Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: November 11, 2007
By: Laura Deni


Located in the heart of Restoration Plaza, the Audelco and Obie award winning Billie Holiday Theatre is the only professional resident theatre company in Brooklyn, and sets the standard for performing arts and serious theatre in Central Brooklyn. Established in 1972, BHT has a well-earned reputation for providing outstanding professional theatre and music productions that are affordable to families.

Executive Director Marjorie A. Moon spoke with Broadway To Vegas about her unique theatre.

"Billy Holiday theater is a part of a development corporation called Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Jacob Javits, way back in the 60's, walked through this community called Bedford-Stuyvesant and said - 'Wow, they really need federal assistance!'"

And so was born the first community development corporation in America.

Marjorie Moon
"The founders believed that individuals should be helped in a gestalt type of way - economically, physically socially/culturally. So they developed a cultural unit," said Moon who came to her position via the route of college drama teacher.

Born in Kokomo, Indiana she knew at an early age that her calling was theater. "Since I was five years old - playing the double bass. I always wanted to be in the theater. Ever since I was in kindergarten and saw a theatrical piece. It was magic and just opened my head up. It was wonderful."

She spent time at the Karamu House Theater in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1964 she received her diploma from Collinwood High School. Around the same time, she became one of the youngest members in the Cleveland Women's Orchestra. In 1968, Moon earned her B.A. degree from Ohio University and completed her studies at Temple University in 1970 with an M.A. degree.

Moon began her professional career "teaching drama at one of the historical Black colleges, called Hampton Institute. It's now Hampton University," she said about the Virginia educational institution which was founded in 1868 to educate former slaves.

"I did enjoy it - but I was so young. I was 24, so the kids really liked me, but they came to me with too many of their problems. I felt like I was suppose to be there for their problems. I realized that I didn't have enough life lessons learned to be able to help them. Some of their problems seemed more mature than I was!"

"And, I knew that I really wanted to be out in the commercial field," she related. Moon left the classroom for the audition cattle call and got some life lessons of her own.

"I found that auditioning was just really the pits - particularly for women. I thought - what is this?"

About that time the Billie Holliday Theatre was ready to debut and Moon was ready for the task. A trustee who had known Moon from her university teaching days recommended her for the job.

Moving to New York in 1973, she became the Executive Director of the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn, a theatre that has provided African American playwrights, set-builders, and other creative individuals an arena to work and nurture their talents.

She remembered her own audition horrors and put a different game plan into play.

Samuel L. Jackson started at The Billie Holiday Theatre
"I wanted to create a situation where people can come for auditions and have a positive experience and not feel as though they have failed. I would even tell them why I didn't select them. I used the old adage - every role is not for everybody. Every play is not for everybody."

"I would try to encourage them to go on. When I started getting cards saying what a positive experience the audition had been, I thought - this is what I really want."

"When the audiences started getting a sense of what we were trying to do it became love."

Serving some 30,000 people annually for more than 30 years, the BHT has a 40-week season, and provides a training ground for aspiring theatre professionals. The theatre has launched the careers of many fine and notable artists and playwrights over the years, including; Oscar-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson; multitalented performer, choreographer and director Debbie Allen; television, film and theater producer Samm-Art Williams; musician, composer and playwright Weldon Irvine; actress Tichina Arnold; award-winning scenic designer Felix Cochren.

Moon has fond memories of John Henry Redwood.

"John Henry Redwood was an up and coming writer - God bless his soul," she remarked about the author of The Old Settler who passed away in 2003, at the age of 60, from heart disease.

"He started at The Billie Holiday Theatre. Nobody was going to produce him. There was nowhere for him to go. He and his wife lived in New Jersey. They returned to Brooklyn, because as a child he was raised in Brooklyn. So, they came here and they wanted to do this play. I said - let me read it. I was intrigued. Mark 8:36 was about babies being switched at birth. It was wonderful," she said of the production which earned Redwood the 1986 AUDELCO Award for Best Play. "I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with him and that he was as successful as he was before he passed."

"The AUDELCO has been around 35 years," she explained. "They were formed to build audiences of color for the Black theatres. Certainly, we needed that. Then they felt we should have an awards ceremony because there is not really any acknowledgement of what our artists do. They really aren't acknowledged "mainstream" so let's have our own awards ceremony. That was begun by the late Vivian Robinson and many of her friends who loved the theatre."

The purpose of AUDELCO is to assist not-for-profit theatre and dance companies to generate more revenue to improve public relations, and to provide a cultural grounding for African-Americans and other ethnic minorities. The geographical area served by AUDELCO consists of the five boroughs of New York City and the immediate East Coast Area - New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

This year's AUDELCO awards take place November 19 at the Marian Anderson Theatre in Harlem. Those associated with productions staged this season at The Billie Holiday Theatre have received 10 nominations.

Deciding which productions will be mounted each season is the stressful part of Moon's job.

"Selecting pieces is the toughest part because we have a built in audience," she explained. "It's not a subscription audience it's a group audience. They buy groups of tickets before we even announce what the season is. That has been cultivated over the years."

"We have one of the few theaters in the city where grandparents can bring their grandchildren, parents can their pastors. What they see will not embarrass them in front of others."

"In New York you can get anything and everything but it's hard to find places where you can go with your entire family. It is a family oriented theater, which is very important." she emphasized.

"Our plays have to be both language and situational sensitive," she cautioned. "Our plays always have to have some redeeming value to them."

"We have writers who understand who we are. Over a 36-year period of time they know what to send to the Billie Holiday Theatre. And, if they don't, we tell them please do not write something specifically. Don't limit yourself. You've got to write what is in your heart. Don't try to just create for what we might be able to use. I don't want to stifle an artist in that way."

"If their work is good there will be somebody out there who is going to produce it, so don't try to just carve it for us."

"Between productions there is a small break - small," she laughed. "There has to be because we rehearse in the same location that we perform. And, we build out sets in the same location that we perform."

"We often times sell to our audience members - fire sale - the costumes. We do build and re-cycle. the sets. We often look at a season in terms of - what are we going to need in the way of sets? How can we recycle? There are so many criteria that you have to look at to see if we can do this - rather than just will it appeal to the audience."

"You look at first will it appeal to the audience and then you look at the budget and whether it can fit within a season in terms of making sense."

As a director, Moon has worked on several plays including Weldon Irvine's Young, Gifted and Broke. It ran for eight months and won four prestigious AUDELCO Awards. Moon also directed a production of Over Forty at the New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia. As a producer, she has produced more than 150 productions. In 1981, Inacent Black, a play originally produced at the Billie Holiday Theatre, opened on Broadway, starring Melba Moore.

In a 200-seat theatre with modest ticket prices - the ticket revenue doesn't pay for the season.

"We have to be subsidized," she stressed. "I remember Joseph Papp saying every theatre needs to be subsidized. I know he was thinking about his theatre first, because we all think of the Shakespeare Festival as being the epitome - and it is. They have needs but what he was saying is that everybody needs to be subsidized. It was eye opening for me to hear him say that and it was relieving, too."

In 2005, the Billie Holiday Theatre received a $900,000 grant for its line-up of new plays.

The 2007-2008 Billie Holiday Theatre season is supported, in part, by public funds from New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; NYC Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, Domenic Recchia, Chair; also supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York; Brooklyn Arts Council Ford Foundation Regrant; Brooklyn Arts Council JP Morgan Chase Regrant; Christ Fund of Concord Baptist Church; Time Warner; American Express and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.

"You can buy single tickets or you can buy group tickets," she explained and elaborated on how she has looked at the neighborhood and devised win-win situations for both the theater and the needs of the community.

"Brooklyn is called the Borough of Churches," she said of the area which is characterized by cultural diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods, and a unique architectural heritage.

"We have so many churches and coming from the Midwest, I kind of knew of this phenomenon and how to deal with it. You don't go to the ministers. You go to the president of the pastor's aid or the president of the alter society. You go to the usher board, the building fund board, the scholarship committee. There are so many committees within these churches - sometimes 30 committees."

"They all have fund raising objectives. So, you lash onto those."

"Also, there are the fraternities and sororities. There are Black associations of various civic groups - Lions, the Vulcan Society, the Black Firefighters, The Guardians Association - which is the Black Policemen. They all have fund raising objective during the year. When you can guarantee them a show of quality that they will enjoy. They grab onto it."

Currently on stage is Sassy Mamas by Celeste Bedford Walker. "Sassy Mamas is going well," she reported about the production which concerns three women of substance and a certain age who decide to flip the script on gender stereotypes by pursuing younger men. The comedy runs to December 23.

"People love it. Older women and much younger men - its really a dicey subject. The author - Walker - is an author with whom we have had many successes. We went all up and down the eastern seaboard with her Over Forty in the early 90's. It was a musical about women about to be 40. It was fun and funny but so real. Now, she is dealing with women 40 to 60 and they are pursuing men and it is a riot!"

"We did a comedy called Lotto about a family who won $10 million and how it changed their changed. That went to the Warner Theatre and we took it to the Baltimore Opera Lyric House."

The Billie Holiday Theatre is the original New York producer of many hit shows, including Inacent Black which went on to Broadway and starred Melba Moore; One Monkey Don't Stop No Show, which toured nationally with Kim Fields and Ted Lange and the musical, Over Forty.

Just because the location is Bedford-Stuyvesant doesn't mean it's a non-Caucasian venue.

"It's a mixed audience. The majority is black, but it is a mixed audience. Our production of The Desire was an interracial cast," related Moon about the show which played last April 28-June 24 and is nominated for six AUDELCO Awards.

Written by Jackie Alexander, the plot line for The Desire concerns a successful attorney's perfect world being capsized when his cousin, a Katrina survivor, seeks refuge at his East Hampton beach house; bringing with him nothing but the clothes on his back, and secrets from the past.

Described as a theatre with a "soul and a mission," Moon has achieved while flying under the radar. "I think the quiet way may be the best way," she theorized about her success with The Billie Holiday Theatre. Her own personal credo is "You can do it." She's proved she can.

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Curt Tofteland
producing artistic director of Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars ( See Broadway To Vegas column of January 2, 2005 ) is one of three selected as a 2007 Petra Fellows by the Petra Foundation.

The Petra Foundation was established in 1988 to sustain the trajectory of Petra Tolle Shattuck's life by honoring the kind of people she most admired – unsung individuals making distinctive contributions to the rights, autonomy and dignity of others.

Each year since then, through a national search and nomination process, the Petra Foundation has recognized such leaders as Petra Fellows.

Often at risk and without the safety net of personal privilege or institutional support, Petra Fellows fight poverty, discrimination, environmental degradation and violence.

Ceremonies to honors those "who are making distinctive contributions to rights, autonomy and dignity of others" will take place Friday Evening, November 16 at The National Press Club in Washington DC.

A cocktail reception will be followed by the awards program and dinner.

Keynote speaker will be public interest attorney Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and also Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law.

In addition to Tofteland the 2007 Petra Fellows are:

Devin Burghart, director of the Center for New Community's Building Democracy which "Initiative, tracks and unmasks white supremacists in all their disguises and counters messages of hate, bigotry, intimidation and violence through research, community organizing, education and training."

Tyrone C. Parker, co-founder and executive director of the Alliance of Concerned Men, "mediates disputes among young people at risk in high-crime areas of greater Washington, DC, and works to expand opportunities for them and their families."

Previous winners have included; Documentary film maker Hava Beller, researcher and writer Leonard Zeskind and Aaron Zimmerman, founding director of the New York Writers Coalition.

Petra Tölle Shattuck was born in Saarbrucken, Germany, during World War II. As a teenager, she ventured to make a new life for herself in the United States. Beginning as an au pair for a family in Connecticut, she won scholarships and went on to earn a B.A. from Pomona College in 1964 and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1972.

While working on her doctorate, Petra taught politics and civil liberties at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. Among her students were many recent immigrants. Most were the first in their families to attend college. A dedicated mentor, Petra persuaded many struggling students to stay the course and get advanced degrees. She especially enjoyed teaching policemen and street kids together in the squad room of a Harlem police station, where she used constitutional debates not just to raise fundamental issues of law and justice, but also to inspire mutual understanding.

During the anti-war protests of the 1960s, she met and married John Shattuck, who began his career as an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, first in New York City and later in Washington, D.C. While raising her family, Petra continued teaching and became a respected scholar on a wide range of subjects, including comparative criminal justice, the rights of Native Americans and the regulation of nuclear power plants. But Petra was not content just to write about human rights. Convinced that the law was a tool she needed to enable the disenfranchised to control their own destiny, she enrolled at Georgetown Law School and went on to get her law degree from Boston University, where she was an editor of the law review and taught at the Harvard Extension School.

After clerking for federal Judge Douglas Woodlock, she joined the Boston law firm of Palmer & Dodge. Shortly thereafter, in March 1988, Petra Shattuck was struck down by a cerebral hemorrhage. She was only 46. In their grief at Petra’s passing, her family and friends decided to create a foundation that would recognize and support the kind of people Petra admired most – unsung heroes who, with few resources beyond their own strength, compassion and commitment, champion equality, fight for social justice and defend the rights of individuals and groups in communities across America.


is working with the National Park Service and the EPA to upgrade their recycling program at The Barns, the Filene Center, and the Center for Education. Wolf Trap invites everyone to celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15 by taking the pledge to lead by example.

"Music, dance, theater and the visual arts cannot magically reverse the environmental degradation or enact policy change. But what the arts can do is inspire... our collective creativity serves as a gateway to understanding the essence of the natural world, and in turn our understanding of one another," said Wolf Trap President and CEO Terrence Jones who was joined by Mike Love of the Beach Boys to announce the initiative.


TOMMY LASORDA IN CONVERSATION WITH BOB COSTAS Tommy Lasorda, one of the most successful managers in baseball history, discusses his love for the game and his memoir (written with Bill Plaschke), Live For This: Baseball’s Last True Believer. Bob Costas has anchored football, basketball and Olympics coverage for NBC. He is an 11-time Emmy winner and an eight-time National Sportscaster of the Year. Tuesday, November 13 at the Kaufmann Concert Hall in NYC.

BACK IN CIRCULATION: A LOU GRANT REUNION Remember when newspaper scribes, bathed in the glow of Woodward and Bernstein, were lionized like Arthurian knights? Relive those glory days. The cast and creative team of this seminal 1970s–80s drama series, built around Edward Asner's iconic portrayal of Mary Richard's erstwhile boss, the gruff but cuddly Lou Grant reunites for a discussion.

In Person: Edward Asner, "Lou Grant"; Robert Walden, "Joe Rossi"; Daryl Anderson, "Dennis 'Animal' Price"; Jack Bannon, "Art Donovan.

Friday, November 16, at The Paley Center in Los Angeles.


STORIES ON FIVE STORIES: DREAMSTATE a fundraiser benefiting Playwrights Horizons in NYC. Featuring performances by Brian Dennehy, Jessica Hecht, Clea Lewis, Kellie Overbey, Jeremy Shamos, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

Come wind your way through the Playwrights Horizons complex where seven writers create four plays in spaces on three floors.

In our fifth floor rehearsal rooms: Billy Aronson's play Bottom's Dream, in which we see an actor's fantasy when he wakes up in his dressing room to the adoration of a star-struck fan; and Wendy MacLeod's Night Terrors rips open the artist's mind, exploring the hilarious neuroses that keep a playwright up at night.

Journey down to the fourth floor, where playwrights Kira Obolensky and Quincy Long team up in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater to transport us to a "lucid dreaming center," where our heroine struggles to dream herself out of a problem.

And finally, downstairs on the mainstage, see the result of a unique collaboration between three writers. The Summer People, co-written by Keith Bunin, David Cale and Julia Cho, takes us even deeper into our dreamstate, exposing a family's memories, hopes, and regrets as they collide on a beautiful summer day by the lake.

The evening culminates in a festive reception with many of the actors and writers. Fascinating, memorable and maybe just a little surreal. Monday, November 19.

THE OLD VIC 24 HOUR PLAY GALA will see Christian Slater, Fiona Shaw and Ronnie Corbett take up the challenge of creating and presenting six plays in 24 hours to raise money for the Old Vic.

Joining the trio are Stephen Mangan, Sam West, Stephen Campbell Moore, Ralf Little and Sharon Small as well as comedians Ronni Ancona and Rob Brydon. Kwame Kwei-Armah returns as an actor for this year’s event, which culminates in a gala performance to be hosted by Corbett on November 11.

Wilson Milam, who is currently directing Slater in Swimming With Sharks at the Vaudeville Theatre, will take part alongside directors Josie Rourke, Anna Mackmin and Matt Wilde. Writers involved include Frozen author Bryony Lavery, Nina and Moses Raine and Laura Wade.

Starting last night the writers, actors and directors - this year including Greta Scacchi, Clare Higgins, Patricia Hodge, Dominic West, Simon Farquhar, Sally Wainwright, Colin Teevan, and Nikolai Foster - gathered in the rehearsal room where they were given 24 hours in which to create, rehearse and perform six short plays from scratch.

The annual event raises money for the Old Vic’s New Voices which discovers and develops new artistic talent in theatre. More than 3,000 actors, writers and directors aged 18 to 25 are currently in the New Voices network. They were involved in 45 shows of their own at last year's Edinburgh Festival, and another 70 productions around the country used them.

Previous participants include Vince Vaughn, James Nesbit, Jim Broadbent and Brooke Shields.

Kevin Spacey, the Old Vic's artistic director, said: "If you've done well in the business you wanted to do well in - and I've done better than I ever hoped - then you should spend an awful lot of time and effort sending the elevator back down."

TRU LOVE BENEFIT a fundraiser for Theater Resources Unlimited will this year honor producer Cheryl Wiesenfeld. During the evening the winner of the 2007 Howard L. Blau Award will be chosen from the three musicals that have been selected for this year's 7th Annual TRU Voices series which takes place Monday evenings in December: the 3rd, 10th and 17th at the Players Theatre.

This year's shows are the classic children's fantasy At the Back of the North Wind by Jeffrey Haddow and Tom Tierney, produced by Pat Addiss; Opa!, a Greek comedy romance, by Mari Carras, produced by the team of Jane Dubin and Meredith Lucio, who are currently in the TRU Producer Mentorship program; and the showbiz satire Saratoga Trunk Songs by David Arthur, produced by Dennis Grimaldi.

Entertainment will include Montego Glover singing a song from Saint Heaven, a new musical that originated in the TRU Voices Musicals Series, produced by Van Hill Entertainment under the mentorship of honoree Cheryl Wiesenfeld. Danai Gurira joins co-star Nikkole Salter to recreate moments from their acclaimed play, In the Continuum. Also participating will be Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, Mia Dillon, Keir Dullea, Jessica Blank, Laura Marie Duncan and an appearance from Tony winner and 2007 Emmy Award winner Elaine Stritch (pending availability).

The benefit will raise money to support TRU's programs, including the upcoming TRU Voices New Musicals Series and the Spring New Plays Reading Series, in which TRU offers producers an opportunity to do a developmental reading of a new work. Sunday, November 11, at Sardi's in NYC.


BROADWAY STRIKE means curtain down for all Broadway shows except for eight: Cymbeline, Mary Poppins, Mauritius, Pygmalion, The Ritz, Young Frankenstein, Xanadu and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Those shows are playing produced by non-profit organizations or are in theaters owned by non-League members which have a separate contract with the union.

Stagehands walked off the job at 11 o'clock on Saturday, November 10. The first show to be affected was the matinee performance of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which had an 11 a.m. start time. Pickets were setting up a line outside the St. James Theatre, where Grinch is playing, an hour ahead of the called strike time.

The stagehands union, Local One, says it made a last attempt at negotiations with the League of American Theatres and Producers, but could not reach an agreement.

The major sticking point has been the number of stagehands required to work each show. The League wants for more flexibility in terms of hiring them. But the union says it will not give up job protection.

The League of American Theatres and Producers says that ticket holders can exchange their tickets or receive a full refund.

The strike is expected to have an economic impact of $17 million per day in direct and indirect costs.

In March 2003, more than a dozen Broadway shows went dark after musicians went on a four-day strike.

THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN THEATERS AND PRODUCERS released its 2006-7 demographic report last Monday. Compiled from date collected from surveys at 23 productions at 72 individual performance times from June 2006-June 2007, with 10,800 questionnaires distributed and 5,109 returned.

The results: Tourists bought 65 percent of the 12.3 million tickets that were purchased for Broadway shows last season, up from 57 percent last year. Almost 2 million of the 12 million Broadway ticket buyers were foreigners, up more than 44 percent from last year and an all-time high. The number of ticket buyers from New York was at its lowest in seven seasons; the number of those from the New York suburbs declined for the eighth season. 26 percent of theatergoers were not white, a 56 percent increase from five years ago. The average age of the Broadway theatergoer was 41.2. Those under the age of 18 bought 1.42 million tickets, a 23 percent increase from the previous year. The average household income was $98,900, a slight decrease from last year’s report.

The League of American Theatres and Producers is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. Our members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers in New York and more than 240 other North American cities, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the theatre industry.

by Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff.

It’s 1929. Two ambitious visionaries race against each other to invent a device called “television.” Separated by two thousand miles, each knows that if he stops working, even for a moment, the other will gain the edge. Who will unlock the key to the greatest innovation of the 20th century: the ruthless media mogul, or the self-taught Idaho farm boy?

Tony nominee Hank Azaria and newcomer Jimmi Simpson head the cast - as Sarnoff and Farnsworth, respectively. The cast also features Michael Mulheren, William Youmans and Steve Rosen.

The ensemble includes Nadia Bowers, Kyle Fabel, Maurice Godin, Bruce McKenzie, Spencer Moses, Jim Ortlieb, Michael Pemberton, Katharine Powell, James Sutorius, Alexandra Wilson, Adam Grupper, Christian McCarthy Johansen, Aaron Krohn, Kate MacCluggage, Malcolm Morano, Javier Picayo and Margot White.

The Farnsworth Invention debuted at La Jolla Playhouse in a Page To Stage workshop production, running February 20, 2007 through March 25, 2007. Depending upon the strike, the production officially is set to open on November 14 at the Music Box Theatre in NYC.

MRS. BOB CRATCHIT'S WILD CHRISTMAS BINGE by Christopher Durang. Song lyrics by Christopher Durang and Music by Michael Friedman.

What if Scrooge was visited by a Ghost of Christmas who couldn't keep her magic from malfunctioning? What if Mrs. Bob Cratchit actually despised her life? How would a humbug cope if planted in The Gift of the Magi, It’s a Wonderful Life or Touched by an Angel? Brace yourself for holiday hilarity that is certain to surprise, and will make you wonder how much rum is in your eggnog.

Jo Twiss plays the title role in this brash Holiday alternative.

November 13 to December 2 at the Bristol Riverside Theatre in Bristol, PA.

TALES FROM THE VIENNA WOODS By Ödön von Horvath in a new translation by Tom Wright.

Directed by Jean-Pierre Mignon.

The people are happy – there’s great music, fine views, rich wine, wild nightclubs, horse racing, good swimming, games, romance.

And - a sense of disquiet in the air.

It’s 1931 and central Europe confronts a new political force – persuasive idealism, handsome patriotism and promises of an unfettered homeland. But there’s not much bite to it out here in the Danube valley west of Vienna, with its sharp hills, quaint baroque villages, strains of sentimental Strauss waltzes and timeless beauty.

For charming gambler Alfred and dreamy young toyshop girl Marianne, politics couldn’t be further away. Marianne, engaged to the local butcher, wonders about real love; while Alfred, always on the lookout for the next best thing, horse or lady, sweeps Marianne off her feet – and ruins her life.

Von Horváth’s classic play is a bitter-sweet meditation on the complexities of confronting the future. Precise, modern and sharp as a tack, this is a play that gently creates a busy, seductive world, a world very like our own, laces it with tiny barbs, and then lets it spiral out of control. The Actors Company performs in one of the greatest, most prescient plays of the twentieth century.

With the STC Actors Company; Martin Blum, Brandon Burke, Paul Capsis, Marta Dusseldorp, Eden Falk, John Gaden, Steve Le Marquand, Deborah Mailman, Hayley McElhinney, Amber McMahon, Robert Menzies, Luke Mullins and Pamela Rabe

At the Drama Theatre Sydney Opera House with previews beginning November 13. The official opening in November 19 with performance running through December 15. Sydney, Australia.

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a celebration of living in the moment, following your heart and cherishing the embrace of a loving family.

This production opens the Los Angeles based Rubicon Theatre Company's 10th Anniversary Season on November. 17.

In keeping with the family theme of the play, the production’s artistic team features many members of Rubicon’s extended family. Artistic Associate Jenny Sullivan directs.

The cast is largely composed of Rubicon regulars, including Joseph Fuqua and Leonard Kelly Young, Stephanie Zimbalist, Robin Pearson Rose and Sonia Sanz, Chris Butler and Dan Gunther, Jamie Torcelliniand Paul Ainsley.

The production is also a family affair for several other cast members. Robin Gammell performs for the first time with his daughter Winslow Corbett, a recent graduate of SUNY Purchase who has appeared off-Broadway and in the National Tour of The Graduate. And Zack Neeley - son of actor Ted Neeley, who appeared in Rubicon’s first production - makes his professional stage debut in the production.

Written at the height of the Depression, You Can't Taker It With You poses a cheerful challenge to the American work ethic, suggesting that life is far too short to spend any of it obsessing about money or possessions. Its popularity has never waned in the seven decades since its creation.

The play opened on Broadway in December 1936, and went on to have an 837-performance run and to win the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Soon thereafter, it was adapted into a Hollywood movie, directed by Frank Capra and starring Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore and James Stewart. The film won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director.

The play of You Can't Take It With You takes place in the New York City home of Martin Vanderhof, patriarch of a large, loving and decidedly eccentric family. Martin dropped out of the business world 35 years earlier to pursue his own idiosyncratic interests, which include hunting snakes and listening to commencement addresses.

Following his example, his children and grandchildren are all exploring their own peculiar passions. Daughter Penny writes melodramatic plays, while her husband Paul Sycamore manufactures fireworks in the basement with the assistance of Mr. De Pinna, who arrived at the house one day to deliver ice and never left.

Penny and Paul’s daughter Essie makes candy but dreams of being a ballerina, in spite of her lack of grace or talent. She studies dance with Russian refugee Boris Kolenkhov. Essie’s xylophone-playing husband Ed is an amateur printer who typesets any string of words he finds pleasing, including political slogans he does not entirely understand.

The only conventional member of the family is Essie’s sister Alice, who works as a secretary at a Wall Street firm and has fallen in love with Tony Kirby, the boss’s son. The play’s comical clash of cultures commences when Tony brings his straight-laced parents to the Vanderhof-Sycamore household for dinner.

Set Design by Gary Wissman. Sound Designer is David Beaudry. Lighting Design by Thomas S. Giamaro and Shon LeBlanc.

Previews begin Thursday, November 15, with the official opening on Saturday, November 17 continuing through December 23. Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, CA.

ACTS OF LOVE by Kathryn Chetkovich. Directed by Marc Geller and stars Andrew Dawson, Andrew Rein, Abby Royle and Diane Tyler.

Acts of Love is a contemporary play about the things we never get over, the things we do for love and the damage we do to others in the process. Rob brings his new girlfriend home to meet his parents, Ed and Sheila who have been happily married for 20 years. Now, the door the family has managed to keep closed for 20 years is finally forced open.

The set design is by Aaron Mastin; costumes by Dennis Ballard; lighting by Frank DenDanto III and original music by Daniel T. Denver.

Officially opened on November 6 off-Broadway at the Kirk Theatre in NYC.

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS Directed By: Jim Corti. A musical filled with bounce and charm. The story of this wonderful family will warm your heart, tickle your funny bone. Through December 16 at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbook, IL.

WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Jim Steinman.

Based on the original novel by Mary Hayley Bell and the film produced by Richard Attenborough and directed by Bryan Forbes from a screenplay by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall With book by Patricia Knop, Gale Edwards and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Direct from London - Whistle Down the Wind is an uplifting musical about a young Louisiana girl who finds a mysterious stranger and hides him from the townspeople, who are determined to find the escaped felon.

The US premiere production partners renowned rock lyricist Jim Steinman and Andrew Lloyd Webber to create a score inspired by the sounds of the American South – blues, gospel, country and rock 'n' roll.

Directed and produced by Bill Kenwright, Whistle Down the Wind features award-winning songs including the Boyzone smash hit No Matter What.

November 13 - December 2 at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA.

written and directed Conor McPherson.

Starring Conleth Hill, Ciarán Hinds, Sean Mahon, David Morse, and Jim Norton.

It's Christmas Eve and Sharky (Morse) has returned to Dublin to look after his irascible, aging brother (Norton) who's recently gone blind. Old drinking buddies Ivan (Hill) and Nicky (Mahon) are holed up at the house too, hoping to play some cards. But with the arrival of a stranger (Hinds) from the distant past, the stakes are raised ever higher. In fact, Sharky may be playing for his very soul.

The creative team includes: Rae Smith (set and costume design), Neil Austin (lighting design), and Mathew Smethurst-Evans (sound design).

The Seafarer is the latest National Theatre production to be produced on Broadway.

Pending the strike situation, the production is officially set to open on Thursday, November 15 at the Booth Theatre in NYC.


CHRIS THOMAS KING is a New Orleans Grammy Award-winning musician and actor who is initially known for his audacious fusion of blues and hip-hop. King reached a whole new audience with his film debut as Tommy Johnson in the Coen Brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, not only appearing on the award-winning soundtrack, but establishing himself as a serious dramatic actor as well. He also appeared in the Academy Award nominated movie, Ray, playing bandleader Lowell Fulson. He performs Friday, November 16, at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux Falls, SD.

CAETANO VELOSO the Grammy-winner was a founder of Brazil’s genre-crossing Tropicália movement in the ’60s. He continues to blend new styles in the 21st century. You can enjoy the performance Wednesday, November 14 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, CA.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN wraps up a two night stand Monday, November 12, at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. On Wednesday he'll be delighting his fans at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. Thursday finds the E-Street gang at Times Union Center in Albany, NY. Next Sunday they can be enjoyed at the TD Banknorth Garde in Boston.

BILLY JOEL brings his distinctive sounds to the MGM-Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday, November 17.

OZZY OSBOURNE who is really ticked off about the Cass County, ND sheriff staging a sting operation in the rocker's name without his permission, takes to the stage Wednesday, November 14, at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, OR. On Friday he'll be all over the stage at Stockton Arena in Stockton, CA. Next Sunday the show is at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA.

VAN HALEN stops at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Tuesday, November 13.

THE POLICE on stage Monday, November 12 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, QC. On Wednesday the show is at The Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. They are in the spotlight Saturday, November 17, at Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA.

TRANS-SYBERIAN ORCHESTRAS have two orchestras. Depending upon your location you can enjoy their music on Wednesday, November 14 one group opens a two night stand at the Ervin J. Nutter Center in Dayton, OH, while the other division has a one nighter at the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, TX. On Friday they perform at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, IN and the UTEP Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX. On Saturday the performances are at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY and the US Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ. Next Sunday they can be enjoyed at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.

STEVIE WONDER on stage Monday, November 12 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON. On Wednesday he opens a split two night gig at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT with the second night taking place on Friday. On Saturday he entertains at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA get the beat going Saturday, November 17, at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY. On Sunday, November 18, the show is at the State Theatre in Easton, PA.

HANNAH MONTANA/MILEY CYRUS bring the Best Of Both Worlds tour to the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX on Monday, November 12. On Wednesday the show is at the Convention Center in Fort Worth, TX. Thursday they production is on stage at the Century Tel Center in Bossier City, LA.

CHARLES COCHRAN presents his A Song That Keeps Saying, Remember program. Cochran’s intros include tales of growing up in New York; working with and knowing singers such as Anita O’Day, Judy Garland and Nina Simone; living in Hollywood for many years; the ups and downs of life, and performing as a nightclub and recording artist for fifty years. He will be joined at The Metropolitan Room by Steve Doyle on bass and David Silliman on drums. November 14th, 21st, 28th, and December 5th The Metropolitan Room, NYC.


NORMAN MAILER the renowned outspoken author, critic and journalist died Saturday, November 10, at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York of renal failure. He was 84.

The best seller author had 39 published titles. He twice won the Pulitzer Prize: for The Armies of the Night (1968), which also won the National Book Award, and The Executioner’s Song (1979).

His first book was The Naked and the Dead, about a 13-man platoon fighting the Japanese on a Pacific atoll. It was published in the spring of 1948.

Mailer was married six times. He is survived by five daughters, three sons, a stepson and ten grandchildren.

Next Column: November 18, 2007
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Laura Deni