Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: May 28, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Patti LuPone as Helena Ruberstein in War Paint. Photo Joan Marcus.
Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden. Photo Joan Marcus.
Putting make up on goes back to Biblical times. Then there was a period when only prostitutes painted their faces. Two women created a cosmetic turn around. A pallet hued creation of their own big bang explosion.

Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein.

Women boasted about wearing Elizabeth Arden or Helena Rubenstein make-up. And, you always said their full name.

A woman didn't leave the house without a hat and gloves. The right costume jewelry was important. Frequently, shoes were dyed to match the dress. Make-up was an art form. The face was an artistic canvas. Women who were hurried and harassed with a demanding husband and screaming children would take the time to put on make-up. She might not have been able to afford a contour dress, but stealing from the food budget money that their husband had given them, was spent on a 'necessity' which also afforded bragging rights - that was buying Elizabeth Arden or Helena Rubenstein. Nothing was more important for women of that era than putting on their 'war paint.'

Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden. Photo: Joan Marcus.
Set between 1935 and 1964 the new musical War Paint, about those legends of make-up, stars two megawatters Patti LuPone with a Polish accent, old world splendor, and significant jewelry as Helena Rubenstein and a white-bread-and-mayonnaise staunch and brittle Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden.

Directed by Michael Greif, both LuPone and Ebersole are sensational.

Both have been nominated for a Tony award in the Best Actress in a Musical category.

Co-starring are the museum quality period costumes, incredibly amazing hats and fascinators and trunk loads of jewelry designed by Catherine Zuber, who also earned a Tony nomination.

Make-up by Angelina Avallone is also crucial to this production. So are the sets by David Korins and lighting by Kenneth Posner. Splendid choreography by Christopher Gattelli.

In essence what makes War Paint special is - like make-up on a face - the superficially glossing over the flaws. War Paint is a visual delight.

There are over 10 costume changes and both LuPone and Ebersole know how to make a clothes horse look like a thoroughbred.

The official description is: "War Paint tells the remarkable story of cosmetics titans Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, who defined beauty standards for the first half of the 20th Century. Brilliant innovators with humble roots, both women were masters of self-invention who sacrificed everything to become the country’s first major female entrepreneurs. They were also fierce competitors, whose 50-year tug-of-war would give birth to an industry that would forever change the face of America. From Fifth Avenue society to the halls of Congress, their intense rivalry was ruthless, relentless and legendary - pushing both women to build international empires in a world dominated by men."

Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden and the cast. Photo: Joan Marcus.
How these beauty-industry business minded magnates crashed through the glass ceiling and then covered up the scars with their products becomes the gorgeous War Paint, which can be enjoyed at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway.

The show opens with the stars at separate vanity tables, contemplating their realms.

In real life, Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein never met, although they frequented the same places as depicted in this scene when both women are at the St. Regis. Photo: Joan Marcus.
Despite their offices being in the same district the two women never met. In this show book writer Dough Wright has invented a meeting in the final scene, when both are in a green room preparing for a speaking engagement at an awards luncheon. That gives LuPone and Ebersole an opportunity actually sing a duet - a stirring Beauty in the World.

Frequently, the effective and creative parallel staging has one or other of the stars beginning a number with the other star interrupting with her side of the event and then the previous star interrupting to finish.

That's not as cumbersome as it sounds. That split stage style was effectively done in the Tony Award winning musical City of Angels.

Most of the score consists of traditional Broadway rhythms: bouncy, belts and ballads composed by Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie whose words can be biting.

On one side of David Korins’ set there is Arden. Her background is floor to ceiling shelves upon which rests frosted apothecary bottles - rows of her beauty products in bottles and jars. Lighting designer Kenneth Posner highlights the expensive containers with a pink/purple glow. Lighting also turns the beauty product containers into a bar with liquor bottles.

Arden and Rubenstein in a war time scene in which lipstick is put on a female soldier informing her that is her 'war paint'. Photo: Joan Marcus.
A bevy of smartly dressed women are somewhat mocked by an unseen voice who semi-insults the women then tempts them into obeying his assertion that they would benefit from a beauty make-over.

Beauty is always on stage.

Arden’s red door “angels” clothe themselves in assorted glam red coats and awesome hats before a night out. Arden “girls” drift on and offstage with visions of youthful beauty thanks to the contents of a jar.

Pink and that Red Door became the Arden trademark. There were various reasons Arden favored that primary color and its shades. Late in the second act, Ebersole sings the rousing Pink in which she reflects on her life and insecurities. It comes at a time in the musical when mass-market companies such as Revlon took over the industry and pushed out the competition. Charles Revson the founder of Revlon is played by Erik Liberman. In real life, Revlon now owns Arden.

Arden attempts to stay finally stable by signing away both her name and her signature color - the pink that was her packaging. In Pink which is a highlight of the show, Arden reflects on the shade that became synonymous with her name.

Ebersole and LuPone and the War Paint cast. Photo: Joan Marcus.
As to her success, a Pink song line admits “The boxes packaged with a bow …. cost more than the lotion”. I laughed at that line. Both true and funny. I've purchased Elizabeth Arden products. Twice I've been to a Red Door salon - once in New York and once in another city. You do put on slippers and a robe. You are pampered. The prices aren't cheap, but you get what you pay for. There is still an Elizabeth Arden perfume called Red Door, a bottle of which I own.

In War Paint women are led through the Red Door of the Arden salon with the tempting allure of pink pampering.

On the opposite side of the stage is Rubinstein - formidable exotic and dramatic. She keeps her jewels in boxes arranged by their value. She uses science rather than robes and booties to attract her customers.

My Secret Weapon discloses the science of beauty. “Science and beauty, they are dancing cheek to cheek,” LuPone as Helena Rubinstein sings.

Let Arden have the pinks and red, Rubinstein touts blue and white.

A reflective number for Rubinstein is Forever Beautiful, in which Rubinstein’s portraits by famous artists materialize and surround her. The song is knocked to the rafters by LuPone, in which Rubinstein concedes that artists like Raoul Dufy and Dali “made me beautiful … forever beautiful” through their portraits of her.

LuPone as Helena Rubenstein giving orders from bed. Photo: Joan Marcus.
Both women are ruthless and competitive. However, the flies in both of their ointments are the men in their lives. Both women are betrayed by the men they love. For Arden, that would be her husband, Tommy Lewis (John Dossett); for Rubinstein, her closeted gay right-hand man of a marketing genius, Harry Fleming (Douglas Sills). The men divulge their knowledge of how the beauty products are formulated. Both women ratted each other out to authorities. Rubinstein and Arden were forced to appear before a Senate investigation committee, resulting in the ingredients of cosmetics having to be listed on packaging.

If I’d Been a Man, is a song in which Elizabeth and Helena bitterly note that, “A man on the move / Doesn’t need to prove his worth / Knows his way from birth.” After some thought they decide: “What man has half the balls that I have?”

Emotionally, both women are as layered as the make-up on their faces. What is concealed is their loneliness. War Paint, as with faces, has subtle flaws - but War Paint is beautiful to watch and LuPone and Ebersole have never been better.

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Incense, Sweaters, and Ice. 2017. USA. Directed by Martine Syms. Courtesy the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York. Photo: MoMA
the first US solo museum exhibition by Martine Syms (b. 1988, Los Angeles), is an immersive installation including photographs and staged objects, and centering around a new feature-length film, Incense, Sweaters, and Ice.

Shot on location in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Clarksdale, Mississippi, Incense, Sweaters, and Ice follows three protagonists - Mrs. Queen Esther Bernetta White, Girl, and WB (“whiteboy”) - as they navigate dramas of surveillance, moving between watching, being watched, and remaining unseen. Accompanying the film is a suite of photographs sized to standard American movie posters and a metal mesh structure inspired by the geographies of the Great Migration.

Using video and performance, Syms examines representations of blackness and its relationship to narrative, vernacular, feminist thought, and radical traditions. On the occasion of the exhibition, Syms will also premiere a new lecture-performance as part of MoMA’s educational programming.

Organized by Jocelyn Miller, Curatorial Associate, MoMA PS1.

Opened yesterday, May 27 and is on display through July 16, 2017 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

The Western exhibit is on display through September 10, 2017 at the Denver Art Museum.
is the first major exhibition to examine the Western genre and its evolution from the mid-1800s to the present through fine art, film, and popular culture.

Featuring 160 works, the exhibition explores gender roles, race relations, and gun violence - offering a visual journey that is more than cowboys and American Indians, pursuits and duels, or bandits and barroom brawls.

From the romantic, large-scale paintings by Frederic Remington and Albert Bierstadt to the legends of “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Billy the Kid, the American West materializes: it is synonymous with the Westerns of filmmakers John Ford and Sergio Leone, and the subject of contemporary artists Ed Ruscha and Kent Monkman. By featuring these and other artists, authors, filmmakers, and historic figures together, The Western observes how the mythology of the West spread throughout the world and endures today.

The Western: An Epic in Art and Film is co-organized by the DAM and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA); co-curated by Thomas Brent Smith, director of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the DAM, and Mary Dailey Desmarais, Ph.D., curator of International Modern Art at the MMFA.

The Western: An Epic in Art and Film opened yesterday and is on display through September 10, 2017 at the Denver Art Museum in Denver, Colorado.

Vanity Case, Persian Scene, 1926; Produced by Boucheron (French, founded 1858); polychrome, blue, and black enamel, onyx, gold, mirrored plate glass; L x W x D: 8 × 4.7 × 1 cm (3 1/8 × 1 7/8 × 3/8 in.); Lent by Private Collection; 13.2016.70.
a multi-media experience of more than 400 examples of interior design, industrial design, decorative art, jewelry, fashion, and architecture, as well as related music and film, The Jazz Age gives full expression to the decade’s diversity and dynamism.

Following the devastation of World War I, the dynamic 1920s and 1930s witnessed a rebirth of aesthetic innovation, cultivated to a large extent by American talent and patronage. With an influx of European émigrés to the United States, and the American enthusiasm for visiting Europe’s cultural capitals, a reciprocal wave of experimental attitudes began traveling back and forth across the Atlantic, forming a creative vocabulary that mirrored the ecstatic spirit of the times. To these influences was added American architecture, most notably the skyscraper - which greatly impressed Americans and Europeans alike.

As a related exhibition to The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, an installation of more than 100 extraordinary examples of luxury cigarette and vanity cases, compacts, clocks, and other objects of the era are now on view in the Carnegie Mansion’s Teak Room. The collection includes exquisite work from the premier jewelry houses of Europe and America - among them Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Lacloche Frères, Boucheron, and Bulgari - dating from 1910 to 1938. Personal gifts from Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan (1933–2003) to his wife, Catherine (b. 1938), the collection was amassed over three decades and displays the excitement, innovation, and creativity of the art deco era at its most luxurious.

The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, co-organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, is the first major exhibition to focus on American taste in design during this exhilarating period. The exhibition is on view at the Cooper Hewitt in New York City through August and then travels to Cleveland.


Liam Gallagher will donate profits from his Tuesday show to help the families of bombing victims.
former Oasis frontman will perform his first-ever solo concert on Tuesday at Manchester, England's 02 Ritz. The Manchester native will donate all profits to victims of the recent bomb attack.

The concert is sold out.

The gig has been on the books for some time, the first of four stops this week, including performances in Dublin, London and Glasgow. After the bombing, the first stop, in Manchester, was announced to be a benefit.

Gallagher told the Manchester Evening News that, after the bombing, he decided immediately to donate the profits to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, which was set up by the newspaper, the British Red Cross, and Manchester’s city council.

"I just knew I had to. I'm not in it for the money," Gallagher told the Manchester paper. "I want to try and help pick people up. People like me, doing what we do, it's our duty to give people a good time."


original Broadway cast recording has been released by Masterworks Broadway.

For those who have seen the musical in which Phil Connors is given a do over so that he can do better, Danny Rubin's adaptation of his iconic screenplay about newscaster Phil, and how he must relive Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney until he learns to care about other people, this Broadway cast album is the perfect souvenir. The recording accurately conveys Tim Minchin’s clever score as it is heard in the theatre - sound coming from different directions on the stage, different sound levels and even when the sound is from the radio. The stage sound design is by Simon Baker.

The production stars two-time Tony Award nominee Andy Karl as Phil Connors, Barrett Doss as Rita Hanson.

The ensemble cast features Rebecca Faulkenberry, John Sanders, Andrew Call, Raymond J. Lee, Heather Ayers, Kevin Bernard, Gerard Canonico, Rheaume Crenshaw, Michael Fatica, Katy Geraghty, Camden Gonzales, Jordan Grubb, Taylor Iman Jones, Tari Kelly, Josh Lamon, Joseph Medeiros, Sean Montgomery, William Parry, Jenna Rubaii, Vishal Vaidya, Travis Waldschmidt, and Natalie Wisdom.

Much of the stage show's success is because of star Andy Karl and his over-the-top, deliciously funny hyper activity. That can't be captured on any recording. The music doesn't swallow up Karl, rather it permits his stage performance to shine. The score serves well the script. Minchin's lyrics are always clever and inventive. The fact that he has his own unique way of combining words only adds to his creativity. His word usage sparkles in this musical.

This is a production where the music is a part of the acting, scenic design and choreography. It all works together flawlessly. In listening to a recording you're experiencing one facet of a polished jewel.

Remember that Phil is reliving the same day - thus it's natural that during the first part of this recording, some of the tunes have a similarity in musical structure.

The Overture conveys the feeling of someone experiencing, emanating from or trying to escape an unusual dream of nightmare. You know something is going on. The promissory anthem There Will Be Sun is followed by Day One featuring an irritated and bitter Karl as Phil which swings musically and volleys one witty, snappy insult after another as he awakens to "a lumpy bed, dark curtains and a pointless erection - tiny minds, big mouths - water colors of bucolic vistas painted by octogenarian spinsters - nothing more depressing than small town USA - talking to hicks about magical beavers - just kill me now."

The musical score can be razzamatazz snazzy.

Composer Tim Minchin has earned a Tony nomination for composing Groundhog Day.
Stuck concerns Phil’s many suicide attempts. This may be the only musical that has lyrics mentioning Fluxoital, Acepromazine and Clocapramine. Minchin makes it work.

The number are primarily high energy. Many are funny such as Tract 7 Nobody Cares, which begins as a slowed down, country-hick twanged duet for two drunks then reels up to barn dance tempo.

Phil’s love interest Barrett Doss as associate television producer Rita, skillfully handles complicated, tricky lyrics. On Track 9 One Day she laments about her love life, exemplified by “another sexually ineffectual, self-obsessing metrosexual, pseudo-intellectual, getting drunk and existential, every time the Steelers lose a game”

Musically, the first act embodies hard rock chords. More of the musical variations takes place in Act Two with the inclusion of some tender and sweet numbers such as the soft Night Will Come and the delicate Everything About You, in which Phil tries to convince Rita that he's learned and changed.

Rebecca Faulkenberry as Nancy Taylor laments about her one night stand with Phil - and others. She delivers a standout rendition of Playing Nancy. It's heart wrenching. "The blonde with the perky-breasts, giggling one-night stand. . . will smile with perfect teeth. And grimace underneath . . . It's better to be leered at than not desired at all."

Minchin's ability to write powerful lyrics which pack a punch while frequently having a sassy undercurrent seem to be his trademark.

Another heart tugging performance is when annoying insurance salesman Ned Ryerson (John Sanders) backed by a piano sings the beautifully poignant Night Will Come. Other instruments join in to emphasize the emotion he is experiencing. Sorrow, as reflected by "Of what has been and what is left/ To yet endure." Grief is devastating, especially when agony is quietly turned inward, yet Ryerson knows he has to go on.

The mood immediately changes with the fabulously orchestrated Philanthropy which is meant to show off the choreography (you can hear the dance counts and some taps). In the production it's a great scene. Even so, just listening to it is a toe tapping joy.

Punxsutawney Rock is just that, over-the-top energy.

The finale - Seeing You begins by using the the woodwind section to aid in reflecting on what has been happening. The low key reflection builds into a futuristic climax before returning to the present.

The score is intriguing. If you haven't seen the stage musical you might not quite get the score. But, it should be an inducement to see the musical. Then everything will become clear.

The booklet contains a synopsis, the lyrics, and beautiful photographs by Joan Marcus.


Musical Supervisor: Chris Nightingale
Musical Director/Conductor: David Holcenberg
Associate Conductor: Michael Gacetta, Andy Grobengieser
Violin, Acoustic guitar: Olivier Manchon
Cello, Acoustic guitar: Clara Kennedy
Piccolo, Flute, Alto Sax, Baritone Sax: Deborah Avery
Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Sax: Greg Thymius
Trumpet, Flugelhorn: Brian Pareschi
Trumpet, Cornet: Scott Wendholt
Tenor, Bass Trombones, Euphonium: James Rogers
Piano, Keyboards: Michael Gacetta and David Holcenberg
Lead guitars, acoustic and electric: Eric B. Davis
Acoustic and electric bass: Brian Hamm
Drums and Cajon: Howard Joines.

Arranged by Chris Nightingale. Music Technology by Phij Adams. Recorded by Andy Manganello at Avatar Studios, New York. Mixed by Doug Derryberry at Yellow Sound Lab, New York City. Assistant engineers: Nate Odden, Luke Klingensmith. Editors: Michael Croiter, Matthew Winter. Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at Turtle Tone Mastering, New York City. Production manager Jill Dell'Abate.


Cast of The Band's Visit. Photo by Ahron R. Foster.
a magnificant off-Broadway musical will open at the Barrymore Theater on Broadway on November 9 - joyous news for anyone who loves good theater.

Based on the 2007 film about an Egyptian police band that mistakenly winds up in a remote Israeli town, the musical features a book by Itamar Moses, based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin, with music and lyrics by the Tony-nominated composer David Yazbek.

David Cromer, who directed the original production at the Atlantic Theater Company last year, will again direct on Broadway.

Other members of the creative team transferring with the production to Broadway are: choreographer Patrick McCollum, set designer Scott Pask, costume designer Sarah Laux and lighting designer Tyler Micoleau. Sound design by Kai Harada, projection content design by Maya Ciarrocchi, orchestrations by Jamshied Sharifi. Get your tickets early.

FROM CAMELOT TO CALIFORNIA: THE WORLDS OF LERNER AND LOEWE is the latest Lyrics & Lyricists program.

"For there's nowhere else on earth that I would rather be." — Alan Jay Lerner

Scotland, California, Covent Garden, Paris, Camelot - lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe evoked entire worlds in their groundbreaking musicals. Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, My Fair Lady, Gigi and Camelot all were conjured by the Old World Austrian Loewe and the Harvard-educated American Lerner.

Rob Berman, music director of the New York City Center Encores! series and recent Broadway musicals Dames at Sea, Bright Star and Tuck Everlasting, makes his L&L debut as artistic director for a captivating show that revels in their romantic songs, from Almost Like Being in Love to I Could Have Danced All Night.

Bringing Lerner and Loewe’s worlds to life: the father-daughter team of Chuck Cooper and Lilli Cooper, Bryce Pinkham and Lauren Worsham amd Ryan Silverman.

Stage direction by Chase Brock. June 3, 4, 5 at 92Y in New York City.

COLOSSAL CLUSTERFEST three-day comedy fest taking place June 2-4 in San Francisco.

Laugh makers Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart and Bill Burr will headline. Other on the bill are Fred Armisen, Ice Cube, Hannibal Buress, Sarah Silverman & Friends, Chris Hardwick, Broad City co-stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, Bob Odenkirk, Tig Notaro, Reggie Watts and more.

Clusterfest is described as a "jam-packed, multiformat festival experience” which will include several comedic forms of comedy including standup, sketch, podcast, digital as well as comedy-themed music and food.

Along that line, the festival will re-create signature sets from hit comedy sitcoms including South Park, Seinfeld and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Themed food and drink menus will have classic foods from Seinfeld eateries Monk’s Cafe and The Soup Nazi.

Laughs will be coming from the San Francisco Civic Center Plaza and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, with five indoor and outdoor stages.

THE LATE ACTOR AND FORMER U.S. SENATOR FRED THOMPSON will have a courthouse named after him. The U.S. Senate voted to name Nashville's new federal courthouse after Thompson who died in 2015 at the age of 73.

Thompson appeared in at least 20 movies including The Hunt for Red October and Die Hard II. Before turning to acting Thompson was a Tennessee-trained lawyer and prosecutor, who was considered a hard-driving Senate counsel during the Watergate hearings.

STAR STUDDED RED CARPET PREMIERE of Wonder Woman due to take place in London on May 31 has been canceled by Warner Bros. due to the Manchester terrorist attack.

Stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Robin Wright, and director Patty Jenkins were scheduled to attend the European premiere. Wonder Woman opens on June 1 in the U.K. and on June 2 in the U.S.

BOOK TALK AND SIGNING WITH WILLIAM DANIELS takes place Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at The Drama Book Shop in New York City.

The Drama Book Shop is pleased to welcome celebrated actor of stage and screen, William Daniels for a discussion to celebrate the publication of his new memoir, There I Go Again. Daniels will sit down with playwright and Drama Book Shop Events Manager Steven Carl McCasland for an intimate conversation about his life on stage and off. The Tuesday, June 6th, 5:00pm discussion is free and open to the public. Copies of Daniels' book will be available for purchase and the event will be followed by a signing.

ACTING COACH/AUTHOR MICHAEL HOWARD AND TONY AWARD WINNER VICTORIA CLARK will discuss his new book The Actor Uncovered on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at Barnes and Noble on Broadway in New York City.

Departing from the common guidebook format, acting coach, Howard uses a unique approach to teaching acting, reflecting on his own history and sharing his own experiences as an actor, director, and teacher. The Q&A will be followed by a book signing.

DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER the famed sex therapist and media personality will be the special guest at a post-performance talkback on Tuesday, May 30 at Indecent, the Tony Award nominated Best Play, at the Cort Theatre in New York City.

Dr. Ruth, a German-born Jewish immigrant, shot to fame in 1980 with her radio show, Sexually Speaking, which earned her nationwide celebrity. Her communications network includes television, radio, books, newspapers, home video and her website.

This new play created by Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel, and Rebecca Taichman who also directs, has been nominated for three Tony Awards including Best Play. It's about the love and passion to create theatre, even in the most difficult of circumstances. The play follows a troupe of actors, the cast of Polish-Jewish playwright Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance, who risked their lives and careers against enormous challenges to perform a work in which they deeply believed, at a time when art, freedom and truth were on trial.

The ensemble features Matt Darriau, Lisa Gutkin, Aaron Halva, Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol and Adina Verson. The production also features Zoë Aqua, Ben Cherry, Andrea Goss, Eleanor Reissa, Uri Sharlin and Doug Wieselman. Music is composed by Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva, who play onstage along with cast members throughout the show.

The play was developed with the Sundance Theater Institute and Oregon Shakespeare Festival, followed by productions at Yale Rep, La Jolla Playhouse and the Vineyard Theatre, where the play with music had its New York debut last summer.

NATIONAL BISCUIT DAY is tomorrow, Monday, May 29. Tuesday is National Mint Julep Day and Wednesday is National Macaroon Day. Friday is National Rocky Road Day. Saturday is National Chocolate Macaroon Day - not to be confused with last Wednesday' ordinary macaroons.


JEFF BEZOS founder of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post has given $1 Million to Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

The personal donation is the largest ever received by the organization, which was founded in 1970 to provide legal advice and resources to journalists around First Amendment issues.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG the billionaire former Mayor of New York City has donated $75 million to The Shed, the new arts center planned for Hudson Yards.

On May 24, 2017 Bloomberg added $60 million to a $15 million contribution he had made to the Shed in 2012, which was previously undisclosed.

“I’ve always believed the arts have a unique ability to benefit cities by attracting creative individuals of every kind, strengthening communities, and driving economic growth,” . Bloomberg said in a prepared statement. “The Shed will help New York achieve all three goals.”

The Shed is expected to be completed in spring 2019, and will present performances, concerts, visual art, music and other events.

Alex Poots is the artistic director and chief executive of the Shed.

Bette Midler delivering a comical 10-minute thank you as presenter Katie Finneran looks on. Photo: Joseph Marzullo/WENN
ceremony was held May 25 at Sardi's Restaurant in New York City. The event was coordinated by OCC member Lauren Yarger.

Simon Saltzman is president of the Outer Critics Circle, the organization of writers covering New York theatre for out-of-town newspapers, national publications, and other media beyond Broadway, honored the winners for the 2016-2017 theatrical season.

Danny Burstein, Katie Finneran and Christopher Fitzgerald served as the three presenters.

The Bette Midler-led Hello, Dolly! and the new musical Come From Away were the top winners of the season, earning five awards each, including Outstanding Revival of a Musical and Outstanding New Broadway Musical, respectively.

Bette Midler who received her award as Outstanding Actress in a Musical delighted the attendees by delivering a hilarious 10-minute thank you.

BEN VEREEN will host the Ben Vereen Awards competition with 20 of San Diego’s most talented high school musical theatre performers competing for cash awards and for a chance to compete at The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (The Jimmy Awards) in New York this June.

The winning Best Actor and Best Actress performers each receive $1,000 and will be flown to New York on an all expenses paid week of intensive training before they compete in The Jimmy Awards, at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre (home of Disney's The Lion King on Monday, June 26, 2017, for the opportunity to win $10,000 towards a college scholarship.

Five nominated high school productions will also compete for the top award.

Legendary stage and screen entertainer, Ben Vereen will attend the San Diego competition to present the awards to winners of the Wellness Through the Arts essay contest. This year’s topic was My Best Day and received more entries than ever before. The top five individual winners will each receive a $500 award, and the winning school will earn a $1,000 cash award.

Those essay winners are: Brooke Eyler, Kiana Gomes, Marco Manzo, Karla Miranda Torres, and Sacred Swindell.

New this year - The Ben Vereen Awards, in partnership with The San Diego Association of Black Journalists, has selected and nominated Olivia Olander for a Student Reporter Contest coordinated by The Jimmy Awards. Two student reporters from around the country will be selected to go to NY to cover the national competition on its social platforms.

The event takes place, today, Sunday, May 28, at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego, CA.

In Georgia the regional awards are known as the Shuler Hensley Awards, which were recently held in Atlanta at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Two of the evening’s award winners, Parker Jennings and Ramone Nelson, will go on to compete with young performers from across the country for the coveted Jimmy Awards.

Highlights of the trip will include auditioning for New York based producers, directors and casting directors, and rehearsals with a top-notch production team and choreographer. During the week, they’ll also attend a Broadway show and have dinner at the world famous Sardi’s Restaurant. The grand finale of the trip will be their performance on Broadway at the Jimmy Awards.

The 2017 National High School Musical Theatre Awards - Jimmy Awards - will be hosted by Ben Platt. Over 1,000 high schools and 50,000 students participate in these annual events. Since its inception in 2009, the NHSMTA has enabled over $1,000,000 in university and conservatory scholarships to be awarded to talented students at the national and local level - several of whom have already been cast in Broadway, Touring and West End productions.

Book, Music and Lyrics by Zack Zadek.

Music Direction by Julie McBride.

Directed by Tina Landau.

The Serling family is taking its annual road trip to Niagara Falls, but this time they’re saying goodbye to Mom. Along the way, memories of past trips, old wounds and family secrets are navigated in a not-too-distant future where no one dies of disease. For daughter Hayley, the journey means facing the big questions of life and death. Travel with unforgettable characters on the brink of discovering that living forever may not be as wonderful as it sounds. "A funny, bittersweet, breathtaking new musical you simply must see."

Scenic Design by Dane Laffrey. Costume Design by Tilly Grimes. Lighting Design by Scott Zielinski. Projection Design by Lucy Mackinnon. Sound Design by Jay Hilton. Orchestrations by Justin Goldner and Zack Zadek.

June 2 - July 2, 2017 at the Terris Theatre of Goodspeed Musicals in Chester, CT.

THE MAN IN THE CEILING Book by Jules Feiffer. Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Based on the novel The Man in the Ceiling by Jules Feiffer.

Directed by Jeffrey Seller.

In this new musical comedy Jimmy Jibbett someday will be an artist. But for now he is a flop as a boy: a disappointment to his father, a daydreamer in the classroom and a failure on the ball field. Can he find happiness as a boy cartoonist?

May 30 - June 25 at Bay Street Theater, Sag Harbor, NY.

ANGRY YOUNG MAN a comedy by Ben Woolf.

Directed by Stephen Hamilton.

A fast-paced comedy about a surgeon from the Middle East who arrives in London seeking a new life. Through a series of hilarious mistakes and hapless missteps he runs afoul of both white nationalists and liberal hypocrites discovering some surprising truths.

Featuring ensemble acting of: Christopher Daftsios, Rami Margron, Max Samuels, and Nazli Sarpkaya.

Guild Hall, in association with Urban Stages and Producer Ellen Myers, presents the American Premiere May 31-June 18 at Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York.


THE WEEKND two time Grammy winner entertains Tuesday, May 30, in Montreal, QC at the Bell Centre . Wednesday's stop is in Quebec City, QC in Centre Vidéotron. On Friday he stars in Uncasville, CT at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Saturday finds him at Uniondale, NY on stage at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Next Sunday, June 4, he stars in Newark, NJ at the Prudential Center.

NEIL DIAMOND performs Tuesday, May 30, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. On Friday he's on stage at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, MI. Next Sunday, June 4, the show is at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY.

BRUNO MARS on stage Thursday, June 1, at the Festhalle in Frankfurt, Germany. On Saturday he performs at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna, Austria.

TIM McGRAW AND FAITH HILL star at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC on Wednesday, May 31. On Friday their tour stops at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB. Saturday's gig is at Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB. Next Sunday, June 4, they are in the spotlight at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, SK.

ED SHEERAN in the spotlight Tuesday, May 30 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil at the Esplanada Do Mineirão. He performs Friday, June 2 at Simon Bolivar Park in Bogota, Colombia. Next Sunday, June 4, he's in the spot light in San Juan, PR at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico.


SIR ROGER MOORE the James Bond legend died in Switzerland on May 22, 2017, after a "short but brave" battle with cancer. He was 89.

His acting career spanned six decades. He began his career with West End and suburban repertory companies. He gained world wide fame by playing James Bond for 12 years and seven films to his credit, starting with 1973's Live and Let Die.

He is survived by his fourth wife Kristina Tholstrp and his three children Deborah, Geoffrey and Cristian. His funeral took place in Monaco where he and his wife lived.

DINA MERRILL actress and socialite died May 22, 2017 from lewy body dementia at her home in East Hampton, New York. She was 93.

She was the daughter of stock broker E. F. Hutton and cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. Post built the Palm Beach Estate Mar-a-Lago just a few years before her daughter's birth, and it was where the family would winter until Post's death. The estate was later purchased by Donald Trump in 1985 after the National Park Service, who Post left the property too, could not longer afford the upkeep.

Shocking her parents, Merrill studied acting, making her stage debut in the play The Mermaid Singing in 1945. She starred in numerous films including Desk Set (1957), A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed (1958), Don't Give Up the Ship (1959), Operation Petticoat (1959, with Cary Grant, who had been married to her cousin, Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton), The Sundowners (1960), BUtterfield 8 (1960), and Caddyshack II. (1988)

Her stage credits include the 1983 Broadway revival of the Rodgers & Hart musical On Your Toes, starring Russian prima ballerina Natalia Makarova. In 1991, she appeared in the rotating cast of the off-Broadway staged reading of Wit & Wisdom.

She received a lifetime achievement award from theAmerican Academy of Dramatic Arts in April 2005.

Merrill was a presidential appointee to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a trustee of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and a vice president of the New York City Mission Society. In 1980, Merrill joined the board of directors of her father's E. F. Hutton & Co., continuing on the board of directors and the compensation committee of Lehman Brothers when it acquired Hutton, for over 18 years. Along with her third husband Ted Hartley she was an avid supporter and sponsored plays and readings at Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York.

'Merrill was married three times, first to Colgate heir Stanley Maddox Rumbough, Jr. and later Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson. Merrill had four children, though two passed away before their mother. Her son David died in 1973 at the age of 23 in a boating accident while her daughter Heather Robertson passed away of ovarian cancer in 2007. She is survived by her husband of 28 years, investment banker Ted Hartley, a daughter from her first marriage, Nina Rumbough Roosenburg; a stepson, Philippe Hartley; six grandchildren; four step grandchildren; and two step great-grandchildren.

A. JERROLD "JERRY" PERENCHIO a prominent art collector, movie producer and the former chairman of Univision Communications, died May 23, 2017. He was 86.

In 1958 Perenchio joined MCA in the Band and Act Department. He moved up the ranks to become the youngest vice president in the agency’s history, and was made Head of the Concert Department for the eleven Western states and the Far East.

After the break-up of MCA, Perenchio started Perenchio Artists with a partner in 1963. Their roster of clients included Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini, José Feliciano, Glen Campbell, Sergio Mendes, the Kingston Trio and the Righteous Brothers, among others. In August, 1970, Perenchio brought R;tpn John from London to Los Angeles and rented out the Troubadour club in Hollywood for two weeks to showcase John’s talent. Word got out after the first performance and John became an overnight sensation, launching his career in the United States. Chartwell Artists grew to be the fifth-largest talent agency in the world. It was sold to International Creative Management (ICM) in 1972 when Perenchio decided to leave the agency business.

As a live-events promoter in the 1970s, Perenchio staged the historic first clash of heavyweight boxers Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden, then orchestrated the Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome.

Throughout his career, Perenchio recognized opportunity in all facets of the entertainment industry, and brokered some of the most lucrative deals in the business: the sale of Caesars Palace to Lums Restaurants in 1969; the sale of A&M Records to PolyGram in 1989; and the sale of the Motown – again to PolyGram – in 1993.

In November 2014 Perenchio made a bequest to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) of 47 works of art valued at $500 million. The bequest, which is the largest gift of art in the museum’s history, will go in effect after his death provided that LACMA completes construction of its new building by the end of 2023.

Perenchio was married three times and was separated from his third wife, Margaret Perenchio. He had one son and two adopted daughters from his first marriage, along with six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, Gabriel Abaroa, President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy and Bob Santelli, Founding Executive Director of The Grammy Museum issued the following statement: "Jerry Perenchio was a pioneer in both the music and media businesses, and a cherished member of our Grammy family. His commitment to the Recording Academy and the Latin Recording Academy was unmatched, and his philanthropic efforts underscored his passion for the arts as he played a key role in the establishment of the Grammy Museum. He was a true visionary who helped promote diversity in the creative community. Today, we join the entertainment industry in celebrating and honoring the work of an icon. Jerry will be greatly missed."

NORA MAE LYNG actress and singer who collaborated with Gerard Alessandrini to create and star in Forbidden Broadway, died from breast cancer on May 4, 2017 in Manhattan. She was 66. Her husband actor George Kmeck whose list of credits runs 1987-2009 and includes roles in Rounders, Death Warrant, and Campfire Stories took a job as a New York City subway motorman several years ago to help pay for his wife’s cancer treatment.

Forbidden Broadway ran for six years and 2,332 performances at Palsson’s Supper Club on the Upper West Side of Manhattan before moving to Theater East on the Upper East Side in 1988. Forbidden Broadway, which was given the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theater in 2006, has been updated and revived periodically in New York. In 2014 it was presented as “Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging,” a homage to the Broadway version of “Rocky.” Versions are still playing in other American cities and even abroad.

After Forbidden Broadway, Lyng made her Broadway debut at 34 as Mother Rabbit in the 1985 musical The Wind in the Willows. Although it closed after four regular performances, she later appeared in the Broadway productions: Les Miserables, Amour, Cabaret, My Favorite Year, Three Men on a Horse, Dirty Blonde and Into the Woods.

She is survived by her husband, daughter, Phoebe Lyng Kmeck, a son, Max Kmeck; her mother, three sisters, Patricia Ann Yobs, Deirdre Zigarelli and Claire Lyng Rutz; two grandchildren.

LAURA BIAGIOTTI Italian fashion designer who conquered global markets with her soft, loose women's clothes and luxurious knits that won her the nickname Queen of Cashmere, died Friday in a Rome hospital following a heart attack she suffered in her home the previous Wednesday. She was 73.

In 1988, she became the first Italian designer to put on a fashion show in China, presenting dresses and blouses in silk and cashmere, and in 1995 was the first to have a show inside the Kremlin walls in Moscow. She designed clothing for women, men and children. Her company produced sunglasses and other accessories and perfumes, including the popular Roma fragrance, named after Biagiotti's home city.

Biagiotti was a pioneer in the now-established practice of fashion houses' sponsoring restoration of monuments. Her perfume brand contributed to the restoration in 1998 of the ramp-like staircase, designed by Michelangelo, that leads to the top of the Capitoline Hill. Years later, Biagiotti contributed to the restoration of the delightful 17th-century, twin fountains that top ancient Egyptian granite baths in front of Palazzo Farnese, considered the finest Renaissance palace in Rome and home to the French Embassy.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini on Friday paid tribute to her as a "generous supporter, involved in a first-hand way, in caring for Italian cultural patrimony."

Her husband, Gianni Cigna, who had also been her business partner, died of leukemia in 1996. She is survived by her daughter Lavinia, who works as the fashion house's creative director.

GREG ALLMAN founding member of the Allman Brothers Band died May 27, 2017 from a heart attack suffered at his home in Savannah, Georgia. He was 69.

Allman had canceled tour dates scheduled for this year due to health issues.

He was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2007 - which he attributed to a dirty tattoo needle. The following year three liver tumors has been discovered. He underwent a successful liver transplant in 2010. Allman recorded his last album, Southern Blood, with producer Don Was at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The album was recorded with his then-current backing band and released in January 2017.

Allman was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of the Recording Academy issued the following statement: "As a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman helped give birth to Southern rock, blazing a trail for a generation of musicians who were equally influenced by the blues, Southern soul, and rock. His earthy vocals graced songs that have become rock standards, including Midnight Rider and Whipping Post, in addition to his own solo records. The band won a Grammy Award in 1995 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for Jessica, a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and their groundbreaking album At Fillmore East was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. We have lost a pioneering force in American music, and our condolences go out to Gregg's family, friends, colleagues, and music fans everywhere."

Allman's partners included Shelley Kay Winters, Janice Blair, Cher, Julie Bindas, Ganielle J P Galiana and Stacey Fountain. In 2012 he announced an engagement on the Piers Morgan show to Shannon Williams.

Allman had five children – son Devon Allman, 44, lead singer of Honeytribe, from his marriage to Shelley Kay Winters, Elijah Blue Allman, 40, lead singer of Deadsy, from his marriage to Cher, Delilah Island Allman, 35, from his marriage to Julie Bindas, Michael Sean Allman, 50, from a relationship with former waitress Mary Lynn Green, and Layla Brooklyn Allman, 23, from a relationship with radio journalist Shelby Blackburn. He is survived by his children and his seventh wife Shannon.

ARIANA GRANDE BOMBING CONCERT VICTIMS who ranged in age from 8-50 were murdered by a suicide bomber at the Manchester Arena in England on May 21, 2017.

The suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, a Briton of Libyan descent, killed 22 by detonating ball bearing bomb at the Ariana Grande concert. The blast occurred in the packed foyer area of the Manchester Arena moments after the concert ended - at a time when parents were leaving the venue with their children and others were arriving to pick up groups of youngsters.

Performer Ariana Grande, 23, tweeted: 'Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don't have words'. She immediately canceled the rest of her European tour.

On Friday she posted a lengthy, well-crafted, heartfelt message in which she said she'd be returning to Manchester for a benefit concert.

A day after the murders Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "As details continue to unfold, we remain deeply saddened by the tragic event that took place last evening in Manchester. Our community of music creators will band together, as we always do in the face of adversity, to continue to make and offer music that forms the soundtrack of our everyday lives, and which continues to provide inspiration - and hope - to so many. Our sincerest condolences go out to the victims, their families, and everyone impacted by this horrific act."

Queen Elizabeth visited hospitalized youngsters and their families at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. The Queen said: 'It's dreadful. Very wicked. To target that sort of thing.' As of Broadway To Vegas deadline fourteen children remain at the hospital, including five in critical care.

Next Column: June 4, 2017
Copyright: May 28, 2017 All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or Graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, utilized as leads, or used in any manner without permission, compensation and/or credit.
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Laura Deni

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