Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: May 14, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Elizabeth McGovern, 55, will be returning to Broadway in September.
Much has been propagated that after an actor reaches a "certain age" the roles are few and far between. Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Some of the meatiest roles out there require aging.

Of the 40 performers currently nominated for Tony Awards in the categories of lead actress, lead actor, featured actress and featured actor in musicals or plays 21 are between the ages of 51 and 78. Eleven more are in their 40s.

On Broadway this season it seems the over-the-hill crowd is very much in the running.

Broadway To Vegas did a various, days of the week, prime time spot check on geezer employment to see if those in television got put out to pasture at any early age.

Using the AARP membership qualification of being 50 - a number never admitted to by any woman in Hollywood, this old crone looked for those of that age and older who had star billing, significant or reoccurring roles.

Patricia Heaton, 59, stars on The Middle.
What was found was - it's the ratings that matter. No star has ever been replaced for the sole reason of hiring a younger version. If you bring in the ratings, age isn't a consideration.

However, more pressure is put upon females to act years younger than their age and to look fabulous.

Aware that by their very nature, action-adventure shows frequently call for younger, athletic roles, Broadway To Vegas primarily glanced at comedies.

On ABC -
The Middle stars Patricia Heaton, 59, and Neil Flynn, 56, with Marsha Mason, 75, (10 episodes) John Cullum, 87, (8 episodes).

Black-ish features Laurence Fishburne, 55, as Pops; Jennifer Lewis, 60, as Ruby, Wanda Sykes, 53, as Daphne Lido, and Anna Deavere Smith, 66, as Alice.

Life in Pieces stars James Brolin, 76, and Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest, 69.

The Goldbergs features George Siegal, 83, as a sensible advice giving grandfather

Modern Family stars Ed O'Neill, 71.

Designed Survivor stars Kiefer Sutherland, 50.

Mark Harmon, 65, stars on NCIS.
Superior Donuts stars Judd Hirsch, 82, featuring Katey Sagal, 63.

Man With a Plan stars Matt LeBlanc who turns the big 50 on July 25, 2017. The show features Kevin Nelon who is 63.

NCIS stars Mark Harmon, 65, featuring David McCallum, 83.

Mom stars Allison Janney, 57, with Mimi Kennedy, 68.

Kevin Can Wait stars Kevin James, 52.

The Big Bang Theory include feature roles of Laurie Metcalf, 61, in the part of Mary Cooper the religious zealot mother of Sheldon Cooper played by Jim Parsons and Christine Baransk, 65 as Beverly Hofstadter, the uptight psychologist mother of Leonard Hofstadter played by Johnny Galecki.

The miniseries Trial & Error starred John Lithgow, 71, who has won two Tony awards and five Emmy Awards.

The Good Place stars Emmy Award winner Ted Danson, 69.

The Carmichael Show stars David Alan Grier, 60, and Loretta Devine, 67.

Chicago Med among the stars are Emmy Award winner and Tony nominee S. Epatha Merkerson, 64 and Emmy nominee Oliver Platt, 57.

Bette Midler holding her Grammy Award. At 71, she is currently starring in Hello Dolly! on Broadway.
On Broadway Bette Midler, 71, owns Hello Dolly!. Oscar winner Sally Field, 70, returned to the stage in The Glass Menagerie starring opposite two time Tony winner Joe Mantello, 54.

The two stars of War Paint are none other than Patti LuPone, 68, and Christine Ebersole, 64. Danny DeVito, 72 steals the show in The Price. The above mentioned Allison Janey used her break time from Mom to star on Broadway in 6 Degrees of Separation. Nathan Lane, 61, not only dominated The Front Page on Broadway but now is in London playing Roy Cohn in Angels in America.

Sure to generate ticket sales is news that Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern, 55, will return to Broadway in September to star in a revival of Time and the Conways which hasn't been mounted on Broadway since 1938. McGovern hasn't been on The Great White Way since 1992.

On May 21, the day after her 71th birthday, Cher will receive the ICON Award in Las Vegas at the Billboard Music Awards.

While the seasoned performers may have different lifestyles, diets and fitness routines what they all have in common is a love of working and constantly keep active.

What Broadway To Vegas concluded is that when it comes to big roles, big paychecks and big awards - seniors rule.

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Thank you for your interest.


Four Friends by George Bellows. 1921, lithograph, 10 1/4 x 8 in. The Historic Woodstock Arts Colony: Arthur A. Anderson Collection. Photo Credit: Eric R. Lapp
in Albany, New York has announced the acquisition of a significant collection of artwork of the historic Woodstock Art Colony. The collection includes 1,500 paintings, works on paper, sculptures, and archival material and represents more than 170 artists from the early 20th century art colony in Woodstock, NY.

Long before the famous music event in 1969, Woodstock was home to what is considered America’s first intentional year-round arts colony: the historic Woodstock Art Colony, founded in 1902. Its artists have been the focus of collector and donor Arthur Anderson for three decades, resulting in the largest comprehensive art collection of its type. The artists in the collection reflect the diversity of the artists who came to Woodstock, including Birge Harrison, Robert Henri, George Bellows, Eugene Speicher, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi. Anderson recently donated the collection to the New York State Museum, where the collection will be transferred and permanently housed.

The Woodstock story begins in 1902, when Byrdcliffe was established as a year-round artists’ colony focusing on the Arts and Crafts movement. The utopian community drew furniture craftsmen, painters, printmakers, photographers, ceramicists, and other artisans to an environment that emphasized individual work over mass production. In 1906, the Art Students League of New York, one of the country’s most important and progressive art schools, moved its summer school to Woodstock, bringing some 200 students a season to the area. The Woodstock Artists Association was founded in 1919 by artists of differing mindsets, but unified in their quest for a centralized exhibition space.

Throughout the 20th century, and now into the 21st century, Woodstock attracted and continues to attract a range of artists working in a variety of media and approaches ranging from realism to abstraction – something that sets Woodstock apart from other art colonies that flourished for a limited time and were centered on a single style.


CENTER THEATRE GROUP'S 50TH CELEBRATION takes place Saturday, May 20, 2017 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.

Join Artistic Director Michael Ritchie and co-chairs Robert Greenblatt and Sue Tsao as the past, present, and future are celebrated.

Billed as the biggest event in Center Theatre Group’s history.

Proceeds from the 50th Celebration will support Center Theatre Group’s world-class productions, innovative programs, new work, emerging artists, and the next 50 years - and beyond - of extraordinary theatre.

VIP Cocktail reception followed by the 50th Anniversary Show.

Artists scheduled to appear: René Auberjonois, Annette Bening, Sir Matthew Bourne, Tyne Daly, Louis Gossett, Jr., Danai Gurira, Jennifer Hudson, Tony Kushner, Alfred Molina, Edward James Olmos Jr, Phylicia Rashad, Jimmy Smits, Luis Valdez.

Among those taking part in the celebration will be Jon Robin Baitz, Bill Cain, Anthony Crivello, Culture Clash, Merle Dandridge, Tim Dang, Keith David, Shaila Essley, Davis Gaines, Harry Groener, Clint Holmes, David Henry Hwang, Gregory Itzin, Dale Kristien, Doug LaBrecque, Tzi Ma, Alan Mandell, Dakin Matthews, Thomas Sadoski, Christina Saffran, Benjamin Schrader, Shoshannah Stern, Lisa Vroman, Ed Waterstreet, and Aryana Williams.

The Celebration Dinner promises to be a feast in Grand Park featuring some of the most exciting chefs in Los Angeles: Joachim Splichal, Andreas Roller, and Frania Mendivil from Patina Restaurant Group. With guest chefs Vartan Abgaryan (71Above); Josiah Citrin (Melisse);Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish); and Bruce Kalman (Union).


Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper, and Jayne Houdyshell photo by Brigitte Lacombe
A door slamming closed A Doll's House, and the knock on a door opens A Doll's House, Part 2. Sometimes what one thinks has been shut reopens.

Henrik Isben was never noted for being a comedy writer. He specialized in the powerful and controversial, addressing issues head on. A Doll's House written in 1879 is a three-act play in prose by Ibsen. It premiered at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on December 21, 1879.

The play is significant for its critical attitude toward 19th-century marriage norms. It aroused great controversy at the time, as it concludes with the protagonist, Nora, leaving her husband and children because she wants to discover herself. Ibsen was inspired by the belief that "a woman cannot be herself in modern society," since it is "an exclusively male society, with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges who assess feminine conduct from a masculine standpoint."

UNESCO has inscribed Ibsen's autographed manuscripts of A Doll's House on the Memory of the World Register in 2001, in recognition of its historical value.

That's serious respect.

You don't need to have ever seen or even read A Doll's House to enjoy A Doll's House, Part 2 but you'll appreciate the production so much more if you understand the original.

from left, Laurie Metcalf, Jayne Houdyshell, Condola Rashad and Chris Cooper. Photo: Brigitte Lacombe
According to Ibsen, A Doll's House by Egil Törnqvist published in 1995 by Cambridge University Press and Wadsworth Anthology of Drama 6th Edition by W. B. Worthen, published in 2010 by. Wadsworth Publishing:

"A Doll's House was based on the life of Laura Kieler (maiden name Laura Smith Petersen), a good friend of Ibsen. Much that happened between Nora and Torvald happened to Laura and her husband, Victor. Similar to the events in the play, Laura signed an illegal loan to save her husband. She wanted the money to find a cure for her husband's tuberculosis. She wrote to Ibsen, asking for his recommendation of her work to his publisher, thinking that the sales of her book would repay her debt. At his refusal, she forged a check for the money. At this point she was found out. In real life, when Victor discovered about Laura's secret loan, he divorced her and had her committed to an asylum. Two years later, she returned to her husband and children at his urging, and she went on to become a well-known Danish author, living to the age of 83.

"Ibsen wrote A Doll's House at the point when Laura Kieler had been committed to the asylum, and the fate of this friend of the family shook him deeply, perhaps also because Laura had asked him to intervene at a crucial point in the scandal, which he did not feel able or willing to do."

A Doll's House questions the traditional roles of men and women in 19th-century marriage. To call that scandalous at the time is an understatement. Marriage was holy and the man was in charge.

Another playwright willing to examine society is Lucas Hnath. He is an artisan of a word craftsman. Hnath has done what is almost impossible to accomplish - take a classic and bring it up to date without insulting anything Ibsen penned, yet adding depth and clarity. A Doll's House, Part 2 is riveting and powerful - also funny.

Reflecting life, Hnath's exceptional script is an emotional mix.

The play was commissioned by South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California where it was directed by Shelley Butler in April 2017. The play opened on Broadway on April 27, 2017 after previews which began on March 30, 2017 at the John Golden Theatre. The Broadway production is directed by Sam Gold and the cast features Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper, Jayne Houdyshell, and Condola Rashad in an ensemble piece where each role provides meat on the bones for the others to gnaw.

This marks Hnath's Broadway debut. I became a fan of Hnath, a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, when I saw The Christians which was staged off-Broadway. That thought-provoking play addresses the influence and faith in a mega church.

Hnath's writing pulls no punches as is also evident in A Doll's House, Part 2.

Condola Rashad stating her views as Laurie Metcalf listens. Photo: Brigitte Lacombe
In Hnath's continuation, it's 15 years after Nora, played by Laurie Metcalf, has walked out on her husband and children - literally by slamming a door. This play begins with a determined repetitive knock on that slammed shut entry way.

Long time family maid Anne Marie (Jayne Houdyshell) opens the door. In blows self-righteousness. Nora has returned. She wants - needs something.

When Anne Marie greets the unexpected with - "Nora, Nora, Nora" - the meaning, questioning and implications Houdyshell puts into a name verifies that, yes, Houdyshell is a Tony award winner. The audience laughs.

Nora isn't forthcoming. She's a game player. "Keep guessing," she teases. Or, is it a warning?

Nora is successful as a "women's novelist" under a pen name, reveling in the self-absorbent that success can foster. There is, however, one thing she needs - a divorce from her banker husband Torvald (Chris Cooper) Apparently that legal necessity was skipped. Without that official freedom the life Nora has made for herself will be destroyed.

You see, this is the 19th century and without giving away the specific details of a judge threatening to blackmail Nora, she had no other choice but to return and settle some issues.

The unassuming, stoic Torvald can't comprehend that he did anything wrong in their marriage. After all, he doted on his wife, giving her everything that money could buy.

As for the sly Nora, she wears well the blinders that prevent her from seeing how she has hurt and can continue to damage her children.

Not that daughter Emmy (Condola Rashad) isn't capable of standing up to her in her own gentile, yet manipulative way. Or, has Emmy become her own version of the young Nora?

Maid Anna Marie, who served as a surrogate mother to Nora's children, also has a thing or two to say. As strong as Nora is the others hold their own. The four roles are powerful and director Sam Gold knows how to bring each character's profanity laced opinions to life.

Interesting, creative and effective directing by Gold in fusing the past and present through scenic design and costumes to punctuate that emotional needs don't change - that equality is an ongoing issue. When do you put yourself before the needs of your family? When do you fight for equality versus conforming to the norms and at what price?

Period costumes by David Zinn clothe modern profanity. Gestures - nervous and otherwise - attempt to simultaneously keep trapped and emphasize a spill of grievances and responses.

A Scandinavian chair and table holding a very modern square box of Kleenex is the setting as each accuser's name is momentarily bill-boarded in neon upon the antique wall - giving headline status to the upcoming spew of angsty brooding, bitterness, pent-up emotions and frustrations.

Awesome performances by all cast members.

Marriage, society, and gender equality are torn apart and rearranged.

I first became aware of Emmy award winning and multiple Tony nominee Laurie Metcalf when she appeared on the television sitcom Rosanne. When she made her Broadway debut there was an opening night party. When I opened my invitation it said Rosanne would be hosting the event. On April 28, 2017 it was reported that Metcalf is expected to reprise her role as Jackie Harris, the low self esteemed sister of Rosanne in an eight episode revival of Rosanne. On television Metcalf currently has a reoccurring role of Mary Cooper the religious zealot mother of Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons.

Metcalf's stage roles are numerous, but learning that she had been cast as Nora must have been exhilarating. It's a barn burner of a role and Metcalf knows how to deliver every line and nuance the emotions. On stage she tears up the scenery, which is a figure of speech. The actual scenery, designed by Miriam Buether, is minimal but powerful, multiple pointed foyer - as if each almost stripped bare facet houses a violent explosive device.

The play has received eight 2017 Tony Award nominations: Best Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Chris Cooper), Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (Laurie Metcalf), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Jayne Houdyshell and Condola Rashad), Best Direction of a Play (Sam Gold) and Best Costume Design of a Play (David Zinn).


The Tony Awards will present the coveted statue in categories of Best Score and Best Orchestrations. Nominations in those categories include: Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Groundhog Day, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Bandstand, and Hello, Dolly!

Broadway To Vegas will offer reviews of some of the nominated original Broadway cast albums.

This week the selection is Hello Dolly! released by Masterworks Broadway.

The orchestrator, who is in contention for the Tony Award, is Tony Award winner Larry Hochman who recently won the Outer Critics Circle award for Best Orchestrations for Hello Dolly!

His arrangements are lighter and more energetic than previous versions. This revival also includes a number which has previously been cut in other Hello Dolly! mountings - Penny in My Pocket.

Hochman was present during the recording of this CD.

Like many original cast albums additional musicians are used. In the stage version there are 22 musicians. In this original cast CD there are 26. The doubling is the same on the recording as in the pit. All 4 woodwinds double, the piano doubles on celeste, the 2nd trombone plays tenor and bass trombones, the 3rd trombone plays bass trombone and tuba, and guitar doubles banjo. 6 violins were used on the recording and the concertmaster is one of the violinists. A different violinist was used in one of the sessions due to availability, which is why 7 violinists are given album credit, although it would be 6 on each session, and 3 cellos.

The reed section includes clarinet, flute, piccolo, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, and bassoon.

There is no doubt that Bette Midler owns the stage. She is an incredibility talented performer who can stop the show by eating. She deliberately falls. She has comedic personality. None of that can be captured on a recording.

Two other famous 'Dollies' - Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey - had distinctive voices.

Channing with that raspy foghorn and Bailey with an accent and delivery style - both of which are easy to capture on a recording. Even though Bailey had a distinctive way of moving her hand to accent what she was saying, particularly when she walked, she was noted for being a singer.

It happens early in the musical. By the time either Channing or Bailey as Dolly sings the very first line in I Put My Hand In: "I've always been a woman who arranges things," their distinctive voices and attitude leave no doubt that they not only own the show, but you want to go see it. When Midler voices that great introductory line it's neither memorable nor statement making. That's what has devotees of Hello Dolly! in a quagmire. That's also the major problem with any revival. There will always be a group of people who - remember when. That can make it unfair to both the performer and the production.

Midler doesn't possess a distinctive singing voice - in fact her normal singing voice is soft, as is evident on her hit Wind Beneath My Wings. She excels at being a great physical performer - think Lucille Ball.

Why Midler steals the stage show can't be captured on any recording.

See Broadway To Vegas review of the stage show in the column of May 7, 2017

A bit disconcerting is that on this CD there isn't a vocal sound consistency on Midler's numbers. Whether that is her, or the technical aspects of the recording remain puzzling.

Emmy and Tony Award winner Larry Hochman is Tony Award nominated for his arrangements for Hello Dolly! He attended the recording session. Photo: Henry Summers
In regards to Bette Midler's stage performance - listening to this CD is not the same thing. However, it's not a bad alternative. You'll hear the magnificent score and the performers are excellent. With all of the press coverage given to the show, it's not that too much attention has been paid to Midler - it's that not enough focus has been placed on the other performers.

The more you listen to this CD the more you'll love it. Buy and enjoy.

A sensation harp opens the bright and breezy overture.

The brief Call On Dolly heads into I Put My Hand In featuring an arrangement which is more upbeat, faster tempo and light-hearted than in previous revivals. However, Midler sounds a bit pressured to keep up the pace.

Every New York berg has its own accent; Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island. David Hyde Pierce stays true to a Yonkers way of speaking. On the other hand, Midler's accent is on a road trip; which may be her - or it may be the results of recording technicians putting in their hand.

Pierce excels as Horace Vandergelder. Back by a rousing chorus, his rendition of It Takes a Woman is both funny and establishes the mindset of the curmudgeon who will be captured by Dolly. That brings us to Put On Your Sunday Clothes led off to a fare-thee-well by the talented Gavin Creel as Cornelius Hackl. By the time the entire case knocks the song to the back wall you'll want to join the party.

That is followed by Ribbons Down My Back, a tender song beautifully sung by Kate Baldwin who possesses a glorious, pure soprano voice. Flutes and harps have never been used better.

In the 1970s I interviewed Jerry Herman for a Billboard article. At that time he told me that when he originally wrote Ribbons it was his favorite number and he had hoped - was sure - that it would be the single that became a Top 40 hit. At that time, it was routine for a song from a musical to take on a life on its own. When Ribbons didn't, he had hopes for another number and then was floored when Hello Dolly! was the mega hit. He never even remotely thought that the title song would be a hit. As a general rule when a song in a Broadway show tops the charts it's because listeners can relate to the lyrics. For instance - We Need a Little Christmas and If He Walked Into My Life both written by Herman for Mame. There is nothing 'relatable' about the lyrics to Hello Dolly! Herman was astounded - and thrilled.

Motherhood is stepped off by Dolly who is soon joined by Baldwin as Minnie who provides depth and sends the song to the balcony.

Dancing is a softer, more tender segment in which Dolly teaches Cornelius how to dance. For all of Midler's 'brassiness,' vocally she easily captures tender and caring. Those traits are also closer to what Midler is as a person. The light-hearted arrangements are endearing.

Another outstanding number for Midler is Before the Parade Passes By which begins as soulful and wistful, becoming inspirational. Pro-tools handled by Ian Kagey and Tim Marchiafava make this a standout listening experience. If you could give this number a standing ovation at home, you would.

In 2006 I went to the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles to see David Hyde Pierce in the musical Curtains. He was sensational. When the musical transferred to Broadway he won the 2007 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance in the Kander and Ebb musical. In Hello Dolly! his performance is equally as good.

His solo Penny In My Pocket which opens Act Two is perky with clever lyrics. The demanding warp speed could make it difficult for some performers to execute. Not for Pierce. His elocution is not only impeccable but he puts the proper emotion into each phrase, making for a delightful listen. Some of the words he speaks and others he sings building to a crescendo. A charming number which also adds depth to his character of Horace Vandergelder. You learn how Horace became a half-millionaire; he started out with a penny and it kept growing - mainly because he helped others: for instance - using his shirttail he shined a rich man's shoe who gave him a nickel. He gave that nickel to a blind man who then left him in his will - he helped an old lady across the street who ended up being the boss's mother. It's a song about how doing good has rewards. It also shows why Vandergelder isn't so much of a skin-flint as 'cautious.'

The toe-tapping Elegance with that talented foursome Gavin Creel, Kate Baldwin, Taylor Trensch, and Beanie Feldstein (who as Minnie never deviates from her accent) is fun.

The Waiters' Gallop is zippy and totally enjoyable listening even though you can't see their stage antics.

The anthem Hello Dolly! is orchestra brass sassy. The lush string section and that banjo add sparkle and spunk. You can softly hear the taps indicating that dancing is taking place.

The title tune is a standout, as was intended.

It Only Takes a Moment is a deliciously beautiful, romantic song sung to vocal blending perfection by Creel and Baldwin with segments including the entire cast.

So Long Dearie is defiant and spirited. Midler uses a New York accent in this number which assists Midler to project the snappy attitude that she shows on stage. In Put On Your Sunday Clothes Midler's slight Irish accent on certain words (deliberate or by accident?) isn't as effective. Though raised in Hawaii, Midler is definitely a New York broad.

Without a doubt So Long Dearie is the Midler number on this CD which truly emulates her performance in the stage show. The sound balancing is also consistently perfect. It makes one ponder whether, if Midler had used a more pronounced New York accent in her numbers, that would have been all it took to give her voice a 'distinctiveness' - putting her in the same category as Channing and Bailey.

The CD also ends on a splendid note in Finale with Pierce and Midler.

The CD should be a big seller. Both Bette Midler and Hello Dolly! have huge fan bases. A wonderful addition to anyone's collection of Hello Dolly! recordings. Everyone wants to say they have heard Bette Midler as Dolly. This is your change. It's vibrant.

Recorded and mixed by Todd Whitelock. Recorded at DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York. Mixed at Germann Studios, New York. Pro Tools engineers Ian Kagey and Tim Marchiafava. Assistant engineers: Matt Simms, Akihito Nishimura, Carlos Mora, Doug Iszlai, and Peter Wolford.

Mastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios in New York City.

The stage musicians: Musical Coordinator: John Miller; Associate Conductor: Justin Hornback; Reeds: Steve Kenyon, Dan Block, Jay Brandford and Alden C. Banta; Trumpet: John Chudoba, Dave Trigg and Rob Slowik; Trombone: John Allred, Dan Levine and Joseph Barati; Drums: Buddy Williams; Percussion: Andrew Blanco; Guitar/Banjo: Scott Kuney; Acoustic Bass: Mark Vanderpoel; Harp: Stacey Shames; Concert Master: Philip Payton; Violin: Sarah Zun, Laura Frautschi and Héctor O. Falcón; Cello: Sarah Seiver and Summer Boggess; Keyboards: Justin Hornback.

The vocal ensemble features Cameron Adams, Phillip Attmore, Giuseppe Bausilio, Justin Bowen, Taeler Cyrus, Elizabeth Earley, Leslie Donna Flesner, Jenifer Foote, Jessica Lee Goldyn, Stephen Hanna, Michael Hartung, Robert Hartwell, Aaron Kaburick, Amanda LaMotte, Analisa Leaming, Jess LeProtto, Ian Liberto, Kevin Ligon, Nathan Madden, Michael McCormick, Linda Mugleston, Hayley Podschun, Jessica Sheridan, Michaeljon Slinger, Christian Dante White, Branch Woodman, Ryan Worsing, and Richard Riaz Yoder.

Next week Broadway To Vegas will review the original Broadway cast recording of Come From Away.


UZO ADUBA the award-winning actress currently starring as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in the critically-acclaimed Netflix Original Series Orange is the New Black, has been named the speaker for the 2017 College of Fine Arts (CFA) at Boston University Convocation on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Aduba attended Boston University on an athletic scholarship for track and is a graduate of BU College of Fine Arts School of Music with a BM in Voice Performance. Her accomplishments at BU extended from the field to the stage where she worked closely with School of Theatre. She was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Play for her work in the Kennedy Center/Olney Theater production of Translations of Zhosa, a production that had been originally workshopped at CFA. Aduba returned to Boston University in 2015 to be honored as a recipient of the College’s Inspiring Young Alumni Award.

THE SOUNDS OF SILENTS: METROPOLIS the most influential of all silent films, this version of Fritz Lang’s 1927 visionary masterpiece restores 25 minutes of lost footage.

Metropolis takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers, who must live in the dark underground, and the rich, who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor. The tense balance of these two societies is realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century, many of which presage such sci-fi landmarks as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and modern science fiction style, Metropolis stands today as the crowning achievement of German silent cinema.

The score will be performed by organist Clark Wilson of East Liverpool, OH, who performs a silent horror film each October in the Walt Disney Concert Hall for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. May 18, 2017 at the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio.

THE 60TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS will return to New York City for the third time in its history on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at Madison Square Garden.

To announce the show's return to New York, The Recording Academy worked with creative agency TBWA\Chiat\Day and director Spike Lee on a star-studded film, titled NY Stories, featuring New York artists sharing New York musical stories. The film takes viewers on a musical tour of the city, from the Apollo Theater in Harlem to Jay Z's Marcy Projects in Bedford-Stuyvesant, to all the neighborhoods and musical landmarks in between.

The Grammy event is estimated to bring $200 million in economic benefit to the city.

THE NORTHERN BALLET founded in 1969 and known for its innovative new and original productions, which tour widely across the UK, opened their new production of the steamy Casanova at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London. In the opening night audience on May 9, 2017 was Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, who has been the ballet's patron since 2003. Afterwards, he went backstage to meet the cast.

The ballet is billed as a "sensational true story of the notorious lover Casanova. Steeped in 18th century decadence, Kenneth Tindall’s first full-length ballet is a riot of intrigue and seduction.

"Based on playwright and author Ian Kelly’s 2008 biography of Casanova, Northern Ballet unmasks the man who still manages to thrill us today. With a custom score from Kerry Muzzey, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia, and designs from the Tony and Olivier award-winning Christopher Oram, prepare to be led into temptation."

ALSO ON MAY 9 the big brother to the above mentioned Prince Edward, that would be Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, hosted a concert at Hillsborough Castle in Ireland. The couple met composer Neil Martin, whose musical piece Songs After Rain was performed. Commissioned by HRH Prince Charles, the piece includes words by poets in English, Irish and Ulster Scots as a celebration of different cultural traditions.

Martin is a composer from Belfast whose work has been performed across the world from Ground Zero to Mostar Bridge and the Royal Albert Hall, as well as being played on the International Space Station. As a producer, arranger and musician, Neil has contributed to over 100 albums.

Neil was also Choral Director for a children’s TV series in the USA for the Jim Henson company. In 2013, the BBC produced and aired a 30 minute TV documentary on Neil’s life and career.

NATIONAL BUTTERMILK BISCUIT DAY is today, Sunday, May 14. Tomorrow is National Chocolate Chip Day. Tuesday is National Barbecue Day. Friday is National Devil’s Food Cake Day. Saturday is National Quiche Lorraine Day and National Pick Strawberries Day.


THE GRAMMY MUSEUM GRANT PROGRAM has announced that more than $200,000 in grants will be awarded to 14 recipients in the United States to help facilitate a range of research on a variety of subjects, as well as support a number of archiving and preservation programs.


Freight & Salvage—Berkeley, Calif. Awarded: $5,000

Established in 1968, the Freight & Salvage is one of the country's few full-time roots music presenters, celebrated worldwide for the excellence of its visiting artists. Hundreds of concerts at the Freight & Salvage have been recorded in multiple outdated formats. Thousands of hours of music are deteriorating, and the organization is now seeking support to assess the contents of the archive and prepare a plan for digitizing and preserving this treasure trove of master artists.

Jim O'Neal—Kansas City, Mo. Awarded: $5,000
Living Blues magazine co-founders Jim O'Neal and Amy van Singel amassed a historic collection of more than 2,000 tapes of interviews and live music. These one-of-a-kind tapes, which date from 1968 to 2012, need to be catalogued and assessed in preparation of having the collection digitized, preserved, and disseminated. The tapes document many major figures in blues, R&B, gospel, and jazz from Chicago, Mississippi, Memphis, and elsewhere.

T. Christopher Alpin—Pasadena, Calif. Awarded: $5,000
This project evaluates the sound collections of the Fort Sill Chiricahua/Warm Springs Apache tribe. This community is descended from the Apache prisoners of war seized with Geronimo in 1886. Collections contain the musical heritage of the Chihene, or Warm Springs Apache youth impressed into Nednai camps in the Mexican Sierra Madres between 1882 and 1883. Sound recordings include ceremonial, social, and hymn songs dating from the 19th century.

Berklee College of Music—Boston, Mass. Awarded: $13,000
Berklee has an impressive collection of video tapes (1985–2001) capturing music legends imparting their wisdom in memorable commencement speeches and unique performances. Berklee plans to digitize these at-risk analog recordings to preserve the collection and provide more public access to these unique resources. Given the fragility of these tapes, they must be preserved before all integrity is lost.

Bok Tower Gardens, Inc.—Lake Wales, Fla. Awarded: $20,000
One of the largest yet least-known instruments, a carillon is comprised of at least 23 tuned bells in chromatic series. With only about 600 carillons around the world and fewer than 200 in North America, it is also one of the most rare. Bok Tower Gardens, home to the largest carillon library in the world, will digitize a portion of the 1600-plus reel-to-reel audio recordings of carillon performances, spanning decades of carillon history.

Center For Traditional Music And Dance - New York. Awarded: $10,000
The Center for Traditional Music and Dance will digitize and preserve the final 200 hours from the more than 700-hour collection of the essential field recordings of Yiddish music traditions made between 1982 and 2007 by leading scholar, performer, and National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow Michael Alpert. Currently, these materials are maintained on a variety of unstable formats.

Soulsville Foundation - Memphis, Tenn. Awarded: $13,000
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music will digitize, preserve, and share its collection of more than 250 concert and promotional posters, advertisements, and album artwork proofs highlighting the rich history of Stax Records from 1957 to 1975. Due to years of improper storage, these materials are in danger of deteriorating without proper care. Materials will be stabilized, scanned, and shared with the public through the museum's website.

Sundance Institute - Park City, Utah. Awarded: $10,000
The Sundance Institute aims to digitize a wide range of recordings and documents from the Sundance Institute Film Music Program (1985–present), which includes seminal work in independent film music composition, and provides insights into the creative and career trajectories of individual artists supported by the program and the impact of their work on contemporary American culture at large.

Texas Folklife - Austin, Texas. Awarded: $20,000
Since 2012, Texas Folklife has undertaken an initiative to identify, organize, digitize, and disseminate its rich audio recording collection of Texas folk and traditional arts performances, field recordings, and interviews with artists dating from 1984. For this project, they will digitize and catalog a large portion of the audio collection in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin's Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the UT iSchool, and other partners.

Yale University - New Haven, Conn. Awarded: $20,000
Yale University Library seeks to preserve approximately 335 hours of unique non-commercial audio, predominantly from 1937–1956, featuring music by Charles Ives. Most recordings are on at-risk formats, notably instantaneous disc. All recordings will be digitized following International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives guidelines. Digitized content will be ingested into the library's digital preservation system and made available via one of its mediated streaming tools.

Case Western Reserve University - Cleveland, Ohio. Awarded: $19,935

This project aims to document parents' musical practices, beliefs, and perceptions about musical development in order to gain a broader understanding of the interactions and relationships influencing early childhood music development in home and community settings. The researcher will engage in 12 months of fieldwork with eight extended families from diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, and family structure backgrounds in the metropolitan Cleveland area.

Iowa State University Foundation - Ames, Iowa. Awarded: $19,630
Motor and non-motor symptoms, such as depression, negatively impact quality of life for people with Parkinson's disease. Participants in a recent therapeutic singing study have indicated many benefits of group singing for motor and non-motor symptoms. This project seeks to examine the acute and long-term effects of therapeutic singing on both the motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's, including depression, stress, and inflammation.

Skidmore College - Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Awarded: $20,000
An individual differences approach will be used to assess the degree to which music and speech share neural resources. Participants will be identified as lyric- or melody-focused, and scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging while listening to sung melodies. Differences in neural activation between groups will show where and how the speech and music networks are shared, and guide the development of music therapy for language disorders.

University of Oregon - Eugene, Ore. Awarded: $19,992
Sounds are a rich source of information available to infants. A current unmet need is to know which kinds of music, language, and other sound patterns in infancy set young learners on a path to social, linguistic, and academic success. Researchers at the University of Oregon will capture the many sounds in infants' everyday lives and characterize their quantity, quality, and stability. This research has potential to guide evidence-based policy about "sound diets" - from rhythms to tunes to words - that best support infants' development.


AMELIE the stage adaptation of the Oscar-nominated film will play its final performance next Sunday, May 21, 2017, at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre, where it will have played 27 previews and 56 regular performances at the time of closing.

THE GLASS MENAGERIE starring Sally Field at the Belasco Theatre, will close early on May 21, 2017. The revival had been slated to run though July 2, 2017.


TONY BENNETT who has canceled some shows until he recovers from the flu.

THE TROUBLE WITH DOUG a new musical with Music by Will Aronson, Book and Lyrics by Daniel Maté and Will Aronson.

Directed by Tony Award winner Victoria Clark.

Associate Director/Choreographer: Sara Brians.

Music Director: Thomas Møller.

Orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin.

The Trouble With Doug is a contemporary, comedic reimagining of Kafka’s Metamorphosis in which a happy, healthy young man transforms inexplicably into a giant talking slug. Thrust together awkwardly under the same roof, Doug, his family, and his fiancée all struggle to understand and respond to this strangest of crisis.

Featuring: Lars Mølsted as Douglas, Thomas Jensen as Vince, Bjørg Gamst as Vanessa, Ulla Ankerstjerne as Lynn and Christian Damsgaard as Jim.

Its European premiere at Denmark’s Fredericia Theatre in the Fredericia municipality of Denmark opened last Friday, May 12, with performances through June 2, 2017.

FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE a musical by Clarke Peters.

Directed and choreographed by Keith Young.

Musical direction by Abdul Hamid Royal.

This exuberant, international hit musical pays tribute to the music of pioneering saxophonist, singer and bandleader Louis Jordan. The musical tells the story about the heroic Nomax - who is down on his luck, his girlfriend Lorraine has left him, he's been drinking and he's listening to the radio at 4:45 am. Emerging from his radio, the Moes – No Moe, Little Moe, Four Eyed Moe, Eat Moe, and Big Moe – encourage Nomax through song and stories to turn his life around and tell Lorraine that he loves her.

Starring Emmy Award-winner and Tony nominated Obba Babatundé as “Nomax.” In addition to Obba Babatundé, Five Guys Named Moe also stars: Eric B. Anthony as “Eat Moe” - Trevon Davis as “Little Moe” - Rogelio Douglas, Jr. as “Four-Eyed Moe” and Jacques C. Smith as “No Moe” and Octavius Womack as “Big Moe”.

Joining the creative team are Edward E. Haynes, Scenic Design; Naila Aladdin Sanders, Costume Design; Dan Weingarten, Lighting Design; John Feinstein, Sound Design and Ed De Shae, Production Stage Manager.

“Ebony Repertory Theatre's production will commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the musical’s Broadway production and will play May 18 through June 11, 2017, with the official press opening on Saturday, May 20 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE by William Shakespeare.

Directed by company member Tony Award nominee Robert Coccioli.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey kicks off its 55th season with The Merchant of Venice, not seen at The Shakespeare Theatre since 2000. Shakespeare’s dark comedy and one of his most controversial tales is a timely masterpiece that is eerily resonant of our world today. A money-obsessed, patriarchal, dysfunctional society where wealth bestows power; one in which women cannot determine their own fate, and one marked by religious and racial prejudice. A play that offers no true villains or heroes, Shakespeare’s Venice represents a culture as complex and troubling as today’s, where the situations and questions posed ask to examine the “quality of mercy” in myriad ways.

Taking on the famous role of Shylock is Andrew Weems. Brent Harris is cast as Antonio, the merchant referred to by the play’s title. Melissa Miller in the role of Portia, one of Shakespeare’s most notable female characters. Bassani is portrayed by , John Keabler. Jeffrey M. Bender appears as Lancelot Gobbo/Prince of Arragon. Jay Leibowitz is in the role of Solanio. Ian Gould will play the role of Gratiano. Robert S. Gregory is in the role of Duke of Venice/Old Gobbo. Lorenzo is played by , Anthony Michael Martinez. Tug Rice will play Salario.

Rounding out the cast are Amaia Arana as Jessica, Rachel Towne as Nerissa, Ademide Akintilo as Prince of Morroco, Byron Clohessy, and Joe Penczak.

The visual landscape for this production has been conceived by scenic designer Brian Ruggaber, lighting designer Michael Giannitti, and costume designer Candida Nichols. The production stage manager is Alison Cote.

Performances begin on May 17 at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison, NJ.


BRUNO MARS is on stage Wednesday, May 17, in Hamburg, Germany at Barclaycard Arena. Thursday finds him in Copenhagen, Denmark starring at the Royal Arena. Saturday's gig is in Stockholm, Sweden at the Ericsson Globe.

KRISTIN CHENOWETH opens a two nighter May 19 at the De Jong Concert Hall, Provo, UT.

TIM McGRAW AND FAITH HILL on stage Thursday, May 18, at the Arena in Spokane, WA. On Friday they start a two nighter at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman, MT.

ED SHEERAN in the spotlight Monday, May 15, at Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile. On Saturday he's on stage in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the Hipodromo De La Plata.


EDWIN SHERIN Tony nominated stage and television director died May 4, 2017 at his home in Lockeport, nova Scotia, Canada. He was 87.

He began his career as an actor appearing in productions at the Phoenix Theater in New York City, where John Houseman was the producing director, and as a member of Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival. He also acted in dozens of television productions, including plays presented by Omnibus, Playhouse 90 and Studio One. He turned to directing in the 1960s.

In 1964, after directing The White Rose and the Red, a compilation of scenes from five Shakespearean history plays, at the Off Broadway theater Stage 73 and an acclaimed production of The Wall, Millard Lampell’s play about the Warsaw ghetto uprising, at Arena Stage in Washington, he was hired as Arena’s associate producing director. He held that post until 1969.

At Arena, he developed Howard Sackler’s play The Great White Hope, casting James Earl Jones and his co-star, Jane Alexander, in what would prove to be career-making roles.

He directed a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire in London in 1974, with Martin Shaw, Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom, and, a year later, a Broadway revival of Sweet Bird of Youth, with Christopher Walken and Irene Worth. He directed the original production of Williams’s The Eccentricities of a Nightingale on Broadway in 1976.

In 1974 he was nominated for a Tony as best director for Find Your Way Home, John Hopkins’s play about a woman dealing with her husband’s infidelity. It starred Jane Alexander.

Ms. Alexander also appeared under his direction on Broadway in 6 Rms Riv Vu (1972), First Monday in October (1978), Goodbye Fidel (1980) and The Visit (1992).

In his most recent outing as a theater director, in 2009, Sherin directed Ms. Alexander in the Thom Thomas play A Moon to Dance By at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, N.J.

In 1975 he married Ms. Alexander, who survives him. In addition to her he is survived by his stepson Jace Alexander and two sons, Anthony and Jonathan, from his first marriage to the English actress Pamela Vevers. That marriage ended in divorce. He also has six grandchildren.

Next Column: May 21, 2017
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Laura Deni

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