Broadway To Vegas
SHOW REVIEWS CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS GOSSIP NEWS
Copyright: November 23, 1998
By: Laura Deni
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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.
"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.
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
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
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
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.
The play stars the gorgeous Nicole Kidman in her birthday suit debut and the handsome Iain Glen
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
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.
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."
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
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
One woman, who spent several years earning a living as Snow White in Disneyland, is now a high
ranking computer company executive.
MEN IN THE HABIT
An all male Swan Lake isn't the only production to push the envelope by using all
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.
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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
THE OVATION AWARD WINNERS
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/SMALLER: On the
Twentieth Century, Colony Studio Theatre
WRITING OF A WORLD PREMIERE: Pamela Forrest, Valsetz
NEW TRANSLATION/ADAPTATION: Milena Albert, The Seagull
DIRECTOR/MUSICAL: Tim Dang,
DIRECTOR/PLAY: Andrew J.
Robinson, Yield of the Long Bond
LEADING ACTOR/PLAY: Tony
Abatemarco, The Mystery of Irma Vep
LEADING ACTRESS/PLAY: Patricia
LEADING ACTOR/MUSICAL: Deven
May, Bat Boy
Charlotte D'Ambroise, Chicago
FEATURED ACTOR/PLAY: Tom
Beyer, The Cider House Blues
Stephanie Faracy, Two Rooms
Wilson Cruz, Rent
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
Naomi Yoshida Rodriguez, Pacific Overtures
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
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
ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE
from left to right: David Riedy, Holli Harms,
India Cooper, Geneva Carr and Tristan Fitch in Step In and Stand Clear Photo By: Carol
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.
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,
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.
THIS AND THAT
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.
MR. SINATRA AND ROCK AND ROLL
- not musical opposites - rather, winning horse flesh.
Mr. Sinatra and Rock and Roll ran 1-2 in the Aqueduct Grade 3 1000G Stuyvesant Handicap.
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 www.broadwaytovegas.com are
thankful for your readership.
Next Column: November 30, 1998
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