Broadway To Vegas
SHOW REVIEWS CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS GOSSIP NEWS
Copyright: November 30, 1998
By: Laura Deni
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WHERE IS TOMMY
The gifted Tommy Tune arrived in Las Vegas a month ago to rehearse for his starring role in
EFX, replacing David Cassidy in the mega technical production at the MGM Grand Hotel. The
arrival of the talented Tune has been the talk of the town and this website (see
column of Oct. 19)
Tune's arrival in Vegas fueled some over-reactionaries to jump to the conclusion that Tune was
going to fizzle out on Sandy Duncan and try to worm out of co-starring with her in Two For
Shame! Shame! Not so.
The song and dance confection Two For The Show starring Tune and Duncan opens
tomorrow, December 1, at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle with performances through Dec.
Tune and the delightful Duncan lead a full company of singers and dancers in this exclusive
musical special. This perfect holiday treat also features the talents of the Manhattan Rhythm
Kings, Don Correla and Guy Stroman.
Duncan and Tune have been friends for years. Over a decade ago they teamed up with the intent
of turning the old television series Topper into a musical where they would play the
ghosts. It never materialized.
What did developed for Sandy was an interesting career with some delightful highs and
devastating lows. Duncan spent more than two decades enjoying success on Broadway in
musicals including Peter Pan and Tune's My One and Only.
She made her television sitcom debut in 1971 in Funny Face, but developed a brain tumor
that not only ended the successful series, but cost Sandy her eye.
TOMMY TUNE flanked by SIEGFRIED & ROY
It hasn't been all work for Tune. He recently stopped
backstage to visit with Siegfried and Roy after seeing their show at the Mirage Hotel.
That was an event which could have emotionally destroyed some people. Not Sandy. The plucky
She returned to the small screen the following season in The Sandy Duncan Show, which
fell victim to poor ratings. Then she replaced Valerie Harper in the television series
Valerie when Harper was out after a contract dispute.
It was an interesting
for Duncan who managed to walk the professional picket fence. Although the ratings improved,
the show, which went through two name changes, didn't make it.
The Broadway hoofer-turned sitcom star has come full circle. Co-starring with her old pal
Tommy Tune, the terrific twosome is a holiday delight in Two For The Show.
Following Two For The Show the tireless Tune then returns to Las Vegas where he'll
continue preparing for EFX.
Tommy Tune officially opens in EFX on January 12.
FROM GERMAN STAR
Uta Lemper, the sexy German star who received rave reviews for her performance in England,
has replaced Bebe Neuwirth in Chicago. Lemper wasted no time is putting her stamp on
the role of the hardened murderess. The gorgeous blonde, who has been compared to Garbo, is
establishing a powerful German American relationship. The siren has given notice that she is not
only up for the part, but a box office plus for the production.
Brent Barrett now stars as Billy Flynn. James Naughton took home a Tony for his portrayal of the
flamboyant lawyer. To Barrett's credit he has put his own edge on the mouthpiece role. Karen
Ziemba nails her role as Roxy. Marcia Lewis remains as the original cast member. Her role as
prison matron Mama Morton is show stopping.
If you saw and loved Chicago with Neuwirth, Naughton and Lewis - go see the show
again. You'll be thrilled with Lemper, Ziemba, Barrett and Lewis.
This revival celebrated it's second anniversary on November 15. Director Walter Bobbie,
choreographer Ann Reinking, writers John Kander and Fred Ebb deserve to be proud.
The wears well production currently has two national touring companies, a London West End
production and shows in Australia and Vienna. Productions are about to open in Germany,
Tokyo, Sweden and Holland.
LINDA EDER OUT OF CIVIL WAR
Linda Eder, who won rave reviews for her starring role in Broadway's Jekyll & Hyde,
received a standing ovation for just walking on stage when she recently performed at Pepperdine
University, Malibu, California.
Harvey Geller, former editor of Cash Box Magazine and former staff member of
Billboard and Daily Variety magazines is president of Clarinet Music Publishing.
He attended Linda's show and
lost himself in superlatives.
Geller reported that Eder not only received a standing ovation for just walking on stage, but was
rewarded with six additional standing ovations during her SRO performance.
Geller assured me that there was nothing the matter with the room and people didn't think they
were in an aerobics class - Linda delivered a dynamite performance that warranted the audience
behaving as though they were at a rock concert.
The beauty who made her Broadway debut when she created the role of Lucy in Jekyll &
Hyde included numbers from that show as well as selections from her CD It's Time.
Married to composer Frank Wildhorn - Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel -
the talented singer departed Jekyll & Hyde for her husband's newest effort Civil
Wildhorn was present at the concert. Geller reported that Eder has left Civil War because
Wildhorn decided the production wasn't right for her. Wildhorn is composing another show
specifically to showcase his wife's talents.
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AN ACCIDENTAL CHRISTMAS
If you haven't yet heard Rudiana an outrageous spoof of Rudolph The Red Nose
Reindeer - you will. American Express is using the ditty on their promotional CD
Express Holiday 98 to be distributed in shopping malls during this holiday season.
Pictured with Santa Claus members of The
Accidentals are; Emily Bindiger, Bill Mitchell, Dennis
Deal, Todd Johnson, Jim Vincent, Marcia Pelletiere, Rosie Vallese.
The song is sung by The Accidentals who in l997 received both MAC and Back Stage Bistro
Awards as Best Vocal Group.
The soundtracks of two major motion pictures to be released in December Enemy of the
State starring Will Smith and Disney's I'll Be Home For Christmas also includes
Christmas carols sung by The Accidentals.
They have recorded their unusual arrangements of Christmas carols on their second CD An
Accidental Christmas, which includes Rudiana. The CD on Sharp/Flat Records is set
for an early December release.
The Accidentals will perform at The Bottom Line NYC on December 7 singing An Acappella
Christmas as part of the benefit, Bandless Aid for World Hunger Year.On Friday,
Dec. 18 they will be featured in The Downtown Messiah. The new rendition of Handel's
masterpiece will have musical direction by Richard Barone and choral director by Margaret Dorn,
leader of The Accidentals. The group will also perform their own Christmas show at The Bitter
End on Dec. 16.
For information on Bandless
Aid For World Huner call (212) 228-7880. For information on The
Downtown Messiah call (212) 228-6300.
Tom Andersen, a two-time MAC Award-winning vocalist is appearing at Eight-Eight's NYC
through Dec. 18. As a vocalist Andersen has been compared to Johnny Mathis. As a songwriter,
he has been signed to a contract by WarnerChappell Music Publishers.
His poignant AIDS ballad Yard Sale was named the 1998 Song of the Year by the
Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs (MAC).
I spoke with the charming performer about his career and the future of cabaret.
"Cabaret has open arms for performers. I do think there is an expansion of cabaret. Contrary to
the news that Rainbow and Stars is closing, I really think cabaret is healthy and thriving," said
Andersen who is appearing at Eighty-Eights, a club which has just opened its first franchise in
Tony Bennett and Tom Andersen
"There are a lot of different opportunities for performers. I know I'm doing their eighty-thirty
spot, " he continued referring to his Friday night shows. "There is also a six- o-clock show and
there will be something after me. Each club probably has three acts in a night."
Anderson agreed that the cabaret stage can be a venue where a performer can learn and build.
"You may not get the greatest slot - it night be Tuesday at 11 o'clock, but for somebody who is
looking for an opportunity, it's here."
"Each gig is different," he continued. "In some of the clubs they'll take a couple of bucks out of
the cover and you get everything else. You pay for the act, publicity, everything else.
"Then there are the clubs like Tavern on the Green or Maxim's. When I played Tavern on the
Green there was a salary for the show and they took care of all the advertising. I had a salary and
out of my salary I paid the band," said Tom who works with anywhere from one to four players -
- pianist Ian Herman, bass, drummer and guitarist Marty Laster, a classical trained violin player
who knocks out a mean blue grass.
"To me most people have a misconception about cabaret," Andersen continued. "It's a room, not
a type of music," he explained referring to a size that is usually considered to be 100 seats or less.
"There are all sorts of different stuff going on in cabaret - silly pop songs, new material,
standards, drag queens. It's one of the great things of the cabaret world - there is anything and
"You'll get someone like a Julie Gold - she wrote From a Distance. She hit the
mainstream. She's got a Grammy on her mantle and she's putting out this new music in cabaret.
"The music doesn't have to be Porter, Gershwin or Berlin. I love that stuff, but the great thing
about cabaret is that anything goes," he reiterated.
Tom with Ann Hampton Callaway
Anderson got his start while in high school. His first real paying job was as a performer at the
Great American Theme Park, outside of Chicago. "I worked with Ann Hampton Callaway's sister
Liz (see column of November 23, 1998). It was a very elaborate show with a live, 20 piece
orchestra. There were 18 kids on stage with this wonderful orchestra and great vocal
arrangements. I thought I was on Broadway! It was a lot of work. We did three or four shows a
day. But, when you're 16 or 17 years old you can do that."
For a singer to have longevity, the vocal equipment needs care.
"Sleep is the big deal," stressed Andersen. "I studied voice and I think I know what I'm doing. I
try to be smart about arrangements. If you're doing a run, which I did when I was doing two
shows a night at Tavern of the Green for six nights - that's a lot of singing. You have to learn
pacing. You pace the material. You don't want to put out a whole evening of just wham bam
songs. You've got to pick and choose," he emphasized referring to soft ballads and belt em out
Andersen's inspiration for writing the poignant Yard Sale stemmed from the years the
Chicago native spent living in San Francisco. "I certainly saw, through the 80s, the toll AIDS
took on that city. I had a next door neighbor that I didn't know very well. He was having a yard
sale. I knew what was happening. He was very ill. He was basically cleaning out his life. It just
really struck a cord with me. That experience of seeing his yard sale was in me for a long time.
The song really wrote itself. The song just came out."
Recently Andersen returned to San Francisco for a cabaret concert. "It was produced by Diane
Dragone, who owns the Star Classic Record Store. She is a big fan of cabaret. Some of the
cabaret artists have CDs but don't have a huge company behind them. She'll take their product
into her store and sell it. She does a really good job."
"She's produced a few concerts and it wouldn't surprise me if she eventually branched out and
produced some more cabaret shows."
Andersen's program includes new originals, classic and contemporary favorites, ranging from
Jule Styne to Julie Gold. Plus, Anderson sings Storybook his signature showstopper from
The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Andersen performs Fridays through December 18 at Eighty Eight's, marking his return to the
club that gave him his start in 1992 and launched his debut CD, Far Away Places. Musical
director Ian Herman, who has played for Jane Oliver and Donna McKechnie, accompanies
WANNA BE IN A MOVIE?
Siegfried & Roy are looking for a few good bodies to help them film an IMAX 3D movie based
on their lives. The motion picture will be seen on a screen ten times the size of a regular motion
picture theater screen.
We at Broadway To Vegas aren't sure if that means wrinkles and zits will appear ten times their
If that thought hasn't scared you off, grab the pancake make-up and head to Las Vegas. An
audience is required for selected days of filming, with each person receiving a special gift from
the magicians. Of course, admission is free. No, you're not getting paid as a movie extra.
Audiences are needed December 9, 10, 11, 14, 16, 17, and 18 with seating on a first-come-first
served basis. For information call toll free 1-888/326-9885 or check Siegfried & Roy's official
web site at www.sarmoti.com.
DINNER WITH ANNETTE BENING Tonight, November 30 The
World AIDS Eve Benefit at the
New Conservatory Theatre Center, San Francisco was limited to 75 guests who paid $150 to
$250 per ticket to dine with the delightful actress.
PAUL ROBESON CELEBRATED
Tonight, November 30th, NYC, a celebration of Paul Robeson
at Carnegie Hall, benefiting the Paul Robeson Foundation. Expected at the event are; F. Murray
Abraham, Muhammad Ali, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Danny Glover, Pete
Seeger and Alfre Woodard.
THE OMAHA COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE which is billed as the largest community theatre in the nation,
features A Tuna Christmas through December 6. A Tuna Christmas is set in the third
smallest town in Texas. Radio station OKKK reports on various Yuletide activities. It's a hoot.
VANCOUVER CANADA PLAYHOUSE presents the 20th anniversary tour of the John Gray musical
Billy Bishop Goes To War starring Gray and Eric Peterson. The production runs to December
THE CAPILANO PERFORMING ARTS THEATRE presents The Visit. It's
Freidrich Durrenmatt's black comedy which asks - what would you do for a million dollars?
Directed by Katrina Dunn. Show runs to November 28.
THE INVISIBLE HAND an evening
of 15 monologues by writer-director Tom Gilroy begins
tomorrow, Tuesday, December 1 at Machine Full, NYC. Gilroy, co-founder and artistic director of
Machine Full, also authored the screenplay Spring Forward currently shooting with Liev
Shreiber, Ned Beatty and Campbell Scott. The Invisible Hand features a cast of 15 who
use cultural rationales to their decisions regarding who to work for, befriend, bore, represent, sue,
fight or sleep with. Performances are through December 20.
STEVE ALLEN Steve Allen does a
one nighter, December 30, at Harveys Casino-Hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
SHANIA TWAIN makes her Las
Vegas concert debut January 2 at the MGM Grand Gardens Arena.
SUSAN TEDESCHI the 28-year-old
blues singer who has been on tour with Buddy Guy/Jonny
Land, B.B. King and Dr. John performs a special free show December 11 at the Blues Bouquet in
Boise, Idaho. After Janis Joplin's former band, Big Brother and The Holding Company saw Susan
perform they announced that Susan Tedeschi was Joplin reincarnated. Her CD Just Won't
Burn has been picked up for distribution by Mercury Records.
DAVIS SPADE star of Just Shoot
Me returns to the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas for a standup
gig November 28
BATTLE OF THE SEXES ON ICE III will be presented Dec. 19 at the MGM Grand Hotel, Las
Vegas. The event features three male and three female figure skaters competing against one
another. Scott Hamilton slated as master of ceremonies with Katarina Witt as mistress of
ceremonies. Male skaters scheduled to perform include: Todd Eldredge, Brian Orser and Michael
Weiss. Female competitors include; Nancy Kerrigan, Caryn Kadavy and Rosalynn Sumners. All
participants are subject to change. The program will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis by CBS
Sports January 17.
SPEAKING OF ICE SKATING the
Bank of American Centre in Boise, Idaho was the setting for the
Masters of Figure Skating competition. Olympic silver medallist and two-time U.S.and World
Champion Michelle Kwan took first place in the competition.
THE MONTE CARLO HOTEL
Las Vegas has signed comedian Louie Anderson. He'll take the stage in
shows December 18, 19 and 22 through 25. Anderson along with Matt O'Callaghan are co-creators of
the animated Fox series Life With Louie. In its first season Life With Louie
received The Humanitas Prize and the Genesis Award. Anderson, whose writing and voice-over
talents are featured in the series, received an Emmy for Outstanding Performance in an Animated
Series for the show's second season.
REPORTS ARE that the Cleo
Laine and John Dankworth Jazz Quintet performance at The Music Hall
in Portsmouth, N.H. was nothing short of sensational.
THIS AND THAT
THE 1998 BILLBOARD AWARDS
will be broadcast live from the MGM-Grand Hotel, Las Vegas on
Fox Dec. 7 Scheduled to appear are; Backstreet Boys, Lauryn Hill, Hole, Natalie Imbruglia,
Shania Twain, Monica, Dru Hill, Hanson, K-Ci & Jojo, Master P, Brian McKnight and N
MICKEY ROONEY either
doesn't know how to slow down or he's found it takes a full time job to
keep the alimony payments up to date. Currently wed to wife number eight, the 78 year old
performer recently returned from Australia where he filmed the just released new flick, Babe:
Pig In The City Then he stopped off in Alexandra, Virginia for the opening of a theater
multiplex that bears Rooney's name. Florida was the next stop where Mickey and his eighth wife,
Jan Chamberlain, did a 10 night stage show. Rooney then packed his bags and went to
Philadelphia to play a starring role in the touring musical The Wizard of Oz.
SILVER DOLLAR CITY in
Branson, Mo. has received the amusement industry's coveted Applause
Award, which is presented once every two years. The award is, in the amusement industry, on
par with the Academy Award. Silver Dollar City was cited for the five world class festivals it
holds each year, it's live entertainment, food, turn-of-the-century-style crafts colony of
blacksmiths, wood carvers, and glass blowers. Under expansion, a BuzzSaw Falls ride is being
Next column: December 7, 1998
Copyright: November 30, 1998. All Rights Reserved Reviews, Interviews, Commentary,
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