Displaying keen perception and great insight.
She's a little bit naughty. She’s a little bit nice.
She calls ‘em like she sees (and hears) ‘em.
Note: This is a past column from October 01, 2010
You can find the current column HERE
Las Vegas - October 1, 2010
Liberace's now missing Louis XV-style desk
Liberace in Purple Chinchilla
On August 25th, MLD of Las Vegas sent copies of the letter below to Jeffrey Koep Ph.D., Cindy Doumani, Jason Firth, Luigi Mastropietro, Anna Nateece, Denise Wunderlich, Dan Garrison, Debbie Levy, Karen Spica, the nine members of the Foundation Board, and the President of the Museum and Foundation, Jack Rappaport. Other than converting some of the proper names into bold type, we have not tampered with this in any way...
I am writing this letter because I can remain silent no longer. This is in regard to Jack Rappaport, and his conduct. I understand that he is President of the Liberace Foundation. I know this because I wanted to attend a function at the showroom with my daughter and her friend this week. A while back, my daughter, her friend, and I attended a show of the Jersey Boys cast and others who were performing. During the intermission, my daughters friend was a few feet away from me, and Mr. Rappaport was talking with her. Next thing I know, she comes to me, visibly upset, and tells me that he was making "adult" advances at her. She is a teenager. She was so upset, she said he was hitting on her, touching her arm and hand, and she would wait outside the whole second part of the show for us, so she wouldn't be near him. She then walked out with my daughter. The friend asked if that same man was going to be there this time, and I told her I didn't know. I researched it and found that Mr. Rappaport is still the President. She said she'd never go back again if he was still working there.
Tanya Combs noticed something wrong that night. I went to her and she asked me if everything was ok. I told her that that man, Jack Rapport, was very drunk and was hitting on a young girl, and he scared her terribly. I told her she wouldn't come back in because she did not want another encounter with him. I asked Tanya who he was, and she told me his name and that he was the President of the Liberace Foundation. I was so shocked to say the least. I was under the impression that Tanya was President, because I've attended many events, and she has always been the one to run everything. Tanya and I went outside to talk to this young lady to try and convince her to come back in. I asked Tanya, as President, how could he exhibit that kind of behavior and drunkenness while representing such an honorable and esteemed foundation? She tried to alleviate the situation by saying he just had a few too many. That was putting it mildly. Upon further inquiry I found that he was almost always drunk at several functions and rude to not only employees but to patrons as well. How can this continue? I'm very surprised he is still an employee there.
That type of behavior is very unprofessional and uncalled for, especially holding a title such as his. My daughter and her friend will not return as long as he is employed there. I believe, for the sake of the public, and the foundation itself, that he be removed from this prestigious foundation. Someone like that has no business at all in that position. So I am ask you for his resignation immediately, or I will have to continue forward and press sexual harrassment charges against Mr. Rappaport. No one should "fear" attending any type of function there, and that is what I'm now encountering. I hope to see that the next time I go, he is no longer in your employ. I greatly appreciate your prompt response to this issue.
I do not wish for Mr. Rapport to know my identity unless we have to go to court. I will not need to be contacted if the board decides to let him go.
We are shocked. We are angry. With an accusation like this, why, at the very least, wasn't Jack Rappaport
, who is paid an annual salary of approximately $90,000, suspended or put on administrative leave and banned from going anywhere near the plaza, pending the outcome of a thorough investigation...by an agency with no obvious ties to anything Liberace? This is only one example of the mismanagement that has resulted in the current situation at the southeast Las Vegas property. As for keeping the museum open? At this point in the ugly picture, the only way we would support the idea, would be if someone NEW took over and completely cleaned house. Get rid of everybody (board members, overpaid employees, volunteers and the lot), fumigate the buildings and spray room freshener throughout, to try and get rid of the stink that has permeated the place for the past few years. Then, and only then, should the powers that be (and they would be NEW powers that be) consider reopening the museum. There are a few, very few, people from the current regime and board that could/should remain involved, if they want to be, and if their primary interest is for the good of the collection and the scholarship fund.
There are so many unanswered questions regarding the operation of the museum, and so many "secrets." One big question is, what happened to the Louis XV-style desk, that "disappeared" from the collection not too long after Las Vegas Sun writer, Brian Eckhouse, did a January 8, 2009, story called "Cache of riches: Various valuables brought to Vegas"? The article goes on to say, "Liberace, for one, has had a hand in bringing valuables here. This (photo shown along with article) elaborate (Louis XV-style) desk had an improbable journey to Las Vegas. A rococo sculptor known as Clodion built the desk in 1700s France, and it was used at the Palace of Versailles. It is said that the provisions of the Franco-Russian Military Convention of August 1892 were signed on this desk. It then found a home in the Imperial Palace in St. Petersburg. During World War II, Nazis reportedly drilled holes into the desk in search of treasures. Liberace found the desk in a small museum in Pensacola, Fla. The owner of the museum said if he wanted it, he'd need to buy the entire 14-piece exhibit. He did---for just $9,300. He quickly insured the desk for $275,000, Rodheim said. Liberace used it in his Palm Springs home. It, too, is encased at the Liberace Museum." Another article states that the, now missing, desk was a "prominent feature in Liberace's bedroom at The Cloisters in Palm Springs." It goes on to say that "the desk once belonged to Czar Nicholas II," and that "on this desk the Franco Russian Alliance was signed in 1893. This desk is now part of a permanent exhibit at the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas." Make that WAS encased at the Liberace Museum, and WAS part of a permanent exhibit at the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas." During the reign of former President of the Liberace Foundation, R. Darin Hollingsworth, that desk went missing. When questioned about it, we were told by Hollingsworth that the antique had been sold to a private party. To this day, no one has said who that party was, or how much they paid for the desk. When asked WHY it was sold, we were given two reasons. No 1, because the antique needed repair and maintenance that the museum could not afford, and No. 2, because it "didn't go with the rest of the collection." When we asked for an explanation of that reasoning, we were told by Mr. Hollingsworth, that "everything else in the museum was 'performance related,' i.e. the costumes, furs, jewelry, pianos and automobiles." When we asked, "what about Liberace's bedroom furniture, and the china and crystal," which was still on display at the museum, we got no logical answer. If, in fact, it was necessary to sell off some of Liberace's possessions, we asked, "why wasn't it done PUBLICLY, through a major auction company such as Christie's or Sotheby's?" Why was the fact that the desk was for sale kept a deep dark secret? If it had been sold by one of the well-known auction houses, the item would have been photographed and included in catalogues and promoted internationally. Isn't the idea to generate the most revenue in a situation like this? Certainly, that wouldn't be what happens when something is sold to a local anonymous buyer. We were told by Mr. Hollingsworth that "we knew nothing about auctions." First of all, we DO know quite a bit about auctions, but, more importantly, that response was given as the former president could not come up with a better, honest, answer. And the saga continues.
The accompanying photo of Liberace shows him wearing an Empress Black Velvet Chinchilla, dyed purple, cape. The fur was designed by Michael Travis, and created by Anna Nateece.
See Claire Voyant's May 1, 2009, column regarding last April's departure of R. Darin Hollingsworth, at http://www.lvol.com/gossip/2009/lvgossip139.html.
Next Friday, we will print a piece by public speaker, Ken Owens, conveying his personal feelings regarding the current state of the Liberace Museum.
Keith Thompson & Vita Corimbi
Domenick Allen Sold Out
One of many innocent casualties of the mess at the Liberace Museum is the very popular monthly Composers Showcase. Last night, performers and audience members gathered in the Cabaret for what is expected to be the last time in that intimate space, before the announced October 17th closing. The late night show offered a wide variety of music styles - from serious to funny. Among those contributing their talent were Michael Brennan, Vita Cormibi, Amos Glick, Wayne Green, Susan Haller, Jamie Karen, Richard Oberacker, Matt Taylor, Keith Thompson, Tyler Williams, Mackenzie Bell, Kristen Hertzenberg, Christine Hudman, Patrick Leveque, Johnny Miles, Andrew Ragone, Brandon Singleton, Tina Walsh, Danielle White, Tish Diaz, Dan Falcone, Philip Fortenberry, Derek Jones, Mark Pardy, Kevin Stout, Eric Tewalt and others. The night was full of music and emotion. Everyone who participated was at the top of their game, but special mention has to go to Corimbi and Green, who each wrote, and performed, material created just for the occasion. Probably the night's most touching moments came when Thompson, singing, and Fortenberry, at the piano, closed out the showcase with a beautiful song written by Keith, called "The Memory." (The song can be heard on Rebecca Spencer's CD, Fair Warning.) We will miss those monthly get-togethers in the Liberace Cabaret. In August, the organizers of the showcase, plus some caring volunteers, held a lovely event to raise funds to improve the cabaret with new sound and light equipment. Spearheaded by Keith Thompson, the efforts were successful. Hopefully, the Composers Showcase will be allowed to take THEIR equipment with them to wherever they will make their next home. When the group finds another venue, we will pass along the information.
Photo of Keith Thompson and Vita Corimbi, taken by Don Cadette on September 30.
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After missing a year because they couldn't find a place to hold it, the (usually) annual Joe Williams Scholarship Fund Concert is back on track. This year's music-filled event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, October 24th, in the newly redone 900-seat Crown Theater and Nightclub at the Rio Suites Hotel. For those who were disappointed because they were unable to get tickets to see Domenick Allen at the Suncoast this weekend, here is good news. The multi-talented music man will be one of the featured performers in the upcoming concert. In addition to Allen, Rick Faugno, Bill Fayne, Marlena Shaw and Pete Barbutti will entertain. Jazz singer and blues man, Joe Williams, was a longtime Las Vegan. He and his wife, Jillean, started the fundraisers, to benefit the music students at the College of Southern Nevada, in 1989. Over the years, entertainers including Bill Acosta, Bob Anderson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ruth Brown, Artie Butler, Vincent Falcone, Robert Goulet, Buddy Greco, Clint Holmes, Jack Jones, Julius LaRosa, Barbara Morrison, Johnny Pate, Cork Proctor, and Marlena Shaw, have performed in showrooms at Harrah's, The Orleans and South Point, to raise money to assist music students at the College of Southern Nevada with their tuition. Ed Foster, an integral part of the fundraisers, tells us they missed the opportunity to have jazz artist Diane Schuur perform at a recent concert, due to a last minute change of dates. Foster also reminds us that the fundraiser had a single performance at the Blue Note (now Krave nightclub, adjacent to Planet Hollywood), the year the club opened. An interesting note: This year, a regular attendee of the concerts, retired bass player Tommy Morrison, donated almost $750,000 to CSN and UNLV in honor of Joe Williams to further Jazz Education. The concerts have been a worthy testament to Joe's influence. Foster was fortunate enough to be a friend of Joe's and tells us that he "adored him as a talent and warm and giving human being."
And speaking of Artie Butler...The amazingly talented music man, who has arranged hits for Louis Armstrong, Barry Manilow, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Neil Sedaka, Janis Ian, Helen Reddy, Neil Diamond and Maria Muldaur among others, and co-wrote (with Phyllis Molinary) "Here's To Life" (recorded by Joe Williams, Shirley Horn and Barbra Streisand, among others), and "I Don't Remember Ever Growing Up" (recorded by Andy Williams), is more than a little excited these days. Artie is currently working on an original musical, with the working title of Laughing Matters. What makes this project extra special is that he is co-composing the music with Mike Stoller. Award-winning Stoller, and his partner, Jerry Leiber, wrote hits such as "Hound Dog," "Kansas City," "Yakety Yak," "There Goes My Baby," and "Jailhouse Rock," among many others. The book and lyrics for the Butler/Stoller project are by Iris Rainer Dart, who wrote Beaches. It is headed for New York. It is being directed by Leonard Foglia, who directed Master Class, Thurgood, and On Golden Pond on Broadway. "I have always had a great affection and respect for the people who make us laugh," says Butler. "From the time I was a young child, I wanted to be one of them. I know where their laughter comes from and I know how much they have to endure in order to make everyone else laugh. It truly comes from within. Great comedians perform with a back and forth rhythm with their audience that at times is very much like music. I'm glad that I got to be friends with some of the world's funniest people. From these great comedians, I learned how to understand both the humorous and bittersweet sides of life and translate it into my music." We will have more on this project at a later date.
And, while still on the subject of jazz...
On Sunday, October 3rd, at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30), the Judy Bayley Theater will be the site of a UNLV Jazz Concert featuring the Jazz Ensemble II & Contemporary Jazz Ensemble. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for seniors, military, students, and UNLV faculty and staff, and are available through the performing Arts Center box office.
And more jazz related news...
How do you follow up "One of the Ten Best CDs of 2009"? If you are Mark Winkler, "You do Something New!" On Saturday, October 9th, the award-winning Jazz Singer/Lyricist is returning to Upstairs at Vitello's Jazz and Supper Club, after selling out his engagement earlier this year. Mark will be doing a special evening of new material - both originals and standards - in preparation for an upcoming CD. Audience members can expect to hear some old standbys, like "In A Lonely Place" and "Hungry Man," as well as some fresh ones, like his hilarious take on Valley Singers everywhere, "Somewhere in Brazil," "Sweet Spot," and "But Not For Me" (with a vocalese borrowed from a Chet Baker horn line); as well as his swinging take on such standards as "Let's Get Lost," "Like Young" and "On Broadway." Mark will be backed by Eli Brueggemann on piano, Steve Barnes on drums, Ryan McGillicuddy on bass, and Kim Richmond on anything with a reed. This engagement at Upstairs at Vitello's will be Winkler's last solo Southern California appearance of the year, so make your reservations early. The jazz and supper club is located at 4349 Tujunga Ave. in Studio City. Show time is at 8 p.m., and tickets are $20. To purchase tickets, call (818)769-0905 for reservations, or go to www.ticketweb.com. To see Winkler's latest video, check out www.Youtube.com, and put in "Mark Winkler"+"How Can That Make You Fat?"
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A number of well-known Las Vegas personalities gave up part of their mornings on Thursday to sell newspapers...not just any newspapers, but the special pink edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Among the folks participating in this effort to call attention to breast cancer, and raise monies for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure in Las Vegas, were Elvis impersonator, Brendan Paul; members of Chippendales; Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton-Holmes; Defending the Caveman's, Kevin Burke; Diva's Las Vegas', Frank Marino (on the mend following gallbladder surgery); comics, Louie Anderson, Geechy Guy and George Wallace; Human Nature; Jersey Boys, Travis Cloer, Jeff Leibow and Peter Saide; journalist, John L. Smith; The Lion King's Buyi Zama; comic magician, Mac King; Mayor Oscar Goodman; Anthony Crivello and Kristen Hertzenberg from Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular; cast members from Thunder From Down Under; and cast members from Dick Feeney's The Rat Pack Is Back. All of these people, many who are usually still sleeping during the early part of the day, showed up at places like Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf stores, Terrible's gas/convenience stores, Egg Works, Egg & I, Starbucks and Ricardo's, to sell individual copies of the Las Vegas Review-Journal papers, with all proceeds from retail sales of the September 30th pink edition going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Ina Jo Donovan
And speaking of well-known Las Vegas personalities, we are sad to report that Bernard Schwartz passed away at his Henderson home on Wednesday night. Most readers knew him best as movie actor Tony Curtis, who starred in 150 films, including Spartacus, The Defiant Ones, Trapeze, The Boston Strangler, Houdini, Sweet Smell of Success, Some Like It Hot, and The Great Race. He also had a recurring role, from 1978 to 1981, on the TV series Vega$. During recent years, he did more painting than acting. In 2004, Curtis was inducted into the Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame at UNLV. Curtis, who with his current wife, Jill, had lived in Southern Nevada for the past 10 years, died of cardiac arrest at the age of 85. He is survived by six children (including actress/author, Jamie Lee Curtis) from three of his former marriages. According to KSNV-TV in Las Vegas, a public memorial services for the Oscar-nominated star will be held on Monday at 11 a.m. at the Palm Mortuary and Cemetery on South Eastern, with a reception to be held at the Luxor following the service. In 2008, American Prince: A Memoir, written by Tony Curtis and Peter Golenbock, was released. To quote Hamlet, we say, "Goodnight, Sweet Prince."
Cousin Claire had the opportunity to meet Tony Curtis twice - the first time in the 1950s, during a VIP tour of the Paramount lot in California, where Houdini (in which he and his first wife, actress Janet Leigh, co-starred), was being filmed. The second time, was about 10 years ago at the Desert Inn. Curtis was sitting by himself at a dollar slot machine, waiting, it turned out, for his wife, before going to dinner at Ho Wan's. We had a short and friendly chat before he disappeared, much like Houdini, into the restaurant. During the decade that he lived here, Curtis was very visible. He was often seen pumping his own gasoline at (lack of) service stations around the city.
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If you can't wait until August of 2012, when Broadway's Wicked comes to the new downtown Smith Center in Las Vegas, here is the opportunity to see a brand new musical about witches...sooner than later. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 16th, the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin, will present the world premiere of BOO!, a Halloween musical, starring talented Donovan sisters, Lisa and Ina Jo. Lisa Donovan has been a main room performer in Vegas, where she has shared stages with some of the top names in show business, including Don Rickles, Donald O'Connor and George Burns, to name a few. She has also worked with Rich Little, Norm Crosby, Mel Torme and a host of others. Lisa was the singing star of the long-running musical game show, Face the Music, and played "Nurse Kelly" on the daytime drama, The Young and the Restless. She also has performed in more than 100 national commercials. On the New York stage, she starred in the only production that Ginger Rogers ever directed, Babes In Arms. Lisa appears internationally as a headliner on Princess, Holland America, Cunard, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Crystal Cruise Lines. Ina Jo Donovan is a critically acclaimed musical performer and stage actress. Among her many credits, Ina Jo won a critic's award for Best Actress for her performance as "Velma Kelly" in the smash hit musical, Chicago. Ina Jo has traveled on cruise lines with Lisa, where they have performed on stage together many times. Lisa says she created the show BOO! because "everybody loves witches and vampires." Just look. They're everywhere. From the number one Broadway show, now in its sixth year, Wicked, to the Wizard of Oz, and from Twilight to Elvira, and good old Dracula. "Yes, everybody loves witches and vampires," says Lisa, "And so do I!" BOO! is all fun, with a very light look into this spooky world. There is lots of music. In fact, BOO! contains some of the best and best-known music ever written - "That Old Black Magic," "Witchcraft," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "Hotel California," "Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead," and "Thriller," among them. BOO! is created, written and produced by Lisa Donovan. Technical director and music producer is Stephen Scott, and Stan Evans is executive producer. Tickets are $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $18 for non-residents. The Starbright Theatre is located at 2215 W. Thomas Ryan Blvd., west of Rampart off Lake Mead. Call (702) 240-1301 for ticket information. BOO! promises to be a frightfully fun evening!
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Lee Roy Reams & Christopher Sieber in Hairspray
Norman & Barbara Kaye
The winner of eight Tony Awards, including "Best Musical" and "Best Original Score," Hairspray, the show that Variety described as an "infinitely spirited, bubblegum-flavored confection," launches the Paper Mill Playhouse's new season, aerosol-style. With book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, this production of Hairspray brings a brilliant cast to the Paper Mill Playhouse stage. The Turnblad Family includes: Christine Danelson (Tracy Turnblad) returns to the Paper Mill Playhouse stage, where she first performed as part of its Summer Conservatory in the annual New Voices Concert. She performed in the first national tour of Hairspray (Standby Tracy). She also appeared in off-Broadway's Cloaked, and in West Side Story and South Pacific at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Lee Roy Reams (Wilbur Turnblad) has numerous Broadway productions to his credit including: The Producers; 42nd Street; Beauty and The Beast; La Cage Aux Folles; Hello, Dolly!; An Evening with Jerry Herman; Applause; Lorelei; Oklahoma! and Sweet Charity. Paper Mill Playhouse appearances include: La Cage Aux Folles; Show Boat (PBS); No, No, Nanette; Victor/Victoria; 42nd Street (Director) and Anything Goes (Director). Christopher Sieber, (Edna Turnblad) a two-time, Tony nominated actor (Shrek and Spamalot), made his Broadway debut as Agis in the musical Triumph of Love. Following this role, he appeared as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Trevor Graydon in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Billy Flynn in Chicago. Other principals include: Arielle Campbell (Little Inez) played the Romanian and Monaco Princesses in the international tour of Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. West End Credits include: Dirty Dancing and Shirley in Saturday Night Fever. Alex Ellis (Penny) last performed as Penny in Hairspray at the Cape Playhouse, Ogunquit Playhouse and Maine State Music Theater. National tours include: Thoroughly Modern Millie (Millie), and Legally Blonde (Margot, Kate/Chutney). Donna English (Velma Von Tussle), a Paper Mill Playhouse veteran, was last seen on the Millburn Stage as Ms. Darbus in Disney High School Musical. Ms. English also performed in Broadway's Lend Me a Tenor. Kasey Marino (Corny Collins) performed on Broadway as Brad in Hairspray. Kasey was also featured in Paper Mill Playhouse's productions of Godspell and Ragtime. Kevin Meaney (Male Authority Figure) appeared on Broadway in Hairspray. His television credits include: Dr. Katz, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Garfield and Friends, Rocko's Modern Life, London Underground, and Duckman. Kathleen Monteleone (Amber) most recently preformed as Elle in the National Tour of Legally Blonde the Musical. Other theater credits include: Vixen in Angels-The Strand Theatre, Shreveport and Pam in Urban Cowboy - Gateway Playhouse. Susan Mosher (Female Authority Figure) also played Female Authority Figure in the Broadway and Vegas runs of Hairspray. She has appeared on television in The L Word, Without a Trace, View From Top, and Ca$hino. Constantine Rousouli, (Link) a Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Conservatory Alumnus, returns to Paper Mill Playhouse following his Broadway debut as Link in Hairspray. Caliaf St. Aubyn (Seaweed) played Levee in August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. NaTasha Yvette Williams (Motormouth Mabel) appeared on Broadway in the role of Sofia in The Color Purple and at Paper Mill Playhouse in Ain't Misbehavin'. The ensemble includes Callan Bergmann, Iris Burrus, Brittany Conigatti, Willie Dee, Shelese Franklin, Deidre Haren, Tyrick Wiltez Jones, Anthony Johnson, Kyshawn K. Lane, Christopher Messina, Nicole Powell, Alex Rolecek, Rashidra Scott, Dani Spieler, Beth Cheryl Tarnow, Laurie Veldheer, and Jake Wilson. The production is directed by Matt Lenz, with choreography by Michele Lynch (Jerry Mitchell, who conceived, directed and choreographed Peepshow at Planet Hollywood in Vegas, was the choreographer for the Broadway production). The creative team includes Michael Allen (set coordinator), Brian Hemesath (costume coordinator), Paul Miller (lighting design), Randy Hansen (sound design), and Mark Adam Ramp Meyer (hair and wig designer). Tom Helm serves as music supervisor; and the production stage manager is Thomas J. Gates. Hairspray's performances are Wednesdays through Sundays, with show times on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m.; Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 and 7 p.m. (Extended week, October 18th through 24th, has an alternate schedule. Check Paper Mill Playhouse's website for more information on the extension.) Single tickets range in price from $25 to $92. Student rush tickets are $25 and are available the day of performance in person with current student ID. Tickets may be purchased by calling (973) 376-4343, at the Box Office, or online at Paper Mill Playhouse's brand new website: www.papermill.org. Paper Mill Playhouse gift cards, available in any denomination, can be purchased at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted. Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 25% discount or more on tickets and should call (973) 379-3636, extension 2438. Founded in 1934, Paper Mill Playhouse raised the curtain on its first performance in 1938, opening with a production of Spanish playwright Martinez Sierra's The Kingdom of God. Due to a fire in 1980, Paper Mill was forced to close. Like a phoenix, it rose from its own ashes as a new theater in 1982. Since reopening, Paper Mill has continued to produce an extraordinary array of plays and musicals, attracting more than 450,000 people annually. Paper Mill Playhouse was one of the first to begin the regional theater movement in the United States. It has grown to be one of the most acclaimed non-profit professional theaters in the country. In 1972, Gov. William Cahill proclaimed Paper Mill the "Official State Theater of New Jersey." The theater has been cited as a State Center of Artistic Excellence and as a Major Impact and Distinguished Arts Organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The famed Paper Mill Playhouse is located at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, New Jersey. Hairspray, originally scheduled to close on October 17th, has been extended and will run through October 24th.
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Singer/songwriter, Norman Kaye, of Mary Kaye Trio fame, celebrated his 88th birthday, not at home with wife Barbara, but at The Heights of Summerlin Nursing Home. In late July, Norman had surgery to implant a pacemaker. He has been in rehab since sometime in August. For those that might want to send the veteran entertainer a cheery get well message, you may do so by snail mailing to: 3659 Mule Train Court, Las Vegas, NV 89129.
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Diane Ellis & Rich Little
Caught Tom Jones on David Letterman, last week. The 70-year-old Waler (he's a wailer from Wales, don't you know) sang the John Lee Hooker classic, "Burning Hell," from Jonse's new album, Praise & Blame. He sounded damn good. On Thursday, it was Beach Boy, Brian Wilson, on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, plugging his latest effort called Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin. We weren't quite as impressed with the 68-year-old's live version of "They Can't Take That Away From Me" (sometimes, it can be a curse to have perfect pitch), although we really liked the audio clips from his new album (thanks, Amazon), especially the "Rhapsody In Blue/Someone To Watch Over Me" cut.
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Media-types and invited guests filled the Shimmer Cabaret on Monday evening, to enjoy Nunsense, the latest Las Vegas Hilton entertainment offering. The tale of five nuns trying to raise money to bury four of their recently departed sisters (who met their fate after eating botulism-laced vichyssoise), results in clever songs, dancing, and some funny dialogue. The cast is stellar, with Diane Ellis as "Reverend Mother Mary Regina," Michelle Johnson as "Sister Mary Hubert," Janien Valentine as "Sister Mary Amnesia" (Kelly Clinton-Holmes will take over the role when she recovers from her broken foot), Kathryn Arianoff as "Sister Robert Anne," and Robin Berry Vincent as "Sister Leo," playing The Little Sisters of Hoboken. Book, music and lyrics are by Dan Goggin. Stuart Ditsky, Adam Ditsky (who came in from New York to attend the special performance), and Jay Harvey are the producers, and Nancy Gregory serves as director and choreographer. Musical director and first keyboard player is Dan Ellis. Mike Tramonta handles the drums and Joe Spraker is on second keyboard. Among those we spotted at the gathering were Domenick Allen, Nancy Barr, Jackie Brett, Mel Carter, Natalie Cook (Nunsense understudy), Dolly Coulter, Dianne and Burt Davis, Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton-Holmes, Norm Johnson, John Katsilometes, Mark Richards, Steve Rossi, Judy and Steve Thorburn, Kellie Wright, and Z.Z. Zorn.
And speaking of Nunsense and Steve Rossi, we have no idea where that R-J employee with the eye patch gets his (mis)information. In his Wednesday column, he wrote..."Rossi, who is the musical director of "Nunsense" at the Hilton, had some good news during our "Nunsense" media night chat. His longtime pal, Rich Little, is returning to the stage next month. He's taking his "Jimmy Stewart and Friends" on a six-city tour between Oct. 12 and Nov. 5, his first engagement since the death of his wife, Marie, in July." There are a couple of problems here. No. 1, Steve Rossi is NOT the musical director of Nunsense, and has nothing to do with the production, other than the fact that he has seen the show. As mentioned above, Dan Ellis (no relation to cast member, Diane Ellis) is the show's MD. And No. 2, on August 27th, during the hotel casino's second anniversary celebration, Rich Little performed at the Eastside Cannery, six weeks after the tragic death of his wife, Marie, on July 15th. Where does this so-called "journalist" come up with his "facts"?
Beautiful, by Stephen Michael Shearer
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Paul Stone is the producer of Innovention2010, held at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino, starting on Monday October 4th and running through the 8th. Paul has lined up an incredible roster of talent including a rare lecture by the usually silent Teller of Penn and Teller fame.
Among those scheduled to participate over the five day convention are Criss Angel, Mac King, The Amazing Johnathan, Johnny Thompson, "Magic Al," Graham P. Jolley, Lennart Green, Bob Kohler, Mark Mason, Eric Jones, Gene Anderson, Joanie Spina, Seth Kramer, Shep Hyken, Jeff Hobson, Kris Kremo, Joseph Gabriel, Sonny Fontana, Mark Raffles, and Stone himself. Danny Archer will be performing at the late night sessions, and trying to catch all the great talent that will be filling the Suncoast Hotel and Casino. Registration is limited to only 375 people, in what promises to be an outstanding magic convention.
There are a limited number of tickets available for A Magic & Variety Cabaret Night, on Thursday October 7th, from 8:45 to 11:45 p.m., also in the Suncoast Showroom, with three different Cabaret spots featuring world class magicians, variety specialty acts, and 'live' music performed by top singing stars. Close-up magic, by several International magicians from around the world, will be performed at tables around the Suncoast Showroom..
Tickets will be available for collection from the Suncoast Box Office on Thursday, October 7th, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are free, but, once again, donations to MagiCares, The Magic Charity are requested. Tickets will be allocated on a 'first come first served' basis. MagiCares, The Magic Charity that helps people suffering hardship around the world. To book tickets, names, a phone number and, if possible, an e-mail address are required. Please e-mail to [email protected] or call (702) 595 4545 to book tickets.
On Tuesday, October 5th, producer Paul Stone presents the International Stars of Magic Show in at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino. This one-night-only performance will star Kevin James & Co., Gaetan Bloom, The Great Tomsoni & Co., Richard McDougall, Mel Mellers, Nathalie Enterline and Arron Sparks. For additional information on all of these events, please go to http://www.innovention2010.com/. The Show is part of an exclusive Magicians Convention called THE INNOVENTION, produced by Paul Stone. Tickets will be available for collection from the Suncoast Box Office from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 5th.
Robert Allen and Danny Archer invite you to join them, October 17th through 19th, at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, for three days of mind-blowing fun and mental mayhem at MINDvention, Las Vegas' Annual All Mentalism Convention. MINDvention will feature shows, lectures and workshops. If you are a mentalist, this is the one convention you don't want to miss. Of course if you are a great mentalist you already knew that! Register Telepathically, or visit the MINDvention Web site at: www.MINDvention.net.
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Author Stephen Michael Shearer's latest book, Beautiful - The Life of Hedy Lamarr, went on sale Tuesday. About the 480-page profile of actress Hedy Lamarr, a follow-up to his biography of the late Patricia Neal, Publishers Weekly has this to say...In this authoritative biography, Shearer (Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life) surveys the career of actress Hedy Lamarr (1913-2000), born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna. In her teens, she was cast in German films, and in 1933, after she appeared nude in Ecstasy, she was catapulted to international fame. During an Atlantic crossing on the Normandie, Louis B. Mayer offered her an MGM contract and changed her name to Hedy Lamarr. Promoted as "the most beautiful girl in the world," she appeared in more than two dozen films between 1938 and 1958. Metro denied her a loan out to do the lead in Casablanca, but her vibrant screen presence in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949) left a lasting impression on both filmgoers and Paramount; it raked in over million to become the most profitable Paramount production up until that time. She faded from films in the 1950s, made numerous 1960s TV appearances and then dropped from the limelight, retiring to Florida in 1987. Providing probing and detailed coverage of her five marriages, children, various lawsuits, radio roles and shoplifting headlines, Shearer has combined extensive archival research with insightful interview quotes. The result is a fascinating biography that recreates Hollywood's Golden Age of Glamour. Shearer, who also authored Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life (2006), lived in Las Vegas for a while, during which time he contributed a series of 20 celebrity profiles featured in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Stephen will be in Southern Nevada on Saturday, November 6th, where he will be one of the featured authors at the annual Vegas Valley Book Festival, held at the historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth Street in Las Vegas (don't even ask why the Fifth Street School is located on Fourth Street). We will have more about Shearer, and the upcoming Book Festival, closer to the November 6th date.
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Unfortunately, we received this information too late to give TV viewers a heads-up before the episode aired, but there are always reruns in a few months, so here is what you should know...
From actress Mariska Hargitay, via Nelson Sardelli, comes this message...
Dear Friends and Family,
I'm emailing to give you a heads up about the September 29th episode of SVU. Over the last twelve years on the show, I've learned a lot about sexual violence. I've wished so often that our story lines were fiction, but as you know, they're based on harsh realities. That's especially true of the episode, "Behave." It deals with an issue I care about deeply - the rape kit backlog. As I think most of you know, I testified before Congress last May about the terrible truth that hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits are sitting in police and crime lab storage facilities across the country. Testing a rape kit sends victims the message that their cases matter. Not testing them sends the opposite message. "Behave" is one of the most meaningful and important episodes I've ever done, and all of us are very proud of it. Not to mention Jennifer Love Hewitt's performance on the show is just fantastic. Joyful Heart has launched www.endthebacklog.org to educate people about this issue and ask them to take action. There has also been incredible news coverage. I hope you'll read these two articles. The Huffington Post feature (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-baer/ending-the-backlog_b_739159.html) written by Neal Baer, and the September 29th Daily Beast article, written by Joyful Heart board member and my dear friend, the incomparable Linda Fairstein (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-09-28/how-unexamined-rape-kits-could-solve-countless-crimes/). Thank you from the bottom of my very joyful heart, Mariska.
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