Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: May 22, 2016
By: Laura Deni


The days when the biggest audience problem for performers was a patron opening the plastic wrapper on a piece of hard candy, now belongs in the same antiquity category as a student being sent to the principal because they threw something into the waste basket, rather than holding up their hand, asking permission and then quietly walking to the waste basket.

While the use of cell phones and posting to twitter during a performance are hot button issues - there are also other annoyances - for members of the audience.

We've all become accustomed to being searched in some manner. Airports, churches and Broadway theatres look into women's purses and supposedly everyone's backpacks.

Some have become accustomed to the screenings, while others attempt to maneuver their way around the system.

At one theatre a security guard walked down the line of ticket holders waiting to be admitted. He gave instruction that no food or beverages would be allowed inside. "I can't tell you how many bottles of water, I've confiscated today," he lamented to himself.

When somebody tried to argue with him he answered: "The plastic bottles crackle and bother your neighbors as well as the actors on stage. No water bottles. Drink it now, or throw it away."

Recently, I had a lengthy conversation with Arthur, a security guard at a major Broadway theatre.

Like all Broadway theatres I was instructed to open my purse. A long, thin flashlight was put inside to probe the inner recesses. Somebody always squeezes the purse's bottom.

I inquired as to what they were looking for - drugs, explosives, food?

"Yes," replied Arthur. "All of that."

"Have you ever found anything other than food?"

"Yes" Noticing my surprised look he continued, "there have been instances where the bomb squad has been called. They send out the dogs."

I wanted to know the biggest problem.

"Food," he replied without hesitation. "People think they can eat dinner while watching the show. It can really become a problem when the tour buses come up from the South with loads of women. They get off the bus carrying buckets of fried chicken and think they can bring it inside. They're nice women, but some want to argue. They don't realize we can't accommodate things like fried chicken. Even the smell of some foods can make others sick."

"What happens to the food?"

"We take it away from them. Most of the time it's thrown away. You can't keep passing food around. That's not sanitary. We don't have places to store people's food."

Just then a women, perhaps in her 40s, with her purse in one hand and a show ticket in the other, approached the door. Arthur stopped her and politely asked her to open her purse. She complied.

Arthur stuck his flashlight into her purse. In a tone of voice that was a cross between exasperated and astonished he asked: "Is that a sandwich there?"


"Take it out," was the polite but firm request.

Removed from the purse was a big, juicy looking sandwich, which contained letter, tomato, some sort of meat, cheese, and dressing, all wrapped in a piece of plastic wrap. The sandwich contents had already begun to leak inside the plastic wrap.

"I'm not going to open it and eat it until the show begins," explained the woman. "Nobody is going to see me eat it. The lights will be off." Then as if she thought the security guard was from another planet, she repeated, "I won't unwrap it until the show starts."

"You can't do that, Ma'am."

"Why not?"

Arthur sighed and pointed to a spot by the building. "You're welcome to stand over there and eat it now. But, you can't bring food or beverages into the theatre."

"They sell food inside," was her indignant retort.

"Yes, they do, and you're welcome to buy something inside. However, they don't sell sandwiches."

"The prices of their water - way too high," she argued.

She was possibly referring to beverage venue prices being about three times the price of a bottle of water at Jack's, which is a New York City version of a 99-cent store, with three locations - two of which are close to the theatre district; or twice as expensive as a bottle water from Duane Reade or CVS.

"Are you trying to tell me you're not going to let me inside with my sandwich?"

"Yes, Ma'am."

Obviously irritated, the woman went to the designated spot, and opened her sandwich. Some of the filling dribbled out. She stood there shoving the food into her mouth. Standing several feet away Arthur and I could hear the crunch of lettuce and her chewing.

Arthur and I exchanged looks.

Arthur commented that he thought he ought to get together with security guards from other theatres and compose some sort of a Manners Guide for Theatre Patrons. "But, you know something," he reasoned, "the ones who really need to read it, wouldn't."

Theatre patrons with no consideration for others aren't just those trying to save some money by bringing in their own food.

Those with uncontrollable nervous habits are at the top of the annoying list. Some people grow out of them, while others can modify their behavior on their own; then there are those who need professional help.

At Fiddler on the Roof I sat next to what appeared to be a group of teen-age students, accompanied by several adults. The teens appeared to have never even heard of the musical. Before the show began the young man I was seated next to had one of his legs constantly bouncing up and down like a jackhammer. He bit each fingernail, and then sucked on each knuckle. He then cracked his knuckles before putting his hands around his neck. He made two serious moves, popping his neck - not once, but twice.

The minute the show began he put his hands down, kept his foot on the floor, sat politely, applauded at the correct times and was a lovely young gentleman. His fidgets were that of a teen-age boy who can grow out of, or control them. During intermission and after the performance the chaperons did an excellent job of asking the teens what they had learned from different sections of the production and how that related to the world we live in today.

However, attending a performance of A Long Day's Journey Into Night was a different situation. Making a long show almost unbearably too long was a woman with a comp ticket with her gal pal, who moved over from their assigned location to sit next to me.

The woman now next to me, in prime seats, had a few neurotic issues.

She is a chronic nail biter and finger sucker. She also picked at her nose, and then put her fingers back into her mouth; rubbed her face, chewed her nails and repeated the scenario.

Somewhere along the sucking, picking and chewing she bent down and opened up a large bag. Hidden among other objects was a bottle of water. She removed it, opened the cap, and took a few swallows. She replaced the cap and later would repeat the process.

In addition to my peripheral vision being able to catch all of the hand and finger movements, the sounds heard were: Cracking the nails - sucking a finger - sucking another finger - rubbing nose - sucking fingers - cracking nail - drinking water - belching - cracking nail - trying to bite the cuticle - spitting what was bitten off onto her fingers - sucking fingers, rubbing nose - rubbing face - fingers in mouth. Etc. Etc.

If there hadn't been such great acting on stage, I would have walked out.

Other people's nervous gestures and neurosis shouldn't be foisted off on another - even if you are comped.

For her own sake she needs to get some help. She's sucking in over 10 million germs a day and anybody shaking hands with her or coming in contact with anything she has touched could be exposed to a raft of hygienic and germ laden problems.

And, why is it that my small purse with numerous small zippered compartments to help keep me well organized is gone over with such intensity that you'd think somebody thought I had the super-secret code to President Obama's security football, while other people can waltz into a theatre with what amounts to carry-on luggage?

A different woman sitting next to me at Fully Committed, who wasn't annoying, also carried in a large bag which contained a bottle of water hidden among other objects in the satchel.

The problems with permitting patrons to enter with items larger than a bread box are; time, money and not wanting to unduly annoy customers. It's not an airport.

The guards stick their flashlights down the big bags. If they don't immediately find weapons (mostly pocket knives) or rarely suspicious packages, which the patron refuses to open, the ticket holder is permitted to enter.

If the showgoer is sly enough to wrap food or beverages in other objects, the contraband can be missed. The only way to catch everything would be to empty the bag or run it through a scanner. There is neither the time nor the money to do that. Producers don't want patrons to feel they are overly hassled when entering a theatre - especially if they are there on a comp ticket.

As for the women with the fingernail chewing and sucking problem. She realized she was bothering me and several times attempted to refrain from chewing her nails by jerking her hands from her mouth and clenching her fists in her lap. That effort lasted for only a few seconds. She couldn't control her impulses. Those digits popped right back into her mouth and that sucking sound was unmistakable.

That same woman also came perilously close to sitting next to me at The Crucible. Fortunately, she was in the row ahead of me. Never-the less, despite her attempting to keep her hands in her lap, she couldn't. Seated behind her, I could see the fingers frequently going into her mouth, around the nose, back into her mouth. At intermission I got up and watched the Second Act from a seat in the back of the theatre. People with uncontrollable nervous issues need to seek professional help.

Security guard Arthur remembered when those attending a Broadway show wore their Sunday best. Not anymore. Being encouraged to dress sloppy at work through Casual Fridays and we're not our grandparents' generation attitude slithered out into entertainment events. Ball park attire is the apparent dress of choice for going to a Broadway show.

The cost of the ticket has little to do with sending the message that you don't own a mirror. In comparison to the cost of living, Broadway show tickets have always been expensive. The difference is that once-upon-a-time going to a Broadway show was a special event. Now, it's just someplace to twitter about.

While Broadway (and Las Vegas ) audiences now dress like they are lounging around the house, men who sit down wearing baseball caps and then keep them on look hayseed. You're only fooling yourself. Nobody thinks less of you because you are bald. Take off the cap.

Finding your correct seat isn't what it used to be, either. Many ushers no longer act happy to be working at a theatre. Eons ago ushers worked in many theatres in order to be allowed to see the performance. They were all theatre buffs or people who had discovered a way to find free entertainment. They actually liked the theatrical atmosphere.

Now it's not uncommon for the patron to be expected to read their own ticket and, by divine inspiration, automatically know which aisle and seat is correct. Ushers don't always know what they are doing.

At one show I was sent to an usher in the front part of the theatre who looked at my ticket and told me to sit. He patted on an aisle seat, which later I would discover had a number similar to the one on my ticket. Whoopi Goldberg sat down directly in front of me. The show was about to begin. Suddenly the usher rushed towards me demanding; "Let's see your ticket!"

I opened my purse and began searching.

"Hurry up."

I produced the ticket and handed it to him.

"Why did you sit in this seat?"

"Because you told me to."

"Why did you listen to me? You should have looked at your own ticket. You belong in this row, but in the seat directly in the middle."

I then had to climb over several people to get to my proper location. At least the usher wasn't biting his nails.

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Bruce Springsteen at the Roskidle Festival in 2012.
a traveling photo exhibit curated by the Grammy Museum will open in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 26. The exhibition features more than 40 iconic images of Bruce Springsteen. On display for one month only through Sunday, June 19, the exhibit serves to document a great American music legend, and will feature photos taken by noted Springsteen photographers Danny Clinch, Ed Gallucci, Eric Meola, Pamela Springsteen and Frank Stefanko.

"This exhibit defines the career of Bruce Springsteen in an entirely new light, as captured by these five incredible photographers," said Grammy Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli. "Each of these photographers was able to artfully document Bruce's world, at different stages in his career. We are honored to partner with each of them in order to help tell the story of one of the most important figures in American music."

Springsteen's recording career spans more than 40 years, beginning with 1973's Columbia Records release Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ. He has released 18 studio albums, garnered 20 Grammy Awards, won an Oscar, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was a 2009 Kennedy Center Honors recipient and was named the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year by The Recording Academy.

While the majority of the exhibit focuses on Springsteen offstage, four additional live performance photographs, shot by Barry Schneier, will be showcased. These photos were shot during the now-famous Springsteen concert at Harvard Square Theater where famed Rolling Stone music journalist Jon Landau claimed, "I have seen the future of rock and roll, and its name is Bruce Springsteen."

Additionally, the exhibit will feature video interviews with each of the photographers, produced by the Grammy Museum.

The exhibit comes to Los Angeles after being on exhibit at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma and at Monmouth University in Long Branch, NJ.

In October 2014, Monmouth University was named an educational affiliate of the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum. The partnership provides students, faculty, and staff access to Grammy Museum content for educational purposes, curriculum resources, research programs, professional development seminars, collaborative marketing and promotions, project-based learning, and unique student internship opportunities. The connection also creates opportunities for students like internships, research programs, employment and accessibility to talent for events and production.

Monmouth University is also home to The Bruce Springsteen Special Collection, which comprises over 20,000 items from 47 countries that range from books and concert memorabilia to articles and promotional materials. The collection serves the research and informational needs of music fans, scholars, authors, and others with a serious interest in Bruce Springsteen’s life and career. Research access to collection is by appointment only.

Hassan Hajjaj Mr. Toliver, 2010 Metallic lambda print on Dibond with wood and plastic mat frame Collection of the Newark Museum
Majjaj is a contemporary artist who lives and works between London, UK and Marrakech, Morocco, and is known as the “Andy Warhol of Marrakech.”

This exhibition showcases Hajjaj and the eclectic group of nine musicians from around the world whom the artist sees as his own personal “rock stars.”

The exhibition features the artist’s video of these musicians, composed of nine separately-filmed performances each in the same compositional format as accompanying photographs.

The video and related photographs are being presented in a salon environment designed by Hajjaj to evoke the color, style, and energy of a contemporary Moroccan marketplace.

Organized by the Newark Museum.

May 26, 2016 – September 4, 2016 at the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tennessee.


JULIE HALSTON WILL HOST SPRING BENEFIT MAY 23 for the T. Schreiber Studio in New York City.

The evening begins with a special performance of Harper Regan. This bittersweet drama, written by 2015 Tony winner Simon Stephens, is directed by Terry Schreiber. It opened May 7 at the Studio/Theatre.

It's a fictional story of a working wife and mother who faces disquieting truths when she leaves her job and family in Uxbridge while her father is dying in Manchester. Playwright Stephens won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The performance will be followed by a rooftop party across the street at Rare View Chelsea. Festivities will be led by actress/comedienne Julie Halston, a former student of Terry Schreiber. Guests will sip cocktails with T. Schreiber Studio alumna Julia Udine, who is currently starring as Christine in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera, and swing with the music of Rat Packers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin as they are performed by award winning Tribute Artists Joe Perce and Jesse Posa.


Tracee Ellis Ross stars on the hit comedy Blackish. Her parents are Diana Ross and Robert Ellis Silberstein.
Tracee Ellis Ross, star of the hit ABC comedy Blackish is sending out memos on official White House stationery. It's all quite legal. The daughter of Diana Ross is spearheading the United State of Women Summit which will be held at the White House on June 14.

In the Ross statement she honored her own mother:

"A wise woman once said that one is not born a woman, but rather becomes one. What makes a woman? Strength. Resilience. Compassion. Beauty from within. When I think of what it means to be a woman, I stand a little taller because I know I stand on the shoulders of women who came before me and paved the way.

"My mom, Diana Ross, is one of those women. She's both nurturing and fierce, graceful and courageous. She set an example for me to be empowered, to have a voice, and to build a full life for myself. And there are countless other women who inspire and remind me of the individual and collective power of women.

"If there's a woman in your life who inspires you like my mom has always inspired me, somebody who strives to help everybody around her achieve their greatest, we want her to be there. We want her to stand with President Obama and the First Lady.

"I know there are so many women out there who are lifting up their friends, their neighbors, and their communities. We want to meet these incredible women."

Ross encouraged people to nominate women to join the United State of Women Summit - with a tiny bit of a time problem. The e-mails, which contained two links in which to reach the nomination page, were sent out on 16 May 2016 13:24:59 -0600. The nomination process closed at midnight - leaving recipients, assuming they even received their emails in time, less than 12 hours to think about somebody they might like to nominate, and then complete the process.

The e-mail indicates that the powers that be knew of the short notice.

"So hit us up," continued Tracee Ellis Ross. "Tell us about someone in your life who should be at the Summit. And make sure to do it before nominations close at midnight!"

This is either an example of government having a good idea which gets strangled by the details - or the participants in the United State of Women Summit were already selected and the email was meant to make it appear that the event was open to public nominations.

In any event, the Summit itself appears to be an excellent idea.

The website states: "There’s a lot that’s been done by and for women and girls, but there’s still plenty to do. Convened by the White House, this Summit will rally all of us together to celebrate what we’ve achieved, and how we’re going to take action moving forward. Covering key gender equality issues, we’ll make a powerful difference in our collective future.

The Summit will focus on the following topics.

Economic Empowerment
Health & Wellness
Educational Opportunity
Violence Against Women
Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Leadership & Civic Engagement


“Audiences at the Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park over Memorial Day Weekend (May 27-29) will get a chance to see several exhilarating trailers for Roots on our Jumbotrons near the Main Stage. We know they will be as thrilled about this new series as we are,” exclaimed Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. She added, “We are very excited about our partnership with History in connection with the premiere of their epic series Roots.

The History Channel premieres Roots beginning Monday, May 30. The series will air over four consecutive nights. Developed by History, from A+E Studios, Roots is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive and ultimately carry on their legacy despite hardship. In addition to History, Roots will be simulcast on A&E and Lifetime.

The stellar cast includes Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker (Fiddler) and Anna Paquin (Nancy Holt), Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Laurence Fishburne (Alex Haley), Golden Globe Award winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Tom Lea),Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose (Kizzy), Grammy Award winner Tip “T.I.” Harris (Cyrus), Chad L. Coleman (Mingo), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Belle), Matthew Goode (Dr. William Waller), Derek Luke (Silla Ba Dibba), Mekhi Phifer (Jerusalem), James Purefoy (John Waller), Erica Tazel (Matilda) and introduces Regé-Jean Page (Chicken George) and Malachi Kirby (Kunta Kinte).

Roots is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the original Roots, which starred LeVar Burton. Along with Korin D. Huggins he serves as co-executive producers of this reimagination. Questlove is executive music producer. Roots is directed by Phillip Noyce, Mario Van Peebles, Thomas Carter and Bruce Beresford.

The 39th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival is presented by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. The mission of the Atlanta Jazz Festival is to educate and entertain a diverse audience of jazz fans and to nurture the next generation of jazz musicians.

This year's Festival is in full swing with jazz notes being heard through Sunday, May 29 at a variety of locations including the Airport Atrium, Suite Lounge, Colony Square and Elliott Street Pub.

Performers include: drummer Tumi Mogorosi, cellist Tomeka Reid, The Headhunters, Theo Croker, The Benny Golson Quartet, Tatran, Russell Gunn Quartet, Next Collective, Mette Henriette, Mabu’s Ark Band, KP The Great, King Ace Beats, JOI, Jamison Ross, Joe Alterman, Gregory Porter, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Etienne Charles, Eugenie Jones, Enoch, Eliane Elias, Daby Touré, Chargaux, Camila Meza, Chandra Currelley, Assaf Kehati, Alex Lattimore, Navy Band Southeast V.I.P. Protocol Combo, plus several teen bands indicating that, indeed, the jazz beat goes on.


Katherine Jenkins performs I Vow To Thee My Country. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

It was one big blowout of a party! Elizabeth may be the Queen of the United Kingdom, but her birthday celebration featured a hefty dose of American influence.

Dame Helen Mirren, who won an Oscar for her lead role in The Queen, and a host of celebrities helped Queen Elizabeth celebrate her 90th birthday at the official 90th Birthday Celebrations at Windsor Castle on May 15, 2016. Her actual birthday was on April 21 but since it's her 90th, celebrations are taking place all year.

Alan Titchmarsh announced the arrival of the Queen and Prince Philip in the horse drawn Scottish State Coach. They were welcomed by their son Prince Charles who gave his mother a kiss, and his wife Duchess Camilla who was wearing a cream dress and an embroidered coat by Fiona Clare.

Queen Elizabeth looked festive in a sea green dress with lace overlay and matching jacket by Angela Kelly, accented by a diamond encircled turquoise brooch, and her frequently worn triple strand pearl necklace and button pearl earrings.

Take That singer Gary Barlow, who was chosen to compose the Queen's official Diamond Jubilee single, Sing, with Andrew Lloyd Webber, kicked off the entertainment with a belting rendition of Something About This Night from the musical Finding Neverland.

Dame Helen, wearing a gorgeous blue beaded sheath gown, Damian Lewis and Titchmarsh narrated historic moments from the Queen's life during the show. Jim Carter, of Downton Abby fame, and his wife actress Imelda Staunton celebrated the Queen's childhood years, with Carter narrating and Staunton singing, followed by two young actresses - Kinvara Garner playing Elizabeth and Hannah Robinson as her sister Margaret - riding around on Shetland ponies under the instruction of a rather straight laced teacher.

It was reported that the great-grandmother appeared to be quite touched as romantic scenes from her 1947 wedding were shown on a big screen.

Lyric mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins, a former tour guide on the London Eye, whose albums have received Classic Brit Awards as Album of the Year. She came in second on America's Dancing With the Stars, and has also performed at Joe's Pub in New York City. She also participated in the 2013 U.S. Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C., singing a selection from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem and You'll Never Walk Alone from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. Married to American artist and film actor-director Andrew Levitas, in September 2015 she gave birth in New York to their daughter.

For the birthday bash she sang I Vow to Thee My Country, marking Princess Elizabeth's elevation to the top job, reflecting her promise made in 1947, as a young princess, to dedicate her whole life to her people.

Tenor Alfie Boe, one of the U.K.'s most gifted classical crossover talents, shared a Tony Award with the cast of the Baz Luhrmann's 2002 revival of La bohème in 2003. He met his wife, Sarah while rehearsing that show in San Francisco. The couple lives in Utah with their two children. He returned to Broadway to star in Les Miserables. Since March 29, 2016 he has been playing the lead role in Finding Neverland on Broadway. For the Queen's birthday bash he delivered A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, written in 1939 with lyrics by Eric Maschwitz and music by Manning Sherwin.

Pop singer Jess Glynne performed her hit song Hold My Hand. Kylie Minogue sang a version of her song I Believe In You. The 47-year-old songstress looked sensational in a white embroidered gown trimmed in white feathers with a sweeping base. She was accompanied to the party by her 28-year-old actor boyfriend Joshua Sasse.

Martin Clunes of Doc Martin fame introduced the colorful Royal Cavalry of Oman. Also giving voice was tenor Andrea Bocelli. James Blunt played Bonfire Heart while the Household Cavalry rode around the arena. Also performing were impressionist Rory Bremner, and Beverly Knight.

Actor Damian Lewis, known for portraying U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland - which earned him a Primetime Emmy - told the crowds the Queen’s “commitment and dedication is immense”.

The evening was hosted by television personalities Ant and Dec who were introduced by their full names Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.

Queen Elizabeth's entire family, including her extended family of great nieces and nephews and third cousins, attended the festivities.

Everyone looked smart and festive. For those who can't exist without knowing - Duchess Kate wore a $5,999 white Dolce & Gabanna dress that was partially covered by a red cape by High Street chain Zara. She accented her outfit with diamond drop earrings loaned to her by her mother-in-law. Of course she looked sensational.

In case anybody cares, Princes William and Harry wore the Windsor Uniform, the dress for male members of the royal family when they are at Windsor Castle.

The evening ended with Dame Shirley Bassey performing Diamonds Are Forever followed by the playing of Happy Birthday and the presentation of a gigantic birthday cake. God Save the Queen and a fireworks display closed the evening.

During the garden party Dame Joan Collins and Gemma Arterton presented Prince Charles with a portrait of himself created from hundreds of images of people whose lives have been touched by the work of The Prince’s Trust. Photo: Buckingham Palace.

Sir Ben Kingsley led the celebration as a host of blue-ribbon party goers paid tribute to Prince Charles as thousands gathered at a Buckingham Palace garden party on May 17 to mark the 40th anniversary of his Prince’s Trust.

Oscar winner Sir Ben has been an Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust for the past 20 years.

He described Charles as having the unique combination of “enormous compassion, without ego” as Trust beneficiaries, celebrity supporters and staff enjoyed a palace garden party hosted by the heir to the throne.

Among the famous enjoying cream tea were Dame Joan Collins, actress Gemma Arterton, BBC presenter Fearne Cotton and former James Bond star Sir Roger Moore, singers Pixie Lott, Fearne Cotton and Paul Young.

Kylie Minogue who had appeared at Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday party was slated to appearance, but canceled due to ill health.

Kingsley told the gathering of more than 5,000 charity supporters and beneficiaries that in the last 40 years, the charity has supported 825,000 young people, and emphasized that "89p of every pound raised was spent on the young people helped," and then added: “It’s not throwing money at the problem, it’s throwing intelligence and care and affection, and I think at the centre of it is HRH’s (His Royal Highness Prince Charles) profound affection for what he does and the people for whom he does it. I think he’s a very unique combination of enormous compassion, without ego - it’s a very rare combination.”

During the garden party Dame Joan and Gemma presented Charles with an incredible portrait of himself - a real work of art - created from hundreds of images of people whose lives have been touched by the work of his Trust.

Sir Ben presented Charles with a digital book of memories - a touch screen device containing photos and recollections recorded by young people and supporters of Trust and gathered during a nationwide road show.

The Trust grew out of Charles’s concern that too many young people were being excluded from society through a lack of opportunity. In 1976, when he left the Royal Navy, he used the $15,000 he received in severance pay to fund a number of community charity programs. These early initiatives were the founding projects of his charity - The Prince's Trust.

The Prince’s Trust supports 13 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed, struggling at school or at risk of exclusion.

Many of the young people helped by The Prince’s Trust are in or leaving institutional care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or they have been in trouble with the law. The Trust’s programs offer vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilize their lives, helping to develop self-esteem and skills for work.

Singer Pixie Lott, who became a Trust Ambassador aged 18, said: "I just think that the work it does is amazing, giving young people a chance is so good."

"I've met some amazing people today, it's lovely to hear their stories and how much more confidence they have from working with the Trust, and the way they've turned their lives around."


BIG APPLE CIRCUS EMBRACES AUTISM will take place on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Big Apple Circus has joined with world-renowned Autism Spectrum Disorders experts to adapt the show for families with members on the spectrum and create a joyful experience for all. The adapted show includes the same world-class artistry as the full performance with a shorter running time, adjusted lights and sound, a calming center, pictorial social narratives, and specially trained staff and volunteers.

This year the Circus theme is The Grand Tour which transports audiences to the Roaring 1920s, the advent of the modern travel era, when the most adventuresome began to tour the world in ships, planes, trains, and automobiles.

With every seat less than 50 feet from the stage, audiences will see four-time Big Apple Circus ringmaster John Kennedy Kane introduce a variety of stunning performers: clowns Joel Jeske and Brent McBeth; third-generation circus animal trainer Jenny Vidbel with her pony and dog acts; aerialist Sergey Akimov; international juggling sensation AlexanderKoblikov; ninth-generation circus performer Chiara Anastasini with hula hoops; the Dominguez Brothers defying the law of gravity with their thrill-filled act featuring the Wheel of Wonder; Chinese hand balancers The Energy Trio; the African acrobatic troupe Zuma Zuma; and the Dosov Troupe soaring on the teeterboard. all accompanied by the live, seven-piece Big Apple Circus Band.

The Grand Tour, conceived and created by Joel Jeske, is directed by Mark Lonergan with associate director and choreographer Antoinette DiPietropolo. Musical direction by Rob Slowik with clown material created and directed by Joel Jeske. Set and lighting design by Maruti Evans, costume design by Oana Botez, and props design by Katie Fleming.

Peformances at Cunningham Park, in Queens, NY.

OGUNQUIT PLAYHOUSE BACKSTAGE TOURS begin Friday, May 27, at the Ogunquit, Maine venue.

Trained volunteer guides will share their extensive knowledge of the storied history of the Playhouse and the hundreds of stars who have graced the stage. Hear the history of the famous Ogunquit Playhouse. See behind the scenes. Step into the original dressing rooms of the stars - Bette Davis, Myrna Loy, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Walter Matthau, Steve McQueen, Sally Struthers, Charles Shaugnessy, Carson Kressley and over 300 more since 1937. See the Wig Room, where actors prepare for the show. See the Green Room, where cast and crew spend their downtime. And, visit the Sound Room.

The popular event takes place various dates through September 19, 2016.

MAY 23 is National Taffy Day and May 25 is National Wine Day.


R&H THEATRICALS a division of Rodgers and Hammerstein, An Imagem Company, has acquired the licensing rights for the popular kid’s musicals Garfield, The Musical with Cattitude and Mad Libs Libs which join the previously existing TYA (Theater for Young Audiences) Collection of titles including: The Adventures of Pinocchio, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Magical Adventures of Merlin, Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale and Red Riding Hood.

Garfield, The Musical with Cattitude is based on the Comic Strip Garfield by Jim Davis, and premiered by the Adventure Theater Company in Washington, DC. It features a book by Michael J. Bobbitt and Jim Davis and Music and Lyrics by John L. Cornelius II.

Mad Libs Live! is the new musical based on the most popular word game of all time. The story begins at the finals of Teen Superstars, the live TV show that will determine the most popular singing group at Blankville Central High. Music by Jeff Thomson, Book and Lyrics by Robin Rothstein.

Mad Libs was created by comedy writers Leonard Stern and Roger Price as an inventive and unpredictable game they played with their friends at parties. In 1958, the legendary talk show host Steve Allen used Mad Libs to hilariously introduce guests. Three days later, stores across the country had completely sold out of Mad Libs, and a star was born. Mad Libs has since become the world’s most popular word game, with over 125 million Mad Libs in print and more than 8 million downloads of the mobile app.

AMBASSADOR THEATRE GROUP (ATG) HAS ANNOUNCED that ATG co-founders Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire have stepped down as joint CEO’s. They have been replaced by Mark Cornell who has no theatrical experience. He previously was managing director of Sotheby’s Europe.

ATG is the larger theatrical owner and manager in Europe. They also have financial interests in several American venues.

Adam Kenwright will step down from the theatrical marketing firm he co-founded AKA, which boasts offices in London, New York, Europe and Australia, to become Executive Vice President.

No reason was given as to why Panter and Squire were replaced.

The pair also announced they will buy Trafalgar Studios from ATG and run it independently as part of the move, which will see Panter and Squire continue to hold non-executive roles as directors and shareholders.

Squire will also be Deputy Chairman of the ATG Group and remaining Chairman of Sonia Friedman Productions, a subsidiary owned by ATG. Panter will continue as Executive Producer on some existing and future ATG projects. He will remain Chairman and Producer of The Rocky Horror Show worldwide and ATG will continue to partner and invest with him in his future productions.

ATG was founded by Panter and Squire in 1992, and currently operates 45 theatres (excluding Trafalgar Studios), including 10 in London and two on Broadway. See Broadway To Vegas feature of September 6, 2015.

THE OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE an association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, web sites, radio and television stations, and theatre publications in America and abroad, will celebrate its 66th season of bestowing awards of excellence in the field of theatre on May 26th at Sardis Restaurant in New York City.

Broadway’s Marlo Thomas, Alex Sharp, Sheldon Harnick and Victoria Clark will serve as gala award presenters.

The 2015-2016 Award Nominees and Winners are: See a list of the nominees and winners.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS has approved more than $82.3 million to fund 1,148 local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA's second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016.

In the NEA’s flagship grant category, Art Works there were 1,002 awards totaling $26,019.500. The grants range from $10,000 to $120,000

The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.

Included in this round of grants is an award of $14,000 to Ardea Arts for the creation of Bounce, described as: "a dramatic mix of music, theater and basketball involving youth and community both in the process and performance of the work. Bounce is grounded in contemporary youth issues, including teen violence. It brings to life a story of the soaring hopes, dreams and aspirations of Isaac (Icarus) "Ike the Flight" Harris, a high school basketball player who overcomes temptations and life's hard lessons."

An accessible, affordable-to-produce opera performed on basketball courts across the country in parks, athletic centers, schools, correctional facilities and theaters. This universal opera is conceived by director Grethe Holby, with story and libretto by basketball author and poet Charles R. Smith, Jr., and music by Grammy award-winning composer Glen Roven with additional music by folk blues Global soul composer Tomás Doncker and EDM Producer Ansolo.

Partners include University of Kentucky Opera Theatre (development); WNYC (media); Alaska Public Media, City Parks Foundation, Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes (GMACC), and three city high schools: EBC High School for Social Service, Nazareth Regional HS, both in Brooklyn, and Business of Sports School (BOSS) in Manhattan.

BROADWAY/SAN DIEGO has announced the 2016 San Diego nominees in the categories of Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Musical Production, for the Ben Vereen Awards taking place on Sunday, May 29th at the historic Balboa Theatre, hosted by CBS News 8 anchor Marcella Lee.

New this year, the Top 20 student nominees will participate in a week of rehearsals leading up to the competition which includes a special Get Up and Go workshop with a cast member of the national tour of Disney’s Newsies on Monday, May 23rd and a master class with the legendary stage and screen entertainer, Ben Vereen on Saturday, May 28th. The winners for Best actor and Best Actress will also attend the San Diego Padres game on June 1st and sing the National Anthem to open the game.

The Wellness Through the Arts (WTA) five individual essay winners will each receive $500 and their stories will be used to create a live musical theatre piece for presentation at the BVAs on May 29th for their essays titled, My Best Day. The winning Theatre Department Group Video Project Essay also receives a prize of $1,000 and will be shown at the event. This year, Ben Vereen will present the Wellness Through the Arts category and introduce a new performance component with a special award for one talented student.

The WTA winners are: Bailey Woods - La Jolla Country Day; Erin Slane - Carlsbad High School; Savannah Welch - Rock Academy; Skylar Weatherford - San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts; and Yoon Kang - Rock Academy. Winning High School Theatre Department Video Essay is La Jolla High School.

(from left) Ned Eisenberg as Menachem Begin, Richard Thomas as Jimmy Carter, and Khaled Nabawy as Anwar Sadat in the West Coast premiere of Lawrence Wright's Camp David, directed by Molly Smith. Photo by Jim Cox.
by Lawrence Wright.

Directed by Molly Smith.

Camp David offers a you-are-there view of a great historical achievement whose legacy continues to resonate nearly 40 years later. In the tumultuous 1970s, Middle East peace seemed as remote a prospect as it does today. Yet during 13 extraordinary days in 1978, two world leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, under the watchful and sometimes exasperated eyes of U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, hammered out an agreement that inspired the entire world.

Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright "brings us a riveting and moving story filled with humor, insight, and surprises, as three very different men, each devoutly committed to his faith find that peace is possible and that hope is always the better choice."

Starring Ned Eisenberg (Menachem Begin), Hallie Foote (Rosalynn Carter), Khaled Nabawy (Anwar Sadat), Richard Thomas (Jimmy Carter), with Bryan Banville and Jon Maxwell (Marines).

Walt Spangler (Scenic Design), Paul Tazewell (Costume Design), Pat Collins (Lighting Design), David Van Tieghem (Original Music and Sound Design), Jeff Sugg (Projection Design), David Huber (Vocal Coach), Geoff Josselson, CSA (Casting), Susan R. White (Production Stage Manager), Peter Van Dyke (Stage Manager).

The Old Globe presents the Arena Stage production in its West Coast Premiere running through June 19, 2016 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, Old Globe Theatre, Conrad Prebys Theatre Center in San Diego, CA.

CHRISTIE IN LOVE by Howard Brenton.

Directed by ‘As I gazed down at the still form of my first victim, I experienced a strange, peaceful thrill’ John Christie, Serial Killer Before Myra Hindley, before the Yorkshire ripper, before Fred and Rosemary West, there was John Christie.

Between 1943 and 1953 Christie killed at least eight women, and hid their bodies around the Notting Hill boarding-house – 10 Rillington Place – where he lived. By day Christie was a prissy-looking post office clerk: by night he was a modern Bluebeard.

In 1950 Christie’s neighbor, weak-minded Timothy Evans, was convicted of murdering his wife and daughter, and hanged. When the bodies of Christie’s other victims were found in 1953 it became obvious that Evans’s confession had been forced, or faked. Evans’s wrongful execution triggered the abolition of capital punishment.

In Howard Brenton’s 1969 award-winning play about one of the 20th century’s most notorious crimes, Christie, the softly-spoken killer, shuffles through a mass of newsprint, wittily parrying the questions of policemen whose misogyny matches his own. Smutty limericks, an inflatable woman, a stunning sequence of hallucinatory theatrical images, an indictment of a hypocritical and prurient press, and a subtle exploration of the dictum that ‘Each man kills the thing he loves’. This shockingly funny play stands revealed as a nightmare for our times too.

Opens May 25 - June 18, 2016 at King's Head Theatre in London.

A BETTER PLACE the world premiere of a new work by Wendy Beckett.

Directed by Evan Bergman.

The cast features Jessica DiGiovanni, John FitzGibbon, Drama Desk Award nominee Judith Hawking, Edward James Hyland, Rob Maitner, and Michael Satow.

A Better Place is billed as "a hilarious new play about Manhattanites' lust for real estate. A male couple becomes transfixed by their neighbors; they can't tear themselves away from the window. The lifestyle over there is sumptuous, and they have a quirky daughter whose tastes run to exhibitionism. Speculation begins...where did they get all that wealth? And what about the kooky brokers who regularly visit them? Who are these funny people in the glorious glass box? We all want what they have! Could it be they have attained- A Better Place?"

The creative team includes David Arsenault (scenic design), Russell H. Champa (lighting design), Valerie Marcus Ramshur (costume design), and Sam Kunetz (sound design).

Performances at The Duke in New York City.


COLDPLAY in the spotlight Tuesday, May 24, at the Stade Charles Ehrmann in Nice, France. Thursday's show is at the Estadio Olimpico in Barcelona, Spain.

IL DIVO brings their tour to the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Germany on Monday, May 23. On Tuesday they star at the Lotto Arena in Merksem in Belgium. On Wednesday they perform at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Saturday's stop is at the Congress Center in Hamburg, Germany.

SELENA GOMEZ entertains Monday, May 23, at the Budweiser Gardens in London, ON. On Wednesday her show is at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON. Thursday finds her at the Bell Centre in Montreal, OC. On Saturday she's on stage at the TD Garden in Boston. Next Sunday, May 29, she stars at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND perform Wednesday, May 25, at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, UK. On Friday the group begins a split two nighter with a show at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. The second performance takes place on Sunday, May 29.

THE WHO take their tour to the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 25. Friday's show is at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA. Next Sunday, May 29, they star at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

TRACY MORGAN will be making the crowds laugh at the Performing Arts Center in Westhampton Beach, NY on Saturday, May 28.

GUY DAVIS plays the Coffee Gallery in Altadena, CA on Monday, May 23. He's be sharing the stage with his old Clearwater buddy, Matt Cartsonis. On Wednesday Guy will be returning to another favorite West Coast venue, Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco. Thursday finds him performing at the Davis Family Vineyard in Healdsburg, run by - Guy Davis. On Friday Guy returns to San Francisco to pick up his son Martial at the airport. They are going to take a cross country road trip together, return home to NYC sometime in early June, although he's not sure which year.


JULIUS LaROSA an Italian-American traditional popular music singer, who worked in both radio and television beginning in the 1950s died May 12, 2016 at his home in Crivitz, Wisconsin. He was 86.

LaRosa gained fame as a regular on both the morning Arthur Godfrey Time (broadcast on both the CBS radio and television networks) and the Wednesday night variety show Arthur Godfrey and His Friends.

La Rosa was on Godfrey's shows from November 19, 1951 to October 19, 1953. When Archie Bleyer, Godfrey's bandleader, formed Cadence Records in 1952, the first performer signed was La Rosa. Cadence's first single, which was also La Rosa's first recording, was Anywhere I Wander. It reached the top 30 on the charts,

With hit recordings and his appearances on Godfrey's shows, La Rosa's popularity grew exponentially. At one point, La Rosa's fan mail eclipsed Godfrey's. A year after La Rosa was hired, he was receiving 7,000 fan letters a week and his salary grew to $900 a week.

Godfrey was known as a tyrannical boss and ordered all his entertainers to take dancing lessons. La Rosa refused. Godfrey also insisted that his performers not work for outside interests and not be represented by personal agents. Feeling exploited, La Rosa did both.

On the morning of October 19, 1953 (in a segment of the show broadcast on radio only), after La Rosa finished singing Manhattan on Arthur Godfrey Time, Godfrey fired La Rosa on the air, announcing, "that was Julie's swan song with us." La Rosa tearfully met with Godfrey after the broadcast and thanked him for giving him his "break."

Godfrey subsequently explained that La Rosa had been fired because he lacked "humility."

The firing did not hurt La Rosa's career in the short run. Ed Sullivan immediately signed La Rosa for a dozen appearances on his CBS Toast of the Town TV variety show, at triple his old salary, which sparked a feud between Sullivan and Godfrey.

Shortly after he left Godfrey, La Rosa's third recording, Eh, Cumpari, hit #2 on the Billboard chart, with La Rosa getting an award as the best new male vocalist of 1953. Eh, Cumpariwas followed by another major hit, Domani.

In the 1980s, La Rosa received a non-contract, recurring role in the NBC soap opera Another World, for which he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor in the Daytime Emmy Award.

La Rosa eventually moved on to a long-time disk jockey position at New York popular music station 1130 WNEW and continued to sing and occasionally record. In 1998 and 1999, La Rosa was a disc jockey on 1430 WNSW based in Newark, New Jersey, hosting Make Believe Ballroom Time. La Rosa, profiled by jazz critic and composer Gene Lees, continued to work clubs and release records and compact discs till the early 2000s.

For many years was a headliner on nightclub and cabaret circuits in New York, Las Vegas and other cities. He was a great interview. See Julius LaRose interview.

In 1958 he married Rosemary Meyer, who was Perry Como’s secretary. Besides his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Maria Smith; a son, Chris; a sister, Sadie; and one grandson.

GUY CLARK a Grammy-winning country star and a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, died from cancer on Tuesday. May 17, 2016 in Nashville. He was 74.

The native Texan released 13 albums in his storied career, producing lasting hits such as Desperados Waiting for the Train, The Red River Valley and Sometimes the Song Writes You.

Known for his gravelly voice and evocative songwriting, Clark was celebrated for advancing the rock-influenced progressive style of country music, as well as the honky tonk-inspired outlaw genre.

Clark, who joined the Peace Corps a dozen years before releasing his first album, stopped touring and recording shortly after his wife's passing. He had spent four decades in the industry. Clark is survived by his son Travis, his two grandchildren and his two sisters.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Guy Clark was truly gifted, both as a songwriter and folk musician. Having penned classics like Desperados Waiting For A Train and L.A. Freeway, Guy became one of the most admired figures in Nashville, and served as a songwriting mentor to many other talented musicians. Guy’s songs were recorded by artists such as Johnny Cash, Kenny Chesney, Vince Gill, and Ricky Skaggs, with many reaching the upper echelon of the country songs chart. And his much-acclaimed album, My Favorite Picture Of You, earned him a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for 2013. We have lost a cherished artist and our sincerest condolences go out to Guy’s family, friends, and collaborators."

EMILIO NAVAIRA who spring-boarded Tejano music from a regional genre to international acclaim died at his home in New Braunfels, Texas on May 16, 2016 of a massive heart attack. He was 53.

New Braunfels police and fire crews were called to the singer's home around 8:20 p.m. after family members found Navaira unconscious and not breathing. According to the police report, when emergency crews arrived, they began life-saving measures and transported Navaira to Resolute Health Hospital, where the singer was pronounced dead.

The San Antonio, Texas native charted more than ten singles on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks charts, in addition to six singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. Emilio was also one of the few Tejano artists to have significant success in both the United States and Mexico, and was called the "Garth Brooks of Tejano"

In 2008, Navaira was critically injured in a tour bus accident near Houston. He suffered head trauma and other injuries after being thrown through the windshield. The injuries required several surgeries, and he wore a helmet for months to protect his skull. He later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

The accident kept Navaira from performing for several years, but he recently was appearing more often. Emilio performed his last known concert in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, on May 11, 2016, as part of a concert celebrating Mother's Day in that city.

Married three times and divorced twice, he is survived his wife, and three children from his first marriage to Cynthia Navaira; sons . Emilio Navaira IV, Diego Navaira and daughter Emely and two children from his second marriage to Maru Navaira, who he divorced in June 2011. In addition to his wife and children he is survived by a brother Raul "Raulito" Navaira, and a sister Yvette Navaira.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Possessing one of the greatest voices in the history of Tejano music, Emilio Navaira was an icon in the genre. Both a Grammy and a Latin Grammy Award winner, he showcased his strong Texas roots in everything he did. From his relentless touring schedule to his impressive lyrics and signature sound, Emilio was beloved by many, and helped to shape an entire genre of music. Our creative community has lost a uniquely gifted talent, and our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and all those who had the privilege and honor of working with him. He will be missed."

MORLEY SAFER respected Canadian and American reporter died in his Manhattan apartment May 19, 2016, just one week after announcing his retirement from 60 Minutes following 46 seasons with the show. Four days prior to his death, CBS aired a special 60 Minutes episode covering Safer's 61-year journalism career. He was 84.

His awards included: 12-time Emmy Award winner - 3-time Overseas Press Award winner - 3-time George Foster Peabody Award winner - 2-time Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award winner - Recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences - Received the 2003 George Polk Memorial Career Achievement Award from Long Island University - Received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards' first prize for domestic television for his insightful report about a controversial school, "School for the Homeless" - Named a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1995.

He and his wife, Jane Fearer, lived in New York City. Their daughter, Sarah Alice Anne Safer, is a 1992 graduate of Brown University and a freelance journalist. Safer maintained dual (Canadian/American) citizenship.

WENDY VANDERBILT LEHMAN a New York artist whose work resides in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, died of heart failure Tuesday, May 10, 2016, at her home in Manhattan. She was 72.

Known for her love of modernism, her artistic expression spanned several mediums. Her work included sculptures in wood and aluminum as well evocative paintings in acrylic and watercolor. In 2008, she was selected to be a part of The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, which resulted in the placement of her work in museums across the country.

Born in California to Manuela Hudson and Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt II, a pioneer in thoroughbred racing, whose father had gone down on the Lusitania. She grew up between Palm Beach and Manhattan. In addition to her work as an artist, Wendy was a founding member of STOP: Stop Traffic Offenses Program, having witnessed a red light runner nearly kill a friend's child. She spent countless hours working on benefits for institutions like the New York Studio School. After attending Sarah Lawrence College, Wendy was married the late Orin Lehman, New York State's longest-serving commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The couple had two daughters. They divorced in 1995. Wendy is survived by her daughters, Brooke Lehman of Millerton, NY, Sage Lehman of Brooklyn, and stepdaughter Susan Lehman of Greenwich, CT; six grandchildren; and her companion, Bill Beermann.

Next Column: May 29, 2016
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