathan D'abite Casaubon, Eekenah Claudin, Ryan Dawes, Reed Evans, Gareth Hopkins, Leisha Marie Knight, Ghislain Malardier, Bernhardt Mattes, Melanie Nunes, Christel StJernebjerb and Jonathan Strong to give it their own beat.

Skateboarders Marco De Santi, Ryan Dawes, Cesar Andrade, Rafael Batista and Daniel Ortzi leap during Help. Human blackbirds - Leisha Marie Knight, Melanie Nunes and Christel StJernebjerb - take to the sky and then fall as a man recites the lyrics to Blackbird - arise, be free, learn to fly - as he - in one form or another - coaxes them upward.

Strawberry Fields opens with a piano. Cirque characters remove liquid from the piano and fill the theater with bubbles - so beautifully staged that even the bubbles warrant their own "Soap bubble consultant/technician" namely Casey Carle.

A Human orchestra bathed in gold/bronze and red light for Sgt. Peppers' lonely hearts segment. Yesterday set in an Octopus's Garden where a large white drape literally covers the entire audience transporting the showgoers into the sea.

Francis Laporte is the projection designer. Massive video screens augment the production such as the Beatles or the black and white Something psychedelic segment. Orange rain boots stomping in water during Lady Madonna while gumboots Michael Molei Tumelo and S'fiso Mavuso stomp their stuff.

There is a cast of 60 and while most of the performers play multiple parts, some are single cast such as; Craig Berman as Her Majesty, Eugene Brim as Father McKenzie, Fabio Esposito as Doctor Robert, Jolly Goodfellow as The Fool, Lincoln Hudson as Mr. Piggie, Silvia Fontoura Aderne as Eleanor Rigby and Sgt. Pepper portrayed by Rodrigue Proteau.

Skateboarders featured in Roll and Roll segment. Cirque photography by; Thomas Muscionico, Eric Piche, Nicholas Ruel and Verionique Vial.
While the older we get, the younger the Cirque performers look, there are children in this production, featured in the Kids of Liverpool section. Canadian acrobats Merlin and Uriel Chartrand Ardail. Myrioni Khetaguri, Jared Newton and Kyle Stokely are American acrobats while acrobat Gael Pauze-Begin hails from Canada.

Set designer Jean Rabasse has created a show canvas that is the equivalent of viewing priceless paintings in a museum.

Costume designer Phillippe Guilottel has a montage of costumes ranging from Carnaby Street 60s fashion to a human orchestra to humans as car parts. From garden scenes to street scenes. Creations that permit the Cirque performs to fly and pivot yet capturing the soul of the Beatles' music.

Broadway To Vegas has said that, for a performer, Rod Stewart has the best lighting design that conveys the emotions of his songs. Love has the best lighting design for a production show - whether it be in Las Vegas or elsewhere and that includes Broadway.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Lucy is portrayed by Evelyne Lamontagne. Cirque photography by; Thomas Muscionico, Eric Piche, Nicholas Ruel and Verionique Vial.
Innovative lighting both in shape, color and movement. Distinct lighting looks - whether urban day and night for the street scenes, creating a sun effect, rage, despair or hope.

Lighting with layers of emotional contrast.

Twinkling lights converting the showroom into a sky for Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Elaborate or simple - whether the moves be naturalist from one specific location to another or emphasizing the music direction. From the compelling red cast Revolution scene to the earth tone Lonely People segment. Colors that meld one scene to the next - flowing - never breaking the mood. Yves Aucion knows his illumination.

Massive surround sound always has potential of destroying the show - and one's hearing. Everything is recorded including - 25 songs and over 130 song segments. There isn't a live musician in the place. This isn't a live concert, it's a theatrical production - and the father son Martin team knows exactly what musical bar to use when. Thus sound - lots of it. There is the music, sound with the video, people talking on stage. Sound wise - a lot can go wrong. Sound designer Jonathan Deans knows what he is doing - whether in Las Vegas or on Broadway. ( See Broadway To Vegas column of June 21, 1999. ) Just sit back and enjoy the perfectly balanced sound.

Octopus's Garden. Cirque photography by; Thomas Muscionico, Eric Piche, Nicholas Ruel and Verionique Vial.
All you need is love. Cirque photography by; Thomas Muscionico, Eric Piche, Nicholas Ruel and Verionique Vial.
At times it is loud - because this is Beatles' music with the lyrics fueling both the lighting and the sound. There is a difference between loud, because the sound man doesn't know what he's doing, and loud because the segment calls for fortissimo. The sounds in this production are controlled the same way an orchestra leader follows musical arrangements - pianissimo, fortissimo, marcato.

The best Cirque creative team will have to go some to come close to even equaling this presentation much less topping it. They have taken on an epic scale production and captured through color, lighting, costumes and sound the many musical moods of historical decades - in effect giving new life to the music.

Michael Curry is to be commended for his puppet designs. Make-up designer Nathalie Gagnea does wonders on a human canvas. Acrobatic rigging designer Guy St. Amour and acrobatic performance designer Daniel Cola make the difficult look so easy.

Something in the way she moves. Cirque photography by; Thomas Muscionico, Eric Piche, Nicholas Ruel and Verionique Vial.
The crowd sang along to Hey Jude and the cast was rewarded with a well deserved standing ovation.

Intelligent, grown people left the theater still clutching pieces of red crepe paper streamers and blue and white confetti. Many were heard to say they were going home to get out their old Beatles' albums.

A soundtrack CD of this production will be released later this year. It should be a giftshop best seller.

Show concept creator Guy Laliberte says he developed this production out of his friendship with George Harrison. He calls himself an artistic rebel. He's capable of feeling words most people can only speak - color, light, design, sound. Of all his fabulous creations this may be his finest 90 minutes.

There is one downside and that is the introduction. Every Cirque show has some odd-ball character roaming around the stage who then exits and the show begins. In Love a woefully lost man, looking uncomfortable in a suit - with a bouquet of yellow flowers - wanders the stage. If they had left it at that and eventually had him wander off the stage and then start the show - fine. However, he is joined on stage by street people also carrying yellow flowers - perhaps also looking for love. Instead of wandering around and then making an exit without a sound and get the show going - they keep yelling hello to the audience. Then they walk into each other, fall down, stand up, stumble into each other again, fall down and get up. That bad piece of burlesque shtick goes on and on ad nauseam. Whatever that segment is trying to convey - it doesn't. Abandon that opening. The audience doesn't get it.

Apart from that dreadful and confusing couple of minutes this show is one of the most perfect shows ever staged.

It's an awesome, engrossing spectacle, so much more than merely a must see show for any Beatles' fan. It's a show for everybody.

As they say in the show -

Just Keep Going - Peace and Love


Davud Zinman. Photo by Priska Ketterer
Each summer since 1949, the world's most accomplished and promising musicians have made a pilgrimage to Aspen. They come not only to perform, but also to teach, to learn and to be renewed. This year, Music Director David Zinman leads 750 student musicians, as well as 200 guest artists and artist-faculty members through a glorious summer of camaraderie and music.

In 2006, the AMFS will celebrate the birthdays Music Director David Zinman, and composers Mozart and Shostakovich.

Zinman is turning 70 and when you've spent a half century as one of classical music's most distinguished champions, practitioners, and educators, you make a lot of friends. So July 8, the Aspen Music Festival will pay tribute to the maestro with a specially curated selection of intimate music and anecdotes that illuminate the man behind the baton. Music for the Maestro, the 2006 Season Benefit, will feature Zinman flanked by a marquee lineup of friends that includes Gil Shaham, Leon Fleisher, members of the Emerson String Quartet, and other A-list musical luminaries. The summer evening will be a fitting homage to the music director in his tenth season in Aspen.

Yo-Yo Ma. Photo by Stephen Danelian
Not a summer week will pass without the music of the flamboyant genius, Mozart, who astonished, charmed, and dazzled Vienna throughout his thirty-six years, leaving behind an extraordinary legacy. The Aspen festivities peak during the July 24-30 Mozart: Prodigy or Prophet? mini-festival, with concerts and talks that explore Mozart's personal evolution, his incomparable oeuvre, and how his short-but-brilliant career inspired a Classical revolution.

Dmitri Shostakovich's career was pockmarked by politics behind the Iron Curtain. Yet totalitarianism inspired him to compose revolutionary, monumental music that long outlives the Soviet regime. In mini-festivals, three symphonies, and more, the Aspen Festival commemorates the creative and personal triumphs of Russia's greatest twentieth-century composer on what would have been his 100th birthday.

The Aspen Festival includes more than 350 events including solo, chamber, and orchestral music; opera; contemporary music; lectures; master classes; and family concerts. With as many as ten events daily, June 21-August 20. The opening Sunday, June 25, features a concert by Yo-Yo Ma.


an original cast recording of the new Broadway musical released on Masterwords Broadway.

Based on the movie of the same thing, this is bubble gum, keep the beat going music. Fans of the movie and of the Tony nominated live stage version, will grab the CD.

The producers of The Wedding Singer, nominated for five Tony awards, have also announced a 2007 tour, beginning Sept. 7, 2007, at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis.

Original tunes penned by Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar. Somebody Kill Me and Grow Old With You are carryovers from the film.

High energy, tuneful with witty, clever lyrics.

Band recorded at Sony Music in NYC The vocals recorded at Right Track Studio The mixing was done at Right Track David Leonard recorded and mixed the CD. Musicians include; Larry Saltzman, Stephen Lynch, John Putman, Gary Sieger, James Sampliner, John Sampson, Jon Werking, Irio O.Farrell, Warren Odze, Clifford Lyons, Jack Bashkow, Trevor Neumann and James Saporito.

The cast includes Tony-nominee Stephen Lynch, Laura Benanti, Richard Blake, Kevin Calhoon, Felicia Finley, Rita Gardner, Matthew Saldivar and Amy Spangler.

In this original musical, rock-star wannabe Robbie Hart - played in Adam Sandler in the movie and by Stephen Lynch in the Broadway version - is New Jersey's favorite singer. The ultimate master of ceremonies , the unlikely hero of every party and a true believer in the power of love = until his own fiancée leaves him at the alter. Heartbroken, he becomes a newlywed's worst nightmare - a wedding singer bent on destroying other people's weddings. Enter Julie - the Drew Barrymore role in the flick and played on stage by Laura Benanti - a comely waitress who wins his affection and helps Robbie mend his broken heart. The only hitch is that Julia is to marry a Wall Street shark. Unless Robbie can pull off the performance of a lifetime, the girl of dreams will be gone forever.

Strong singing by not only these but also a rockin' Felicia Finley who powerfully delivers A Note from Linda and Let Me Come Home.

David Leonard, David Lai and Wedding Singer composer Matthew Sklar produced the CD Tracks include

1. It's Your Wedding Day - Stephen Lynch
2. Someday - Laura Benanti
3. A Note from Linda - Felicia Finley
4. Pop! - Amy Spanger
5. Somebody Kill Me - Stephen Lynch
6. A Note from Grandma - Rita Gardner
7. Casualty of Love - Stephen Lynch
8. Come Out of the Dumpster - Laura Benanti
9. Today You Are a Man - Stephen Lynch
10. George's Prayer - Kevin Cahoon
11. Not That Kind of Thing - Stephen Lynch
12. Saturday Night in the City - Amy Spanger
13. All About the Green - Richard H. Blake
14. Someday (Reprise) - Stephen Lynch
15. Right in Front of Your Eyes - Amy Spanger
16. Single - Matthew Saldivar
17. If I Told You - Stephen Lynch
18. Let Me Come Home - Felicia Finley
19. If I Told You (Reprise) - Stephen Lynch
20. Move That Thang - Rita Gardner
21. Grow Old with You - Stephen Lynch
22. It's Your Wedding Day (Finale) - Stephen Lynch,

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Neil Simon
78, who has been named to receive the annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

The Kennedy Center statement reads: Neil Simon, born in the Bronx on July 4, 1927, is America’s foremost playwright. For more than four decades, his plays have invigorated the stage with poignant stories and zany characters known for their family-based New York settings.

He has authored more than 40 Broadway plays since 1961, ranging from humorous, lighthearted conceits (Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple) to deeper, autobiographical works (Chapter Two, the Eugene trilogy featuring Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound). Simon contributed librettos to such hit musical comedies as Sweet Charity, Promises, Promises and They're Playing Our Song. As a screenwriter, he has had more than a dozen major motion pictures produced (including The Goodbye Girl, Lost in Yonkers). Perhaps his greatest contribution has been his extraordinary ability to create humor from the good things and the bad in the lives of everyday people. He has been showered with more Academy and Tony nominations than any other writer, and is the only playwright to have four Broadway productions running simultaneously."

Simon has won a Pulitzer prize for the 1991's Lost in Yonkers and three Tony Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors, and a Golden Globe.

"I'm awed, thrilled and delighted to receive The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize," Simon joked in the written announcement. "It makes up for my losing the Samuel Clemens Prize."

"Mark Twain" was the pseudonym adopted by humorist Samuel Clemens.

"Neil Simon, like Mark Twain, has a unique way of exposing the American spirit by drawing on experiences in his own life and creating insightful and touching portraits of the world around him," said Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Simon will receive a copy of a bronze bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt in 1884.

The eighth annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor will take place Sunday, October 15 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The award, named to honor one of America’s - and the world’s - greatest humorists, will feature a star-studded ceremony. The program, to be taped for the seventh year by WETA Washington, D.C. and air on PBS stations nationwide this fall.


OPENING NIGHT AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL featuring Hall of Fame inductees Carlos Santana and André Watts, plus a special appearance by Blue Man Group. John Mauceri conducts the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Proceeds benefit Music Matters, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's education programs. June 23 at the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA.


CHRISTINE BARANSKI currently starring in Mame at the Kennedy Center, takes part in a one-on-one Voices in the Arts discussion.

Hosted by Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser, the second season of Voices in the Arts features more one-on-one conversations with artists who have played a vital role in shaping our nation's cultural heritage.

Christine Baranski has played everything from Shakespeare to Sondheim, winning Tony Awards for her roles in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing and Neil Simon's Rumors, and an Emmy Award for the television series Cybill.

The sold out event takes place June 19 at Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center for the Arts, Washington, D.C.

CONFERENCE: THE UNCANNY, ART AND THE IMAGE Ever since Freud’s essay on the uncanny, it has become a popular concept in art theory, literary studies and film theory. It is often used to refer to the crossing of boundaries, when something is both inside and outside, both familiar and alien, both self and other. But isn’t there something more specific about our experience of the uncanny?

This conference, organized on the occasion of the exhibition by Thomas Demand and the 150th anniversary of Freud’s birth, brings together artists, film-makers and psychoanalysts to re-examine the notion of the uncanny.

Organized in collaboration with the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research Speakers: Darian Leader, psychoanalyst. Astrid Gessert, psychoanalyst. Christoph Grunenberg, Director, Tate Liverpool. Noga Wine, psychoanalyst. Andrew Grassie, artist. Cornelia Parker, artist.

Serpentine Gallery Friday, June 23 in London.

DAVID KENNEY'S EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN features an in studio interview with James Gavin, author of Intimate Nights Tonight, June 18 9-11 PM (ET) over WBAI 99.5 FM and on the Internet.

Delibes' Oriental tale of mysticism, romance and deceit in the Far East. Perhaps best known for containing two of the most famous pieces in all opera, the Flower Duet and the evocative Bell Song.

A standout feature of this new production from director Adam Cook and designer Mark Thompson is the spectacle of bringing the exotic to the stage, transporting the audience into the depths of Indian culture.

Lakmé is the story of the ill-fated love between Lakmé, the daughter of the Brahmin priest Nilakantha who is bitterly opposed to the English occupation, and Gerald, an English officer who unwittingly enters sacred ground.

You can almost smell the jasmine in this lush vision of Southern India, peopled by mystical princesses, peasants, and Brahmins, well-meaning officers of the British Army and even a few gods. Drawing on diverse stylistic influences including classical Indian religious calendar art, photographs and paintings from the British raj and even Bollywood this production is a riot of color and exotic seduction.

Starring Leanne Kenneally, Catherine Carby, Rosemary Gunn, Antoinette Halloran, Taryn Fiebig, Jud Arthur, Jaewoo Kim, Warwick Fyfe, and Graeme Macfarlane.

Conducted by Richard Bonynge. Set and costume design by Mark Thompson. Lighting design by Gavan Swift.

This new production is a co-production between Opera Australia and L' Opéra de Montréal. Sung in French with English surtitles. Two hours and 55-minutes including two 20-minute intervals.

Opens June 28 at Opera Australia in Melbourne, Australia.

LITTLE WOMEN, THE ROADWAY MUSICAL based on Louisa May Alcott's timeless tale stars Maureen McGovern. Join the remarkable March sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy - as one of America's most beloved books soars to the stage. Part of the Kennedy Center Theater Series Jun 27 - Jul 23. Washington, D.C.

written by Craig Lucas. Music & Lyrics by Adam Guettel. Directed Bartlett Sher.

Nominated for 11 Tony awards this is the most winning musical on Broadway! Winner of 6 Tony Awards including Best Original Score!

Broadway To Vegas fell in love with this production ( See Broadway To Vegas column of May 1, 2005 ) and was thrilled when extensions took place. Now it looks as if the curtain will drop on July 2. See this masterpiece while you can.

The Light in the Piazza, based on the novella by Elizabeth Spencer, is set in the summer of 1953 and tells the story of a mother and daughter traveling through Italy, and the daughter's romance with a handsome, high-spirited Florentine. They fall in love. As their relationship develops, the girl's mother must reveal the truth that will surely test that love.

Starring Michael Berresse, Sarah Uriarte Berry, David Bonanno, David Burnham, Katie Clarke, Victoria Clark, Patti Cohenour, Beau Gravitte, Laura Griffith, Prudence Wright Holmes, Jennifer Hughes, Felicity LaFortune, Catherine LaValle, Aaron Lazar, Michel Moinot, Adam Overett, Peter Samuel, Chris Sarandon, Joseph Siravo, Diane Sutherland.

Victoria Clark won a Tony award for her role as the mother. At Lincoln Center - Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York City only through July 2.

two new one-act plays by Dale Wasserman - one of America’s most important and prolific living American playwrights.

The Stallion Howl and Boy Blacktop Road. Directed by RTC Artistic Director James O'Neil.

Starring: David Birney, Cliff De Young, Karen Grassle and Eric Lange.

In The Stallion Howl, a comic curtain-raiser, an attractive woman receives a surprise inheritance from a mysterious millionaire and refuses to reveal to her husband, an inquisitive newspaper editor, the reason for the gift.

In the drama Boy on Blacktop Road, an investigation takes place related to the arrival and subsequent disappearance of a young boy.

Rubicon Theatre in Los Angeles through July 9.

COOKIN' AT THE COOKERY starring two-time Tony nominee Ernestine Jackson. Cookin’ at the Cookery is Marion J. Caffey’s portrait of the legendary blues artist Alberta Hunter features 22 musical numbers, from the rousing gospel favorite When the Saints Go Marchin' In to Eubie Blake’s double entendre classic My Handyman. Jackson will be supported by award-winning actress Janice Lorraine and a four-piece jazz band. June 20-July 8 at the Weston Playhouse in Weston, VT.

Geffrey Rockwell and Larry Cedar
A play with music by John Gray in Collaboration with Eric Peterson.

"The further backward you can look, the further forward you can see." --Winston Churchill.

Witness the trials and tribulations of a World War One flying ace as he struggles to reconcile his joy of being a pilot with the horrors of the war he's asked to fight. Set to music, this tale of heroism takes you down in the trenches, up to the skies, through the halls of Buckingham Palace, and inside the human spirit.

Based on a true story, and all of the people and events described in the play are historically documented.

Starring Geffrey Rockwell as the piano player and Larry Cedar as Billy Bishop and Seventeen other characters.

Directed by David Rose. Choreography by Cate Caplin. Musical direction by Jeffrey Rockwell. Set design by David Potts. Lighting design by Jeremy Pivnick. Costumes by A. Jeffrey Schoenberg. Sound design by Drew Dalzell.

Performances through July 16 at The Colony Theater in Bubank, CA.

BURLESQUE-A-PADES featuring The Pontani Sisters, Kitten de Ville, Corn Mo, Trixie Little, The Evil Hate Monkey, Tyler Fyre, Miss Saturn & The Fisherman Xylophonic Orchestra.

Burlesque - the raucous form of vintage entertainment that gave us legendary lovelies like Bettie Page and Tempest Storm has returned with full force. Renowned for their infusion of Burlesque, Vaudeville, outrageous costumes and high stepping dance, the acclaimed Pontani Sisters are thrilled to present the Burlesque-A-Pades, a stage show in the style of the Ziegfeld Follies that features over a dozen of the most talented performers out there today. Conceived in 2005, the Burlesque-A-Pades performs Sunday, June 25 at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City, Iowa.

Gregangelo Herrera is founder and artistic director. Two-time Emmy Award winner Rita Abrams is the composer/writer of the show’s songs and comic dialogue.

A talented cast of circus performers, musicians, and comic actors will sing you, dance you, fly you, joke you, and quake you through a power-packed tour of San Francisco's history, culminating in a phantasmagorical futuristic extravaganza that will leave you wondering what hit you!

Whether native, visitor, adult, or child, you’ll be amazed, inspired, and even (sshh!) informed, about one of the world's favorite cities.

Quake, rattle and roll to the high-flying antics of San Francisco’s Smartest Circus. It is the show as unforgettable as the City.

Breathtaking circus acts, spine-tingling special effects, dazzling dancers, superb singers, and wittily comical characters will transport you with light speed through the history and heart of San Francisco's Sensational Century!

Adult sophistication in a child-friendly package.

This is a show for tourists and locals alike. If you thought you knew San Francisco - think again!

June 23 – August 26 at Theater 39 Pier 39 in San Francisco.


THE WHO Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend, the two surviving members of the original line-up, took to the stage last night, June 17, at Leeds University in London to kick off their 2006 world tour by recreating their legendary Leeds University gig. Their Live At Leeds album was taped on the night of the concert in 1970 and is still considered one of the best-ever live albums. That February 14, 1970 event featured Roger Daltrey Vocals & Harmonica. John Entwistle Bass Guitar & Vocals. Keith Moon Drums. Pete Townshend Guitar & Vocals. Other venues on their tour include gigs in Germany, France, Spain and Austria. Their American tour kicks off in September.

The band performed a number of rarely played Who songs requested by fans, including The Seeker, Tattoo and Cry if You Want.They also showcased a new six-song mini-opera, Wire & Glass, which is to be released next month as a teaser for a new Who album.

This Leeds return was announced in June after broadcaster Andy Kershaw - who was the entertainments secretary at the university in the early 1980s - approached the band's manager, Bill Curbishley. Kershaw was hoping that the band would unveil a plaque at the university commemorating the 1970 gig. Curbishley interrupted Kershaw and with two minds thinking alike the concert idea took form. Announcing the gig at Leeds University with university vice chancellor Professor Michael Arthur, Kershaw said: "[Daltrey] has very, very vivid memories of the original one and he's very, very excited about doing it again."

He added: "It was a kind of benchmark concert.

"It defined an era of big bands like The Who playing at college venues and also underpinned the importance of college venues and the live music circuit."

The Who's Tommy, directed by Des McAnuff who also collaborated with Townshend on the book, opened April 22, 1993 at The St. James Theatre in NYC. In 1998 Daltrey performed as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol staged at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

ELVIS COSTELLO performs Tuesday, June 20 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA. On Wednesday he can be enjoyed at the Historic Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA. Thursday finds him at the Britt Festivals at Jacksonville, OR and on Saturday he is taking part in Jazz Aspen in Aspen, CO.

JAMIE CULLUM participates in the Britt Festivals in Hacksonville, OR on Tuesday, June 20.

MELISSA ETHERIDGE on stage Tuesday, June 20 at Cache Creek Casino in Brooks, CA. On Wednesday she is at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA. Saturday she'll be entertaining in Arlene Schnitzer Hall in Portland, OR.

DOOBIE BROTHERS performing Tuesday, June 2- at Wolf Trap Filene Center in Vienna, VA. On Friday the show is at the Naval Base in Norfolk, VA and on Saturday they are on stage at Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta, GA.

JOHN TESH on stage Thursday, June 22 at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, IL.

THE KINGSTON TRIO singing their hits Friday, June 23 at Fort Hamby Park in North Wilkesboro, NC.

JOHNNY MATHIS has a two night stand June 23-24 at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City.

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN performs Saturday, June 24 at the Power Center in Ann Arbor, MI.

PEARL JAM in the spotlight Friday, June 23 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. On Saturday the show is at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN on stage Tuesday, June 20 at the Tweeter Center in Camden, NJ. On Wednesday he performs at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY. Thursday he'll be delighting the fans at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Saturday is the first night of a two night gig at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ.

THE GO GO'S center stage Friday, June 23 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. On Saturday the show is at the Pechanga Resort in Temecula, CA.

FAITH HILL AND TIM McGRAW continue their tour with a stop Wednesday, June 21, at Bryce Jordan Center in State College, PA. On Friday they opens a two night gig at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

MICHAEL BUBLE sings Thursday, June 22 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI. On Saturday the show is at Mark of the Quad Cities in Moline, IL.

Next Column: June 25, 2006
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Laura Deni