Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: June 25, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Frederick Douglass
Asked to deliver a 4th of July oration, famed 19th-century author and orator Frederick Douglass refused. Instead, on July 5, 1852, he stood and addressed the ladies of the Rochester Anti-Slavery Sewing Society. This speech eventually became known as "What to the slave is the 4th of July?" and some consider it the greatest anti-slavery oration ever given.

His powerful words of condemnation ring true more than 150 years later,. and the speech is widely considered to be his best.

On Sunday, July 2 a gathering will take place at Rokeby Museum in Vermont to join together in a statewide public reading of Douglass's most famous speech, sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council.

Rokeby Museum executive Jane Williamson told Broadway To Vegas, "This event is a community reading, which means that folks who come read part of the speech - though not everyone reads. A copy of the speech excerpt is on a podium, and readers come up one at a time and read a paragraph. The reading is followed by a discussion, which if often heartfelt."

Douglass was an eminent human rights leader in the anti-slavery movement and the first African-American citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank. Of mixed race, Douglass was born into slavery, managing to escape from his shackles in Maryland. He became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his dazzling oratory.

He has been hailed as the most influential African American of the nineteenth century.

In 1848, Douglass was the only African American to attend the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, in upstate New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women's suffrage. Many of those present opposed the idea, including influential Quakers James and Lucretia Mott.

Douglass rose and spoke eloquently in favor; he said that he could not accept the right to vote as a black man if women could not also claim that right. He suggested that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere.

After Douglass's speech, the attendees passed the resolution.

Emmy winner and Tony nominee Robert Guillaume portrayed Douglass in North and South.
Douglass was a firm believer in the equality of all peoples, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant. He was also a believer in dialogue and in making alliances across racial and ideological divides, and in the liberal values of the U.S. Constitution. When radical abolitionists, under the motto "No Union With Slaveholders", criticized Douglass' willingness to dialogue with slave owners, according a report on the event published in 1855 he replied: "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."

Douglass founded the North Star, a weekly publication with the motto "Right is of no sex, Truth is of no color, God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren." Douglass later wrote a letter to his former slaveholder, in which he denounced him for leaving Douglass's family illiterate:

Your wickedness and cruelty committed in this respect on your fellow creatures, are greater than all the stripes you have laid upon my back or theirs. It is an outrage upon the soul, a war upon the immortal spirit, and one for which you must give account at the bar of our common Father and Creator.
—Letter to His Old Master. To my Old Master Thomas Auld.

In 1965, the U.S. Postal Service honored Douglass with a stamp in the Prominent Americans series.

In 1999, Yale University established the Frederick Douglass Book Prize for works in the history of slavery and abolition, in his honor. The annual $25,000 prize is administered by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale.

Robert Guillaume portrayed Douglass in six episodes of the miniseries North and South. The 1989 film Glory featured Frederick Douglass as a friend of Francis George Shaw. He was played by Raymond St. Jacques.

Rokeby Museum is a 90-acre historic site and National Historic Landmark designated for its exceptional underground railroad history. It is open daily from 10 to 5 until October 29.

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Jean Delville, The Death of Orpheus (Orphée mort), 1893. Oil on canvas, 79.3 x 99.2 cm. Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, © Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels. Photo: J. Geleyns
the first exhibition to examine the cultish Joséphin Péladan (1859–1918) and the often-overwrought art of his Salons de la Rose+Croix.

In 1892, Joséphin Péladan, an eccentric critic, author, and self-proclaimed high priest of Rosicrucianism, founded the annual Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris to showcase mystical Symbolist art.

Péladan favored an occult and religious vein of Symbolism prevalent during the 1890s, a time when such practices frequently intertwined. Mysterious, visionary, and mythical themes prevailed in the art at his salons, with images of femmes fragiles and fatales, androgynous creatures, chimeras, and incubi often represented.

Sinuous lines, attenuated figures, and anti-naturalistic forms characterized the paintings and sculptures.

International in scope, the salons featured artists from France, Belgium, Holland, Finland, Italy, and Switzerland, among other countries. Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, Jean Delville, Charles Filiger, Ferdinand Hodler, Fernand Khnopff, Gaetano Previati, Georges Rouault, Alexandre Séon, Jan Toorop, Ville Vallgren, and Félix Vallotton were among the artists that participated, and composers such as Erik Satie were also involved early on.

After extensive forensic art-historical research to identify actual works exhibited at the salons, Mystical Symbolism will present nearly 40 artworks highlighting the salons’ history, as well as a selection of related ephemera and a musical component.

The exhibition will be organized around common themes in the works, such as the role of Orpheus, the adulation of the Primitives, and the cult of personality - groupings that, in turn, will underscore the diverse and sometimes opposing concepts that informed Symbolism in the 1890s.

Curated by Vivien Greene, Senior Curator, 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, Mystical Symbolism will portray a fascinating, transnational cross section of artists, some better known than others, and allow for a fresh look at late 19th-century Symbolist art.

From June 30 to October 4, 2017, the Guggenheim Museum presents Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892–1897. After the New York presentation, the exhibition will travel to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy for an exhibit October 27, 2017–January 7, 2018.

GAME MASTERS: THE EXHIBITION makes its California debut at the Fleet Science Center in San Diego on July 1, 2017, and is open through January 15, 2018.

Game Masters: The Exhibition showcases the world's greatest video game designers, from the arcade era to today's console and online games, with 100+ playable games! (No quarters required.)

In Game Masters, the work of more than 30 video game designers who have made a significant impact in the field is explored through rare concept artwork, newly commissioned interviews and interactive digital displays. This is the first large-scale exhibition to take visitors behind the scenes of how video games are made as well as spotlighting the people who actually make them.

From Nintendo's iconic worlds featuring Mario and Link, to the obsession that is Minecraft, to the immersive experiences of Blizzard Entertainment, this is a landmark collection of the most popular video games on the planet, as well as independent games with a cult-like following.

The 9,000 square-foot exhibition takes visitors through the evolution of gaming from arcade classics such as Missile Command and Pac-Man, to iconic console-based games featuring Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and Zelda, through to today's indie hits like Real Racing 2, Minecraft, Angry Birds and more. Other famous titles include World of Warcraft and The Sims.

In addition to allowing guests to experience the games firsthand, the exhibit offers an in-depth look at the designers behind some of the most popular games of all time through rare original game artwork, 2D objects and revealing interviews with game designers. The key role played by smaller independent designers in game design and development is also explored.

Created and curated by ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image), Game Masters is presented in three sections: Arcade Heroes, Game Changers and Indies.

The first section, Arcade Heroes, spotlights pioneering designers from the trailblazing and revolutionary arcade era, including Shigeru Miyamoto (Donkey Kong, 1981), Ed Logg (Asteroids, 1979), Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man, 1980) and Tomohiro Nishikado (Space Invaders, 1978).

The second section, Game Changers, focuses on leading contemporary designers who have had a major impact on shaping the medium as we know it. This includes Nintendo (The Legend of Zelda, 1986), Will Wright (SimCity, 1989), Yuji Naka and the Sonic Team (Sonic the Hedgehog, 1991), Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy (Rock Band 3, 2010) and Blizzard Entertainment (Diablo III, 2012).

The third and final chapter of the exhibition, Indies, explores the groundbreaking and future-focused world of independent game designers. Artists such as Rovio (Angry Birds, 2009), Halfbrick (Fruit Ninja Kinect, 2011) and Markus "Notch" Persson (Minecraft, 2014) are profiled in this section.

Two of the video games featured in the exhibition are from a local San Diego game developer, The Behemoth. Since 2003, The Behemoth has produced multiple critically acclaimed video games. The two games featured in the exhibition are Alien Hominid (2002) and Castle Crashers (2008). The first prototype of Alien Hominid was played online nearly 20 million times before being further developed for console release. Castle Crashers takes gamers in an entirely different direction with an action-packed, four-player adventure.

Game Masters features unique experiences, such as a spectacular multiplayer dance stage for a large-scale version of Dance Central 3 (2012), hands-on experiential music booths and a selection of 20 original classic arcade machines from the 1970s and '80s acquired especially for the exhibition, all playable in their original form.


GUILD HALL 2017 SEASON SPECTACULAR stars Jay Leno and takes place Saturday, July 1, 2017.

Freed from the restrictions and conventions of broadcast television, Leno has returned to his stand-up roots and delivers an evening of irreverent, piercing commentary.

Performance immediately followed by a sumptuous dinner under a tent at The Hedges Inn.

The evening benefits Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY.


Rock band New Order - an English rock band formed in 1980 - currently comprising Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham and Tom Chapman. New Order will be taking to the Stage of Manchester’s Old Granada Studios for a very special series of intimate performances created in collaboration with visual artist Liam Gillick.
The band will play alongside a 12-strong synthesizer ensemble from the Royal Northern College of Music with Mancunian composer Joe Duddell conducting and providing the orchestrations.
Upcoming gig include a September romp at the Hollywood Bowl with special guests Goldfrapp. Photo by Kevin Cummins.
The Manchester International Festival will open June 29 with What is the city but the People?, a large-scale performance created by the people of Manchester from an idea by artist Jeremy Heller. Raised high above the pavements, a unique selection of individuals from across Manchester will walk a specially designed runway stretching more than 100 meters through Piccadilly Gardens. Audiences, both in the streets and online, will watch as local residents parade the runway for this free event.

During the Festival there will be art shows, theater and dance performances - and the opera BambinO, in which infant audience members will be welcome to crawl around during performances.

Several works will look at migration, including a piece by choreographer Wayne McGregor created with immigrants from Sierra Leone and Iran.

The Manchester International Festival takes place through July 16 under the guidance of its incoming artistic director John McGrath.

Politics and New Order are recurring themes.

In an official release McGrath announced that the artists are "drawn from the United States, Egypt, Austria, China, France, Pakistan, Germany, and Iceland underscore how truly international MIF is.”

The lineup includes performances by electronic music heroes New Order and an art show devoted to the band and its musical predecessor, Joy Division.

On tap are original, new work and special events from a variety of performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture. Founded in 2007, the MIF has previously commissioned, produced, and presented world premieres by artists including Björk, Steve McQueen, Robert Wilson, Wayne McGregor, Maxine Peake, Zaha Hadid Architects, Damon Albarn, Punchdrunk, Elbow, and Marina Abramovi.

One of the world art premieres will be Ceremony by Phil Collins.

Turner Prize-nominated artist Phil Collins is returning philosopher, writer, radical thinker Frederick Engels to the city where he made his name - in the form of a Soviet-era statue, collected from Russia, driven across Europe and permanently installed in the center of Manchester.

Ceremony will be a singular moment in the city’s history. Performers, musicians and the people of Manchester will create an extraordinary live film to bring MIF17 to a close, mixing footage from the statue’s journey with live coverage of its inauguration. The welcome celebration will also include a soundtrack by Mica Levi and Demdike Stare, a new anthem by Gruff Rhys, and stories of today’s Manchester workers filmed by Collins during his year-long MIF17 residency.

The radical son of a German mill owner, Friedrich Engels arrived in Manchester in 1842, documenting the plight of the city’s working classes during his 20-year stay. It’s now exactly 100 years after the ideas from The Communist Manifesto, written by Engels and Karl Marx, changed the course of history by inspiring the Russian Revolution during the final phase of the First World War. Reflecting on the conditions of contemporary workers and the last century of change, as part of 14-18 NOW, Ceremony will return Engels to prominence in Manchester, reasserting the city’s crucial role in the history of radical thought.

Music will be by Mica Levi & Demdike Stare and Gruff Rhys. Architectural & Set Design by Lorian Stirnemann for raumlaborberlin.

This statue can be seen, in a free event, at the NCP Bridgewater Hall Car Park on Sunday, July 16.

Other commissions include:

Jane Horrocks
The world premiere of an industrial music drama Cotton Panic! created by Jane Horrocks, Nick Vivian and Wrangler.

Horrocks who also stars is an English stage, film and television actress, voice artist, musician and singer, who played the roles of Bubble and Katy Grin in the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1992–2012). She was nominated for the 1993 Olivier Award for Best Actress for the title role in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, and received Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations when she reprised the role in the 1998 film Little Voice.

Cotton Panic, is the story of the North of England's role in the American Civil War in 1861, when Lancashire workers refused to break the embargo on cotton from the Confederate slave states. Cotton was once as good as gold in Lancashire, the engine for a thriving economy built on the Industrial Revolution. And then in 1861, reality bit: the US Civil War took root, American ports fell silent, the supply of cotton dried up and the prosperous North was brought to its knees. This was the Cotton Famine, and England has never been the same since.

Cotton Panic! tells the story of the catastrophe that befell the North and its people, all thanks to events that took place thousands of miles away. The show uses a compelling collage of live music, drama, words and film to evoke an era lost to history: of hard work, of passion, and of the North of England’s inspiring solidarity with the slaves of the American South.

Directed by Wils Wilson, Cotton Panic! will be driven by a dynamic soundtrack, taking in original material, familiar songs, industrial noise and electronic soundscaping. Staged July 8-15 in the atmospheric Victorian grandeur of Upper Campfield Market Hall, the show takes the audience through prosperity, panic and poverty, towards the peace of companionship with one’s fellow man.

A post show talk takes place with members of the creative team on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

Party Skills for the End of the World, described as a subversive experiential show, is created by theatrical innovators Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari. In a secret location, the audience will learn the essential skills needed to survive and thrive in a world where everything they’ve taken for granted has gone: skills ranging from how to make the perfect martini, to how to pick the best music to get everyone dancing; from tricks to entertain a terrified crowd to cleaning and stitching a wound. Even how to kill someone in a space the size of a telephone box. It will run June 27–July 16.

Dinner Party at the End of the World, inspired by Party Skills for the End of the World, will see Mancunian chef Mary-Ellen McTague devise a dinner party with a difference. Each evening, just 20 guests will share a special last supper, with delicious and surprising food that explores themes of survival, extinction, scarcity and opulence. McTague’s creative menu will give you a flavor of how we may choose to eat, and what we may have to eat, come the end of days. Tickets sales are limited to two per person for performances July 4–15.

McTague and her restaurants have won a number of awards. In 2012 Aumbry won Restaurant of the Year at the Manchester Food and Drink Awards and the following year she was named Chef of the Year. In 2014 McTague won the Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life Chef of the Year.

This isn't her first involvement with the Manchester International Festival In 2015 the MIF commissioned her to create a magical food event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, with tickets selling out in minutes.

Returning to Reims will receive its world premiere at Home, July 5–14. Thomas Ostermeier, artistic director of Berlin’s revered Schaubühne, will direct this reflection on the new world order, adapted from Didier Eribon’s controversial book.

In a press statement, McGrath comments, “It is rare indeed for Berlin’s great Schaubuhne to open its newest work outside of its Berlin home, but in this extraordinary co-commission with MIF, the Schaubühne and Home, we will see an entirely new creation from the company’s Artistic Director, Thomas Ostermeier, for the first time here in Manchester. Thomas is one of the most admired and exciting directors in the world, and I am truly honored that he will be premiering this urgent new work with us.”

The Welcoming Party, a brand-new immersive production created by Theatre-Rites that is described as a site-specific mix of installation, live music, puppetry, and dance for families and children, will run July 4–6 at the Museum of Science and Industry.

10000 Gestures will see a 25-strong ensemble of dancers perform, in succession, 1,000 gestures, none repeated and every one unique, staged by European choreographer Boris Chamatz in Mayfield, a disused train station in the heart of the city, from July 13–15. Fatherland, co-created by Frantic Assembly’s Scott Graham, Karl Hyde from Underworld, and playwright Simon Stephens, is a new show focusing on contemporary fatherhood and inspired by conversations with fathers and sons from the three co-authors’ hometowns across England. It will run at Manchester's Royal Exchange July 1–15.

The eclectic biannual arts festival runs June 29 to July 16 in the northwest England city.


Alan Alda acknowledging receiving an honorary degree from Dundee University in Scotland. Photo: Dundee University
Emmy award winning writer, actor and director Alan Alda, who also starred in the Tony Award winning play Art received an honorary degree from Scotland's Dundee University on June 21, 2017. Last year Dundee University was named Scottish University of the Year

Alda, 81, was recognized for his contribution to the field of communication of scientific research.

A supporter of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, Alda recorded a video presentation which opened the center last year.

During his visit to Dundee, he also took part in "an evening with" lecture where BBC4 broadcaster Dr Adam Ruderford had the opportunity to question Alda on his thoughts and ambitions for science communication.

The star who is respected for his interest in and support of science, believes being able to communicate advances in science clearly and free of jargon to be crucial to the understanding of research.

Speaking ahead of being presented with his honorary degree, the science buff said: “We’re going to partner up with the people who do forensic science here and help forensic scientists communicate better, so when they present evidence in the courtroom, or challenge evidence, the jury will be able to understand it a lot better.

“It’s a move towards better justice . . . If a person is going to go to jail for life, or for a portion of life, then you really don’t want that to be based on a misunderstanding of the evidence. You can take evidence and argue in favor of evidence, but if people don’t understand the evidence itself then it’s just really a question of who has the better argument or who is cuter in court.”

The laureation address given by Professor Dame Sue Black began:

"Naively, I thought I might find and understand the man through the musings of others. In fact, the truth was hidden in plain sight and there he was, shouting it in his own inimitable style, from the pages of his own books. When the first, called Never Have Your Dog Stuffed begins with the line - ‘My mother didn’t try to stab my father until I was 6’ - then I knew I was about to embark on an exploration of fun, genius and honesty in equal glorious proportions."

She ended the presentation by saying: "Alan has decided, and frankly who are we to disagree, that he will live until he is 106 - he is very precise. Personally, I am utterly delighted and hugely relieved because it means that we still have a quarter of a century of work, fun and chaos to unleash on an unsuspecting world. Alan, I know you are going to love Dundee because as Seamus Heaney the Nobel laureate in literature so aptly described us - – we have our head in the clouds and our feet on the ground. We are the city of Discovery and you inspire us to embrace the possible whilst vehemently resisting suffocation by the practical.

"Chancellor, I have the honour to invite you to confer upon Mr Alan Alda, who is the glorious sum of all of his parts, the degree of Doctor of Laws."

Alan’s latest book If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating chronicles how he found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods to help people communicate and relate more effectively has reach Best Seller status.

In addition to Alda, Dundee University awarded honorary degrees to Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and Turner Prize winner Susan Philipz.


Prince Harry attending a June 15, 2017 meeting and simulated exercise on effective landmine clearance in a humanitarian emergency. Photo: Kensington Palace.
poor Prince Harry tries so hard and has trouble catching a break. The latest kerfuffle has social media giving their own - more inflammatory - interpretation - as to what the 5th in line to the Throne meant in a Newsweek interview. What he said: 'Is there any one of the Royal Family who wants to be king or queen? I don't think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.' He added: 'The monarchy is a force for good and we want to carry on the positive atmosphere that the Queen has achieved for over 60 years, but we won't be trying to fill her boots.'

It's actually a lovely comment.

What he meant in his personal and British way of speaking is that his brother isn't wringing his hands in glee hoping his grandmother and father hurry up and die so that he can be King. It's not a position that any heir in modern history wants because it means your closest loved ones are dead.

Heirs to a throne have little in choices and the responsibilities are daunting. When the time comes (that means that people you love have to actually die) the heirs will fulfill their obligations. It's not a gee-haw celebration, but one of serious duty and obligation.

Before journalists pounce on ridiculing Prince Harry they might want to glance at the rules of conduct and restrictions reporters are suppose to adhere to when interviewing Prince Charles. One example: they aren't supposed to mention his mother Queen Elizabeth dying. No question such as - when your mother dies and you become King, how do you think you'll . . ." It upsets him to have reporters refer to his mother dying. One male, national American reporter privileged to have Prince Charles take him on a farm tour, did break that rule on camera and was allowed to live. Whether he'd ever again be permitted to interview Prince Charles is another matter.

INNOCENCE PROJECT PANEL TALK with Innocence Project Co-Directors, Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck. An Introduction by Taryn Simon.

Today, Sunday, June 25, 2017 at Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York.

Tayrn Simon: The Innocents (2002), an early and influential work by Simon, documents the stories of individuals who served time in prison for violent crimes they did not commit. At issue is the question of photography's function as credible witness and arbiter of justice. First exhibited at MoMA PS1 in 2003, the work is being re-presented at an historical moment when the lines between truth and falsehood are being continuously manipulated and redrawn. In her photographs, text and film, Simon confronts photography's ability to blur fact and fiction--an ambiguity that can have severe, even lethal consequences.

The exhibition coincides with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization that works to reform the criminal justice system.

On view through July 30, 2017 at the Woodhouse/Moran/Spiga Galleries.

2017 ESSENCE FESTIVAL takes place in New Orleans, LA June 30-July 3, 2017.

For the first time the iconic R&B singer Diana Ross will perform. She's joined on the lineup by Mary J. Blige, Solange, John Legend, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, Chaka Khan and Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.

Rounding out the artists are Doug E Fresh, Jazmine Sullivan, June's Diary, Lalah Hathaway, Lizzo, Master P, Michel'le, Moses Sumney, Ro James, Shaggy, Sir the Baptist, Teyana Taylor, The Jones Girls ft. Shirley Jones, Tweet and Yuna, according to an Essence Fest release.

In addition to the three nights of big performances in the Superdome, Essence Magazine's major event also brings a series of workshops, seminars, screenings and panel discussions centered on empowerment and cultural discussion to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Those daytime events are free and open to the public.

MONDAY, JUNE 26 is National Chocolate Pudding Day. Wednesday is National Tapioca Day and Friday is National Mai Tai Day.


invite storytellers to submit original, essential, and thought-provoking audio documentary stories and treatments that explore the world as we experience it today for a new, nonfiction radio broadcast and podcast series to launch in 2018.

"Creative and ambitious storytelling on the theme of Neighbour" are sought.

BBC World Service will fund the production of up to six Projects and the collaboration offers documentary-makers the opportunity to tell stories in the English language for radio broadcast and podcast, with accompanying short-form visual storytelling, on the BBC.

Each funded Project will comprise a half-hour or one-hour audio documentary for radio and podcast together with an accompanying thematically-related 2-4 minute visual story for the BBC’s web and social channels. The short-form visual story may be a film, audio slideshow, animation or any other appropriate form.

Storytellers are invited to email individually or in teams their outline proposals through July 31, 2017.

The budget for a delivered and rights-cleared half-hour audio project with accompanying visual story is up to £8,000 (approx. $10,200). For an hour-long audio project with accompanying visual story, the budget is up to £13,000 (approx. $16,550).

Projects selected for funding will be decided by a panel from the BBC World Service including Mary Hockaday, Controller BBC WS, Simon Pitts, Commissioning Editor, BBC WS, and Keri Putnam, Executive Director, Sundance Institute, and Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Documentary Film Program at Sundance Institute.

INDECENT GIVEN REPRIEVE from their curtain dropping today, June 25, 2017 at the Cort Theatre on Broadway. Thanks to brisk tickets sales the two-time Tony award winning play will remain in production through Sunday, August 6, 2017.

BETH MORRISON PROJECTS has recently received two grants. The first is an Opera America Innovation Grant which has permitted BMP to launch Next Generation, a program aimed at broadening the organization’s commissioning program by identifying and cultivating early-career artists who are interested in writing opera. Through open submissions and juried semi-finalist presentations, the process will result in the award of a full commission. Beth Morrison Projects will work with the chosen composer from initial idea through world-premiere production. Eight to ten semi-finalists and two finalists will each receive a public presentation at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, providing early-career artists with the connections needed to build the future opera-theater and music-theater canon.

NEA: Art Works has also awarded a grant to BMP to support the creation of Bhutto, a new opera by composer Mohammed Fairouz and librettist Mohmmed Hanif. The opera traces Benazir Bhutto's political awakening at her father's side and her evolution as a politician in her own right. We witness her ascent to power, her tragic downfall and her lasting legacy. Bhutto tells the story of father and daughter, East and West, dictatorship and democracy, terrorism and tolerance.

EGOT Mel Brooks
appearing at the Encore Theatre at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas June 30-July 1.

Both shows are sold out.

The witty and ageless 91-year-old EGOT has a lifetime of amusing stories.

In 2009 Brooks received The Kennedy Center Honors, recognizing a lifetime of extraordinary contributions to American culture. In the spring of 2013 he was the subject of an Emmy Award-winning American Masters documentary on PBS called Mel Brooks: Make A Noise, and was the 41st recipient of the AFI's Life Achievement Award.

Recently Brooks traveled to London where Prince William presented him with the prestigious British Academy Awards Fellowship, and he was invited by President Obama to the White House to receive the National Medal of Arts – the highest honor given to artists by the United Stated government.

Some Mel Brooks quotes:
Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.

As long as the world is turning and spinning, we're gonna be dizzy and we're gonna make mistakes.

FREAKY FRIDAY book by Bridget Carpenter based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers and hit Walt Disney films.

A score by the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning team of Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey.

Directed by Christopher Ashley.

Choreographed by Sergio Trujillo.

Freaky Friday, a new musical is a hilarious, contemporary update of an American classic that follows an overworked mother and teenage daughter on a wild journey after magically swapping bodies.

Starring Heidi Blickenstaff as Katherine, Emma Hutton as Ellie, David Jennings as Mike, Jake Heston Miller as Fletcher, and Chris Ramirez as Adam.

With Jeannette Bayardelle, Efan Cochran, Joseph Dellger, Jessie Hooker, Julia Krohn, Storm Lever, Mary Jo McConnell, Tony Neidenbach, Jennafer Newberry, Julian Ramos, Jermainer Rembert, Alet Taylor, Jason Sweettooth Williams, and Sumi Yu.

Music, Co-Orchestrations, Co-Vocal Arrangements, Dance & Incidental Arrangements by Tom Kitt. Lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Bryan Perri Music Supervisor. Andrew Graham MusicDirector/ Conductor. Michael Starobin Co-Orchestrations. Carmel Dean Co-Vocal Arrangements. Beowulf Boritt Scenic Designer. Emily Rebholz Costume Designer. Howell Binkley Lighting Designer. Kai Harada Co-Sound Designer. Brian Ronan Co-Sound Designer. Any Corcoran Associate Director. Cristine Anne Reynolds Stage Manager. Julianne Menassian Assistant Stage Manager. Tara Rubin Casting.

A co-production with La Jolla Playhouse and Cleveland Playhouse being staged by the Hubbard Theatre in Houston, Texas through July 2, 2017.

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME adaptation by Tony and Olivier Award winner Simon Stephens that brings Mark Haddon’s internationally best-selling novel to thrilling life.

Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Marianne Elliott.

Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.

Adam Langdon stars as Christopher Boone. The cast also features Gene Gillette as Ed, Felicity Jones Latta as Judy, Maria Elena Ramirez as Siobhan and Amelia White as Mrs. Alexander.

The ensemble includes Brian Robert Burns, Francesca Choy-Kee, Josephine Hall , John Hemphill, Robyn Kerr, Kathy McCafferty, J. Paul Nicholas, Geoffrey Wade and Tim Wright. Benjamin Wheelwright will play Christopher at certain performances.

Winner of 5 Tony awards the national tour plays June 27-July 23 at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, CA.

Following its world premiere at the Echo, The Cake is scheduled to open at Playmakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, NC in September 2017; Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, SC in December 2017; La Jolla Playhouse in February 2018; and Houston’s Alley Theater in June, 2018.

HEISENBERG by Simon Stephens.

Directed by Mark Brokaw.

Featuring Tony nominated Denis Arndt and Tony and Emmy winner Mary-Louise Parker.

"Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train station, Georgie spots Alex, a much older man, and plants a kiss on his neck. This electric encounter thrusts these two strangers into a fascinating and life-changing game. Heisenberg brings to blazing, theatrical life the uncertain and often comical sparring match that is human connection."

June 28 – August 6, 2017 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.


TONY BENNETT the 19-time Grammy Award-winning legend continues to celebrate his 90th birthday with performances June 27 and 28 at Royal Albert Hall in London.

QUEEN AND ADAM LAMBERT bring their tour to the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Monday, June 26. Thursday's show is at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA. On Saturday they are on stage at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. Next Sunday, July 2, they perform at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC.

GLADYS KNIGHT Motown legend Gladys Knight performs songs from her storied back catalogue on Thursday, June 29, at Royal Albert Hall in London.

COLDPLAY finish the second night of a two night stand on Monday, June 26 in Goteborg, Sweden at the Ullevi Stadium. On Friday June 30 the open up a two nighter in Frankfurt, Germany at the Commerzbank Arena.

GREEN DAY appears at Barclaycard British Summer Time on Saturday, July 1, at Hyde Park in London.

THE WEEKND the Grammy award winning singer appears at Roskilde Festival, Wednesday, June 28, in Roskilde, Denmark.

THE TAJ MAHAL & KEB' MO sharing the stage with their band, performing songs from their collaborative album TajMo, due out May 5 on Concord Records. The album was produced by the duo and was mixed by Grammy Award-winner Ross Hogarth and mastered by Grammy winner Richard Dodd. The 11-song set includes covers of John Mayer and The Who, as well as six original songs. Performance Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Scottsdale, AZ.

LIONEL RICHIE on stage Tuesday, June 27, at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA.

PRISCILLA CHAN IN HER PRISCILLA-ISM CONCERT Fans can expect to hear all Priscilla’s classics, but given a fresh twist with newly composed melodies, performed against a stunning stage setting featuring Broadway and timeless Chinese themes, and to sing-along with the audience. Priscilla-ism Concert in Macao will also see as many as ten fabulous outfits changes, all styled by leading designer Kenneth Chan, as the renowned diva sings and dances to all-new choreography. July 1 at Sands Macao Resort in Macao.


BILL DANA actor and Emmy nominated screenwriter died Thursday, June 15, 2017 at his home in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 92.

Dana began his career as a page at NBC's famous Studio 6B while performing comedy in nightclubs around New York with partner Gene Wood. In the 1950s, he performed on The Imogene Coca Show, The Danny Thomas Show and The Martha Raye Show, as well as writing for and producing The Spike Jones Show.

In May 1967, Dana hosted his own late-night talk show, The Las Vegas Show, on the new United Network, which originated from the Hotel Hacienda in Las Vegas, Nevada. The program ended when the network quickly folded.

Dana's career advanced when he began writing stand-up routines for the young comedian Don Adams, including the now well-known "Would you believe?" jokes popularized by Get Smart. He then was hired as a writer for The Steve Allen Show, where he created the José Jiménez character for the show's "Man in the Street" segments.

He penned one of the funniest episodes in All in the Family history - the one from 1972 in which Sammy Davis Jr. plants a kiss on Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor).

Dana also owned an advertising agency with Don Adams and D.W. Silverstein (it represented the International House of Pancakes); was the head of a management company that counted Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass among its clients; and co-wrote the 1982 book The Laughter Prescription, about the healing power of comedy.

In 1981 he wed Evelyn Shular Dana who survives him.

HOWARD WITT Tony nominator actor died June 21, 2017 in Chicago. He was 85.

Witt had suffered a heart attack in 2002 while he was playing the part of Kit Carson in Steppenwolf Theatre Company's production of The Time of Your Life.

Witt, who was nominated for a Tony award for best actor in a featured role in the 1999 Broadway revival of the Goodman Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.

Witt met the woman he would marry at the the Goodman School of Drama in the mid 1950s. They lived briefly in New York City in the late 1950s, where he appeared in a handful of plays including As You Like It at the New York Shakespeare Festival with George C. Scott.

He directed his wife at the Theatre on the Lake in Chicago in Bus Stop. The family moved to Pittsburgh (1967-68) while Witt spent a season at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. At the end of the season there, Zelda Fichandler, who had seen Witt audition, invited him to join her company at Arena Stage in D.C. Witt stayed at Arena for almost a decade.

Witt also appeared on Broadway in the role of Shelley in David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, and Off Broadway in Rebecca Gilman’s Boy Gets Girl, for which he received a Lucille Lortel Award nomination, toured with Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of The Time of Your Life, playing the role of Kit Carson.

Witt and his wife divorced in the mid-1970s and he moved to Hollywood where, for the next decade, he guest starred in more than 75 TV shows

He is survived by his daughter, Robin Witt, a theater director who also is assistant professor of directing at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, daughter Deborah who is a Chicago police officer, son, Joshua, and a grandson.


Next Column: July 2, 2017
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Laura Deni

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