By: Ellis Nassour A galaxy of stars honored theater legend and five-time Tony winner Angela Lansbury at the Drama League benefit gala, A Musical Celebration of Broadway, Monday, February 8, at the Pierre Hotel.
Performing and paying tribute were James Barbour, Charles Busch, Ann Hampton Callaway, Len Cariou, Will Chase, Edie Falco, Beth Fowler, Victor Garber, Alexander Gemignani, Malcolm Gets, Dee Hoty, Cheyenne Jackson, Chad Kimball, Donna Murphy, Bernadette Peters, Christopher Sieber, Will Swenson, and, among others, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Though all the season’s headliners haven’t been announced, look at the star power coming in: Two-time Tony and three-time DD-winner John Lithgow, making his frequent transition from screen to stage roles, this season co-starring at Second Stage in Douglas Carter Beane’s Mr. and Mrs. Fitch; Two-time Oscar-winner Denzel Washington, returning five years after his Brutus in Julius Caesar, in the Fences revival; and Kelsey Grammar is back after 10 years and roles in Shakespeare classics for a total change of pace as Georges in the La Cage revival.
SIZZLIN’ BALLROOM: BURN THE FLOOR’S CREATIVE FORCE: JASON GILKISON By: ELLIS NASSOUR
NYTimes critic Charles Isherwood termed Burn the Floor, the ballroom dancing spectacular now at the Longacre, "every bit as flashy and tacky as you would expect." WOW! Those two qualities, both of which are so alien to Broadway!, are perhaps what’s making the Aussie production such a hit. That and the fact that thanks to smash TV shows such as Dancing with the Stars the world seems dance crazy.
Best Play: God Of Carnage Yasmina Reza’s shallow dissection of contemporary social hypocrisy will win in a weak year, where the best new plays were seen Off- Broadway. Note: the Pulitzer Prize winning Ruined by Lynn Nottage is still playing at MTC.
Best Musical: Billy Elliot The musical based on the movie of the same name is perfection and recently won 10 Drama Desk Awards. Billy will dance away with multiple Tonys as well.
On Sunday, June 7, the Broadway community gathers at Radio City Music Hall for the American Theatre Wing’s 63rd annual Tony Awards. The show will be carried as a live, three-hour special on CBS, beginning at 8 P. M. At Wednesday morning’s reception for the nominees, who were announced only the day before, several interesting facts about the Awards came to light.
Drama Desk Nominees Feted; Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton Reunite; Fonda and Channing Among Presenters for May 17 Awards to be Hosted by Harvey Fierstein by Ellis Nassour
Timing is everything in theater. And at Friday’s cocktail reception for the 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards nominees the timing couldn’t be better for 9 to 5: the movie co-stars Dolly Parton, in a luminous black and white outfit and making her Broadway debut as composer of 9 to 5: the musical; and Jane Fonda, back on Broadway after a longgggggg absence in 33 Variations, carrying her precious dog Tulia.
The eternally youthful multi-talented singer, dancer, cabaret entertainer has left us. Renowned as the self proclaimed "sex kitten" in a career that spanned five decades, the actress was active as recently as last September where she performed at Cafe Carlyle. Her accomplishments cover every facet of the entertainment industry, but she may be best know to millions as the Cat Woman of the long running "Batman" television series. Orson Wells called her "the most exciting woman in the world." And the world will be a little less exciting now that she’s gone.
The Noble prize winning British playwright Harold Pinter, acclaimed for his dark menacing stories of bleak lives, passed away at 78 after a prolonged battle with cancer. He won the Noble Prize for literature in 2005 and his acceptance speech at the time was most profound. Just this past season, Pinter was represented on Broadway with a star studded revival of his classic The Homecoming.
"Quiet please, there’s a lady on stage. She may not be the latest rage, But she’s singing and she means it; And she deserves a little silence…"
[Carole Bayer-Sager/Peter Allen]
Well, she didn’t get it!
The audience response was near pandemonium. After Liza with a Z took six bows, including ones with her pianist Billy Stritch, music director Michael Berkowitz and the 12-piece orchestra, she reluctantly left the stage, completely drained and wet from perspiration, wrapped in Stritch’s arms.
THEATERLIFE.COM has discovered a delightful new book for which we hope to help find a publisher. Written by Tom McMorrow, a former theater critic of the Daily News, past president of The Drama Desk and editor of the Drama Desk News for all lovers of elegant language, Words of Wit and Wisdom has been hailed by educators (see below), who have called it “monumental” and compared it to Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary.
by Ellis Nassour Barbara Cook caricatures by SAM NORKIN
The New York Philharmonic will host a belated celebration of and with Barbara Cook to mark her 80th birthday, which was October 25. Miss Cook will reminisce about her storied career and sing from her lengthy repertory of songs by Bernstein and Comden and Green, Lerner and Loewe, Arlen and Mercer, Gershwin and Caesar, Hammerstein and Romberg and, among others, a friend named Stephen. The concerts are Monday and Tuesday, November 19 and 20, Mo at 7:30 at Avery Fisher Hall. An additional concert is also set for Tuesday, January 8. 2008
KLEINFELD generously sponsored an Afternoon ofElegance, a glamorous Fashion Show with a dash of bold modern style, at their magnificent 35,000 square foot showroom to benefit the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. One hundred seventy five guests attended a private Champagne Reception and Fashion Show at Kleinfeld’s extraordinary fashion emporium, which runs the length of an entire city block on West 20th Street in the heart of Chelsea.
Drag legend extraordinaire Charles Busch is making a return engagement to the Bay Street Theater MainStage in a revival of his much acclaimed satire The Lady in Question, which begins previews on August 14 and will run through September 2. Mr. Busch was last seen here during the summer of 2004 in a revival of Auntie Mame on the MainStage, when he played another legend Mame Dennis, made famous by yet another legend, the film and theater star Rosalind Russell. Christopher Ashley, who helmed the current Broadway hit Xanadu, will direct Lady. He also directed the outstanding Broadway productions of All Shook Up and the revival of The Rocky Horror Picture Show earning a Tony nomination in the process.