Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: October 11, 2015
By: Laura Deni


Now in its 27th year, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals will not only present eight new shows in development to theatre producers from around the world, but also offer The 46th Minute, a concert of songs cut from those musicals.

This isn't an amateur showcase for wannabees. It's a serious rung on the success ladder for professions to have their work presented to the people who can make it happen.

Both the developmental musicals and the concert features top talent. Starring in the work-in-progress shows are such stars as Tony nominees Brad Oscar and Emily Skeggs. On board are Lilli Cooper and Margo Seibert. The line-up also features a new musical by Tony and Grammy award winner, singer/songwriter/ composer Duncan Sheik. There's a show helmed by Tony nominee Sam Buntrock and Chicago Shakespeare Theater's sold-out production of Othello: The Remix, a hip-hop adaptation of the Shakespearean classic.

The eight musicals, selected from 250 submissions, will be presented in industry-only performances as 45-minute staged readings over two days, October 15-16, at New World Stages.

The line-up includes:

Imagine Harry
with music and lyrics by Will Van Dyke, book and lyrics by Jeff Talbott. Helmed by Brandon Ivie; the music director is Ian Weinberger.

The cast features Brad Oscar, William Parry, Preston Sadleir and Taylor Trensch.

"When Tucker was 8, Harry was his imaginary friend. Now Tucker’s grown up, and Harry has left the biz - two lost guys trying to figure out the little things. Like life. Can they help each other before it’s too late? Imaginary Harry is a musical for grown-ups about the very tricky business of growing up."

The Last Queen of Canaan with a book by Harrison David Rivers, lyrics by Rebekah Greer Melocik, music by Jacob Yandura. Directed by Peter Rothstein. The Music Director is Matt Gallagher. The cast includes Kecia Lewis, Kenita Miller, Jon-Michael Reese, Margo Seibert, and Q. Smith.

"Set in 1937 rural Virginia, The Last Queen of Canaan follows Cora Skye, an uncompromising landowner, and Ginny, her restless granddaughter. When Kay, a Northern do-gooder, descends on the property to collect Cora’s story for the WPA, she unwittingly instigates a confrontation that will leave all three women forever changed."

Legendale with music by Andrea Daly, book and lyrics by Jeff Bienstock, story by Bienstock and Daly. John Simpkins directs. Music Director is Vadim Feichtner. The cast features George Salazar.

"Andy’s favorite way to escape his humdrum life is an online game full of magic and monsters called 'Legendale.' When a once-in-a-lifetime tournament is announced, Andy dreams of victory, but finds himself stuck competing as a cow maiden - the lowliest character in the game. He curses his fate, until the fantasy becomes real and Andy and his avatar must both discover their inner warrior. An original, contemporary musical comedy with a pop-infused score, Legendale blends romance, adventure and virtual reality."

On the Eve with music and lyrics by Shawn Magill & Seth Magill, book by Michael Federico, story by Michael Federico, Shawn Magill and Seth Magill. Directed by Tony nominee Sam Buntrock.

Featuring Will Connolly and Brynn O'Malley.

"As bombs explode outside, a theatre company staves off impending apocalyptic doom by performing a sci-fi musical about Marie Antoinette’s first time-traveling hot air balloon. As the dictatorial Talking Man turns the story into a celebration of stereotypes, the company fights back. Soon the play bleeds into reality, reviving hope for survival."

Costs of Living
with book, music and lyrics by Timothy Huang who was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. He attended New York University where he received his BFA in Drama and his MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts. Huang is a 2012 Dramatist Guild Fellow.

Costs of Living is directed by Marlo Hunter. The cast features Jenni Barber, Kiet Cao, Daniel J. Edwards, Ali Ewoldt, Raymond Lee and Kelvin Moon Loh.

Based on a true story, Costs of Living chronicles the lives of two immigrant cab drivers who come to New York for the American dream but instead find a nightmare scenario. Set to a rock and pop theatre score, featuring a predominantly Asian-American ensemble.

Othello: The Remix with a book, music and lyrics by The Q Brothers (GQ and JQ), developed with Rick Boynton. Director by Brian Hill and starring GQ, JQ, Postell Pringle and Jackson Doran.

Following an acclaimed international tour and triumphant homecoming to sold-out audiences at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, this fresh urban take on Shakespeare’s tragedy is spun out and lyrically rewritten over original beats by The Q Brothers - America’s leading re-interpreters of Shakespeare through hip-hop. "Othello: The Remix delivers an intense, high energy spin like no other."

with music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik, book and lyrics by Kyle Jarrow. Directed by Chloe Treat with Rachel Chavkin. Music Direction by Jason Hart. The cast includes Lilli Cooper, Daniel Everidge, Kevin Mambo, John Schiappa, Emily Skeggs, Theo Stockman, with Foley Artist Jeremy Bloom.

A heartbroken man never leaves his apartment, consoled only by the music on the radio. Through the thin walls, he hears almost every word of the couple next door - and before long, his eavesdropping becomes an obsession. Soon he finds himself drawn into a web of lust, lies, deceit and danger. "Noir is a lush and mysterious new musical inspired by radio plays and classic film noir."

To get those above mentioned shows, each condensed to 45 minutes for the Festival, there are "bound to be terrific songs left on the cutting room floor."

The 46th Minute features these songs from the musicals brought together by Andrea Daly and Jeff Bienstock; Daryl Lisa Fazio & Aaron McAllister; Shawn & Seth Magill; Rebekah Greer Melocik & Jacob Yandura; Timothy Huang; The Q Brothers; Duncan Sheik & Kyle Jarrow; and Jeff Talbott & Will Van Dyke. The evening will also feature other original songs by Duncan Sheik, Kyle Jarrow, Andrea Daly and Home by Hovercraft.

Performers includes Duncan Sheik, Kyle Jarrow, Andrea Daly, Jackson Doran, Postell Pringle, Home by Hovercraft, Lilli Cooper, Raymond Lee, Kelvin Moon Loh, Emily Padgett, Taylor Trensch, and Lauren Worsham.

The 46th Minute will be directed by Amy Corcoran and Stage Managed by Chris “Waffles” Wathen.

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, founded in 1985, is a national service organization dedicated exclusively to musical theatre. Their mission is to advance musical theatre by nurturing the creation, development, production and presentation of new musicals, and to provide a forum for musical theatre professionals to share resources and exchange information. Their 200 members, located throughout 34 states and abroad, are some of the leading producers of musical theatre in the world and include theatres, presenting organizations, higher education programs and individual producers. Among the 228 musicals launched by NAMT's annual Festival of New Musicals are Thoroughly Modern Millie, Children of Eden, Honk!, The Drowsy Chaperone, It Shoulda Been You, Songs for a New World, I Love You Because, Striking 12, Vanities, Ordinary Days and many others, representing 420 writers.

Last season, the NAMT members collectively:
Employed over 31,000 people.
Staged nearly 24,000 performances attended by more than 9.6 million people.
Entertained over 500,000 subscribers.
Provided education programs for over 1 million students and teachers.
Had operating budgets totaling over $550,000,000.
Performed in 260 facilities housing over 165,000 seats.

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Night Illumination—Panama-Pacific International Exposition—San Francisco, California, 1915, 1915. Published by Pacific Novelty Company. Color letterpress halftone. FAMSF, gift of Barbara Jungi in memory of Elsie F. Miller; James Tissot, L’ambitieuse (The Political Woman) (detail), 1883–1885. Oil on canvas. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, gift of William M. Chase, 1909, 1909:10; Edwin Deakin, Palace of Fine Arts and the Lagoon (detail), ca. 1915. Oil on canvas. Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, long-term loan from the California Department of Finance, conserved with funds provided by Gerald D. Gordon, LOAN.2006.Deakin; Francis Bruguière, Machinery Hall, West Entrance, at Night (detail), 1915. Gelatin silver print. FAMSF, gift of the Whitton Family to the Percy Gray Collection
The year 2015 marks the centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the San Francisco world’s fair that celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and the city’s reconstruction following the great earthquake of 1906. The grand exposition covered 76 city blocks and boasted national and international pavilions showcasing innovation, industry, and the arts.

At the heart of the PPIE was one of the most ambitious art exhibitions ever presented in the United States, encompassing more than 11,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs, in addition to a significant array of public murals and monuments.

To mark this anniversary, Jewel City revisits this vital moment in the inauguration of San Francisco as the West Coast’s cultural epicenter. The landmark exhibition at the de Young reassembles more than 200 works by major American and European artists, most of which were on display at this defining event.

October 17, 2015–January 10, 2016 at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

FRIEZE ART FAIR LONDON one of the most important fairs in the contemporary art world runs from October 14 to 17 in Regent’s Park.

Unrivalled in quality, range and depth, Frieze London 2015 provides a discerning perspective on contemporary art, utilizing the expertise of lead- ing curators including Nicola Lees (Curator, 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana), Clare Lilley (Director of Program, Yorkshire Sculpture Park) and Gregor Muir (Executive Director, ICA, London) across its feature sections and program.

For the 13th edition, 164 galleries from 27 countries will present the work of some of today’s most significant and exciting contemporary artists.

Some of the divisions include: Emerging talents - advised by curators Raphael Gygax (Migros Museum, Zurich) and Jacob Proctor (Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, University of Chicago). This section will include an installation by Maria Pininska-Beres (David Radziszweski, Warsaw); a floor-based “water relief” by Samara Scott (The Sunday Painter, London) and a ceramic presentation by Jesse Wine (Limoncello, London).

Live - Advised by Raphael Gygax and Jacob Proctor, the section includes: portrait sittings by Ken Kagami (Misako & Rosen, Tokyo); auditorium-based choreography by Edward Thomasson & Lucy Beech (Southard Reid, London); Xifopagas Capilares (1984) by Tunga (Galeria Franco Noero, Turin and Luhring Augustine, New York); and an intimate encounter by Amalia Ulman (Arcadia Missa, London).

Sculpture Park - selected by Clare Lilley (Yorkshire Sculpture Park) and with free public access, the 16 featured artists include: Richard Serra (Peter Freeman, New York), Anri Sala (Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris & Marian Goodman Gallery, London), Seung-Taek Lee (Gallery Hyundai, Seoul), Carol Bove (David Zwirner, London), and a 11–14th century AD pre-Ekoi monolith from Western Africa (Didier Claes, Brussels).

Frieze Talks: This year’s programme, co-curated by Christy Lange (Associate Editor, frieze) and Gregor Muir (ICA, London) will include Tania Bruguera (artist and activist), Douglas Coupland (writer), Anicka Yi (artist), Adrian Searle (critic) and Metahaven (graphic design studio).

DEGAS AND THE DANCE OPENING PARTY takes place Thursday, October 15 at the Canaday Gallery & Libbey Court of the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio.

Party en pointe with the Toledo Museum of Art as they celebrate the opening of their fall exhibition with an evening of music and dance. First, catch a live performance by the Toledo Ballet inside the exhibition space, where the Museum has recreated a dance studio in honor of Degas’s favorite muse, the ballerina. Then, head to Libbey Court for drinks from the cash bar and to do a little dancing of your own, or step inside the Great Gallery and try your hand at live model drawing, much like Degas did in the rehearsal spaces of Paris.

Admission and parking are free. Cocktail attire requested - though tutus are welcome.

Image: Art Nouveau fashion using 'Constantia', 1961 © Liberty London. From the book Liberty and Co. in the Fifties and Sixties, published by Antique Collectors Club. Photo: Fashion and Textile Museum.
Liberty Art Fabrics and the textile design studio take center stage as the internationally recognized leader in floral, paisley and patterned prints and dress fabrics. Liberty has been at the cutting edge of design and the decorative arts since 1875. Trace Liberty's impact on British fashion and textiles from Orientalism and Aesthetic dress in the 19th century, through Art Nouveau and Art Deco in the 20th century, and the revival of these styles since the 1950s.

Liberty in Fashion celebrates the 140th anniversary of the company. The exhibition charts Liberty’s history as ‘the’ fashionable place to shop as well as its role as the source and originator of key trends in fashion history.

On display are over 150 garments, textiles and objects which demonstrate Liberty’s strong relationships with designers since 1875, from Arthur Silver of Silver Studio to collaborations with Jean Muir, Cacharel, Yves Saint Laurent and Vivienne Westwood.

Opened last Friday and is on exhibit through February 28, 2016 at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.


MASTERVOICES' GALA takes place Thursday, October 15, 2015. Pre-concert cocktails and dinner at Le Parker Meridien followed by a concert performance of The Pirates of Penzance at New York City Center.

MasterVoices' semi-staged presentation of The Pirates of Penzance by Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert will feature a cast of stars from the Broadway and opera worlds, along with Orchestra of St. Luke's performing Arthur Sullivan's original orchestrations under the direction of Artistic Director Ted Sperling.

The concert will feature Metropolitan Opera star Deborah Voigt, Hunter Parrish, Tony nominee Phillip Boykin, Tony winner Douglas Hodge, Julia Udine, Tony nominee Montego Glover, and Betsy Wolfe.

Choreography and Associate Direction by Gustavo Zajac. Scenic Design by David Korins Lighting Design by Frances Aronson. Sound Design by Scott Lehrer. Costume Consulting by Tracy Christensen.

HOLLYWOOD IN VIENNA GALA takes place at the historic Vienna Concert Hall on October 16, 2015. Hollywood & Broadway Stars are slated to attend and perform at the red-carpet event.

In addition to Oscar-nominated and Grammy-winning Guest of Honor James Newton Howard, Hollywood in Vienna welcomes composer Richard Bellis plus another thirty Hollywood and international guests. ORF (Austrian Radio Broadcasting) will broadcast the gala, for the third time, in 35 countries worldwide.

This year’s gala titled Tales of Mystery will have performances by R&B singer and 16-time Grammy-Nominee Brian McKnight, who will perform with Bosnian Edita "Madita" Malovi and South-African singer Velile Mchunu. Austrian Soprano Daniela Fally will be making her Film Music debut.

The musical performers will be supported by the Choir Neue Wiener Stimmen, the children’s choir Superar and the Afro-Choir Insingizi & Friends. Making his debut as a guest conductor of the ORF Radio-Symphony Orchestra is Keith Lockhart, conductor and music director of the Boston Pops. The Emcee of the gala will be the German host Steven Gätjen.

The highlight of the evening will be when Norbert Kettner CEO Vienna Tourist Board, as official representative of the City of Vienna, will present the Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award to James Newton Howard. Howard’s work encompasses over 120 scores, including The Hunger Games Trilogy, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Sixth Sense, to name just a few of his projects. He also wrote the Billboard charting song The Hanging Tree originally performed by Jennifer Lawrence, which will have its World Premiere performance during the concert.

The audience of this year’s concert will be able to taste and purchase the world famous "Imperial Torte" at the concert venue, with proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation Austria.


in what might be a first - "featuring 88.4% of the Original Broadway cast" has been released on Broadway Records. Seven years after the show closed on Broadway corralling the original cast to do a studio recording is a daunting undertaking. 88.4% is an impressive turn-out.

Based on the John Waters movie of the same name. The music is by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger, and the book is by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan.

It's a fun, frothy, infectious rock musical set in Baltimore, 1954.

The musical focuses on Baltimore teenager Allison Vernon-Williams, who is drawn across the tracks from her 1954 finishing-school background into a relationship with the orphaned Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker, the leader of a pack of rebel outcasts.

Despite a short run on Broadway this Tony nominated campy musical has developed a cult following.

All of the snarky semi vulgar lyrics are easily understood. The high voltage rockabilly score defies people not to dance.

While none of the individual numbers are particularly memorable, from a musical standpoint, stealing the show are the orchestrations by Steven M. Gold, Adam Schlesinger and Chris Jahnke with additional arrangements by Lynne Shankel and David Chase.

It's retro-themed, teen-age angst against a backdrop of musical arrangements which leaves no doubt that the arrangers know 1950 era tunes. You name the singer or group that charted during the 1950s and chances are this CD boasts a send up of their signature sound.

Clever, and memorable.

Squeaky Clean has an arrangement which brings up memories of the Cordettes, who were a hit female recording quartet of the 1950s. Nobody Gets Me is pure rock Elvis and Bill Haley. Jukebox Jamboree is Little Richard. This Amusing Offer channels Jerry Lee Lewis. There is also a number which conquers up thoughts of Grease while All in my Head is 40s.

Thanks for the Nifty Country made me think of segments from Fiorello, Jimmy and Knickerbocker Holiday.

Harriet Harris is hilarious as Mrs Cordelia Vernon-Williams, the frightful town matriarch who discloses her dark past in I Did Something Wrong… Once. Her delivery is distinct, and she is able to translate her character's unique voice to a musical number.

James Snyder stars as Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker, and Elizabeth Stanley is both delightfully charming and funny as his love interest Allison.

Others in the cast include: Alli Mauzey, Chester Greogry II, Christopher J. Hanke, Carly Jibson, Richard Poe, Nick Blaemire, Colin Cunliffe, Meg Buckley, Emily Bindiger, Ari Gold, Steven M. Gold, Adam Schlesinger.

Musicians: Henry Aronson: Piano/keyboards - Frank Pagano: Drums - Chris Biesterfeldt: Acoustic and Electric Guitar - Matt Beck: Guitars, Banjo, Ukulele, Pedal Steel - Steve Count: Upright and Electric Bass - Scott Kreitzer: Tenor and Baritone Sax, Clarinet.

Additional musicians: Adam Schlesinger: organ, keyboards - Steven M. Gold: keyboards, harmonica.

Colorful, easy to read booklet with lyrics. Illustration by Richie Fahey. Package design by Robbie Rozelle, Ghostlight Design. Gorgeous photography by Joan Marcus.

Engineered by Kevin Geigel, Adam Schlesinger, Steven M. Gold, Kyle Resto. Recorded by Premiere, Jungle City, and Omelette Station, NYC. Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, NYC. Musical Director Henry Aronson.


is the one Steve Daletis grew from a planted seed last April. Last week the vegetable weighed in at 1,997 pounds, making it the latest pumpkin ever grown in Oregon. It's also got bragging rights as the fourth-largest one in the world.

The weigh-in was at the Bauman Harvest Festival in Gervais, Oregon. What could be future pumpkin pie filling will be on display at the festival for the next several weeks.

That doesn't mean Charlie Brown and the rest of the great cultivar of the squash plant followers should go home. October 17 seems to be a favorite day for all things Cucurbita maxima.

On October 17 that great state of Oregon will stage The Terminator Weighoff. Also on October 17 Colorado Springs holds their Old Colorado City Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off. On Saturday Mishicot, Wisconsin has their Pumpkin Fest, as does the Prince Edward County Pumpkin Growers in Wellington, Ontario Canada. Goffstown, Hew Hampshire has their Pumpkin Weigh-Off beginning on Saturday and continuing through Sunday.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN has signed bill AB 856 which expands privacy protections to prevent paparazzi from flying drones over private property.

The bill changes the definition of a "physical invasion of privacy" to include flying a drone into the airspace above someone's land for the purpose of making a recording or taking a photo.


THAT'S A LOT OF CHEESE Disneyland has introduced a new annual individual pass that will set you back $1,049. The Disney Signature Plus won’t have any blackout dates. Mouse House will also offer an annual pass for $849, which is good for about 350 days out of the year.

I checked at the grocery store. A package of wrapped slice, named brand cheese, which has about 12 slices to a package, sells for $1.29. An annual pass equals 813 cheese packages or 9756 slices.

While the above mentioned ticket prices are up to a 35% jump, it is reported that for the first time in 60 years - since the park opened - Walt Disney Co. is considering switching to demand-based pricing at its domestic parks, where tickets would cost less on slower attendance days and cost more with more restrictions on days when attendance peaks, such as week-ends and holidays. Offering a price break on "slow" days is touted as giving a break to middle class families

SEATTLE will assert its authority to tax firearms and ammunition. The $25 per firearm tax on retailers was enacted to mitigate the costs of gun violence in Seattle and has been ruled “a proper and lawful exercise” of the City’s authority.

Three gun-rights groups and two Seattle gun dealers sued Seattle in an attempt to block a tax on gun and ammunition sales from taking effect.

THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY which won the Outstanding Regional Theatre Tony in 2013 has an offstage drama unfolding.

After 33 years, Boston University and the Huntington Theatre Company are ending their partnership, and the university is putting the BU Theatre up for sale, effective immediately.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Huntington managing director Michael Maso said the theater company hopes to buy the BU Theatre and the two adjoining BU-owned buildings, which the university is also selling.

Gary Nicksa, senior vice president of operations at BU, told the Globe that the university is taking the step in order to consolidate its theater education programs.

Founded by BU in 1982, the Huntington became independent in 1986. BU has provided free use of the 890-seat theater to the Huntington, along with a subsidy that this fiscal year will amount to $200,000, according to Nicksa. During their partnership, the university has provided more than $40 million in financial support to the Huntington, according to Nicksa, including cash contributions and the free use of the theater. The Huntington’s budget for the current fiscal year is more than $14 million, according to a theater spokesperson in statements printed in the Globe.

The joint statement said that “it has become clear that BU and the Huntington both have needs that the partnership can no longer meet,’’ adding: “Neither BU nor the Huntington have the resources it will take to renovate and modernize the BU Theatre within the constraints of our current partnership.’’

Despite venue issues the Huntington Theatre Company has announced they are undertaking a long term project called The Sondheim Initiative - the staging of 15 musicals that were penned by Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Officials have speculated that such a project is without precedent by a major American theater.

Stretching over several years, the productions will be staged at several different venues. Some will be original Huntington productions — like the staging of A Little Night Music, which closes today, October 11, 2015 and is considered the first of the 15 productions.
Under the initiative, some productions will originate at the Huntington and some will be imported from England or elsewhere.

Confederacy of Dunces, starring Nick Offerman, is scheduled to start performances at the Boston University Theatre November 11.

JOHN CULLUM the two-time Tony award winner and member of the Theatre Hall of Fame will have an off-Broadway theatre named after him. The re-dedication of the 140-seat Chernuchin Theatre to the John Cullum Theatre will take place on October 16.

The American Theatre of Actors and The Araca Group made the announcement.

The venue to be named after Cullum is one of the four theatres located at the Off-Broadway American Theatre of Actors non-profit organization. It is a repertory theatre company consisting of 50 actors, 20 playwrights and 10 directors. Its purpose is to promote the development of new playwrights, directors and actors and provide them a creative atmosphere in which to work without the pressures of commerical theatre. The plays are dramas and comedies dealing with the social and ethical problems of contemporary society.

Over 800 new works have been presented and more than 8000 actors have worked at ATA, including Dennis Quaid, Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello, Dan Lauria, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin O'Connor, Kevin Spacey, William Fichtner and Edie Falco.

BELARUSIAN JOURNALIST SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH 67, has been awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in literature. The award carries with it a prize of $960,000. She was commended by the Swedish Academy "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time” She is a prominent critic of the Russian regime, and the author of books including A Prayer for Chernobyl.

Alexievich is the 14th woman to win the literature prize.

a new musical with book and lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. Music by David Shire.

Co-directed and Choreographed by Dan Knechtges.

Directed by Tak Viravan.

Based on the contemporary Thai novel Behind the Painting, this tempestuous romance is set in 1930s Thailand and Japan as the monarchy crumbles with Japan on the brink of war. In this turbulent time, a young Thai student and the American wife of a Thai diplomat fall into forbidden love whose dangers parallel the shifting world around them.

Marking the U.S. debut of Thai pop superstar Bie Sukrit as Noppon, the student at the center of the ill-fated affair.

The cast also includes: Laura Griffith, J. Elaine Marcos, Thom Sesma, Eymard Cabling, Steven Eng, Rona Figueroa, Kimberly Immanuel, Lisa Helmi Johnson, Ryan Kim, Kenway Hon Wai K. Kua, Leon Le, Jordan de Leon, Colin Miyamoto, Koh Mochizuki, Celia Mei Rubin, Darryl Semira, Riza Takahashi, and Kay Trinidad.

The 17th new musical produced by The 5th, this called "an unprecedented, groundbreaking collaboration between Oscar and Tony-winning American and Asian theatrical artists."

This 5th Avenue Theatre/Pasadena Playhouse co-production has performances through October 25, 2015 at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington.

THE GIN GAME by D.L. Colburn.

Directed by Leonard Foglia.

Starring James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson.

Weller Martin (James Earl Jones) and Fonsia Dorsey (Cicely Tyson) meet on the porch of their nursing home and strike up a friendship, with Weller teaching Fonsia how to play gin rummy. As they play, they share stories about the lives they led in the outside world. But when Fonsia wins every hand, Weller becomes increasingly frustrated, until their gin games and conversations become a battleground, with each player exposing the other’s failures, disappointments and insecurities.

Set and costume design by Riccardo Hernandez, lighting design by Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, and sound design by David Van Tieghem.

The production opens Wednesday, October 14 at Broadway’s Golden Theater in New York City.

SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM the Los Angeles premiere. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Conceived and originally directed on Broadway by James Lapine for the Roundabout Theatre Company, inspired by a concept by David Kernan.

ICT production directed and staged by DJ Gray.

Musical direction by Gerald Sternbach.

Writing songs that reflect the complexity of his characters, Stephen Sondheim changed the way we define a great musical. Yet even though millions of fans know his songs by heart, few know much about Sondheim himself. Until now. Conceived by frequent Sondheim collaborator James Lapine, this intimate evening combines exclusive interview footage offering an inside look at Sondheim’s personal life and artistic process with sparkling-new arrangements of over two dozen Sondheim tunes ranging from the celebrated to the obscure.

Starring Stephanie Fredricks, Barbara Carlton Heart, Shaina Knox, Kevin McMahon, Jake Novak, and Josh Wise.

Video created and designed by Peter Flaherty. Orchestrations by Michael Starobin. Arrangements by David Loud.

Set design for the ICT production is by Don Llewellyn, with lighting design by Tom Ruzika; costume design by Kim DeShazo, sound design by Dave Mickey, props by Patty and Gordon Briles, wigs by Anthony Gagliardi, and casting by Michael Donovan Casting. The production stage manager is Pat Loeb.

October 14 - November 8, 2015 at the International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, CA.

KANSAS CITY CHOIR BOY music and lyrics by Todd Almond.

Directed by Kevin Newbury.

Featuring Todd Almond and Courtney Love.

Kansas City Choir Boy is "a theatricalized concept album about love altered by unexpected fate. A mystery told through flashbacks, the show tells the story of two lovers in small town America who separate when one goes in search of her destiny and then disappears. Kansas City Choir Boy is a love song for the computer age and a product of the 24-hour news cycle that feeds on the stories of the anonymous 'missing'."

The Los Angeles premiere takes place at the Kirk Douglas Theatre October 15-November 8, 2015.

GUARDS AT THE TAJ by Rajiv Joseph.

Directed by Giovanna Sardelli.

Featuring Raffi Barsoumian and Ramiz Monsef.

"Ambition, philosophy and absurdity spill-over in Rajiv Joseph’s violently beautiful new play about two lowly guards handed the grueling task of protecting the Taj Mahal. Wildly comic and astoundingly tragic, the journey of these two friends asks if perfection comes at too great a cost."

West Coast Premiere through November 15, 2015 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater of the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.


Directed by actor/director Stephan Morrow, who plays the instructor of a school for gigolos in The Academy.

Taken together, the two plays are bill as "illustrat(ing) the changing nature of the battle of the sexes between the postwar period and now."

In The Academy, it's 1950 Venice and amid the postwar nihilism and defeat, a reactionary professor has organized an 'academy' to teach young Italian men how to seduce and exploit American women. The six young gigolos who are his students are enterprising young men, most bearing names that were commonly given to babies of the period (Afro, Benito, Corso, Donato, Elio) in praise of Mussolini's regime. All owe a curious debt to the Professor's wife, who oddly represents the postwar nation as reflected in the character of a woman.

The Academy was originally presented by Lucille Lortel at Theatre De Lys in 1963.

The play's Professor, who trains the young men in the sympathetic tactics to conquer vulnerable American dowagers, will be played in this production by director Stephan Morrow. His wife will be played by Kate Rose Reynolds and the students will be played by Michael Striano, Fergus Scully, Kellan Peavy, Nick Palazzo, Taylor Petracek and Tucker Lewis.

The world premiere of Wives offers a contrasting view of American women. Instead of being victimized by an opportunistic man, they are firmly in control. Compared to The Academy, the production of Wives displays a definite power shift in the battle of the sexes.

Carlotta Brentan plays the man's divorced wife, Giulia Bisinella plays his new fiancée.

Set design is by Mark Marcante. Lighting design is by Alexander Bartenieff.

Performances to October 25 at the Theater for the New City, in New York City.

FIRST DAUGHTER SUITE written by Michael John LaChiusa.

Directed by Kirsten Sanderson.

"Tony nominee Michael John LaChiusa imagines the inner lives and dreams of America's best-known daughters with a funny and moving follow-up to his 1993 Public musical First Lady Suite. A historical fantasia in four parts, First Daughter Suite follows Patricia Nixon and daughters Tricia and Julie, Rosalynn and Amy Carter, Betty and Susan Ford, Patti Davis and mom Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush and daughter-in-law Laura as they strive to live meaningful lives in the public eye, while dealing with the complex private relationships all of us face with our parents and children."

Featuring Alison Fraser (Nancy Reagan, Betty Ford); Rachel Bay Jones (Laura Bush, Rosalynn Carter); Caissie Levy (Patti Davis, Julie Nixon); Theresa McCarthy (Robin Bush, Hannah Nixon); Betsy Morgan (Tricia Nixon, Susan Ford); Isabel Santiago (Anita Castelo); Carly Tamer (Amy Carter); Mary Testa (Barbara Bush); and Barbara Walsh (Pat Nixon).

Performances through November 15 at the Anspacher Theater in New York City.


FIRST EVER DUBAI COMEDY FESTIVAL takes place October 15-24 at various locations in Dubai, UAE. Delivering laughs will be headliners Dave Chappelle and Trevor Noah with Hannibal Buress, Ali Al Sayed, Jerrod Carmichael, Nitin Mirani, Las Vegan Mac King, Bader Saleh and many more.

IMAGINE DRAGONS has shoes in Germany this week. On Monday, October 10, at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany. Tuesday the tour stops at Olympic Hall in Munich. On Thursday they are on stage at Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg. Friday finds them at Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin. On Saturday they can be enjoyed at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart.

AN EVENING WITH MARK RUSSELL has the political satirist holding court October 19, 2015 at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC.

ONE DIRECTION winds up an engagement at Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, UK on Monday, October 12. On Friday they opens a three night stand at 3 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.

KURT ELLING the famed jazz vocalist performs October 13-17, 2015 at Cafe Carlyle in New York City.

U.S. ARMY BAND Jazz Ambassadors perform Monday October 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach at The Peabody. The Jazz Ambassadors - America's Big Band is the official touring big band of the United States Army. This 19-member ensemble, formed in 1969, has received great acclaim both at home and abroad performing America's original art form, jazz.

THE ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC/MUSIC FROM THE DARK SIDE explores brooding and eerie minor mode works by Haydn, Mozart, Kraus and Benda in the perfect concert for the Halloween season, led by Pavlo Beznosiuk. Monday, October 19, at Milton Court, London.


AL ABRAMS who was Motown's first press agent, died October 3, 2015 at his home in Ohio from cancer. He was 74.

After Motown, he founded his own firm and represented Stax Records and James Brown.

He co-wrote a musical, Memories of Motown, and penned a book which is due to bee released next year.

He is survived by his wife Nancy, a daughter and two grandchildren.

BARBARA SHELLEY longtime music industry publicist passed away last week at her home in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was 64 and has been in poor health. Services were held October 8, 2015.

Aretha Franklin, who had been one of Shelley's longtime independent publicity clients, issued a statement saying, "I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Barbara Shelley. As I look back with fondness and respect on the time we spent together, she got me to and from my appointments and interviews with a great sense of humor. She was always knowledgeable about current issues. I admired her loyalty and concern for her father, and her caretaking of him. God bless her."

Ray Parker, Jr. was shocked to learn of her passing. "She gave me my entire career. She was the only publicist I ever had." Parker had reportedly just seen Shelley two nights before her death, when he hosted and performed at the Heroes and Legends Awards show, held in Los Angeles.

Shelley had been hired to work in the newly created position of Associate Director, R&B and Jazz Publicity in the New York office of Arista Records in February, 1978, later rising to Associate Dir./Publicity and National Publicity Dir. in 1981. She served as the West Coast Publicity Dir. before leaving the label in 1984. She also became the head of publicity for the late Nil Bogart's Casablanca and VP Publicity at Rhino Entertainment.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "We are very sad to learn of the passing of our longtime friend Barbara Shelley. I had the distinct pleasure of working closely with her for many years, first while heading the West Coast offices for Arista Records, and then again when she served as a member of The Recording Academy’s Los Angeles Chapter Board. I always admired her passion for her work and clients, her warm personality and energetic spirit, and her fierce commitment to excellence. Barbara was a wonderful person and she will be greatly missed."

She is survived by her brother Michael Appelbaum and his wife Betsy, grand nephews Tyler Tremeroli Mason and Cameron Appelbaum and grand niece Amanda Tremeroli.

GAIL ZAPPA widow of music legend Frank Zappa, died at her Los Angeles home on Wednesday, October 7, 2015. She was 70.

At the age of 22 she married Frank Zappa, a prolific songwriter, musician and head of the band Mothers of Invention. They had four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva who survive her. Frank Zappa died of prostate cancer on December 4, 1993. Since his death Gail had served as head of the Zappa Family Trust. In that capacity she was responsible for releasing more than 30 of her prolific husband’s albums after his death as well as protecting her husband’s musical legacy, ensuring that none of his material was used or released without her prior authorization. Gail and Frank’s son Ahmet is due to take over the family trust.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Gail Zappa was a creative, independent-minded woman who came of age in the fertile music scene of Los Angeles in the late '60s. She became an ardent steward of her late husband Frank Zappa's musical legacy and spent more than 20 years managing his recordings since his passing in 1993. She won a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package in 1995 for Civilization Phaze III, the last album of original music Frank completed before his death. L.A.'s Laurel Canyon music scene would have been less rich without her, as would Frank's posthumous musical output. Our creative community owes a lot to Gail and our thoughts go out to her family, her friends and the many people with whom she collaborated."

PAUL PRUDHOMME the famed New Orleans chef whose name became synonymous with Cajun cuisine, died October 8, 2015. He was 75.

He was a best-selling cookbook author and TV personality.

In 1980, he was made a Chevalier (Knight) of the French Ordre National du Mérite Agricole in honor of his work with Cajun and Creole cuisines.

Divorced, while working at Carence Dupuy's restaurant Maison du Puy he met his second wife, Kay Hinrichs. In 1975, Prudhomme became executive chef at the restaurant Commander's Palace under Richard Brennan, Sr. Chef Paul turned the unsuccessful Garden District restaurant into a world-class destination for food. In 1979, he and his wife, Kay Prudhomme, opened K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The restaurant was named as a portmanteau of their names, with Paul working as head chef and Kay as restaurant manager.

In 1986 Kay, was diagnosed with lung cancer. After seven years, she died on December 31, 1993. Prudhomme is survived by his third wife, Lori Bennett.

ACTOR MARTIN MILNER who passed away at his home in Carlsbad, California on the evening of September 6, 2015 at age 83, was remembered in a Los Angeles Police Department tribute on October 7, 2015. Milner played Office Pete Molloy on the long running Adam 12 television series which debuted on NBC in 1968 and ran until 1975. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck credited Milner for inspiring young people to enter law enforcement.

Attending the event at the downtown LAPD headquarters were Milner’s Adam-12 co-star Kent McCord, Milner’s son Andy and series producer Tom Williams. William Rinehart, a retired LAPD lieutenant who served as a technical adviser on the show, also attended.

Referring to Milner, that show and indirectly to the problems many police departments are now facing with their officers using excessive force, Chief Beck said: “Adam 12 and Martin Milner embodied the spirit of the LAPD to millions of viewers,” Beck said in a statement released by the LAPD’s Media Relations department immediately after Milner's death. “His depiction of a professional and tough yet compassionate cop led to thousands of men and women applying to become LAPD officers, including me.

At the tribute Beck elaborated: "As you watch any of the Adam-12 episodes, you see professional, compassionate, internally driven, hard-working, clean-cut, impeccably tailored, fit Los Angeles police officers - those police officers that have no dark side, that do the right things for the right reasons every time."

Next Column: October 18, 2015
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Laura Deni

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