Broadway To Vegas
SHOW REVIEWS CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS GOSSIP NEWS
Copyright: November 14, 1999
By: Laura Deni
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AIDA MUSICAL OPENS IN CHICAGO;
STARS INJURED IN ACCIDENT
AIDA opens in Chicago
The Disney backed Elton John/Tim Rice rock musical began previews in Chicago at the revamped
Cadillic Theater with the press not permitted to see the show until Dec. 9. Therefore, members of
the press sent people they knew to the theater.
Rumors have three young stars - Heather Headley, Sherie Scott and Adam Pascal - doing
breakout performances in a production with a story line about a Nubian princess who is forced
into slavery and must share the man she loves with another woman. The production, which has
been totally re-done since it opened in Atlanta last year, is in Chicago only thru Jan. 9 and then
heads to Broadway for a March 23 opening at the Palace Theatre.
The Chicago engagement has already been plagued by problems. Last night - Saturday Nov. 13-
an on-stage accident resulted in Headley and Pascal being rushed to Northwestern Memorial
Hospital. Both sustained minor injuries and were released a few hours later.
Reportedly the packed theater sat horrified as the two actors were suspended in their "tomb," a
scene which takes place towards the play's conclusion. The set broke from the support and
plunged the actors 15 feet to the stage.
A voice over the loudspeaker asked if there was a doctor in the house, and requested that all
patrons leave the theater. Because the scenery fell so close to the front of the stage it was
impossible to lower the curtain. Eventually a scrim was dropped.
Paramedics loaded Headley onto a stretcher after applying a neck brace.
Performances have been canceled until Wednesday, Nov. 17.
BEN HUR: THE MUSICAL HITS
Ben Hur: The Musical, a $9 million production complete with Arabian horses and
camels, trotted on stage last night, Nov. 13, at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando
Florida and received lukewarm reviews.
CHARLTON HESTON won a Best Actor Oscar for
the 1959 MGM film
The massive undertaking takes place in A.D. Jerusalem where the story unfolds. There's a
23-piece orchestra, a cast of 50 singers and actors, who wage the ancient battle in a two hour
production that includes 35 drops and sets. The famed chariot race, which Charlton Heston
brought to the big screen, takes place in the 2,657 sea theater on a 145-foot-wide stage with a
60-foot-wide proscenium arch. The chariot race features eight full-size lifelike animatronic
Arabian horses costing $75,000 each. There is a full-scale sea battled with a 40-foot-wide,
two-story tall Roman war galley, and a wall of fire 40 feet wide and 12 feet high, that erupts from
the stage, and cannons on the war galleys hurl bursting fire balls.
Opening night criticism centered around a not too convincing sound system, lack of depth in the
written book, unfavorable comparisons to the classic movie which won 11 Academy Awards, and
criticism that Ben Hur:The Musical was basically a high tech, big budget church
The audience will cast their opinion through ticket sales.
The production has a year's lease with a 3-year option at the convention center's Linda W. Chapin
Produced by Orlando based Global Impact Productions, the intent is to bring the production to
Broadway in three years.
The producers aren't shy in using the stage to proselytize Christianity and their effort to teach
"forgiveness and redemption." They are also dollar smart in confessing that people will come to
see the chariot race and they are hawking a plethora of Ben Hur merchandise.
Production features: Robert Patteri as Judah Ben-Hur, Stephen Jones as Messala and Mark
Ferrera as Sheik Ilderim. Executive Producer Bob Reeder, Director Amick Byram, Scenic
Designer Peter Wolf, Composer Paul Johnson, Composer/Musical director Ron Owen, and
Librettist Chip Hand.
RICKY MARTIN'S NAKED SURPRISE
The adoring fans who made the pilgrimage to the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas last
Thursday showed their adulation to Ricky Martin by standing and screaming for his entire show.
RICKY MARTIN seasoned showman
If they had bothered to pay attention to anything other than their own surging pubescent
hormonal urges they would have gotten an eyeful.
One of Martin's female dancers, almost attired in a two-piece bikini, shook herself right out of the
Martin, who started out as one of the Menudo boys before becoming too old for the act,
transferred his talents to Broadway as Martin Les Miserables before putting his own stamp
on hip shaking. He's got showmanship down pat. At 27, he's been performing for 15 years.
Fifteen years from now his tush thrusts may not be as fast, but he's in for the long term. The
screaming fans that pack the venues now will stay with him for decades.
He's an expert dancer, sings more effectively in Spanish than he does in English and comes across
as a nice guy. As if all of his body movements on stage weren't enough exercise, the guy travels
with a bicycle for his daily rides around town.
TONY DESIGNER DOES VEGAS
SPLASH'S KIM BARRANCO models Yearick's
costume for the all new Splash Show.
Stephen Yearick has spent twenty years designing gowns for the famous and those who need to
be in their company. Twenty-two of the last twenty-seven Miss America's have paraded in his
gowns. This year his gowns graced more Tony Award nominees than any other designer.
Now Yearick is bringing is statement-making creations to Las Vegas to design costumes for the
Revamped Splash production show at the Riviera Hotel.
The designer who has dressed Nancy Reagan, Glenn Close, Vanessa Williams, and the late Eva
Gabor, says he "loves to see women make an entrance and steal the show."
Combining traditional Las Vegas showgirl costume elements of feathers, long flowing capes,
glamorous gowns and glitzy headgear. With his own sense of the sensual and style, Yearick's bold
and imaginative creations will certainly make the showgirls showstoppers.
The Splash production show, which debuted at the Riviera in 1986, has been skewered
and mocked by critics since the curtain went up. The show, which has reinvented itself several
times has never gained critical respect. Now Splash is undergoing one of its most dramatic
renovations ever; a $1.2 million revamp of the entire production. Bringing Yearick on board is a
major step is bringing the show into new millennium competition.
For the Vegas show Yearick's creations utilize narrow bands of Austrian crystal-studded satin
spandex, which wrap around the showgirls, accenting their sensual lines. Beaded bustiers,
glittering, glamorous jewels at their wrists and about their heads are a parade of blues, pinks, and
purples. Each showgirl will wear her own spectacular costume specifically designed for her by
Yearick, some with lavish headpieces shimmering with fiber-optic fantasy light.
Splash reopens on Christmas Day.
BELLO NOCK winner of the coveted
Silver Clown Award
The Big Apple Circus has brought a family institution back to New York City, bringing their
22nd production to at Lincoln Center, NYC through Jan. 9
When the performers aren't delighting families with circus antics the clowns are participating in
their Clown Care Unit program which brings laughter and joy to the bedsides of acutely and
chronically ill children year-round.
HOSPITAL CLOWNS bring smiles and joy
CCU "clown doctors" are specially selected professional performers who are trained to work in
the sensitive hospital environment. Annually, they make 180,000 one-on-one bedside visits in
pediatric services throughout the hospital, including: intensive care units, bone marrow transplant
centers, burn treatment centers, pediatric AIDS units, emergency rooms, acute care clinics,
impatient wards, physical therapy units, and outpatient wards.
There are currently Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit programs operating in several cities
nationwide, including Boston, Chicago, New Haven, New York, Seattle, and Washington,
WOODCOCK ELEPHANTS from Russia gracefully
dance with Regina
The Big Apple Circle presents a combination of Broadway-style theater and world-class circus
Produced by Founder, Artistic Director and Ringmaster Paul Binder, this year's
production has been conceived by co-founder and creative director Michael Christensen and
Canadian director Michel Barette, who also directs the show.
Music composed by Canadian composer Brigitte Larochelle.
The performers are choreographed
by Gail Gilbert, clad in colorful costumes by Parisian designer David Belugou, with sets by Dan
Kuchar. Lighting by Sarah Sidman.
The Big Apple Circus is a not-for-profit performing arts institution committed to kids and their
The Circus will travel to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and other major cities on and
eleven-city, ten-month tour.
THE LARAMIE PROJECT
A story that began on the western plains and focused the attention of the world on Laramie,
Wyoming - the beating death of a gay college student - will be told on stage in Denver. The
Denver Center Theatre Company in association with Moises Kaufman's Tectonic Theatre Project
will produce the World Premiere of "The Laramie Project" - a new play written by award
winning Kaufman with members of his company. Kaufman will also direct the production.
On November 14, 1998, a month after University of Wyoming gay college student Matthew
Shepard was murdered - beaten and left to die hanging on a fence - Playwright Kaufman and
members of his company traveled to Laramie and began a series of face-to-face interviews with
the people of the town where the story unfolded. Over the next year, the company traveled
several more times to Wyoming and conducted over two hundred intensely personal documented
interviews. The writers / actors who conducted the interviews will develop and perform the play
Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney are serving life sentences for Shepard's killing.
The Laramie Project will premiere at The Ricketson Theatre on February 26, 2000 and
run through April 1 prior to a planned opening in New York.
Kaufman's staging of his play Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde ran for
over 600 performances in New York and went on to Los Angeles (Mark Taper Forum), San
Francisco (Theater on the Square), Toronto (Canadian Stage) and London's West End (Gielgud
Theatre). The play has been produced in over 40 cities in the U.S.
The Laramie Project production at the Denver Center Theatre Company is sponsored by
The Denver Post. DCTC support for new American plays is provided by the Harold and Mimi
Steinberg Charitable Trust.
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JEFF AWARDS Chicago's
version of the Tony Awards were presented and the Goodman Theatre's production of Death
of a Salesman took honors as best play with Brian Dennehy adding another award to his
collection as best actor in a principal role. Dennehy is headed into the London production.
His co-star Elizabeth Franz took home the award for best actress in a supporting role. Death
of a Salesman opened in Chicago in September, 1998 winning raves before moving to New
York. Other winners included; Best new work to Rebecca Gilman for Spinning Into
Butter, staged at The Goodman Theatre and Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of Ovid's
RUDY GIULIANI hizzoner of
NYC will be saluted Nov. 16 at the Minskoff Theater with a political fund raiser and a new
Broadway show. The $500 a head soiree' will include a performance of Saturday Night
Fever, followed by a party at the Marriott Marquis. James Nederlander is chairing the event.
Don't expect Jerry Seinfeld and his fiance, who was related to the Nederlander family for
a few moments, to attend.
BILLY WILDER will be feted by
the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Jan. 13. The 93-year-old Academy Award
winner is expected to attend. A three-week retrospective by the UCLA Film and Television
Archive and American Cinematheque will feature a collection of Wilder films for which he
received 21 Oscar nominations. Wilder took home the award for writing and directing The
Lost Weekend and for the screenplay for Sunset Boulevard. He also copped the
statuettes for writing, directing and producing The Apartment. Tickets go on sale Dec. 1
for the screenings which begin Jan. 14 at UCLA's James Bridges Theater and the Cinematheque's
CHAMBER MUSIC RESIDENCIES PROGRAM
WINNERS The New York based Chamber Music America awards
grants to rural American cities for the establishment of chamber music ensembles. Three cities
have been tapped to receive the grants. They are; Ellsworth, Maine, Grand Forks, North Dakota,
and Arkansas city, Kansas. Twenty cities applied for the grants. In determining the winning cities
Nancy Christensen, education director for Chamber Music American in New York stated; "Each
was selected for a reason. In Grand Forks, it was the symphony and the university; Ellsworth has
a restored auditorium, and Arkansas City has the community college." The Chamber Music Rural
Residencies Program was established in 1992 by the National Endowment for the Arts and is now
a Chamber Music America grant program. The program is designed to assist emerging ensembles
- members who have recently completed their academic training - in achieving their career goals
while fulfilling the musical needs of rural communities.
FIRST AMENDMENT CELEBRATION
WOODY HARRELSON loves his oxygen bar and
eats mostly raw foods
Arnold Lehman, director of the Brooklyn Museum of Art will be honored
Nov. 15 at the third annual Creative Coalition fund-raiser Seconding the First, which
celebrates First Amendment causes.
Woody Harrelson who is making his Broadway debut in The Rainmaker, at the Brooks
Atkinson Theater, will read from Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, and Christopher Reeve
will present a First Amendment award to Amazon.com president Jeff Bezos.
Susan Sarandon will
Expected to attend are; Richard Belzer, Andy Dick, Arianna Huffington,
Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller and Lou Reed.
CAROL & CAROL CAVALCADE OF STARS a benefit for Six Figures Theatre Company at the West End Theater, NYC
November 17 features Sara Berg as Carol Burnett, Richard Skipper as Carol Channing, James Beamon
and Lauren Bacall, Cayte Thorpe as Ethel Merman, Anne Kissell as Roseanne, Wendy Joy
Franklin as Lena Horne and special guest start Kim Coles of Living Single as Tina
KISS ME KATE
November 18 at the Martin Beck Theater.
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter from a book by Sam and Bella Spewack.
Choreography by Kathleen Marshall.
In addition to Brian Stokes
Mitchell and Marin Mazzie, the production stars Amy Spanger and Michael Berresse.
CENTRAL PARK - THE OPERA is a unique collaboration by accomplished playwrights A. R. Gurney,
Wendy Wasserstein and Terrence McNally. They each penned a one-act mystery about their
favorite section of Central Park. After the scribes completed their literary creations the books
were given to three composers who added music. Central Park - The Opera is being staged at
the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center, Nov. 16, 18 and 21.
MORNING, NOON AND NIGHT is written and performed by Spalding Gray, 56, who received a new lease
on life thanks to his children; Forrest, 5; Theo, 8 months; and 11-year-old stepdaughter, Marissa.
The author, who has had a life long quest of looking for himself, has found the guides in his new
family. Staged Sunday and Monday evenings at the Vivian Beaumonth Theater at Lincoln
THE PRICE opens November
15 at the Royal Theater, NYC.
ABBY' S SONG stars Jackie
Angelescu as Abby with special guest star Paul Sorvino. A holiday musical telling the story of
Abbey, a loveable girl who wants to "fly a rainbow," while everyone else is telling her to keep her
feet on the ground. November 14-28 City Center, NYC.
THE DEAD comes to live at
Playwright's Horizons, NYC. An adaptation of James Joyce's last episode of his Dubliners
stories. Strong production stars; Blair Brown, Sally Ann Howes, Marni Nixon who made a career
out of putting her voice in other people's mouths, Stephen Spinella and Christopher Walken.
Music by Shaun Davey, book and lyrics by Richard Nelson. Hurry. The production is set to
run only through November. 28.
GLIMMERGLASS a romantic
love triangle, high adventure and the end of innocence are interwoven in this new musical inspired
by James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. Book by Jonathan Bolt; Music by
Douglas J. Cohen and lyrics by Ted Drachman. Opened its world premiere last Thursday at
Goodspeed-at-Chester in Chester, Conn, running through December 5. On November 18 and December 2 audience
members may participate in discussions with the cast and creative staff following the
ROMEO AND JULIET Lake
Tahoe Community Theater. William Shakespeare's ultimate story of love and hate/ This
production features non-traditional casting. November 18-21.
FAME THE MUSICAL The
hopes and dreams of a group of students attending New York City's High School of the
Performing Arts. November 19-21 at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno, Nevada. The
national touring company opens Nov. 23 at the Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles with a run
through December 5.
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE
FORUM Etibicoke Musical Productions, Missassauga, Ontario.
November 19-December 4 Also staged by the Naples Players, Naples, FL. November 18-December 18.
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
continues at the Thomaston Opera House, Thomaston, Conn. through Nov. 20. The production
also opened at the Barn Theater, Montville, N.J. on November 12 running through December 4.
HELEN WASSELL, KATE MAILER, and AMY
WILSON in Cusi Cram's Landlocked. Photo By: Carol Rosegg
an offbeat comedy by Cusi Cram, directed by Jim Gaylord, officially opens tonight, Nov. 14 at the Miranda
Landlocked traces the manic romance of Anna, a Swiss-German college artist, and
Pierre-Luigi, a Bolivan restaurant manager as they travel through Switzerland, Italy and
Greece to find one another. A dentist, a sculptor and an underwater archeologist and an
ex-garbage man from Rhode Island both aid and hinder their journey.
its world premiere at South Coast Rep and was nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award.
Jim Gaylord was a member of the directing corps at Williamstown Theatre Festival for two
seasons. In 1996 he won the prestigious Boris Sagal directing Fellowship at the Festival.
Landlocked stars: Helen Wassell, Matt Servitto, Peter Hirsch, Kate Mailer, Amy Wilson
and Michael Port.
EDIE FALCO is going across the
pond in January to reprise her Broadway role of Terry, the alcoholic wife in Side
BERNADETTE PETERS will
be taking a working vacation when she takes off for a few weeks from starring in Annie Get
The dynamic talent has a gig New Year's Eve. She'll be entertaining at the swank
Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs. Their New Year's Eve "Weekend of Celebrations" offers
performances by Peters, the Temptations and Riders in the Sky, indoor pyrotechnics show,
nine-course dinner, black-tie gala hosted by comedians Argus Hamilton and Lyle Waggner
followed by a Roaring 20 dance. Rates for the minimum three-day package begin at $2,500 per
person, based on double occupancy.
While Bernadette is doing her Rocky Mountain high show
Susan Lucci will take over the star slot in Annie Get Your Gun.
THE NEW YORK VOICES perform
"from Count Basie to Earth, Wind & Fire" November 19 at Ham Hall, Las Vegas. The Grammy award
winning group includes Kim Nazarian, Lauren Kinhan, Darmon Meader, and Peter
BETTY BUCKLEY tonight, November 14
at the Cincinnati Music Hall. Buckley is slated for a Las Vegas appearance February 8 at the Art Ham
MAYNARD FERGUSON who has
been entertaining jazz audience for four decades kicks off the Winter 1999-2000 series at Beaver
Creek, Colorado on November 26.
BRIAN WHITE November 19 Country
2000, Dallas, Texas.
LES BALLETS AFRICAINS
regarded as Africa's most renowned and accomplished dance company, performs Nov. 20 at the
Brooklyn Center for the performing Arts at Brooklyn College. The dance company was created in
1952 by Guinean choreographer, Keita Fodeba, Les Ballets Africians became the
country's national ensemble after the Republic of Guinea's independence in 1958. The company
also includes singers and musicians playing traditional instruments including the Balaphone
(precursor to the xylophone), Djembe (drum) and the Kora (stringed instrument).
THIS AND THAT
TONY STOLEN BEN VEREEN
who recently returned to New York after a successful Vegas engagement starring in
Chicago, had his Tony Award filched. Ben's twenty-eight-year-old daughter, Malaika, has
a boyfriend, Marc Ross, who appropriated the Tony that Ben won in 1973 for Pippin,
when he was assisting Malaika in moving out of her father's apartment. Police were
THE USUAL CELEBRITIES
BRUCE WILLIS was the post fight
turned out for the Lewis-Hollyfield Fight.
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones were there.
A hand holding Andre Agassi
and Steffi Graf enjoyed each other.
Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, David Spade who was dressed in black leather.
Murphy, who brought along some family members.
Ray Romano and, of course,
Bruce Willis who
provided the entertainment.
Willis and his musicians entertained at the post
30 LPGA PLAYERS are in Las
Vegas playing in the Page Net Championship, trying to turn their golfing addiction into a $1
million. England's Laura Davies is defending her championship. Last year she fired an 11-under
par 277 to win the $215,000 first place check by four strokes over Brandie Burton, Karrie Webb
and Pat Hurst.
SOCIETY OF INCENTIVE & TRAVEL EXECUTIVES will return to Las Vegas Dec. 5-9 after an absence of 10 years.
Headquartered at the Bellagio hotel, the international conference will be kicked off by Robert
Swan OBE, who made headlines as the first man to walk to both Poles.
ATTENTION STEVEN WYNN
keep your day job. When you did the commercials with Frank Sinatra for your Golden Nugget
hotel, you came across as cute and a perfect foil for Ol' Blue Eyes. Now you've attempted to
broaden your act by bursting forth in song during a New York City investment conference
sponsored by Deutsch Banc's Alex Brown, warbling sections from Jerry Herman's new Miss
Spectacular show that will open in Vegas at the Mirage. Your chutzpah is commendable, but
the singing act needs work.
Mention BROADWAY TO VEGAS for Special Consideration
Call (800) 942-9027
Next Column: November 21,1999
Copyright: November 14, 1999 All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Original
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