Memorial Day weekend has long been associated with picnics and every store posting the SALE
signs. Ads abound for specials on everything from hotdogs to home improvements - all under the
banner of Memorial Day Sale.
At some point in the celebration please remember how this day began.
It was originally called Decoration Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in service
to America. Organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of
The Civil War. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by
President Lydon Johnson in May, 1966, up to 25 cities and towns lay claim to being the birthplace
of Memorial Day. General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic,
in his General Order No. 11, first officially proclaimed Memorial Day on May 30, 1868, when
flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National
This year a National Moment of Remembrance resolution was sponsored by Senators Bob
Kerry (D-Neb) and Chuck Hagel (R.-Neb) that at 4:00 p.m. local time everyone is to pause a
moment to think of the true meaning of that day. It's not a bad suggestion.
THE GLAMOROUS ROSEMARY CLOONEY
Rosemary Clooney celebrated her 72nd birthday at Patsy's Restaurant in New York - that's the
restaurant that was a Frank Sinatra hangout. Toasting the birthday girl were her husband Dante
DiPaolo, her brood of children by ex-husband Jose Ferrer and friends Al Pacino and Beverly
D'Angelo, Phyllis Newman and Adolph Green, Harry Crosby, Skitch Henderson, David and Helen
Gurley Brown with restaurant owner Joey Scognamillo delivering a birthday telegram from
Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Getting older is just getting better for the talented lady, who is performing at Feinstein's at the
Regency through June 11.
ROSEMARY CLOONEY first starred in Las Vegas at
the Thunderbird Hotel n 1951.
On June 6 Clooney's next Concord CD entitled Brazil will be released. Singing on the CD
with Rosemary is Diana Krall and John Pizzarelli, Jr.
On Thursday tickets go on sale for the 2nd Annual Rosemary Clooney Music Festival on
September 30 in Maysville, Kentucky. They'll be an outdoor festival showcasing Rosemary, with
national jazz, blues, and big band talent. Miss America 2000, Heather French, will be a special
guest performing with Ms. Clooney. Proceeds benefit restoration of the historic Russell Theater,
site of the international premiere of Clooney's 1953 The Stars Are Singing
On June 12 Clooney joins Tony Bennett and Karen Mason at an all-star Salute to Marilyn
Bergman at the Pierre Hotel in New York City The event will be an opportunity for Mason to
have a chitchat with Clooney about White Christmas.
The movie is being transformed into a stage musical
The classic movie in which Clooney starred with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen is
being transformed into a stage musical.
Mason is a Broadway veteran who was stand by for three Normas on Broadway - going on as
Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd over 150 times.
Now Karen has her own standby. Mason
plays the Rosemary Clooney role in the stage version which will have it's world premiere at the St.
Louis MUNY Opera.
Also featured in the cast will be James Brennan, Lara Teter,
and Lauren Kennedy. The revised book was written by Paul Blake with Charley Repole directing.
Choreography by Thommie Walsh.
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LAUGH A LOT
Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, will be the headliner for the
eighth annual Toyota Comedy Festival - June 1 through June 10 - offers up more than 200
comics in more than 70 events in 30 venues.
An Evening With Jon Stewart takes place June 8 at Carnegie Hall. The New Jersey native,
considered one of America's top social and comic voices will be using The Daily Show to
expand its coverage of all political topics. Indecision 2000 will follow the candidates from
the primaries, debates, and both conventions, culminating its coverage through election
On June 10th Robert Klein will perform at the Gotham Comedy Club. In 1975, Robert became
the first comedian to appear in concert on HBO in their On Location series. He proceeded
to record five more concerts for HBO.
Klein began his Broadway career with Apple Tree He earned a Tony nomination in 1978
in They're Playing Our Song. In 1993 he won an Obie Award for Performance and The
Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor for the role of Merv Kant in
Wendy Wasserstein's The Sisters Rosensweig.
Veteran comedian Norm Crosby brings his humor to Catskills on Broadway 2000 at the
Westbury Music Fair on June 4.
Norm Crosby has been delighting Vegas crowds
for decades. Here he is performing at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas in 1985.
The Master of Malaprop, is among the most recognized and widely quoted performers in Show
Business. Born and raised in the Boston area, Norm served in the U.S. Coast Guard as a radar
operator in the North Atlantic on Anti-Submarine patrol, where he developed a hearing problem
caused by concussions from the depth charges.
Because of this hearing affliction, Crosby ha a special interest in the problems of the hearing
impaired. He was the first National Chairman for the council for Better Hearing. He could have
turned a deaf ear to life, but instead Crosby provided comic relief with his adroit misuse of words
which bemuses and amuses the crowds.
Among the numerous comedians taking part are Mark Curry who starred in Hangin' with Mr.
Cooper. He'll co-host with The Hughleys star John Henton at the Apollo Theater on
June 3. Kathy Griffin and Tony Rock, younger brother of Chris Rock also have performance
dates. The festival includes stand-up, sketches, salutes and shtick.
OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE PRESENTS
Sardi's restaurant was the setting last Thursday afternoon for the Outer Critics Circle
The event is always a high-spirited eclectic mix and this year was no exception. Presided over by
OCC President Marjorie Gunner the event had it's comedic high points. When Gunner attempted
to introduce Lauren Bacall, the OCC President became so surprised to discover that - waiting in
the wings - Barry Humphries arrived as himself rather than "Dame Edna" that she momentarily
couldn't remember Waiting in the Wings - the name of the play in which Lauren Bacall
stars. Bacall filled in the missing title and quipped "Forgotten and we haven't closed yet! Show
DAME EDNA picked up the award "impersonating"
As for Dame Edna: The Royal Tour which received an award for Special Achievement
Gunner made the introduction by saying Dame Edna was here doing an impersonation of Barry
Humphries. He accepted the award and credited Joan Rivers for "putting me in touch with an
agent, who in turn got the producers." As for his wisteria haired alter ego the cross-dressing
comedian explained, "Edna is a vulture disguised as a bird of paradise."
It was a bittersweet moment when Susan Stroman accepted two awards as
Director-Choreographer of the Lincoln Center hit Contact and for The Music Man
Recently widowed when her husband Mike Ockrent passed away last December, Stroman had
tears in her eyes as she said "being able to do these two shows has saved my life. It was a healing
experience for me."
Contact also won for Outstanding Broadway Musical; Peter Kaczorowski for Outstanding
Lighting Design and Karen Ziemba of Contact for Featured Actress in a Musical.
Copenhagen was named Outstanding Broadway Play and A Moon for the
Misbegotten won as Outstanding Revival of a Play.
BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL and MARIN MAZZIE
in Kiss Me Kate. In accepting his award speaking of Marin, Brian said: "I never loved
beat up so much!"
The fabulous Kiss Me Kate walked off with four awards including outstanding Musical
Revival, Brian Stokes Mitchell as Best Actor in a Musical, his co-star Marin Mazzie for
Outstanding Actress in a Musical and set designer Robin Wagner.
While winners, members and guests enjoyed everything from hot and cold hors d'oeuvres to
dessert, the winners were announced by Lauren Bacall, Rosemary Harris, Dana Ivey, Barnard
Hughes and Christa Moore. Flanked by his two daughters, Hallie and Daisy, Horton Foots
presented the Best Actress award to Eileen Heckart for her work in The Waverly
Olympia Dukakis and Mark Setlock tied for Outstanding Solo Performance for Rose
and Fully Committed, respectively. A triumphant but exhausted Dukakis provided an
interesting touch of honesty when she told the gathering; "I'm grateful it closed. I didn't know
how long I could keep it going."
Stephen Spinella was the winner in the Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. He also spoke
the truth when referring to his award said; "You should get these things when you're really lousy!
That's when you need them."
Frances Conroy received the Best Featured Actress award for The Ride Down Mt.
Morgan, which has been an interesting roller coaster ride in itself with star Patrick Stewart's
public battle with the Shubert Organization. Actors Equity has ruled against Stewart for his
remarks about the show's producers. Conroy took great care to thank those producers.
CHARLES GRODIN will be
interviewed June 7 by comic Judy Gold at the 92nd St Y in NYC. Proceeds benefit the children of
the inmates of Bedford.
was the vehicle that
Reunited Laverne and Shirley stars Eddie Mekka and Cindy Williams.
The production screeched to a halt at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas because of sound problems.
Cast members reportedly couldn't hear each other, missed cues and the sound was distorted.
Vegas difficulties won't affect the show's touring schedule.
UNCLE VANYA with two Tony
nominations closes June 11th. The production stars Derek Jacobi, Laura Liney, Brian Murrau and
Roger Rees. Roundabout Theatre Company
TALLER THAN A DWARF written
by Elaine May and starring Matthew Broderick and Parker Posey closes prematurely at the
Longacre Theatre, NYC.
THE DONKEY SHOW
The Donkey Show with eyes for Vegas and the
musical based on A Midsummer's Night's Dream set
to 70's disco.
The show has been packing the New York City theatre.
Producer Jordan Roth is
planning productions of The Donkey Show in Las Vegas, London, Stockholm, and Berlin.
THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER which opens at the Roundabout Theatre, NYC has experienced some cast
changes. Jean Smart replaces Christine Baranski as Lorraine Sheldon in the production which
co-stars Nathan Lane. As for Baranski she has temporarily left the stage for the small tube,
starring in a television series. The revival of the Moss Hart and George F. Kaufman classic
The Man Who Came to Dinner which first opened on October 16, 1939 and ran for two
years, begins previews June 30 and will officially open July 27 at the newly named American
MARATHON 2000 presented by
The Ensemble Studio Theatre, the 23rd annual festival of new one act plays will have premiers
from playwrights Warren Light, Will Scheffer, Leslie Caputo, Heather Dundas, and Jeff Reich. In
Warren Leight's The Final Interrogation of Ceausescu's Dog a young interrogator tries to
obtain a confession from a wise old dog. Jack Hofsidd directs Alex Scott and Ean Sheely.
Leight's Sideman won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Play. His new pay Glimmer,
Glimmer and Shine, will be produced at the mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in January
2001. The final Series C of Marathon 2000 runs from Wednesday, May 1 through Sunday, June
11, at The ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC.
WAITING FOR GODOT Samuel
Beckett's classic tragic comedy about what it means to be human - a vaudeville comedy with
serious philosophical undertones runs thru June 11 at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, San
ANYTHING GOES with music
and lyrics by Cole Porter, opens June 2 at the Hi-Desert Playhouse in Joshua Tree, CA.
BILLY BUDD based on Herman
Melville's novel exploring the nature of good and evil performed by the Los Angeles Opera June
3, 6, 9, 11, 14,17.
THE EDUCATION OF RANDY NEWMAN musical theatre piece set in New Orleans and Los Angeles recreating the
life of a songwriter who bears a resemblance to the actual Mr. Newman. Opened on Friday
running thru July 2 at the Southcoast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA.
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL the musical version of Baroness Orczy's classic story of romance, intrigue
and swashbuckling adventure continues at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles thru June
TITANIC Eighty five years after
the Titanic first sailed into history, the story behind the legendary maiden voyage opened at
Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on April 23, 1997. Titanic soon went on to win five Tony
Awards, in every category in which it was nominated, taking the awards for Best Musical, Best
Book, Sets, Score and Orchestration. Directed by acclaimed British director Richard Jones,
Titanic has a story and book by Academy Award and Tony Award winner Peter Stone and
music and lyrics by Tony award winner Maury Yeston. The production docks at the Portland
Civic Auditorium in Portland, OR June 7-18.
BRUCE VILANCH Almost
Famous show is making him famous. It's been extended through July 1 at the Westbeth
AIN'T OVER TIL THE FIRST LADY SINGS stars the Capitol Steps. Begins June 6 at the Douglas Fairbanks Theater,
B.D. WONG the Tony award winning
star of M.Butterfly and Linus in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown,makes his
Cabaret debut at Joe's Pub in NYC performing on Mondays June 5th, 12th, & 19th.
MARILYN McCOO & BILLY DAVIS, JR. who has managed to beautifully co-mingle music and marriage open May
30 at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas performing through June 3.
SEBASTIAN BACH the rocker who
fronted Skid Row and once hit a fan with a bottle with bring his own mixed personality to the
Broadway stage. On June 11 he replaces soap hunk Jack Wagner as star of the Broadway
musical Jekyll and Hyde, at the Plymouth Theatre, NYC.
DIONNE WARWICK performs at the
Turning Stone Casino Resort Verona, NY June 2.
HOWARD KEEL closes this evening
in Palm Springs Follies in which the MGM musical star performed with the long-legged
lovelies at the Historic Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs, CA.
DEBBIE REYNOLDS delivers a
dynamite evening of song and dance June 3 at the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, CA.
TOMMY TUNE may yearn for the
Broadway stage, but his 6-foot 5 inch physique is entrenched in Las Vegas. He's resigned his
contract to continue as star of the EFX show at the MGM Grand Hotel. Expect a little
revamping to permit more signature Tune material.
HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS
take center stage at the Pechanga Entertainment Center, Temecula, CA on June 3.
CHICAGO headlines the Rock and
Roll Marathon at the Coors Amphitheatre, Chula Vista, CA on June 4.
THIS AND THAT
INCREASING THE STATUE ORDER BY ONE The Tony Awards will add a new category next year - a category called
Special Theatrical Event. The new award is intended for productions that do not fit into existing
Categories of best play, best musical or best revival.
FLOPPY TRUNK PROBLEM
which we always thought had something to do with a male affliction - apparently is also of
concern to elephants. It seems that elephants in Zimbabwe can develop a condition that paralyzes
the elephant's trunk, making it impossible to lift it up. In this case Viagra doesn't work and the
poor pachyderm can't get the 500 pounds of food they eat each day up into the - over the lips
down the gums watch out stomach here it comes - position. Worried scientists quickly examined
980 elephants in Kenya and - whew! - none of them had the disease.
Mention BROADWAY TO VEGAS for Special Consideration
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Next Column: June 5, 2000
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