Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: May 29, 2011
By: Laura Deni

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On June 2 Mitt Romney, a Mormon, will formally announce he is running for President of the United States and intends to win the GOP primaries. On June 12 the musical The Book of Mormon will win several Tony Awards.

The clever Broadway musical has released a cast album which accomplished the almost impossible for today's Broadway musical - immediately hitting the iTunes charts. A tour is planned. As for Romney, he is hoping his polls top the charts and he, too, is planning a tour.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints - commonly known as Mormon - is not your run of the mill Protestant church. In fact, it's not Protestant and some Protestant denominations don't even consider the Mormons Christians. When you ask a Mormon if they are Protestant, Catholic or Jew, they'll respond with either Mormon or neither.

Mitt Romney, a Mormon, will formally announce he is running for President of the United States on June 2.
On a scale of understanding, the Mormon faith rates somewhere between misunderstood and weird. The LDS faith has an identity problem and The Book of Mormon is serving as a Broadway version of a textbook about the second largest growing faith in the world - thanks to those zealous missionaries - showcased in the musical penned by the creators of South Park.

For a sassy Broadway musical to force political candidates to address the important issue of separation of church and state is - significant.

When John F. Kennedy ran for President a relatively new product for birth control called The Pill was revolutionizing family planning. Non Catholics were terrified that if Kennedy - a handsome, bright, wealthy man from Massachusetts - was elected, his Roman Catholic beliefs would see him ban artificial birth control. Who would be running the country - the President or the Pope? Early in his campaign Kennedy told Protestant church leaders in Houston that he was "not the Catholic candidate for President" but instead was "the Democratic Party's candidate for President, who happens also to be Catholic." As the campaign progressed he assured women he wasn't going to interfere in their personal lives.

Recently, the now famous photo was released of President Barrack Obama and his inner circle watching the attack on Osama bin Laden. Immediately it was pointed out that Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic, was clutching rosary beads. Nobody gasped. In fact, it was such an appropriate item for him to be holding that, had he not had them, there might have been criticism from some quarters.

The issue of a Catholic as president may have been put to rest, but the issue of a Mormon in the White House has not.

The SRO The Book of Mormon has intelligent, influential ticket buyers who vote. Romney, the handsome, bright, wealthy man from Massachusetts, needs to come up with something more lucid than what he told Piers Morgan when the talk show host asked him about his religious beliefs. Romney said "My experience (in) Massachusetts running as a Mormon guy in a state that's overwhelmingly of other faiths didn't seem to get in my way there."

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. is a Republican Mormon, who was appointed by President Obama as the U.S. Ambassador to China. Huntsman resigned from that post April 30 and will soon announce whether he intends to make a run for the White House. Last year he told Fortune magazine "I can't say I am overly religious. I get satisfaction from many different types of philosophies," an answer which may be more palatable to non-Mormons.

As Utah's Governor, he supported legislation that would have allowed Civil Unions for same-sex couples in the state.

During the 1970s, he dropped out of high school and was the keyboard player in the rock band Wizard before eventually receiving his G.E.D. He received a bachelor's degree in International Politics from the University of Pennsylvania. He served in Taiwan as a Mormon missionary and fluently speaks Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese Hokkien.
In 1953, Ezra Taft Benson was appointed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by President Dwight Eisenhower. Benson, a Mormon, accepted this position after receiving permission from LDS Church President David O. McKay.

The Boston Globe printed that right before Romney's previous presidential run, Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the church's 12 apostles, had discussed the Romney campaign at church headquarters with one of Romney's sons.

If it had been Romney rather than President Obama who staged the raid that took out Osama bin Laden would Romney have first asked for permission, or at least informed the LDS hierarchy of the military plan? After the military coup succeeded cabinet members and important officials called various elected and appointed officials to tell them the news. If Romney had been in charge, would one of those calls have been to the LDS Church?

As a church which has, as a basic tenet, the need to convert everyone with missionaries seemingly everywhere, the Mormon missionary movement is big business. Even minor changes in American foreign policy could be significant. What part would the LDS church play in influencing our state or defense departments?

One of the most sacred and important rituals in the LDS faith is the Temple Endowment Ceremony. In 1990 the wording of the Temple Endowment was changed. For well over one hundred years, the Temple Endowment included a man identified as a college trained Protestant minister wearing a religious collar that was in the employ of Satan. The powerful ritual made it clear that Protestant ministers were rewarded by Satan and that when Protestant ministers preached they were doing the devil's work.

The new version removed the word Protestant.

1990 isn't that long ago. Portraying any religion other than LDS as being an agent of the devil might well be an issue that needs to be clarified by anyone seeking employment as the highest officer of the land. That job description requires working well with all religions.

The musical The Book of Mormon touches a bit on the rights of women - mainly in the Uganda segments where the Mormon missionaries argue that it is wrong to circumcise women. That is commendable.

However, the Mormon church treats women - from the here-and-now into the afterlife - in a way demonstrated by no other Christian faith in America.

Husbands go through the house and write down flaws their wife has committed in housekeeping. A husband upset about almost anything, can order their wife to go for Temple 'counseling.' After death, in order for a Mormon woman to reach the Mormon version of heaven, she has to be pulled through a veil by a man - preferably her Temple sealed husband. If no man pulls her through, she's got a problem.

Mormon wives willingly submit to visits in which church officials arrive on the doorstep to inspect how well the woman is performing her wifely duties. They take notes on what they perceive as shortcomings.

The mental image of Mormon officials barging into the White House to see if there is dust under the sofa and ask questions about the sex life of the first family is a Saturday Night Live sketch begging to be written.

LDS reprinted an article on LDS marriages from the LA Times in which Warren Inouye, a Mormon bishop in Orange County is quoted as saying: "There's no marriage police, but Mormons do get monthly home visits from someone in the church, and if something seems out of whack in the marriage, the bishop will be alerted."

Mormon women are told not to postpone marriage in favor of education or a career, rather to concentrate upon being a wife and mother. Mormon women sincerely believe that their position in heaven will be judged on, among other things, their conservative dress, whether their home is clean and sexual purity. God help the woman who tries to survive in a Mormon community if she wasn't a virgin on her wedding day.

If Romney was in the White House what would be his position on education for women and women's rights? Would women be pushed back to a Mad Men generation?

Don't trot out the wife and children as a symbolic answer. Wives of standard bearers of their political parties have little in common with the underpaid women who are trying to raise their families.

While the roles of wife and mother are rewarding - they are also two of the hardest professions. What about the quality of medical care and why does Utah have the highest Valium prescription rate for women? In an award winning study first published in September 1989, Gode Davis wrote: "Of Utah's population of females 15 and older, an estimated one in 11 is chemically dependent to some degree upon a prescribed drug."

In 2005, then Gov. Romney vetoed a bill that would have expanded access to emergency contraception in hospitals and pharmacies. What influence would the LDS Church have on artificial birth control and stem cell research?

Some Mormons are invited by their church to take classes in which they're told they'll learn a secret fighting tool that will always permit them to dominate a non-Mormon.

I know a Mormon woman who, about 20 years ago, told me about such as invitation she had received from her bishop to learn this secret technique - a technique so powerful that her bishop warned it was never to be used on another Mormon women, but guaranteed her that she would always win an argument against a non-Mormon.

It's logic - converted reasoning.

A person skilled in the use of converted logical reasoning can take a statement and using word play and linguistic acrobatics twist it to take on a different, false meaning. And, conversely, take the truth and so manipulate it that the facts appears to be a falsehood. The classes also teach the power of implication and master the put-down, although the attendees aren't told that is what they are learning.

Because Mormons are raised to be so involved in the lives of each other, gossip has been brought to an art form more associated with New York and Hollywood socialites.

Years ago, a different Mormon woman was involved in a legal ownership dispute in which the court's decision would be based upon which person they believed, the Mormon woman or another, a non-Mormon. The Mormon told me that because her adversary was a non-Mormon, her bishop promised her that she would be provided with free counseling on how to testify, so that she could defeat a non-Mormon. She did.

Shortly before the bottom fell out of the housing a market, I noticed a woman I'd never seen before going through my trash, which was on the curb for the garbage truck. I went outside and asked her if I could help her find something. In a lengthy conversation in which the woman tried to look in my back yard and seemed disappointed she couldn't see through my windows, she identified herself and a Las Vegas law firm she worked for, located on 4th Street - a location which contains countless law officers.
She said she'd been employed in that law office for years, was now also going to law school, but had been accused by the dean of plagiarism on a law paper. She was worried and was going to take the problem to her Mormon bishop. Curious, I asked her if she frequently took legal problems to her bishop. She said every time she was working on a case in the law office that troubled her, she's talk about it with her Mormon bishop. Unable to find anything she wanted by rooting around in my garbage, she said she invested in real estate and was just looking around; that I shouldn't be surprised if I never saw her again.

This isn't about a few antidotal events. It's not about public Mormon Doctrine. Rather, it's about what could appear to be double standard implementations - Temple worthy Mormons taking care of Temple worthy Mormons. And, the fear that non-Mormons engaged in confidential business with a Mormon may have that confidentiality breached. The question is: Would a Mormon President of the United States use a double standard?

Mormons are also encouraged to do business with other Mormons including hiring, the awarding of contracts and bidding. What would be the transparency level of a Mormon presidency?

Constituents have benefited from the intellect, wisdom and skills of Mormons as governors and senators. There is, however, a difference in representing home state residents and being president of a world power nation.

While the sacred rites and beliefs of the Mormon church will remain sacred to their members - they can no longer remain secret to the voters.

Mormons believe that Jesus appeared in North American after his crucifixion and resurrection thus making Mormons the fully realized strain of Christianity. Mormons acknowledge the existence of the Old and New Testaments but believe that The Book of Mormon is the final word. Believers follow a series of prophets who claim to have received divine revelations, and teach that God inhabits an actual physical body and lives on the planet Kolob - as is sung in I Believe from the Broadway musical at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

You may be able to set it to music, but you can't gloss over some fundamental differences.

That doesn't mean attention should be diverted to the irrelevant.

Such issues as Mormons wearing religious underwear not only have no political relevance, but are as insulting as when President Clinton was asked if he wore boxers or briefs. Those type questions should never reach a microphone.

Arnold Schwarzenegger may have practiced in own version of polygamy
That at one time Mormons practiced polygamy should by now be a non-issue. A highly publicized non-LDS recognized splinter group may - but that is the exception. The highest ranking American who seems to practice his own version of polygamy is former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Catholic. In his mind he may have felt that he had two wives - two families who regularly were under the same roof. The big problem was that Wife Number 1 wasn't aware of the game plan. In Arnold's twisted mind he may have viewed it as his one, happy family.

To ask Romney about Mormon polygamy takes attention away from serious issues.

An issue he will have to address are the rights of gays and gay marriage.

While Romney was Governor of Massachusetts that state legalized gay marriage. Romney had no input into that. Gov. Romney was merely obeying the ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Court on Goodridge V. Department of Public Health, that it was unconstitutional under the Massachusetts constitution to allow only heterosexual couples to marry in Massachusetts.

In compliance with the law, Romney ordered town clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses on May 17, 2004.

Andrew Rannells (C) in The Book of Mormon. is the straight man to co-star Josh Gad’s Elder Cunningham. Photo By: Joan Marcus
A president has a lot more influence and back door maneuverability than a governor. The Mormon church accepts gays as members as long as they don't engage in any homosexual behavior. That throws cold water on any gay marriage laws. What about civil partnerships which grant some legal protection as to visitations and benefits? You're not going to have a civil partnership unless you are a gay with a partner. Does that mean that Romney would in any way engage in closed door negotiations to void the legal protection of civil partnerships for gays? Contrary to what the song Turn It Off in The Book of Mormon suggests, you can't just pretend gays don't exist.

Reportedly, God speaks to the President of the LDS Church through dreams. Those dreams have officially altered The Book of Mormon on whether Mormon women can wear make-up to the acceptance of Blacks. Rituals and phases are also modified, altered or updated - depending upon divine communication.

God is chatty.

Since it's creation there have been what is reported as 3913 changes made in the Book of Mormon. Those include a November 2007 change to alter views on American Indians. For over 150 years the LDS Church has maintained that Native Americans are all descendants of Lamanites, even though archaeological and DNA evidence contradict such a position. The 2007 change was subtle but important: The wording was, “… all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.” The words “principal ancestors” were changed to “among the ancestors”. This change was reported as "huge since it seems to indicate that the Church acknowledged the problems associated with such a belief."

One of the important freedoms in America is religious freedom. The Mormons - as with any faith - may engage in all their practices and rituals - provided those practices don't harm or control - overtly or covertly - the lives of people who are not of that faith.

If the President of the Mormon church announces that God had spoken to him and told him to tell the devout to do something which is relevant only to LDS followers, or makes a pronouncement which is life altering - such as leave everything and head to Missouri - which all faithful Mormons believe will happen - where is the loyalty of a Mormon President of the United States - to God or to Country?

By the time the presidential primary elections are held The Book of Mormon will have sold enough tickets to be a major, though unorganized, voting block. When people go home and stop laughing at the delightful musical, they'll start to think about some of the serious issues addressed in the production. The Book of Mormon could go down in history as the most politically influential musical to ever be mounted on Broadway.

Political flyers are tossed before being read, robo political phone calls are resented and television political ads are an opportunity to run to the fridge or the bathroom. The musical The Book of Mormon will stay with the patron.

If any Mormon desiring to run for president doesn't want the musical The Book of Mormon to morph into the Campaign Bible which delivers votes, then all Mormon candidates need to address the elephant in the room.

Full Disclosure - I've never believed in proselytizing. And, 45 years ago two of my best friends, both of whom unfortunately died very young decades ago, were Mormon. They were wives, mothers and the most wonderful, cherished friends anybody could have ever known.

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Beginning June 3, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC will mark the 30th anniversary of the emergence of HIV and AIDS with two significant displays as well as a section of the AIDS quilt.

HIV and AIDS Thirty Years Ago, will look at the public health, scientific and political responses in the early years (1981-1987) of HIV-AIDS. This showcase display will be located in the museum’s Science in American Life exhibition, providing a context for the topic within the social and cultural impact of science in American life.

In Archiving the History of an Epidemic: HIV and AIDS, 1985-2009, the museum’s Archives Center will display brochures, posters and other materials along with quotes from oral histories in the collection with a focus on how individuals and society are affected by and cope with the epidemic. The AIDS quilt panel will be featured in the museum’s first floor quilt case.

FASHION IN THE MIDDLE AGES The figures that inhabited the illuminated pages of medieval manuscripts could be recognized at a glance by the clothing they wore. Artists used costumes to identify people by profession or to place them in a social hierarchy.

Yet, as this exhibition demonstrates, illuminations did not provide accurate depictions of dress.

Wealthy patrons commissioned images of a perfect world, filled with glamorous versions of themselves and rather too-well-dressed peasants, while biblical figures were given a "historical" wardrobe that mixed ancient and contemporary elements.

May 31–August 21, 2011 at The Getty Center in Los Angeles.

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Jeremy Irons will participate in the reading of Simply Sublime
Following the success of her readings for the T.S. Eliot Festival in 2009, Josephine Hart returns to the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London to produce and direct a week of poetry featuring a series of special readings with some of the country’s leading actors.

Josephine Hart, Lady Saatchi is an Irish writer, theater producer and television presenter. She is widely known as author of the novel Damage, which was the basis for a film directed by Louis Malle and featuring Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche.

She will devote each performance to the works of one or two poets, introducing and setting their poems in the context of their life. “The idea is simple,” Hart says, “an understanding of the life and philosophy of the poet illuminates the poetry and therefore makes the experience of reading or listening to each poem more intense.”

The week begins with a May 30 presentation of Philip Larkin's Too Clever to Live? read by Charles Dance and Dan Stevens. Tuesday May 31 John Milton's Simply Sublime will have two reading by Emilia Fox, Jeremy Irons, Felicity Kendal and Dan Stevens. Wednesday, June 1 Sylvia Plath's The Woman is Perfected will be read by Harriet Walter. On Thursday WWI Poetry - The Poetry is in the Pity will stage two readings with Kenneth Cranham, Rupert Evans, Max Irons, and Ruth Wilson. Poetry Week closes on Friday, June 3 with T.S.Eliot's I Gotta Use Words read by Harriet Walter and Edward Fox.

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Julie Andrews
will receive Lincoln Medals at the Ford’s Theatre Society's annual gala June 5 at the Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.

The evening’s events will begin at Ford’s Theatre, where a special evening performance titled Lincoln’s Legacy and a New Era of Hope celebrates the enduring light that Abraham Lincoln’s life provides our country. Performance highlights include appearances by Michael Arden, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks, Christopher B. Corrigan, Richard Dreyfuss, Jeremy Gumbs, Joshua Henry, Kellee Knighten Hough, Kevin McAllister, Michael McElroy, Anika Noni Rose, David Selby, Michael Urie and Liberty Smith cast members Christopher Bloch, Geoff Packard, Donna Migliaccio, Bobby Smith and others in a selection of scenes and Broadway songs from past and future Ford’s Theatre theatrical productions that capture the essence of Lincoln’s legacy by illuminating his hopes for a world defined by tolerance, understanding and acceptance.

The Lincoln Medal goes to individuals whose extraordinary careers and commitment to education, understanding and equality exemplify the character and lasting legacy of President Abraham Lincoln.

Following the performance will be a seated dinner at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the honorary chair of the gala celebration. Honorary co-chairs are Mrs. Landra Reid, The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, Mrs. Cynthia Rogers, Mrs. Deborah I. Dingell, Dr. Sharon Malone and Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds.

The Ford’s Theatre annual gala benefits the Ford’s Theatre Society, its programming and the new Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership, set to open in February 2012.

IRISH REPERTORY'S 2011 GALA BENEFIT performance of Camelot takes place June 6 at the Shubert Theatre in New York City.

The one night only concert directed by Charlotte Moore with musical direction by Mark Hartman will star Melissa Errico and James Barbour, who play Guenevere and Lancelot, respectively. Academy Award and Tony Award winner Jeremy Irons will play the role of King Arthur.

Completing the cast are Dewey Caddell, Jacob Clemente, Rory Duffy, Josh Grisetti, Christopher Lynn, Victoria Mallory, Brian Murray, Ciarán Sheehan, James A. Stephens and KT Sullivan. Ciarán O'Reilly will narrate. Accompanied by a full orchestra, the chorus includes Michael A. Alden, Anthony Aloise, Sean Bell, Jason Blaine, Dayna Bowers, Bill Brooks, Susan Burcham, Sean Casserly, Matt Castle, Kerry Conte, Sarah Cooney, Dashira Cortes, Mike Cruz, Dan Debenport, Scott Denny, Natalie Douglas, Beth Eunice, Katie Fabel, Bonnie Fraser, Frank Galgano, Stephanie Granade, Rita Harvey, Robyn Elizabeth Lee, AJ Irvin, Danny Katz, Matt Leahy, David Levinson, Harold Lewter, John Anthony Lopez, Michael Jennings Mahoney, Alyssa Malgeri, Gregory McDonald, Helen McTernan, Brian J. Nash, Mary Orzano, Georga Osborne, Marcie Passley, Robyn Payne, Lisa Riegel, Shanna Sharp, Becca Shimkin, Emily Skeggs, Sami Skow, Ryan Speakman, Tom Stajmiger, Laura Beth Wells, Kevin B. Winebold, Darryl Winslow and Jennifer Wren.

THE LEAGUE OF BROADWAY SUPER FRIENDS composed of Kelli O’Hara, Lindsay Mendez, Gavin Creel, Greg Naughton and Sherie Rene Scott, will join forces and voices for good: a June 7th benefit concert at Le Poisson Rouge, in New York City to raise funds in the fight against Pancreatic Cancer.

Presented by Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records, the label Scott and husband Kurt Deutsch launched 10 years ago, all upcoming concerts by the League of Broadway Super Friends will benefit a designated organization in need.

THE OTHER DAY a new play by New York Innovative Theatre award nominee Mark Jason Williams, as part of the 3rd Annual Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Valentina Fratti directs a cast of four, including Lars Drew, Amadeo Fusca, Zach Wegner, and Elena Zazanis.

After a chance meeting, opposites attract when Santo, an out-going late 20’s hottie, and Mark, a 30-something conservative neurotic, fall in love. Six months later, they are living together in a small one-bedroom in Jersey City until Mark’s friend Dina rips away the shiny veneer covering the men’s fragile relationship. With the hope of moving on, Mark takes Santo and Dina on a vacation to Amsterdam, where each faces an emotional journey that redefines their relationships in surprising ways. The Other Day is billed as "an honest, heartwarming and humorous look at friendship, love, and hope, which dares to ask the question: When is it time to stop grieving for what’s lost and start living for what’s found?"

Six performances from June 2-22 at The Robert Moss Theater, NYC. All performances benefit the Hetrick- Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, which believes all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential. Founded in 1979, The Hetrick-Martin Institute creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth between the ages of 12 and 24 and their families. Through a comprehensive package of direct services and referrals, Hetrick-Martin seeks to foster healthy youth development. Hetrick-Martin’s staff promotes excellence in the delivery of youth services and uses its expertise to create innovative programs that other organizations may use as models.

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Queen Elizabeth, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Photo: Lewis Whyld Getty pool.
Tom Hanks and Kristen Chenoweth were in two places at the same time, or so it seemed for those watching the two stars say farewell to Oprah during that fit for a queen send-off. Actually, the Chicago gala was taped in advance, permitting Oscar winner Hanks and Tony winner Chenoweth to attend another fit-for-a-queen event. This one was the white tie chow down at Buckingham Palace hosted by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh for President and Mrs. Obama.

Any white tie event at Buckingham Palace is a big deal. But when it's only the second white tie state banquet for a United States President in the past 100 years - the soiree becomes event more of "a swellegant, elegant affair," to quote lyrics from High Society.

In addition to Hanks and Chenoweth, the guest list of 171 included the entire royal family, major government officials and theatrical big shots who know which fork to use - Hanks' wife Rita Wilson, Kevin Spacey, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter - who played the queen's mum in The King's Speech.

Others at the sit down were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Labor Party leader Ed Miliband, Richard Branson, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

They ate off of china which dated as far back as 1786 - those were the sweet plates which were made for Queen Victoria. Other pieces included green sevre-soft paste porcelain made for Louis XVI in the 1790s.

The three-course banquet included Paupiette de Sole et Gresson, sauce Nantua (sole with crayfish sauce); Agneau de la Nouvelle Saison de Windsor au Basilic (new Windsor lamb); Courgettes et radis sautees; panache d'haricots verts; pommes boulangere, salade followed by the dessert - Charlotte a la vanille et cerises griottes, fruits de dessert. They washed it down with five wines; Ridgeview Cuvée Merret Fitzrovia Rosé 2004, Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2004 (Domaine William Fèvre), Echézeaux Grand Cru 1990 (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti), Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Vintage Rich 2002 and Royal Vintage Port 1963.

Princess Anne beamed all evening long. She selected a gold wrap and wore the Meander tiara and diamond earrings. Photo: Lewis Whyld Getty pool.
President Obama concluded his toast to Queen Elizabeth with a quote from Shakespeare's Richard III.

"To Her Majesty the Queen, to the vitality of the special relationship between our peoples and in the words of Shakespeare, 'to this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England'."

Hanks sat next to Ffion Hague, the wife of the Foreign Secretary. Kevin Spacey was beside the wife of Prince Edward, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex who wore her wedding tiara.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson was seated between Helena Bonham Carter and Princess Michael of Kent. Boris' petite wife selected a short lavender evening dress.

Michelle Obama wore a Tom Ford full-length white silk-georgette gown, with ribbon details, which was draped across the bust, and featured a cross-strapped neckline complete with opera length white evening gloves and a tiny jeweled clutch purse, with her hair swept into a bun.

Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall wore the Boucheron Honeycomb Tiara, considered the grandest of all of the Queen Mum's tiaras. Photo: Lewis Whyld Getty pool.
The Queen looked stunning in a white, silk crepe, empire-line evening gown with an embroidered Swarovski crystal motif on the bodice, accented with Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee necklace, the Garter Sash and Star. She wore it with the Vladimir diamond and pearl tiara.

Her daughter-in-law Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall wore a deep blue, off the shoulder gown and the Greville Tiara, also known as the Boucheron Honeycomb Tiara, considered the grandest of all of the Queen Mum's tiaras. Princess Anne, not noted for smiling a lot, beamed all evening long. She selected a gold wrap and wore the Meander tiara and diamond earrings.

Rita Wilson turned heads in a nude off-the-shoulder tulle gown, embroidered with golden embellishments from the Spring 2011 collection by Monique Lhuillier.

Hanks and Wilson were all smiles despite having just learned that they had lost their 10-year battle with an Idaho-based construction company, from which they were seeking $3 million in damages from the firm after claiming there were "serious defects" in the property Storey Construction Inc. had built for them in Sun Valley. The Blaine County District Court failed to award the couple any compensation, and ordered that they must pay all the legal costs connected to the case.

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The woman who slammed down the gavel sentencing former NFL great OJ Simpson to prison for participating in an armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel in 2008, is heading to the small screen.

Las Vegas District Court Judge Jackie Glass is replacing Nancy Grace on Swift Justice, the CBS distributed show which will move to Los Angeles. Glass begins dolling out swift justice in September.

Glass began her career as a news reporter and week-end anchor for Channel-13 in Las Vegas before putting down the microphone to study law at University of San Diego School of Law, graduating in 1984. She was first elected to Department 5 of the District Court in November of 2002, previously spending 18 years in private practice with her husband.

Becoming a television judge will be a full time job for Glass who submitted her resignation last Tuesday to Gov. Brian Sandoval. Her last day on the bench will be June 10. Her replacement will be appointed by the governor from a list of three candidates suggested to him by the Commission on Judicial Selection. That is expected to take several months.

Grace will continue to host her program on CNN's HLN (Headline News).


OPERA ON THE MOUNTAIN Nashville Opera and Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory present an encore evening of operatic music and stars, June 4. Guests are encouraged to bring picnic baskets to enjoy during the outdoor concert on the grounds. Afterwards, weather permitting, view the stars through the Seyfert Telescope!

GREGORY HARRISON, AMANDA McBROOM, and STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST are participating in Rubicon Theatre Company’s Young Playwrights Festival, taking place May 29-30 in Ventura, CA. The Festival features three different performances of one-act plays written by area high school students and presented by professional directors and actors. Some fifty artists are participating in this year’s effort, including award-winning actors Harrison, McBroom and Zimbalist. Readings of the Festival one-acts are free to the public.

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THE TONY AWARDS releases the names of the stage and screen stars who will join host Neil Patrick Harris on this year’s Tony Awards telecast on June 12th.

Those helping to pass out the coveted awards will include: Daniel Radcliffe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Alec Baldwin, Samuel L. Jackson, Kelsey Grammer, Viola Davis, Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones, Harry Connick Jr,. Christie Brinkley, David Hyde Pierce, Marg Helgenberger, Matthew Broderick, Angela Lansbury, Jim Parsons, Joel Grey, Patrick Wilson, Robert Morse...and more.

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KIRK DOUGLAS and his wife Anne, awarded a $1 million, 10-year challenge grant to Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. That challenge grant, to be combined with their earlier $1 million seed grant for new work, results in a $2 million investment in the future of Los Angeles theatre, CTG announced. "For every $2 that CTG raises, the Foundation will add another $1. This has a potential of yielding up to $4 million to support new theatre."

"Theatre was always my first love," Douglas said in a statement. "In fact, when I came to Hollywood to make my first picture, I thought it was just a temporary detour. I would earn enough money to tide my family over only until my first long-run hit on Broadway. That never happened, and I soon resigned myself (believe me, it wasn't hard!) to being a movie star. My second-choice career gave my wife and me an opportunity to give a lot of money to the Center Theatre Group over the years, a joyous commitment of which we continue to be extremely proud."

The Douglas family has a long relationship with CTG. Anne Douglas was a longtime member of CTG's board of directors. In 2004, the couple donated $2.5 million to help transform the Culver Theater into the 317-seat, Kirk Douglas Theatre. Michael Douglas also contributed a $1 million capital gift in honor of his father for the project.

DC REJECTS ENTERTAINMENT TAX Last Wednesday, the D.C. City Council passed their new budget without the proposed 6% tax on live performance tax that has been proposed by Major Vincent Gray. Arts organization had lobbied against the tax.

CHARLIE SHEEN has put his Beverly Hills mansion, which he dubbed The Sober-Valley Ranch, up for sale with an asking price of $7.2 million, according to The Real Estalker. The custom-built Mediterranean estate has 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms and 7,924-sq ft of living space. Other features include a private screening room, and a professional outdoor kitchen with dining area, pool, and spa.

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JOSHUA BELL the American violinist, has been named as the next Music Director of the London-based chamber orchestra The Academy of St Martin in the Fields. The appointment will run in parallel with that of the current artistic director Kenneth Sillito, but Bell will take ultimate responsibility for the group’s musical activities.

Bell who was born in 1967 in Bloomington, Indiana is the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, and was named 2010 Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America.


TIM CURRY who has been playing the role of The Player in the Chichester Festival Theatre's new London-bound production of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, has withdrawn due to ill health.

In a press statement, Alan Finch, executive director of Chichester Festival Theatre, commented, "It is with great regret that we confirm that Tim Curry will be unable to complete the run of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead due to ill-health, following an on-going chest infection and repeated asthma attacks. We know that our audiences will be disappointed not to see him in this role, however Tim's well-being is a priority and we wish him the very best for a speedy recovery. For the moment the production will continue with the role of the Player taken by Curry’s understudy, Chris Andrew Mellon, while we consider our longer-term options."

The production, directed by Trevor Nunn, also features Samuel Barnett and Jamie Parker in the title roles, performs at Chichester through June 11, then transfers immediately to the West End's Theatre Royal, Haymarket, beginning performances June 16, prior to an official opening June 21, for a run through August 20.


ACTOR DAVID SCHWIMMER AND HIS WIFE ZOE BUCKMAN have welcomed their first child, a daughter, Cleo Buckman Schwimmer, born May 8 in New York.

Expect a professional baby album. Mom is a photographer.


LUCKY GUY will close on May 29, 19 days after opening at off-Broadway's Little Shubert Theatre.

The musical was scheduled for a run through July 24. When it closes the show will have played 23 preview performances and 14 regular performances

An original cast CD is planned.

the 40th anniversary production and first ever Broadway revival of the landmark rock musical. Directed by Daniel Goldstein and choreographed by Tony Award nominee Christopher Gattelli. Goddspell reunites Goldstein - making his Broadway directorial debut - and the designers of their critically-acclaimed 2006 Paper Mill Playhouse conception in a new production that has been completely re-imagined for the Circle in the Square, one of Broadway's most intimate, unique and versatile houses.

Godspell will feature scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Miranda Hoffman, lighting design by Ben Stanton and orchestrations by Michael Holland.

Conceived and originally directed by John Michael Tebelak with music and new lyrics by Academy and Grammy Award winner Stephen Schwartz, Godspell has continued to electrify audiences throughout the country since its original New York premiere in May 1971.

The Tony-nominated score features instantly recognizable hits including Day by Day, Turn Back, O Man, Learn Your Lessons Well, Prepare Ye the Way, Light of the World and many more.

One of the most popular musicals in the world, Godspell originally ran for more than 2,600 performances in New York and spawned successful touring productions in major U.S. cities, a 1973 motion picture adaptation and countless international engagements for the past 40 years.

This production will open Monday, November 7, 2011.

TACTICAL QUESTIONING Scenes from the Baha Mousa Inquiry. Edited by Richard Norton-Taylor. Directed by Nicolas Kent.

On September 14, 2003, at the Haitham Hotel in Basra, Iraq, Baha Mousa and nine others were arrested by the British Army as suspected insurgents.

Two days later Baha Mousa was dead. A postmortem examination revealed that he had suffered from asphyxiation and had at least 93 injuries to his body while in the Army’s custody.

In 2008 the Secretary of State for Defense announced a public inquiry into Baha Mousa’s death and the treatment of those detained with him.

Tactical Questioning brings together scenes from the Public inquiry which examined the shocking events that took place over those two days of detention, and the British Army’s policies towards the treatment of prisoners of war.

This production comes after the final evidence has been heard, and before the Baha Mousa Inquiry reports this summer.

June 2- July 2, 2011 at The Tricycle in London.

TRU by Jay Presson Allen. Directed by Tony Award winner Judith Ivey.

Starring Darrell Hammond as Truman Capote.

This look into a part of Truman Capote’s life was first produced on Broadway, earning Robert Morse a Tony for Best Actor in 1990. Broadway To Vegas saw and enjoyed Morse in that production and this is a funny, intelligent, well written insight to a man who became a bigger than life literary figure.

“Capote had a truly unique American voice in his work,” says Artistic Director Sybil Christopher. “And he was not only one of the country’s celebrated writers but he was also a resident of the East End.”

“TRU is written with compassion and humor,” says Artistic Director Murphy Davis. “We see Truman confronting his demons, successes, failures, and reflecting on his extraordinary life.”

TRU begins previews on May 31 followed by opening night on June 4, with the final performance on June 26, 2011. Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY.

CHICKEN SOUP WITH BARLEY Dominic Cooke’s revival of Arnold Wesker’s seminal play.

Samantha Spiro will play the pivotal role of the matriarch Sarah Kahn and will be joined by Jenna Augen, Steve Furst, Joel Gillman, Ilan Goodman, Harry Peacock, Tom Rosenthal, Danny Webb and Alexis Zegerman.

The kettle boils in 1936 as the fascists are marching. Tea is brewed in 1946, with disillusion in the air at the end of the war. Twenty years on, in 1956, as rumors spread of Hungarian revolution, the cup is empty.

Sarah Kahn, an East End Jewish mother, is a feisty political fighter and a staunch communist. Battling against the State and her shirking husband she desperately tries to keep her family together.

Billed as a "moving and important state-of-the-nation play capturing the collapse of an ideology alongside the disintegration of a family."

The production will be designed by Ultz. Lighting is by Charles Balfour, sound by Gareth Fry and composition by Gary Yershon.

Chicken Soup with Barley, the first in a trilogy that includes Roots and I’m Talking about Jerusalem was first performed at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry in 1958 and transferred to the Royal Court in the same year. The full trilogy was performed at the Royal Court in 1960. Chicken Soup with Barley opens June 2 in London at the Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.

drawn from Dory Schary’s Broadway hit Sunrise at Campobello, a multi-character play about the 32nd - and only four-term - president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

This special event, one man play stars multiple Emmy-winner Ed Asner as FDR.

The play explores the life of one of America’s best-loved presidents and the events and decisions that shaped a nation. This powerful play follows the iconic president as he reflects on his 12 years in office, from inauguration to the trials of World War II. Asner as FDR recounts the highlights and revisits some of the country’s most desperate hours. Asner wisely emphasizes the aspects of FDR’s White House that resonates with today’s controversies.

In addition to the superstardom Asner achieved on television, his New York City Theatre credits include Ivanov, The Tempest, Face of a Hero, King Henry V, and Born Yesterday. Other theatrical credits include Woyzck, Volpone, Windoweis Houses, Dybbuk, Red Gloves, Murder in the Cathedral, Miss Julie, The Seagull, Peer Gynt, Juno and the Paycock and Oedipus Rex.

Ed Asner is in performance as FDR June 1 – June 5, 2011 at the Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton, FL.

A LITTLE JOURNEY Rachel Crothers's Pulitzer Prize nominated comedy, directed by Jackson Gay.

Featuring Laurie Birmingham, Jennifer Blood, McCaleb Burnett, Anthony L. Gaskins, Ben Hollandsworth, Victoria Mack, Joey Parsons, Rosemary Prinz, Doug Rees, Ben Roberts, Chet Siegel, Samantha Soule, John Wernke and Craig Wroe.

A Little Journey, set on a westbound train leaving New York City, transports us to another world. A proud but heartsick young woman feels like she’s come to the end of the line until she realizes that a second chance for happiness is just across the aisle. Officially opens June 6 with performances through July 10 at New York City's The Mint Theatre, which has a celebrated reputation for re-discovering worthy but neglected gems and has brought new vitality to timeless but timely plays since 1992.

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE the Tony Award winning musical with book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison.

Directed by Brian Enzman. Choreographed by Amy Marie McCleary.

To chase his blues away, a modern day musical theater fan drops the needle on his favorite LP, the 1928 musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone. When the record begins to play, the musical magically bursts to life on stage telling the tale. You have a bride who's giving up the stage for love, her dim but debonair bridegroom, a producer who sets out to sabotage the wedding, bumbling gangstars posing as pastry chefs, a flaky chorus girl, a Latin lothario and of course the drowsy chaperone.. what more do you need for an evening of fun entertainment?

Starring Michael Weaver (Man in Chair), Rebecca McGraw (The Drowsy Chaperone), Lara Hayhurst (Janet Vam De Graaff), Victor Legarreta (Feldzieg), Kristen Marie (Kitty), Sabra Michelle (Mrs. Tottendale), John Ramsey (Robert Martin), Christopher Russell (George), Galloway Stevens (Aldolpho), Aaron Fried (Underling), Tommy Wallace (Gangster #1), Thomas Blake Hogan (Gangster #2), and ensemble members Mark Bailey Capalbo, Megan Orlowski, Stephen Turner and Theresa Walker.

James Wolk (Scenic Designer), John P. White (Costume Designer), Russell Thompson (Lighting Designer), Jacob Mishler (Sound Design), A. Scott Williams (Resident Musical Director).

June 2 - July 9, 2011 at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, PA.

QUARTET four gay-themed plays written by Mario Fratti the creator of Nine. Stephan Morrow directs. the cast which features Jason Beaubien, Paul Caiola, Wayne Maugans, Sarah-Doe Osborne, Victoria Watson, Jennifer Laine Williams, Melanie Rose Wilson, Dennis Wit, Kenneth W. Ziegler and Michael Sirow.

Quartet is comprised of the following plays: Actors, a loving father has a secret. A.I.D.S, a doctor bribes a dying man's lover. Dina and Alba, about two women who love one another and an older lover who reappears. Piggy Bank, a prostitute ch arms and dupes her clients

Opens on June 5 at Theater for the New City in NYC.

THE OLD SETTLER by John Henry Redwood.

Directed and produced by caryn desai.

Starring Ryan Vincent Anderson, Veralyn Jones, Tarina Pouncy, Karen Malina White.

John Henry Redwood's bittersweet comedy is set in Harlem during World War II, when hot music played and swing dancers ruled the floor of legendary nightclubs like the Savoy Ballroom. Middle-aged sisters Elizabeth and Quilly have learned to put past differences behind them. But when a handsome young man named Husband takes a room as a boarder, old hurts and new tensions are brought to the surface.

Previews begin May 31, officially opening on June 3 for a run through June 26 at the International City Theatre in Long Beach, CA.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING by William Shakespeare. Directed by Josie Rourke.

David Tennant and Catherine Tate are to appear together on stage in this new West End production. The stars will portray reluctant lovers and constant sparring partners Beatrice and Benedick in the Bard's comedy. It will be Tate and Tennant's first appearance together since starring in BBC One's Doctor Who.

Opening June 1 at London's Wyndham's Theatre with performances through September 3. (, inc) Women College Pants


EILEEN FULTON will appear at The Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco, CA on Sunday afternoon, June 5, in a new show, Blame It On My Youth. Directed by Diana Basmajian, with Bob Goldstone as Music Director and Tom Hubbard on Bass, Fulton will add her signature flair to such classic standards as Something Cool, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and I Left My Heart in San Francisco among others. She will also perform a special rendition of Blame It On My Youth, the famous jazz standard written by Oscar Levant and Edward Heyman. Fulton will also share memorable stories of growing up as a preacher’s daughter in North Carolina; becoming the vixen of daytime television; her time spent in Hollywood and all of her loves and let go’s - the men who got away - and the men who she survived to tell about.

MICHAEL BUBLE is on tour performing June 1 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX. On Friday the show is at the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis. On Saturday he can be enjoyed at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY.

ERIC CLAPTON AND STEVE WINWOOD finish their Royal Albert Hall engagement with performances on Monday, May 30 and Wednesday, June 1.

PHISH open a two night gig Tuesday, May 31 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NY. On Friday, they are on stage at the TE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI. Saturday the show is at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. Next Sunday, June 5, they are in the spotlight at the PNC Pavilion in Cincinnati, OH.

ADELE performs Tuesday, May 31, at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, BC. On Wednesday the show is at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. Friday's show is at the McMenamins Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR. On Saturday the tour stops at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco.

GLEE LIVE IN CONCERT perform Wednesday, June 1, at the Target Center in Minneapolis. On Thursday the show is at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. On Friday they open a two night stand at the Allstae Arena in Rosemont, IL.

PAUL SIMON will be in Boston for two shows. The first performance in Wednesday, June 1, at the Wang Theatre. On Thursday he's on stage at the House of Blues.

JOSH GROBAN performs Friday, June 3, at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY. Saturday's show is at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

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Next Column: June 5, 2011
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