Broadway To Vegas
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Copyright: June 7, 1999
By: Laura Deni
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PARTY HARDY AWARD WINNERS
To all the winners who took home a Tony last Sunday night we offer
Fosse won the Best Musical Award while Parade was honored by
Jason Robert Brown, who made his Broadway debut as a composer, his first Tony. Alfred Uhry,
who wrote the book for Parade, also brought home a Tony.
Matthew Bourne's inventive choreography and directing the all male Swan Lake earned
him two Tony awards. Dame Judi Dench, who already has an Oscar on her mantle, added a Tony
for her starring role in Amy's View. The Special and Lifetime Achievement Awards to
Arthur Miller and Uta Hagan were well deserved.
Tony Awards culminate a month of theatrical awards, including the Tony
Ball, which follows
the Tony Awards. One guest told me he really "loves the Tony Ball
because you get a sack of
unbelievable goodies on your way out." In the past the booty has
included; hair dryers and
shampoos, CDs and books, colognes - "It's a good haul. They get good
stuff because they know
it's either celebrities or the well healed. It's an up-scale market
interested in theater and the
DENNEHY explaining how he'll feel on Tony Awards night.
"I'm going to be s---faced." Photo By: Laura Deni
The closest race was between Kevin Spacey who stars as Hickey in Eugene
Iceman Cometh, and Brian Dennehy who holds down the formidable lead
as Willie Loman in
Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.
Dennehy told me he's happy going to work each night. "That's one thing
that is really great about
being 60. You decide what is it you really want." When I asked him what
it is he wanted he
replied, "Doing exactly what I'm doing. I want is to be up on that stage
part in that play."
Both are powerful revivals. Both men deliver. For the entire award
season Spacey and Dennehy,
who know and respect each other, have been pitted again one another.
KEVIN SPACEY "ALL OF THIS AWARD RIVALRY IS A
BUNCH OF CRAP,"
declared Spacey. Photo By: Laura Deni
When the Drama Desk voted Brian Dennehy Best Actor, it was Spacey who
award. That flip flopped when the Outer Critics Circle gave the Best
Actor award to Spacey. It
was Dennehy who presented the prize.
On Sunday night it was Brian Dennehy who stepped up to claim the Tony. His co-star Elizabeth
Franz also took home the prize as Best Featured Actress and Death of a Salesman was
named Best Revival.
In accepting their
awards Dennehy and cast paid tribute to Kevin Spacey.
Kevin Spacey made his Broadway debut in 1982 as Oswald opposite
Liv Ullman in Ibsen's
Ghosts. In his knock performance in The Iceman Cometh
Spacey delivers a 20
APPLAUDING THE WINNERS.
Tony Danza, currently appearing in The Iceman Cometh isn't new to
the theater. Ages
ago he drove actors to and from the Papermill Playhouse and got a small
part in 1776. He
co-starred with George C. Scott off-Broadway in Wrong Turn At
Lungfish, was part of
the dozen in 12 Angry Men and took over the lead in A View From The Bridge.
Not bad for the Brooklyn born Anthony Iadanza who worked part time as a
dish washer at a
Photo By: Laura Deni
He became a household name on television and won over skeptics when he
developed a song and
dance cabaret act.The affable performer brings his nightclub show back
to Las Vegas, opening
September 3 at the Desert Inn.
PETERS: A TOAST TO HER TONY WIN.
The gorgeous and talented star has been collecting awards for her
starring role of Annie Oakley in
the revival of Annie Get Your Gun, including adding a new Tony to
Photo By: Laura Deni
Born Bernadette Lazzara in Ozone Park, N.Y., by age five she was a
regular on TV's Horn
& Hardart Children's Hour. Six months later she won $800 on Name That Tune.
who took her stagesurname from her father's bread route,
made her stage debut at
the age of 13 playing Dainty June in Gypsy. While still a teen,
she understudied on
Broadway in The Girl in the Freudian Slip followed by Johnny
No-Trump and the
musical George M! with Joel Grey.
However, it was an off-Broadway production of Dames at Sea that
catapulted her to the
status of being one of the musical theater's bright young lights. She
won her first Tony Award in
1985 for her starring role in Song and Dance.
She's also been a Las Vegas crowd pleaser. She's spent over 20 years
starring in Las Vegas
impressing the crowds with her versatility as a singer, dancer and
At one of the theater parties I couldn't help but notice that
Bernadette's skin is flawless. That
milk and honey complexion is why Bernadette was hired for a major
commercial - 35 years ago.
Bernadette appeared in a TV spot for Pond's Seven Day Beauty cream. That
had her announcing that she was going to marry "Marvin." In real life
stockbroker Michael Whittenberg under a tree at her friend Mary Tyler
Moore's upstate New
York house. He's Jewish, and she's Italian, so of course they had
GEORGE AND SONIA SEGAL
George Segal, currently starring in Art brought his wife, Sonia
to the Outer Critics Circle
party. The happy couple is a living romance novel. They first fell in
love while high school
sweethearts at the Quaker School in Bucks County, Pa. They were forced
to separate when they
went to different colleges. They didn't reunite until 45 years later,
after devoted husband George
was mourning the death of his second wife, Linda. Suddenly, he started
thinking about Sonia and
tracked her down. In a heartbeat they both realized they loved each
other as much as they
had as teenagers.
Photo By: Laura Deni
Sonia Segal is now enjoying watching her husband star on Broadway. As
for 65-year-old George,
he's busier than he's ever been. In addition to starring on Broadway,
he's got a hit television series
Just Shoot Me. The avid banjo player, told me that he's still a
member of the Beverly Hills
Unlisted Jazz Band but hasn't been able to make any of the performances
because - "I don't have
any time. I'm just too busy."
MARTIN SHORT: A TONY AND A TV
Martin Short is all smiles over his Tony win for Little Me. He's
also grinning ear to ear
over his new television talk show. Jumping into the hotly competitive
talk show arena has the
versatile performer all psyched up."I'm really happy about the
talk show," he told me.
Photo By: Laura Deni
The Canadian born comedian attended McMaster University as a pre-med
major and then
switched to social work. He was persuaded to go to Toronto to act by a
classmate, comedian Eugene Levy. In 1982 Short participated in his
first audition and got a role
in Godspell. Among the cast were Gilda Radner, Paul Schaefer,
Andrea Martin, Victor
Garber. Nancy Dolman, an understudy, became his wife.
Short is a performer who has enjoyed his theatre awards this season, but
he's kept the kudos in
perspective. While growing up and developing the first of his brash,
inventive characters, tragedy
struck his family. In 1962, his brother whom Martin idolized, was killed
in a car crash. Six years
later, his mother succumbed to cancer, and within two years, his father
had died of a stroke.
"My mother died when I was 18, my father when I was 20; so I've known
for along time that the
real issue is not whether the audience likes you, but how's your health.
It gives you perspective
that life is fleeting and we're here to have some fun."
His performance in the revival of Little Me required the rubber
faced comedian to play a
plethora of parts, more than Sid Caesars undertook in the original
version. Short's chameleon
quality - of being able to go from slapstick to sincerely in a
nanosecond - could give him an edge
on television. If a guest doesn't show, Martin can always play all
KRISTIN CHENOWETH. TONY CALIBER BROADWAY
Kristin Chenoweth is a petite lady with a little girl voice, a disarming
four octave operatic singing
voice and a Tony Award, for her breakout performance as the
tart-tongue Sally in You're A
Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Photo By: Laura Deni
The Oklahoma native with a Masters Degree in Opera Performance came to
New York to
continue a career in opera, but came down with the theatre bug instead.
Her mega watt success
on Broadway is the stuff that keeps wannabes inspired. This is not only
Kristin's Broadway debut,
but in a role written especially for her.
You have better odds at winning a lottery.
ANN REINKING: HER LABOR OF LOVE BROUGHT
FOSSE TO THE STAGE.
Beautiful, talented and gracious, Ann Reinking joined forces with Bob
Fosse's widow, Gwen
Verdon to make Fosse a musical tribute to the man they both
loved. Fosse has
captured both the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama League Award
as Best Musical.
Photo By: Laura Deni
Passionate about dancing Ann told me that she simply makes the
time for her training
programs that help talented dancers.
KATHLEEN CHALFANT: CANCER SURVIVORS INSPIRE
Kathleen Chalfant has walked away with virtually every award possible
for her magnificent
portrayal of a woman dying of ovarian cancer in the off Broadway
production of Wit.
Photo By: Laura Deni
Kathleen shaves her head for the part and is shown in the photo carrying
the wig that she wears
during part of the play. Kathleen told me that what has affected her and
means the most are when
cancer survivors see the play and then tell her that her portrayal is
accurate and meaningful.
SWOOSIE KURTZ AND
HER MOTHER MARGO KURTZ.
Swoosie Kurtz, who was named after her father's airplane, gave an award
playing a dual role in The Mineola Twins.
Photos By: Laura Deni
A Tony presented, she's been having a great time making the theater
party rounds with her
mother, author of the nonfiction work My Rival In The Sky about
her marriage to
Swoosie's father, Col. Frank Kurtz, a one time Olympic diver and one of
decorated Air Force pilots.
After the Tony Award party Swoosie began packing. She moves back to Los
Angeles where she's
set to star in a new half hour television series.
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LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
The second annual Las Vegas International Film Festival opened last Thursday and runs through
June 11 at the Orleans hotel. The showcase will include 41 new films - 35 features and six shorts,
selected from a field of 350.
Oscar winner Kim Hunter, who played Stella to Marlon Brando's Stanley Kowalski in this
adaptation of Tennessee Williams' stage classic A Streetcar Named Desire, introduced
the screening of director Elia Kazan's original cut, with restored explicit sexual scenes censored
for the movie's 1951 release.
Angie Dickinson introduced Brian DePalma's 1980 chiller Dressed To Kill, about a
psycho killer stalking two women. Dickinson will also present Hunter with the festival's Acting
Producer/director Roger Corman received the Career Achievement Award for Filmmaking, in
recognition of his work mentoring the careers of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola,
Jonathan Demme, and Peter Bodgdanovich.
Corman introduced three new features from his Concorde-New Horizons production company:
Eruption, a political thriller; The White Pony, a children's fable and The
Ghostly Rental, billed as a literary chiller. That stars Michael York, a festival Acting
Achievement Award winner, who introduced Merchant of Venus, a romantic comedy in
which he stars.
THE DEATH OF PAPA by
Horton Foote features Hallie Foote, Dana Ivey, Andrew McCarthy and Jean Stapleton. Directed
by Michael Wilson. Through June 27 at the Hartford Stage in Hartford, CT.
THE JOB winner of the L.A.
Drama Critics Award for Best New Play, written by Shem Bitterman, at the WPA Theatre, NYC.
SWEET CHARITY by Neil
Simon with music by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields June 10-27 Theatre Charlotte, N.C.
MISS SAIGON the Tony Award
winning musical which tells the story of the love and self-sacrifice between a young Vietnamese
girl and a U.S. soldier at the time of the fall of Saigon in 1975. Opens tomorrow at the Ordway
Music theatre, St. Paul, Minn. Performances through July 3.
IF LOVE WERE ALL starring
Twiggy and Harry Groener at the Lucille Lortel Theater, is a marvelous bit of tap dancing fluff,
reminiscent of the 20s. If you've had your quota of soul searching, meaningful, angst filled
productions and just want to relax and have a good time - If Love Were All - the Noel
Coward-Gertrude Lawrence Musical - is a stress relieving, tuneful good time.
THE ATLANTA OPERA
presents The Capulates & The Montagues, June 10-13 Fox Theatre, Atlanta.
DAVID CAMPBELL & ANDREA MARCOVICCI together in concert for the first time, Alcazar Theater, San Francisco June
LAURENCE LUCKINBILL keeps
busy. He was featured in last Sunday night's television movie Dash and Lilly and recently
starred in his one man show Clarence Darrow Tonight -see Broadway To Vegas columns
of March 1 and 8, 1999- is on Broadway as part of Cabaret.
RAY ROMANO does a solo gig at
Carnegie Hall Wednesday as part of the 10 day Toyota Comedy Festival. Master storyteller Alan
King, founder and co-producer of the festival, does shows Friday and Saturday at Westbury.
Sharing the bill is Mal Z. Lawrence. King is one of a handful of artists that Las Vegas casino
officials will admit actually did draw high rollers. He was part of the Vegas days when top
billed performers became party to the action. One night when King was performing at the Golden
Nugget he sauntered into the lounge and watched from the back as the maitre'd seated the
audience that King would soon perform before. When the maitre'd became busy and the captains
were scurrying to seat people, the phone rang. I was standing next to King when he reached over,
answered the phone: "Showroom" - and copied down reservation requests - asking such things as
"How many are in your party?" The caller never knew it was King who took their order.
LISA ASHER a MAC and Bistro
Award winning singer will make her national TV singing debut on the Rosie O'Donnell Show
Friday, June 11. Rosie's musical director, John McDaniel attended Lisa's last cabaret show and
encouraged Rosie to book Lisa. She'll sing Mary Chapin Carpenter's I Feel Lucky. Also
on the show Mike Myers, whose new Austin Powers' movie The Spy Who Shagged Me
opens that day; and TV actress Clea Lewis, currently appearing Off Broadway in the play
Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight.
GARY WOLF younger brother of
Scott Wolf, star of TV's Party of Five and Broadway's Side Man has his own
starring role - in the Ensemble Studio Theater's annual marathon of one-act plays. Wolf opened
last Thursday in War. We caught big brother's Scott's debut in Side Man which
will be reviewed in next week's Broadway To Vegas column.
THE MCGUIRE SISTERS kick off
the Flamingo Hilton's Las Vegas popular Summer Concert Series Saturday, June 12.
The McGuire Sisters
The McGuire Sisters - Christine, Dorothy and Phyllis - first got their start as hymn singers in their
mother's church in Middletown, Ohio.
The silky voiced singers have performed for the Queen of
England, five U.S. presidents.
At the peak of their popularity, in 1968, the three decided to each
go their separate way. In 1985 fans persuaded them to reunite.
They are not only performing on
stage, they're releasing a compact later this year called The McGuire Sisters
THIS AND THAT
TONY RANDALL invites you to
a party in his New York apartment for a $5,000 annual donation to the National Actors Theatre.
Just one of the many perks membership offers. If $5,000 is too much for your budget, consider a
$500 donation. That will put you on the invite list to a Members cocktail party hosted by
THINGS YOU SHOULDN'T SAY PAST MIDNIGHT
the sexy "a comedy in three beds" at the Promenade Theater NYC
is offering discounted $25 tickets to anyone who shows up wearing pajamas, a negligee or silk
currently starring in Night Must Fall likes the audience. Unlike a lot of performers who
bow and run - Matthew frequently comes out into the lobby to meet and greet the
showgoers. We recently revisited Night Must Fall and a complete review will be in next
week's Broadway To Vegas column.
BUDDY HACKETT the 75 year
old rubber faced stand-up comedian/storyteller, who first played Las Vegas almost 40 years ago,
is starting a new career - he's co-starring in a new Fox series Action. Buddy will play a
chauffeur/bodyguard. Career moves haven't always been on the ascendant for Buddy. There was
a time when Vegas bookings dropped off. "Without Vegas I was forced to sell a couple of cars
and some paintings to support myself. It got to the point where I had to go back to being an
upholster. I did a couple of chairs for Blake Edwards, the movie producer. He told me he liked
work, but instead of paying me for the chairs, he would give me a part in his next movie. I told
him I'd rather be paid for the two chairs. He eventually paid the bill."
TOM WOPAT who plays opposite
Bernadette Peters in Annie Get Your Gun and opened the Tony Awards show with the
number There's No Business Like Show Business says he's considering doing a big band
album. The label that put out the show's cast album has made the offer. Tom, who's been in three
previous Broadway shows - a revival of Carousel in Washington and an off-Broadway
show Olympus on My Mind, which is based on a Greek legend and Tom played the god
Jupiter - became a household name starring as Luke in Dukes of Hazzard. He told me that
he's a keep it simple, no frills kind of guy. "From the time I rolled out of bed until I was in the
truck with a coffee mug in my hand - was seven minutes," he recalled about his Dukes
days. "All you had to do was get to the studio. They did everything for you; hair, make-up,
costumes. On Broadway you have to do a little more for yourself." So, how long does it take him
to get ready for Annie Get Your Gun. "Longer than Dukes. Instead of seven
minutes, I have to allow fourteen."
SPARKLE, SPARKLE The glitter
on the Tony Awards telecast wasn't all from the talent. Some of that flash and gleam came from
the gems the stars wore. Performing as living mannequins were: Julie Andrews in diamond cluster
earrings worth half a million dollars; and Parade star Carolee Carmello laden in baubles
worth $600,000. When the exit music played security guards took the ice back to the jewelry
store. Not everything was on loan - when the Tony nominations were announced Champagne
Taittinger presented each nominee with a $2,000 gift basket.
MEL TORME` The Velvet Fog
passed away Saturday in Los Angeles. Torme, 73, recovered from a stroke he suffered on August
8, 1996 which caused slurred speech, and left side weakness. He then developed pneumonia and a
partially collapsed lung. Nominated for 10 Grammy awards he received Grammys for Best Jazz
Vocalist in 1982 and 1983. He composed The Christmas Song in just 35 minutes in 1946.
The song, one of 300 that Torme composed, has been recorded more than 500 times. A favorite
of generations, at the age of 70, shortly before his stroke, he received a standing ovation and
eight curtain calls from 55,000 Seattle rock-and-roll fans while he was sharing the bill with the
Ramones and Mudhoney. He was a regular on Night Court and sang the Top 10 List on
Late Show with David Letterman. He began performing in Las Vegas in the 1960s. One of
his last projects, the making of a Mountain Dew television commercial, was done in Las Vegas.
Considered a singer's singer, he credited his distinctive vocal style to a piece of tonsil that grew
back. Divorced three times, he is survived by his widow, Ali, five children and his sister, Las
Vegas resident, Clark County Commissioner Myrna Williams.
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Next Column: June 14, 1999
Copyright: June 7, 1999. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary,
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