Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: November 12, 2017
By: Laura Deni


The stock market is at an all time high. Income tax rules are changing and new fiduciary rules must be implemented by January 1, 2018.

Junk, referring to the financial term junk bonds, is the new Broadway play penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ayad Akhtar and ably directed by Doug Hughes. Set over 30 years ago; today it is a relevant, a cautionary tale.

I found the play riveting, ensnaring and - Las Vegas historical.

Junk is about the sacred three B's of big money: boardroom - bedroom - backroom.

The official description: "It’s 1985. Robert Merkin, the resident genius of the upstart investment firm Sacker Lowell has just landed on the cover of Time Magazine. Hailed as "America's Alchemist," his proclamation that "debt is an asset" has propelled him to dizzying heights. Zealously promoting his belief in the near-sacred infallibility of markets, he is trying to re-shape the world.

"Junk is the story of Merkin's assault on American capitalism's holy of holies, the “deal of the decade,” his attempt to takeover an iconic American manufacturing company and, in the process, to change all the rules. What Merkin sets in motion is nothing less than a financial civil war, pitting magnates against workers, lawyers against journalists, and ultimately, pitting every one against themselves.

"Set over thirty years ago, this is a play about how, while most of us weren't watching, money became the only thing of real value."

Junk is really an ensemble piece, composed of an strong cast of 23: Ito Aghayere, Phillip James Brannon, Tony Carlin, Demosthenes Chrysan, Jenelle Chu, Caroline Hewitt, Rick Holmes, Ted Koch, Ian Lassiter, Teresa Avia Lim, Adam Ludwig, Sean McIntyre, Nate Miller, Steven Pasquale, Ethan Phillips, Matthew Rauch, Matthew Saldivar, Charlie Semine, Michael Siberry, Miriam Silverman, Joey Slotnick, Henry Stram and Stephanie Umoh.

Disclaimers are made that none of the characters in Junk are based on real-life people, that the play is fiction suggested by “events in historical public record.” That's to keep the lawyers happy.

The place is based upon Michael Milken whose junk bonds made the building of the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas possible - opening up a new era of mega resort growth.

The Drexel Burnham Lambert junk-bond king, Michael Milken invented the modern high-yield bonds (junk bonds; was indicted for racketeering and securities fraud in 1989 in an insider trading investigation.

Steven Pasquale plays Robert Merkin in Junk. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
Milken was brought to the ropes by an aggressive U.S. Attorney named Rudy Giuliani who was running for mayor of New York City with a “tough on crime” campaign. In the play he's called Giuseppe Addesso and played by Charlie Semine.

On April 24, 1990, Milken pleaded guilty to six counts of securities and tax violations. Three of them involved dealings with infamous stock trader Ivan Boesky (a character type portrayed in Junk by Joey Slotnick), to conceal the real owner of a stock. As the result of a plea bargain, he pleaded guilty to securities and reporting violations but not to racketeering or insider trading.

According to records, as part of his plea, Milken agreed to pay $200 million in fines. At the same time, he agreed to a settlement with the SEC in which he paid $400 million to investors who had been hurt by his actions. He also accepted a lifetime ban from any involvement in the securities industry. In a related civil lawsuit against Drexel he agreed to pay $500 million to Drexel's investors. In total this means that he paid $1.1 billion for all lawsuits related to his actions while working at Drexel.

Milken was sentenced to ten years in prison, fined $600 million, and permanently barred from the securities industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission. His sentence was later reduced to two years for cooperating with testimony against his former colleagues and for good behavior.

His critics dubbed him as the epitome of Wall Street greed during the 1980s, and nicknamed him the "Junk Bond King".

Milken's compensation, while head of the high-yield bond department at Drexel Burnham Lambert, surpassed $1 billion in a four-year period, a new record for U.S. income at that time.

When he went off to prison his biggest concern seemed to be that he wouldn't be permitted to wear his toupee.

Following his prison release he became widely respected for his charitable giving.

Matthew Rauch and Steven Pasquale in Junk. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
Junk designer John Beatty uses a massive cage divided into 10 smaller cages (Prison cells? Office cubicles? A chess board?). Ben Stanton’s laser-beam lighting is power lighting for the corporate elite.

Their on stage habitat sends multiple messages, permitting the financial experts to remain self absorbed within their own protective spaces, as well as baring the realities of the real world from encroaching into their livelihood. Or, are they prisoners of their own greed? Is a labyrinthine spreadsheet crystal clear or does it blur corruption? Those individual spaces all encased in gold.

The participants walk and march, almost in robotic movement, towards the altar of wealth worship.

The only thing larger than net worth is their ego. They need fulsome flattery.

They also need sex. From boardroom to bedroom is the norm.

Serous money is an aphrodisiac.

Joey Slotnick (center) is a trader who practices arbitrage and suffers the consequences. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.
Laughter is heard when Merkin and his colleagues speculate that there will one day be a “Dow 20,000,” a milestone that was hit on Wednesday, January 25, 2017.

Akhtar has done his research. Some of the characters don't display the characteristics some might assume would be evidence in these money-is-all-that-matters guys. They can be likable. Con men are always charming and likeable. They are also always brilliant with a hidden sub-texture of needing closure or retaliation about something. They are bitter, resentful, and angry and use acquiring money as a way to get even. They develop a sense of entitlement.

Robert Merkin (based on Milkin) portrayed by Pasquale presents his character as a handsome, self-assurance, but rather dull type of guy. In real life when Milkin was sentenced to prison his big concern was that he wasn't going to be permitted to wear his toupee.

At that time, in real life, Milkin's public persona was low key. He didn't attempt to draw attention to himself - especially if that attention came from the government in the form of then U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Merkin is the undeniable investment genius who has reveled in seeing his face on the cover of Time. Hailed as "America's Alchemist," his mantra is that "debt is an asset."

As might be expected Merkin, who has no problem lying to investors, also has no problem lying to his financially astute wife played by Miriam Silverman.

Investors started chasing yield and created a new vocabulary. One clever scene involves a pair of lawyers - one sneaky and the other a rough edged neophyte in Merkin's firm, portrayed by Matthew Rauch and Matthew Saldivar who attempt, with some difficulty, to learn and grasp the new insider financial jargon.

As the play opens, Merkin is devising a plan to take over by proxy Everson Steel, a three generational Allegheny, Pennsylvania company, which is in distress. The foundry is no longer profitable. However, an ancillary business in pharmaceuticals is a money maker.

Merkin wants it, remarking: “Everson Steel is a great company, as long as you take away the steel part.”

Journalist Judy Chen (Teresa Avia Lim) is seduced into sex by the wealth of Leo Tesler (Michael Siberry.) Photo: T. Charles Erickson.
By corporation standards, the company is small, run by its third-generation chairman, Thomas Everson, Jr., (a solid Rick Holmes) who plays by the rules of his previous generation, including cooking the books to hide the mills' financial woes. Everson now becomes desperate to raise enough money to resist a takeover and maintain control of the family firm. Enter the excellent Joey Slotnick as Merkin's confident - think Ivan Boesky. He's also a traitor.

Excellent performances by Ito Aghayere as a manipulative lawyer and Michael Siberry and Ethan Phillips as investors.

Merkin's game plan involves driving up the stock prices and borrowing money to buy them using the company’s own cash flow as collateral. Then the healthiest parts of the company are sold at a profit.

Not part of Merkin's consideration - that hundreds of workers will be unemployed.

Michael Siberry is impressive as Leo Tresler, a white-shoe, private-equity guy of the old school who is totally out of step thinking he can fit in to the world of new debt financing and still maintain his integrity, which also happens to be anti-Semitic. He has a certain bluster that doesn't meld with the Brooks Brothers suited co-workers. What he does meld with is Judy Chen (slick and believable Teresa Avia Lim) a crusading financial reporter who ends up being corrupted by those she is out to expose. In the opening she introduces the characters and provides the play’s foundation. “When did money become the thing - the only thing? This is a story of kings. Or what passes for kings these days.”

Eventually, Chen is seduced by the smell of money. Chen and Tresler, who is old enough to be her father or grandfather, have an affair.

She achieves a "powerful orgasm" by merely thinking of her elderly lover’s financial power.

Merkin is brought down thanks to the unflagging determination of Giuseppe Addesso (Charlie Semine), an aggressive U.S. Attorney who’s running for mayor of New York City with a “tough on crime” campaign.

In the end Merkin is seen in prison, plotting his next financial empire. Again, there is rueful laughter as Merkin, in the prison yard, is discussing a plan: Selling low income people mortgages - at subprime rates.

Costumes by Catherine Zuber; original music, Mark Bennett; projections, 59 Productions; production manager, Paul Smithyman; production stage manager, Charles Means.

This play received its world premiere August 20, 2016 at La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, CA. Performances at Lincoln Center - Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York City through January 7, 2018.

Broadway To Vegas is supported through advertising and donations. Priority consideration is given to interview suggestions, news, press releases, etc from paid supporters. However, no paid supporters control, alter, edit, or in any way manipulate the content of this site. Your donation is appreciated. We accept PAYPAL.
Thank you for your interest.


Downton Abbey Exhibit's version of Mrs. Patmore's Kitchen. Photo: Downton Abbey Exhibition.
The first-ever fully immersive Downton Abbey experience is coming stateside! Downton Abbey: The Exhibition will make its US debut in New York City on Saturday November 18, at 218 West 57th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue. Following The Big Apple stay the exhibition will travel throughout America.

The Exhibition will connect fans with their favorite characters, costumes, locations and historic events of the era, as well as showcase never-before-seen footage.

Downton Abbey Exhibit's version of the Crawley dining room. Photo: Downton Abbey Exhibition.
Visitors will be transported on what promises to be an incredible journey through the grand home of Downton Abbey as the exhibition peers into the world of the Crawleys and those that served them below stairs. From Mrs. Patmore’s hectic kitchen and the gossip-fuelled servants’ quarters, to the family’s glamorous dining room and Lady Mary’s bedroom, fans will get the chance to walk through some of the series’ most recognizable and beloved sets from the show's sex season run.

Visitors will even come up-close to over 50 of the show’s official costumes worn by their favorite actors including Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville and Dame Maggie Smith.

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition will also provide a fascinating look at all aspects of the post-Edwardian period in which Carnival Films’ popular TV series is set and offer an in-depth insight into the remarkable historic events which would go on to shape the world. From World War I to the Roaring Twenties, visitors will have the chance to learn about British society, culture and fashion.

You may bring your camera, but video recording isn't allowed.

CHASING TRANE: JOHN COLTRANE'S MUSICAL JOURNEY TRANSCENDED celebrates the music of Grammy-winning saxophone great John Coltrane through rare performance footage and audio recordings from Coltrane's Japanese tour in 1966, handwritten manuscripts, instruments, and other artifacts.

"John Coltrane is a towering figure in the history of music. We are thrilled to honor his creative legacy in conjunction with John Scheinfeld's superb documentary," said Grammy Museum Executive Director Scott Goldman referring to the November 17 home video and soundtrack release for John Scheinfeld's acclaimed feature documentary via UMe.

"We are excited to share the story of John Coltrane's remarkable career, specifically the years 1965 to 1967," added Grammy Museum Curator Nwaka Onwusa. "As Coltrane's career progressed during these final years, his music took on an increasingly revolutionary dimension. This exhibit will highlight that special time in his life."

On the night of the opening, November 17, 2017, the Grammy Museum will host a screening of Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary in the Clive Davis Theater, followed by a conversation with Scheinfeld moderated by Goldman.

The exhibit will be on display through September, 2018 in the Mike Curb Gallery of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

Poster Girls: Derby Day, by Herry Perry, 1928. Photo: London Transport Museum
A century of art and design. This powerful new exhibition shines a spotlight on 20th and 21st century female graphic designers and reveals the contribution they have made to poster design over the last one hundred years.

With over 150 posters and original artworks on display, this exhibition attempts to recognize some of these forgotten design heroines and reveal the hidden stories behind their work.

Poster Girls a century of art and design features some of the leading female artists who have worked for London Transport and Transport for London including well-known designers, such as Mabel Lucie Attwell, Laura Knight, Enid Marx, Zandra Rhodes, Dora Batty, Margaret Calkin James, Herry Perry and Freda Lingstrom; alongside letters, books, ceramics and photographs.

The works on display show a dazzling spectrum of artistic styles and mediums; modernist, figurative, flat color, boldly patterned, abstract, collage and oil.

Starting in the early 1900s the exhibition takes a broadly chronological approach, moving through the decades to contemporary times, unearthing how each era influenced the artists’ stylistic approach and highlighting the role played by London Transport in commissioning female talent.

On exhibit at the London Transport Museum until January 1, 2019..

London Transport Museum explores the story of London and its transport system over the last 200 years, highlighting the powerful link between transport and the growth of modern London, culture and society since 1800. The museum cares for over 450,000 items - preserving, researching and acquiring objects to use in our galleries, exhibitions and other activities.


2017 LATIN RECORDING ACADEMY PERSON OF THE YEAR GALA will honor 18-time Latin Grammy and three-time Grammy winner, Alejandro Sanz for his artistry and substantial philanthropic contributions to organizations such as, Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and Greenpeace, among others. It will be held at a sold-out gala on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The event precedes the 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards, airing Thursday, November 16, live on Univision from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Artists scheduled to perform includes, David Bisbal, Camila Cabello, Santiago Cruz, Alejandro Fernández, Luis Fonsi, Juan Luis Guerra, Jesse & Joy, Juanes, Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade, Gian Marco, Manuel Fernández Montoya "El Carpeta", Niña Pastori, Residente, Rosalía, and Jimmy Zambrano among others.

The net proceeds from the gala will go towards supporting the charitable work of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation whose mission is to further international awareness and appreciation of the significant contributions of Latin music and its makers to the world’s culture through scholarships, fellowships, grants, and educational programs.

The Latin Person of the Year award is bestowed upon musicians as recognition of their artistic achievements in the music industry, and for their commitment to philanthropy. Past honorees include Marc Anthony, Miguel Bosé, Roberto Carlos, Plácido Domingo, Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, Vicente Fernández, Juan Gabriel, Gilberto Gil, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, José José, Carlos Santana, Joan Manuel Serrat, Shakira, Ricky Martin, and Caetano Veloso.

Three-time Grammy and nine-time Latin Grammy winner Rafa Sardina will be the executive producer of the Latin Person of the Year Gala.

STARS & SHAKESPEARE celebrity guests join company members from Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum to read and perform selected scenes and monologues from Shakespeare’s plays to benefit the artistic ad educational programming at Theatricum.

Step into a world of Elizabethan delights with costumed characters, madrigal singers, festive libations and Shakespearean nibbles, and a silent auction featuring exclusive gifts, getaways and VIP experiences.

Scheduled to appear: Peri Gilpin, Peter Jason, Stacy Keach, Dan Lauria, John Savage, Steven Weber and more, plus hosts Edward Asner and Wendie Malick.

November 18, 2017 at The Mountain Mermaid in Topanga, CA.

THE ELTON JOHN AIDS FOUNDATION (EJAF) raised more than $4.4 million at its 2017 annual New York Fall Gala which took place Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

The star-studded evening was held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris hosted the event.

The special event commemorated the Foundation’s 25th year since it was established by Sir Elton John in the fall of 1992, and the evening’s program was devoted to honoring Elton for his leadership, commitment, and enduring vision as the Founder and driving force of EJAF.

Throughout the evening, President Bill Clinton, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker offered personal remarks in tribute to Elton’s leadership and the remarkable achievements of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell and Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical theatre star Heather Headley from the original cast of Broadway’s The Lion King offered musical accolades. Jeanne White-Ginder, the mother of teenage AIDS activist, the late Ryan White, also paid tribute to Elton and presented the Foundation’s special 25th year Enduring Vision Award to him. The evening closed with a special concert performance by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

THE LEADING LADIES OF ENTERTAINMENT which will recognize women excelling in the arts and sciences, and who have made indelible impressions and contributions to the Latin entertainment industry will be celebrated by The Latin Recording Academy in a ceremony at Mastro’s Ocean Club in the Crystal Mall on Tuesday, November 14 in Las Vegas.

The event will precede the 18th Annual Latin Grammy, which will be broadcast live on the Univision Network from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday November 16.

2017 Leading Ladies Inaugural Class Recipients Include:

Marcella Araica, Recording/Mixing Engineer, Vice President N.A.R.S Records/Dream Asylum Studios
Leila Cobo, Executive Director of Content & Programming for Latin Music & Entertainment, Billboard
Erika Ender, Singer/Songwriter, Composer, Producer, Television Personality
Rebeca Leon, CEO and Founder of Lionfish Entertainment
Gabriela Martinez, General Manager Warner Music Latina & SVP Marketing Warner Music Latin America
Jessica Rodriguez, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Univision Communications Inc.

"It is my pleasure to welcome this new event to Latin Grammy Week, where we will have another opportunity to celebrate talented and inspiring individuals," said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., Latin Recording Academy President/CEO. "Women face a myriad of difficulties in the entertainment industry, but despite those obstacles, the women we are honoring have continually demonstrated perseverance, fortitude, and grace under pressure."

The ceremony will be hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist and Univision co-anchor Pamela Silva-Conde. Attendees will include diverse and influential men and women from various fields.

Net proceeds from the event will go toward the charitable work of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation, whose mission is to further international awareness and appreciation of the significant contributions of Latin music and its makers to the world’s culture through scholarships, fellowships, grants, and educational programs.


In the left photo Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth on their honeymoon. The right photo was taken on their 60th wedding anniversary. On November 20th, they will celebrate their 70th. Photo: Royal Historical Photos.
On November 20, 2017 Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. It's not often that any couple reaches that milestone. It's even rarer when it's done under the glare of nonstop public scrutiny.

The Queen, 91, and Prince Philip, 96, who married in 1947, are the only British royal couple ever to reach their platinum wedding anniversary.

The couple has four children, eight grandchildren and is expecting their sixth great grandchild next Spring. They'll celebrate their platinum anniversary with a low key family celebration at Windsor Castle

The Royal Mint and Royal Mail have produced commemorative stamps and coins to mark the occasion.

Music is also a part of the official celebration.

Russian composer Olga Thomas has composed several classical scores for the royal family over the years to commemorate special events, including for the Westminster Abbey wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

Thomas handpicked Australian tenor and West End musical theatre star Daniel Koek and British cross-over soprano Joanna Forest to record the dramatic, classical piece Royal Platinum Love Song. They were backed by a 72-piece symphony orchestra.

Koek, 36, has been performing in London for 15 years. Most recently he starred as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. He made his American cabaret debut last July at Feinstein's/54Below in New York City.

Forest, 39, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 21. She is considered one of the youngest ever to suffer from the disease. Since making a full recovery, she has dedicated much of her time to charities. Her debut album, Stars Are Rising, recorded with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Arts Symphonic Orchestra, was released on March 10th, 2017, entering the charts at Number One, making her the first independent Classical Artist to get the Official Number One with a debut album. In April 2016, she began a bride herself, marrying James Selby in Oxfordshire, England.

Sales of the Royal Platinum Love Song single will raise money for the charity Cruse Bereavement Care, of which the Queen is patron.

The composer said she tried to create an epic, timeless piece to reflect the Queen and the Duke's marriage. "The Queen and Prince Philip's relationship is inspirational for me," Thomas is quoted as having said. "I love the idea of a traditional commitment, which seems to be less common these days."


who has been in Puerto Rico to support the island's recover from Hurricane Maria announced last Wednesday that he will reprise his role as Alexander Hamilton in the show, for three weeks, January 8-27, 2019, in Puerto Rico. The musical, which won 11 Tony awards, will be staged at Teatro UPR, on the campus of the University of Puerto Rico.

Miranda's announcement was first released through a statement in Spanish from the school's Twitter account.

Later from the stage of the stage of the Teatro UPR, which suffered damage from Hurricane Marina, Miranda and producer Jeffrey Seller made the official statement.

“Bringing [Hamilton] to Puerto Rico is a dream that I’ve had since we first opened at The Public Theater in 2015. When I last visited the island, a few weeks before Hurricane Maria, I had made a commitment to not only bring the show to Puerto Rico, but also return again to the title role. In the aftermath of Maria we decided to expedite the announcement of the project to send a bold message that Puerto Rico will recover and be back in business, stronger than ever.”

The theater, built in 1939, will require extensive restorations and repairs prior to Hamilton's 2019 engagement.

Mirand's parents were both born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York City..

Miranda also declared a partnership with the Hispanic Federation, with his intention of donating $2.5 million in grants for a variety of nonprofit projects focused on recovery following Hurricane Maria.

ART IN TUNE celebrates the 100th anniversary of the MFA in Boston’s Musical Instrument Collection - one of the oldest in the United States. On November 16 this milestone will be celebrated with an evening of special musical performances throughout the Museum, featuring over two dozen instruments from their world-renowned collection.

Hear music throughout the galleries, from the fanfare played on 19th-century trumpets greeting visitors on the Grand Staircase to a strolling accordionist, all played on musical instruments from the collection. Nine performances take place in galleries relating to the instruments, such as an Indian sarod (lute) played amid South Asian art, a 1936 electric violin in the American Modernism gallery as well as an 1899 Turkish oud in the Ancient Near East Roomy.

Musicians performing include: Nancy Hurrell - Peter H. Bloom and Olav Chris Henriksen - Brian Clague, Jayme Kurland, and Javier Caballero - , Mimi Rabson and Norman Zocher - George Ruckert and Jerry Leake - Kevin Zhen, Malcolm Barsamian, Beth Bahia Cohen and Vasileios Kostas - Peter Sykes - Cory Pesaturo - Chris Belluscio, Paul Perfetti, and Robin Pyle.

VISIONARIES is an afternoon of compelling stories from three creative visionaries who are charting new territory in design and the arts. This benefit luncheon spotlights three artistic vanguards, who bring into play visually stunning materials, pattern, color and conceptual design.

Magda Sayeg, artist, Guerrilla Knitting; Madison Utendahl, Museum of Ice Cream; Joey Wölffer, Styleliner and Wölffer Estate Vineyard, will discuss the passion and ideas that drive their progressive models for art, life and work. Moderated by Andrea Grover, Executive Director of Guild Hall; Honorary Chair: NancyJane Loewy

Thursday, November 16, at The Harmonie Club in New York City.

THE EFG LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL is currently taking place through November 19, 2017 offering diverse performances across a series of impressive venues including the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall, Kings Place and more.

Performers include: Pat Metheny with his new quartet with pianist Gwilym Simcock, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Antonio Sanchez - Average White Band - LaSharVu - a project from Basement Jaxx’s lead vocalists - new music from composer Dave Maric played by piano trio Phronesis & Engines Orchestra - Paolo Conte - Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela - Ben L’Oncle - Snark Puppy’s Bill Laurance - celebrate Antônio Carlos Jobim’s 90th birthday with Carminho, alongside a band featuring Jobim’s son and grandson - Stefano Bollani joined by saxophonist Daniele Sepe, clarinettist Nico Gori and drummer Bernardo Guerra.

PRINCE EDWARD also known as The Earl of Wessex is the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. He has long been involved in participating in and supporting The Arts. On November 15, as Patron, The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain he will first attend a lunch at The Club at The Ivy followed by attending a performance of Othello at The Ambassadors Theatre, London.

AMAL CLOONEY, RIHANNA AND DONATELLA VERSACE have been announced as Anna Wintour's co-hosts of the 2018 Met Gala in New York City which will have the theme of Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. The save the date is May 7, 2018.

TODAY, SUNDAY NOVEMBER 12 is National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day (no kidding). November 14 is National Guacamole Day and National Pickle ‘Appreciation’ Day. November 15 is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day and National Raisin Bran Cereal Day. November 16 boasts National Fast Food Day and November 17 is National Baklava Day.


THEATREWORKS SILICON VALLEY has announced that The Prince of Egypt has become the highest-selling musical of the 48-year-old theatre company’s history.

This new work from Grammy-and-Oscar-winning composer Stephen Schwartz and book writer Philip LaZebnik, directed by Broadway’s Scott Schwartz, presented a soaring celebration of the human spirit recounting one of the greatest stories ever told: the saga of Moses, his Pharaoh brother Ramses, and the indomitable people who changed both their destinies. With a total of seven previews and 28 performances, The Prince of Egypt at TheatreWorks grossed nearly $715,000 in ticket sales, surpassing the previous record-holder, another TheatreWorks world-premiere musical, Jane Austen’s EMMA by Paul Gordon.

Inspired by the DreamWorks animated film of the same name, The Prince of Egypt played at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts October 6-November 5, 2017, and marked the second world premiere for TheatreWorks’ 2017/2018 season. The Prince of Egypt, co-produced by Fredericia Teater, will be re-mounted next in Denmark for its international and co-world premiere in April 2018.

BRIAN GORE 36, former box office manager of the Chicago Opera Theater was arrested Wednesday, November 8, 2017, and charged with stealing more than $100,000 in ticket receipts during the three-and-a-half years he worked for the organization.

Gore whose COT title was Audience Services Manage was charged with one felony count of theft/unauthorized control of over $100,000, according to Chicago Police.

He appeared in court Thursday before Judge Mary Marubio who ordered him held on a $10,000 bond, according to Cook County state’s attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

The non-profit Chicago Opera Theater operates on an annual budget of $2.5 million.

Gore is accused of processing credit card ticket payments, then marking them as complimentary and diverting the money to a personal account, police said. The alleged thefts went on from September 2014 through May 2016.

The missing funds were discovered shortly after Gore’s departure when COT reorganized and began training new box office staff.

Gore is next scheduled to appear in court on November 29.

COT opened its 45th season last week with a production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul.

PAUL McCARTHEY AND NEIL DIAMOND bring in the dough. Just ask the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. Last week they filed a required report to Sedgwick County, Kansas in which the venue stated that profit more than tripled this year.

Arena management reported total net income just under $700,000 through the third quarter of this year, up from $213,000 at this time last year.

Accounting for the boost was a more than 40 percent increase in the average ticket prices on ducats for McCartney, Diamond as well as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dierks Bentley and Eric Church.

According to the report, a year ago tickets averaged $30.31 jumping this year to $43.30.

Management explained that the venue staged fewer, but more profitable shows. The report listed that 60 events with 69 performances were staged this year, compared to 67 events and 75 performances last year.

Concerts are by far the biggest cash cow of arena income, accounting for $1.9 million of the arena’s $2.9 million in event income in the first three quarters.

Family shows were the next largest revenue stream at $384,000. Special sporting events generated $260,000.

SMG, the arena management company, shares profit with Sedgwick County, which owns the arena. SMG receives the first $400,000 of profit each year. The company and county split anything more than that on a 50-50 basis.

THE LATIN GRAMMY AWARDS has announced that award-winning composer, lyricist, and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda will be honored with The Latin Recording Academy President's Merit Award for his outstanding and numerous contributions to the Latin community.

The President's Merit Award is an exceptional honor that has been presented to only a very exclusive and limited group of individuals. "We are honored to present Mr. Lin-Manuel Miranda with the prestigious President's Merit Award at this year's 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in recognition of his artistry, vision and the masterful ways he uses his craft to empower and highlight Latin-related issues in the United States," said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. "Lin-Manuel's urban and social poetry have provided strength and encouragement to every Latino motivated to get ahead. He has brought pride to our community by reminding us of the resilience and fortitude we demonstrate on a daily basis."

The 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards called The Biggest Night in Latin Music will air live on the Univision Network November 16 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The eclectic lineup of performers, presenters, and hosts include: Steve Aoki, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Jaime Camil, Alessia Cara, Luis Fonsi, Juanes, Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade, Logic, Maluma, French Montana, Residente, Sofia Reyes, Flor De Toloache, Roselyn Sánchez, CNCO and Sebastian Yatra as well as Nicky Jam, Carlos Vives, Lila Downs and Ha Ash, and in the regional Mexican realm, Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizárraga and Bronco.

THE DEAD, 1904
based on the novella The Dead by James Joyce. Adapted by Paul Muldoon & Jean Hanff Korelitz.

Directed by Ciarán O'Reilly.

James Joyce's novella, The Dead, describes a holiday gathering on January 6,1904, the Feast of the Epiphany, in the Dublin home of two elderly sisters, Kate and Julia Morkan, and their niece, Mary Jane. At the party are students, friends, a celebrated tenor, a lost alcoholic, and the couple, Gabriel and Gretta Conroy. Over the course of an evening, there are conversations, music, dancing and dining. There are speeches and disagreements - polite and impolite - and when it is all over Gabriel learns something about his wife that changes his sense of who she is and who they are to each other, of what it actually means to be alive, and to be dead.

Gather with Joyce's immortal characters in 1904 Dublin for a captivating evening of music, food and epiphany at: The American Irish Historical Society in New York City.

Only 2000 regular tickets will be sold and include the performance, gourmet holiday dinner, wine, stout and spirits.

The Dead,1904 is a new adaptation in which an audience of 55 guests will themselves attend the Misses Morkan's holiday party, move from room to room with the actors, listen to the music, watch the dances, dine on a meal created by Great Performances and inspired by the menu in the novella, & observe the characters in their interactions. The production will take place in an authentic Victorian mansion, perfectly evoking the atmosphere of the story. At each performance, premium ticket holders will be seated with the actors, to truly experience the famous dinner scene from within.

New for this year: show-only tickets. These seats include the performance and a glass of wine, but do not include food or table seating. Chairs with backs will be provided during the dinner scene. General Admission: $300. Show-Only Seating: $150. Premium Seating (located at the dining table with the actors): $1000.

Dot Dot Productions, in association with the American Irish Historical Society, presents Irish Repertory Theatre's production of The Dead 1904 November 18-January 7, 2018.

THE HUMANS by Stephen Karam.

Directed by Tony Award-winning director Joe Mantello.

Starring Richard Thomas as Erik Blake, Pamela Reed as Deirdre Blake, Therese Plaehn as Aimee Blake, Daisy Eagan as Brigid Blake, Lauren Klein as Fiona "Momo" Blake, and Luis Vega as Richard Saad.

The angst, anguish, and amity of the American middle class are first coaxed - then shoved - into the light in this uproarious, hopeful, and heartbreaking play that takes place over the course of a family dinner on Thanksgiving. Breaking with tradition, Erik Blake has brought his Pennsylvania family to celebrate and give thanks at his daughter’s apartment in lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside the ramshackle pre-war duplex, and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the Blake clan’s deepest fears and greatest follies are laid bare. Our modern age of anxiety is keenly observed, with humor and compassion, in this new American classic.

Scenic design by Tony Award-winner David Zinn, costume design by Sarah Laux, lighting design by Justin Townsend, and sound design by Fitz Patton.

The first stop on this national Broadway tour, takes place November 17, 2017 – December 17, 2017 Bagley Wright Theatre at Seattle Rep in Seattle, Washington.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL a new adaptations by Jack Thorne of the classic by Charles Dickens.

Directed by Matthew Warchus.

Starring Rhys Ifans as Ebenezer Scrooge.

On a bitter Christmas Eve night a cold-hearted miser is visited by ghosts. Transported to worlds past, present and future, Ebenezer Scrooge witnesses what a lifetime of fear and selfishness has led to and sees with fresh eyes the lonely life he has built for himself. Can Ebenezer be saved before it’s too late?

The creative team included: Rob Howell designer - Hugh Vanstone Lighting Designer - Simon Baker Sound Designer - Chris Nightingale Composer and Arranger - Lizzi Gee Movement Director.

Previews began November 18 with the official opening on November 20, 2017 at The Old Vic in London.

A DEAL By Zhu Yi.

Directed by John Giampietro.

I am a warrior,
so that my son may be a shop keeper,
so that his son may be a poet. John Quincy Adams

Like many new upper-middle-class Chinese families, Mr. and Mrs. Li are proud to give their only daughter a life they could only dream of (an Ivy League degree in art and an apartment in Manhattan), until they realize she’s turning into a dangerous stranger.

"A Deal is a dark comedy that features a Chinese family’s home buying journey in New York in winter 2015, a time of increased real estate property ownership by overseas Chinese and a sharp decline in the value of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar. It reveals the ideological conflicts between the East and the West in contemporary society by tracking a little stream of the global cash flow."

Starring: Alan Ariano, Pun Bandhu, Helen Coxe, Lydia Gaston, Wei Yi Lin and Seth Moore.

Rebecca Kane (Stage Manager), Jeana Caporelli (Assistant Stage Manager), Frank Oliva (Set Designer), John Salutz (Lighting and Sound Designer), Audrey Nauman (Costume Designer), Ryan Belock (Video Designer) and Kim Sharp (Technical Director). Graphic Design: Sylvia Haber, Perpetuart.

The play was developed as part of New Text - New Stage II, an Ibsen International project for the development of new writing. November 15 - December 10, 2017 at Urban Stages. This is the first Off-Broadway production for international known playwright Zhu Yi. Making this an international event is that A Deal will premiere simultaneously in China performed in Mandarin.

A CONNECTICUT CHRISTMAS CAROL a new musical with a book by L J Fecho. Music and lyrics by Michael O'Flaherty

Directed by Hunter Foster.

Music Direction by Dan Pardo.

"Some of the most beloved storytellers in Connecticut history come alive for a yuletide gathering you won’t forget. Famed actor and local legend William Gillette leaves his castle on the Connecticut River to adapt Dickens’ holiday classic in the 1920s. Local heroes Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe and P.T. Barnum make spirited appearances opposite Gillette’s Scrooge in a highly theatrical twist on a family favorite. Custom-made for Goodspeed with all-original music, here’s a tuneful, heartfelt confection spiced with enough Nutmeg State flavor to sweeten your season."

Scenic Design by Adam Koch. Costume Design by Nicole V. Moody. Lighting Design by Jennifer Schriever. Sound Design by Jay Hilton. Wig & Hair Design by Mark Adam Rampmeyer. Orchestrations by Dan DeLange. Choreographed by Lisa Shriver.

November 17 - December 24, 2017 at the Terris Theatre, Goodspeed in Chester, Conn.


HARRY CONNICK, JR working around hosting his day time talk show to perform at the Wynn Las Vegas November 17-18, 2017.

FOREIGNER perform Monday, November 13, 2017 at the Tribute Communities Centre, Oshawa, ON, Canada. Tuesday's stop is at the Budweiser Gardens, London, ON, Canada. Friday finds them at the IP Casino, Resort & Spa, Biloxi, Mississippi. On Saturday they can be enjoyed at the Bluesville, Horseshoe Casino, Tunica, Mississippi.

ANDRE RIEU and his gang perform in the UK this week. On Thursday, December 14, the show is at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow, UK. On Friday the tour stops at the First Direct Arena, Leeds. On Saturday they star at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.

BRYAN ADAMS performs Thursday, November 16, 2017 at the Bozen - Stadthalle, Bolzano, Italy. Saturday's gig is at the Stadthalle Graz, in Austria. Next Sunday, November 19, 2017 he can be enjoyed at the Arena in Brno, Czech Republic.

AN EVENING WITH PAUL ANKA will feature the iconic performing singing his hits Friday, November 17, 2017 at The Smith Center in Las Vegas.

JOE WALSH opens a two night stand Thursday, November 18, at House of Blues inside the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.


JOEL MARKOWITZ Founder and Editor Emeritus of DC Metro Theater Arts, died in his home in North Bethesda, MD on November 7, 2017 after a battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was 60.

He was a highly acclaimed and award-winning theater and performing arts critic. Joel was the founding editor-in-chief and publisher of the DC Metro Theater Arts, the largest on-line source of performing arts coverage in the Mid-Atlantic United States.

Survivors include his brothers: Rabbi Chanan (Ellen) Markowitz, Bruce (Petrina) Markowitz, Stuart (Beverly) Markowitz, David (Stephanie) Markowitz and Saul (Bonnie) Markowitz.

PAUL BUCKMASTER was a Grammy Award-winning British artist, arranger, conductor and composer died November 7, 2017. He was 71.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Paul Buckmaster was a legendary arranger, composer, and conductor recognized for bringing his majestic orchestrations to pop and rock recordings for nearly 50 years. His compositions brought a unique sound to a diverse collection of recordings such as David Bowie's Space Oddity, the Rolling Stones' Moonlight Mile, and Elton John’s Madman Across The Water. In 2001, Buckmaster teamed with Train on their hit Drops Of Jupiter, which earned him the Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s). We have lost an influential member of our music community, but his extraordinary talent and inventive arrangements will continue to inspire fellow musicians. Our thoughts go out to his collaborators, family, and friends during this difficult time."

JOHN HILLERMAN co-star of TV's Magnum, P.I. died Thursday, November 9, 2017 at his home in Houston, Texas. He was 84.

After his 1957 discharge from service in the USAF he moved to New York to study at the American Theatre Wing, and performed in professional theater for the next twelve years; in productions such the original production of The Lady of the Camelilas and the revivals of Henry IV, Part 2 and The Great God Brown. Despite starring in over 100 lead roles off-Broadway, Hillerman was unable to make a living as a stage actor, causing him to move to Hollywood in 1969.

In Hollywood he found fame in television and in the movies. He earned five Golden Globe nominations, winning in 1981, and four Emmy nominations, winning in 1987 for his role as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III on the television show Magnum, P.I. that aired from 1980 to 1988.

He retired from acting in 1999.

Next Column: November 19, 2017
Copyright: November 12, 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.
Link to Main Page

Laura Deni

For the snail mail address, please E-mail your request.