Broadway To Vegas, show reviews, gossip, news and celebrity interviews

Broadway To Vegas


Copyright: May 17, 1999
By: Laura Deni


The Emerging Artists and Talent in Music Conference, co-founded in 1997 by David Cassidy's hard working wife, Sue, and the equally hard working Lisa Tenner, kick off their annual event in Las Vegas May 19-22.

Keanu Reeves and his band Dogstar kickoff EAT'M
EAT'M is a band festival and music industry conference, which showcases acts representing pop, hip hop, R&B and rock band style bands. Headquartered at the Mirage Hotel, artists selected to showcase their talents will perform on stages in various parts of the city.

More than 700 bands sent in audition tapes, in hopes of garnering one of the 150 spots.

Keynote speaker is Ahmet Ertegun, founder and chief executive officer of Atlantic Records.

Dogstar featuring Keanu Reeves, Bret Domrose, & Rob Mailhouse are first up, performing tomorrow, May 18, at 9 p.m. at Boulder Station.

Tied into this year's EAT'M event will be a live recording of Message To The World, co-written by Sue and David Cassidy, which will include voices of an estimated 20,000 U.S. citizens from New York to Los Angeles. Proceeds will go to War Child, an international organization that provides aid to young victims of the wars in Bosnia and Croatia.

Artists assisting in that project include; Alice Cooper, Wyclef Jean, Downtown Julie Brown, Daniel Baldwin, Duncan Sheik, Sam Moore and Keanu Reeves' Dogstar band. The record will be released as a single in June.


Eddy Arnold celebrated his 81st birthday last Saturday and on Sunday before an SRO crowd at the Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas took his final bow.

Eddy Arnold
He started his solo singing career in 1943 and was inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966, the same year he made his New York City debut at Carnegie Hall. The following year he was the very first performer to be named the CMA's Entertainer of the Year.

Arnold's twenty-eight No. 1 singles on the country charts remain unequaled. He's sold more than 85 million records, ranking only behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley. By one ranking Arnold is the most successful country singer in history, with 145 charted country hits.
Eddy shown here accepting a gold record from Johnny Carson on the NBC Tonight Show.
In announcing his show business retirement the personable gent cited health problems and a desire to spend more time with his family.

The Country Plowboy underwent double bypass heart surgery in 1990. In 1995 Arnold reported that "some problems with reading and memory prompted a visit to the doctor." He began walking, as much as two miles a day. "I wasn't feeling too good for awhile, but I've got some good doctors. You have to expect these things when you get to my age, but I'm coming along now. I hope to be with you a long time."

After canceling January, 1996 appearances he hit the road February and March.
Arnold, Sinatra and Martin.
Spending more time with his family is important to Arnold. Family has always been the singer's top priority. Behind that easy going smile is a quiet kind of courage. A certain dignity that allowed him to carry on through personal tragedy, always bright, never afflicting his worries upon others.

Ageless and tireless with a soft easy manner that instantly makes you feel comfortable.

Married to his wife, Sally, for over 50 years their only son, Richard Edward Arnold, Jr. was born Jan. 2, 1948. "No point in confusing things, so we called him Dickie. By the time he was a sophomore at the University of Alabama he wanted to be called Dick. We tried, but it's hard to break a habit," Arnold smiled.

At that time the proud father told me, "Dick plays the guitar and the drums. He sings a little, too. He wants to go into business law.

One week after graduating from college Dick was involved in a head on car accident. He lived . . . barely.

"He had a head injury and spent nine-and-a-half weeks unconscious," recalled Eddy, his voice taking on an uncharacteristic sad tremor. "His right side was paralyzed. But we brought him home. We had a sitter, who was more than just a sitter and a male nurse. He couldn't cut it."

"I took over," proudly recalled Arnold."Why, I changed his diapers. I got so good at changing a catheter that I could get a job in any hospital as an orderly. As he got better, we had a real system worked out. I would pick him up. He'd throw his arm around my shoulder and I'd reach up . . . " he explained, as he demonstrated the procedure.

Caring for his son wasn't a first for Arnold. As a teenager he got a job picking up dead bodies for a mortuary and went on emergency runs for an ambulance company. He once had a 17-year old boy die in his arms.

Eddy with his parents on their Chester County farm in Tennessee
Born and raised on a Tennessee farm, his father who died when Eddy was 11, played fiddle and introduced his son to music; his mother took that introduction further, teaching Eddy how to play guitar.

During the depression, Eddy dropped out of Pinson High School in Henderson, Tennessee, to help out on the family farm. No amount of hard work could save the place. The family lost everything.

"I can close my eyes, and feel it right now," remembered Arnold as his voice changed to a whisper. "We lost the farm, and they auctioned off all our animals - our cows, our mules. No one could ever forget watching familiar, loved things going to others."

The family was reduced to sharecroppers on what had been their own land. It was a bitter, disheartening experience that led Arnold to vow that his home would never again be taken from him and - that he'd never be poor.

"I've always had this old bugaboo about being broke." In the late 40s Arnold entered the investment world. Some doctors talked him into investing his money into electric mattresses, a venture which lost him $35,000. After that, Arnold became extremely conservative with his money. His holdings, which first brought him into the big money, were with land.

"I am not a highly educated person," he said, "but I can run an adding machine."

He never again became anybody's fool.

It's a long way from Chester County to being guests of the President at a White House dinner
He was appointed to the Tennessee State Industrial Commission by then Gov. Buford Ellington. Arnold also served on the board of an insurance company, owns a real estate firm, is a partner in a land development company, is an officer in a water company, and has an auto dealership. His holdings in the music world are too numerous to mention.

In 1966 the Tennessee state statute prevented Gov. Frank Clement from succeeding himself. Clement asked Arnold to run for governor.

In 1964 Gov. Frank G. Clement proclaimed February "Eddy Arnold Month" in Tennessee
"I thought about it," admitted Arnold. "I mulled it over in my mind, and over and over. After I thought about it for a time I decided I really didn't think I'd be happy with it. Finally, I decided that if I ran, I might be elected. Then I'd go in pretty popular, but I'd come out very cold. The one big reason I decided not to run was that I wasn't qualified, to be governor.

"I gave up politics, but I have a lot of strong feelings about politics. I read politics all the time. There are a lot of good people, and this is a country boy's opinion - a lot of good people not running for office anymore. That makes me sad. The press is rough on them. They're really rough on them. A lot of good people don't want to take that kind of guff. I believe in the free press, but I think we have to find a happy ground."

A happy ground for Arnold is actually on the sea, aboard his beloved 53- foot Hatteras cabin cruiser the Sally K, named after Eddy's personal "first mate," his wife Sally Katherine, who is never far from her husband' side. He first performed in Las Vegas in 1949 at the old El Rancho Hotel. Years later the Sahara Hotel heralded his Las Vegas return. The two-week March 1975 engagement featured the late comedian George Gobel opening the bill. Sally was there then, as she was for Sunday's final bow.


I not only own a Snoopy waffle maker - I use it. Enjoying a Snoopy waffle makes me feel good. I wish I could say the same for the You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown theatrical productions. I think the Peanuts entourage belong in their cartoon strip and on their highly rated animated television specials. It should be noted that the current revival has been nominated for four Tony Awards.
Back in the late 1960's there was even a Las Vegas lounge show based upon the off-Broadway musical You're A Good Man Charlie Brown. I thought that Vegas lounge act was dreadful. Snoopy belongs on top of his dog house, not inside a casino lounge.

The original off-Broadway production opened on March 7, 1967 at Theatre 80 St. Marks. It is a great "family" show. Today it is the most produced musical in history. Even the show bigwigs confess that part of the popularity is because it's cheap to produce. Six actors and a few modular blocks as a set. High schools around the world have kept the show in production and the royalty checks current.

While I have preferred to see Snoopy in a make-believe version, I have always enjoyed the music. Recently, I dusted off the original cast album of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown and compared it with the new original cast album of the revival, which opened at the Ambassador Theatre, NYC on Feb. 4, 1999.

The old MGM stereo cast album (SIE-9OCX - "Sounds Good In Stereo") starred Bill Hinnant, Bob Balaban, Reva Rose, Skip Hinnant. Karen Johnson and Gary Burghoff, who went on to become a household name in the M*A*S*H series.

The revival CD features Roger Bart, Kristin Chenoweth, who has already won an Outer Critics Circle award for her performance, Ilana Levine, Stanley Wayne Mathis with Anthony Rapp and B.D. Wong, who walked off with virtually every theatre award possible when he made his Broadway debut in M Butterfly.

Back to back I listened to both original cast albums. If you enjoyed You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown as a live act, you probably have already added this CD to your collection. If the stage version made you want to go home and suck on your own blue blanket, don't forsake the music.

The music is uplifting, toe tapping, feel good, and tuneful. Unlike Annie Get Your Gun the music hasn't been significantly rewritten. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It wasn't and in the first act, they didn't. Orchestrator Michael Gibson and music director Kimberly Grigsby knew a good score when they heard it and left well enough alone.

For some unknown reasons small musical segments in act two ended up on the cutting room floor. The Red Baron, a traditional favorite in the early Charlie Brown years probably went down in political correct flames. It's been replaced with My New Philosophy. Andrew Lippa did a fine job with the arrangements and additional material. But I missed the song Queen Lucy, in which she announces how she not only intends to rule a country, but wear her crown while swimming. Wouldn't it have been politically correct to leave that song in? Also omitted is Peanuts Potpourri, in which Snoopy explains that "cats are the crab grass on the lawn of life." Either the cat or the crab grass lobby must have clout. I missed the omissions, but I enjoyed what I heard. Happiness is listening to either the original or the revival of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Broadway To Vegas is supported through advertising and donations. Priority consideration is given to interview suggestions, news, press releases, etc from paid supporters. However, no paid supporters control, alter, edit, or in any way manipulate the content of this site. Your donation is appreciated. We accept PAYPAL.
Thank you for your interest.


LEONARD SLATKIN will be honored Sunday, May 23 at the annual fundraising dinner to benefit the Kennedy Library Foundation, Boston. The Foundation raises approximately one-third of its annual operating revenue through this event. The funds generated support research, education and outreach programs that emphasize the importance of participation in public life and the ways in which citizens can improve their communities.

THE NEW YORK POPS 16TH BIRTHDAY GALA tonight (May 17) at Carnegie Hall will include performances by stage and screen stars Bebe Neuwirth, Christine Baranski, Lillias White, Brian Stokes Mitchell, David Campbell, Comfortable Shoes and The New York Pops Allstars. Journalist Liz Smith will host the evening, and Walter Cronkite and Kevin Kline will guest conduct. The evening will start with a performance by the world renowned New York Pops, led by New York Pops Founder and Music director Skitch Henderson.

Delores Hope and her husband, Bob, who turns 95 on May 29, are among the generous folk who have contributed to open up the balcony seating to over 700 New York City school-age children for a spectacular Carnegie Hall experience.

In addition to the above-mentioned performers, guests expected at the Dinner Dance at the Plaza following the performance include; Chancellor Rudy Crew, Susan and John Jacobs, Paula Gabriele and Thomas E. McInerney, Jessie and Rand Araskog, Buddy and Sandy Thompson, Helene B. Robertson, Marie Salerno and Sam Roberts, Theodore and Joanna Chapin, Robert S, Cohen, James and Anne Fuchs, Nancy Nichols, Elaine and Philip M. Hampton, Faye and James E. Preston, Marilou Whitney, Toni McManus, Franz Xaver Ohnesorg, Fran Reiter, Peggy and Alan Tishman, Steven A. Reiss, Mrs. David A. Werblin, Mr. and Mrs. William J. Vandenheuvel, and Marianne Schaller.

PHYLLIS MCGUIRE headlines the fifth annual Serenades for Life concert, Judy Bayley Theatre, May 22, Las Vegas. The event benefits the Nathan Adelson Hospice.


MUHAMMAD ALI'S eldest child, Maryum Ali last Saturday received her bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Her boxing great father and about 50 family members, attended the ceremonies. The former stand up comedian, who made the Dean's List, did her internships at a local hospice and the Clark County Neighborhood Justice Center.

Although she intends to work in Los Angeles in the field of social work, she has also written a TV sitcom which she hopes to sell.

SATURDAY NIGHT by Stephen Sondheim has its American premiere at the O'Rourke Center for the Performing Arts, Chicago.Gary Griffin directs a cast of 14 culled from auditions of 300 actors. Jonathan Tunick provides orchestrations for the 10 piece band. Sondheim himself attended the dress rehearsals. Official opening night is May 19. Also being staged at the O'Rourke Center is the first ever Sing Yourself Sondheim, an audience sing along to Sondheim's hit show Company, featuring Broadway's Pam Myers.

PHOTO BY: Carol Rosegg
is the second offering of the Willow Cabin Theatre's (NYC) current season.

The program is a four-play cycle of Thorton Wilder's one-acts entitled The Ages of Man.

This includes the New York premieres of Youth, and The Rivers Under the Earth, and revival of Infancy and Childhood.

Both premiered in New York in 1962 as part of Plays for Bleecker Street.

The Ages of Man will be directed by WCTC Artistic Director Edward Berkeley.

At the Blue Heron Arts Center. Official opening is May 23.

IF LOVE WERE ALL a new musical teaming Twiggy as Gertrude Lawrence and Harry Groener as Noel Coward salutes Coward on the centenary of his birth. If Love Were All contains 20 Coward songs in a show adapted from material by British author Sheridan Morley and Leigh Lawson, who also directs. Previews begin May 18 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, with the official opening set for June 10.

MY ONE GOOD NERVE A visit with Ruby Dee, written by her and directed by Charles Nelson Reilly begins previews May 20 at the Canon Theatre, Beverly Hills. Officially opens on May 23.

FAME opened last Friday at The Playhouse Theatre, Wilmington, DE. Performances through May 23.


LEA DELARIA Friday, May 21 in An Evening of Music and Comedy The Fillmore, San Francisco

LINDA LAVIN the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress, best known as the star of the long running series Alice,starring in Collected Stories, at the Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles through June 13. On June 7th the multi-talented actress will be at the Skirball Cultural Center as part of the Spotlight: Television and American Cultural Lecture Series, hosted by Barbara Isenberg.

BILL COSBY will be appearing this Thursday, May 20, at Harrah's Cherokee Casino, North Carolina, according to our roving reporter, Trudy Knight-Peek. Cosby will deliver two shows.

STEVE & EYDIE perform May 21-23 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. Lawrence earned the New York Drama Critics Award and a Tony nomination for his Broadway debut as the star of What Makes Sammy Run and the couple shared the Broadway stage in the musical comedy-drama Golden Rainbow.


ALEGRIA an edition of the famed Cirque du Soleil will open May 20 at the new Beau Rivage resort in Biloxi, Miss. The production, seen by three million people in North America, Europe, Japan and Hong Kong during a five-year tour will have a permanent home in the 1,550-seat Beau Rivage theater, where it will showcase 52 performers and musicians from 13 countries. Tickets cost $40 plus tax, $25 for ages 12 and younger. On that very same day, the red rubber nose worn by comic Wayne Nronek, who portrays Benny Le Grand in the Cirque du Soleil's Mystere version at Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas, is going to be vacuum packed and sent into space. Canadian astronaut Julie Payette, a Cirque fan, made the unusual request. The proboscis joins the science studies on the space shuttle Discovery.

CINDERELLA the brilliant Matthew Bourne version, in its American debut at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles through May 23. Lez Brotherston's set with lighting by Rick Fisher; score by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. Dancers alternate lead roles. Stand outs include; Adam Cooper, Will Kemp, Sarah Wildor and Ewan Wardrop. Expect the production to be a hit on Broadway.

DANNY GANS the brilliant impersonator whose one man Broadway show earned him a Vegas contract has had his ticket price increased. It now costs more to see him in Las Vegas than it did in New York. $99 will buy you a ticket to the show at the Rio Hotel.The price also includes two drinks and the tip. The $99 price makes the one man Danny Gans Show one of the top ticket prices in town, along with the mega spectaculars; Siegfried and Roy at the Mirage, O at the Bellagio, EFX at the MGM Grand, Mystere at Treasure Island, and Chicago at Mandalay Bay. Gans, by the way, is on a straight contract salary. He doesn't receive a percentage of the ticket price, which is set by the hotel.

JUNEAU JAZZ AND CLASSICS FESTIVAL May 21-30. Performers include Mose Allison, Balfa Tourjours, American String Quartet, Doug Webster, Alan Chow, Bobby Peaco and Helen Baldassare. New York press rep Jim Baldassare claims no familial link, but reported that since his late mother's name was also Helen Baldassare, he regularly sent his mother programs and flyers about the performing Helen Baldassare. Mom Helen got a kick out of following the career of - that other Helen Baldassare.
LIBERACE would have been 80 years old yesterday. In honor of that, the mascot of the Las Vegas based Liberace Museum - a 10-foot teddy bear dressed as Liberace and known as Lee-Bear-Achee - passed out cake to the museum visitors.

Mention BROADWAY TO VEGAS for Special Consideration
Call (800) 942-9027

Next Column: May 24, 1999
Copyright: May 17, 1999. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or Graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, utilized as leads, or used in any manner without permission, compensation and/or credit.
Link to Main Page

Laura Deni