Broadway To Vegas


Copyright: November 23, 1998
By: Laura Deni


Barbra Streisand and James Brolin
When Barbra Streisand married James Brolin the diva looked into the eyes of her beloved groom and sang I've Dreamed of You. The meaningful lyrics were written by Ann Hampton Callaway, who is not only a gifted composer-lyricist but, with a three-octave range, one of the best cabaret singers in the business.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the intelligent, gracious lady at the Skyline Recording Studio in Manhattan where she was busy at work.

Ann Hampton Callaway
The I've Dreamed Of You wedding serenade wasn't the first time Streisand had sung a Callaway lyric. Streisand recorded Ann's At the Same Time.

"At the Same Time is a song I wrote about world peace," explained Callaway.

Nor is Streisand the first superstar to record Callaway creations.

Several years ago Ann developed a friendship with Liza Minnelli who was noted for the parties she threw. "She has great New York parties and all of us got together in her home. During some of these nights she heard some of my songs and said she wanted to record two of my songs, which is incredible!" exclaimed Callaway.

Callaway is also the only person accepted by the Cole Porter estate as a collaborator.

"A friend of mine introduced me to a lyric of Cole Porter's that had never been set to music. He wrote it after his accident," she said referring to a tragedy that began while Porter was on vacation in the summer of 1937. While riding his horse threw him and fell on his legs, crushing them and causing extensive damage to Porter's nervous system. Porter spent the remainder of his life in constant paint. Even after 31 operations, he never fully recovered. In 1958 his right leg was amputated.

Cole Porter
"It's a beautiful poignant lyric," continued Ann about Porter's lyric to I Gaze Into Your Eyes. My friend suggested that I write the music. So, I did. I never dreamed that the Cole Porter estate would accept it as the only musical collaboration to his lyric. I'm just very honored that they have allowed this to be in the catalogue."

As a Porter aside - the legendary composer-lyricist, who died Oct. 15, 1964, came to the then New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas in June, 1955. Porter's Broadway musical Silk Stockings was a huge hit. It had been seven months since Sammy Davis, Jr. had lost an eye in an auto crash. Davis was making his first appearance since losing the eye and Porter came to Vegas to see the show. Davis along with his father and uncle were known as The Will Mastin Trio. During the act, Davis performed three of Porter's top hits.

Cabarets, bistros, intimate nightclubs. Ann Hampton Callaway is a mainstay. She's optimistic about the future for cabaret artists.

"We are seeing a great resurgence of talent, and development of more talent as record labels start to take these people more seriously. Cabaret is finally being recognized as a very important part of American art form."

"I like the intimacy of cabaret," she continued. "I like it when people can get really close into a song, hear all of the words and live an emotional experience."

"Good music is coming back," she insisted."We're starting to see some of the great singer/songwriters coming up with lyrics that really mean something - the pendulum is swinging. People want to hear songs that make them feel something, not just going through the motions of just hearing a beat. Beats are great," she quickly added, "but I think people want to get in touch with gorgeous things in life - to feel love."

"One of the great things about cabaret is that it allows people to completely lose themselves. You get out in the modern world and there is just too much going on to remember what it is important in life. So, when you hear music it just gets you back to your roots.

Ella Fitzgerald
Ann's ability to scat has drawn raves, comparing her to Ella Fitzgerald. That and her name have resulted in some confusion. An inspired Ann wrote a little ditty called I'm Too White To Sing the Blues' Blues in which she reflects that because of her name, folks who have only heard her sing, think she's related to Lionel Hampton and Cab Callaway.

"My father is John Callaway. A journalist. People in Chicago know him. He's had a show on PBS there. He's a great jazz fan. So, I got a lot of my jazz influence from him. He taught me to sing scat," she explained.

My mother is a voice teacher here in New York and my sister and I got tremendous inspiration from her," said Ann referring to her sister, Liz, who was in the Broadway production of Miss Saigon. Ann and Liz have also performed together.

It's been an extremely long road that Callaway has climbed in the limited world of cabaret. On the plus side, the cabaret venue is one of the few that doesn't worship youth.

Ann's voice can handle soft ballads to brassy tunes. She also has a wit that can handle the crowd. She's worked the rooms with the drunks - the ones where the stage is so close to the door that people walk in and out during mid sentence.

Years ago Ann developed an audience grabbing gimmick of writing a song based upon audience suggestions. "I'm unpredictable and I have a lot of fun," she explained. "I get maybe 10 or 15 suggestions. Then I say a silent prayer to the cabaret god, and write a song including all of the audience suggestions."

That can lead anywhere.

Take the first time Ann heard the word liposuction - "I didn't know what it was, or barium enema, and those were two of the suggestions people in the audience yelled out. I did a very funny song about them. Then I found out what they were!"

Recently Ann Hampton Callaway finished another outstanding engagement at Rainbow & Stars. Her CD After Hours was voted Outstanding Recording by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs. Her current act features songs from her forthcoming Easy Living including; The Very Thought of You, Round Midnight, and Bluesette. She's talented and magnificent, personable and a delight. If you have a chance to experience her performance, you'll understand why Ann Hampton Callaway helps make cabaret an art form to treasure.


The highly touted The Blue Room, which had London critics dog-earring the old thesaurus scrambling for superlatives about Nicole Kidman's naked body, begins previews Nov. 27 at the Cort Theatre.

Nicole Kidman
The play stars the gorgeous Nicole Kidman in her birthday suit debut and the handsome Iain Glen - also bare beamed.

To the credit of Kidman and Glen, satiated after the requisite eyeful, the audience actually pays attention to the play and marvelous acting ability of both stars.

Davis Hare has adapted Arthur Schnitzler's turn-of-the century lustful classic La Ronde. Sam Mendes directs. This production also marks Kidman's American stage debut.

Biggest problem for Nicole, while she is on stage, will be to keep her husband, Tom Cruise, in check. Rosie O'Donnell, who refers to Nicole as "the woman married to my Tommy," is within walking distance of her unrequited love.

The Blue Room, is in for only 111 performances. Official opening is Dec. 13. Good luck on getting tickets.

BILLIE JEAN KING on Feb.15 the tennis champ receives the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY Awards at Radio City Music Hall.


Dana Carvey entertained for over an hour and you had to be a billionaire to sit in the first two rows.

Dana Carvey
Comdex, the largest trade show in the country, pulled out of Las Vegas on Friday with a goodly number of computerites taking with them hangovers and memories of a rowdy good time.

Las Vegans have long joked that Comdex computer geeks arrive in Vegas with one shirt and a $20 bill, changing neither during the five day convention.


The disgruntled Vegas businesses tend to be people who expect overly generous tips, or those involved in structured showroom entertainment. Comdex attendees aren't noted for going to hotel showrooms to catch a production show or the superstar du jour. Many in Vegas have wrongly concluded that the reason tips and showroom counts are down, is because people who wear pocket protectors are dull, boring stiffs.

Really wrong!

Comdex people partied away the entire week. The difference is that virtually every major company holds their own private party - one reportedly setting the company back a quarter-of -a-million dollars. If there was an unemployed Vegas musician, a lack of work wasn't the reason. A chili cookoff featured reggae music. There was a cool jazz party, a 70s retro party, that infamous toga party, live musicians at cocktail parties that could seemingly stretch from Vegas to New York and back again.

These folks love to party. They just want to do it at private events where they can bring their good customers and schmooze some business while having a good time.

It's tough to woo a new client or coyly tell a customer about the special deal you can give them when you're seated in a theatre style showroom, lights dim and expected to pay attention to what is happening on stage.

It isn't that Comdex buffs are geeks who only know laptops and think the idea of a good time is to pay to have a topless one dance on yours.

Comdex has seen a change in attendee profile. The low-ranking dufus, who acted like he'd never been off the farm - or out of the computer supply room - has been left from whence he came. Convention expenses have become too enormous to permit just any lecherous Joe to tag along at corporate expense.

What you are seeing now at Comdex are the heavy player rainmakers.

They're smart enough to translate party time into a money making event.

Even if the deal closing is detrimental to one's health. "We're all up," one wide eyed executive told me. "There is this power drink that has as much caffeine as five cups of coffee, plus a lot of ginseng and ma-huang. We're all living on the stuff." When I mentioned that there are studies that suggest potential dangers, and they might want to be careful how much of that combination they consumed, he answered; "For the deals we're closing, we'll take the risk."

Bill Gates
If they survive the job, many turn into billionaires. The kind of money that, if you want to see an entertainer you don't go to their show - you hire them to come to you.

Comedian Dennis Miller was contracted to be in a Comdex booth signing autographs. Dana Carvey entertained the moneyed crowd attending the Computer Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Good evening billionaires, said Carvey. He wasn't kidding. The first two rows were reserved for billionaires.

Carvey did the obligatory impersonation and commentary on President Clinton and ridiculed Bill Gates, whose personal worth of about $50 billion makes him the world's wealthiest person. Gates had delivered the keynote address,

Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer, and now is numero uno of Pixar, the major movie studio that will debut A Bug's Life this Wednesday. When Carvey noticed that Jobs had arrived at the swank function wearing a sweater and no tie, Carvey quipped that the billionaire mogul looked like he'd been up in his room smoking pot. The audience convulsed in laughter. That big bucks bunch love to make fun of their own.

They also love good food. The inexpensive Las Vegas buffets probably didn't see an increase in customers, but the high priced gourmet restaurants were full up. One dinner in an exceptionally elegant Oriental restaurant at the Bellagio Hotel was for six people. The bill, including wine, but before the tip, was almost four thousand dollars. The tip was based upon calculating 15% down to the penny.

Not only does the high tech crowd enjoy food and frolic, some even gave up show biz for the computer world.

One woman, who spent several years earning a living as Snow White in Disneyland, is now a high ranking computer company executive.


An all male Swan Lake isn't the only production to push the envelope by using all men.

Nunsense Amen!
Nunsense A-men! with an all male cast, was the season opener for St. Petersburg, Florida's American Stage's 20 anniversary mainstage season.

Director Kenneth Mitchell, ho spent five years as the theater manager for the New York Shakespeare Festival, became artistic director last June along with the company's new managing director, Lee Manwaring Lowry. The theater is celebrating the retiring of a record deficit. The year was also marked by record ticket sales.

Mitchell directed Nunsense A-men! Dan Groggin's all-male version of his award winning hit Nunsense which premiered in 1982.

Following Nunsense A-men! onto the American Stage is Private Lives running January 22 to Feb. 14.

The New York production of Nunsense A-men! continues at the 47th Street Theatre.


SEASON OF HOPE November 30 is the date for the gala which takes place at New York's World Trade Center. The event benefits the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Clive Davis, Tom Hanks and Barbara Walters will be honored. Whitney Houston and Sean "Puffy" Combs entertain.

WHITE ROSE AWARDS GALA Dec. 1 finds Rosie O'Donnell headlining her White Rose Awards Gala at the Marriott Marquis. This gala benefits For All Kids Foundation, which the talk show host started. This first awards honor; Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jan and Michael Eisner, and Melinda and Bill Gates. O'Donnell will serve as mistress of ceremonies with presenters including; Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler and Mary Tyler Moore. Entertainment by the talented Barry Manilow.

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.


Last Monday the annual Los Angeles based Ovation Awards were presented to the best in Los Angeles theater at the Shubert Theater in Century City.

Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk won three awards including Best Ensemble.

Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22 also took home three awards.

Ian McKellen and Terrence McNally received lifetime achievement awards. Ironically, they both were absent and accepted via previously recorded videotape.

Barbara Beckley, Colony Studio Theater producer and former Theater LA President, received the James A. Doolittle Award for leadership in L.A. theater.

The first community outreach award was presented to Margaret Ladd and Lyle Kessler co-founders of Imagination Workshop, which conducts theater workshops for at risk individuals.


PLAY/LARGER: The Cider House Blues, Mark Taper Forum
PLAY/SMALLER: Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22, Circle X Theatre Company at Lost Studio
MUSICAL/LARGER: Chicago, Ahmanson Theatre
MUSICAL/SMALLER: On the Twentieth Century, Colony Studio Theatre
WRITING OF A WORLD PREMIERE: Pamela Forrest, Valsetz
DIRECTOR/MUSICAL: Tim Dang, Pacific Overtures
DIRECTOR/PLAY: Andrew J. Robinson, Yield of the Long Bond
LEADING ACTOR/PLAY: Tony Abatemarco, The Mystery of Irma Vep
LEADING ACTRESS/PLAY: Patricia Place, Valsetz
LEADING ACTRESS/MUSICAL: Charlotte D'Ambroise, Chicago
FEATURED ACTOR/PLAY: Tom Beyer, The Cider House Blues
FEATURED ACTRESS/PLAY: Stephanie Faracy, Two Rooms
FEATURED ACTRESS/MUSICAL: Jennifer Leigh Warren, Hello Again
ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE: Cast of Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk
SET DESIGNER/LARGER: John Napier, An Enemy of the People
SET DESIGNER/SMALLER: Gary Smoot, Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22
COSTUME DESIGN/LARGER: Naomi Yoshida Rodriguez, Pacific Overtures
COSTUME DESIGN/SMALLER: M.E. Dunn, Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22
LIGHTING DESIGN/LARGER: Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhower, Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk
LIGHTING DESIGN/SMALLER: Deena Lynn Mullen, Request Concert
SOUND DESIGN/LARGER: Red Ramona, Old Wicked Songs
CHOREOGRAPHY : Derick K. Grant, based on original choreography by Savion Glover, Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk

from left to right: David Riedy, Holli Harms, India Cooper, Geneva Carr and Tristan Fitch in Step In and Stand Clear Photo By: Carol Rosegg
in New York City presents the eight member actor-writer collective know as The Lexington Group in Step In and Stand Clear.

This is a collection of vignettes spotlights several original songs.

Subject matter addressed includes: getting from one day to the next in Manhattan - dealing with sex, finding an apartment, fast food, the subway, and the Statue of Liberty.

Production runs through Nov. 29.

No show on this Thursday - Turkey Day.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST closes out a successful run at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Ft. Lauderdale on Nov. 29. The production opens Dec. 3 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center for an engagement running through Jan. 10.

THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO the 1997 Tony Award winning play, opened Nov. 17 at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Miami.

PAULA PRENTISS AND HUSBAND RICHARD BENJAMIN star in Power Plays at the Promenade Theatre. Written by Elaine May and Alan Arkin with Arkin directing. Of course it's funny.

THROUGH JANUARY 3 ONLY at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, the funny Fool Moon with the delightful David Shiner and Bill Irwin.


DIAHANN CARROLL that gorgeous and talented Tony Award winner stars in Almost Like Being in Love The Lerner and Lowe Songbook in a limited engagement Dec. 1-Dec.6 at the Shubert Theatre, Boston. The gorgeous and talented Carroll will be joined by a stellar Broadway cast for a thrilling event featuring showstopping songs from My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Brigadoon.

HELEN REDDY is also in Bean Town - in a one nighter, Dec. 5 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, while Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman is at the Colonial Theatre Dec. 1-Dec.13.

JUDI CONNELLI the veteran Australian singer, putting her stamp on New York, performing through Nov. 28 at the Fire-Bird Cafe. She sings Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

DANIELA DESSI the Italian soprano returned to the Metropolitan Opera house yesterday afternoon to join tenor Luciano Pavarotti in a staged version of Act 111 from La Boheme, the opera in which Pavarotti debuted at the Met 30 years ago.

SPEAKING OF THINGS OPERA Juan Pons, touted as the most sought after dramatic baritone in the world - he's booked years into the next century - is currently singing Aida and Tosca at the Met. Don't Miss.

BILLY JOEL who has five sold out concerts at Madison Square Garden has added a sixth show, Dec. 22. Tickets go on sale this morning at 9 a.m. EST. Expert the tickets to be gone by noon.


COMPOSER ELIZABETH SWADIS a five time Tony nominee, and producer Peter Manning have expressed interest in adapting David Schulner's Disturbed by the Wind, a drama about the Wright Brothers, into a Broadway musical, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The drama premiered in Minneapolis last April.

SHADOW STEVENS the announcer on Hollywood Squares, who played Kenny Becker on the CBS sitcom Dave's World for three years, has his Los Angeles home up for sale. Shadoe and his wife, Beverly, are asking $2.25 million for the 4,500 sq. ft. English-style, five bedroom house. Shadoe and Beverly want to move into a larger home with an art studio.

CHICAGO BLUES LOVERS can jam til all hours at the House of Blues and then bed down at the new House of Blues hotel. The first House of Blues Hotel has opened in Chicago's Marina City riverfront complex, also home to Chicago's House of Blues Hall and Restaurant. The Loews Hotel has 367 rooms and suites. Rates from $125 to $325.

SAM'S TOWN HOTEL in Las Vegas begins its annual Christmas in the Park celebration November 25 with the lighting of the 25,000 square-foot indoor Mystic Falls Park, with millions of lights, and animated displays. The focal point of Christmas In The Park is a 35-foot tall poinsettia tree. Hundreds of thousands of lights are hung from the 120-foot high atrium ceiling. Animated displays are placed throughout the atrium and Santa Claus becomes a resident. The celebration runs through January 6.

- not musical opposites - rather, winning horse flesh.

Recently, Mr. Sinatra and Rock and Roll ran 1-2 in the Aqueduct Grade 3 1000G Stuyvesant Handicap.

Mr. Sinatra won by three parts of a length going the mile and an eighth over a muddy track in 1:48. The other horses were left breathless.

Sort of sums up Frank Sinatra's career, too.

The entire staff of Broadway To Vegas wishes everyone a Happy Turkey Day, a day in which we all should count our blessings.

We at are thankful for your readership.

Next Column: November 30, 1998
Copyright: november 23 , 1998. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, reprinted, 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.