Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: June 18, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Vice President Mike Pence was talked down to from the stage by the cast of Hamilton.
There isn't a business course that has ever been taught which suggests you should first insult the boss and then ask for a raise.

Yet, that is precisely how high profile members of the entertainment community are behaving at a time when Congress is about to approve a budget which includes - or fails to include - money for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports the National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting Service.

Funding for those programs has always been controversial.

For almost four decades the National Endowment for the Arts has been under attack, with some campaigning for defunding since the day funding was created.

President Ronald Reagan wanted to eliminate the agency. However, a task force eventually talked him out of getting rid of it entirely, although the budget was reduced. President Barack Obama wanted to cut the NEA budget by about 13%, but it was cut by just 6%.

Since the amount received by the NEA is minuscule in comparison to the rest of the budget, the arguments against funding have to do with a view of what does and doesn't constitute 'art' worthy of taxpayer money - including the argument that tax payer money is being used to fund obscenities and supports those who are perfectly capable of bankrolling their own projects.

The conservative think tank Heritage Foundation stands by their 1997 report: Ten Good Reasons to stop funding the agency. Among their points: The arts existed before the NEA, and would exist after it; and the NEA is “welfare for cultural elitists.”

Broadway bigwigs aren't doing much to help. Broadway productions wouldn't be seriously affected by government grant cuts. It's the regional programs, many vital to rural communities, which would be descemated.

A good guess is that if the agencies in question aren't totally eliminated, their support will be reduced. Tactics to keep the funding are being thwarted by the very people who would eventually benefit from them.

There needs to be funding for new works and support in mounting production and staging exhibits. It's not a trickledown effect; rather one of clawing upward. Arts in any form don't just suddenly appear on Broadway or as a major museum exhibit.

The first self inflected funding wound was when then Vice-President elect Mike Pence was provided tickets to the Broadway mega hit Hamilton and then - from the stage - publicly chastised and talk down to. That was ignorant and harmful. See Broadway To Vegas column of November 20, 2016.

Kathy Griffin exhibited neither common sense nor decency in her decapitation photo shoot.
The second act of self destruction was committed by comedian Kathy Griffin and her political photo shoot statement, which was offensive and potentially inciting. See Broadway To Vegas column of June 4, 2017.

The latest controversy involves a free production of Julius Caesar directed by Oskar Eustis who is the artistic director of the 2,000 seat Delacorte. His version of the Shakespeare classic is a modern one in which the lead is fashioned to represent President Trump. First Lady Melania Trump is also represented. At one point the fully clothed actress, who plays the part of Melania Trump with a heavy Slavic accent, jumps into an onstage bathtub to join her naked husband.

What drew outrage was the graphic, bloody, vicious murder of the lead character.

It isn't whether Julius Caesar is relevant today; it's how that relevance is presented.

Sponsors reacted.

Bank of America tweeted a statement saying it was withdrawing its funding for the production. The statement stressed that Bank of America had no inkling that the production would be so offensive. It charged that the Public Theater chose to present the play “to provoke and offend” without the bank’s knowledge: “Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it,” it said in a statement.

Delta Airlines responded by pulling its corporate support, saying the play’s modern day spin “crossed the line on the standards of good taste.”

“No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summer’s free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines’ values,” the Delta response on Sunday, June 11, 2017 reads.

American Express removed a banner on The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park site. American Express officials clarified a sponsorship status, stressing that the company was never a sponsor of Shakespeare in the Park or the current production of Julius Caesar.

“We do not condone this interpretation of the play. . . . We are a sponsor of the Public Theater and our sponsorship goes directly to advertising and marketing for their Downtown Season, which takes place from September – April in their downtown theaters,” American Express stated.

The National Endowment for the Arts also issued a statement on its homepage declaring that no funds were awarded for the production.

Data released on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 by shows that nearly $30 million in federal, state and city grants has funded the New York Shakespeare Festival - the parent company to Public Theater - since 2009.

Tina Benko, left, portrays Melania Trump in the role of Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, and Gregg Henry, center left, portrays President Donald Trump in the role of Julius Caesar, Teagle F. Bougere as Casca, and Elizabeth Marvel, right, as Marc Anthony. in The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar. Photo: Joan Marcus
Director Oskar Eustis has been quoted as saying he conceived his version of Julius Caesars on Election Night.

In a statement, the Public said, “We stand completely behind our production of Julius Caesar. We recognize that our interpretation of the play has provoked heated discussion; audiences, sponsors, and supporters have expressed varying viewpoints and opinions. Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”

The outdoor production is scheduled to play through today, June 18. The cast includes Gregg Henny, Nikki M. James, Elizabeth Marvel, John Douglas Thompson, and Tina Benko.

Also standing by the production was Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes who told attendees at the annual shareholders meeting last Thursday, June 15, 2017, that the entertainment giant will continue to support the Public. Referring to the play he said:

“The point of the play is one that has been debated for probably 400 years. It’s not one that advocates, if you think about the play itself, about Julius Caesar — the killing of Caesar itself raises very important points about how that did not work out well, nor did it accomplish the ends of those senators who did kill Caesar.”

Because Delta had sponsored a 2012 production and tour of Julius Caesar beginning with a mounting at the Guthrie in Minneapolis, in which the lead character resembled President Barack Obama, the airline was criticized for pulling out of the New York staging.

Although reviews of the Guthrie production mentioned some "great moments" in the show, most of the critics used words such as "cringe worthy" - "boring" - "awkward".

The pablum production wasn't one which was deliberately staged to insight much of anything.

Legally a bloodied, Trump inspired controversial version of Julius Caesar had the right to be mounted. Artistically, the creatives may have acted on the motivation that they were compelled to demonstrate their political views. From a business standpoint - it was a dumb move.

Sponsors have the right to jump ship.

Companies are cognizant that if customers don't approve of a sponsorship they'll take their business elsewhere. That's why the majority of corporate gifts are family friendly - school supplies, sport and band uniforms, music and art programs, symphonies, children's' museums, etc.

As the entertainment industry is focused on ratings and ticket sales, sponsors have become the moral barometer for the consumer. Sponsors are sensitive to what their customers will and won't purchase - or approve of - and why.

The time line between the 2012 and 2017 Julius Caesar productions has seen enormous changes, especially when it comes to politically inspired violence.

Violent political dissent wasn't rampant in 2012. It is in 2017.

In what are categorized as terrorists' attacks, as opposed to criminal - the following statistics are on record.

In 2012 terrorists incidents in the United States totaled - one - the Casa Grande bombing.

On November 29, 2012, a bomb placed at the back door of the Casa Grande, Arizona U.S. Social Security Administration office shook the city's downtown but failed to breach the building. No one was injured. An Iraqi-born convicted felon, Abdullatif A. Aldosary, 47, was charged. Evidence collected at his home shows he researched "terrorist bombs" and amassed appropriate materials. Aldosary, allowed entry as a refugee, was denied a green card based on his "terrorism-related activities" as an insurgent fighting Saddam Hussein in 1991.

The horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, and wasn't politically motivated or classified as terrorism.

In 2015 terrorists incidents in the United States totaled 38 resulting in 44 deaths and 52 injuries.

In 2016 terrorists incidents in the United States were 12 resulting in 65 deaths and 113 injuries.

In January 2017 there were two incidents labeled as terrorism resulting in 6 deaths and an additional 6 injured.

Politically inspired violence has made itself known. Artistic expression needs to take into account the emotional attitude of the country in respect to who will experience the "creative expression" and - would a reasonable person conclude that what was seen could provoke violence.

And then there was last week. In a horrific act, which was a lone act - rather than one which will be classified as "international terrorism" - Republicans in Washington, DC were targeted to be mowed down.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has undergone his fourth surgery and remains in the hospital.
On Wednesday morning, June 14, 2017 five people including the House Majority Whip Steve Scalise were shot at a GOP Congressional baseball practice in Alexandra, Virginia by a gunman who sprayed the group with bullets. Scalise was shot in the hip. Senator Jeff Flake and Representative Brad Wenstrup, a former combat surgeon, ran to assist Scalise. Four others, including two Capitol Hill cops, were also injured.

Scalise, who plays second base, sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip, which didn't exit his body, causing "severe bleeding."

He underwent immediate surgery, and an additional procedure to stop bleeding, receiving 20 units of blood.

On Saturday he underwent his fourth surgery and his condition was upgraded to serious. Scalise's hospitalization will be lengthy.

Tyson Foods director of government relations Matt Mika was shot twice in the chest - one bullet hitting his lung - was also in critical condition and has improved.

Zack Barth, a congressional aide to Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, was in center field and sought safety by attempting to to run into the dug out when he was hit with a bullet which went through his leg. Special Agents David Bailey injured his ankle in the battle and Crystal Griner was shot in the ankle.

Rep. Williams broke his ankle when he dove into the dugout and returned to Capitol Hill on crutches.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., described the chaotic scene to news outlets: "We were like sitting ducks."

"Without the Capitol Hill police it would have been a massacre," Paul added referring to the scene as a "sort of a killing field."

The evil doer was James T. Hodgkinson of Illinois, 66, an angry white man who was a member of a Facebook page called Terminate the Republicans. He later died from injuries sustained when he was shot by police.

Although there is a chain link fence around the park, perpetration was easy. The Congressional ball players had been practicing at the same time three days a week for months to prepare for a baseball game which took place as scheduled last Thursday at Nationals Park.

Leaning on a crutch, Capitol Police Officer Bailey was able to throw out the first pitch. The game was won by the Democrats in an 11-2 blowout.

The popular Congressional ball game has been played nearly every year since 1909. The Democrats and Republicans each form their own teams. Thousands of spectators enjoy watching the bipartisan event which benefits a variety of charities.

At a press conference Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas talked about our increasing toxic environment "Members (of Congress) are not looked at as people anymore, we're kind of looked at as - I won't say targets - but people think they can come to our town hall meetings and say just the most obnoxious things and we not feel it personally."

The internet has totally altered how the world operates and how its inhabitants behave.

The creative arts, which in the past has always been ahead of the times, needs to catch up.

You're not supposed to yell fire in a crowded room. So stop being inflammatory.

Stop egging on, taunting, inspiring, tempting, and empowering the violently unstable. You can partisan position yourself in cement, but don't try to bury others in it who disagree with you.

It's not possible to have unity in all issues. It is possible to have civility.

Rhetoric-fuled violence and harassment couched as an 'art form' encourages distraught individuals to externalize anger into rage.

People who think their need to push the envelope outranks anything else, should be instructed otherwise.

The entertainment community who needs NEA, NEH and Corporation for Public Broadcast funds seems to spend an inordinate amount of time tweeting, re-tweeting and answering tweets through insults and ranting. That doesn't encourage willingness for tax payers to fund the ability to continue to behave in that self-serving and offensive manner.

Instead of engaging in incendiary rhetoric, try participating in some type of volunteer work. Register people to vote - spend time with any nursing home resident who never receives visitors - help a child learn to read - drive a senior to the grocery store - anything to take your fixation off of yourself.

And, when it comes to money - especially tax payer money - sensible business minds should take the lead.

The current toxic political climate is only acerbated by the performing arts attempting to cash in on it. Show business has always satirized and insulted current events. While entertaining, funny, or even accurate, the influence was limited in scope and impact. Not anymore. While the entertainment business is heartless and cut throat, message agendas now need to be balanced against consequences - and that includes the monetary blow back against your own kind.

The argument isn't over the importance of artistic expression, but rather who pays the bills. If you want to express yourself in such a way that others are physically, emotionally or financially hurt - are you willing to financially assume the costs?

If you find grants drying up and sponsors few and far between, look to what you have said, written and performed. For those who are in the worlds of "arts" and have been blathering, acting out and insulting, rather than intelligently attempting to effectively demonstrate why your program or those of your friends should be supported - look inward. Perhaps you shoulder some of the blame.

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Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) Muhammad Ali (II. 182), edition 43/150, 1978 Screenprint Courtesy of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation. © 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
The High Museum of Art in Atlanta is the exclusive East Coast venue for a sweeping retrospective featuring more than 250 prints and ephemera by artist Andy Warhol (American, 1928­­–1987). This comprehensive show is the largest exhibition of its kind and includes such iconic screen-print portfolios as Marilyn Monroe (1967), Campbell’s Soup I (1968), Electric Chair (1971), and Mao (1972).

Printmaking featured prominently throughout Warhol’s career, beginning with his earliest work as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s. He discovered the process of silkscreen printing in 1962 and produced his first portfolio of screenprints, Marilyn, in 1967 at his legendary Factory studio. Subsequently, silkscreen printing became synonymous with Warhol’s art from the Factory Years through the end of his life.

The works in the exhibition are drawn exclusively from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation in Portland, Oregon. Remarkable for their nearly exhaustive range, the Schnitzer Collections offer an unparalleled opportunity to explore the breadth of Warhol’s influential graphic production over the course of four decades.

The artist’s fascination with the commodification of celebrity chronicles American popular culture of the second half of the twentieth century and serves as a prelude for considering our current fame-obsessed, media-saturated culture.

Andy Warhol: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation is organized by the Portland Art Museum, and is on display at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA through September 3, 2017.

An exhibition of bapo or eight brokens paintings. Image: Museum of Fine Art, Boston
the first-ever exhibition dedicated to bapo (or “eight brokens”) painting, a revolutionary artistic genre that emerged in China during the mid-19th century.

Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture, and bapo refers to the damaged cultural ephemera hyper-realistically depicted in the paintings—worm-eaten calligraphies, partial book pages, burned paintings, remnants of rubbings and torn-open letters.

They are usually arranged in a haphazard, collage-like composition, created with Chinese ink and colors on paper or silk. When bapo emerged, this unexpected imagery was radically distinct from classical Chinese landscape and figure painting, and became popular among an aspiring, urban middle class delighted by its visual trickery and sophistication. After 1949, the art form was largely forgotten, but has recently been rediscovered by contemporary artists and collectors.

The rediscovery of bapo has prompted curators to now decipher the puzzle of the meaning of the images. This exhibition presents some of the finest examples of bapo paintings dating back to the 19th century, as well as a contemporary work by artist Geng Xuezhi, and includes new acquisitions and loans from museums and private collections located in the United States and Asia. They are interspersed with three-dimensional decorative and functional objects that display bapo imagery.

Opened on June 16, 2017 and is on display through October 29, 2017 at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston.


MUSICARES MAP FUND 13TH ANNUAL BENEFIT CONCERT to honor multi-Grammy-winning artist Adam Clayton of U2 takes place at PlayStation Theater in New York on June 26, 2017.

Clayton will receive the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award in recognition of his dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund as well as his commitment to helping others with the addiction recovery process.

The event will benefit the MusiCares MAP Fund, which provides members of the music community access to addiction recovery treatment.

"MusiCares does such vital work in helping vulnerable people across our industry," said Clayton who is the bass player for Irish rocker band U2. . "I know from experience the importance of an accessible, supportive environment in times of need and I'm always happy to do what I can to benefit this important organization."

A SPECIAL EVENING WITH JAY LENO AND FRIENDS will benefit No Limits for deaf children and the Geffen’s education and community outreach programs.

Kathy Buckley, “America’s First Hearing Impaired Comedienne,” will host the event which takes place June 26 at Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.

No Limits is a nationwide non-profit organization, founded in 1996 by Michelle Christie, Ed.D, that teaches deaf children the skills to succeed in school and in life through its national theater program and after school centers in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, NV, and Oxnard, CA. No Limits is the only program in the country that provides life changing, impact driven programs that help school-age deaf children boost their self-esteem and develop communication skills as well as teach parents the skills to be advocates for their child.

To date, No Limits has produced over 100 theatrical productions in professional venues nationwide, including Carnegie Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Kirk Douglas Theater, and the Neighborhood Playhouse.

No Limits is proud to have reached over 200,000 people, with 100% of its alumni in college or graduated from college.

VICTIMS OF THE HORRIFIC FIRE at Grenfell Tower in North London, which resulted in 58 either confirmed or presumed dead and an additional 560 left homeless. They received immediate celebrity support. Royals William, Kate and Harry who live in the area, made a substantial donation to help their neighbors and urged others to give generously.

The former X Factor judge Rita Ora posted a video of herself among black sacks of donations, including clothes, water and food, at one of the help points. She worked through the night to help get emergency supplies to victims. Ora also posted an image of the tower, and wrote 'RIP' on Snapchat. Ora said on Instagram: 'This is my neighbourhood, I can't believe this is happening. My prayers are with everybody involved; my heart is beating so fast. I used to play in that block, I want to do all I can do to help.'

Adele also visited the scene The star was born in Tottenham, North London. Singer Lily Allen offered refuge for people who are in need.

The fire swept through the 27-story tower in just 15 minutes after a faulty refrigerator fridge exploded, in what was described as one of the worst in British history. Fears continue that nobody on its top three floors survived with the death toll speculated to rise to 50.

CLAY WALKER PEBBLE BEACH CHARITY CLASSIC annually, friends and supporters of Clay Walker and Band Against MS (BAMS) gather at the world famous Pebble Beach Resorts for the Clay Walker Celebrity Charity Classic in Pebble Beach, CA.. This event will take place on June 21 through June 25, 2017.

This event will feature three days of golf at the prestigious Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and The Links at Spanish Bay. The tournament’s main occasion, the Grand Gala Event and Dinner, will feature a special performance by Clay Walker and his band. During this memorable evening, guests will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with Clay Walker and other celebrity participants, enjoy fine dinner cuisine and cocktails as well as participate in the silent and live auction.

Band Against MS, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3), or not-for-profit, public charity committed to providing educational information for those living with Multiple Sclerosis, funding programs researching a cure for Multiple Sclerosis, and funding programs helping those living with the disease. Nationally acclaimed recording artist Clay Walker established BAMS in February 2003 because he wanted to help others living with the same disease he has battled since 1996.


has been released as a 2-disc CD by Broadway Records.

Recorded live in its entirety at the Savoy Theatre in London's West End, the album captures the on-stage exhilaration of the original cast, the 14-piece band and audience. Recorded live over four performances in February 2017 the booklet states: "Everything you hear is live from the stage at the Savoy Theatre with no additional studio re-recordings or musical overdubs, thus retaining the live in theatre integrity of these special performances."

When is the last time that happened? Bravo!

Captured on this CD, in gold standard quality, is the stage sound design by Richard Brooker. With orchestrations by Harold Wheeler and additional orchestrations by Nick Finlow, this marvelous offering is produced by composer Henry Krieger and mixed by Andy Bradfield.

The results are well worth their effort.

The musicians are blisteringly good.

Dreamgirls' legendary score is well known.

Dreamgirls began as a Broadway musical, with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen. Based on the show business aspirations and successes of R&B acts such as The Supremes, The Shirelles, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and others. The musical follows the story of three black singers - talented, close friends Deena, Lorrell, and Effie who become music superstars.

Staged with a mostly African-American cast the musical opened on December 20, 1981, at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway. The musical was then nominated for 13 Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical, and won six. It was later adapted into a motion picture from DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures in 2006.

In February 2016 it was confirmed that Dreamgirls would play at The Savoy Theatre in the West End with Amber Riley taking on the role of Effie White. The production opened in November 2016, directed and choreographed by Olivier and Tony Award-winning Casey Nicholaw.

This London cast recording features Amber Riley as Effie White, Liisi LaFontaine as Deena Jones and Ibinabo Jack as Lorrell Robinson - making up the soulful singing trio 'The Dreams'; Joe Aaron Reid as Curtis Taylor Jr, Adam J. Bernard as Jimmy Early, Tyrone Huntley as C.C. White, Nicholas Bailey as Marty and Lily Frazer as Michelle Morris.

The ensemble includes Michael Afemare, Jocasta Almgill, Callum Aylott, Hugo Batista, Samara Casteallo, Chloe Chambers, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Joelle Dyson, Kimmy Edwards, Candace Furbert, Nathan Graham, Ashley Luke Lloyd, Gabriel Mokake, Sian Nathaniel-James, Sean Parkins, Kirk Patterson, Ryan Reid, Rohan Richards, Noel Samuels, Durone Stokes and Tosh Wanogho-Maud.

Riley is an American actress, singer and author. She is best known for her portrayal of Mercedes Jones on the Fox comedy-drama series Glee. She can sing - really sing - and act as evidenced by her winning an Olivier Award for her star turn in Dreamgirls.

Joe Aaron Reid appeared on Broadway in If/Then, Chicago and Curtains. He can thank his husband for his move to London. His spouse is a Frenchman who works for a private equity firm, and received a can't-pass-it-up London job offer. They moved to London where Reid made an easy transition to the West End. As Curtis in Dreamgirls he plays the ambitious Curtis Taylor, Jr. who is driven to succeed no matter who gets trampled along the way. Business is business and love and friendship can't be any part of deciding what is good for the group.

This an R&B, frequently gospel infused song list which is propelled by the plot-line. Vocally, the entire cast is outstanding. The vibrant opening begins with audience applause.

Set in the 1960s and 1970s, civil rights are huge issues, while women's rights are at the bottom of the pecking order. You do whatever takes to get ahead as is sung in Fake Your Way To The Top as performed by Adam J. Bernard as Jimmy "Thunder" Early who is cheating on his wife and behaves as though he believes his press releases. He turned into a male diva who stops following orders.

The definition of having made it is explained in the ego greased Cadillac Car - "Look at me, mister - I'm a star."

Family is mellow and heartfelt. The title song offers the hopeful anthem that "all you gotta do is dream." Effie singing And I Am Telling You, I'm Not Going, is a defiant song; even though Ellie agreed to become a backup singer and has shown that he has a demanding, devious side, she now states her case. It's the Act 1 closer and the audience screams and applauds. That brings the listener to Disc 2 which is the second act.

The Second Act opens with the group purportedly being introduced as headliners at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. The group cuts loose with I'm Looking For Something, Baby.

They've 'made it', but a lot has been sacrificed to get to the top.

"I Am Changing allows Riley to show her voice can be tender and pleading as well as dramatically passionate. She is rewarded by enthusiastic applause. Ain't No Party sung by the group called "The Five Tuxedos" is vibrant and funny. Riley and Tyrone Huntley's delivery of I Miss You, Old Friend is bittersweet.

'You never believed in me - but I believe in me' is the message of I'm Somebody while conflicting feelings are presented in Listen, performed by Liisi LaFontaine.

The romantic When I first Saw You isn't your run of the mill love song. All facets of emotion are in the musical composition and orchestration. Even though the lyrics are romantic, the words cloak a mean, possessive love.

A must have CD for your collection and listening enjoyment.


THE ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL (EDC) is a three-day electronic music festival held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hosted by Insomniac Events and Live Nation, the event is taking place this week-end. Over 140,000 people are enduring record heat which is expected to range between 110-117 degrees.

LYRICS & LYRICISTS FAVORITES YOUR CHOICE the first-ever audience-choice concert for the country’s preeminent American Songbook series. Ted Chapin and Ted Sperling are co-artistic directors for an evening featuring such audience favorites as Over the Rainbow, Someone to Watch Over Me, I Got Rhythm, Oklahoma, Some Enchanted Evening and All the Things You Are.

The cast of Broadway stars includes Victoria Clark, Capathia Jenkins, Ramin Karimloo, Lindsay Mendez, Billy Porter, Clarke Thorell, Nicholas Ward, and Betsy Wolfe.

Lyrics & LyricistsFavorites: Your Choice! was based on an idea from concert pianist/recording artist/playwright/television writer Israela Margalit.

To put the program together, 92Y asked L&L patrons - some of whom have been attending since the series began in 1970 - to choose from a list of pre-selected classics performed over the years, with an opportunity to write-in additional personal favorites.

Music Director & Piano: Jeffrey Klitz. Stage Director: Noah Racey.

Monday, June 26, at the 92Y in New York City.

WITH ALL OF THE KERFUFFLE over Julius Caesar press agent Richard Kornberg and Associates sent out a clever invitation to his client's show.

"It is time for free-theater in Central Park. It is not controversy, but comedy. It is not Shakespeare, but Sheridan. It is not Julius Caesar, but The Rivals. There is no Donald Trump, but there are wonderful Equity actors performing this renowned classic. It is free in Central Park like its Delacorte colleagues, but it is a couple of stops further uptown on the C train.

New York Classical Theatre, NYC’s only all-free Off-Broadway theater, is thrilled to kick-off its 2017 season with Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 comedy The Rivals - a comedy of manners full of false identities, gossip and high society scandals that turns the power of class and courtship on its head. The cast includes Juan Arturo, Kristen Calgaro, Connie Castanzo, David Friedlander, Michael Sweeney Hammond, John Michalski, Kevin Orton, Nick Salamone, Sarah Corbyn Woolf, and Barbara Kingsley as Mrs. Malaprop.

For those in the NYC area performances can be enjoyed in Central Park, with previews beginning last night, and the official opening taking place on June 21. Following its Central Park engagement this production will move to Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City from July 5 through July 9 (no performance on July 6) and Carl Schurz Park from July 12 through July 16.

Top row L-R: Reverend Anthony Howe, Reverend Richard Chartres, Evelyn Glennie, Baroness Warnock, Baroness Amos, Harry Woolf, Robert Smith, Baron Smith of Kelvin, George Osborne, Richard Eyre, reverend Paul Wright, Lt Col Michael Vernon. Middle row L-R: David Young, Baron Young of Graffham, Maggie Smith, Menzies Campbell, Sebastian Coe, Michael Howard, Dan McKenzie, General John De Chastelain, John Major, David Hannay, Baron Hannay of Chiswick, Judi Dench, George Young, Baron Young of Cookham, Thomas Galbraith, 2nd Baron Strathclyde, Mary Peters, Roy Strong. Front L-R: Roger Bannister, Chris Patten, David Attenborough, Janet Baker, Peter Brooke, Norman Tebbit, The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Kenneth Baker, Tom King, David Owen, Michael Heseltine and Bridget Riley. A reception followed the photo shoot. Photo: Historic Royal Palaces
celebrated his 96th birthday last week on June 10, quietly at Windsor Castle. There was a 41-gun salute in his honor delivered by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park, London. A large audience gathered to watch, although the birthday boy was miles away.

Yesterday, Saturday, June 17, he helped his wife, that would be the Queen of England, officially celebrate her 91st birthday at the annual Trooping The Colour parade.

She was actually born on April 21. Her official birthday is celebrated in June, because the weather is better for outdoor festivities.

Earlier in the week Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip attended an Evensong service at The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace to celebrate the Centenary of the Companions of Honour – an award granted to those who have made a contribution to the arts, science, medicine or government – founded on June 4, 1917 by King George V and limited to 65 members at any one time, plus the Monarch.

The rarefied group includes actresses Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith as well as Sir David Attenborough.

THE STERN GROVE FESTIVAL in San Francisco takes place for 10 weeks kicking off June 25 with the Big Picnic featuring Kool and the Gang.

Some of the other artists appearing at the admission-free Sunday shows, which run through August 27, 2017 include Mavis Staples, Fantastic Negrito, and Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, War, Amadou and Mariam, Eric Burdon and the Animals, Brazilian Girls, Los Angeles Azules and more.

There will also be the traditional performances by the festival’s classical partners, the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Ballet.

Now in its 80th season, The Stern Grove Festival bills itself as the nation’s longest-running free outdoor music festival.

INTERNATIONAL PICNIC DAY is today, Sunday, June 18. Tomorrow is National Martini Day and Tuesday is National Vanilla Milkshake Day. Thursday is both National Chocolate Eclair Day and National Onion Ring Day.


YOKO ONO will receive songwriting credit for co-writing the 1971 John Lennon classic, Imagine, which means the song won't enter public domain for 70 years after Ono's death. Ono receiving songwriting credit also means millions of dollars in royalties since Imagine is one of the 100 most-performed songs of the 20th century.

Lennon, who was killed in 1980, had stated that the composition "should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song” because it was inspired by Ono’s 1964 poem collection Grapefruit.


SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION which began previews on Broadway April 5 and opened April 25, 2017 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and was scheduled to play a limited engagement through July 16, 2017 will now close today, June 18, 2017. The production, which was nominated for two Tony Awards, will have played 21 previews and 63 regular performances at the time of closing.

INDECENT winner of two 2017 Tony Awards, will play its final performance on Broadway on Sunday, June 25th at 3:00 PM at the Cort Theatre. At the time of closing, Indecent will have played 79 performances and 15 previews.

THE MENTOR by Daniel Kehlmann. Translated by Academy Award winner Christopher Hampton.

Directed by Laurence Boswell.

Starring Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham as Benjamin Rubin, Daniel Weyman as Martin Wegner, Naomi Frederick as Gina Wegner, and Jonathan Cullen as Erwin Rudicek.

The Mentor is set in a dilapidated art nouveau villa, somewhere in the German countryside, where two massive egos are set on a collision course in this comedy about art and artists and the legacy of fame. Benjamin Rubin is an old dinosaur living off the memory of a hit play he wrote when he was 24: Martin Wegner is a young dramatist acclaimed as “the voice of his generation”. They are brought together by a cultural foundation in the optimistic hope that Rubin can act as a mentor.

Boswell is the artistic director of Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio, where Abraham starred in the production last April - becoming the most successful production in the studio’s history.

Previews will begin June 24 prior to an official opening July 4 for a limited engagement through September 2 at London's Vaudeville Theatre.

COMMITTEE (A NEW MUSICAL) a fictional account of a real event by with music by Tom Deering. Book and lyrics edited from the transcript of the evidence session by Hadley Fraser and Josie Rourke. It is based on the Parliamentary transcript of the oral evidence session on October 15, 2015 and the words spoken by those participating in the Inquiry.

Directed by Adam Penford.

“The objective of this session is not to conduct a show trial. We want to learn some lessons.”

"What happens when something goes wrong? Who holds us accountable? On October 15, 2015, as part of an inquiry into ‘The collapse of Kids Company’, Camila Batmanghelidjh and Alan Yentob gave evidence to The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Hadley Fraser, Josie Rourke and composer Tom Deering have transformed that evidence session into a new musical.

"This production has not been authorised by any participant or Parliament. We present it to you – the public – to consider how civic life in the UK is really governed." Set design by Robert Jones. Sound design by Nick Lidster. June 23 through August 12, 2017 at Donmar Warehouse in London.

LETTERS FROM A NUT written and performed by Ted L. Nancy.

Directed by Pierre Balloón.

Produced by Jerry Seinfeld.

Ted L. Nancy is a customer in need of service. Based on his bestselling series of books Letters from a Nut, Nancy brings his madcap collection of customer service correspondence to the Geffen stage for a one-of-a-kind show that is called "both outlandish and uproarious."

June 23 - July 30, 2017 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.

DISNEY'S THE LITTLE MERMAID music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a book by Doug Wright.

Directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge.

Choreography by Josh Walden.

Music direction by Charlie Alterman.

Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney's The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. This fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs, including Under the Sea, Kiss the Girl and Part of Your World.

Ariel, King Triton's youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above, bargaining with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems, and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends, Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea.

The cast will be headed by Emma Degerstedt (Ariel), Jason Gotay (Prince Eric), Emily Skinner (Ursula), Jerry Dixon (King Triton), James T. Lane (Sebastian), Jeffrey Schecter (Scuttle), Richard B. Watson (Grimsby), Spencer Jones (Flounder), Kevin Zak (Flotsam), and Will Porter (Jetsam). The ensemble includes Jordan Beall, Stephanie Bissonnette, Joseph Fierberg, Emma Gassett, Berklea Going, Marina Kondo, Matthew Aaron Liotine, Alex Miller, Halle Morse, Kenneth Michael Murray, JJ Niemann, Commodore Primous, Scarlett Walker, and Brion Watson.

Scenic design by Michael Schweikardt, costume design by Robin L. McGee, lighting design by Nathan W. Scheuer, sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge, video design by Matthew Young, and wig design by John Metzner, with production stage manager Larry Smiglewski.

Performances are scheduled for June 20–29 at The Muny in St. Louis, MO.

RAGTIME a musical by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and Terrence McNally.

Directed by Joe Calarco.

Starring .Elizabeth Stanley as Mother. Also featured are Darnell Abraham as Coalhouse, Zurin Villanueva as Sarah, J. Anthony Crane as Tateh, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka as Younger Brother, Anne L. Nathan as Emma Goldman, Lawrence E. Street as Booker T. Washington, Matt Gibson as Willie Conklin, Allen Kendall as JP Morgan, Joe Ventricelli as Houdini, Eric Jon Malhum as Ford, Leanne A. Smith as Evelyn Nesbit, and John Little as Grandfather.

Running June 21 through July 15 at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA.


NEIL DIAMOND performs Tuesday, June 20, at the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia, PA. On Thursday he's on stage at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, NY.

JACKSON BROWNE the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee returns to Royal Albert Hall in London for a two night concert spanning his expansive discography. Saturday June 24 and Sunday, June 25, 2017.

KINGS OF LEON appear at the Tinderbox, Tusindarsskoven in Odense, Denmark on June 23.

QUEEN AND ADAM LAMBERT on stage Friday, June 23, at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. On Saturday the show is at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

STEVE TYRELL the Grammy-winning vocalist entertains June 22 at Stage One in Fairfield, CT.

COLDPLAY opens up a two night on Wednesday, June 21, in Brussels, Belgium at the King Baudouin Stadium. Next Sunday, June 25, begin a two night gig in Goteborg, Sweden at the Ullevi Stadium.

TIM McGRAW AND FAITH HILL entertain Thursday, June 22, in Ottawa, ON at the Canadian Tire Centre. On Friday they begin a two night stand in Toronto, ON at the Air Canada Centre.

THE WEEKND two time Grammy winner appears at Wireless Germany on Saturday, June 24, at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany.

DIANA KRALL in the spotlight, Saturday, June 24, at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA.


ANITA PALLENBERG actress and longtime girlfriend of Keith Richards, died Tuesday, June 13, 2017. She was 73.

Pallenberg suffered from hepatitis C, and had had two hip surgeries, including a hip replacement, which caused her to walk with a limp. After detoxing in the early 1980s, Pallenberg abstained from drug use but later had a relapse.

Pallenberg, who also modeled and designed clothing in the ’60s, was long considered a muse for the Rolling Stones. She was the romantic partner of multi-instrumentalist and guitarist Brian Jones, and later, from 1967 to 1980, the partner of Stones guitarist Keith Richards, with whom she had three children. Marlon, Angela and Tara, who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1976.

Later in life, the actress graduated from Central Saint Martins in London with a degree in fashion design.

Pallenberg is survived by her two children and several grandchildren.

A.R. GURNEY famed playwright died Tuesday, June 13, 2917 at his home in Manhattan. He was 86.

His large inventory of plays include: The Cocktail Hour, Love Letters, The Old Boy, Later Life, Labor Day, Sylvia, O Jerusalem, The Dining Room, Sweet Sue and Far East.

In 2006, Gurney was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2007, Gurney received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist.

He married Molly Goodyear in 1957 who survives him as do their two sons, George and Benjamin; their two daughters, Amy Gurney Nicholas and Evelyn Gurney; an older sister, Evelyn Gurney Miller; a younger brother, Steven, and eight grandchildren.

Next Column: June 25, 2017
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