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Archive for March, 2015

Bruce Vilanch, Renee Zellweger, Richard Sherman & More Set for ONE STARRY NIGHT ALS Benefit at The Pasadena Playhouse

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Bruce Vilanch, Renee Zellweger, Richard Sherman & More Set for ONE STARRY NIGHT ALS Benefit at The Pasadena Playhouse
March 30, 2015
by BWW News Desk

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The ALS Association Golden West Chapter recently announce the honorees for its 2015 Gala – “One Starry Night: From Broadway to Hollywood,”a musical and entertainment extravaganza to be held on Monday, April 20 at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Today, it was announced that the star-studded event will feature (in alphabetical order) Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Ed Asner, Micky Dolenz (“The Monkees”), Juliana Hansen (NBC’s “Grease, You’re The One That I Want!”), Jean Louisa Kelly (“Mr. Holland’s Opus”), Wendy Liebman (“The Aristocrats”), Kate Linder (CBS’ “The Young and the Restless”), Kerry O’Malley (Broadway’s Into The Woods), Timothy Omundson (ABC’s “Galavant”), Reagan Pasternak (Disney Channel’s “In A Heartbeat,”), Jonathan Pendragon (NBC’s “World’s Greatest Magician”), Jason Ritter (NBC’s “Parenthood”), Richard Sherman (Academy Award-winning Composer Disney’s “Mary Poppins”, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, “The Jungle Book”), Bruce Vilanch (Broadway’s ” Hairspray”), Academy Award-winning actress Renee Zellweger, and more to be announced! Proceeds will provide funding for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter’s mission critical priorities in care services, public policy, and cutting-edge global research toward treatments and cure for ALS.

This one-night-only benefit features performances and appearances by an exciting gathering of Broadway and Hollywood talent. In addition to the show, the chapter’s The Essey Awards will be presented to notable supporters of the ALS community for their outstanding efforts in public awareness, care services, and research. The Golden West Chapter’s Essey Award is the highest honor and is given annually to esteemed members of the ALS community. It is, named in honor of one of the Chapter’s founding members, Richard Essey.

The Golden West Chapter is proud to recognize the following honorees for outstanding achievements in the fight against ALS:

THE 2015 SPOTLIGHT AWARD- The Filmmakers of “The Theory of Everything”
The Spotlight Award is presented to individuals and companies who help to raise ALS awareness by educating the public about the experience of living with ALS and the impact the disease has on loved ones and caregivers. The Golden West Chapter proudly presents this year’s Spotlight Award to the filmmakers of the Academy Award-winning film, “The Theory of Everything.” The movie, its cast and crew, the companies behind its production, and its real-life subjects – the Hawking family – have inspired the ALS community. – THE 2015 SPIRIT AWARD- Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland, Writers/Directors of “Still Alice”
The Spirit Award is presented to individuals who have displayed extraordinary determination while living with ALS. Richard Glatzer, who recently lost his battle with ALS, along with his husband Wash Westmoreland, adapted and directed, “Still Alice,” earning Julianne Moore a 2015 Academy Award. Shortly before receiving the green light to begin production on the film, Richard was diagnosed with ALS, yet both he and Wash persevered to complete their work on this acclaimed project. As a part of the Spirit Award’s presentation and tribute to Richard and Wash, we are pleased to have Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Ed Asner and George Newbern (ABC’s “Scandal”) performing an excerpt from “Tuesdays with Morrie.”

In addition, the Golden West Chapter will celebrate Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for having earned the distinguished designation as an ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is the only Certified Treatment Center of Excellence in southern California, and a flagship program in the country. Academy Award-winning actress Renee Zellweger will participate in presenting the Cedars’ team with a plaque recognizing this outstanding achievement and Cedar’s commitment to ALS care and the search for an effective treatment and cure.

Grammy Award-nominee Bruce Kimmel will direct the production, with musical direction and orchestrations provided by Richard Allen. This star-studded event has a growing cast list which includes (in alphabetical order) Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Ed Asner, Micky Dolenz (“The Monkees”), Juliana Hansen (NBC’s “Grease, You’re The One That I Want!”), Jean Louisa Kelly (“Mr. Holland’s Opus”), Wendy Liebman (“The Aristocrats”), Timothy Omundson (ABC’s “Galavant”), Reagan Pasternak (Disney Channel’s “In A Heartbeat,”), Jason Ritter (NBC’s “Parenthood”), Richard Sherman (Academy Award-winning Composer Disney’s “Mary Poppins”, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, “The Jungle Book”), Bruce Vilanch (Broadway’s ” Hairspray”), Academy Award-winning actress Renee Zellweger, and more to be announced. The evening will also include a pre-show silent auction and reception, and post show dessert with a special “meet-and-greet” with the cast. Proceeds will provide funding for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter’s mission critical priorities in care services, public policy, and cutting-edge global research toward treatments and cure for ALS. For tickets and more information, please visit our website.

For Tickets: Click Here

Bruce Vilanch to Lead SIMPSONS Writer Mike Reiss’ RUBBLE Reading Next Week

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Broadway World
Bruce Vilanch to Lead SIMPSONS Writer Mike ReissRUBBLE Reading Next Week
March 19, 2015
????by BWW News Desk

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On March 26th and 27th, James Valletti, Stephenie Skyllas, and Hunter Chancellor will present invitation-only readings of RUBBLE, a comedy written by four-time Emmy Award-winning “The Simpsons” writer, Mike Reiss.

Directed by Valletti, RUBBLE will be headed by six-time Emmy Award-winning comic legend, Bruce Vilanch (“Hollywood Squares”).

Joining Vilanch is Jerry Adler (Fish in the Dark, “The Sopranos”), Constantine Maroulis (Jekyll and Hyde, Rock of Ages), Jason Jacoby (Avenue Q), Amy Wilson (The Last Night of Ballyhoo), and Jeff Still (Fish In The Dark, August: Osage County).

The story of RUBBLE is as follows: Alvin (Vilanch), an aging, down-on-his-luck comedy writer who—much to his chagrin—has narrowly escaped fortune, fame, and Emmy awards, is on a last-chance meeting with a network executive. During a spirited pitch of his new series idea, “My Brother, The Pope,” a massive earthquake hits LA, leaving him buried up to his neck in a pile of rubble. What ensues are a series of hilarious visits – from his older-and-more-useless-than-dirt agent Lee (Adler) and his ex-wife Brie (Wilson), to a pompous Dad (Still) and a singing and dancing Jesus (Maroulis). Will Alvin be saved from a miserable fate, or will it be “death by showbiz,” forgotten under a mound of trash on a studio lot while his agent makes reservations at The Olive Garden...? RUBBLE is a hilarious look at TV, theater, Heaven and Hell…from one who’s been there.

Incidental music is by Christopher Howatt, casting is by Daryl Eisenberg Casting. Management services for the reading are by Stephenie Skyllas/Hunter Chancellor and Brierpatch Productions, and the Stage Manager is Alex Hajjar.

JQ International honored several successful LGBTQ role models: Bruce Vilanch Was One

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

JQ International honored several successful LGBTQ role models from the arts community as well as a gay religious leader during its annual awards brunch March 8 at the historic Wilson Harding Golf Course Clubhouse at Griffith Park.

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From left: Rabbi Barbara Zacky, Bruce Vilanch, JQ International Executive Director Asher Gellis, Faith Soloway and Andrea Meyerson. Photo courtesy of JQ International

Those being feted were folk musician and writer Faith Soloway (JQ Inspiration Award), who also is a writer for “Transparent,” the show created by her sister Jill Soloway; comedy writer and performer Bruce Vilanch (JQ Trailblazer Award); filmmaker Andrea Meyerson (JQ Visibility Award) and Rabbi Barbara Zacky (JQ Community Leadership Award).

“After I came out, I identified strongly as a Jewish lesbian, but there weren’t many places that honored all of me,” Zacky said in a statement. “JQ has created an open and inclusive community of LGBT Jews and I’m so glad to be a part of that.”

Approximately 165 people turned out for the event.

JQ International describes itself as an inclusive community for LGBTQ Jews that raises awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ community members in the Jewish world.

“We create programs and services that foster a healthy fusion of LGBTQ and Jewish identity, which offer LGBTQ Jews, their friends, families, and loved ones the opportunity to connect with each other while fostering a strong sense of self,” the organization’s website indicates.

Bruce Vilanch Is Hysterical In THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webber

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Broadway World
BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Revels its Captivated Crowd with THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webber
March 9, 2015
by Gil Kaan

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Kritzerland Presents The Birthday Boys: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webber/produced & hosted by Bruce Kimmel/musical direction by Lloyd Cooper/Kritzerland at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal

On March 8, the 55th version of Kritzerland At Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal followed its successful formula of monthly themed cabarets with The Birthday Boys: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webber. Bruce Kimmel, a most amiable host, intros each song with a tiny encyclopedia of fun trivia, some of which are yet new to the Sondheim and Webber aficionados. Kimmel even sang some warring salvos that he envisioned Sondheim and Webber might have sent each other, re-BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Revels its Captivated Crowd with THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webberwriting the lyrics to “Agony” and “Music of the Night.” Too funny!

The sixteen songs selected from the Sondheim and Webber canons receive delicious execution from the collective melodic vocal talents of Stan Chandler, Kevin Earley, Kimberly Hessler, Valerie Perri, Sue Raney, Bruce Vilanch (yes, the comedian does sing, and well!), and Adrienne Visnic.

The rich-voiced Visnic amusingly opens the evening with “Invocation and Instructions to the Audience” from Sondheim’s Frogs. Later Visnic just kills it with her “Getting Married Today” from Sondheim’s Company. Her machine gun vocals use the same sped-up tempo Madeline Kahn used in 1970’s Company. Bulls-eye, Ms. Visnic

Hessler’s gorgeous operatic tones in “Half a Moment” from Webber’s By Jeeves totally reminiscent of the ideal Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.

BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Revels its Captivated Crowd with THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd WebberChandler and Earley duet with well-matched booming voices and competing egos on Sondheim’s genius comic tune “Agony” from Into the Woods. Chandler’s lilting high tenor notes sustain beautifully in his ending of “Love Changes Everything” from Webber’s Aspects of Love. Earley wonderfully displays his comic timing in “Make the Most of Your Music” from Sondheim’s Follies and his wi-i-ide vocal range in “Music of the Night” from Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.

Perri readily combines her acting prowess with her strong vocals in “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar and “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from his Sunset Boulevard.

The always hysterical Vilanch loses his mind in “Losing My Mind” from Sondheim’s Follies, but manages to find it to tell a very funny, very timely joke involving Harrison Ford with Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly and Hillary Clinton. Comedic gold, Vilanch is!

BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Revels its Captivated Crowd with THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd WebberRaney showed all she still has what it takes to sell a song in her slowed down version of “Send in the Clowns” from Sondheims’ A Little Night Music. Shelly Markham superbly accompanied Ms. Raney.

The masterful musical director Lloyd Cooper, backing up all the other performers, worked his magic; converting his single piano sound into what seemed a full section of harmonizing instruments. Very nice!

The 56th edition of Kritzerland Presents will be on Sunday April 5.

www.msapr.net/Sterling-s-at-The-Federal.html