Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: May 15, 2011
By: Laura Deni


The biggest joke on Broadway - Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark may end up having the last laugh.

In a testimony to determination, the virtually totally re-vamped version, including an actually understandable storyline and listenable music by Bono, re-opened in those never ending previews last Thursday at the Foxwoods Theatre on Broadway.

Nobody was injured although technical glitches still exist.

This time there are all the signs that the official opening of June 14 will not only materialize, but be something worthy of favorable reviews.

Perhaps keeping in mind this version needs to fly during the summer tourist season, the new show is more family friendly.

Number crunchers speculate that it will take more than a decade of full houses for the show to recoup investor's money.

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features selections from the sixties and seventies - a period of artistic ferment in the United States. High Fidelity showcases more than 50 works by notable artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin, and others who call California their home including Billy Al Bengston, Ed Ruscha, and Alexis Smith.

The exhibition will honor the late Murray A. Gribin (1923-2011), an inspired trustee and patron of the MCASD since the 1970s. A passionate advocate for the arts, Gribin and his wife Ruth settled in California in the 1940s. Together they built a lively collection of recent art from the West Coast.

At MCASD, the collection was the subject of a 2006 exhibition La Dolce Vita. The show highlighted the range of Gribin’s collecting even as it underscored his dedication to certain artists over time. In his lifetime, Gribin donated more than 75 works to MCASD.

High Fidelity will feature selections of these gifts with an emphasis on his early acquisitions including works by Sam Francis, Joe Goode, and Ed Ruscha.

While reflecting different styles, such as minimalism, pop art, and assemblage, the works on view all reflect the experimental spirit of the period. Artists continued to challenge long-held stylistic conventions and allow room for contemporary content.

Primarily an exhibition of paintings, High Fidelity includes many works which hone their focus on the formal components of art. Abstraction is represented in many variations from gestural efforts, reflecting the pull of mid-century abstract expressionism, to refined monochromes, which rejected that very approach. Exhibiting artists, including Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Irwin, and Frank Stella, explore surface tension, positive and negative space, and limits or edge of painting.

Other artists such as Sol Lewitt, Alfred Jensen, and Donald Judd employ systems to determine their compositions. Alongside the refinement of such approaches, other works on view reflect a grittier, often informal quality. Artists such as Vija Celmins, Bruce Connor, Edward Keinholz, and John Baldessari use found materials, expanses of text, and prosaic imagery to reference the real world as much as the art world. Together, these images and references recall and represent a period of recent history with “high fidelity.”

High Fidelity: Selections from the 1960s and 1970s is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and is on display May 28-September 5, 2011.

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from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez, Tony Award-winning co-creator of Avenue Q, is the only musical in which a doorbell is important to the score. And, from the sound of that first proselytizing ring, you're converted into this musical which infectiously and flawlessly is presented both on stage and in this original cast recording, which will be released by Ghostlight Records digitally on Tuesday, May 17 and physically on Tuesday, June 7.

Elder Price (Andrew Rannells) is a Mormon missionary sent to Uganda, though he wishes to go to Orlando instead. Elder Cunningham (Josh Gad) is another missionary also sent to Uganda. He often weaves characters from Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings into his teachings since he sort of skipped over actually reading The Book of Mormon.

Mafala Hatimbi (Michael Potts) is the leader of the Ugandan tribe. Nabalungi (Nikki M. James) is a tribe member who dreams of moving to "Sal Tlay Ka Siti". Elder McKinley (Rory O'Malley), one of the lead Mormon elders, is secretly homosexual but in denial of his feelings. He's told Mormons know it's easy to stop being a homosexual - just simply Turn It Off, instructs the rousing number.

A bright march tempo leads the army of young missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints - where they are compelled to convert the entire world - one doorbell ring at a time.

The innocent and enthusiastic missionaries think Uganda will be something like The Lion King. The good folks in Uganda are experts in both vulgarity and the Evil Eye (Eebowai) making it clear that poverty, AIDS and ritual female circumcision are indeed as bad as they seem.

Once I came out of anesthetic reciting some of the bawdy lyrics from Les Miz - possibly because the previous day I had been listening to the CD on repeat play. The medical staff was both offended and horrified. So bend out of shape they forgot to remove a monitoring device from my back, which contained wires. A physician, so outraged that such words could possible come from the lips of a woman, came into my hospital room, called me a name, and physically pushed me so hard that, when my back slammed against my bed, the wires in the patch, left on my back by mistake, lodged into my skin. Another doctor had to cut them out. Demanding to know what I had said that so offended the people in the healing occupation, an embarrassed nurse told me some of the phrases. I informed the caring professionals that those were the some of the lyrics to two songs from Les Miz. None of them had seen the show or had a clue. I was told that surgical personnel are taught that they can determine the personal values of a patient by what they say while coming out of anesthetic. Point being - let's hope nobody ever regains consciousness reciting the lyrics to Hasa Diga Eebowai.

Those tie wearing, bike riding, hell bent to convert Mormon missionaries have blinder vision that calls for an effervescent score. The Book of Mormon songs are spot on - upbeat, giddy, hovering over-reality.

The cast of The Book of Mormon. In the center is Andrew Rannells who plays the cocky Elder Price with Josh Gad (towards the right) as the geeky Elder Cunningham. Boneau/Bryan-Brown Public Relations. Photo by Joan Marcus
That doesn't mean there aren't power songs or bring 'em to their feet production numbers.

When seen in person - Broadway To Vegas has already reviewed the show - the patron has the benefit of costumes, choreography and staging, not to mention dialogue and the actors. Minus those components some musicals don't translate well into a recording. Listening to The Book of Mormon on a CD is totally entertaining. The score, arrangements and orchestrations - by themselves - are an accurate reflection of the plotline including the enthusiastic Mormon naiveté that permeates their missionaries. The songs are catchy, clever, funny - not mean spirited.

When not upbeat Mormon, the tunes are shake the rafters calypso.

All American Prophet captures the impossible - taking a religious faith which is practiced by a large segment of the world - and translating their basic beliefs into a revved up song. Sal Tlay Ka Sit sung by Nabulungi (Nikki M. James) is a solo power number and James delivers. As with so many third world converts, Nabulung's expectations aren't rooted in reality. She's desperate to get to Salt Lake City where she mistakenly thinks "the roofs are thatched with gold" and she wants to "get on the next bus to paradise" which will have plenty of goat meat, all the flour she can eat, "and I'll bet the people are open minded/and don't care who you've been/ and all I hope is when I find it/I'm able to fit in."

I Believe is another group power song in which Elder Price sings of doubt and his belief. "I believe - that He sent His only son to die for my sins/And I believe/that ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America/I am a Mormon, and a Mormon just believes. You cannot just believe part way/You have to believe in it all ... That the current president of the Church, Thomas Monson, speaks directly to God/ I am a Mormon, and dang it, a Mormon just believes.../That in 1978 God changed his mind about Black people/ Black people/You'll be a Mormon/a Mormon who just believes ... that God lives on a planet called Kolob/ I believe/ That Jesus has his own planet as well/ Believe/ And I believe that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri ... A Mormon Just/ Believes."

That the young missionaries have developed great affection for Uganda is demonstrated in I Am Africa, an affirmation song: "We are Africa/We are the winds of the Serengeti/ We are the sweat of the jungleman/We are the tears of Nelson Mandela/We are the Lost Boys of the Sudan."

The hallelujah Tomorrow Is a Latter Day and a reprise of Hello are revival meetin' motivational stand up and testify tunes.

Musically the Jews, so to speak, own Fiddler on the Roof. The Catholics can claim The Sound of Music, Sister Act, and Altar Boyz. The Mormon hierarchy in Salt Lake City have all but damned The Book of Mormon. They missed a golden tablet opportunity. They should have stationed missionaries around the theatre who ask patrons laughing as they leave - Now that you've seen the musical, would you like to read the book?

The musical Altar Boyz did it with the Catholic Church. If you just listen to the CD you receive an impression of the Catholic Church that is so favorable you'd think the Pope must play the CD non-stop. If you see the show you realize it is a ditzy musical spoof about a fictitious Christian boy band of the same name. It follows the Altar Boyz as the band sings and dances its way through the last stop on its Raise the Praise world tour. The show pokes friendly fun at both religion and ’90s pre-teen culture. It wasn't offensive. Rather, it was entertaining.

The same can be said for The Book of Mormon. If you listen to the CD your impression of the Mormon Church is totally favorable. When you see the production you realize it's a clever satire about the Mormon Church's missionary movement. The musical isn't mean spirited. It's even sweet.

If you've seen the incredibly funny Broadway show, listening to this original cast CD will bring back delightful memories. If you haven't yet seen the show (Why not? Shame on you!) then listening to The Book of Mormon will make you want to rush out and get your place, if not in heaven, at least in the theatre.

Music, direction and vocal arrangements Stephen Oremus. Orchestrations Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus.

The Book Of Mormon [Original Broadway Cast Recording]

Act I
Hello – Price, Cunningham and Mormon Boys
Two By Two – Price, Cunningham and Mormon Boys
You and Me (But Mostly Me) – Price and Cunningham
Hasa Diga Eebowai (in English, "F**k you, God") – Mafala, Price, Cunningham and Ugandans
Turn It Off – McKinley and Missionaries
I Am Here For You - Price and Cunningham
All American Prophet – Price, Cunningham, Joseph Smith, Angel Moroni and Company
Sal Tlay Ka Siti – Nabulungi
Man Up – Cunningham, Nabulungi, Price and Company

Act II
Making Things Up Again – Cunningham, Cunningham’s Dad, Joseph Smith, Mormon, Moroni and Ugandans
Spooky Mormon Hell Dream – Price and Company
I Believe – Price
Baptize Me – Cunningham, Nabulungi
I Am Africa – McKinley, Missionaries and Ugandans
Joseph Smith American Moses – Nabulungi and Ugandans
Tomorrow Is a Latter Day – Price, McKinley, Cunningham, Nabulungi and Company
Hello (Reprise) – Company

The cast of The Book of Mormon will autographs copies of the Original Broadway Cast Recording on Tuesday, May 17, at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. The signing will be from 2:00 – 3:30 PM. The cast, including the production’s Tony Award-nominees Josh Gad, Andrew Rannells, Nikki M. James and Rory O’Malley, will sign copies of the CD inside the theatre. Ghostlight Records releases the Original Broadway Cast Recording of The Book of Mormon digitally on Tuesday, May 17 and physically on Tuesday, June 7.

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Laurence Fishburne
40th Anniversary Gala. This special event saluting NFT for 40 years a seminal force in Black Theater, will be co-hosted by Randall Pinkston of CBS News and Emmy Award-winner Lynn Whitfield.

Chairmen for the event are Laurence Fishburne, John Morning and Susan Taylor. The Honorary Chair is Dr. Maya Angelou.

In addition to celebrating NFT’s vital contribution to the arts internationally, the Gala will feature special awards for 12 individuals and one organization that changed the cultural life of our nation: Sidney Poitier, Ntozake Shange, Ruby Dee, Alicia Keys, Hon. David Dinkins, Imhotep Gary Byrd, George Faison, Amiri Baraka, Rev. Malcolm Boyd, Elizabeth McCann, Carla Pinza, Terrie Williams and National Black Theatre Festival.

Among those who will attend and speak about the honorees will be Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Townsend, Danny Glover, S. Epatha Merkerson, Lamman Rucker, Sonia Sanchez, Kene Holiday, Starletta DuPois, Dr Mary Schmidt Campbell, Glynn Turman, Ted Lange, Tommy Hicks, Pia Lindstrom, Susan Taylor, and Oz Scott.

Sunday May 22 at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.

Founded by Woodie King, Jr. in 1970, New Federal Theatre has gone on to international acclaim for its bold mission to integrate minorities and women into the mainstream of American theater.

The alumni list of NFT productions reads like a Who’s Who of American theater, film and television: Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Debbie Allen, Phylicia Rashad, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jackee Harry, Laurence Fishburne, Dick Anthony Williams, Taurean Blacque, Debbie Morgan, Robert Downey, Jr. Garrett Morris, Lynn Whitfield, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Ruby Dee, Leslie Uggams, Samuel L. Jackson and many more.

MIKE DAISEY'S HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA Acclaimed storyteller and author Mike Daisey will stage a benefit performance for Intiman Theatre artists of his conversation-sparking monologue How Theater Failed America at Seattle Rep May 18, 2011.

The proceeds will be distributed as grants administered by Artist Trust to artists who were expecting employment from Intiman Theatre this season, but were not yet contracted and received no severance upon cancellation of the season.


Following its popular debut last year, the Opening Night Fête returns to kick off the 2011 Festival in festive fashion. Celebrate the opening of the Spoleto season by joining Festival patrons and artists under the stars at the Murray Center in Charleston, SC.

The gardens of this beautiful 18th-century mansion will be transformed into a magical setting with full bar, cocktail supper, live music, and dancing into the night.

Festive cocktail attire is requested.

THE ACTORS FUND ANNUAL GALA will be held May 23 at the New York Marriott Marquis. The evening will honor Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress and current star of The Addams Family, Bebe Neuwirth; Tony, Emmy and Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino; and Vice President, Market General Manager for New York City’s Marriott & Renaissance Hotels, Michael J. Stengel.

Both Neuwirth and Stengel will receive The Actors Fund Medal of Honor, and Pacino will receive the Lee Strasberg Artistic Achievement Award.

Neuwirth is being honored for her 12 years of services as a trustee of The Actors Fund and as the founder of The Dancers’ Resource, a program of The Fund aimed at relieving the emotional and physical challenges faced by dancers. The evening will begin with cocktails followed by dinner and entertainment.

LONDON CHAMBER ORCHESTRA celebrates its 90th anniversary this year and is holding a special concert in aid of The Prince's Trust.

LCO is the longest established professional chamber orchestra in the UK and harbors a unique personality and character which infuse its performances.

"We are delighted to be the benefiting charity for the final concert of the season. This will be their first concert after performing at the wedding of HRH Prince William and Catherine Middleton," stated the official release.

The program will include Lady Radnor’s Suite by Parry, Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 and Mozart Symphony No. 41 ‘Jupiter’. The orchestra will be conducted by its highly esteemed Music Director and Principal Conductor Christopher Warren-Green. The conductor actually lives in Charlotte, South Carolina. When he isn't keeping musicians on the right beat for the royals, he is the maestro of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. ( See Broadway To Vegas column of March 20, 2011 )

Guests will also have the opportunity to hear Prince’s Trust Ambassador and world-renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber speak on behalf of The Trust. May 25, 2011, St. John's, Smith Square, London.

URBAN STAGES' 27th ANNUAL BENEFIT Stars Shine for Urban Stages’ Outreach, will be held at the Boathouse in Central Park. The event celebrates the company’s successful Outreach Program that brings over 350 programs of arts-in-education to schools and libraries throughout the five boroughs of New York.

This year Urban Stages will honor Stanley Zareff, Director, Corporate Communications, Credit Suisse along with Urban Stages teaching artists Timothy Connell (actor), Carrie Ellman-Larson (actor), Maggie Keenan Bolger (actor), Liz Parker (actor), Jovoni Serrano (dancer) and J Lyn Thomas (dancer).

Enjoy a Spring Fling under the stars at the boathouse while savoring a delicious dinner by Executive Chef Anthony E. Walton. Win a stay at the famous Dromoland Castle in Ireland at the live auction conducted by auctioneer Harmer Johnson. At nine o’clock 20 to 35 year old Urban Stages’ “late nighters” are invited to come to the gala for a lower price to dance the night away at the boathouse.

The featured entertainment, Bob Hardwick and his orchestra, has performed throughout the world, including five Presidential Inaugurals.

At the Boathouse in Central Park May 23, 2011. ( See Broadway To Vegas column of January 18, 2009 )

Marvin Hamlisch
Starring Marvin Hamlisch, Montego Glover, Gary Mauer, and Anne Runolfsson along with a full band, in a program of Broadway's greatest hits and American classics from the 1920s to today.

The entire Gala experience includes Pre-Show Cocktail Reception at The Heldrich Hotel, performance at the State Theatre, and Dinner-Dance with auctions, live entertainment, open bars, and lots more! A great evening supporting the State Theatre's artistically acclaimed programming and top-quality arts education for school kids.

William C. Weldon, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, is this year's honoree.

The business preferred dress code event takes place May 21 in New Brunswick, NJ.

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Jon Cryer at the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos
Long before Jon Cryer became a household name, thanks to his Emmy award winning performances on Two and a Half Men, there was his mother - Gretchen Cryer.

Now both are returning to work.

Jon is about to begin another season of Two and a Half Men. Gretchen is about to reprise her hit I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road, which should not be confused with Charlie Sheen's act which he took on the road.

The York Theatre Company in New York City has announced that the first two titles for its upcoming Summer 2011 Musicals in Mufti Concert Series - the York’s acclaimed series of musical theatre gems in staged concert performances - with be Cryer creations.

Collaborators Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford’s late-70s Off Broadway hit, I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road - book and lyrics by Gretchen Cryer, music by Nancy Ford - will play in repertory with the world premiere of the show’s sequel, Still Getting My Act Together.

Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford
Both shows will be directed by West Hyler, and the sequel will include three original cast members from the first show where Cryer will reprise her role of Heather Jones. Performances will run from June 18-26, 2011.

Considered one of the most enduring and empowering Off-Broadway musicals of all time, I'm Getting My Act Together premiered in the late 1970s Off-Broadway at the Public Theater and ran for years, becoming a sensation for all theatre-goers. The story follows a fictional cabaret singer, Heather Jones, as she evolves her traditional act of romantic pop tunes to a bold new act full of emancipating, feminist pieces. As she performs the new show, song by song, Heather fights to achieve an artistic metamorphosis while her dominating manager, Joe, tries to keep her act in the past.

The never-before-seen-or-heard sequel, Still Getting My Act Together, takes place 30 years after the original and will also be presented Mufti-style for the first time ever onstage.

In this new show, Heather and her daughter take center stage and will uncover just what happened in the three decades since Heather got her act together and took it on the road. And, in a real treat for music theatre aficionados, the sequel will feature three cast members from the original production: Gretchen Cryer (also the show’s librettist), Betty Aberlin and Margot Rose. Nancy Ford also returns as composer.

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Surpassing charades and Monopoly as the favorite parlor game - guessing the name of the super star who, as claimed in a lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles, has purportedly given a Las Vegas resident a sexually transmitted disease.

Important clues:

Must have a net worth in excess of $100 million, and been in Las Vegas on or before April Fools Day - no joke.

TMZ first broke the story about the legal filing in which the injured party, whose name nor sex is identified in the lawsuit, is requesting $20 million from an unnamed male identified only as an international superstar who has “appeared widely on television and film,” who has a net worth in excess of $100 million. That on or about April 1, had a consensual sexual encounter which was taped in a sprawling Las Vegas hotel penthouse. What wasn't consented to by the plaintiff was being infected with herpes.

"On the day of the meeting the defendant entered into a nefarious plot designed to lure the plaintiff into his luxurious hotel room to serve his selfish prurient desires" states the court papers.

"For the plaintiff the night will last forever, not solely in the form of the videotape that recorded the evening but in the form of a dreaded sexually transmitted disease."

Although the plaintiff is asking for a jury trial, a lot of people would like to see this lawsuit go away. The odds are it will be settled out of court before ever reaching the glare of television cameras.

Drum beats getting louder say the accused is a womanizer whose numerous television appearances do not include starring in a series.


A CONVERSATION WITH ANNE DEAVERE SMITH Playwright, actor and professor Anna Deavere Smith, uses her singular brand of theatre to explore issues of community, character and diversity in America. Her work, which explores the American character and our multifaceted national identity, has been acclaimed by the media and audiences across the country. Looking at controversial events from multiple points of view, her work combines the journalistic technique of interviewing with the art of interpreting their words.

An audience Q&A follows.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ.

L.A. THEATRE WORKS' DRACULA Written by Charles Morey. From the novel by Bram Stoker. Directed by Rosalind Ayres. Starring Dark Shadows’ Ben Cross, David Selby, John Glover, Lisa O’Hare, Moira Quirk, Sheelagn Cullen, Andre Sogliuzzo, Karl Miller, Nick Toren and Denise Carole.

Selby will play Van Helsing with Cross as Dracula, Glover as Renfield, O’Hare as Mina and Moira Quirk as Lucy.

In this blood-thirsty tale of unholy terror, Count Dracula (Ben Cross) slips into Victorian London with a cargo of his native Transylvanian soil - so he can rest between victims. The city seems helpless against his frightful power, and only one man, Dr. Van Helsing (David Selby), can stop the carnage. But to do this, he must uncover the vampire's lair and pierce his heart with a wooden stake.

All performances will be recorded to air on L.A. Theatre Works' syndicated radio theater series,which broadcasts weekly on public radio stations nationwide.

May 18-22 at LA Theatre Works in the Magnin Auditorium at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

THE TRICYCLE THEATRE in London celebrates 30 years with a special Open Day on Sunday, May 22. They'll be fun activities and events, as a special thanks to everyone who has supported the Tricycle over the past thirty years.

All are invited to bring the family along for a day of theatre, film, arts & crafts, live music and more! Including a special Q&A screening of The Pipe with director Risteard O'Domhnaill.

FLIGHT a new play by Michael Wallerstein starring Douglas Sills will have an industry reading on Tuesday, May 17, at Theatre Row – Studio Theatre in New York City.

Presented by the Alchemy Theatre Company, the reading will be directed by James B. Nicola, with casting by Laura Stanczyk. Flight is described as "a man's search for truth and love against the backdrop of his mother's deterioration and haunting memories of her past. Funny, tender, and distressing, Flight touches in surprising and challenging ways.

STEPPENWOLF'S critically acclaimed production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee opens on Broadway October 13, 2012 - 50 years to the day from the play's original Broadway opening. Under the direction of Pam MacKinnon, the production will feature the cast seen at Washington, DC's Arena Stage - Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Carrie Coon and Madison Dirks - as well as the original Steppenwolf creative team - Todd Rosenthal (sets), Nan Cibula-Jenkins (costumes), Allen Lee Hughes (lights), and Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound).

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proposed in Washington, DC has met with strong resistance from area theatre groups. Mayor Vincent Gray's budget for 2012 contains a 6% tax on all ticketed arts events including those at theaters, dance companies, museums, universities, public schools, churches and any other organization that sells tickets for the arts. Gray predicted the tax would generate $2,303,000 in FY 2012 and nearly ten million over the next four years. Federal institutions, such as the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution's theaters would be exempt.

Artistic Director of Arena Stage Molly Smith was one of the first to launch a campaign to defeat the proposal.

She e-mailed: "If this tax passes, D.C.’s cultural landscape would lose:
Such a tax WILL raise the cost of purchasing a ticket and WILL deter participation thus causing a ripple effect significantly impacting arts organizations in both reduced income and increased expense, ancillary businesses with reduced traffic, as well as arts education programs in our schools due to the inability for many organizations to sustain such programming given the decreased revenue.

Sales tax is a regressive tax hitting lower income audiences the hardest. This tax reinforces an idea we have fought so hard to overcome - that the arts are elitist. This tax is morally unacceptable in OUR arts environment that strives to build accessibility to the arts to audiences of all economic backgrounds.

Reducing arts consumption will not only impact our quality of life but it will further reduce tax revenue generated by ancillary activities - e.g. the 10% tax levied on restaurant sales.

This tax will challenge D.C. arts organizations' ability to compete with MD, VA and federal cultural venues - none of whose admissions will be subject to D.C. sales tax.

The reported estimate for potential revenue from this amendment is relatively small - tiny actually! The number will be even smaller given the likely subsequent decrease in demand for arts activities. The net revenue will again be reduced after the loss in ancillary tax revenue and the government's administrative costs of compliance are factored in.

The FY12 budget again reduces the District's investment in the arts industry WHILE concurrently proposes an unprecedented tax on its sales activities. The arts industry already generates more tax revenue than the annual public investment through taxes on personal income, property and sales taxes associated with ancillary activities.
The administrative impact of this tax will affect nonprofits, churches, public schools, universities and anyone who charges an admission price as they must collect, report, and deliver - conducting these tax compliance activities will add to everyone's overhead expense.

In the nonprofit performing arts industry, the market price for tickets is generally less than half the cost of production. If there were an extra 6% to be made in the marketplace, the producers would already be charging it.

In addition to a tax on theater tickets, Gray also has proposed other increases which would also affect the theatregoer: a 12% - 18% sales tax on parking and an increase in the sales tax on the off-premises sale of alcohol from 9% to 10%.

RECORD AMOUNT RAISED On Monday, May 2, Members of Congress and Washington VIPs performed an original play, The World's A Stage, during the 9th annual Will on the Hill at Sidney Harman Hall. Tim Daly from ABC's Private Practice and Tony nominee Euan Morton made special guest appearances. ( See Broadway To Vegas column of April 24, 2011 )

This year's event raised more than $360,000, the largest amount in Will on the Hill history, to benefit their artistic, education and community outreach programs of the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

THE STATE OF MARYLAND has increase tax incentives offered to film and television projects from $1 million to $7.5 million beginning in July.

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has signed on to replace Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. The lead up to last Friday's official announcement is a lesson on the importance of math skills.

Kutcher, a well known Twitter addict, posted: "What is the square root of 6.25? 2.5."

Kutcher was a biochemical engineering student at the University of Iowa, so he has a head for math. Others can purchase a square root calculator.

THE AMERICAN THEATRE WING has announced that Heather Hitchens has been appointed as the organization's next Executive Director. The decision was made at a meeting of the American Theatre Wing's Board of Trustees on Wednesday, May 4. Hitchens is called "an energetic and nationally recognized arts executive, with nearly 20 years of experience in performing arts administration, policy, and program development. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the oldest and largest state arts agency in the country, with a budget of $40 million."

Hitchens will begin her tenure as Executive Director on July 5, succeeding Howard Sherman, who has been the Wing's Executive Director for 8 years and concludes his tenure on June 30.

QUEEN ELIZABETH last Thursday became the second longest-ruling British monarch in the last 1,000 years. The Queen was seen cheering with delight - not at her passing the reign of George III with only Queen Victoria to beat - but that her nag, St. James, finished first at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which is Britain's largest outdoor equestrian show. The event has been running for over 65 years and takes place in The Queen’s private grounds at Windsor Castle. Later, she toured events with her daughter-in-law Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Lang Lang
held their annual Awards Ceremony on May 12 with music lover Prince Charles doing the honors.

Founded in 1882, the Royal College of Music trains performers, conductors and composers to the highest international standards. The Prince of Wales, who sings and plays several instruments, became President of the College in 1993.

In receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Music Lang Lang became the youngest and the first Chinese individual to be distinguished with this high honor.

The ceremony took place at the Britten Theatre of the Royal College of Music in London, followed by a brief concert at the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall. As HRH the Prince of Wales arrived at RCM, the stage curtain rose and the brass fanfare welcomed the Royal party onto the stage. Lord Winston, the Chairman of the College, read the citation for Lang Lang, whereupon HRH Prince Charles conferred the Honorary Doctorate of Music and presented him with the scroll. Composer James MacMillan and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen received their Honorary Doctorate Degrees alongside Lang Lang.

RCM's decision to award the degree to Lang Lang celebrates the 40 million Chinese children inspired to learn classical piano. As one of the world's most renowned pianists, whose performance at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics brought him to the attention of five billion people worldwide; Lang Lang is viewed as a symbol of China's future.

In 2004, Lang Lang was appointed International Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Children's Fund. Four years later he launched the Lang Lang International Music Foundation to "nurture young talent, introduce underserved communities to classical music, and cultivate the audiences of tomorrow."


MARY TYLER MOORE recovering after undergoing four hours of surgery last Friday to remove a benign tumor from her brain. The television icon, who is also an Academy Award nominated actress, starred on Broadway in Whose Life Is It Anyway and in Sweet Sue.


LOMBARDI Eric Simonson's football drama about late Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, will end its Broadway run May 22. The production which stars Dan Lauria as Lombardi and Tony nominated Judith Light as his wife, opened October 21, 2010, at the Circle in the Square Theatre. When it closes, Lombardi will have played 30 previews and 244 performances.

WONDERLAND a new musical by Gregory Boyd (book and direction), Frank Wildhorn (music) and Jack Murphy (book and lyrics) will close May 15, 2011 at Broadway's Marquee Theatre. Previews began March 21 with the official opening taking place April 17. A cast album was released May 3.

VATICAN FALLS (IL VATICANO CADE) a play written by NYC-area based playwright Frank J. Avella that challenges Pope Benedict's role in the Catholic sex abuse scandal as well as questions John Paul II's decisions involving the scandal - was cancelled the day before the first scheduled performance at the Teastro Vascello in Rome.

According to an e-mail from Avella: "After over two months of rehearsals and over eight months of preparation, the show, based on factual accounts and events, was officially shut down by Teatro Vascello right before the final dress rehearsal on May 9th, 2011."

"Vatican Falls was scheduled to open May 10th under the direction of Enrico Maria Lamanna with a cast of some of Italy's best and brightest stars of stage, screen and TV including Ludovico Fremont, Giorgia Wurth, Gian Piero Rotoli, Maria Rosaria Carli and Michele Cesari," continued the e-mail.

"The show was officially announced to the press on September 23, 2010.

Mr. Avella arrived in Rome on May 9th for the final dress rehearsal, only to find that his play had been cancelled."

From a statement made by Avella: "I was never given any official reason, no apology, nothing. They simply pulled the plug and left me, Enrico and the devoted cast and crew in a lurch. I'm still waiting for some real explanation about why my play - which had generated quite a bit of excitement - was unceremoniously dumped. Who exactly is behind the threats, the phone calls? And why has one producer vanished without having to answer for her role? I'm angry and I want answers."

Vatican Falls had a work shop in New York City and Cincinnati. The most recent reading was presented at the Dramatists Guild in NYC in May of 2010.

THE MOTHER F**KER WITH THE HAT with 6 Tony nominations, has been extended through Sunday, July 17, at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

The play stars Bobby Cannavale as Jackie, Chris Rock as Ralph D, Elizabeth Rodriguez as Veronica, Annabella Sciorra as Victoria and Yul Vázquez as Cousin Julio.

The creative team includes original music by Terence Blanchard, scenic design by Todd Rosenthal, costume design by Mimi O'Donnell, lighting design by Donald Holder and sound design by Acme Sound Partners.

MURDER FOR TWO - A KILLER MUSICAL a comic thriller with music and book by Joe Kinosian and lyrics and book by Kellen Blair. Jeff Award winner David H. Bell directs.

This 75-minute premiere stars Joe Kinosian and Chicago favorite Alan Schmuckler.

The production "mixes the suspense of an Agatha Christie mystery with old-fashioned musical comedy and a dash of modern panache to tell the tale of an inspector's crime investigation at the home of a recently deceased novelist. Hoping for a promotion to the ranks of detective, the inspector takes on the dangerous task of interrogating the murdered novelist's eccentric relatives and so-called friends (all played by Kinosian) - and discovers that no one is who they appear to be."

The production team includes scenic designer Scott Davis; costume designer Jeremy Floyd; lighting designer Jesse Klug; sound designer James Savage; wig and make-up designer Melissa Veal; and properties master Chelsea Meyers.

Performances play Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Opening night is May 17 with performances through June 19 at the Tony Award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

THE SHAGGS a new musical with a book by Joy Gregory; music by Gunnar Madsen; lyrics by Gregory and Madsen; and story by Gregory, Madsen and John Langs. Co-creator John Langs directs.

Starring Annie Golden, Steve Routman, Emily Walton, Tony nominee Peter Friedman, Kevin Cahoon, Jamey Hood, Cory Michael Smith and Sarah Sokolovic.

Inspired by true events, the musical tells the story of an ambitious father (Peter Friedman) who promotes his untalented daughters as a singing group in the 1970s. Set in Fremont, NH, in the late 1960s, when a working-class dad (Friedman) "has a vision of rock 'n' roll destiny for his three talentless daughters" (Hood, Sokolovic and Walton).

According to official notes, "[He's] convinced they're his family's one-way ticket out of hardship and obscurity. But the girls have ideas of their own - and as their father's ambition turns to obsession, the price of familial obligation becomes all too clear."

The production features choreography by Ken Roht, scenic design by Mimi Lien, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Geoff Korf and sound design by Darron L West. Orchestrations are by Gunnar and musical direction is by Aaron Gandy. Production stage manager is Lori Lundquist.

The co-production between Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop began previews on May 12 at PH's Mainstage Theater in New York City. The official opening is set for June 7 with performances through July 3.

JUAN AND JOHN created and performed by Roger Guenveur Smith.

Based on the infamous day in the summer of 1965 when San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal hit Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro in the head with his bat.

Smith witnessed the event on television and passionately presents it as part of a greater story that encompasses the Watts riots, Catholicism, the notions of marriage, family and, ultimately, redemption and forgiveness.

May 17 - 29 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles.

PYGMALION by George Bernard Shaw.

Starring Kara Tointon, Rupert Everett and Diana Rigg.

Egocentric Professor of Phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet with his friend, the amiable Colonel Pickering, that he can transform the manners and speech of Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle and pass her off as a lady in society. Bernard Shaw’s ever-entertaining dramatic tour de force is a provocative assault on the sexual politics, educational limitations and class structure of his day. But peppered with his trademark wit and classic style, it is also beguilingly funny. At the Garrick Theatre in London to September 3, 2011.

LUCKY GUY a new musical comedy, written and directed by Willard Beckham.

Starring Emmy Award-winner Leslie Jordan, Varla Jean Merman (aka Jeffery Roberson), Kyle Dean Massey, Jenn Colella, Jim Newman, Savannah Wise, and Callan Bergmann, Xavier Cano, Wes Hart and Joshua Woodie as The Buckaroos.

"Welcome to Nashville – a town full of colorful characters all chasing after the very same dream: a smash hit record. To beat the odds and strike gold (or, better yet, platinum), it takes one great song, serious talent, or lots of luck – and preferably all three. Featuring an array of musical styles with salutes to Country, Broadway, Vaudeville, Bluegrass, Pop, and even Hawaiian, Lucky Guy weaves a tale of down-home dreamers and low-down schemers all willing to do whatever it takes to come out on top in the cut-throat world of Music City, USA."

The creative team includes Rob Bissinger (set design), Paul Miller (lighting design), William Ivey Long (costume design), Kurt Fischer (sound design), A.C. Ciulla (choreography), Todd Ellison (orchestrations and musical supervision) and Mark Hummel (dance arrangements).

Officially opens Thursday, May 19 at the Little Shubert Theatre in New York City with performances through Sunday, July 24, 2011.

THE SECRET GARDEN - THE CONCERT Music by: Lucy Simon. Book and Lyrics by: Marsha Norman. Based on the Novel by: Frances Hodgeson Burnett.

The production will star Caldwell’s Broadway Concert luminaries, Wayne LeGette and Melissa Minyard, while adding newcomer Amy Miller Brennan. In the pivotal role of Mary Lennox, the adage of “the apple not falling far…” is applicable, as it will be handled by Catherine Minyard, daughter of Melissa Minyard. Colin Craven, the other child role in The Secret Garden, features the young talent, Dakota Ruiz, who most recently finished the national tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

The Secret Garden will be the largest cast for a Caldwell Theatre Company Concert, with a cast of 17 in total.

This enchanting classic of children’s literature is re-imagined in brilliant, adult, musical style. Orphaned in India, 11 year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his invalid son, Colin. The estate’s many wonders include a magic garden which beckons the children with haunting melodies and the “Dreamers,” spirits from Mary’s past who guide her through her new life, dramatizing, The Secret Garden’s compelling tale of forgiveness and renewal.

May 20-22 at the Caldwell Theatre Company in Boca Raton, Florida.

THE BOOK OF MORMON has announced that their national tour will begin in Denver with performances at Denver's Buell Theatre in December 2012. (, inc) Women College Pants


BLACKWATER is an international band based in Beijing, China, playing Irish music. It consists in the singer Desmond McGarry (Canada), Daniel Brustman (USA) on guitar, Zoe Wang (China) on the accordion, and Nico Torrese (France) on the tenor banjo and the mandolin.

Their music draws from the rich traditional Irish repertoire (The Limerick Rake, The Foggy Dew, Wild Rover, I’ll Tell Me Ma, Spancill Hill, John Ryan’s Polka…. and much more). From beautiful ballads to frenzied jigs and reels, Blackwater is billed as "probably the most authentic Irish music band one can listen to in Beijing." You can listen to them on May 21 performing as part of the interCeltic Festival in Beijing.

JAMES TAYLOR entertains Wednesday, May 18, at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY.

TIM ALLEN telling funny stories to the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas May 20-21.

ERIC CLAPTON on Tuesday, May 17 opens a 6 night split stand at the Royal Albert Hall in London with this week's shows on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

THE MONKEES the original TV boyband are back for their first UK shows in 12 years to perform their best known hits including Daydream Believer', (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone and I'm A Believer. Davy, Micky and Peter are ready to clear up some unfinished Monkee Business and celebrate over four decades at the top. Thursday, May 19 at Royal Albert Hall in London.

LANG LANG performing with the Youth Orchestra of Bahia in a program including Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 2 and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Saturday May 21 2011, at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

SADE AND JOHN LEGEND Monday, May 16, at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland.

ADELE entertains Monday, May 16, at the Olympia de Montreal in Quebec. Wednesday's show is at the Kool Haus in Toronto. On Thursday she's on stage at the Beacon Theatre in NYC. On Saturday she's in the spotlight at the United Palace in NYC.

JAMES BLUNT is in Australia this week with performances a two night gig beginning Monday, May 16, at the State Theatre in Sydney. On Wednesday the show is at the Royal Theatre in Canberra. Friday finds him at the Barton Theatre in Adelaide. On Saturday he's center stage at the Exhibition Centre in Melbourne.

GLEE LIVE IN CONCERT performs Saturday, May 21, at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The following night, Sunday, May 22, they are at the Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, CA.

PAUL SIMON on stage Monday, May 16, at the Vic Theatre in Chicago. Tuesday's show is also in Chicago but this time the venue is the Chicago Theatre. On Thursday the show is at the Ryman in Nashville. Next Sunday he participates in The Hangout Beach Music and Arts Festival in Guld Shores, AL.


MARIAN MERCER a Tony Award winner, died April 27, 2011 in Newbury Park, CA. She was 75. The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

She had a five decade career in stage and television.

She made her Broadway debut in the chorus of the musical, Greenwillow in 1960. She drew critical notice for her performance in New Faces of 1962, and won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Marge MacDougall in the original 1968 Broadway musical Promises, Promises, which ran for 1,281 performances at the Shubert Theatre.

Additional theatre credits include Hay Fever and the 1978 revival of Stop the World - I Want To Get Off with Sammy Davis, Jr.

She is survived by Patrick Hogan, her husband of 31 years, and a daughter, Deidre Whitaker.

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