Broadway To Vegas
SHOW REVIEWS CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS GOSSIP NEWS
Copyright: May 13, 2001
By: Laura Deni
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PERRY COMO hated red finger nail polish and liked
After the fads, the fakes and the one shot hit singers have departed, there was Perry Como, who
passed away Saturday in his sleep at home in Florida. He was 88.
Como had a cool purism image. Once while walking through a Las Vegas casino he was stopped
by a woman who wanted him to bless the dice. He kidded himself about his image, an image
which slightly irritated him. On stage he'd tell his audience, "It isn't what you see, it's what you
think you see.'
"I don't understand why the press wants a picture of my house or cares what kind of a bed I sleep
in. The people see what they want to see. I'm not a saint. I drink. Hell, I drink a lot," said Perry
back in the days when champagne flowed in the dressing room after Las Vegas
Perry was born May 18 in the mining town of Cannonsberg, Penn, to Pietro and Lucia Como,
immigrants from Abruzzi, Italy. He was the seventh child, the first of their 13 children to be born
in America. His mother made homemade tomato puree from tomatoes his father grew in their
garden. Perry always had fond memories of his childhood. "Ma thought everything Pop said was
gospel, and we ate well from a table that stretched from here to Times Square."
At age ten he practiced cutting his father's hair. A year later he earned 50 cents a week at Steve
Fragapene's barber shop where he shined shoes and swept the floors.
PERRY COMO with the Ray Charles Singers,
rehearsing for his July, 1972 engagement, Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Photo By: Laura Deni
When he reached age fourteen Perry became an after school apprentice barber. As the youngest
and newest member of the shop he got the grouchiest customers and poorest tippers. Music has
charms, though, and by singing while he clipped, Como was able to make a decent salary.
After graduating from Canonsburg High, Perry acquired his own barbershop and had a good
customer base. "I was earning maybe $110. a week and that was a lot of money," he recalled.
In 1933 while vacationing in Cleveland, friends urged Perry to audition for the boy singer job with
Freddy Carlone's band. "My Dad said Why don't you try it and see what happens'"
He got the job and spent the summer touring with the band, raking in $28 per week
On July 31 Perry married Roselle Belline. They had met at a wiener roast. Of French heritage,
Roselle was the eldest of eight. Her father had died when she was a youngster and Roselle helped
raise her brothers and sisters. ( See Broadway To Vegas column of August 24,
Three years later bandleader Ted Weems offered Perry a job. He accepted, but with admitted
"I stood up there with the orchestra and I was shaking all over," remembered Perry. "All I could
see was that big black hole of an orchestra pit like a grave out in front of me. I forgot my lines,
forgot the songs, forgot where I was. The audience laughed and after that I could sing more
Success wasn't over night and in 1941 Perry was ready to quit and return to the barbershop.
Suddenly Tom Rockwell, then head of the firm that handled Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and
Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, got Perry on a CBS radio show at $76 per week.
Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, George
Burns being greeted by Queen Elizabeth II, Nancy Reagan and Prince Phillip at a Command
Performance at 20th Century Fox, Los Angeles. Vic Damone was also in the receiving line but is
hidden in this picture.
Perry sweated through two shows a night, ten shows a week, the first at 7 p.m. for the East
Coast, then the repeat at 11 p.m. for the West Coast. "Nothing to it, take the money and split,"
flippantly sassed Perry.
1944 saw him become the star of The Chesterfield Supper Club. That same year he hit the
big time starring at the Copacabana in New York. He was paid $750. a week.
Tony Martin swore to me that Perry never smoked Chesterfield cigarettes. "He'd take an empty
Chesterfield pack and fill it with another brand."
I repeated to Perry what Martin had told me. "Yeah, that's true," he admitted grabbing me by the
neck. "But don't you dare ever print that until I'm dead. I just thought they were too
Perry's recordings were wartime sensations. In one week during 1946, four million of his records,
an all-time record, were sold.
His biggest hit, Till The End of Time was a 40s recording. Another Como hit,
Temptation, Perry said he stole from an old Bing Crosby picture. "Everybody thought it
was my song, but Crosby had it first."
Como had no bones about emulating Crosby. "Sure I did. I think everyone did to a certain extent,
even Frank Sinatra. Crosby was the king."
In 1955 Perry signed an unprecedented $15 million television contract to do the hour long Perry
Como Show. In 1959 the show became Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall.
"You know," he reflected, "We did some pretty fair shows. Not a lot of fancy camera angles, but
we gave the folks some entertainment."
Como's languorous manner concealed a show-wise mind that sustained one of the longest and
most successful careers in music.
"I was never relaxed," he emphasized. "Laziness was always a part of my act. I worked seven
days a week to make that television show as good as possible."
As a child Perry had learned to play the guitar and piano - lessons that became valuable tools.
"They taught me to read music and that's been invaluable. Heaven knows how I'd have gotten
through my television shows if I couldn't."
PERRY COMO warming up the audience prior to
taping a television special at Lake Tahoe. The guests included Bob Hope, Billie Jean King, Anne
Murray, Sandra Palmer and Suzy Chaffee.
Cue card goofs became a Como trademark, which in his opinion, wore thin.
"We used cue cards on the weekly show and nobody was suppose to know it - a big secret," he
kidded. "One night I was singing Night and Day and the cue card boy got mixed up. He
put the second verse first. I apologized to the audience and then told them, But it's not my fault.
It's his.' I had the cameras show them the cue card boy. That started it. Got such a laugh that we
did the cue card jokes in every show. I finally got sick of em and said no more. Then Dean
Martin started doing them."
Conventional rhythms were Como's forte and he was one of the best ballad singers ever to caress
a lyric. But he listened to advice from those that knew the commercial value of a song. Some of
his biggest hits were chirpy, nonsense ditties. Como had no regrets. "If the only songs I recorded
were the ones I liked, I'd still be cutting hair," he acknowledged.
Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes was a Como chart topper.
"I remember I didn't want to record it," he confessed. "It has an odd graduate measure and I didn't
think I could sing it. Every time I did it, I had to have Ray Charles standing right in front of me so
he could point when it was time for me to come in, and when not to," he said.
He found live performing exciting but difficult. "I had to learn the lyrics for 15 songs," he said of
his Las Vegas shows. "That was tough because for years I'd used the crutch of a cue card. It's
hard for me to learn lyrics."
He forced his father to retire and then regretted that decision. "I made him close the barbershop
and get off his feet and I wonder how much longer he'd have lasted if I hadn't. A man has got to
do what he enjoys."
Perry was never able to see a barbershop without mentally assessing the location and counting the
chairs. When he shook hands with a man, Como would look at the hairline.
Once when I walked into his dressing room with a fluffy hairstyle he took one look at me and
said, "Nope," and started patting down my hair. "Where's my comb? Get me my comb," he
instructed and proceeded to re-style my hair.
Another time I entered his dressing room wearing bright red fingernail polish. He grabbed my
hand, took one look at the nails and said, "Don't like that," and proceeded to try to chip of the
red polish with his fingernail. Quickly a bottle of finger nail polish remover was obtained from the
hotel gift stop and Perry removed the offending color.
In his younger days Perry daily jogged a five to six mile stretch. He used to be an avid golfer with
a five or six handicap. After a 1972 stage fall, from which his knee never fully recovered, his
handicap went to 11. "The accident made me lay off golf for a year and a half."
"Despite that setback Perry was grateful and knew his life had been blessed. "I've been very lucky
in my life. I've been fortunate in my career to have grown up with a certain age group and then
followed on by growing up with another. It's something I'll always be very grateful for
"I have to admit that I like what money can buy, but I like what it can't buy even more - and that
I've always had."
ROSEMARY CLOONEY: A MOTHER'S
She's a mother to five, been divorced, watched her sister die at an early age, was confined to a
mental hospital, is over weight, has a sore knee - and rebounded through it all. Rosemary
Clooney speaks to mothers from many different dimensions all interwoven through a musical
Sunday afternoon Rosemary Clooney took center stage at the Performing Arts Center at the
University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The place was packed and nobody left early.
She is one of our greatest vocalists with the ability to feel a lyric.
A dark stage, except for the spotlight on a Queen Anne type chair, placed next to the grand
piano. Rosemary didn't as much hold court over subjects as she charmed as a grandmother hosting
a gathering of friends.
As one of the greatest lyric singers of all time the song that was her first big hit and became her
trademark is the idiotic Come On-A My House, which she hates and refuses to
Backed by the 12-member swing band, the Big Kahuna and Copa Cat Pack, a youngish
Hawaiian ensemble led by Matt Catingub, who plays a mean saxophone. Those cats swing. After
their own dynamite 45 minute set they performed Rosie's signature song, leading to her entrance
on the arm of her dapper husband, Dante DiPaolo. Beautifully gowned, she spent her entire hour
long segment seated in a chair beside accompanist John Oddo's piano.
The lady has rock solid vocals. Coupled with a wicked delivery of entertaining stories - this lady
puts on one of the best shows you'll see in any venue. She has the power to turn a large
auditorium into an intimate hall where one feels honored to be in her presence.
"Have any of your seen George?" she asked about her nephew George Clooney who has been in
Las Vegas filming the re-make of Ocean's Eleven. "When they first started filming that he
called my office and said Is it okay if we put Aunt Rosemary's name on the marquee of the Sands
Hotel that we are rebuilding for the movie?'"
"I said, Yes sireee. You just go right ahead.
"You know, George has been this way all his life. It's just that all of a sudden he caught on. He
lived with me for a few years. The way he got into the business was to drop out of college,
which didn't thrill his dad - not at all. So, I said George could come and live with me. What I
didn't know was that he had saved $300 and bought a car, a clunker to drive to California in
from Kentucky. He arrived and parked it in my driveway - thank you very much. I stood it for as
long as I could and finally I bought it from him - which was the only way I could get rid of the
"He's a good kid," she added about George. "I like him.
"I have five children and 10 grandchildren," she said of her own brood. "Today is Mother's Day
so far all of them have checked in - except two. And - they'll pay.
Clooney, a native of Maysville, Ky. got her start singing on the radio in Cincinnati. She had an
act with her sister Betty. "My sister and I started singing with Tony Pastor and we really never
did any really good songs. We were hired by the leader and he did all of the good songs, but he
was a good singer.
Then she knocked out I'm Confessing That I Love You, Cabin In The Sky, Happiness is Just
A Thing Called Joe and an
uptempo Ol' Man River.
She lived next door to Ira Gershwin for 35 years and performed Our Love Is Here To
Stay "the last song Ira and George wrote together."
In discussing Fred Astaire she explained that her husband had been a movie dancer who became
friends with Astaire. After DaPaolo was drafted, during an extended duty in the Philippines Fred
and Dante regularly exchanged letters. She read one that Fred had written complaining that a song
he had written If Swing Goes, I Go Too had been cut from a Follies movie. Fred
said he was saving the song and someday it would be used.
"He was right it didn't to go waste because I'm going to sing it. It's not the best song in the
world. It's not Gershwin, but it's a damn good song for the kind of dancer he was."
The Singer, an ode to Frank Sinatra co-written by Clooney's drummer, Joe Cocuzzo,
with music by Las Vegas resident Vince Falcone segued perfectly into her effective rendition of
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.
She makes her audience feel warm and comfortable.
Her anecdotes about Bing Crosby, Ira Gershwin and Bob Hope are gossipy and funny. She
got a big laugh with a priceless story about her pal Bob Hope. By way of introducing a tender
take on Thanks for the Memories, Clooney related how Hope's daughter Linda
had delicately asked the comedian if he wished to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery,
Los Angeles or Palm Springs. Hope's reply, as quoted by Clooney: "Surprise me."
ROSEMARY CLOONEY in her early Vegas
days. She performed with Bing Crosby who hated gambling.
Then she did the witty, Ya Got Class, from a movie Here Come The Girls that she
recalls as being "so bad his wife didn't go to it."
"I performed in Las Vegas years ago with Bing Crosby. He refused to play anywhere there was a
slot machine. Do you know how hard it was to find a place here with no slot machines? We
finally found some small convention center by the Aladdin Hotel. Bing would be out there trying
to make sure he couldn't see any slot machines. I think they took out a few just so he couldn't see
Her new show, Sentimental Journey, is exactly as the title says, a personal musical scrapbook that
takes a captivated audience along for the ride.
In introducing a philosophical rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's rather gloomy Rockin'
the classy singer who turns 73 on May 23, called it "the truthful song in the book."
Rosemary Clooney makes performing look easy.
Her newest CD Sentimental Journey is scheduled for a July 24 release. Buy it.
It will make a wonderful belated Mother's Day present.
( See Broadway To Vegas column of February 27,
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THE ASTAIRE AWARDS were
established in 1982 by the Theater Development Fund to honor each season's outstanding
musical theatre choreographers and male and female dancers. The winners are determined by a
panel of dance critics and experts.
The 20th Annual TDF ASTAIRE AWARDS will be presented at a benefit luncheon for Theatre
Development Fund, directed and choreographed by former Astaire and Tony Award-winner Scott
Wise and hosted by Tony Award-winner Karen Ziemba on Friday, May 18, at the Hudson
Theatre. The award presenters will include Natalia Makarova and Donna McKechnie.
The nominees for the 20th ANNUAL TDF ASTAIRE AWARDS, are:
Susan Stroman: The Producers
Jerry Mitchell: The Full Monty
Randy Skinner: 42nd Street
BEST FEMALE DANCER
Carol Bentley: Follies
Cady Huffman: The Producers
Kate Levering: 42nd Street
BEST MALE DANCER
Michael Arnold: 42nd Street
Andre DeShields: The Full Monty
David Elder: 42nd Street
A special Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Donald Saddler who is currently
appearing in Follies. He holds two Tony Awards for his choreography of Wonderful Town and
No, No, Nanette; with additional nominations for On Your Toes, Much Ado About Nothing
and Italy's Maschera D'Argento. He is a recent Theatre Hall of Fame inductee.
NATIONAL BROADWAY THEATER AWARDS will present their first annual awards at a Gala dinner on May 21st at The
Supper Club in New York City. The awards, which honor performers and creative talent involved
with touring Broadway shows, is the first national fan-driven theatre award to be conducted via
the internet. Harris Interactive, the presidential polling organization, tailored the ballots to
reflected the specific productions that played in the vicinity of each voter. The results were
weighted based on the total number of voters in each market and the percentage of votes for each
nominee. 30 Broadway shows touring during the 2000-2001 season were eligible to participate
in this first NBTA.
The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., founded in 1930, is the national trade
organization for the Broadway industry, operating under the Live Broadway trademark. With
over 500 members including theatre owners, operators, producers, and presenters of Broadway
productions in New York and 140 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, the League and its
members help bring Broadway to close to 25 million people annually.
The winners are:
RAGTIME Producer: SFX Theatrical Group
BEST PLAY DAME EDNA:
The Royal Tour. Author: Barry Humphries; Producers: Leonard Soloway,
Chase Mishkin, Steven M. Levy, Jonathan Reinis
BEST ACTOR - Musical
DAVID PITTU as Leo Frank in Parade
BEST ACTOR - Play
BARRY HUMPHRIES as Dame Edna in Dame Edna: The Royal Tour
BEST ACTRESS - Musical
LOUISE PITRE as Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia!)
BEST ACTRESS - Play
SHERRI PARKER LEE Performer in The Vagina Monologues
BEST SONG IN A MUSICAL
TIL WE REACH THAT DAY 1st Act Finale Music: Stephen Flaherty,
Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens for Ragtime
BEST SCORE Music:
Claude-Michel Schonberg, Lyrics: Alain Boublil, English Lyrics: Herbert Kretzmer for Les
BEST DIRECTION SAM
MENDES & ROB MARSHALL for Cabaret
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY BOB
FOSSE for Fosse
BEST VISUAL PRESENTATION Scenic Design: STANLEY
A. MEYER, Lighting Design: NATASHA KATZ for Disney's Beauty and the
BEST COSTUMES ANN HOULD-WARD
for Disney's Beauty and the Beast
THE MUSIC GOES ROUND AND ROUND
URINETOWN! heads into the
recording studio on May 15. RCA will commit the score to CD, to be released July 10
ROCKY HORROR SHOW cast
recording of the Jordan Roth's revival of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show will be
released May 15. Produced for RCA Records by Jeffrey Lesser and engineered
by Ed Rak, the recording features cast members Tom Hewitt, Dick Cavett, Lea DeLaria, Alice
Ripley, Jarrod Emick, Raul Esparaza, Sebastian LaCause and Daphne Rubin-Vega, but not
original cast member Joan Jett who, "could not come to terms" with producers over her
involvement in the original cast recording. Recorded March 12 at the Clinton Recording Studios
in Manhattan, rocker Jett's part was covered by her understudy, Kristen Lee Kelly.
HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH
were at the Reflection Sound Studios in Charlotte, NC recently to lay down tracks for inclusion
on a Nanci Griffith tribute album. The band recorded Griffith's song Ford Econoline.
Hootie lead singer Darius Rucker also tracked vocals for an upcoming solo R&B
JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG the
National Actors Theatre's (Tony Randall Founder and Artistic Director) production, written by
Abby Mann and directed by John Tillinger will have its final performance today, Sunday, May
Unfortunately, not even a plethora of award nominations and a cast refusing a pay raise could
keep this excellent production open. Judgment at Nuremberg began performances on
Thursday, February 15th, 2001 running 45 previews and opened on Monday, March 26th with 56
performances at the Longacre Theatre.
If you missed this production, you missed an opportunity to see an excellent production with
a stellar cast. Randall and the National Actors Theater have every reason to be extremely proud of
their 16th and most important production.
Randall takes special pride in the number of well deserved award nominations received by the
dedicated cast: John Tillinger (Outer Critics), Maximilian Schell (Drama Desk), George Grizzard
(Outer Critics), Michael Hayden (TONY), Marthe Keller (Outer Critic, Drama Desk and TONY)
and the entire cast (Outer Critic Circle- Best Play).
The impressive cast includes: Maximilian Schell, George Grizzard, Michael Hayden, Marthe
Keller, Joseph Wiseman, Robert Foxworth, Philip LeStrange, Michael Mastro, Leith Burke, Fred
Burrell, Patricia Conolly, Jack Davidson Peter James Francis, Peter Hermann, Jurian Hughes, Ty
Jones, Susan Kellerman, Peter Kybart, Peter Maloney, Kellie Overbey, Heather Randall, Reno
Roop, and Henry Strozier.
The design team includes: James Noone (sets), Jess Goldstein (costumes), Brian MacDevitt
(lights), David VanTieghem (original sound & music), Elaine J. McCarthy (projection) and Paul
Huntley (wigs & hair).
THE GATHERING starring Hal
Linden closes this evening.
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER which probably never should have opened has posted closing
'N SYNC canceled their May 22
engagement at the Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, NC.
REO SPEEDWAGON, KANSAS, STEPPENWOLF part of KSLX ROCK FEST, were canceled in the Phoenix suburb of
Queen Creek, Ariz. because fewer than 400 tickets had been sold. Spokeswoman Melanie
Gentz blamed the failure on a slump in the concert industry and inadequate promotion.
THE FULL MONTY
Six down-on-their-luck steelworkers give Buffalo something they've never seen before. Music
and Lyrics by David Yazbek directed by Jack O'Brien, Book by Terrance McNally.
national tour stars Kaye Ballard, Larry Marshall, Danny Gurwin, Rod Weber, Andrea Burns,
Chris Diamantopoulos, and Susan Fletcher.
Elgin Theater Toronto May 22 through July 14.
THE MIKADO New York
Gilbert & Sullivan Players Nanki-poo, Yum-Yum, Ko-Ko, and the Mikado himself are back to
amuse and enchant with a story of love and duty, full of wit and classic numbers including A
Wand'ring Minstrel I, Three Little Maids, and The Flowers That Bloom in the
May 24- 26 Wolf Trap Filene Center.
GUYS AND DOLLS One of
Broadway's most hilarious musicals, the National Tour kicks off with Maurice Hines as Nathan
Detroit in the story of love, money, and salvation in New York City. Based on the stories of
Damon Runyon, with Frank Loesser's landmark score, Guys and Dolls brings down the
house with Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat, Luck Be a Lady, A Bushel and a Peck,
and Adelaide's Lament. This multi-Tony Award-winner heads to Broadway after a
20 city tour. Wolf Trap Aug 28-Sept 2.
UNCLE VANYA May 10-June
16. Denver Performing Arts Complex.
LANGUAGE OF ANGELS by
playwright Naomi Iizuka, having its Northwest premiere through June 2 at the Theater
ORPHAN TRAIN An American
Melodrama by Dennis E. North, directed by Guy Sanville continues at the Purple Rose Theater
- Jeff Daniels Artistic Director, through June 16.
The 1920's & '30's were difficult times with families losing their farms to foreclosure and
bankruptcy. During that period, a train crossed the heartland with a mission of placing orphan
children with new families offering hope for a new beginning. Somewhere along this altruistic
passage of uniting the children with a promising future, corruption and greed threatened to derail
their happiness. A heart-warming story unfolds about good vs. evil in a World Premiere suitable
for the whole family. The Purple Rose Theatre Company, Chelsea MI.
DAME EDNA, THE ROYAL TOUR Los Angeles, California Shubert Theatre May 15 - May 27,
DOLLY PARTON performed at
MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC and gave a press conference where she was - as always - her
delightful candid self.
DOLLY PARTON at her MerleFest press conference
On her two successful bluegrass albums, Little Sparrow and Grass is Blue she
said: "I want to sing this music. I don't care if it sells records - if it
gets airplay. I had to make enough money to sing like I was poor again. I might do a pop album
or a country album if I think it might get airplay. I might even do a dance album. I have a lot of
gay fans who like to dance to my music. They put those drum beats behind it."
As for returning to Wilkesboro: "I've had four slaw burgers, four slaw dogs, four ice creams.
You think these are my boobs, but it's all that stuff lodged in there."
A Chest Full of Dolly is the name of the Salute to Dolly Parton which takes place in New
York City on May 17. Chal Pivek's Chelsea Mountain Boys have united 21 singers to perform
32 Dollly-penned originals at the Downtime in NY.
RITA RUDNER headlining the new
Cabaret Theatre at New York New York in Las Vegas. "I lived in New York for twenty years,"
said Rita. "My apartment building overlooked Central Park. I couldn't actually see the park, but
if I concentrated I could hear the screams for help." Rita was an unprecedented hit at New
York-New York's sister property MGM Grand last year, playing to almost 100,000 people in six
months at the Cabaret Theatre. "My husband read how Shecky Greene and Don Rickles had big
successes doing runs in lounges years ago," said Rita. "So we decided to try a smaller venue for a
long run rather than play a larger room for a few weeks a year, as I've done for the past 12 years
or so." Rita has previously starred at the Sands, Bally's, The Hilton, The Desert Inn and The
Monte Carlo. "I've been insides more hotels than a hooker," she says.
DAVID YAZBEK who penned the
lyrics and music to The Full Monty was previously best known for writing the theme
song to PBS' Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? of which he is also producer.
Before that he won an Emmy award writing gags for Late Night With David
Letterman. From 1987-89 h Yazbeck was Co-owner, of Manhattan Recording Co.,
writing many horrifying jingles.
Yazbeck takes center stage Saturday June 9 at Joe's Pub in New York City. The $20 admission
includes a copy of the new CD, Damascus - not available in stores until July
JERRY VALE on stage at the Westbury Music Fair
Rosebud Casino in Valentine, NE May 13; Lac Courte Oreilles Casino in Hayward, WI on May
18; Crystal Grand Theatre in Wisconsin Dells, WI on May 19.
FAITH PRINCE is the special
guest at A Conversation with Comden and Green, May 15 at The Dramatists Guild , NYC. $5
admission charge for members and a $10 admission charge for non-members Prince is currently
starring in the Comden and Green revival of Bells Are Ringing.
GEORGE JONES Iowa State Center,
Stephens Auditorium, Ames. May 13.
STING WITH JILL SCOTT 7:30
p.m. May 13, Iowa State Center, Hilton Coliseum, Ames. Tickets: $43.50 and $59.50.
BILLY JOEL AND ELTON JOHN
May 15 and 16. Tickets range from $45 to $175. Target Center, Minneapolis.
THIS AND THAT
JACK NICHOLSON takes his
movie roles seriously. Currently in Omaha, NE filming About Schmidt which stars Kathy
Bates and is directed by Alexander Payne,
Nicholson's character an actuary who cleans out his desk after more than 30 years on the job in
order to make way for his successor. He is also coping with his wife's recent death and his
daughter's impending marriage to a man he doesn't like. To prepare for the part last March
Nicholson spent time in the Woodman Tower office of Mark Schreier, vice president of
Woodmen, and Scott Darling, vice president of communications to get advice about how to play
an actuary. Darling said he and Schreier tried to correct the public perception of actuaries, who
make their living figuring insurance risks and premiums. "Actuaries are generally portrayed as
being kind of boring, and our actuaries all agreed that we really aren't that way," Darling said. So
we let Jack know that." To prove their point they told Nicholson actuary jokes - including the
old standby that an actuary is a person who wanted to be an accountant but didn't have the
Being a movie star demands sacrifices. Nicholson hasn't been able to be courtside for the Lakers'
playoff games - although he did make it to last Sunday's game in Los Angeles and then
immediately flew back to the Omaha.
DEBBIE REYNOLDS whose Las
Vegas museum was put into a head lock by financial problems isn't down for the count. The
unsinkable one has new plans for her film memorabilia museum. She finally got some ground near
Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood for the museum. Hopefully this time the close to her
heart project will be a total success enabling Reynolds "to preserve the history of films from the
silents to the present.
COKIE ROBERTS is co-host of
ABC's This Week With Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts. If that doesn't work out
Cokie may opt for a job as a stand up comedian. The news gal is a graduate of Stone Ridge
School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Md. It's part of a network of 19 schools in the United
States operated by Sacred Heart nuns, including Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, a 264
girl school in Omaha, NE founded in 1881. Roberts was in Omaha last week speaking to about
1,200 at the Salvation Army's annual Be a Hero luncheon. She praised the Salvation Army and
congratulated five teen-agers honored as heroes, and accepted an invitation and accepted an
invitation to visit Duchesne. Roberts told a joke she heard from the late Tip O'Neill, who was
Speaker of the House. A man at the pearly gates was granted one wish, to talk to the Blessed
Mother. He asked her why, in pictures and statues holding the infant, she always looked sad.
"Because," said Cokie perfectly delivering the irreverent punch line "I always wanted a
Next Column: May 20, 2001
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