Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: June 5, 2016
By: Laura Deni


Michael Longoria Brick By Brick has been released by Broadway Records. Michael Longoria is a vocal treasure, his talents brilliantly showcased in this CD. Substantial credit must be given to arranger Grammy winner John McDaniel who outdid himself in creating interesting, compelling arrangements which capture the composer's creations, as well as tailored to Longoria's voice. McDaniel and orchestrator Jesse Vargas work magic with bongos and flutes.

The CD opens with Home from The Wiz - melodic, spirited, soulful building to powerful, allowing Longoria to show off his true voice - opposed to the falsettos voice of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. Bongos begin the second cut, the title song from The Sound of Music. which begins in English and then sequels into Spanish.

Maria from West Side Story is exquisite while Music and the Mirror is a vibrant, showstopper.

The Impossible Dream is and always has been a powerful song, followed by Corner of the Sky. Next is the sensitive and poignant As If We Never Said Goodbye. All of the selections were composed with deeply layered lyrics. Many of the songs were meant to be sung by older people or characters going through profound events - such The Impossible Dream and As If We Never Said Goodby. Lorgonia is excellent in performing both songs. It wouldn't be an issue except for the liner notes.

All of the compositions on this CD played an important role in well known Broadway musicals. Many of the songs have become standards. Everyone has their own memories associated with each song. The listener's personal attachment is what keeps the song important to them.

The liner notes attempt to negate the listener's feelings and shift empathy to Longoria.

So, who is Michael Longoria?

Longoria created the role of Joe Pesci in the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys. The show opened on Broadway on November 6, 2005. While appearing as Joey, Longoria spent two years as the understudy for the role of Frankie Valli and played the vocally demanding part for two shows a week Wednesday and Saturday matinees for over a year. Starring as Valli was the incredible John Lloyd Young who won a 2006 Tony Award for his star turn.. On November 27, 2007 Longoria took over the part full time when Young left the production. Following a star who won a Tony for the part are tough shoes to fill.

For Longoria, it's one of those dream come true success stories with expected pot holes along the way.

Four actors of the original Broadway production, Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer, launched a concert tour titled The Boys in Concert in 2010. Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice sued the production, claiming that it "steals songs, stage elements and copyrighted logo" that imply that it is an authorized spin-off of Jersey Boys. The production was rebranded as The 4 Hitmen, and Hoff, Longoria, Reichard and Spencer counter-sued, claiming that the accusations were false, and alleging the use of "bully tactics" in an "effort to injure the livelihood and the reputations" of the actors. On September 23, 2010, Valli and company dropped the original suit, on the condition that the name of the performance is changed to distance itself from Jersey Boys.

The concert tour is now called The Midtown Men.

The Midtown Men are currently on tour. Last night, June 4, they performed at Harrah's Hotel at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. On Saturday, June 11, they'll be performing at L'Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge, LA.

Despite a catch-the-rainbow success story of creating any role in a Broadway show, to replacing a Tony Award winning lead - tough shoes to fill - and surviving a stressful and high profile lawsuit - Longoria is still too young and, perhaps, hasn't gone through enough to expect anyone other than his relatives, extremely close friends or rabid fans to want to replace their own memories of these high profile songs, with his not so long ago childhood feelings.

Explaining how he took over the lead in Jersey Boys and then singing a song from that show is relevant and can be of interest to the listener. Childhood memory pieces are not.

Again, his renditions of As If We Never Said Goodbye and The Impossible Dream are excellent, but an argument could be made that the desperate longing needed for the first song, nor emotional depth required for the latter could be stronger.

In keeping with the current popular lifestyle of over-sharing, this CD has well known songs which are suppose to provide the listener with references back to Longoria's childhood; feelings he had regarding leaving home as a teen, his mother and his grandfather. The personal details can be of interest to a rabid fan base, but it won't increase that base. Longoria introduced this CD at Joe's Pub in New York City. Cabaret artists are noted for including chatter about themselves. That's charming for family and fans. However, cabaret performers don't actually earn a living performing only cabaret.

The musical trend has done a 90 degree spin from artists singing songs that they hoped would have meaning for the listeners to singing songs that mean something them - a second cousin to trying to make your cause the cause of somebody else. It works for Taylor Swift, because (1) she's Taylor Swift and (2) she's singing original material.

This official CD explanation states: "The release offers Broadway's biggest songs, featuring Longoria's soulful voice and incorporating his Latin roots. Longoria recalls the feelings which ultimately prompted the release. "I didn't dare look back as I turned to walk down a long hallway at Los Angeles International Airport to board a plane headed for New York City. I kept telling myself to keep walking as tears streamed down my face, knowing that it was time to go find myself in the Big Apple. It feels like a lifetime since I was that kid, claiming his destiny, boarding pass in hand. I wanted to tell that story... how a little mariachi boy chased the impossible dream and found a home onstage in New York City."

The description continues: "Each song offers a snapshot of Longoria's journey, starting with Home from The Wiz, where he starts his tale as a child, listening to his mother's Mariachi music played on an old piano she bought from a priest in the 70s. Maria from West Side Story sets the stage for his very first audition in high school. The Impossible Dream reflects his efforts to acknowledge his immigrant father's wishes but to ultimately follow his own path, to New York and his dream of Broadway."

As If We Never Said Goodbye from Sunset Boulevard began with the character of Norma Desmond referring to her return to performing. Barbra Streisand took the song and made it hers. Others have taken out segments such as: "I've spent so many mornings just trying to resist you/ I'm trembling now, you can't know how I've missed you/ Missed the fairy tale adventure/ In this ever spinning playground/ We were young together" - using that as a song appropriate for reunited lovers. The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha contains lyrics such as: "To fight the unbeatable foe/To bear with unbearable sorrow/To run where the brave dare not go/ To right the unrightable wrong " - lyrics that sound silly being sung by anyone young who claims it refers to their experience.

Fortunately, Longoria sings but doesn't explain on the CD. The details of what each song means to him are found only in the liner notes and I'm not too sure how many people actually read liner notes.

At his age, he's doesn't need to disclose how he felt at the age of 17. Let the listener enjoy the music. Let Longoria's vocal ability captivate and entertain. Don't fragment the listener's memories.

In order to sing a song, it isn't necessary for a singer to feel they not only need a reason - but have to disclose it.

Can't Take My Eyes Off of You is a Frankie Valli hit which, when sung by Longoria, shows why he was chosen to star in Jersey Boys.

Tell Me On a Sunday is a heart breaking song followed by Being Alive. The last two numbers Thank You for The Music and Over the Rainbow feature Longoria in a higher register and includes a lot of deliberate vocal tremble, which a listener either will or won't like. The Bonus Track is a Spanish version of The Sound of Music.

Longoria is a no-doubt-about-it talent with a long professional future ahead of him. After listening to this CD, one can only look forward to his next.

The Band: John McDaniel (leader/piano), Kevin Kuhn (guitar), Mark Vanderpool (bass), Rich Mercurio (drums), Jesse Vargas (keyboard player), and Danian Bassman (percussion).

The Orchestra conducted by Jesse Vargas. Trumpets: Jay Weber, Raul Agraz, David Spier - Trombones: Paul Arbogast, Christopher Rinamon - French Horn: Adam Krauthhamer - Piccolo/Flute/Alto Flute/ Clarinet: Stephen Kenyon, Todd Goves - Flute/Clarinet/Oboe/English Horn/Alto Sax: Steven Lyon - Flute/English Horn/ Oboe/Tenor Sax: Justin Vance - Flute/Clarinet/Tenor Sax: Greg Riley - Flute/Base clarinet/Bassoon/Baritone Sax: Chad Smith, Alden Banta - Violin: Christian Hebel - Concert Master: Hiroko Taguchi and Jonathan Weber - Violin/Viola: Benjamin Lively, Denise Stillwell - Celli: Peter Sachon, Allison Seidner, Summer Boggess.

Mixed by Jeffrey Lesser for Jet Laser Productions. Mastered at Sterling Sound Recorded by PPI Recording Studios. Recording Engineer Chip Fabrizi.

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Image by Thomas Hart Benton
This ambitious exhibition of Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975), the first in more than twenty-five years, reveals the important but overlooked connection between Benton’s experience working for the film industry and his career as an artist. Until now, no exhibition has presented the allure of Benton’s paintings as cinematic in their content and composition, or compared the fascinating technical underpinnings of Benton’s canvases to the cinematic process itself.

Around 1917 Benton worked on silent movie stage sets in Fort Lee, New Jersey - the first “Hollywood.” Between 1937, when Life magazine sent the artist to Hollywood on commission, and 1954, Benton painted five major works for projects related to motion pictures. This exhibition is the first to connect these experiences to the rest of the artist’s career. Benton was acutely aware of contemporary storytelling’s shift toward movies, and he developed a cinematic style of painting that melded art historical traditions with more recent movie-production techniques to tell stories that appealed to a broad swath of Americans.

Supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood includes approximately one hundred works by this quintessential American artist: fifty paintings and murals along with a selection of his drawings, prints, and illustrated books. In addition, the exhibition presents rarely seen archival photographs and related ephemera, as well as film clips and stills.

American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), Salem, Massachusetts, in collaboration with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri (NAMA), and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas (ACMAA).

June 10, 2016–September 5, 2016 at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


IRISH REP'S 2016 GALA PERFORMANCE features Finian's Rainbow in concert hosted by Saoirse Ronan.

The groundbreaking 1947 musical with music by Burton Lane; book by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy, with lyrics by Harburg, follows an Irishman who steals a feisty leprechaun's pot of gold and escapes with his daughter, Sharon, to Missitucky, a mythical region in the United States that is part of the Jim Crow South. The daughter and the sprite each find romance with others, but also encounter bigotry, economic disparity and cultural injustice.

The score is spiked with such popular show tunes are Old Devil Moon, How Are Things in Glocca Morra? and Look to the Rainbow, plus spicy comic and satiric songs such as When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love, Necessity and When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich.

The performance is adapted and directed by Charlotte Moore. Musical direction by John Bell.

The evening will honor Ellen McCourt for her leadership and support over the past decade.

Original Irish Rep cast members Melissa Errico, Malcolm Gets, David Staller and Max Von Essen are joined by Jim Norton as Finian, New York City Ballet's Megan Fairchild as Susan the Silent, and a host of Broadway stars.

Irish Rep's 2016 Gala Performance takes place Monday, June 13, 2016 at The Town Hall, New York City.

2016 GOVERNOR GENERAL'S PERFORMING ARTS AWARDS GALA Celebrating Canada's Highest Honor in the Performing Arts takes place June 11, 2016, at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Celebrate Canada's most inspiring performing artists at a star-studded Gala featuring incredible performances and tributes. From the pre-show reception with complimentary culinary creations and Canadian wines, to the pomp and circumstance around the red carpet arrival of the Governor General, to the champagne after-party, you will quickly understand why this is billed as the event of the spring season.

THE 14TH STREET Y's 2016 GALA took place May 25, 2016 and raised more than $140,000 and counting.

Contributions enable the Y to provide scholarships for individuals and families in need, develop enrichment programs, and make critical investments in infrastructure that will allow the community to play, explore and connect with each other for years to come.

The gala was attended by 160 patrons, including Eric Goldstein, CEO of UJA Federation of New York; Erica Tishman, Chair of Educational Alliance; Harvey Schulweis, Chair of the 14th Street Y, and Barbara Schulweis (also Gala Chairs); Joe Persky, President of the 14th Street Y and Gala Co-Chair; Janna and Michael Stern, Gala Co-Chairs; Janet Weinberg, Executive Vice President, Educational Alliance.


OPERAMISSION continues its ongoing series of George Frideric Handel's complete 39 operas with Rinaldo, which premiered in London in 1711. The librettois by Aaron Hill and Giacomo Rossi, based on Torquato Tasso's La Gerusalemme liberata. The complete opera will be presented in concert with period baroque orchestra in its original Italian at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center, in New York City on Tuesday, June 14 and Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Conductor Jennifer Peterson leads a full baroque orchestra from the harpsichord in a concert presentation with dramaturgical support from stage director Jeff Caldwell. Countertenor Randall Scotting, in his role debut as Rinaldo, leads a vibrant cast. Soprano Christine Arand as the Enchantress-Queen Armida and soprano Malia Bendi Merad as Almirena are joined by baritone Franco Pomponi as Argante and countertenors Nicholas Tamagna as Goffredo and Andrew Rader as Eustazio.

NEW YOUR CITY THEATER COLLECTIVE THE ASSEMBLY will present a curated conversation series to accompany the West Coast premiere of Home/Sick, a theatrical re-imagining of the history of the Weather Underground. Set for a limited, four-week engagement in a co-production with West L.A.’s Odyssey Theatre Ensemble from June 11 through July 3, select performances will be followed by discussions with former Weathermen, historians, activists and artists engaged with today's political struggles.

Los Angeles Poverty Department founding artistic director John Malpede takes part on June 15; activist Eric Mann on June 16; historian Jon Wiener on June 17; and former Weatherman Mark Rudd speaks on June 19.

Home/Sick explores real events during the 1960s U.S. student political movement. Disgusted by the Vietnam War and rampant inequality at home, a handful of leaders from the 1960s U.S. student movement seized control of Students for a Democratic Society and reshaped it in the name of overthrowing the United States' government. This conversation series will examine the Weather Underground's inspiration and idealism, infighting and ultimate disintegration in a passionate examination of collective action.

Discussions will run for approximately 20 minutes and take place immediately following performances. The Odyssey Theatre is located in Los Angeles, CA.

ON THE 100th ANNIVERSARY of President Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation of Flag Day, the World War I Museum in Kansas City is hosting activities on Tuesday, June 14, including live music, free U.S. flags for guests and other special events.

Other events in June include Day in the Life: Boredom in the Trenches (June 12, all day) in which Living History Volunteer Corps share how soldiers would pass time during war; Hands-on History (Saturdays, 11 a.m.) in which people can inspect and handle items from the Great War; a free discussion on procurement of chocolate and its effect on soldiers in the American Expeditionary Forces (June 19,) and the HEAR Now Festival’s free war-time poetry event on June 11.

The National World War I Museum and Memorial holds the most diverse collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of the war.

HELLISHLY HOT in Las Vegas, as well as the season for bone melting heat in many parts of the world. The Mormon Church has taken note of that and, despite years of knowledge that sunlight harms skin and eyes, has now declared that their door to door missionaries may wear sunglasses and wide brimmed hats.

LDS is an unusual religion which combines various tenants from a variety of faiths. Many mistakenly think they are Christians, which they are not. They not only don't believe in the basic tenant of Christian faith - The Trinity or Holy Trinity, composed of Father, Son and Holy Ghost as one - followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints pray to a Mother and Father God. A lot of women like the religion because it has marriage lasting throughout all eternity, not just 'till death do us part'.

I have entirely too many Mormon missionaries approaching me, including one of Marie Osmond's sons.

While most of the women in my downtrodden neighborhood carry mace or tazers while walking, I pack a turned on tape recorder. Amazing how many times that has become important.

Some time ago I was walking around the corner from where I live, headed to get my mail, when I was approached by a young man on a bicycle who called out my name. I stopped. He identified himself by name and then as one of Marie's sons warning me: "She said if I feel threatened by you, I should call the police." Then his missionary buddy wanted to tell me about Joseph Smith, who is the founder of that religious group.

Several times I saw the pair angling towards my house, sneaking behind objects, apparently trying to see how close they could come to my home before I spotted them.

Mormon missionaries ought to stay away from my door, especially if their mission is more than religious. Presumably those two young men, who needed better bicycles, have completed their door-to-door sales jobs and have moved on to other endeavors. For those who haven't - wear sunscreen, hats and dark glasses.

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM DAY is June 7 and June 8 is Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day.


PRINCE PHILIP who celebrates his 94th birthday on June 10th.

He holds down a full time job, which has great benefits, but no overtime pay.

I think he's fantastic. Great sense of humor which can be misunderstood if what he says is taken out of the context of where, why, to whom and the inflection of how he made the comments.

In the game of If You Could Invite Anyone to a Dinner Party, he'd be on my list.

Philip played polo until 1971, when he started to compete in carriage driving, a sport which he helped expand; the early rule book was drafted under his supervision. His first airborne flying lesson took place in 1952; by his 70th birthday he had accrued 5,150 pilot hours. He was presented with Royal Air Force wings in 1953. In April 2014, it was reported that an old British Pathe newsreel film had been discovered of Philip's 1962 two-month flying tour of South America. Filmed sitting alongside Philip at the aircraft's controls was his co-pilot Peter Middleton, the grandfather of the Duke's granddaughter-in-law, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

He has painted with oils, and collected artworks, including contemporary cartoons. See Broadway To Vegas column of June 5, 2011

Since 1953 he has been a Freemason. He's patron of some 800 organizations, particularly focused on the environment, industry, sport, and education. He served as UK President of the World Wildlife Fund from 1961 to 1982, International President from 1981, and President Emeritus from 1996. He is patron of The Work Foundation, was President of the International Equestrian Federation from 1964 to 1986, and has served as Chancellor of the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Salford, and Wales. In 1956, the Duke, with Kurt Hahn, founded the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in order to give young people "a sense of responsibility to themselves and their communities". Prince Philip serves as chairman.

Rather than be cowed by being married to one of the most powerful people on the planet, Queen Elizabeth II, he's been her strength.

Hope the birthday boy has many more.

"While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted."Jamie Parker as Harry Potter, Sam Clemmett plays Albus Severus Potter and Poppy Miller takes on the role of Ginny Potter - Harry's wife. Official photo release Pottermore.
based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, the play has a stage script by Thorne.

Directed by Tony Award winner John Tiffany.

The official description states: "It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

Jamie Parker will play Harry Potter, with Noma Dumezwen as Hermione and Paul Thornley as Ron.

The multicultural company will also include Nicola Alexis, Helen Aluko, Jeremy Ang Jones, Rosemary Annabella, Annabel Baldwin, Jack Bennett, Paul Bentall, Anthony Boyle, Zoe Brough, Sam Clemmett, Morag Cross, Cristina Fray, Rudi Goodman, Claudia Grant, James Howard, Christiana Hutchings, Lowri James, Chris Jarman, Martin Johnston, Bili Keogh, Chipo Kureya, James Le Lacheur, Helena Lymbery, Barry McCarthy, Sandy McDade, Andrew McDonald, Tom Mackley, Adam McNamara, Poppy Miller, Tom Milligan, Jack North, Alex Price, Stuart Ramsay, Nuno Silva, Cherrelle Skeete, Esther Smith, Nathaniel Smith, Dylan Standen and Joshua Wyatt.

The company includes seven children who will alternate in two key roles.

Movement by Steven Hoggett, set designs by Christine Jones, costumes by Katrina Lindsay, music by Imogen Heap, lighting by Neil Austin, sound by Gareth Fry, special effects by Jeremy Chernick, illusions by Jamie Harrison and music supervision by Martin Lowe.

The production, which is already sold out for many months into its run, will begin performances June 7 prior to an official opening July 30 at the Palace Theatre in London.

Along that same order of Wolf Hall, the two parts are intended to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening) or on two consecutive evenings.

WILD by Mike Bartlett.

Directed by James Macdonald.

"Let me tell you, now you’re in the club, that it’s important to keep a sense of humor, because things are going to get, now and for the rest of your life, extremely difficult'

Last week, Andrew was that guy with his girl lunching in KFC, discussing apartments and making plans for the future. Today he’s in Moscow, in an undisclosed hotel room, on the run and at risk of assassination.

Last week, a nobody. This week, America’s Most Wanted: a man who humiliated his country with one touch of a button.

Mike Bartlett’s darkly comic new play explores the unexpected, bewildering, and life-changing consequences of challenging the status quo at a global level. As the State grows more powerful because of technology, and technology grows more powerful because of the State, where do the self-appointed protectors of the rights of the citizen stand? Heroes? Or traitors?

June 10 - July 16 at the Hampstead Theatre in London.

Impro Theatre Artistic Director Dan O'Connor
presented by Impro Theatre.

Directed by Brian Lohmann.

"Passionate, smoldering secrets lurk beneath the surface of genteel society - and explode in a comical climax of accusation, confession and calamity. Inspired by American master playwright Tennessee Williams’ rollicking storytelling and delicious language, Impro Theatre starts with a single audience suggestion and builds improvised, full-length plays that are hilarious, yet tender as a Southern belle’s broken heart. Williams’ best known plays include A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and The Glass Menagerie."

Impro creates completely improvised, full-length plays in the styles of the world’s greatest writers, and every performance is unique.

Ticket holders attending the Sunday performances on June 12, June 26, July 3, and July 17 are welcome to participate in an informal post-show Q&A discussion with members of the show.

Performances June 10-July 31, 2016 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, CA.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES by Israel Horovitz who holds the distinction of being the most-produced American playwright in French theater history.

Directed by Barnet Kellman.

Starring Oscar winner and 5-time Tony nominee Estelle Parsons, two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey, along with Angelina Fiordellisi and Francesca Choy-Kee.

Out of the Mouths of Babes depicts what happens when four women arrive in Paris for the funeral of a 100-year-old man who loved each of them - at times variously, at times simultaneously. For 24 hours, they share his apartment, delicious secrets, and a dead cat.

Joining the production’s design team are: Scenic Designer, Neil Patel, Costume Designer, Joseph G. Aulisi, Lighting Designer, Paul Miller and Tony Award Winning Sound Designer, Leon Rothenberg.

Previews begin June 7 with the official opening slated for June 19, in a world-premiere production by Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village, NYC.

WEST SIDE STORY written by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents.

West Side Story features the Atlanta Lyric Orchestra under the baton of guest Conductor and Music Director Eric Alexander.

The iconic show is filled with electrifying dance numbers based on Jerome Robbins’ original ground-breaking choreography. The score,, features some of the most exuberant and romantic songs ever written, including Somewhere (There’s A Place For Us), Maria, Tonight, I Feel Pretty, and America.

Starring as Maria is Katie Mariko Murray. Tim Quartier portrays Tony. Chelsea Belcastro is Anita. Chase Peacock plays Bernardo.

The talented cast also includes Jordan Balkwill, Amanda Bonilla, Alexis Bruza, Leticia Cavez, Jason Cohen, Fenner Eaddy, Nickolas Eibler, Brittany Ellis, Arielle Geller, Avery Gillham, Kiley Gipson, D.J. Grooms, Beau Harmon, Bonnie Harris, Joseph Harris, Jamey Hoge, Jenna Jackson, Brian Jordan, A.J. Klopach, Nathan Lubeck, Chani Maisonet, Matthew Morris, J. Koby Parker, Haley Platt, Andy Sanchez, and John Schmedes.

The creative team for West Side Story includes Director Alan Kilpatrick, Choreographer Cindy Mora Reiser, Costume Designer Amanda Edgerton West, Sound Designer Daniel Pattillo, Lighting Designer Joseph Oshry, Set Designer Leo B. Meyer, Production Manager Brian D. Frey, Stage Manager Barbara O’Haley, and Assistant Stage Managers Susan McCluskey and Lydia Jackson.

West Side Story will be presented June 10-26 at the intimate Jennie T. Anderson Theatre, Marietta, GA 30060. Atlanta Lyric Theatre is celebrating 36 years as the Atlanta area’s only local professional musical theatre company.


COLDPLAY on stage Tuesday, June 7 at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. Saturday's gig is at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich, Switzerland.

RIAHANNA on Saturday, June 11, stars at the Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

IL DIVO entertain Monday, June 6, at the Barclaycard Center in Madrid, Spain. Wednesday's spot is at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre in Bilbao, Spain. On Friday their tour stops at the Coliseum in La Coruna, Spain. Saturday finds them at the Multiusos in Gondomar, Portugal. Next Sunday, June 12, they can be enjoyed at the Meo Arena in Lisbon, Portugal.

BARRY MANILOW is across the pond with a show on Saturday, June 11, at first Direct Arena in Leeds, UK. Next Sunday, he stars at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK.

THE WHO take part in the Isle of Wight Festival in Seaclose Park in Newport, UK n Saturday, June 11.

SELENA GOMEZ entertains Tuesday, June 7, at the Time Warner able Arena in Charlotte, NC. Thursday's show is at Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA. On Friday she can be found at the Amway Center in Orlado, FL. Saturday's show is at American Airlines Arena in Miami.


MUHAMMAD ALI three-time world heavyweight boxing champion and global icon for civil rights, died Friday, June 3, 2916 in a hospital near Phoenix, Ariz. He was 74.

Ali frequently fought in Las Vegas. I attended some of his press conferences. During one (which I have on tape) I noticed that the quick tongue 'sting like a bee' Ali had some difficulty in speaking. I thought I saw his hands shake and I was bothered by his gate, which seemed ever so slightly - stiff.

I suddenly became the center of attention when I stood up, pointed out my observations and asked the champ if he had ingested any drugs. His body guards actually knocked over chairs trying to get to me. Ali stopped them. He told them: "Leave her alone. She's a nice lady. She's just doing her job."

Then he looked at me and assured me that he wasn't talking any illegal drugs.

I was hit by a firestorm of insults by members of the press who berated me for inquiring about champ's medical condition. My view was that members of the sports' press were too busy being awed by him to actually observe him, and didn't have the temerity to directly ask him tough questions beyond how was he feeling. Some who might have noticed his physical condition didn't want to say anything they feared might get them excluded from watching the fight.

The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) ordered that Ali undergo a complete physical in Las Vegas before being allowed to fight again. Ali chose instead to check into the Mayo Clinic, who declared him fit to fight.

While he had been previously diagnosed with kidney problems, Ali was in the early stages of Parkinson's, a condition which hadn't yet been released to the press.

The fight took place on October 2, 1980, in Las Vegas, with Larry Holmes easily dominating Ali, who was weakened from thyroid medication he had taken to lose weight. Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee finally stopped the fight in the eleventh round, the only fight Ali lost by knockout. The Holmes fight is said to have acerbated to Ali's Parkinson's syndrome.

It was officially announced that he suffered from Parkinson's in 1984.

Born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of 22, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a stunning upset in 1964. Shortly after that, Ali joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name. He converted to Sunni Islam in 1975, and then to Sufism in 2005.

In 1967, three years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali refused to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing title. He did not fight again for nearly four years—losing a time of peak performance in an athlete's career. Ali's appeal worked its way up to the Supreme Court of the United States where, in 1971, his conviction was overturned. Ali's actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation.

Nicknamed "The Greatest", Ali was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were the first Liston fight, three with rival Joe Frazier, and "The Rumble in the Jungle" with George Foreman, in which he regained titles he had been stripped of seven years earlier.

His awards included the- CSHL Double Helix Medal Honoree, Presidential Citizens Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom, International Boxing Hall of Fame, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

On November 19, 2005, the $60 million non-profit Muhammad Ali Center opened in downtown Louisville. In addition to displaying his boxing memorabilia, the center focuses on core themes of peace, social responsibility, respect, and personal growth. On June 5, 2007, he received an honorary doctorate of humanities at Princeton University's 260th graduation ceremony.

Ali was married four times and had seven daughters and two sons. He funeral will be in Louisville. The service will include eulogies from former President Bill Clinton, journalist Bryant Gumbel and comedian Billy Crystal.

Next Column: June 12, 2016
Copyright: June 5, 2016 All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or Graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, utilized as leads, or used in any manner without permission, compensation and/or credit.
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Laura Deni

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