Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: November 26, 2017
By: Laura Deni


A former member of the Flying Karamazov Brothers, now a college professor, Michael Preston makes his debut as Scrooge. Photo: Trinity College
Everyone's favorite A Christmas Carol is being staged around the world with some companies putting their own spin on the inspiring classic. Broadway To Vega did a spot check to see how old Scrooge was holding up.

The magic of Charles Dickens’ heart-warming classic has returned for its 20th season at Hartford Stage in Connecticut.

Michael Preston who as Trinity College Associate Professor of Theater and Dance teaches acting, stage production, and play-writing, spent 1991-2000 touring the world as one of the juggling Flying Karamazov Brothers, which included three different runs on Broadway.

Now he is making his debut as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Preston studied mime, circus, clowning, and comedy while living and working in New York City got his start acting because of his mother. She wasn't a pushy stage mother, rather the registrar at the Yale School of Drama. When a production needed a child, he was drafted.

According to the official Trinity College publication, in a piece penned by Andrew J. Concatell, Preston "fell in love with the students of the drama school at the time - Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver - and it was the most magical world."

Come see Connecticut’s favorite family holiday tradition and spend some time in their magical world with Robert Hannon Davis as Bob Cratchit. Directed by Rachel Alderman, the production features original music and sound design by John Gromada. Ken Clark is the musical director.

Performances run through December 30, 2017 at Hartford Stage.

To celebrate this 40th year of producing A Christmas Carol Theatre Memphis will be holding a reunion, Casts of Christmas Pasts on opening night, December 1, 2017. The venue requests that anyone who has ever performed in one of their night time A Christmas Carol performances take part in the celebration. Those who have been a part of Scrooge's journey are asked to call the box office at the theatre, give theirr name and year(s) that you were in the cast.

Original and long-time Scrooge Barry Fuller will be reading a passage at the beginning of the show and a reception will be held after the show to visit and have photo opportunities. "We are hoping to get groups of Tiny Tims, Cratchit Families, Marleys, Scrooges, etc. God bless them, every one!"

Another special event will be held Sunday, December 10. Holiday for Heroes is a designated night to offer military, policemen, firefighters, first responders, and Shelby County teachers discounted tickets for that night’s performance.

John Rone directs this year's production - and also plays Bob Cratchit - which runs through December 23, 2017. David Shipley is cast as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Charleston Stage founder and artistic director Julian Wiles directs A Christmas Carol. Photo: Charleston Stage
The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta is staging the Charles Dickens classic, directed by Rosemary Newcott. Patrons are able to experience the Alliance’s beloved adaptation by David H. Bell, staged for the first time at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre December 8-24.

Opening November 29 with performances through December 20, 2017 at Charleston Stage in South Carolina is a stage adaptation of the iconic favorite by Charleston Stage founder and artistic director Julian Wiles, who also is directing. The musical direction is by Sam Henderson with choreography by Cara Dolan.

Yesterday, November 25, a special one-hour version of A Christmas Carol opened at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. Their version of the magic begins "when a troupe of actors appear at the historic Walnut Street Theatre to set up and perform the heartwarming tale of Ebenezer Scrooge.

"You and your favorite kids are in for a treat with a special hour-long adaptation which uses original and traditional songs to highlight Dickens' powerful story. Deck the halls as our holiday spirits travel beyond the footlights, right into your very own heart."

A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie
Lauren Keating directs A Christmas Carol She is a Time Warner Foundation Fellow, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab member, a founding member of The Internationalists, a New Georges Affiliated Artist and the Old Vic/New Voices Exchange American Director, 2009. She is an NYU/Tisch Alumni, the former General Manager of LAVA, the former Artistic Associate at The Shakespeare Society and a four-time Drama League Directors Project Fellow;. a Mellon Foundation/TCG Leadership University Fellow and the Associate Producer at The Guthrie Theater
in Minnesota is adapted by Crispin Whittell and directed by Lauren Keating. The venue is proud that for 43 years they have been staging this holiday tradition with performances through December 30, 2017.

A whopping 19 actors have tackled the role of Ebenezer Scrooge over the course of 43 years at the Guthrie. This year Nathaniel Fuller takes on the part. 10-year-old Sophie Jones of Chaska. is making her professional stage debut in the iconic role of Tiny Tim.

Their production is an active one. They advise that "Ghosts make loud noises and play with CO2 jets, strobe lights, haze and fog."

ACT in Seattle stages that city's holiday tradition which has been.adapted by Gregory A. Falls and directed by Emily Penick. Mounted through December 28, 2017

Peter Crook portrays Scrooge. Abraham McNeil Adams is cast as Bob Cratchit and Keagan Estes takes on the role of Tiny Tim.

ACT is hosting a food drive throughout the run of A Christmas Carol to benefit Northwest Harvest. Bring in a donation, and help relieve hunger in our community. Donation bins are located in the Union Street Lobby. Northwest Harvest provides nutritious food to hungry people statewide in a manner that respects their dignity, while fighting to eliminate hunger. Founded in 1967, Northwest Harvest is the only nonprofit food bank distributor operating statewide and have received top charity rankings and reviews from Guidestar, the BBB, and Charity Navigator.

At the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey you can follow Ebenezer Scrooge on a magical journey through Christmas past, present, and future and watch as a large part of the community - including 35 members from the greater Princeton area - bring this story to life. Greg Wood stars as Greg Wood.

Adapted by David Thompson and directed by Adam Immerwahr, the production runs December 5-31, 2017.

Celebrating 40 years at Trinity Rep, Rhode Island’s family holiday tradition brings Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, Tiny Tim, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future to the stage in a glorious re-telling of the classic story that has delighted and inspired millions.

Called New England’s favorite family holiday tradition, this version features original music by Richard Cumming with direction by Angela Brazil and Stephen Thorne, with Joe Wilson, Jr. as Ebenezer Scrooge.

This year’s production which runs through December 31, features 18 community groups from across Rhode Island performing in the show. The groups include: Rhode Island Latino Arts (RILA), Progreso Latino, Youth Pride, Dance for the Aging Population, Veteran’s Administration, Girls Rock! Rhode Island, Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships (SOAR), The Boys and Girls Club of Woonsocket, Dorcas International, Tomaquag Museum, The Boys and Girls Club of Pawtucket, Partnerships for Providence Parks, YouthBuild Preparatory Academy, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI),Tenderloin Opera Company, The Manton Avenue Project, Seven Hills Foundation and Festival Ballet Providence.

Since 2006, the cast has raised money at curtain after every show for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank to help Rhode Islanders in need and remind audiences to bring the spirit of Dickens’ story into their lives and the rest of Rhode Island. Trinity Rep has raised over $400,000 since 2006 for the Food Bank thanks to the generosity of audience members.

Theatre of the Republic, the Official Theatre of Horry County, South Carolina, is staging Scrooge: The Musical a 1992 stage musical with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Its score and book are closely adapted from the music and screenplay of the 1970 musical film Scrooge. The production runs December 6 - 17, 2017.

It's considered an Oklahoma tradition for the Lyric to stage A Christmas Carol, and they are fulfilling the time honored tradition with a stunning set and sparkling costumes. Dirk Lumbard is Ebenezer Scrooge and Charlie Monnot is Bob Cratchit. Nakeisha McGee is cast as Mrs. Cratchit. The production runs through December 24, 2017.

Chicago's Goodman Theatre celebrates 40 years of A Christmas Carol. On November 28, 1978 actor Val Bettin launched what would become one of Chicago's most enduring theatrical traditions: Goodman Theatre's A Christmas Carol. The inaugural production, directed by Tony Mockus, featured William J. Norris as Scrooge and Bettin as Charles Dickens, acting for several years as the story's narrator.

Lighting designer Robert Christen designed the first production, returning each year until his untimely death in 2014. Among many beautiful effects, Christen created one of the show’s most awe-inspiring moments: the magical panorama of stars.

Legendary improv director, actor and writer and iO Theater founder Del Close appeared as the Ghost of Christmas Present, returning for several engagements. Upon his death in 1999, Close requested his skull be donated to the Goodman to be used on stage.

After four decades and 1.5 million visitors, A Christmas Carol remains "Chicago's favorite holiday tradition." This year's production is directed by Henry Wishcamper. Joe Foust portrays Jacob Marley and Larry Yando is Ebenezer Scrooge. This holiday treasure runs through December 31, 2017.

The Denver Theatre calls staging A Christmas Carol "essential to the holiday season in Denver." Adapted by Richard Hellesen, with music by David de Berry. Sam Gregory returns in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge with Director Melissa Rain Anderson at the helm of this beloved holiday tradition, which can be enjoyed through December 24, 2017 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

The Alley Theatre in Houston reopened their doors last Friday, November 24 with a special Deck the Trees Lighting Ceremony, followed by the seasonal kickoff of A Christmas Carol- A Ghost of Christmas!

The lobby of the Hubbard Theatre was transformed into a magical wonderland of trees to greet patrons that they arrived to attend the retelling of Charles Dickens' classic story, which follows Ebenezer Scrooge's journey with the three ghostly spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve.

Directed by James Black the production stars Jeffrey Bean as Ebenezer Scrooge.

This is the 30th season that The Alley has staged the holiday classic. The production requires 14 show machines and 50 pounds of confetti.

We can't possible ignore where it all began - Dickens' England.

David Edgar is one of the most prolific dramatists of the post 1960's generation in Great Britain. He's enjoyed a long term relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has adapted a new version of A Christmas Carol. Photo: Writers Guild of the UK.
For the first time, experience an immersive Christmas performance in the State Apartments at Windsor Castle where there will be 12 performances December 16, 2017 - January 4, 2018. Performances will take place in the Waterloo Chamber and St George's Hall.

Be transported into the world of Dickens's A Christmas Carol as you accompany Ebenezer Scrooge from the Castle gates to the Waterloo Chamber, where Jacob Marley awaits to conjure his haunting dreams of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After a seated performance with action taking place all around, follow Scrooge into St George's Hall to celebrate his new found festive spirit beneath the breathtaking Christmas tree.

Experience Dickens's classic story in his own words with live music and immersive elements at Windsor, the home of Christmas as we know it. Many of our favorite traditions were introduced by Queen Victoria, who looked upon Christmas as 'a most dear happy time'. Patrons are invited to experience the same and are on notice that filming may take place between December 20-23.

From November 27, 2017 - February 4, 2018 The Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-Upon-Avon presents their version with Phil David as Scrooge.

A brand new adaptation by David Edgar rediscover the social conscience of this timeless tale. A festive tale of redemption and compassion. Rachel Kavanaugh directs, fresh from the West End with her award-winning production of Half A Sixpence.

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FAKE NEWS Truth, lies and the pursuit of a good story have always influenced the news. Since the US presidential election in November 2016, ‘fake news’ has become a buzz phrase. But it’s far from a 21st-century phenomenon.

Visit this exhibit for an investigation of how and why these stories are created - and how new technologies are changing the ways information is spread across the globe.

opened November 24, 2017 and is on display through January 28, 2018 at the Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England.


Prince William and Kate greet performers after the show. Photo: Kensington Palace.
that would be William and Kate on this side of the pond, attended the Royal Variety Performance show on Friday, November 24, hosted by Miranda Hart who most recently starred in the West End production of Annie: The Musical.

Hart convinced Prince William to take part in a comedy sketch. With a spotlight shining on him while he sat next to his wife who was wearing a sparkling Jenny Packham gown embellished blue dress, adorned with beads, sequins and flowers, William was required to shout the catch-phrase 'such fun' whenever Hart directed him to do so from the stage.

William enthusiastically carried out his role causing his wife and others in the royal box, Laurie Mansfield, life president and executive producer of the Royal Variety Charity, and Giles Cooper, chairman and executive producer of the show, to dissolve in laughter,

Hart included William and Kate in her act right from the start. Using her plural version, she referred to them as 'Your Royal Highnii', and changed the lyrics to Irving Berlin's classic from Annie Get Your Gun to 'there's no Duchess like show Duchess'.

Later she sat on an elegant gold and red chair and asked the couple if they were suffering 'throne envy'.

Performers included: the casts of West End musicals 42nd Street, and Annie, Kelsey Grammer and the cast of Big Fish, the cast of Circus Abyssinia, Alfie Boe, Amber Riley, Beverly Knight, Cassidy Janson, Beverly Knight, Cassidy Janson, James Blut, Jason Manford, The Killers, Louis Tomlinson, Michael Ball, Palmona Faith, The Script, Seal, winner of Britain's Got Talent Tokio Myers, and Tom Allen.

Afterwards the royal couple stayed to meet members of the cast and other attendees including Dame Joan Collins, Patricia Hodge, Sarah Hadland, Sally Phillips, the Benidorm cast - Jake Canuso, Sherrie Hewson, Tony Maudsley and Janine Duvitski.

The Royal Variety Performance has been staged since 1912 and is now watched by over 152 million TV viewers worldwide, making it the most successful and longest running entertainment show in the world.

The money raised from the show helps hundreds of entertainers throughout the UK, who need help and assistance as a result of old age, ill-health, or hard times.

With 89 shows spanning 105 years, the event is held in aid of the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund of which the Queen is patron.

The first installment was in aid of the Variety Artistes' Benevolent Fund and its proposed plans to build an extension to its Brinsworth House home for elderly entertainers. King George V and Queen Mary agreed to attend.

A second royal show was performed in July 1919 and billed as a celebration of post-war peace.

It became an annual event at the suggestion of George V in 1921, when the King decreed that 'the monarch or a senior member of the Royal Family, would attend an annual performance, in aid of Brinsworth House and the Royal Variety Charity, once a year thereafter'.

AMA HOLIDAY CABARET MUSIC FROM THE SILVER SCREEN Company members and celebrity guests perform songs from iconic cinematic moments at IAMA Theatre Company’s 4th annual star-studded holiday cabaret.

This year’s scheduled guests include Utkarsh Ambudka, Angelique Cabral, Parvesh Cheena, Katie Lowes, Joey McIntyre, and more.

The one-night only event is a benefit for IAMA’s theatrical programming. Sunday, December 3, 2017 at Rockwell Table and Stage in Los Angeles.


an a cappella album released by Broadway Record captured beautifully blending voices singing well known songs with a different twist - arrangement - in the most intriguing, captivating and enjoyable manner.

Composed of Marty Gasper, Diana Preisler, Jonathan Minkoff, and Jeff Washburn, and Marty Gasper who also recorded, edited and mixed this CD. Collectively these four talents, are soloists in their own right - are known as Blue Jupiter. They know how to sing.

All of the arrangements are also the work of Gasper who was assisted of two of the numbers bt fellow Blue Jupiter member: Jeff Washburn has co credit on Magic To Do and Jonathan Minkoff has co-credit with Summertime.

Opening with I Got The Sun in the Morning there is absolutely nothing to criticize about this CD.

What twists the familiar songs are the different arrangements while managing not to bastardize the original meanings of the lyrics or musical framework.

One song in particular Summertime a classic which has deep, moody feelings, is given a different beat, yet never clouds nor distorts the emotions intended of George and Ira Gershwin.

All That Jazz is spunky. Whatever Lola Wants follows and you know that Lola is seductively in control.

It doesn't matter what type of music you prefer, there is going to be an arrangement in at least one of the songs that will be your favorite.

Like rap? That style is captured in a portion of My Favorite Things. Want Gospel? The last half of Put on a Happy Face, will please. A Latin beat is recognizable in Close The Door. Is soaring pop your fave? That's all over this CD.

They have their own re-imagined version of Let It Go from Frozen. There is marvelous vocal and emotional depth to Over the Rainbow.

Blue Jupiter is everything an a cappella group should be, but few groups can pull off the tight harmony for more than a number of two without sounding like one long song. This group can handle all musical styles.

If you ever see Blue Jupiter listed on a performance bill, go see them. If you don't want to waste your money buying a CD which you fear you might not enjoy - this one is a sure bet for a great listen.

Mastered by Dave Hevalow at The Soundlab by Disc Makers. Photographs in the booklet by Ilan Harel, Package design by Robbie Rozelle.



BRAVO TO THE GIRL SCOUTS for launching their "She Doesn't Owe Anyone A Hug, Not Even at Holiday Time," campaign - taking a stand against the ridiculous (uncomfortable and awkward) practice of everyone hugging each other - especially girls and women being expected to hug (and kiss) everyone they greet and required to accept a hug from anyone within arm's reach.

“Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays” was posted to the nonprofit organization’s website and social media reminds that holiday get-togethers could “be a time when your daughter gets the wrong idea about consent and physical affection.”

Girl Scouts advises: “Give your girl the space to decide when and how she wants to show affection,” and the article suggests replacing hugs and kisses with gestures like smiles or high-fives.

The problem acerbated thanks to both daytime and nighttime talk shows, with guests expected to permit themselves to be hugged by all panelists. That sends a wrong message to viewers.

As for little girls, if weird Uncle gives you a Christmas present, say 'thank you' and write a thank you note.

Being introduced on a talk show? Whatever happened to 'welcome, so glad to have you here' or some such phrase? If a boss required you to hug him when you arrived for work - that would be called sexual harassment. Expecting anyone - of any age - to accept a gift with a hug, kiss or both - is presumptuous.

It one thing to hug somebody you love. It's entirely different to be expected to let somebody you don't know well, or at all, or perhaps don't even like to put their arms around you, rubbing your breasts with their body or rubbing their hand up and down your back. People ought to learn to keep their hands to themselves.

PETER & THE WOLF NARRATED BY ISSAC MIZRAHI Sergei Prokofiev’s charming children’s classic is narrated as Brad Lubman conducts Ensemble Signal and a cast performs choreography by John Heginbotham.

December 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

ENCORE RADIO is a London area radio station specializing in music from favorite musicals.

"If you love musicals like Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, RENT, The Lion King, Cats, Miss Saigon, Evita, Grease, Sound of Music, Oliver, Mamma Mia, West Side Story, Aladdin and many, many more... Encore Radio is the station for you," they promise.

"Encore Radio plays songs from your favorite musicals, all day, every day."

Their program lineup includes West End and Broadway star Kerry Ellis, every Saturday from 2pm and West End, Hollyoaks and Blue star Duncan James, every Sunday from 10am.

Other tune spinners include: Lewis Mason, Liz Wickham, Jamie Crick, Beverley Hunter, Jamie Edwards and Tim McArthur.

PRINCE HARRY will guest edit an episode of the BCRadio4 Today program this December, it has been announced. The guy expected to marry Meghan Markle is "working closely with the Today team to produce segments on a range of topics that are close to his heart including youth violence, conservation, and mental health."

SINCE THIS IS THE SEASON FOR OVER EATING consider how George Washington ate at Mount Vernon. According to Mary V. Thompson, Research Historian, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. "In February 1799, Joshua Brooks recorded a number of specific details about his dinner at Mount Vernon. The table was arranged with a leg of boiled pork at the head, a goose at the foot, and the following dishes arranged around the table: roast beef, round cold boiled beef, mutton chops, hominy, cabbage, potatoes, pickles, fried tripe, and onions. Beverages offered during dinner included wine, porter, and beer.

"The tablecloth was wiped off before the second course, which included mince pies, tarts, and cheese. The cloth was then removed altogether and port and madeira, as well as two kinds of nuts, apples, and raisins were set out. The eight diners were attended by three servants."

NATIONAL CAKE DAY is today, November 26. Monday is National Bavarian Cream Pie Day. Tuesday is National French Toast Day. November 29 is National Chocolates Day, National Lemon Creme Pie Day and National Rice Cake Day. November 30 is National Mousse Day. December 1 is National Fried Pie Day and National French Fried Clam Day. December 2 is National Fritters Day.

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: THE 1946 LIVE RADIO PLAY adapted by Anthony Palermo.

Directed by Charlotte Moore.

George Bailey, the nicest guy in town is in a terrible predicament. We find him perched precariously on a bridge, on the verge of suicide. Enter Clarence, George’s guardian angel, who has not yet earned his wings. Clarence shows George what Bedford Falls would be if George had never been born! This beloved holiday-season drama is brought vividly to life in a stage adaptation of Frank Capra’s classic film of sacrifice and redemption in small-town America.

Set in a radio station in the 1940s, with a live sound FX artist, this poignant drama features six actors portraying 25 unforgettable characters. P.S. - Clarence wins his wings.

The cast features Haley Bond, Dewey Caddell, Orlagh Cassidy, Rory Duffy, Aaron Gaines and Ian Holcomb.

Set design: James Morgan. Costume design: Barbara Bell. Lighting design: Brian Nason. Lve sound design: Zachary Williamson with live sound effects by Rory Duffy. April Kline serves as production stage manager.

Previews begin Wednesday, November 29, 2017, with opening night set for Sunday, December 3, 2017. Performances through Sunday, December 31, 2017 on the W. Scott McLucas Studio Stage at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York City.

THE BOX OF DELIGHTS by Piers Torday based on the much-loved novel by Poet Laureate John Masefield.

Directed by Justin Audibert.

The Box of Delights is "a magical and festive adventure like no other, in which one boy must enlist the help of the heroes of the past, to defeat the evil in his present. The very future of Christmas itself depends upon him."

Kay Harker is on the train home from school for the holidays. But this Christmas will be different. His parents are dead, and the wolves are running.

On the train he meets an old magician, Cole Hawlings, who charges Kay with protecting his Box of Delights, a wondrous device with time traveling powers. But when the old man mysteriously disappears, Kay faces the fight of his life to protect the Box, and with it, the people he loves. For Cole’s nemesis, the wicked sorcerer Abner Brown will stop at nothing to get his hands on the Box.

Starring Olivier-award winner Matthew Kelly and three-time Olivier award nominated Josefina Gabrielle. The cast also includes: Mark Extance, Safiyya Ingar, Tom Kanji, Samuel Simmonds, Rosalind Steele, and Alistair Toovey

Set Design by Oliver award winning Tom Piper. Video Desig by Nina Dunn. Lighting Design by Anna Watson. Composer and Sound Desig by Ed Lewis. Casting Director Vicky Richardson. Movement Director Simon Pittman. Puppetry Desig by Samuel Wyer.

The World Stage Premiere takes place December 1, 2017 - January 6, 2018 at Wilton's Music Hall in London.

KING TUT: A PYRAMID PANTO a production by the Charles Court Opera.

Directed by John Savournin.

Musical Direction by David Eaton.

Firmly established as a bonafide London Christmas tradition, in this their eleventh fun-filled festive extravaganza, the company promises this "to be one of the wackiest, wittiest pantos in town."

"This year, it's all about Egypt, so ditch the tinsel and travel back in time to the Valley of the Kings for a whirlwind adventure of mummies, magic and mayhem, featuring a dazzling array of musical numbers performed by a five-strong cast that promises to whip up a vocal sandstorm.

"From adult-only performances through to children's matinees, King Tut is perfect for families, couples, groups of friends and office parties. This Egyptian-themed Christmas cracker of a show will keep you toe-tapping well into the New Year and beyond."

John Savournin and Matthew Kellett perform on alternate dates.

Choreographer Tara Randell. Set Designer Sean Turner. Costume Design Mia Wallden. Lighting Design Nicholas Holdridge.

November 24, 2017 - January 6, 2018 at Kings Head Theatre in London.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

Directed by Joseph Leo Bwarie.

Joey McIntyre has joined the cast for only three weeks. You can enjoy him through December 10, 2017.

Other talents on stage are Paul C. Vogt, Candi Milo, Kevin Symons, Nicole Kaplan, Michael Thomas Grant, Ethan Cohn, E.K. Dagenfield, Clayton Snyder, Vanessa Nichole, Shamicka Benn and Liz Bustle.

The Gods of Comedy are pleased! Broadway’s big, fat Roman musical is back, with a new spin on Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Sondheim’s raucous comedy that pays tribute to the original funny man himself, Plautus. Ancient Rome is turned on its ear in this bawdy romp of mistaken identity and twisting plots, where secrets hide behind every toga.

Performances through December 31, 2017 at the Garry Marshall Theater in Burbank, CA.


MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER which has two touring companies opens a two nighter on Monday, November 27, at the Harris Center For The Arts in Folsom, CA. A one night performance on Monday is at the Mendel Center Mainstage in Benton Harbor, MI. That touring group then performs Wednesday at the Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, OH. Thursdays stops are at the Rabobank Theater in Bakersfield, CA and at the Stranahan Theater in Toledo, OH. On Friday they can be enjoyed at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, NY and at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The holiday show is at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, NJ and at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA on Saturday. Next Sunday, December 3, the annual tour stops at the Segerstrom Center For The Arts in Costa Mesa, CA and at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT.

BRYN TERFEL in recital at Dubai Opera on December 3, 2017 in Dubai, UAE.

REBA McENTIRE the beautiful and multi-talented songbird opens at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Wednesday, November 29. Other performance dates are December 1, 2, 5, 8-10.

JOY a holiday celebration featuring the award-winning singers of John Burroughs High School Vocal Music Association (the group that inspired TV’s Glee) comes to the stage of the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank, CA on Tuesday, November 28.

THE IRISH TENORS enjoy the boisterous charm of The Irish Tenors, Ireland’s premier ambassadors of song - Ronan Tynan, Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns - in a heartwarming Christmas performance joined by a full orchestra. Friday, December 1, 2017 at the State Theatre of New Jersey in New Brunswick, NJ.

ALICE RIPLEY AND EMILY SKINNER: UNATTACHED at Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City for shows November 28 - December 6 with both new material and some of their old favorites.

THE WEEKND Canadian singer, songwriter and record producer brings his tour to the Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday, November 29. On Saturday December 2 he opens a two night stand at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia.


ELIZABETH WEDGEWORTH a Tony award winning actress died November 16, 2017 in New York City. She was 83.

Wedgeworth made her Broadway debut in the play Make a Million in 1958.. Other Broadway credits include Period of Adjustment, Blues for Mister Charlie, The Last Analysis, and Thieves. In 1978, she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Chapter Two.

Wedgeworth appeared off-Broadway at New York's Promenade Theatre from December 5, 1985, until June 1, 1986, in Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, co-starring Harvey Keitel and Geraldine Page; coincidentally, Page, married actor Rip Torn after his divorce from Wedgeworth. She gained fame on the small screan as Lana Shields in Three's Company and Merleen Elldridge in Evening Shade. Her marriage to Rip Torn produced a daughter actress Danae Torn. In 1970, she married acting teacher and director Ernie Martin, with whom she had another daughter, actress/acting teacher/writer Dianna Martin and stepson. She is survived by Martin and her two daughters and her stepson.

MEL TILLIS the affable longtime country star who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and many others, and overcame a stutter to sing on dozens of his own singles, died Sunday, November 19, 2017 at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. Tillis battled intestinal issues since 2016 and never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure. He was 85.

Tillis, the father of country singer Pam Tillis, recorded more than 60 albums and had more than 30 top 10 country singles, including Good Woman Blues,“Coca Cola Cowboy and Southern Rain. Among the hits he wrote for others were Detroit City for Bobby Bare; Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town, for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition; and Thoughts of a Fool for George Strait.

A popular Las vegas performer, in all the Country Music Hall of Fame member wrote more than 1,000 songs. On February 13, 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts for his contributions to country music.

He is survived by six children Pam Tillis, Connie Tillis, Cindy Shorey, Sonny Tillis, Carrie April Tillis, and Hannah Puryear, six grandchildren, a great grandson, a sister (Linda Crosby) and brother (Richard Tillis), the mother of five of his children, Doris Tillis, and his longtime partner Kathy DeMonaco.

DELLA REESE singer and actress whose successful career spanned six decades died in hr California home on Monday, November 20, 2017. She was 86.

The four time Grammy nominated singer was a popular Las Vegas performer and one of the first Black women to headline the Strip.

In 1979 she suffered two brain aneurysms that nearly claimed her life.

Reese became an ordained minister in the 1980s through the Christian New Thought branch known as Unity, leading her to found her own church, Understanding Principles for Better Living (also known as “UP Church”).

Her most famous television role was the part of “supervising angel” Tess on the CBS series Touched By an Angel beginning in 1994 and running through 2003.

Reese's four marriages included a brief, annulled union with Mercer Ellington, son of jazz great Duke Ellington. She was predeceased by daughter Deloreese. she is survived by her children James, Franklin and Dominique, as well as husband Franklin Lett, a film producer and concert promoter.

DAVID CASSIDY teen idol, chart topping singer and former star of The Partridge Family TV hit of the 1970s, and Las Vegas star, died Tuesday, November 21, 2017 in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida hospital of liver failure. The singer had alcoholism problems also suffered from dementia. He was 67.

A singer, songwriter and actor, he was the son of Tony award winner Jack Cassidy and actress Evelyn Ward. His father died in an apartment fire in West Hollywood in 1976. His mother died in 2012. His step-mother was Shirley Jones, with whom he starred on The Partridge Family.

On January 2, 1969, Cassidy made his professional debut in the Broadway musical The Fig Leaves Are Falling. Although the play closed after four performances, a casting director saw the show and asked Cassidy to make a screen test. His career was launched.

Cassidy starred in several Broadway productions, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Blood Brothers, alongside Petula Clark and his half-brother, Shaun Cassidy.

In 1996, Cassidy replaced Michael Crawford in the Las Vegas show EFX. He also created The Rat Pack is Back, in which he made guest appearances as Bobby Darin.

Cassidy's first wife was actress Kay Lenz whom he married on April 3, 1977, and divorced in the early 1980s. His second wife was horse breeder Meryl Tanz, whom he married in 1984.This marriage ended in the mid 1980s. His daughter, actress Katie Cassidy, was born in 1986 from a relationship with Sherry Williams Benedon. Cassidy married Sue Shifrin on March 30, 1991. They had one child, Beau in 1991.Shifrin filed for divorce in 2014. Cassidy is survived by a son; Beau; a daughter, actress Katie Cassidy; and three half-brothers, Shaun, Patrick and Ryan.

GEORGE AVAKIAN record producer, artist manager, writer, educator and executive died November 22, 2017 in his New York City home. He was 98.

He produced the classic Louis Armstrong Plays WC Handy and one of Dave Brubeck’s most popular albums, Dave Digs Disney. He also signed up Davis for Columbia and co-produced Miles Ahead, the 1957 album that began Davis’ collaborations with arranger Gil Evans and established him as among the first jazz superstars of the post-second world war era.

During the time he worked for Warner Bros. signed the Everly Brothers and a young humorist named Bob Newhart whose first album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, became one of the best-selling comedy records of all time.

In the 1950s, Avakian supervised two historic live recordings: Benny Goodman Live at Carnegie Hall 1938 and Ellington at Newport. The Goodman concert, released in 1950, was among jazz’s first double albums, first live albums and first to sell a million copies.

His numerous awards included: in 2010 he received the National Endowments for the Arts AB Spellman Jazz Advocacy Award. The nation's highest honor in Jazz was presented to him for his work as a Producer, Manager, Critic, Jazz Historian and Educator. In 2011 he was added to the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame as a Living Legend Giant of Jazz.

Avakian was married for 68 years to the violinist Anahid Ajemian, a founding member of the Composers String Quartet. She died in 2016. He is survived by daughters Anahid Avakian Gregg and Maro Avakin and a son Gregory Avakian and two grandchildren.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of the Recording Academy issued the following statement: "George Avakian was a dedicated record producer and talent scout known for his significant contributions to the evolution of the music industry. In a career spanning more than 40 years, George achieved several notable milestones including popularizing liner notes, helping establish long-playing albums as the industry standard, and developing the first jazz reissue series. He was also an early leader and past Chair of the Recording Academy. His work on The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings earned him the Best Album Notes Grammy Award for 1996, and in 2009 he was honored with the Academy’s Trustees Award for his remarkable impact in the field of recording. We have lost an integral member of our creative community. Our condolences go out to George's family, friends, and fellow collaborators."

PETER BALDWIN Emmy Award winning, prolific television director who began his career as an actor died November 19, 2017 in Pebble Beach, California. He was 86.

Beginning his career as an actor he performed in several movies and toured with Julie Harris in the play The Warm Peninsula. Baldwin won a Primetime Emmy Award for directing The Wonder Years.

After retiring to Pebble Beach, he served on the board of the Pacific Repertory Theater in Carmel-By-The-Sea.

He is survived by his wife, Terry, son Drew Baldwin, daughters Amy Anderson and Eleonora Baldwin, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Next Column: December 3, 2017
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