Thursday, November 5, 2009

Matsui, Pettitte carry Yanks to Series title!

Matsui, Pettitte carry Yanks to Series title (FROM THE NEW YORK POST)

Baseball’s penthouse is again decorated with hand-painted silk Yankees pinstripe wallpaper.
Nine years after their last World Series title, the Yankees earned No. 27 last night when they spanked the defending champion Phillies 7-3 in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium before a record crowd of 50,315 that didn’t include George Steinbrenner.

This morning the Yankees will celebrate with a ticker-tape parade up lower Broadway. “Right where we belong,” Derek Jeter bellowed from a stage in the middle of the $1.5 billion Stadium. And they looked very comfortable. Alex Rodriguez, who doesn’t have to answer any more questions about choking in the postseason, let loose with a river of victory tears and promised the parade will be a huge party.
Mariano Rivera held a copy of The Post’s front page with the No. 27 on the cover. Hideki Matsui, who went 3-for-4 with a homer and six RBIs that tied the single-game Series record, was named the MVP and took the occasion to lobby for a return. Yankees Championships Matsui can become a free agent in 15 days. “I hope it works out. I love New York and I love the fans.

”From 1996 to 2000 the Yankees won four Series titles and three straight (1998-2000).
They came within two outs of winning in 2001, were bounced from the 2003 Series in six games and didn’t make it back until this year when they spent almost a half-billion dollars of Steinbrenner’s fortune to import CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira to successfully plug gaping holes in the rotation and lineup. When the subject of money surfaced, general manager Brian Cashman was ready with an answer. “You can call us anything you want. You’re also going to have to call us world champions,” said Cashman, who didn’t join the Steinbrenner family on the stage to accept the World Series trophy.
Will the Yankees repeat their World Championship in 2010? Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira played big roles in the Yankees’ success, but it was Matsui who turned Game 6 into a knockout audition for 2009 employment.“Last night, he was as locked in as I have ever seen him,” Jeter said. Matsui, the 2000 MVP of the Japan Series, hit a two-run homer in the second, a two-run single in the third and a two-run double in the fifth that broke the Phillies’ will.
Andy Pettitte, another free-agent candidate who has a better chance of the Yankees wanting him back than Matsui, provided 5 2/3 gutsy innings on three days’ rest.
Pettitte struggled with command problems from the first pitch and his fifth walk, to Chase Utley with one out in the sixth inning, was followed by Ryan Howard’s opposite-field, two-run homer to left that cut the Yankees’ lead to 7-3.

Following a chat with Joe Girardi, Pettitte caught Jayson Werth looking for the second out.
But when Raul Ibanez rifled a double into the right-field corner, Joba Chamberlain trotted in from the bullpen.Pettitte rewards Yankees' trust as fans' wait is finally over Pettitte, who is 18-9 in the postseason and 4-0 this year, split to a standing ovation. He allowed three runs, four hits and five walks and became the second pitcher, following Derek Lowe in 2004, to win all three of a team’s postseason series clinchers.With copies of yesterday’s Post poster of Pedro Martinez in a diaper being flashed around the Stadium that was filled with “Whose Your Daddy” chants, Martinez lasted only four innings. He gave up four runs and three hits, including Matsui’s two-run homer.
The victory vindicated Girardi’s decision to use Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte on three days’ rest instead of trusting a World Series start to Chad Gaudin. And it erased all that criticism for using so many relievers in the ALCS against the Angels. Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte and Posada will be fitted for their fifth World Series rings, all as Yankees.Damaso Marte topped off a wonderful Series (five Ks in 2 2/3 innings) by fanning Utley with two outs to end the seventh and Howard starting the eighth.Girardi then called for Rivera to get the last five outs. “I told them it was an honor to be part of their fifth championship,” said Teixeira, who added an RBI single in the
Read more:

Liza Minnelli still a dead-set legend

Regina King and Peter Flowers | November 4th, 2009

Liza Minnelli: What a concert

WOW! What a concert! We are splitting superlatives (but never infinitives) over the Liza Minnelli concert at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

We had heard various reports on how her vocal chords were scratchy and that she couldn't cut it any longer.

Rubbish! She gave the concert of a lifetime.

Opening with the old standard Teach Me Tonight, Minnelli appeared nervous and perhaps all the critics were right, but after a couple of numbers and hearing our deafening applause she relaxed, became warm and engaging and sang her heart out.
This woman with the most impeccable bloodlines in show business may have lost a little of the spring in her step, but baby does she know how to put on a show.

Kerri-Anne Kennerley so captured Ms Minnelli's heart during her tour that the star acknowledged Kennerley from the stage during her sold-out final concert on Monday night.

"I want to thank Kerri-Anne Kennerley for the great friendship she's given while I've been here," is the roughly captured transcript of her cheerio.

Then, as though in a Kennerley dream sequence, a spotlight found the TV presenter in the crowd and illuminated an exuberant Kennerley, who stood up, waved her arms hysterically, and then sat down.

Obama's Art Gurus

ANNA WINTOUR and Sarah Jessica Parker have been recruited by president Barack Obama to advise on the arts.

The American Vogue editor and Sex and the City actress are among a group of Hollywood and fashion figures - which also includes a cellist, a theatre and film producer and a ballet dancer - who have been given the task to bring attention to education, cultural diplomacy and economical development through the arts.

First Lady Michelle Obama holds the role of honorary chairperson to the 25-member arts and humanities committee. "The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it," she said.

The committee was set up in 1982 during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, reports The Daily Telegraph.

White House arts committee gets new leaders

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A year after President Barack Obama's election, two arts advocates are being sworn in as co-chairs of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to help lead White House arts initiatives.
George Stevens Jr., executive producer of the Kennedy Center Honors and founder of the American Film Institute, and Broadway producer Margo Lion are being installed Tuesday by Vice President Joe Biden.
During the campaign, Lion and Stevens led Obama's arts policy committee. They said Obama would make arts education a top priority, promote cultural diplomacy and increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to spur economic development.
Previously, Adair Margo, a longtime friend of first lady Laura Bush from Texas, served as chairman.

Bloomberg, Thompson lay out school arts priorities
by Philissa Cramer

Mayor Bloomberg and Comptroller William Thompson both want to see arts thrive in the schools but have different strategies about how to make that happen, according to their mayoral campaigns’ responses to questionnaires from the Center for Arts Education.
The Bloomberg campaign explains why city schools don’t need dedicated arts funding, which the city eliminated in 2007:
A fixed per-pupil arts allocation does not work because no two schools are the saem.
A micro example would be that a school that is adjacent to the Brooklyn Museum does not need the same resources to provide arts exposure for its students as a school in Far Rockaway would.

Thompson would restore dedicated arts funding, according to his campaign’s response.
And he says he wants the arts to have a place of prominence in the city schools:
We can no longer tolerate the erosion of arts education in our schools.
It is time that dance, music, visual arts, and theater are valued and treated as an integral part of a child’s academic experience.
A classical superstar beats the drums for music education
From Saturday's Globe and Mail Published on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009 12:00AM EDT Last updated on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009 2:55AM EDT

They're an unlikely looking pair, the young one with his wild hair and buoyant presence, the older with his slight stoop and grandiloquent manner that sometimes caps a verbal cadence with a wide grin. But Gustavo Dudamel and José Antonio Abreu are deeply linked by personal history and by their faith that art can be a potent weapon against just about every social ill.

They arrived in Toronto at the beginning of the week, and within a few days seemed to have the whole town talking about a miracle in music education happening in Venezuela today, and perhaps tomorrow around the world. What was initially supposed to be a simple award ceremony and concert - held on Monday to honour Abreu for winning the Glenn Gould Prize - turned into a week of school concerts, community activism and staggeringly effective networking for a cause that Abreu promotes with missionary zeal.
By Tuesday morning, Abreu was already talking about a Canadian "mission," that will include a binational youth orchestra of 200 players from Canada and Venezuela. When reporters, cameras and two members of the Canadian Brass convened to see Yamaha Canada hand him $150,000 worth of instruments (triple the worth of the Gould Prize), Abreu smoothly said that the new orchestra would play on the gifted instruments in Toronto next year, and that he hoped Yamaha would step up and sponsor that too.

Dudamel, the most celebrated young conductor in the world right now, is Abreu's protégé, and not just because the latter named him for the City of Toronto Protégé Award that every Gould Prize winner bestows. Dudamel was a preschooler when he entered Abreu's El Sistema, the national network of music instruction and ensembles that Abreu has been cultivating in Venezuela for over three decades.

"He created this beautiful and huge program that is unique," Dudamel said. "We are his sons, we have his blood in our veins, and it's not just about music, it's about building the society and creating better citizens."

Last month, at age 28, he became music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, taking over from Esa-Pekka Salonen, whose youthful picture on a CD cover years ago first allowed Dudamel, when he was still a boy, to believe that a young person could conduct an orchestra.
Salonen also mentored Dudamel after hearing the virtually unknown young conductor sweep the field at a major competition in 2004.

When Dudamel talks about the kind of orchestral sound and character that he likes, he might be describing a favourite wine.

"I love always a deep sound, with real body and personality," he said, in his resonant baritone.
"I love a warm sound, though you also have to be available to make the differences in sound needed to communicate different types of music."

He has spent the past two years as music director of Sweden's Gothenburg Symphony, and has enjoyed the "beautiful Nordic sound" and performance tradition they have been cultivating since the orchestra was formed in 1905.
The L.A. Phil is a different proposition, with a more indirect link to the European tradition and a regional population that is 50 per cent Hispanic. Dudamel believes he will find a ready audience for Latin American pieces seldom heard in North America, and already has a commission on the way from Argentinian composer Esteban Benzecry.
Dudamel will also do lots of American music in L.A., as well as big dramatic works by the likes of Tchaikovsky and Mahler, whose Symphony No. 1 has become a personal specialty. He and the orchestra will take the same program on an eight-city U.S. tour in May.
He is already putting down other American roots: on Thursday, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gave him a $75,000 arts award and a residency at MIT in April.
He remains in charge in Gothenburg at least through 2012, and has two more recordings with the SBYO coming on Deutsche Grammophon this year.

Sales of a new compilation called Discoveries will help fund El Sistema initiatives in Los Angeles (where a Sistema-style youth orchestra has just been established), Scotland, and maybe even in Canada, where a Sistema-style program has just started in New Brunswick.

It's the mission again, and nobody talks about it more grandly or passionately than Abreu, whose first big step in founding El Sistema was to convince Venezuela's ministry of health and social development (which has funded the program all along) that putting violins in the hands of poor children could patch up the country's social fabric.

During a break in a symposium at the Royal Conservatory, he explained why, for him, music education is a matter of social justice.

"People refer to this talking only of material wealth, leaving aside the spiritual patrimony of humanity, within which art takes a very important place," he said, through an interpreter. "The distribution in the world of arts education is tremendously unjust.
When arts education takes the place in our society that it deserves, we will have much less delinquency and violence, and much more motivation towards noble achievement.

"My struggle is for a society in which art is something more than just an aesthetic dimension of life.

It is a primary instrument for the development of the individual and of the people."

The struggle continues, as the man some consider a secular saint keeps a constant eye out for ways to further his dream everywhere. With disciples like Dudamel, he can hardly fail.
When you’ve performed the same role for more than 40 years, from an impressionable 29 to a wizened 74, it’s hard to find the motivation to step out on stage and make the next performance special.

(Michael F. McElroy for The Boston Globe)

This is the conundrum Chaim Topol has grappled with throughout his remarkable career.

He has performed the part of Tevye, the fatalistic milkman in “Fiddler on the Roof,’’ a role he will bring to Boston for his farewell tour starting Tuesday at the Boston Opera House, well over 2,500 times, including an award-winning performance in the film version. After so many renditions of “Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum,’’ from “If I Were a Rich Man,’’ Topol says his inspiration today comes not from the show’s cheerier moments - the fleeting joys of life, like weddings and camaraderie - but its darkest ones. The second act of the play, he says, which includes a horrific attack on Jews and their expulsion from their poor village, is where he finds his drive now.

“The darkness is not a challenge. It’s there,’’ he said. “You deliver it and make sure you don’t relieve it with laughter. I don’t want to relieve the audience. I want them to ache together with me. What I’m trying to do is not let the audience come out lighthearted.’’
Topol was 29 and living in Israel when he filled in for the Israeli actor playing Tevye in a production there.
And now he is in the midst of his last run, a tour through America and Canada that will end next summer.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the fourth or 40th or 400th time,’’ Topol said recently by telephone from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where the show’s latest revival was playing.
“The job of an actor is to make sure the audience hears and feels it for the first time. Otherwise it’s a bore.’’

He has long since joined the elite roster of actors who have owned a stage character over time, like Carol Channing in “Hello, Dolly’’ and Yul Brynner in “The King and I.’’
But Topol, perhaps more than anyone, has fused actor and character into a seamless package on stage.

The actor is going strong today. He is careful about what he eats and he stays in shape. With his gray beard and his basso profundo still rumbling at the bottom of our audio range, he looks and sounds like nothing so much as a biblical patriarch.

The story of “Fiddler’’ is based on the writings of Sholem Aleichem, and is set in a tiny shtetl in czarist Russia in 1905 called Anatevka. But despite the story’s dark notes, the songs soar.

Indelible numbers like “If I Were A Rich Man’’ and the lovely “Sunrise, Sunset’’ are part of the American musical landscape and, like all Broadway classics, their appeal crosses cultures, genders, and generations.
The play won nine Tonys after opening on Broadway in 1964, when Zero Mostel played Tevye, and was the first Broadway musical to pass the 3,000-performance mark.
Topol emerged on the scene a few years later and starred in the London revival in 1967 and was nominated for best actor in the 1971 film version.

Over the years, he has been determined to strike the balance in the musical between light and dark. He even killed some of the funnier lines he was to deliver when he didn’t think they were appropriate. “There were some excellent jokes,’’ he said, “And it takes a lot for an actor to kill his own jokes.

You fight for a joke. But it was more important to carry the sadness there than relieve with a joke.’’
The Jewish condition is never far from his focus. During the London revival in 1967, the Six-Day War broke out between Israel and surrounding Arab countries. “People were saying, ‘It’s going to be another Shoah,’ ’’ he recalled. “Rabbis sanctified graveyards for hundreds of thousands.’’
Topol left the London production and rushed back to Israel, where he remained through the war.

“This was a bad time in human history, and we should not forget it,’’ he said. “In the play, when the constable comes on the wedding day to announce the expulsion, he tells the orchestra to play on. I say no, because for me this is coming through the gates of Auschwitz - Arbeit Macht Frei - with the orchestra playing as people were going to the gas chambers.

“This is my personal association. It absolutely never gets old. Every day I have a chance to deliver this play, I cherish.’’

Sammy Dallas Bayes directs this tour, as he did two other revivals with Topol, and has been associated with the show in one form or another since dancing in the original in 1964.

“What’s happened is that age has really enhanced [Topol] in that role tremendously,’’ Bayes said. “It manifests itself in less actor showing and more character showing.’’
Also, Bayes added, “Topol has always approached it from a dramatic point of view, not as a comedian. Zero was a comedian. Topol is not a comedian.’’

Directing Topol to play Tevye might seem like giving cello lessons to Yo Yo Ma. So does the man really need to be told much after playing the role for more than 40 years?
Just to act his age. “I say, ‘Chaim, you don’t have to move like a 70-year-old man anymore,’ ’’ said Bayes. “ ‘You are a 70-year-old man.’ ’’
Topol relishes his new physical freedom. “At 29, I knew I had to restrain some muscles to make sure I didn’t suddenly jump in a way that destroyed the image of an elderly man,’’ he explained.
“I walked slower, made sure I wasn’t too erect when I danced. It was quite a job. Now, as I pass the age of 55 by 20 years, I feel totally free to jump and dance as much as I feel like.’’

His own life experience has also sent him deeper into the part. “When I started,’’ he explains, “I had an 8-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. I had to imagine what it must be like to be a father to five daughters. The same with being married for 25 years. That sounded like a lifetime to me. I was married nine years at the time. Now I sing ‘Do You Love Me?’ from the perspective of 53 years of marriage.’’

Sam Allis can be reached at

Legendary producer John Kenley dead at 103
(Kenley pictured here with Jay Garner and Carol Channing, 1994 tour of "HELLO, DOLLY!")

CLEVELAND — John Kenley, a theater producer who ran a legendary summer stock circuit in Warren and other Ohio cities beginning in the 1950s, has died, a family friend said Thursday.
He was 103.

Kenley’s productions attracted numerous Broadway and Hollywood stars to Warren’s Packard Music Hall.
He died last Friday at the Cleveland Clinic from complications of pneumonia, said Anita Dloniak, a friend and press agent.

Kenley produced hundreds of plays and musicals. His Kenley Players, a summer stock circuit that began in Dayton in 1957, featured such stars as Arthur Godfrey, Ethel Merman, Mae West, Burt Reynolds, Billy Crystal, William Shatner and Robert Goulet.
He later opened theaters in Warren, Columbus and Akron before moving into the Playhouse Square Center in downtown Cleveland in 1984.

“There was nobody like him,” said David Jendre of Youngstown, an actor who worked with Kenley in the Kenley Players’ heyday at Packard Hall in the 1970s. “He was a real mentor to me.

No immediate family members survive.
Mr. Kenley, who began his stage career as a song-and-dance performer in New York in the 1920s, presented hundreds of productions, often in large civic auditoriums and music halls and in places where professional theater was scarce, like eastern Pennsylvania’s coal country.

His Kenley Players, a company founded in the 1940s, became a fixture on the summer stock circuit in Akron, Columbus and elsewhere in Ohio and beyond.

His hallmark, and the key to his box office success, was to give top billing to stage and screen stars, luring them with the promise of a big payday. Besides West, Swanson and Mr. Reynolds, they included Arthur Godfrey, Ethel Merman, Billy Crystal, Tommy Tune, Florence Henderson, Robert Goulet, Mitzi Gaynor and William Shatner. They would often mingle with audiences and sign autographs.

Mr. Kenley was known to book stars, even unlikely ones, for their box office potential.
He cast the television host Hugh Downs, for example, in “Under the Yum Yum Tree” and the talk show star Merv Griffin in “Come Blow Your Horn.” He hired Jayne Mansfield, the actress who had been promoted as the next Marilyn Monroe, to star in “Bus Stop.” (Ms. Monroe starred in the film version.) And he recruited Joe Namath to play the drifter in a 1971 production of “Picnic,” when he was still near the height of his career as quarterback of the New York Jets.

Mr. Kenley was born John Kremchek in Denver on Feb. 20, 1906. His parents were saloon keepers who later moved the family to Cleveland. In the 1920s he made his way to New York, hoping to break into show business.
He performed with Martha Graham as a dancer-acrobat in John Murray Anderson’s Greenwich Village Follies. It was Mr. Anderson who suggested he change his name to Kenley.

In 1928 Mr. Kenley began reading plays for the Shuberts. In 1930 he became assistant to one of the Shubert brothers, Levi, who was known as Lee — “Mr. Shubert’s left-hand man,” as Mr. Kenley put it in an interview with Martha Schmoyer LoMonaco for her history “Summer Stock! An American Theatrical Phenomenon” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

He worked for Shubert for the next decade, reading submissions like Lillian Hellman’s “Children Hour” and William Saroyan’s “Time of Your Life.” “Every actor that came to New York had to come through me,” he told Ms. LoMonaco, “so we used to all lunch together at Gilhooley’s — Sardi’s was too expensive.” He added, “We’d walk together down Shubert Alley and call ourselves the Kenley Players, and I’ve used that name ever since.”

After serving as a pharmacist’s mate in the United States Merchant Marine in World War II, he created a theater in Deer Lake, Pa., a resort town catering to the coal barons, built a repertory company there in a converted church and incorporated it as the Kenley Players.

The company went from playing to audiences of 500 at Deer Lake to as many as 5,000 in the 1970s and ’80s at his tri-city circuit of theaters in Columbus, Dayton and Warren, Ohio, and at sites in Michigan.

The Warren operation later moved to Akron. In 1984 the Kenley Players moved into the Playhouse Square Center in downtown Cleveland, with its 3,000-seat State Theater.

Stars remained his bread and butter. “I never met a star who didn’t deserve to be a star,” Mr. Kenley said in a telephone interview in 2006. He would build his shows around them even if it meant making “adjustments,” as he put it, which could mean rewriting the script, adding musical numbers or doing whatever it took to make them happy.

“He would always add a tap number for Ann Miller, even in ‘Hello, Dolly,’ ” said Patrick Quinn, a former president of the Actors’ Equity Association and a former employee of Mr. Kenley’s in Ohio. Mr. Quinn spoke in an interview in 2006, the year he died.

“His most famous interpolation was in a 1975 production of ‘She Loves Me,’ starring Jack Jones and Anita Gillette,” Mr. Quinn said.
“He had Jones close the first act singing, ‘What I Did for Love,’ the hit from ‘A Chorus Line,’ ” the musical created by Michael Bennett. That seemed to satisfy everyone, Mr. Quinn said, “at least until a telegram arrived from Michael Bennett.”

Margalit Fox contributed reporting.or many years Charles Lowe was Carol Channing's husband and manager.
One of Charles's self-assigned jobs was to have Carol photographed with every famous person alive on this planet, a collection of pictures he referred to as "Channing Art." Whenever a famous person died the job of the press agent was to hand deliver the appropriate "Channing Art" to editors the New York Times and Associated Press so a photograph of "Miss Channing" (Charles never called her Carol) would run with the obituary.

Provisional Closing Notice Posted for The Neil Simon Plays

By Kenneth Jones

Following an Oct. 30 New York Times report indicating that Broadway's Brighton Beach Memoirs would close Nov. 1, and that its companion play, Broadway Bound, would not open for a run in repertory, producers of the revivals issued an evening statement that said a "provisional" closing notice has been posted for Nov. 1.

"The notice can be taken down at any time and no final decision on closing will be made until Monday, Nov. 2, when a statement will be issued," according to the Friday night statement.

Producers are huddling to figure out the future of the shows. was still selling tickets to both plays as of 8:30 PM Friday.

Director David Cromer's production of Simon's autobiographical Brighton Beach Memoirs got respectable reviews after it opened at the Nederlander Theatre on Oct. 25. The sequel is to begin there Nov. 18 (toward a Dec. 10 opening), with some of the same cast members.

The plays share many of the same characters and focus on Eugene Morris Jerome, a Depression-era Brooklyn teenager (in Brighton Beach Memoirs) who grows into a budding comedy writer (Broadway Bound). Simon drew from his own family history to create the fictionalized autobiographical book-end plays of the trilogy that also includes Biloxi Blues, about his time in the Army in World War II. The three plays are interested in telling how writer Eugene (read Simon) developed as a storyteller over the years.

Brighton Beach Memoirs features "Roseanne" and Broadway November star Laurie Metcalf (Kate Jerome), Dennis Boutsikaris (Jack Jerome), Billy Elliot's Santino Fontana (Stanley Jerome), Last Night of Ballyhoo's Jessica Hecht (Blanche), Gracie Bea Lawrence (Laurie), Noah Robbins (Eugene Jerome) and Alexandra Socha (Nora).

Broadway Bound stars Metcalf (Kate Jerome), Boutsikaris (Jack Jerome), Fontana (Stanley Jerome), Hecht (Blanche), Josh Grisetti (Eugene Jerome) and Allan Miller (Ben).

According to the producers, Brighton Beach Memoirs "centers on young Jewish teen Eugene Morris Jerome and his extended family living in a crowded home in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn in 1937: his overworked father, Jack; overbearing mother, Kate; his older brother Stanley; Kate's widowed sister Blanche and her daughters, Nora and Laurie. As Eugene spends his time daydreaming about a baseball career, he must also cope with his family's troubles, his awkward discovery of the opposite sex and his developing identity as a writer."

In Broadway Bound, "it's the late 1940s. Eugene and his older brother Stanley have started their careers as professional comedy writers, but at home in Brighton Beach, their parents' marriage is falling apart.
When the brothers use these troubles as inspiration for a radio comedy skit, the Jerome family may never be the same."

Scenic design is by John Lee Beatty, costume design is by Jane Greenwood and lighting design is by Brian MacDevitt.

Brighton Beach originally opened on March 27, 1983, at the Alvin Theatre and played for 1,299 performances. (During the run, the Alvin Theatre was renamed The Neil Simon Theatre.) Broadway Bound opened on Dec. 4, 1986, at the Broadhurst Theatre, where it played for 756 performances.

Simon is the winner of three Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Mark Twain Award for American Humor and was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 1995. Some of his plays include Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Plaza Suite, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, The Sunshine Boys, California Suite, Chapter Two, Lost in Yonkers, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, The Dinner Party and the books for the musicals for Little Me, Sweet Charity, Promises Promises, They're Playing Our Song and The Goodbye Girl.

The David T. Nederlander Theatre is located at 208 West 41st Street in Manhattan.

Tickets are available at For more information, visit

The first eight weeks of Rocco Landesman's tenure as head of the National Endowment for the Arts have not been easy.

Conservative politicians and pundits have launched vigorous attacks on the organization's activities.
In September, a high-ranking NEA communications official resigned following accusations that he was involved in recruiting artists to create works in support of President Obama's policies.

In an interview with The Times today, Landesman downplayed the recent partisan fighting that has dragged his organization into the media spotlight, saying that he remains optimistic about the power of art to help heal the national economy.

"We don't want to spend hours responding to attacks on us by whomever," he said by phone.
"We want to go out and talk about arts education and the arts as it relates to the economy -- we're going to be aggressive."

Landesman acknowledged that he has had to spend time dealing with attacks by conservatives who have accused the NEA of promoting Obama's legislative agenda and of funding pornography in California.

"That's part of the landscape and we have to accept it," he said, referring to the aggressive tactics of conservatives.

When asked if he thought the attacks signaled a renewal of the culture wars, he responded, "I think the culture war stuff is receding in history and people are focusing on much more important issues."

In November, Landesman will begin a nationwide tour that will combine speaking engagements and visits with local arts leaders, including planned stops in California, during which he will promote art as a viable tool to help local economies recover from the current recession.

The tour was announced today in a speech Landesman gave in Brooklyn to a conference of arts grant-makers in which he highlighted some of his objectives for the trip as well as his administration.

"While I want to state in no uncertain terms that the NEA is not a political agency and that when art becomes propaganda I lose all interest in it, I also want everyone to know that the days of a defensive NEA are over," he told the audience.

During the speech, he emphasized his personal philosophy of optimism and the new NEA motto: "Art works."

He told The Times that during the tour, which begins in Peoria, Ill., he will be working to find partnerships with local political leaders and the private sector to initiate new projects that will use a combination of NEA funding, local political support and private contributions.

Landesman, who worked for many years as a theater producer and head of New York's Jujamcyn Theaters, said that his transition to the public sector has required some adjustments to his blunt, take-charge personal style.

"There are nights when I come back home to [my wife] Debby and say, 'Why can't I just do this?'
In the old days, I just did it," he said.

"I wish we could push the whole agenda faster. There are times when I just want to make a statement -- but there will be comments from the press office and a whole group of people."
One issue that Landesman wishes he could resolve faster is the debate over NEA funding for individual artists.

"If it were up to me I would give grants to individual artists but it's a congressional issue," he said.
Landesman added that he will be pushing arts education and the use of arts in urban renewal as major projects during his tenure.
The NEA will have to accomplish this within its annual budget of approximately $155 million. Earlier this year, Obama proposed a 4% increase in the NEA's 2010 budget, to $161.3 million.
Landesman said it was unlikely the budget would grow more than that. "I'm not sure that's in the cards given the state of the economy. I would hope so, but it's just not likely," he said.

-- David Ng

And how was your week? Here's to a great November! Hope to see you at The Drama Book Shop today! Nov 5
DRAMA BOOK SHOP, 250 W. 40th St.
Sondra Lee, New York legend of stage and screen, introduces us to some of her closest friends and our most treasured luminaries in a book that explores the relationships and bonds between artists. Join Sondra for signing, Q&A and FUN! I will be joining Sondra as Carol Channing along with Peter Mintun on piano!
Sondra was the original Minnie Fay in HELLO, DOLLY! with Channing in 1964. Support THE ARTS! LIVE THEATRE! Go see a show this week! Send me your reviews and suggestions and I will put them in my next blog coming out on Friday! Here's to an ARTS-filled week! Don't forget to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS:

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper

Hi, Richard,
It's great to meet you again.
I thought you caught Channing's intuitive nature in the best kind of way. That's why it's such a healing show.
I hope you're doing well.
Armistead Maupin

Wednesday evening found me at The Iguana on 54th Street for the appropriately named Wednesday Night At The Iguana. Hosted by Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge, this weekly showcase has really become a hot destination for performers in the city. Each week features five special guests, each of whom perform a short set, and "surprise" performers, who are mixed in among the special guests and each perform one song.
The special guests this past week were Barbara Gurskey, Andrea Mezinsky-Kolb, Jonathan Long, Martin Vidnovic, and my sister, Kelly Esposito Broelmann! One of the special surprises for the night was Richard Skipper himself, who wasn't able to be at the first half of the evening, as he was performing elsewhere, but who opened up the second half of the show doing his renowned Carol Channing impersonation - in full Carol Channing dress, hair and makeup!
The audience just adored it, and it was a very fun surprise! It was a great evening from top to bottom with some truly outstanding performances. I'm looking forward to going again soon!

RICHARD! ~ It was so great to see you perform at the Iguana last WEDs night (Oct 7) ... My date and I agreed it was the best night we had spent in NYC this trip and plan on making it our regular routine henceforth ~ Truly the BEST bargain in town!! The venue, the talent, AMAZING ~ we couldn't have seen that much talent had we spent two weeks hitting the shows ... please give my kudos to EVERYONE. As for you, you stole the show that night with your singing of "I Am What I Am" ... never have I heard it sung with more clarity; and by that I don't mean just gorgeous sound, but a clarity of understanding and COMMUNICATING that to your audience ... BRAVO!!


Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have
now put their OWN spin on the variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge ( in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission).

Each week will showcase 5 entertainers.

Barry Levitt returns on keyboard and Saadi Zain on bass!
on bass. Time: 8 - 11:00 p.m.

Cover: $10 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!

This is a nice night
out with the family!

"throw back" to the variety shows we grew up with.
For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_
212-765-5454. No one admitted before

November 11th: Terese Genneco, Fred Martin, Marlene Sampson, Jane Schecter, Parker Scott, Elli: The King of Broadway

November 25th: OUR THANKSGIVING SHOW! PLEASE NOTE 7PM TONIGHT!James Alexander joins us!

December 2nd: Cynthia Crane, The debut of The Marquee 5 (Mick Bleyer, Adam Hemming, Vanessa Parvin, Sierra Rein, Julie Reyburn) singing selections from their upcoming revue, "We Can Make It...The Songs of Kander & Ebb" and Hector Coris!

December 9th: Richard Holbrook, Josh Zuckerman, Helena Grenot, Jillian Laurain, Jerry Wichinsky

December 16th: Jessee Luttrell returns

December 30th: Linda Fields, Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes, Yvette Malavets-Blum, David Nathan Scott

January 20th: Scot Wisniewski
Keep checking


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