Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: November 5, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Clive Owen as Rene Gallimard and Jin Ha as Song Liling in M Butterfly.
People love a good sex scandal especially when it involves espionage.

Until M Butterfly all we had to salivate over in the realm of sex and international spying was the Profumo affair. On June 5, 1963, British Secretary of War John Profumo resigned his post following revelations that he had lied to the House of Commons about his sexual affair with Christine Keeler, an alleged prostitute. When the Profumo–Keeler affair was first revealed, public interest was heightened by reports that Keeler may have been simultaneously involved with Captain Yevgeny Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché, thereby creating a possible security risk.

A quarter of a century later M Butterfly added additional dimensions: gender identity, disguises, substantial political innuendo, and the issues of race - Chinese and Caucasian.

This revival isn't empowered as much as it is weighted down.

Theater patrons and later, movie fans, became fascinated with the fictionalized story of Bernard Doursicot (named Rene Gallimard in the play), a lonely, socially inept French diplomat who hates his job. While working in 1960s Beijing, he entered into a romantic relationship with Shi Pei Pu (called Song Liling in the play), a Chinese opera diva who is really a man, whose real occupation is a Communist Party spy.

M. Butterfly is a play by David Henry Hwang fictionalized and loosely based on the true relationship between Boursicot and Shi Pei Pu.

With this play it is always interesting to see how an actor portrays a male career civil servant who was so stilted in his emotional development. Career military and civil servants aren't noted for being emotionally fragile. In the script he is a functional oxymoron - able to effectively work as an adult in a male dominated occupation and yet privately submissive.

Since it first premiered on Broadway, I have now seen M Butterfly four times.

When I saw the original M Butterfly at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre the unusual and engrossing play starred B. D. Wong as Song Liling and John Lithgow as Rene Gallimard. There was a mystical, electric connection between Wong and Lithgow. The script by David Henry Hwang was brilliant as was the acting. This production made B. D. Wong a star and won three 1988 Tony Awards. I was impressed with Lithgow's ability to play an effeminate, naive man.

I did wonder how Song and Gallimard had sex. It just seemed odd. You know whether or not you're having sex. Why wouldn't Gallimard have discovered that his lover was a man?

Then John Rubenstein replaced Lithgow and I again attended the play. There was chemistry between the characters of Song and Gallimard. And, again, I wondered how did these two have sex, which is a participation event. One is aware of what is going on.

Owen and Ha in a scene in M Butterfly. Photo: Matthew Murphy
I saw the production again after Tony Randall replaced Rubinstein as Gallimard. The same chemistry wasn't as evident. Randall gave it his all, but I kept seeing Tony Randall and his attempt at being totally naive didn't quite convince me.

I continued to wonder how these two characters had engaged in sex without discovering that they both were men.

Since my first time seeing M Butterfly I'd always thought the Gallimard and Song were both homosexuals who knew each other's sexual identities.

Flawlessly directed by John Dexter, the original production of M Butterfly ran for 777 performances.

M Butterfly was sensitively and brilliantly created as a stage presentation by Hwang. However, the premise is absurd, almost laughable - except it was inspired from a newspaper report.

Now the play is back on Broadway staring the impressive Jin Ha in his Broadway debut as Song Liling, the opera diva who is an expert at manipulation and cunning in a lifestyle of espionage and betrayal. Co-starring is Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Clive Owen in a creditable performance as the besotted Gallimard.

In extraordinarily graphic detail this production explains how these two had sex.

Pei Pu (Song Liling character) had a unique ability to retract his own testicles, which, combined with the manipulation of his own penis, created the illusion of labial lips and a clitoris and allowed for shallow penetration.

Oh, Lordy, I wish I had never wondered.

Jin Ha in M Butterfly. Don Holder's lighting deserves co-star billing. Photo: Matthew Murphy.
The sexual details came from Boursicot (aka Gallimard) explanation to Joyce Wadler, who wrote the book The True Story of M. Butterfly; The Spy Who Fell in Love with a Shadow published by New York Times Magazine.

Boursicot cooperated fully with Wadler granting her lengthy interviews about deeply personal subjects as well as access to all records and his closest family members. He is frequently quoted in the book.

In his obituary, it was reported that Shi Pei Pu who died at age 70 in 2009 disliked answering questions about the sexual specifics of the affair. However, in 1988 he was quoted in an interview as having said, "I used to fascinate both men and women. What I was and what they were didn’t matter."

In the play Gallimard's explanation of his gullibility is the asinine, "It was dark, and she was very modest."

Song tells a judge: "I can never be completely a man."

This rewritten play at the Cort Theater explains and overly explains, adding unnecessary events and details while failing to take into account that the scenario is no longer shocking. Just look at current headline stories. It seems that, almost on a daily basis, there is a sexual scandal that is far more titillating - and troubling - that the Gallimard-Song relationship.

Consensual homosexuality and bi-sexual affairs are no longer in the closet.

Boursicot (Gallimard in the play) would eventually admit to being a bisexual and during his 20 year relationship with Song also participated in affairs with both men and women.

He has stated that he began passing documents to the character called Song when the Chinese Cultural Revolution made it difficult for him to see her/him. He was approached by Kang Sheng, a member of the Chinese secret service who offered him access to Song in exchange for his passing documents.

M Butterfly is not a true accounting. In actuality "Bernard was not a married middle-aged French diplomat (as in the play). He was a 20-year-old kid on his first diplomatic trip to China who was desperate to lose his virginity. The French had just opened up an office in Beijing. Shi was a great storyteller, a librettist from the Peking Opera," according to Behind the Truth and Fiction of 'M. Butterfly' by Nancy Churnin published January 2, 1992.

Again, the play is "loosely based" on a true event and shouldn't be taken as historical or legal fact.

The memory play told in flashbacks begins with Gallimard in prison. (In reality, Boursicot was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Later he was paroled.) He's broken and his memory is both dysfunctional and riddled with misleading and false information as he recalls their affair. The first act ends with Gallimard returning to France in shame and alone after his wife, whom he married more for social convenience than love, discovers his affair with Song and leaves him.

Jin Ha has an impressive Broadway debut in M Butterfly. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
Act two begins with Song coming to France and resuming the affair with Gallimard. They stay together for 20 years until the truth is revealed, and Gallimard is convicted of treason and imprisoned.

The third act portrays Gallimard committing suicide through the Japanese ritual known as seppuku or harakiri, through self-disembowelment while Song nonchalantly watches while smoking a cigarette.

In actuality Boursicot did attempt suicide while in prison, but didn't succeed.

In this incarnation, the bloated, confusing script makes it difficult for Owen and Ha to project the chemistry necessary to make the relationship believable.

I'm not a big fan of taking anything that has been perfectly written in the first place and re-writing it. M Butterfly was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and won the Tony for Best Play. Why is it that anybody thought it needed to be expanded or improved?

This production has been extensively rewritten. In doing that, it tries too hard. There was nothing wrong with the first version. Leaving some things to the imagination can be a powerful creative tool. This version just over explains and opens up even more elements of the real international scandal and in doing so can both bore and confuse.

The supporting cast is excellent. Enid Graham is poignant as Gallimard's wife; Murray Bartlett in his Broadway debut appears as Marc Pinkerton, Gallimard's womanzing school chum - although I wasn't sure if Marc was a real person or a fantasy alter ego.

Michael Countryman is cast in three roles including a diplomat who at one point helps and then scuttles Gallimard, as well as portraying the judge at Gallimard's trial, who has difficulty understand how anybody could be sexually deceived for such a long period of time.

Also in the talented cast are: Clea Alsip, Celeste Den, Jess Fry, Jason Garcia Ignacio, Kristen Faith Oei, Scott Weber, Emmanuel Brown, Thomas Michael Hammond, Jake Manabat, Erica Sweany, John Leonard Thompson, and Erica Wong.

Written in short scenes, the set changes through the movement of sliding panels, which don't smoothly move. I don't know if that is a staging problem; or is set designer Paul Steinberg's way of conveying to the audiences' collective subconscious the awkwardness of the couple's relationship.

Aspects of stage productions generally taken for granted involves hair, wigs and make-up. They can be crucial to the success of a play or musical. So it is in the case of M. Butterfly. Jin Ha is an amazing actor, but some of his morphing into a believable Song should be credited to Dave Bova's wigs and make up by Judy Chin, plus the fashion magazine stylish, proper wives' suits created by Constance Hoffman.

When Donald Holder's name is connected to a production you immediately know the lighting will leave nothing to be desired, and so it is with this production. From a single prison cell light bulb to a sensational use of hues augmenting the costumes and music to help establish location and both create and add emotional depth.

Will Pickens' sound design is also top drawer and is another aspect of stage performances which is frequently overlooked. The dialogue sound is well balanced as are the excerpts from Puccini as well as Elliot Goldenthal's original music. This production also uses numerous sound effects, including applause, street traffic, and voiceovers - all of which have a perfect soundscape.

The creative genius known as Julie Taymor seems to be fascinated by the story line and the music from Madame Butterfly and The Butterfly Lovers, a popular Chinese opera about gender confusion, in which Song plays a girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to be educated, winning the heart of a male classmate with tragic results for both when she is promised instead to a wealthy merchant.

In variations on a theme Barbra Streisand did an award winning job co-writing, starring in and directing Yentl, a story of an Ashkenazi Jewish girl in Poland who decides to dress and live like a man so that she can receive an education in Talmudic Law. Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria starred as a woman pretending to be a man impersonating a woman. Andrews received a Tony Award nomination for the Broadway production, going on to star in the movie version which received seven Academy Award nominations.

The most enthralling, captivating, glorious and exotic portion of M Butterfly are the musical and dance segments. As choreographed by Ma Cong and gorgeously costumed by Hoffman, (the last time such lush and rich brocade fabric was used probably was for the coronation of somebody's monarch) various dance forms portray a full range of political philosophies.

The M Butterfly audience would have been better served had Taymor worked with a choreographer, composer and arranger to construct a fully orchestrated dance piece in which the story line was conveyed only through dance and the use of instrumental music. No dialogue, except perhaps a small narrative between scenes giving the audience a heads up on following the plot.

Cultural Advisor: Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith; Dialect Coach: Kate Wilson; Dance Captain: Erica Wong; Fight Captain: Emmanuel Brown; Mask Design by Stephen Kaplan; Puppet Design by Stephen Kaplan; Associate Costume Design: Sara Jean Tosetti; Associate Lighting Design: Vivien Leone; Associate Sound Design: Alex Neumann; Associate Make-Up Design: Angela L. Johnson.

At the Cort Theater through February 25, 2018.

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exhibition showcases more than fifty of Cézanne’s portraits together for the first time, some of which have never been displayed in the UK before. Cézanne is widely understood to be one of the most influential artists of the nineteenth century; both Matisse and Picasso called him ‘the father of us all.'

An important aim of the exhibition is to explore the special pictorial and thematic characteristics of Cézanne's portraiture, including his creation of complementary pairs and multiple versions of the same subject. Unlike most of his avant-garde peers, Cézanne never received a portrait commission, and many of his portraits of friends and family members offer little information in the way of their individual personalities.

Even in the age of Impressionism, when the popularity of photography encouraged painters to adopt more informal and expressive insights into their subjects, the Provençal artist defied expectations. Cezanne's reputation was as someone who had transformed Impressionism into a newly objective, classical art that paved the way for modernist abstraction.

Cézanne’s portraits serve as milestones in his long and prolific career, allowing us to ponder the key developments in his painting process and his understanding of what portraiture can achieve. Explore Cézanne’s world as he knew it and contemplate the continuing inventiveness of the artist at work.

Cézanne Portraits is curated by John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, with Mary Morton, Curator and Head of Department, French Paintings, National Gallery of Art and Xavier Rey, Director of Collections, Musée d’Orsay. In collaboration with Musée d’Orsay, Paris and National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

On display through February 11, 2018 at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

IN APPROACHING THE BORDER five video works by five international artists challenge us to examine our thinking about the U.S.-Mexico border, and the significance of borders in an era when migration and the reemergence of nationalism are key global issues.

Approaching the Border includes works by Francis Alÿs, Emilio Chapela, Yoshua Okón, K. Yoland and Christiana De Marchi. The five videos will be projected on a continuous loop in The Ringling’s Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art, which debuted in November 2016 as a permanent space dedicated to the display of work in a variety of media by living artists.

“This exhibition provides new ways of looking at meaningful issues that are front and center in the news today,” said Steven High, executive director, The Ringling. “Through presenting them in the context of a museum we are able to remove them from the strict political realm and create a vibrant space for open discourse.”

Some of these artists situate their work in the physical space of the borderlands of México or the U.S. Other projects consider the power of borders to divide and construct national identity. Organized by The Ringling, the exhibition will be on view there from November. 5, 2017, through January 21, 2018. As the State Art Museum of Florida and part of Florida State University, The Ringling’s campus in Sarasota, Florida includes the Museum of Art, Circus Museum, a historic home, an 18th-century theater and bayfront gardens.

DEEP HEART: ROOTS, ROCK & THE MUSIC OF CARLOS VIVES a new exhibit opening Monday, November 13, 2017 at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. On the night of the opening, Carlos Vives will visit the Grammy Museum to participate in its popular An Evening With public program series featuring an intimate performance and Q&A hosted by David Fricke, senior writer at Rolling Stone and the host of The Writer's Block on SiriusXM Radio.

This one-of-a-kind exhibit will offer visitors an in-depth look at the iconic career of the two-time Grammy-winning and 11-time Latin Grammy-winning Colombian singer/songwriter who pioneered the integration of the indigenous and vallenato sounds of his country into popular music. On display through November 2018, the exhibit will feature, among other items:

The outfit Vives wore for his first big telenovela appearance on Escalona - Vives’ first Grammy Award: Best Traditional Latin Album for 2001’s Dejame Entrar - Vives’ 2015 Latin Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Tropical Album for El Rock De Mi Pueblo - Hand-painted props used in the music video for his award-winning collaboration with Shakira, La Bicicleta - Handwritten notes and lyrics used during the making of his 2013 Latin Grammy-winning album, Corazón Profundo.

These two Paul Storr Desert Bowls sold for "a significant six figure sum." Photo: Koopman Rare Art
a leading London silver dealer reports strong sales at TEFAF New York Fall 2017 which ran from October 28 - November 1, 2017. The dealer reported that "a sumptuous pair of Victorian marine inspired table centre dessert bowls, made in London, between 1838 and1848, sold for a significant six figure sum. In addition another monumental centre-piece jardinière made by Robert & Sebastian Garrard in 1877 for the Worshipful Company of Grocers, one of the great 12 Livery Companies of the City of London also went to a private collector.

Buying was strong across the board. Aside from antique silver, interest in gold boxes remains high and several particularly fine examples found new homes. In addition Koopman Rare Art also offered a small selection of precious jewelry items, a number of which sold including pieces by Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Buccellati.

Lewis Smith, Director of Koopman Rare Art said: “We are delighted to report bullish sales for antique silver at the second TEFAF New York Fall Fair.” He added: “The Fair has definitely established itself as a major event in the international art calendar. Aside from sales, the interest and enthusiasm for great works of art was palpable. New Yorkers, and visitors from further afield are clearly receptive to such a high quality event. We were delighted to sell to new clients as well as to a few of our regular collectors who we know from TEFAF Maastricht.”


Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall didn't hesitate to chop papaya and serve meals, even getting some spots on her dress. Photo: Clarence House
has been visiting Malaysia with her husband Prince Charles, celebrating 60 years of UK/Malaysia diplomatic ties. During her visit to The Lighthouse Children's Welfare Centre in Kuala Lumpur, she offered to chop up strips of papaya, then sprinkled them with lime juice, as well as serving plates of sticky rice and chicken curry with vegetables.

The food was provided by The Lost Food Project which reclaims high quality surplus food from supermarkets and manufacturers, sorts them, and distributes them to a wide variety of charities. The organization currently provides 5,000 meals a month

At one point Camilla had the curry all over her hands. Reportedly, she looked for something to wipe them on, and kidded: 'Unfortunately I can't wipe them on myself today!' referring to her lovely outfit. Later, she would be quoted as admitting that she did get a few spots on the beautiful flowing green Anna Valentine tunic and scarf.

In American, Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. Americans might want to make sure that their local food pantries are well stocked, so that everyone might have a nice meal.

MARTINA ARROYO FOUNDATION 2017 GALA a celebration of Prelude to Performance, Role Class and Outreach Programs, will be held on Monday, November 13, 2017 at the JW Marriott Essex House in New York City.

The gala will honor James Morris, Metropolitan Opera Bass-Baritone; Ailyn Pérez, Metropolitan Opera Soprano; Chita Rivera, Tony Award Winning Actress; and Tommy Tune, Tony Award Winning Actor.

Dinner with award presentations and a live auction, followed by dessert and a special performance by Prelude to Performance Young Artists and Special Guests. The event is black tie optional.

The mission of the Martina Arroyo Foundation is to counsel young singers in the interpretation of complete roles for public performances. The Foundation guides each singer in the preparation of an entire operatic role through a formal educational process that includes the background of the drama, the historical perspective, the psychological motivation of each character, and language proficiency.

Gala Chairs: Andrew Martin-Weber and Garry Spector.

Benefit Committee: Martina Arroyo, Beatrice M. Disman, The Gerda Lissner Foundation, Nimet Habachy, Suzan Habachy, Kenneth Koen, Donna Sydney Lewis, Robert Lombardo, Andrew Martin-Weber, Richard J. Miller, Jr., Liliane & Hervé Offredo, Ernst Rieser, Murray Rosenthal, Leonard Rubin, Christie Salomon, Susan & Garry Spector, Cecilia & Tian Lih Teng, Elizabeth Tunick, James D. Wolfensohn.

Gala Committee: Martina Arroyo, Elizabeth Frayer, Ellen Godfrey, Claudie Harari, Judith M. Hoffman, Erica Linden-Fineberg, Andrew Martin-Weber, Shawn Milnes, Ernst Reiser, Murray Rosenthal, Edward Sadovnik, Garry Spector, Deborah Surdi, Cecilia Teng.


a new musical featuring music by Ken Lai, and book and lyrics by Ken Lai and Marcus Cheong has been released as an original studio cast recording by Broadway Records.

Angels is a fully orchestrated, classy, rich sounding recording which is using its musical components as the marketing tool to obtain a stage presence.

The two main stars Laura Osnes and Robert Cuccioli possess exquisite, well trained voices, which I've enjoyed in several productions, going back to the days when Cuccioli starred in Jekyll and Hyde.

I could listen to either of those talents sing at me all day and not get bored.

The cast includes two-time Tony Award-nominee Laura Osnes as 'Sera,' Tony Award-nominee Robert Cuccioli as'Lucifer,' Tony Award-nominee Josh Young as 'Tyriel,' Alan H. Green as 'Gabriel,' Alexandra Zorn as 'Rebekah/Vixen,' Stephen Cerf as 'Michael/Moore/Joab,' Kevin T. Collins as 'Stratus/Dasher/Titus/Reuben,' Elizabeth Ann Berg as 'Bethany,' and Stefanie Clouse as 'Sofiel.'

An ominous, dramatic intro leaves no doubt that something is about to happen leading into Cuccioli authoritatively, musically declaring Let There Be Light backed by the Angels. He is also heard on four other numbers.

Osnes solos on three numbers and is heard on eight others in this 27-track CD.

This is a dramatic, powerful musical. The CD is a recording perfection. A totally enjoyable listening experience.

Osnes' first duet is with Alexandra Zorn in I Believe in Angels. That number is followed by Osnes' second solo To Make a Difference.

Officially the script is described as: Angels tells the epic story of the ancient war between the Angels and Lucifer's fallen minions. This timeless tale of good versus evil, hope versus despair, angels versus demons, is told through the eyes of Sera, the Angel of Light. Though she is gifted with the power to control light, she aspires to a more heroic role. Lucifer opposes Sera, causing chaos for the Angels and the humans they protect. Sera must find the courage to rise in victory over Lucifer and fulfill her purpose."

The production's tag line is See-Believe-Soar.

The numbers are termed "inspirational songs," which they are.

Usually the beginning and the ending of the songs are gorgeous, with shades of delicacy and tenderness. However, frequently, the building intensity of the music can be overpowering - at times it borderlines on angry rather than declarative.

Track 5 Hell has dramatic shades of Les Miz and Phantom. Track 12 Rise Up has the same power and intensity as One More Day from Les Miz. Track 13 begins by causing the listener to conjure up memories of Les Miz, before establishing its own identity.

Josh Young has a gorgeous voice. His rendition of Without You Here is poignant and moving.

The producers encourage people to: "Perform Angels at your theater, school or church. Angels can be performed as a full musical or as individual songs for showcase. Scripts, scores and complete instrumental backing tracks are available."

The musical structure and the complex singing demands causes one to ponder how many schools would be able to recruit enough talented singers or musicians. Many of the lyrics are clever. To pull off the proper delivery the singers need to be both talented and experienced. Stripped down it would be the lyrics that dominate. The accompanying booklet doesn't include any of the lyrics, making it difficult to judge if delivered as almost a spoken word - or amateur - production, it would work.

This is really a CD meant to sell the show, which deserves to flap its wings and soar. Thus, I wish the CD had contained some bonus tracks for their targeted church and school productions. Two or three numbers delivered in a more simplistic form. Having a school or small church group use "complete instrumental backing tracks" makes one wonder if the music would then drown out the inexperienced singers. As it is, directors of church or school productions might conclude that while the music is fabulous, "my group couldn't handle it." Include an additional bonus track of one instrumental backing tract to show musical directors that the production is doable.

The album was recorded at Downtown Music Studios & Smash Studios in New York; The Grove Studios in Somersby, Australia; and Ramrod Studios & 301 Studios in Sydney, Australia. This recording features new musical arrangements from David Holmes and album producer Rich Fowler.


Mitch Farmer: Drums/Percussion - Ben Whincop and Jeff Camilleri: Bass - Charmaine Ford: Keys - David Holmes: Music Director, guitars, Programming, arrangements - Tauesa Tofa: music-co-director, programming, arrangements, strings - Jane Lesley Anderson: assistant music director, vocalist - Breanna Hickson: assistant director - Daniel Thornton: orchestral arrangements, vocalists - Linda Wood: original vocal arrangements.

Recording engineers: Bernard Fox audio engineer - Alex Elsammak and Steven D'souza assistant audio engineers. Josh Telford mix engineer. Trent Firth mastering engineer. Herman Kovac live band recording engineer. Timo & Liz Hyvarinen vocal enhancement and Dexter Cave audio support.


IRVING BERLIN’S THIS IS THE ARMY 75TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT will take place November 11, 2017 at Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City.

On July 4, 1942, Irving Berlin’s all-soldier musical This is the Army opened on Broadway for a 113 performance run before touring the US, making an Oscar-winning Hollywood film, playing the London Palladium, and visiting the front lines of World War II.

This Veterans Day, join Feinstein’s/54 Below, and an all-star Broadway cast, as it is remembered how this troupe of Broadway soldiers became the first racially integrated US Army unit, had openly gay soldiers who risked military prison, and avoided brushes with death as they brought their vaudeville show to the war’s most dangerous combat zones.

Originally conceived and produced by “Uncle Sam,” the show was mounted as a fundraiser for the Army Emergency Relief Fund, benefiting the wives, children, and parents of U.S. soldiers. This is the first time This Is the Army has been performed since its last performance at the end of World War II.

Featuring songs like This is the Army, Mr. Jones, Ladies of the Chorus, Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning, and God Bless America.

Directed and produced by Jason Ferguson with musical direction by Daniel M. Lincoln, the performers include; Ally Bonino, Elijah Caldwell, Andy Christopher, Tommy McDowell, S.P. Monahan, and James Penca.

Music & Lyrics by Irving Berlin. Original Book by James McColl & Irving Berlin. Concert Book by Jason Ferguson. Based on The Songwriter Goes to War by Alan Anderson. Presented by special arrangement with Rodgers and Hammerstein.

For a review of the original Decca Cast Album see Broadway To Vegas column of August 31, 2003

PLAYWRIGHT CARLYLE BROWN has been named the recipient of the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater Award. He will receive the award during festivities at the 37th Annual William Inge Theatre Festival at Independence Community College, Kansas. The Inge Festival, the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas, takes place May 9-12, 2018.

Carlyle Brown is a playwright, actor, and artistic director of Carlyle Brown & Company, which he founded in Minneapolis in 2002. Known for his historical works about African Americans, his extremely theatrical work occupies a wide range of aesthetic forms.

He is the 2006 recipient of the Black Theatre Network’s Winona Lee Fletcher Award for outstanding achievement and artistic excellence. A Core Writer of the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, and an alumnus of New Dramatists in New York, Brown has served on the board of directors of The Playwrights' Center and Theatre Communications Group and is a member of the board of the Jerome Foundation. He is a member of the Charleston Jazz Initiative Circle at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, where his works and papers are archived.

LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS 57, was arrested early Friday morning, November 3, 2017 in a suburb of Corpus Christi, Texas on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

According the official police report a police officer was conducting an unrelated traffic stop around 1:35 a.m. when Phillips approached him and asked for directions. Phillips appeared intoxicated prompting the officer to administer a field sobriety tests that Phillips failed.

The officer then transported Phillips to the police station, where a breathalyzer was administered. Phillips' blood alcohol content was recorded at 0.20, more than twice the legal limit. Phillips was moved to the San Patricio County Jail in Sinton, Texas.

He was charged with a DWI and later released on $2,500 bond.

The actor was in the Lone Star State to speak Friday at a historical event, "Voices of South Texas - Old Bayview Cemetery Comes Alive" at Heritage Park in Corpus Christi. Phillips was born in the Philippines and raised in Corpus Christi. Old Bayview Cemetery is the oldest federal military cemetery in Texas. More than 30 storytellers, re-enactors and experts on local history will tell the story of many who were laid to rest at Old Bayview Cemetery.

During his speaking engagement Phillips apologized to the crowd and promised that it would never happened again.

PRINCE EDWARD also known as The Earl of Wessex is the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. He's always been a strong supporter of the arts and continues an active involvement. On November 7 as President, Creative Youth, Organisers of the International Youth Arts Festival, he'll attend will attend a Gala Dinner at Glenmore House in England. Then on November 9 as Patron, London Mozart Players, he'll attend a Reception and Dinner at Buckingham Palace, London.

NATIONAL CHINESE TAKE-OUT DAY is November 6. Chinese Take-out Day. Taco Tuesday is also National Nachos Day. Wednesday features National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day. National Cappuccino Day is Thursday. and National Greek Yogurt Day is Friday.


HOUSE OF CARDS the hit Netflix series in which Kevin Spacey stars as President Frank Underwood, has fired Spacey fired after sexual misconduct accusations against Spacey surfaced.

A statement reads: "Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey... We have also decided we will not be moving forward with the release of the film "Gore," which was in post-production, starring and produced by Kevin Spacey."

Several other accusers have also come forward prompting the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences which had announced last June that it was going to honor Spacey with their Founders Award rescinded the honor which was to be bestowed during a November 20, 2017 gala in New York.

"In light of recent events it will not honor Kevin Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award,” according to a statement released by the organization on Tuesday, October 31.

On October 31, 2017 London's Old Vic theatre, where Kevin Spacey served as artistic director from 2004-2015, released an official statement regarding the actor

"The Old Vic would like to respond to recent media reports by making it clear that we are deeply dismayed to hear the allegations levied against Kevin Spacey, who was Artistic Director from 2004–2015.

"Inappropriate behaviour by anyone working at The Old Vic is completely unacceptable. We aim to foster a safe and supportive environment without prejudice, harassment or bullying of any sort, at any level, as set out in our joint statement with the theatre industry on 23 October. We want our employees to feel confident, valued and proud to be part of The Old Vic family. Any behaviour we become aware of which contravenes these goals will not be tolerated.

"If you have been connected with The Old Vic or in our employment and feel you have a complaint that you were unable to raise, please contact us on Any experience shared will be treated in the utmost confidence and with sensitivity. We have appointed external advisors to help us deal with any information received."

Scotland Yard in Britain has opened an investigation into Spacey after a male actor claimed he was sexually assaulted by two-time Oscar winner in London nine years ago.

THE NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT states that they have received a “credible” rape allegation from actress Paz de la Huerta that in 2010 Weinstein raped her twice; they had corroborated parts of her story and gathered evidence for an arrest warrant for Harvey Weinstein. The disgraced mogul has “unequivocally denied” any allegations of nonconsensual sex.

KIRT WEBSTER 42, head of Nashville's leading press agency, accused of a slew of sexual assault and harassment allegations, has been fired (as of Broadway To Vegas' deadline) by 34 of his 71 clients. Clients kicking Webster to the curb include:

Deborah Allen, Bill Anderson, Moe Bandy, Big & Rich, Roy Clark, John Conlee, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lacy J. Dalton, Kenny G, Lee Greenwood, Taylor Hicks, Lucas Hoge, Jewel, KC and the Sunshine Band, Olivia Lane, Cyndi Lauper, Johnny Lee, Aaron Lewis, LoCash, Don McLean, Justin Moore, William Michael Morgan, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rodgers, Tim Rushlow, Jeannie Seely, Denny Strickland, Kiefer Sutherland, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Leroy Van Dyke, Gene Watson, and Hank Williams Jr.

TODD A BURD 45, who sang in the English National Opera and had performed at Kansas City's Theatre in the Park, on October 31, 2017 was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy by force against a minor by the Kansas Johnson County District Court.

The incidents occurred between October 23, 2016 and November 8, 2016, and were not consensual, according to court documents. The victim wasn't identified other than being born in 2000.

Until recently Burd conducted a 170-member choir and was the vocal teacher at Gardner Edgerton High School in Kansas. In 2015, he was named Gardner-Edgerton's Teacher of the Year.

Burd's bond was set at $250,000.

BAINBRIDGE PERFORMING ARTS a 245-seat theatre in Bainbridge Island, Washington announced through a posting last Monday that: "Bainbridge Performing Arts announces the withdrawal of Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway from its 2017 – 2018 Season lineup. BPA’s cancellation is a “matter of principle” says Executive Director Dominique Cantwell. “Given our national conversation about how women are treated or mistreated by men in positions of power, and given that Woody Allen has placed himself very publicly on what we consider the opposing side of the issue and has been advocating against a “witch hunt” of the men perpetrating this culture of abuse, we have decided that we cannot promote or support him by paying royalties for his work.”


FOR DECADES women have been complaining of sexual abuse in the work place. For decades women's complaints have not just been ignored but the victims themselves blamed - they dressed in a provocative manner, flirted and condoned it by not quitting their jobs and other balderdash. Some victims were offered and did accept monetary settlements and signed confidentiality agreements in order to stay employable.

It wasn't until a man Ronan Farrow stood up for women and wrote a well research and brilliant article which brought down Harvey Weinstein. Suddenly - pun or not - the house of cards began falling.

Now women who had accepted settlements are beginning to be criticized - even with the implication that by so doing, they encouraged sexual abuse towards others.

Absurd, stupid and victim blaming.

That's akin to saying a victim who has been injured by a drunk driver accepting payment is encouraging more drunk driving.

Drunk driving is against the law and so is sexual assault.

Sexual assault victims are also damaged - either physically, emotionally or both.

A lot of the accusations against women accepting payment for sexual abuse are coming from women. Since the beginning of time heterosexual women haven't liked other heterosexual women. That stems from the ages old situation of a woman literally needing a man to take care of her. The better your catch the better your lifestyle. Heterosexual women were and can be jealous of other heterosexual women, especially when it comes to men. Frequently girls growing up would have girlfriends who were, in some way, more unattractive. Or two girls could remain friends until they both wanted the same boy, then the claws came out. The girl who had the best chance getting the guy of her choice was the pretty one who was dumb. Men didn't like smart girls because their intellect made them feel inferior. The 'dumb ones' would always need somebody to take care of them, making them grateful and submissive to a man.

Some girls were actually taught how to pretend to be dumb and manipulate until they got married; then they could show their intelligence and control the assets.

These are the women who blame sexual assault victims, some feeling that the accusers should have been cunning enough to "get something out of" the powerful men while the abuse was going on, rather than after the fact.

Men on the other hand get along better, even when it comes to both desiring the same woman. In both business and personal relationships men can compartmentalize and women don't.

Women who have been sexually abused are standing up for other women who have been in the same position. Some women who haven't are still standing back and are the ones questioning whether money for being abused (and the required paperwork which goes along with any settlement) should have been excepted. Some of these women are also the wives of husbands who have also behaved in inappropriate ways.

Stop blaming the victims!

an ambitious opera, with music by Joby Talbot and libretto by Gene Scheer.

Directed by Leonard Foglia.

Conducted by Nicole Paiement.

"At 30,000 feet, to do anything is to risk everything." Described as: "This devastating true story of three climbers caught in a blizzard on Mt. Everest in 1996 is now a white-knuckle rush of an opera. Everest promises to take you on an operatic journey unlike anything you’ve experienced before."

As explained by the venue Everest is "an intense musical drama without big solos, The power of the operatic voice is used to intensify the emotions expressed.

"Joby Talbot’s music has some features of “minimalism,” a form of music featuring frequent repeated phrases and sparse harmonies. Tremolos (rapid repeated two-note sequences) and glissandos (sliding from one note to another) are prominent. However, he is no slave to any particular musical style. The most noticeable feature of his orchestration is the prominence given to the percussion section, using four or five percussionists to play a variety of about thirty “instruments,” including a marimba, “Turandot gongs,” three different Chinese cymbals, temple blocks, a thunder sheet, a slapstick, and an egg shaker.

"Another important feature is the extensive use of the chorus as a character of equal importance with the principal singers. The chorus is onstage for the entire opera."

Starring Andrew Bidlack, Craig Verm, Sarah Larsen, Michael Mayes, Tim Murray, Mark McCrory, and Claire Emerson Rupp.

The Chorus includes Sopranos: Judy Bliss, Melissa Faltermeier, Kristin Newbegin, Lindsey Perry, Laurel Weir, and Ashley Yvonne Wheat. Mezzo-Sopranos: Rebecca Allen, Kelly Birch, Ashley Beth Burnett, Alice Chung, Elaine Fox and Julia Scozzafava.

Tenors: Matthew Foerschler, Alexander Goering, Trent J. Green, Jonathan Ray, Trevor B. Smith, Calvet Young. Bass-Baritones: Matt Black, Armando Contreras, Alan Martin, John Meyer, Nathan Whitson, and Carey Eugene Wilson.

The creatives include: Scenic Designer - Robert Brill: Costume Designer - David C. Woolard; Lighting Designer - Russell Champa; Projection Designer - Elaine McCarthy; Assistant Director - Kristen Barrett; Assistant Conductor - Mark Ferrell; Music Librarian – Elena Lence-Talley; Props Master – Deb Morgan; Costume Coordinator – Mary Traylor; Wig and Make-up Assistant – Karen Billingsley; Assistant Lighting Designer – Mario Raymond; Figaro Simultext System Operator – Sarah Zsohar; Stage Manager – Vinnie Feraudo; Assistant Stage Managers – Karl Anderson, Alec Rigdon; Stage Management Intern – Alayna Powell; Head Scenic Artist – Gen Goering; Head Carpenter – Melvin McClenahan; Head Propsman – Stephen Cochran; Head Electrician – Chris Tyrone; Head Flyman – James Vizant; Head Sound Engineer – Phil Rebel; Head Video Engineer – Shawn Martin; Wardrobe Supervisor – Jan Toombs and Wardrobe Assistant – Desiree Baird Story.

Deborah Sandler General Director and CEO has previously stated: "be prepared for the musical equivalent of an IMAX film. The orchestra will be so big that it won’t fit in the pit. It’s a psychological story, and the music really helps us paint emotions.”

Sung in English with English subtitles.

November 11, 15, 17 and 19 at the Lyric Theater in Kansas City, Mo. Everest had its premiere in 2015 at the Dallas Opera.

MINUTES a world-premiere production by Tracy Letts.

Directed by Tony Award winner Anna B. Shapiro who is the Steppenwolf artistic director.

The new comedy about small-town politics and real-world power, is called: “A town’s proud history, the legend of a local hero, the coveted privilege of reserved parking: nothing is sacred during the town council meeting at the heart of Tracy Letts’ new play. This razor-sharp comedy turns from hilarious to chilling as petty policy matters give way to the truth roiling just beneath the surface of the town’s historical mythology.” Featuring Steppenwolf Theatre’ensemble member William Petersen, Kevin Anderson, James Vincent Meredith and Sally Murphy. The cast further includes Ian Barford, Francis Guinan, Cliff Chamberlain, Brittany Burch and Penny Slusher.

The design team includes Tony Award winner David Zinn (scenic design), Tony Award winner Ann Roth (costume design), and five-time Tony Award winner Brian MacDevitt (lighting design).

Previews for the show staged at Chicago's Downstairs Theater begin November 9 and runs through December 31, 2017. The production will transfer to Broadway. Previews will begin February 6, 2018, with an opening night set for March 8 at a Broadway theatre.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE written by and featuring Kate Hamill. A new adaption from the novel by Jane Austen.

Directed by Amanda Dehnert.

The outspoken Elizabeth Bennet faces mounting pressure from her status-conscious mother to secure a suitable marriage. But is marriage suitable for a woman of Elizabeth’s intelligence and independence? Especially when the irritating, aloof, self-involved… tall, vaguely handsome, mildly amusing, and impossibly aristocratic Mr. Darcy keeps popping up at every turn?! What? Why are you looking at us like that? Called "theatrical," and "full of life."

Presented by Primary Stages in a co-production with The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Performances November 7 - December 15, 2017 at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City.

SCENES FROM MARRIAGE by Ingmar Bergman Adapted for the stage by Joanna Murray-Smith.

Directed by Queensland Theatre’s new Associate Artistic Director Paige Rattray.

Love blooms. Love fades. It happens to everyone. It could be happening next door. And in any marriage torn asunder, sifting through the wreckage is going to get messy. Even a seemingly perfect marriage has cracks in its facade: cracks that if untended, can become gaping rifts. Johan and Marianne are the ideal couple: two daughters, glittering careers, a lovely home. But when Johan admits to sleeping with another woman, he detonates the first bomb in what will become a ferocious and savagely comic battle.

Starring real life married couple Marta Dusseldorp and Ben Winspear.

Presented by arrangement with the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, Josef Weinberger Ltd and Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd. Performances November 11 - December 3, 2017 at the Playhouse, Queensland Theatre Performing Arts Centre in Australia.

MANDELA TRILOGY composers Peter Louis van Dijk, Mike Campbell and librettist, Michael Williams collaborated to musically identify and complement different phases of Mandela’s life, providing three singers with an opportunity to portray the complex aspects of his personality.

Van Dijk explores Mandela’s teenage years setting the first act in rural Qunu, culminating in the young man’s initiation into adulthood and his decision to leave his village for the bright lights of Johannesburg. The jazz musical of the second act – Sophiatown Rising – was composed by Mike Campbell. The vibrant life of 1950s Sophiatown falls under the shadow of the apartheid security forces. The Jig Club dance hall frequented by Mandela is closed down, and its guests are forced to relocate their homes to ever impoverished and distant townships. The final act is composed as a powerful contemporary opera, music by Peter Louis Van Dijk, on themes of revolution, incarceration and freedom.

Cape Town Opera’s celebration of Mandela’s life is a spectacular portrait of a man who touched hearts and minds around the world. Presented by a cast of over 30 performers, with three different incarnations of Mandela, the contrasting phases of his journey are recreated through strikingly divergent styles of music including traditional Xhosa choral music, the jazz and jive dancing of the 1950s township music halls, struggle songs of the 1980s and the liberation music of the 1990s.

November 9-11, 2017 at Dubai Opera in Dubai, UAE. That is followed with November 17-19 performance in Hong Kong, China


ROGER DALTREY AND HIS BAND have a split two night gig at the Avalon Ballroom Theatre at Niagara Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario with shows on November 6 and November 8.

EDDIE PALMIERI LATIN JAZZ ORCHESTRA the legendary pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer and multiple Grammy Award winner leads his powerhouse band for a spirited night of salsa and Latin jazz. Thursday, November 9, at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona.

KANSAS in the spotlight Friday, November 10, at the Genesee Theatre, Waukegan, Ilinois. On Saturday they star at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, Wisconsin.

KID ROCK brings his Greatest Show on Earth Tour to the Events Center in Laughlin, Nevada on November 11, 2017.

Next Column: November 12, 2017
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Laura Deni

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