"Anything with wheels or testicles can only mean trouble."
"It's line from Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus which is having its world
premiere in Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hotel
There are a lot of funny, pity, sensitive, and humorous lines in the play - written by Rita Abrams.
Some are from the book by John Gray upon which the musical is based; most are reworked from
a previously humorous look at midlife by Abrams New Wrinkles.
Fortunately the standout number from that long running San Francisco hit Good Ol' Daze,
in which a middle-aged dad tells a zoned-out, nose-ringed teenager how tough life was before
remote controls, power windows, microwaves and touch-tone phones has been transported intact
into this how.
That number was the San Francisco highpoint and darn near stopped the Vegas show,
Calling Men Are From Mars a "new" production based on the best-selling book may sell
tickets, but what this really is a reworded New Wrinkles and there isn't anything
wrong with that. That production had a hefty sales advance and ran for four years, raking in
That particular show was billed as "the new midlife musical revue," New Wrinkles a
copious collection of 31 songs - which got pared down - interspersed with comic sketches
scattered throughout, all of which were created by the trio Rita Abrams, Morris Bobrow and
In New Wrinkles there were three couples guiding the audience through some of the trials
and tribulations of middle age from a baby boomer perspective.The staging was low budget.There
were originally a couple of dragging parts that were cut. The cast was strong. The directing and
choreography were excellent.
In Las Vegas there are four couples guiding the audience through some of the trials and
tribulations of life from a best-selling book perspective. The staging is low budget.There are a
couple of draggy parts that need to be cut. It's a strong cast; Jennifer Mrozik, Kevin Sherrell, Rick
Pessagno, Wendy Talley, Erick Walck, Jenny Giocomo, Gerry Burkhardt and Alena Robertson.
The directing and choreography is excellent - David H. Bell, the Associate Artistic Director of
Atlanta's Alliance Theatre, handles that chore.
In the San Francisco show Abrams had two collaborators. In the Vegas show she is billed as both
the composer and lyricist - not at easy task for anyone.
Abrams is also an individual who didn't just fall off a turnip truck. In fact, she may be razor sharp
We don't for a second question the two time Emmy Award winner's ability to pen a line.
It's the music that has us in a quandary.
Abrams shines when it comes to writing new lyrics to existing tunes
Blame It on El Nino with Dr. Elmo who did the song Grandma Got Run Over by a
Reindeer, with new lyrics by Abrams and Stan Sinberg, was set to the tune of Blame It on
the Bossa Nova.
Unless we need to get thee to an audiologist, it seems that with the exception of one song, every
melody in the production Men Are From Mars has more than a passing resemblance to a
song from a Broadway musical. From Grease to the closing number which sounds a lot
like the Jekyll and Hyde showstopper This Is The Moment.
For lovers of Broadway musicals this production poses some interesting questions
The musical note resemblance was so strong that full attention was diverted away from Men
Are From Mars. A mental guessing game takes place as to which Broadway show did this
tune originate. The notes are so similar to so many Broadway shows that I actually leaned over to
the stranger sitting next to me and whispered in his ear. "Do you know what Broadway show is
that melody is from?"
Without hesitation the stranger, who turned out to be a Treasure Island Hotel executive,
The rest of the show was then spent in a "contest" to see who could match which song with what
Having only seen this production once, I didn't sit there and count musical bars of each song
segment that sounds like a cousin of a Great White Way ditty.
There is a process which some composers call "writing sideways." You take something that has
already been composed and then twist it.
We really wanted to ask Ms Abrams how she compiled the music for this production, since she is
singularly billed as both lyricist and composer. We wanted to ask her about the notes that sound
so much like notes in Broadway shows and what appears to be a compilation of music - whether
she struck any deal with numerous Broadway composers to utilize their music. We left a detailed
message to that effect on her representative's voice mail. As of deadline time nobody had returned
BARBRA'S BYE BYE
Celebrities, dignitaries and a lot of regular New Yorkers came to Madison Square Garden to see
the final performance of the legendary Barbra Streisand.
It took 25 semi trailers to transport all of the equipment to The Garden. The equipment was
loaded in over a 3-day period.
Ms. Streisand's concerts are the only events for which the arena floor of Madison Square
Garden is carpeted.
Ms. Streisand's dressing room featured white carpeting, white drapes and was furnished with
antiques brought in at her request
The top ticket price, $2500, is the highest price ever charged
for an event at Madison Square
Those with the top tickets arrived early and dined on salmon and filet mignon at a sit down
dinner and reception before the show that took over the entire third floor of The Garden. They
sat in the best seats and were served champagne at intermission.
She sang 29 songs in just under two hours. She opened with: Something's Coming and
The Way We Were. She then began a journey through her career that started at the Bon
Soir: Cry Me A River and When A Bee Lies Sleeping. She moved to the Funny
Girl era with a medley of songs including I'm The Greatest Star, Second Hand Rose, and
topped it off with Don't Rain On My Parade. She continued with her favorite Broadway
and movie tunes: Something Wonderful, Being Alive, Alfie and Evergreen. The
first act ended big with a tribute to her father and a love letter he had written over 60 years ago.
The audience was teary after Papa Can You Hear Me? and A Piece of Sky.
Act two was a montage of her favorite songs inspired by her son and her husband: I've Got a
Crush On You featured a high tech duet with Frank Sinatra, I've Dreamed Of You and
Happy Days Are Here Again. Going high tech with duet is nothing new for Streisand. In a
Las Vegas performance she once did a high tech duet with Marlon Brando from Guys and
Dolls The Madison Square Garden evening ended with an introduction of the 95 person choir,
60 person orchestra, actors and amazing young singer, Lauren Frost. There wasn't a dry eye in
the house when she bid farewell to her career as a live performer - maybe - with her signature
The stars showed up during her two nights on the East Coast. Among those giving the diva her
due: Tony Bennett, Madeleine Albright, Chevy Chase, Sarah Jessica Parker, Marvin Hamlisch,
Regis Philbin, Billy Crystal, Martha Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Barbara Walters, Glenn Close, Jesse
Jackson, Donna Karan, Amy Grant, Angie Harmon, Drew Barrymore, Penny Marshall and Mike
Myers' mother-in-law, the model for Linda Richman who probably was completely
Wearing only two outfits throughout the performance, Ms. Streisand donned dresses of her own
design. The first, a sparkling topaz sleeveless turtleneck and pants and the second, a black
sequined floor-length off-the-shoulder gown slit up the side. Designers Donna Karan and Diane
von Furstenburg, who were in the audience, were impressed.
It was like Buttah.
TIGER JAM III takes place in Las
Vegas at the Mandalay Events Center on Oct. 7th. The event is the baby of golf ace Tiger Woods
benefiting his Tiger Woods Foundation. Performances by Christina Aguillera, Leann Rimes, and
KAREN ZIEMBA AND TONY RANDALL co-host the Next Step Gala at the Sylvia & Danny Kaye Playhouse
benefiting Career Transitions for Dancers. October 16.
HUMANS ON PARADE The Chicago
Cow festival which grazed its way into New York City this year, culminating last week in a
Fiberglass bovines auction - brought in some big bucks for charity and spawned a human
At least 100 6-foot-tall, hand-painted human sculptures are to be displayed in Omaha, NE,
Council Bluffs, Iowa and the surrounding area. The Public Art Exposure Project, featuring the
gender-neutral or J. Doe fiberglass sculptures, is scheduled to run from May through September
2001. The Douglas County Board gave the project its blessing saying it hopes the sculptures
will have a positive impact on the community and attract tourists.
The number of sculptures displayed would depend on the number of sponsors. It would cost
$2,500 for someone to sponsor a J. Doe sculpture, a cost that includes $1,000 to pay the artist
and $550 to construct the sculpture. Production of the fiberglass sculptures is expected to start in
The artists can leave the figures gender neutral or change them to resemble a man or woman, boy
or girl. At the end of the project, the figures that are not sold would be auctioned off.
Chairperson of the event is Eddith Buis, who is an adjunct art professor at Metropolitan
Community College and owner of 13th Street Gallery. "We felt if we made a human figure, there
would be more content and meaning to the piece."
Taking its cue from the Cow Parades the human figures would be mounted on heavy bases to
The Omaha Public Art Commission would select artists to paint or otherwise alter the forms.
Interested artists must submit a design concept and six slides depicting their past work to the
art commission by November 15.
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THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
BETTY BUCKLEY as Edwin
by Rupert Holmes; directed by Larry Carpenter; a Pioneer Theatre
Company production in the Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, U. of
Utah campus Salt Lake, continues through October 7 For its season opener, PTC has turned the Lees
Main Stage into an ornate Victorian theater for this play-within-a-play.
This Victorian entertainment, described as "a musicale with dramatic interludes," is based on
Charles Dickens' unfinished novel. Since Dickens died when the novel was only half-done, Rupert
Holmes' adaptation - including penning the music - leaves it up to the audience to vote on the
final turn of events. Originally presented as a New York Shakespeare Festival production by Joe
Papp, the show premiered at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park on August 21, 1985. The
show won five Tony Awards and at one time starred Betty Buckley as Edwin Drood.
Strong rumors persist that a production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood is headed for
THE BEST MAN
first real hit of
the new Broadway season. By Gore Vidal, starring Charles Durning, Spalding Gray, Michael
Learned, Chris Noth, Christine Ebersole, Elizabeth Ashley, Mark Blum, Jonathan Hadary, Ed
Dixon, Jordan Lage, Michael Rudko and Walter Cronkite. Don't miss seeing this one. Virginia
THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER is in for a limited run. Don't miss this one, either. Stars Nathan Lane and
Jean Smart. Roundabout in NYC.
THE FULL MONTY a musical
based on the film of the same name about six steel workers who bare it all in order to raise
money for a friend in need. Book by Terrence McNally with music and lyrics by David Yazbek.
OCTOBERFEST 2000 the 20th
annual month long celebration of comedy, drama, music, poetry and storytelling on the Ensemble
Studio Theatre's two New York City stages running from today through Nov. 5th. Some of the
playwrights included in this year's OctoberFest will be: Yvonne Adrian, Leslie Ayvazian,
Edward Allan Baker, Stephanie Berry, Leslie Caputo, Horton Foote, Arthur Giron, Kathryn
Grant, J. Holtham, Shirley Lauro, Romulus Linney, Julie McKee, Eileen Myers, Rita Nachtman,
Joyce Carol Oates, Books Pierce, Keith Reddin, Jamie Richards, Shel Silverstein, J.S. Staniloff,
Judy Tate, Cherie Vogelstein, Michael Louis, Wells, Richard Willett, Tennessee Williams, and
LEND ME A TENOR
at the Palm Springs Stage Company has announced its upcoming dinner theater production of the
fast-paced comedy, Lend Me A Tenor, by Ken Ludwig. The play, directed by Jim R. Warner,
premieres November 16 and will run through December 23 in Farrell House at the famous
Racquet Club of Palm Springs.
Tenor, is the first major production of the new nonprofit Palm Springs Stage Company.
The historic Racquet Club, located in Palm Springs, was opened by Charlie Farrell and Ralph
Bellamy in 1934 and became the in place for countless Hollywood stars wanting total privacy
when they visited Palm Springs. Movie greats who frequented the Racquet Club included
Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Taylor, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Gene Autry, Clark
Gable, Cary Grant, Lana Turner, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy and Marilyn
Monroe, to name just a few.
doesn't stay in one place long. The Las Vegas resident can be found Oct 5th center stage at the
Charleston Performing Art Center in Charleston, SC.
The following night she's in the spotlight in Winston-Salem, NC at Winston-Salem State
On Saturday she turns up in Chicago, IL at the Arie Crown Theater and on Sunday she appears
in Mobile, AL at the Mobile Bayfest.
SARAH BRIGHTMAN October 4 in
Miami, FL at the AA Arena /Nat. Car Rental Arena. The following night she performs in Tampa,
FL at the Ice Palace.On October 6 the talent takes center stage in Atlanta, GA at the Civic Center
Then on October 8 she's in New Orleans, LA at the Saenger Theatre.
BETTY BUCKLEY October 6 & 7
Scottsdale Center for the Arts Theatre in Scottsdale, AZ.
PATTI LUPONE October 7 n
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham,
BERNADETTE PETERS October 6 at
the Eisenhower Hall Theatre in West Point, NY. The next night Bernadette is at the McCarter
Theatre in Princeton, NJ.
DEBBIE REYNOLDS Orleans Hotel,
Las Vegas October 5-8.
Pittsburgh, PA at the A.J. Palumbo Center on October 4.
SHIRLEY CAESAR performs in
Savannah, GA at the Johnny Mercer Theatre on October 10.
DOOBIE BROTHERS headline the
Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta, GA on October 6.
DIXIE CHICKS are keeping busy.
On October 6th they're in Moline, IL at the Mark Of The Quad Cities The following night October 7
they do it again in Ames, IA at the Hilton Coliseum then it's down the road apiece for a
performance next Sunday, October 8, in Lincoln, NE in the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
THE OAK RIDGE BOYS show up in
Branson, MO on October 3 at the Grand Palace.
JOAN BAEZ has a busy week ahead
of her. On October 2nd its concert time in Great Falls, MT at the Civic Center Theatre. It's Tuesday it must be Bozeman, MT where she'll be entertaining
at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
On Thursday it's on stage at the Lied Center in Lincoln,
NE. On Friday she'll reprise the act in the
Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis, MO. Saturday it's
center stage in Fish Creek, WI at the Door
performs October 7th in Midwest City, OK in the Rose State Performing Arts Theatre.
PAM TILLIS is casino hopping.
On October 6th she can be found in Lac duFlambeau, WI at the Lake Of Torches Casino. She'll cash
out her chips and head over to the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, MN on October
MAYNARD FERGUSON & BIG BOP NOUVEAU tunes the cats up on October 3 in Marshalltown, IA at the Marshalltown High
School the it's transferring credits because on October 5 he can located in Sioux Falls, SD at the
Lincoln High School. On Friday the guys show up in City Of Industry, CA at the Crown Plaza
JOEL GREY AND RITA MORENO Proctor's Theatre, Schenectady, N.Y. Saturday, October
7 Price Range: $49.50 to $55.50.
TOM WOPAT hitting the road for a
tour of Annie Get Your Gun, has a new CD called The Still of the Night, on
Angel Records, to be released. On October 24. It's produced by the Russ Titelman. John Pizzarelli is
on guitar, and Tony Bennett's daughter, Antonia, joins Tom for Baby, It's Cold
SAVION GLOVER IN FOOT NOTES - THE CONCERT Shubert Theatre, Chicago. Continuing the theater's "Broadway in Chicago"
series, this theatrical dance experience celebrates the talent of 26-year-old tap phenomenon
Savion Glover, who shares the stage with a high-powered band and four generations of
tappers. The Chicago engagement of this tribute to hoofers everywhere kicks off an eight-week
national tour. In Chicago through October 15.
THIS AND THAT
SIEGFRIED AND ROY
holding auditions. If you'd like to be a part of the show you're invited to audition on Saturday,
October 14, on stage in the Siegfried & Roy Theatre at the Mirage. Female dancers - minimum
height 5 feet, 5 inches- auditions will be from noon to 2 p.m.; male dancers - minimum height 5
feet, 10 inches - from 2 to 3 p.m., and acrobats from 3 to 5 p.m. Bring a resume and picture and
arrive at the theatre 30 minutes prior to each call time.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG whooped
it up in Las Vegas. She hit a $10,000 jackpot at the Venetian hotel. The star who is in town
filming the movie Rat Race had invested about $300 when she got lucky.
Mention BROADWAY TO VEGAS for Special Consideration
Call (800) 942-9027
Next Column: October 8, 2000
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