Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: May 21, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Kristine Nielsen as Monica Reed, Kate Burton as Liz Essendine and Kevin Kline as Garry Essendine in Present Laughter. Photo: Joan Marcus.
Present Laughter is a comedy written by Noël Coward in 1939 and first staged in 1942.

It has received a Tony nomination as Best Revival of a Play and Kevin Kline has been nominated in the category of Best Performance By An Actor in a Leading Role in A Play and Susan Hilferty received a nomination for Costume Design.

Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel helms the talented cast which includes Academy Award and two-time Tony Award winner Kevin Kline, Tony and Emmy Award nominee Kate Burton, Tony Award nominee Kristine Nielsen, and Cobie Smulders, in her Broadway debut; joined by Bhavesh Patel, Tony Award nominee Reg Rogers, Matt Bittner, Ellen Harvey, Peter Francis James, Tedra Millan, and Sandra Shipley, with Kelley Curran, Rachel Pickup, James Riordan, and David L. Townsend.

An interesting casting note is that in 1982 George C. Scott directed and starred in a revival at Circle in the Square Theatre, which featured the Broadway début of Nathan Lane as Roland Maule. It also featured Kate Burton as Daphne, Christine Lahti as Joanna and Jim Piddock as Fred. It ran for 175 performances.

Burton returns to this production as Liz while Daphne the debutante is played by Tedra Millan in her Broadway debut.

The play's title comes from a song in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, which urges carpe diem ("present mirth hath present laughter").

It basically a who is sleeping with whom romp.

The plot follows a few days in the life of the successful and self-obsessed light comedy actor Garry Essendine as he prepares to travel for a touring commitment in Africa. Amid a series of events bordering on farce, Garry has to deal with women who want to seduce him, placate both his long-suffering secretary and his estranged wife, cope with a crazed young playwright, and overcome his impending mid-life crisis (since he has recently turned forty). The story was described by Coward as "a series of semi-autobiographical pyrotechnics". In other words Coward's homosexual affairs were transferred to the stage in the form of heterosexual adventures as would have been required when this play was written and first staged.

With the first original mounting taking place in 1942 - before I was even born - means that this is a really old comedy.

When it was first presented it was a comedy. After decades with the expected changes in society, the play has become a farce.

Kline knows how to make something out-of-date seem - if not fresh - certainly entertaining. Klein does the heavy lifting which he makes appear effortless. He also knows how to bring back dressing gowns. Honestly, there was a time when middle class and upwardly aspiring men wore dressing gowns - as opposed to lounging around the house in their underwear or sweat pants.

This is Coward - not Shakespeare. Not Mamet. If being inundated with news headlines and instantaneous twitter blurbs have resulted in a headache - this show is better than two aspirin.

Kevin Kline as Garry Essendine and Cobie Smulders as Joanna Lyppiatt. Photo: Joan Marcus.
This is a don't-think-about-it show - just relax and enjoy. Much is dated, which shouldn't be significant. Much as watching a re-run of a favorite television show or seeing an old movie - Present Laughter is like an old friend. The play is not necessarily always on an even level. Sometimes you know what is coming next - but it's still fun. Like the title states; what you'll experience is - laughter.

Kline as aging matinee idol Garry Essendine is charming. He's suave, droll, arrogant and knows how to get the most out of a mirror.

Larry has a lot of internal conflict gumming up his emotional gears because, as a ham of an actor, he's more of a has-been. Like many actors, he's self absorbed and shallow. Like many actors, he's a street smart guy who knows how to manipulate those who are impressed with fame - such as young ladies who all seem to have a problem keeping track of their possessions such as latchkeys getting lost.

As a man he converses with and makes love to a woman by reciting lines from his famous roles. He's not an original conversationalist. The parts he has played compose the sum of his parts.

“I’m always acting, watching myself go by,” he says.

Kline has a way to turning a minimalist gesture - be it a movement or a look - into an important statement.

The women in his life are many and varied. Liz smartly played by Kate Burton is Larry's estranged wife. She left him years ago but still remains as an ancillary part of the family. Her steely smile and demeanor was honed by learning to tolerate Garry's one-night stands and extended affairs.

Larry is also tormented by his secretary, who is herself engaged in multiple affairs, played to effervescent delight by Kristine Nielsen who knows how to do snide. In an era before Viagra came on the market, Larry has an impressive line-up of bed mates, such as Larry's most recent pick-up the fun for the night, stage-struck ingenue Daphne Stillington played by Tedra Millan. Street smart but not over endowed with brain cells, she spends the night in his duplex because she couldn't find her house key.

It seems that everyone wants to get under Larry's dressing gown. Even his business partner's wife played in predatory grandeur by Cobie Smulders tries to seduce him.

It's all about sex. “You’re no more emotionally sincere than I am,” she tells him.

Kevin Kline as Garry Essendine and Kate Burton as Liz Essendine. Photo: Joan Marcus.
Liz informs her maybe-someday ex-husband Larry that she suspects that his manager Morris Dixon is having an affair with dapper lapdog of a producer Henry Lyppiatt's (Peter Francis James ) glamorous predatory wife Joanna (Cobie Smulders), and is concerned that this will disrupt his friendship circle.

That group also includes Reg Rogers as the neurotic director; and Bhavesh Patel as a weird, volatile, deranged, aspiring, young playwright Roland Maule, whose play Garry has rashly agreed to critique.

All the time Garry is bothered by not being the star he once was - even though he's headed out on a tour of Africa. When Coward wrote the play Africa would have been hot and not frequented by big named actors on tour.

The creative team for features a captivating and delicious ego infused Edwardian staircase set by Tony Award winner David Zinn, sexy and glam costume designs by Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty, lighting design by 2-time Tony Award nominee Justin Townsend, sound design by Fitz Patton, and hair design by Josh Marquette. Casting by Telsey + Company.

Present Laughter with performances through July 2, 2017 at the St. James Theater in New York City is a pleasant way to spend a stress free evening.

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Anna Sui in her New York office.
the classic American fashion designer. From Detroit to New York, her signature rock-n-roll romanticism reinvents pop culture for every new generation.

Since her first catwalk show in 1991, Sui has shaped not only the garments, textiles, accessories, beauty and interiors which comprise her design universe, but also the course of fashion history.

The World of Anna Sui features over 100 looks from the designer’s archive, presenting a roll call of archetypes from Surfers and School Girls to Hippies, Mods and Punks.

This is the first time an American designer has been the focus of a retrospective exhibition in the UK.

May 26 - October 1, 2017 at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, England.

BALENCIAGA: SHAPPING FASHION this exhibition examines the work and legacy of influential Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, with over 100 pieces crafted by ‘the master’ of couture, his protégées and contemporary fashion designers working in the same innovative tradition.

Born in the Basque region of Spain, Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895 - 1972) was apprenticed to a tailor from the age of 12. In 1914 he opened the House of Balenciaga in San Sebastian, where most of his clients were aristocrats. After the Spanish monarchy was deposed in the 1930s, Balenciaga moved to Paris. Here he became known for dramatic black coats and dresses which recalled Spanish fashions of the Elizabethan age.

Balenciaga was an extremely private man who gave few interviews. He is often called a 'designer's designer', since some knowledge of tailoring is needed to fully appreciate his clothes. He preferred to work with firm, stiff fabrics which gave his clothing a sculptural appearance. His 1960 sack dress was much copied by other designers.

Opening on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at the V&A in London.


Jaylen Arnold of Florida is flanked by Prince Harry and Prince William who presented him with his Diana Award. Photo: Getty/Clarence House.
INAUGURAL DIANA AWARD WINNERS INCLUDE AN AMERICAN Princes William and Harry met with the Diana Awards Inaugural Legacy Awards winners in the Throne Room at St James's Palace in London on Thursday, May 18, 2017. Those receiving the Legacy Award have demonstrated qualities of kindness, compassion and service.

The Diana Award was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. It is committed to fostering, inspiring and developing positive change in the lives of young people through practical social action.

According to the organization: "All the Legacy Award winners – who come from the UK, USA, Canada, India, Belize and UAE – have had a monumental impact on society. Many of them only know Princess Diana as a historical figure but they carry the honor of the Diana Award with pride and admiration for whose memory it was set up in."

The Diana Award Inaugural Legacy Award were presented to 20 winners, aged 11 to 18, chosen from the UK and countries across the world, including an American.

Jaylen Arnold from Lakeland, Florida, was congratulated for making a stand against bullying after being victimized for his own autism and Tourette's. He also talked about taking a stand against cyberbullying.

Prince William told the gathering: "This summer marks 20 years since our mother died and she achieved so much in her life, from helping to shatter the stigma around Aids, to fighting to ban landmines and supporting the homeless - she touched the lives of millions.

"The truth is though, she was taken at only 36, just slightly older then I am today."

The Legacy Awards winners are:

From the UK
Joshua Adams,18 - Asha Parkinson,17 - Nicholas Nikiforou, 11 - Femi Owolade-Coombes, 11 - Mathew White-Iley, 15 - Brooke Taylor, 15 - Jonathan Bryan, 11 - Garreth Browne, 16 - Dervla Dolan, 18 - Jonjo Heuerman, 15 - Elan Môn Gilford, 17 - Maya Ghazal, 17 - Jemima Browning, 16 - Mercy Ngulube, 18 and - Suely , 18.

From outside the UK

Jaylen Arnold, 16, from the USA - Faith Dickinson, 11 of Canada - Amaan Iqbal Ibrahim, 15 of the United Arab Emirates - Elsia Pop, 17 of Belize - Nikhiya Shamsher, 14 of India.


David Hein and Irene Sankoff have earned three Tony nominations for Come From Away: Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book of a Musical. The original Broadway cast album has been released by Molly Productions under exclusive license to The Musical Company.

Come From Away has one of the most unique scores to ever play on Broadway. The musical numbers are the script. There isn't a hum-able number in the score. Rock, folk and show music aren't a frequent Broadway trio. Composing a song which will be inserted into a musical, even if it does move along the plot, is one thing - turning an entire script into separate songs with a score which also reflects the mood of the words which tell of true life events, is a difficult animal to control. It can't sound like one, long song and Come From Away doesn't.

Composing a song which will be inserted into a musical, even if it does move along the plot, is one thing - turning an entire script into separate songs with a score which also reflects not merely the mood of the words but of the true life events which is the storyline, is a difficult animal to control.

The musical numbers in Come From Away can turn on a note from sounding like a tune from a major Broadway musical to an Irish folk song.

The score to Love From Away accomplishes a lot with a few musical instruments, many of which are seldom in a Broadway production.

Instruments crucial to the musical performance include a few that you probably don't often think about; or regret not learning how to play as a child:

Three are: The bouzouki which is a small, long-necked plucked stringed Greek musical instrument in the lute family. The Irish bouzouki is an adaptation. Resembling a mandolin, the bouzouki has a round wooden body, with metal strings arranged in three or four double courses over a fretted fingerboard. The bodhran is a handheld frame drum that originated in Ireland. It's size can vary but is usually around 18" in diameter. A djembe is a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands, originally from West Africa.

Come From Away takes a tragic event and presents it as a stage production which is neither maudlin nor cutesy. See Broadway To Vegas show review

The cast features: Chad Kimball, Jenn Colella, Joel Hatch, Rodney Hicks, Caesar Samayoa, Kendra Kassebaum, Petrina Bromley, Geno Carr, Lee MacDougall, Q. Smith, Sharon Wheatley, and Astrid Van Wieren.

The ensemble of twelve actors all remain on stage for most of the performance and portray dozens of characters, with each performer switching between characters as needed, often mid-song. Obviously, that carries through on the original cast recording.

The musical score has no lyrics in the usual definition of the word. It's a score of emotion which serve as support for the script. While the numbers by themselves aren't memorable, the music is infectious.

There is every by-the-book reason why, musically, this score should be a total failure. Creativity trumps by-the-book.

A frenetic drum beat signals impending urgency in Welcomes to the Rock and 38 Planes. It may be a Highland Fling tempo but not for raucous celebration. The mood is urgent. The Twin Towers have been hit and 38 planes are being diverted to the small town of Gander. The excellent musical construction reflects the lives and now fears and anguish of the citizens. The songs move along the story line.

With the drum in control, the musical construction is frequently repetitive - hypnotic. It's meant to be.

Blankets and Bedding combines Celtic and bluegrass describing trying to collect feminine hygiene products, diapers and toilet paper.

Gentle notes of 28 Hours/Wherever We Are allow the passengers to express their feelings. The music and dialogue intensifies. Liquor makes the passengers friendly. A woman who wants to get off the plane freaks out.

Darkness and Trees opens with a few bars of a Celtic jig before softly backing away so the script can stand out and then there is that drum and the instruments chime in to accompany the spoken word. Again, that statement making drum. Actual 'singing' comes occasionally from the cast.

On The Bus has some slap your heels bluegrass - the stranded passengers are finally going somewhere - then the musical signals uncertainly - nobody knows what lies ahead.

The musical construction is the perfect cushion for the powerful and captivating script and story line.

David Hein and Irene Sankoff
Tract 10 Costume Party has some sections which are beautifully sung. I Am Here in which one of the passengers is worried about her New York City firefighter son - agony that she is not with him - is dramatic both in its arrangement and execution. There are sections which are sung as well as spoken.

A gentle and lovely flute backs the beginning dialogue for Prayer, which builds in religious intensity. Sung, the voices are fervent, respectful and moving.

Again, the drum controls the intense On The Edge, morphing into In the Bar/Heave Away leading into Screech In boasting a kick-up Celtic beat complete with a pronounced Newfoundland accent in which the 'kiss the fish' game is played. With all of the numbers - no matter whether the accent is native Newfoundland or European/American each and every single word is easily understood.

Tract 16 Me and the Sky begins soft and then builds as pilot Beverley played by Jenn Colella, describes her frustrations in trying to soar in a man's world.

Track 19, a reprise of 38 Planes and Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere, is drum beat intense.

The gentle but emotional, Something's Missing features Ian Eisendrath who as conductor also handles piano, synthesizer, accordion and harrmonium and Ben Powers on Celtic flutes, whistles, and uilleann pipes. The company joins in and the dramatic number powerfully soars and then has an eerie finish.

One of the pilots makes balloon animals for an Italian child.

It's 10 years later and the passengers reflect.

The Finale features the Nova Scotia accent and reverts back to the dramatic, high intensity, statement making Welcome To The Rock concluding with robust folk music.

The musicians get a work out. You can't help but wonder how much weight Lelli loses during each performance and somebody should make sure he gets enough water.

Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen and arrangements by Ian Eisendrath. Recorded by Ian Kagey/ Mixed by Derik Lee at Electracraft Music Works. Edited by Ian Kagey and David Lai who is also the music conductor.

Mastered by Oscar ZamBrano, Zampol Productions. Assistant engineers Phil Hotz and Andrew Doidge. Recorded January 3-Januay 6, 2017 at Revolution Recording in Toronto, Canada.

Alec Berlin Acoustic and electric guitars. Nate Lueck: Mandolins, Bouzuki, guitars - Romano Di Nillo: bodhran, Djembe, Cajon Shakers - Larry Lelli: Drums, shakers, Djembe, Cajon - Carl Carter: acoustic and electric bass - Ben Power: flutes, whistles, uilleann pipes - Caritlan Warbelow: fiddle - Chris Ranney associate conductor. Bob Hallett served as the Newfoundland Music Consultant.

If you have heard the CD you have listened to the script. That should make you want to actually see this outstanding musical.

Come From Away celebrated its 300th performance, including out of town tryouts, May 16, 2017 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre with the Mayor of Gander Claude Elliott, portrayed onstage by Joel Hatch, and pilot Beverley Bass, portrayed onstage by Jenn Colella. The show received seven Tony Award nominations.

Next Week Broadway To Vegas will review the original cast recording of the Tony nominated score for Groundhog Day The Musical.


Gunter Engel of German based Müller BBM one of the men in charge of improving the sound. Photo: Müller BBM
Jürgen Reinhold of German based Müller BBM helps helm the sound improvements. Photo: Müller BBM
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts center in Sydney, Australia. It is one of the 20th century's most famous and distinctive buildings. Unfortunately its acoustics are considered some of the worst in the world and its equipment is old.

Cognizant of all that, on May 20, 2017 t he venue began a $201 million (US) major renovation - its first since being opened in 1973.

Everyone including the horses will love the results.

The decades-old equipment that power performances beneath the Joan Sutherland Theatre - named for one of the world's greatest opera singers, who happens to be Australian - will be updated to improve the experience for both artists and audiences.

The 50-year-old 'engine' on the grid deck backstage at the Sydney Opera House's Joan Sutherland Theatre will be ripped out and replaced during the seven-month renovation which requires that the Joan Sutherland Theatre be closed during renovation - the first time the theatre has ever been closed.

More than 1.5 million people attend over 2,000 performances at the Circular Quay building each year, with over eight million visiting it annually. With 330 performances each year, the Joan Sutherland Theatre is one of the busiest in the world.

Lyndon Terracini, artistic director of Opera Australia, says the temporary closure of its Sydney home means the company has had to be creative in finding venues for the rest of its 2017 season. Productions will be staged in Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall and Playhouse as well as the Sydney Town Hall, the City Recital Hall and the Capitol Theatre.

According to the venue: "Most of the theatre machinery is original from when the building opened in 1973 and has reached the end of its working life. The control system was upgraded 25 years ago and that’s at the end of its life too. Ten of the 60 bars use handlines that need to be manually loaded with heavy counterweights and pulled. Whereas most theatres have space in the wings for sets to be rolled on and off stage, the narrowness of the Joan Sutherland means sets are instead brought up on a giant lift that covers the entirety of upstage. Staging a production is a logistical nightmare," according to Lou Rosicky, the theatre’s integration manager.

The venue's explanation continues: "That means removing tons of steel, including the grid deck and the mechanical pulleys above the stage, and replacing everything anew although a few machines will be preserved for heritage. A new lift will be faster and quiet enough that it can be used during performances. Whereas the old lift is only used for sets the new one can take people on and off the stage. It will also be able to carry horses, used in productions such as the opera Carmen. “Horses like it smooth, says Rosicky. “They’ll love the new lift.”

A state-of-the-art acoustic enhancement system will correct the building's notoriously terrible acoustics which prevented the musicians from hearing either themselves or other musicians and hampered the quality for the audience.

In 2014 actor and director John Malkovich said an airplane hangar would sound better.

Actually, the acoustics aren't that bad - it's the partially vaulted ceiling which creates an unwanted reverberation. distortion.

The equipment being replaced was designed and installed by an Austrian company in the 1950s and installed in the 1960s. In charge of the sound renovation are Gunter Engel and Jürgen Reinhold who work at Müller BBM – a Munich-based acoustics engineering firm. They’re credits include working on Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, London's Royal Albert Hall, and the three big concert halls at Rome’s Parco della Musica.

The new acoustic enhancement system will better distribute sound around the theatre and enable the audience to hear more of what the orchestra hears.

"Improving the acoustics in the Concert Hall is a critical part of Renewal,” says Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron. “It’s been an issue for a long time. It’s been an issue that’s never been solved and if we can solve it that’s a wonderful thing.”

Australian designer Dion Lee. Photo by Prudence Upton/Sydney Opera House
When finished the stage will be lower, the walls beneath the boxes will tilt differently and there will be new acoustic reflectors.

A new follow-spot will allow the spotlight to reach performers across the entire stage. The current follow-spot wouldn't reach upstage.

Employees will also have a new look.

Australian designer Dion Lee, 32, whose eponymous label has been worn by Oscar Winners Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett and Charlize Theron will create new uniforms to be worn by more than 600 staff, including theatre ushers, tour guides and even the crew working backstage. Staff will work with Lee during the design process. Design and manufacturing of the collection is expected to take up to 12 months.

“Within this context, it’s working within the parameters of what would really function, what would really feel good to wear both on the body and visually. Meeting the needs of the Opera House’s very diverse workforce and making sure the clothes combine elegance and utility, inspiration and practicality is critical. It is important that a cultural icon such as the Opera House projects an image that parallels the architecture of the building,” Lee officially stated.

Making everything more accommodating, a new elevator and passageway on the western side of the theatre will allow people with limited mobility to access, for the very first time, the Northern Foyer with its sweeping views across Sydney Harbor.

Fear not, the famed graffiti backstage at the Joan Sutherland Theatre in the Sydney Opera House will be preserved.


Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall and Sir Thomas Stoppard. Photo: Getty/Clarence House.
attended an elegant banquet hosted by Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall to honor playwright and screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard, who also serves as president of the London Library.

Held at Clarence House, the home of Charles and Camilla, the hostess wore a bright red dress artfully decorated with what appeared to be black flowers painted on silk. She accented the dress with black heels, and diamond jewelry.

After dinner, the intimate party enjoyed a series of readings in honor of Sir Tom.

Founded in 1841, the London Library is the UK's leading literary institution, and the Oscar winner has been its president since 2005. Camilla is a patron of the library.

Guests included Zoe Wanamaker and Tom Hollander - who just won a BAFTA for his performance in The Night Manager and businessman Maurice Saatchi.

Guests listen to reading in honor of Stoppard. Photo Getty/Clarence House.
Czech- born British citizen Stoppard was knighted in 1997. He'll turn 80 on July 3, 2017.

Last Friday it was announced that Laurence Fox will star in a new tour of Stoppard's The Real Thing. which will be directed by Stephen Unwin.

The production opens at the Cambridge Arts Theatre on September 6, before touring to Theatre Royal Bath and the Rose Theatre Kingston. It closes in Kingston on October 14. Other tour dates are pending. The play was first staged in the West End in 1982 and subsequently transferred to Broadway where it won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1994 and, 16 years later, the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

Stoppard is a multi-award winning playwright whose works include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, The Hard Problem, and The Invention of Love. Stoppard also co-wrote Shakespeare in Love, which won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

ROYAL PARTICIPANTS FOR HELLO DOLLY! Princess Eugenie who calls Queen Elizabeth granny likes to act and sing. Last Wednesday she gave a speech at the China Exchange in London in which she disclosed that at school she appeared in a production of Hello Dolly!

BETH MOWINS a respected play-by-play announcer who will celebrate her 50th birthday on Friday, May 26, received an early present last Thursday when it was announced that she "is set to become the first-ever female broadcaster to call an NFL game televised nationally. She’ll call the Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos game in ESPN’s opening ‘Monday Night Football’ doubleheader on Sept. 11.” S commentator for ESPN since 1994, she will be joined by former Buffalo Bills and New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan.

"Beth has been an important voice in our college sports coverage and she has experience calling NFL preseason games. She deserves this opportunity," Stephanie Druley, ESPN events and studio production senior vice president, said in a statement. "ESPN is committed to putting talented women in high-profile positions and we look forward to Beth and Rex's call of this game on our MNF opening night."

PRESIDENT KENNEDY REMEMBERED over Memorial Day weekend, the Kennedy Library in Boston will host a series of events and activities highlighting peace, public service, science and innovation. On Monday, May 29, join in for free admission to the Museum, and a cake cutting ceremony to celebrate President Kennedy's 100th birthday. Enough cake for 1,000 visitors.

The week long series of events includes the opportunity on Friday, May 26, to be the first to view the new exhibition, JFK 100: Milestones & Mementos. Billed as "a compelling selection of 100 original artifacts, photos, and documents - many never before seen." On display through May 2018.

NATIONAL STAWBERRIES AND CREAM DAY is today, Sunday, May 21. Tomorrow is National Vanilla Pudding Day. Tuesday is National Taffy Day (remember to brush your teeth). Wednesday is National Escargot Day. Saturday is National Grape Popsicle Day.


BROADWAY TICKET SALES HIT RECORD according to the Broadway League. We're not even in June and yet Broadway has sold $1.415 billion in tickets vs. $1.373 billion for the entire 2015- 2016 season.

The average ticket price is listed as $109.

MARY POPPINS based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney Film with original music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, a book by Julian Fellowes, and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe; the musical was co-created by Cameron Mackintosh.

Directed by Paper Mill Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee.

Choreography by Denis Jones.

Music direction by Meg Zervoulis.

Elena Shaddow will star as Mary Poppins, with Mark Evans as Bert, Dierdre Friel as Mrs. Brill, Liz McCartney as Bird Woman/Miss Andrew, Adam Monley as George Banks, Bill Nolte as Admiral Boom/Bank Chairman, Jill Paice as Winifred Banks, Blakely Slaybaugh as Robertson Ay, and Danielle K. Thomas as Mrs. Corry.

Alternating as the Banks children are Abbie Grace Levi and Madi Shaer as Jane and Maddox Padgett and John Michael Pitera as Michael.

The ensemble will feature Tim Capodice, Peyton Crim, Mary Beth Donahoe, Adena Ershow, Will Geoghegan, Curtis Holland, Joshua Israel, Madison Johnson, Hannah Jewel Kohn, Robin Lounsbury, Brian Thomas Martin, Andrew Metzgar, Corinne Munsch, Natasha Natraj, Caylie Rose Newcom, Sean Quinn, Drew Redington, Jack Sippel, Bronwyn Tarboton, Clay Thomson, and John T. Wolfe.

The production will feature set design by Timothy R. Mackabee, scenic coordination by Libby Stadstad, costume design by Leon Dobkowski, lighting design by Charlie Morrison, sound design by Randy Hansen, with hair, wig, and makeup design by Leah J. Loukas. The production stage manager is Frank Lombardi. Casting is by Telsey + Company, Rebecca Scholl, CSA.

Performances begin May 24 and continue through June 25 at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey.

ROMAN HOLIDAY featuring a book by Paul Blake and Emmy winners Kathy Speer and Terry Grossman. Music by Cole Porter. Roman Holiday was made into a 1953 film which starred Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.

Directed by Marc Bruni.

Starring Drew Gehling as Joe Bradley and Stephanie Styles as Priness Ann, Tony nominee Jarrod Spector and Sara Chase.

A runaway princess.
A dashing reporter.
A Roman holiday neither one will ever forget.

Based on the classic Academy Award-winning film and featuring such unforgettable Cole Porter songs as Night and Day, Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, and Easy to Love, this musical promises to steal your heart.

In the midst of a whirlwind tour of European capitals, a young princess yearns to experience life – to explore the world beyond diplomatic dinners and Royal balls. Enter an American reporter, who almost overnight goes from covering the royal family to covering up her great escape. And in the span of 24 unforgettable hours, they discover the magic of Rome, the promise of love, and a secret they will share forever.

The musical premiered in 2001 at the Muny in St. Louis. The Guthrie Theater presented a subsequent production in 2012. Performances will run from May 23 through June 18, 2017 at SHN’s Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco. The production, is expected to transfer to New York in the fall.


NEIL DIAMOND stars at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, MN on Wednesday, May 24. On Friday he'll be singing his hits at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. Next Sunday, May 28, his tour stops at the United Center in Chicago, IL.

ARIANA GRANDE performs Tuesday, March 21, at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, UT. Thursday's show is at the Key Arena in Seattle, WA. On Friday she's on stage at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. Next Sunday, March 26 she stars at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA.

IL VOLO the Italian operatic pop trio brings their classical crossover repertoire to the Royal Albert Hall in London on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

BRUNO MARS continues his European tour with a stop Monday, May 22, in Helsinki, Finland at the Hartwall Arena. On Wednesday his tour stops in Fornebu, Norway at the Telenor Arena. On Friday he can be enjoyed in Berlin, Germany at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

GARRISON KEILLOR, JUST PASSING THROUGH the storyteller and humorist gives a solo performance sharing hilarious anecdotes about growing up in the American Midwest, the people of Lake Wobegon, and “late-life fatherhood on Tuesday, May 23 at the Stiefel Theatre in Salina, KS. On Thursday, May 25, he can be enjoyed at . Baum Walker Hall at Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, AR.

TIM McGRAW AND FAITH HILL star at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, ID on Thursday, May 26. Friday's show is at the Moda Center in Portland, OR. On Saturday they'll be singing their hits at the Dome in Tacoma, WA.

ED SHEERAN performs Tuesday, May 23, at the Pedreira Paulo Leminski in Curitiba, Brazil. Thursday's stop is in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil at the HSBC Arena. Next Sunday, May 28, he's on stage at the Allianz Parque in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


POWERS BROOTHE an Emmy winning television and stage actor died in his sleep of natural causes May 14, 2017 in Los Angeles. He was 68.

Boothe worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival following college, and made his Broadway debut in the 1979 production of James McLure's Lone Star & Pvt. Wars, at the Century Theatre. He also appeared in Richard III at Lincoln Center in 1974.

He won his Emmy for his performance playing cult leader Rev. Jim Jones in the TV film Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. He was also nominated for Cable Ace Awards for his work in Philip Marlowe, Private Eye (1983) and Into the Homeland (1987). The late actor is survived by his wife and their two children.

CASEY JONES blues drummer, singer and front man who combined the grit of Delta blues with the sinuousness of ’70s funk, died May 3, 2017 in Chicago from cancer. He was 77.

Jones recorded with blues artists such as Albert Collins, appearing on his Frostbite and Ice Pickin' albums and Johnny Winter appearing on Winters Serious Business, Guitar Slinger, True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story albums. With Muddy Waters, he recorded You Shook Me, later covered by Led Zeppelin. He played with Brooks, Willie Dixon, Otis Rush, Magic Sam. and recorded with Howlin' Wolf.

Jones played on six Grammy-nominated Alligator albums, including the 1985 Grammy winner Showdown, a “blues summit” featuring Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland.

ROGER AILES disgraced former CEO of Fox News who resigned over sexual harassment charges, died May 18, 2017. He had celebrated his 77th birthday the previous Monday.

He was overweight, had hemophilia and used a walker. He reportedly had suffered a fall and later died from a brain hemmorage.

He is survived by his third wife Elizabeth and their son Zachary.

CHRIS CORNELL Grammy nominated American musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Seattle rock band Soundgarden and as lead vocalist and songwriter for the group Audioslave committed suicide on May 17, 2017 by hanging himself after a concert in Detroit, the medical examiner announced. He was discovered just past midnight at the MGM Grand Detroit, according to police. He was 52.

Scheduled to be on tour through May 27, concerts had been scheduled to headline last Friday, as part of Rock On The Range, the biggest rock festival in the country, taking place at Mapfire Stadium in Columbus, Ohio; Saturday at Maryland Heights in Missouri as part of Pointfest; and Monday in a Live Nations concert at the Fillmore in Denver.

Cornell was first married to Susan Silver, the manager of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. They had a daughter, Lillian Jean, born in June 2000. He and Silver divorced in 2004. His second marriage was to Vicky Karayiannis, a Paris-based American publicist of Greek heritage. The couple had a daughter together, Toni, born in September 2004, and a son, Christopher Nicholas, born in December 2005. Cornell converted to the Greek Orthodox Church through her influence.

He is survived by his wife Vicky and his three children.

JEANNE BUTTON theatrical costume designer died May 8, 2017 from lung cancer. She was 86.

She first worked on Broadway in 1969 as the costume designer for The Watering Place. Through 1993 she designed the costumes for the Broadway productions: King Henry V (1969), The Robber Bridegroom (1975 and 1976), Wings (1979), Richard III (1979), Home (1980), The Dresser (1981), Arsenic and Old Lace (1986), Broadway (1987), and The Twilight of the Golds (1993).

She had extensive off-Broadway and regional design credits. She also lent her creative hand to design costumes for opera, film, television, and dance, and was a teacher at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Yale University Drama School.

WILLIAM DAVID BROHN a Tony-winning orchestrator and arranger of Broadway musicals died May 11, 2017. He was 84.

His first Broadway project was the revue Rodgers & Hart in 1975. His last was The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess in 2012.

He was best known for his scores of musicals such as Miss Saigon, Ragtime and Wicked. He won the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for Ragtime.

His work was called eclectic, orchestrating many different styles of music. His modern scores are known for their keyboard writing for the orchestra pit, and their balance between acoustic and synthesized sounds. Brohn was one of the few theatre orchestrators to use the E-bow attachment to the electric guitar, which can be heard in his orchestrations for Wicked and Mary Poppins.

In 1989, Brohn began to collaborate with Cameron Mackintosh, orchestrating approximately ten of his shows, also working on scores for musicals with Trevor Nunn and the Royal National Theatre, London.

Additionally, Brohn has provided arrangements for Liza Minnelli's 1999-2000 tour Minnelli on Minnelli, Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, Frederica von Stade, Plácido Domingo and Jerry Hadley which have all been recorded. Brohn has also collaborated with conductors such as André Previn, John Williams and Keith Lockhart.

He orchestrated the 2002 revival of Oklahoma!, the 1994 revival of Show Boat, the 1980 revival of Brigadoon, and the 1992 musical Crazy for You.

He served for the last 12 years as a member of the MSU College of Music National Leadership Council. He gave his time and financial support to the college and returned to campus often as a visiting professor.

CORKI CASEY O'DELL pioneering female guitarist who played with Duane Eddy, died Thursday, May 11, 2017 in Nashville. She was 80.

In the late 1950s in Phoenix, O’ Dell was part of a group of musicians that included Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, and Sanford Clark. In 1956, she played rhythm guitar on Clark’s hit song The Fool. She played guitar on many of Duane Eddy’s early hit songs as a member of his backing band the Rebels, including the iconic Peter Gunn.

She married songwriter Kenny O’Dell in the 1960s and moved to Nashville. The pair became well known figures in the Nashville music scene. O’Dell was one of the first women to be inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame. She was inducted in 2014 and performed at the ceremony with Duane Eddy for the first time in around 50 years.

She is survived by her husband of nearly 50 years, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Kenny O'Dell, three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Next Column: May 28, 2017
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Laura Deni

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