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Archive for the ‘Comedy Show’ Category

Bruce Vilanch brings Carnival fun to Provincetown Theater

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Provincetown Banner
Bruce Vilanch brings Carnival fun to Provincetown Theater
August 18, 2015

4-27-2013 3-29-19 AM

All kinds of fabulous people come to Provincetown during Carnival week. Bruce Vilanch is one of the funniest and he’s got a new 90-minute show at the Provincetown Theater, Aug. 20-22. Plus, he’s bringing some special friends, the Skivvies, with him.

The Skivvies, Vilanch explains, “are a man and a woman and they play instruments and they work in their underwear. They were in the John Doyle production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ and fell in love with their instruments.”

The Skivvies have a following of Broadway friends who hang with them and also play in their undies. For this show, Nick Adams, of “Wicked” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” fame, and Randy Harrison appear with them.

Everywhere Vilanch goes it’s a party — a celebration of gay life and culture. Here is a man who doesn’t need the Supreme Court to make him feel like a real person. He’s been making queer folks laugh and feel good about themselves for years. A wickedly outrageous comic with a heart of gold, he’s the Jewish mother you always wanted.

Vilanch started out as a child actor in New York doing commercials and summer stock, never the star but always in the show. “I was never a child star or we’d be having this conversation in rehab,” he says. “My parents encouraged it. They were happy that I was happy doing it. However, they wanted me to have something to fall back on. They thought journalism would be the thing.”

After college he worked for the Chicago Tribune. While there, he interviewed Bette Midler. Before long, he was writing her act and when she hit it big both of them were off and running. He also wrote for Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams.

He was the head writer for the Academy Awards from 2000-2014 and served in the same capacity for the third iteration of Hollywood Squares.

“I’d been writing for Whoopi for years and when [‘Hollywood Squares’] made a deal with her, she said, ‘Vilanch should be the host,’” he says. “They thought she was crazy but they didn’t want to piss her off so early so they tested me.”

“They said your test is really funny but we need someone a little more mainstream to be the ringmaster in this circus,” says Vilanch. “They put me in a square next to Whoopi. They figured I could tame her, which is not a good idea because she’s really a Jewish boy and I’m a black woman. We had a lot of fun out there. All of a sudden I was on TV every night. Just like Donald Trump.”

Bruce Vilanch Heads Celebrity Autobiography Jan. 28-Feb. 1

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

South Florida
Thanks for the memoirs
Humor breaks out when celebs do book readings in “Celebrity Autobiography,” coming to Kravis Center.
By Rod Stafford Hagwood, Staff writer
4:42 p.m. EST, January 26, 2015

1-31-2015 8-33-28 PM

“Celebrity Autobiography” just might be one of the most successful shows you’ve never heard of.

The comedy – actors read from celebrity memoirs live onstage – has run for five sold-out years in New York City, landed a 2009 Drama Desk Award and toured all over the United States. It arrives at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Jan. 28-Feb.1.

The ever-revolving talent roster has included Ryan Reynolds, Debbie Harry, Matthew Broderick, Will Forte, Kristin Wiig, Brooke Shields, Nathan Lane, Dick Cavett, Rosie Perez and Tony Danza.

In West Palm Beach, the cast will include Lainie Kazan (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” “My Favorite Year,” “Beaches”) and Gary Beach (“The Producers,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “La Cage aux Folles”). Bruce Vilanch (“Hairspray,” writer for the Emmys, Tonys and Oscars) will appear in the Saturday matinee show.

“Celebrity Autobiography” started when wife-and-husband co-creators Dayle Reyfel and Eugene Pack, both television writers and producers, had some friends go onstage in L.A. and try the concept out in front of an audience. It was an instant hit.

“We just got about 12 friends together and we read excerpts,” explains Reyfel. “[The theater owner] was so blown away by the audience’s reaction he wanted us there every week.”

Pack recalls, “Years ago, 10 years ago or even more, I came across a hard-cover edition of Vanna Speaks by Vanna White, her memoir. I went through the book and there’s this one chapter where she talks in detail about how challenging it is to flip the panels on ‘The Wheel of Fortune.’ And my background in comedy kicked in. I thought, what if you were to read this out loud…what would be the reaction?”

The reaction was lines around the block, particularly when the show went overseas in London and Sydney, Australia.

“I think that mainly because people understood what this was,” says Reyfel. “The show had a reputation already and people knew what they were coming to see.”

What they are seeing are famous people, script in hand, reading from autobiographies. For the South Florida run, famous snowbirds such as Tiger Woods, Jennifer Lopez, Burt Reynolds, Ricky Martin and Joe Namath will have their words in the spotlight alongside word-for-word snippets from the likes of Bieber and Beyonce.

“The concept of the show is that we have a lot of celebrity performers getting onstage and acting out other actors’ memoirs,” says Pack. “But when you read it out loud, it’s just astounding what people have written. It’s not only funny, but fascinating and dramatic.”

But the show adds drama by having multiple memoirs read together, forming a scene, as is the case with the Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor/DebbieReynolds/Eddie Fisher scandal (“It’s he said, she said, she said, he said,” says Pack.)

Reyfel explains further, “The Liz Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher thing, that’s like a Rashomon three-act play where everyone has a different point of view and we merge them back together.”

That theatrical staging is also given to the Burt Reynolds/Loni Anderson saga.

“One of our big pieces is we combine autobiographies from Burt Reynolds, Loni Anderson and Burt Reynolds’ secretary, who wrote a book about him,” says Pack. “Again, it’s he said, she said, she said.”

Reyfel adds, “And a lot of it takes place in Jupiter, Florida.”

The show also puts autobiographies into groupings such as sport stars and foodies. “Neil Sedaka, that was a gem from the beginning because he just talks about what he eats for every single meal,” says Reyfel.

And the material in the show is in a constant state of flux.

“We’re always adding new pieces to the show,” explains Pack. “We like to keep it current. But we also like to dig deep into things like Zsa Zsa slapping the cop. People love hearing those classic stories. You’d be astounded how many memoirs come out for us to comb through, like very week. Miley Cyrus has a book out already.”

But no matter what celebrity they focus on or where they perform, there is one constant with the audience according to Pack: “They always ask, ‘You made that up on the spot. It was improvisation, right?’ I always answer, ‘Seriously, we could not make up this stuff if we tried.’ ”

“Celebrity Autobiography” runs Jan. 28-Feb. 1 at Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $38. To order, call 561-832-7469 or go to

Ray Romano Hosts IMF 7th Annual Comedy Celebration on 11/9 in Los Angeles

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Broadway World
Ray Romano Hosts IMF 7th Annual Comedy Celebration Featuring David Crosby on 11/9 in Los Angeles
September 27


For the seventh year, actor Ray Romano will host a memorable night of comedy. This year’s performers are Deon Cole, Jeff Garlin, Jackie Hoffman, Dom Irrera, Bruce Vilanch, with aspecial musical performance by the legendary David Crosby. This year’s Honorary Chairs are Julie Chen and Leslie Moonves, along with Chair Loraine Boyle and Vice Chair Amy Weiss. Additional guests to be announced.

The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) will hold its 7th Annual Comedy Celebration at The Wilshire Ebell Theatre & Club benefiting the Peter Boyle Research Fund and supporting the Black Swan Research Initiative (BSRI). Renowned actor Peter Boyle died in late 2006 after a four year battle with myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow and one of the fastest growing blood cancers in the world. Through laughter, the event honors Boyle and raises money for research to find a cure. More than $3 million has been raised thus far for the Peter Boyle Research Fund because of this annual event.

The Peter Boyle Research Fund has supported the International Myeloma Foundation’s research since the Fund’s inception in 2007. This year, the Fund is turning its focus to the groundbreaking Black Swan Research Initiative. Understanding that the search for a cure for multiple myeloma demands constant innovation, the IMF has launched the Black Swan Research Initiative, a unique project to develop the first definitive cure for myeloma. Led by a multinational consortium of leading myeloma experts, BSRI seeks to bridge the gap from long-term remission to a cure.

The International Myeloma Foundation 7th Annual Comedy Celebration will be presented by Celgene, Millennium: the Takeda Oncology Company and Onyx Pharmaceuticals.

WHEN: Saturday, November 9, 2013

6:00pm Cocktail Reception & Silent Auction

8:00pm Comedy Show

10:00pm VIP Cast Party & Dessert Reception

WHERE: The Wilshire Ebell Theatre & Club

743 South Lucerne Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90005

TICKETS: VIP Admission: $700 per person

Includes: VIP seating at the show as well as entrance to the pre-show cocktail party, silent auction, and post-show VIP reception.

General Admission: $400 per person

Includes: Preferred seating at the show as well as entrance to the pre-show cocktail party and silent auction.

Show Only: $100 per person

Includes: Admission to the show only. Seating is assigned based on date of ticket purchase.

To purchase tickets and for more information please visit

“An Evening with Bruce Vilanch” Saturday, Aug. 31, Los Gatos

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013
A wacky night at the JCC with Oscars joke-meister Bruce Vilanch
by dan pine, j. staff

4-27-2013 4-01-43 AM

Comedy writer Bruce Vilanch is normally not a praying man. But backstage at the Academy Awards, for which he has long served as head writer, he often gets religion.

“You pray that somebody will make a fool of themselves in the early minutes of the evening,” Vilanch says of the unpredictable live telecast, “then you take it and run with it.”

The classic example came during the 1992 Oscars, when Jack Palance celebrated his Best Supporting Actor win by doing a few one-armed push-ups. That sparked a night of priceless quips from host Billy Crystal, many written on the fly by Vilanch (“Jack Palance just bungee-jumped off the Hollywood Sign”).

With his Elton John eyewear, kooky T-shirts and trademark blond tresses on display, Vilanch might recount that story in delicious detail when he appears Saturday, Aug. 31 at the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos. The event is billed as “An Evening with Bruce Vilanch.”

Avilanch_bruce_vilanch_normal_sizeAs this JCC performance shows, Vilanch is not just a behind-the-scenes funny man. He starred in a Broadway revival of “Hairspray” and currently stars in an off-Broadway hit, “Rubble.” He’s acted in films and for many years he was a familiar X and O on “Hollywood Squares.”

But his role as a writer for awards shows such as the Oscars and Emmys has given him his widest notoriety. Somehow, in a town famous for eating its young, Vilanch has lasted 23 years at the Oscars, serving up jokes for hosts great (Billy Crystal) and not so great (James Franco).

The New Jersey native credits the great Jewish comedians of old for his sharp wit. “I was exposed to so many of them as a kid,” Vilanch recalls. “I was a rabid fan of Henny Youngman and Alan King.”

He also salutes his mother, who was a master quipster like her son.

Vilanch tells the story of how his mom used to keep the living room furniture covered in plastic most of the time. Eventually she decided to reupholster the well-preserved pieces, and when Vilanch asked her why, she replied, “I’m telling people it’s because Sonny Bono died.”

The Vilanch family belonged to a local Conservative synagogue. Little Bruce attended Hebrew School three times a week, was a member of United Synagogue Youth, and was bar mitzvahed.

After college he gave journalism a try, but when Bette Midler met him in 1970 and offered him a job writing jokes for her, the comedy die was cast, and a lifelong personal and professional relationship began.

A move to Los Angeles led to staff writer positions on variety shows, and hired-gun joke-writing jobs with stars such as Lily Tomlin and Joan Rivers.

He made his premiere as an Oscar writer in 1989, eventually becoming head writer in 2000. Once asked if he wanted to keep working on the show after so long, he replied, “It’s the greatest show on Earth. It’s like asking somebody ‘Hey, would you like to play in the Super Bowl?’ ”

Long before it was cool or commonplace, Vilanch, who is gay, was a major activist for LGBT rights. He says the social progress made on that front in the last two years has been “absolutely staggering.”

But now he has turned his attention to Russia, which recently instituted harsh anti-gay laws and has seen an uptick in anti-gay violence.

Says Vilanch, “All of a sudden comes [Russian president] Vladimir Putin, fresh from a midnight reading of ‘Mein Kampf,’ and he decides to make gay people the new scapegoat in Russia.”

It’s a rare solemn moment for Vilanch, who prefers to make light of most situations.

And though he’s far from the first person to note the long, powerful link between Jews and comedy, Vilanch has his own theory as to why it’s been such a fruitful association.

“Any people who are oppressed find humor as a way to deal with it,” he says. “African Americans have, gay people have. It’s a common thread, and the Jews are really good at it.”

“An Evening with Bruce Vilanch” takes place 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Addison-Penzak JCC, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos. $15-$20. or (408) 358-3636.

Mara Wilson, Bruce Vilanch Preview 2013 New York International Fringe Festival

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Your first look at nine new shows that will premiere August 9-25.
By David Gordon • Aug 6, 2013 • New York City

4-27-2013 4-17-14 AM

Cast and creative team members from nine productions in this year’s New York International Fringe Festival (also known as FringeNYC) met the press and offered previews of their work on Tuesday, August 6 at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater.

On hand to present segments of their work were cast members from Save the Date, Old Familiar Faces, Kinematik, Sheeple, Someone to Belong To, Rubble, The Rufus Equation, Gertrude Stein Saints!, and Breaking Kayfabe.

For more photos: Click Here

Bruce Vilanch & More Set for 54 Below this Week

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Broadway World
Bruce Vilanch & More Set for 54 Below this Week
June 10, 2013

4-27-2013 3-49-54 AM


Coming up this week, 54 BELOW, the performance venue located just below the legendary Studio 54 at 254 West 54th Street, presents some of the brightest stars from Broadway, cabaret, jazz and beyond. 54 Below also launched its series of late night events. Joining Tuesday nights’ popular “Backstage” with Susie Mosheris the “54 Piano Bar,” a new vocal competition – “The Callback,” and more:

Judy Kuhn, June 10 & 12 at 7PM:
Celebrating the release of her brand new album, three-time Tony nominee and star of Classic Stage Company’s recent re-mounting of Passion Judy Kuhn makes her 54 Below debut in an evening she describes as “a meditation on love and happiness.” Expect tunes ranging from the popular compositions of Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits, as well as composers such as Stephen Sondheim and Adam Guettel. Broadway audiences embraced Judy for her work in shows such as She Loves MeLes MiserablesChess and Rags. She received an Obie Award for her acclaimed Laura Nyro tribute, Eli’s Comin’. Cover charge $45-55. $25 food & beverage minimum.

THE SKIVVIES, June 10 at 9:30PM:
This wit-rock, comedy-pop duo don’t just strip down their musical arrangements, they literally strip down to their underwear to perform their distinctive mashups and eccentric originals for cello and ukulele, with touches of glockenspiel, melodica, and a surprising array of under-used instruments. Award-winning singer-actors Lauren Molina (Marry Me a Little, Sweeney Todd, Rock of Ages) and Nick Cearley (All Shook Up) became YouTube sensations as The Skivvies, with living room videos that displayed their powerful harmonies as well as their powerful abs. Those clips led to live shows that The Wall Street Journal called “smart, sophisticated…ingenious,” and a music video directed by Augusten Burroughs, bestselling author of Running With Scissors. Joined by special guest stars who will strip down and rock out, expect a hilarious evening of genre-hopping pop perfection. Special Guests: ?Tony Award Winner and star of NBC’s GO ON Laura Benanti, Two time Tony Nominee Alison Fraser,Tony Nominee Rory O’Malley, Andrew KeenanBolger (Newsies, Submissions Only), Morgan James (Motown, Godspell), Leslie McDonel (American Idiot, Hairspray, Legally Blonde), and Wesley Taylor (Rock of Ages, The Addams Family, NBC’s SMASH), Shannon Ford on drums, Katrina Yaukey (War Horse, Sweeney Todd, Cabaret, Billy Elliot) on accordion and sax. Cover charge $20-30. $25 food & beverage minimum.

At The Callback on Monday nights, contestants perform for a chance to win their own cabaret show at 54 Below. Contestants are chosen by video audition, their performances recorded and uploaded to 54 Below’s Facebook and Youtube page, and each week, a winner is determined by audience vote to progress to the next round. “The Callback” contestants may also have the chance to sing in front of industry executives and Broadway celebrity guest judges as they move forward in the competition. For more information on “The Callback” rules or how to submit an audition video, please visit www.54Below.comNo cover charge. $20 food & beverage minimum.

WBGO JAZZ SERIESBucky Pizzarelli, June 11 at 7PM & 9PM:
Bucky Pizzarelli is the greatest living rhythm guitarist on planet Earth or anywhere else in the universe, and his Great Guitars are always an exciting musical feast highlighted by swinging standards and tender ballads that make our spirits soard and our hearts melt. Cover charge $25-35. $15 food & beverage minimum.

LATE NIGHT: BACKSTAGE, June 11 at 10:30PM:
Each week, Broadway cast members and audiences alike gather to mix and mingle at 54 Below, Broadway’s most intimate haunt, located in the heart of the theatre district. Musical Director Brad Simmons keeps the house jumping from the piano, while host Susie Mosher (the love child of Joanne Worley & Paul Lynde) guides the crowd through an evening of music, mayhem and full throttle belting, with special guests from Broadway and beyond dropping in to perform. NPR had this to say: “The best thing happening right now might just be the weekly Backstage. Hosted by the ridiculously funny Susie Mosher and pianist Brad Simmons who clearly is the man, it’s two feel-good hours among New York’s theater people, who seem like they’re having a really fine time. Can’t recommend it highly enough!” At this week’s Backstage is Morgan James (Motown, Godspell, Addams Family), Carly Sakolove (NEWSical), Ned Massey (Four Messages), Katie Thompson (Big Fish, Giant), Elena Bennet (Jazz vocalist), Lindsay Roginski (Chicago), and Adam Feldman (Time Out NY’s Soulful Troubadour). No cover charge. $20 food & beverage minimum.

MX. JUSTIN VIVIan Bond, June 12 & 13 at 9:30PM
For six nights in June, Justin VivIan Bond, under the Musical Direction of Emmy Award-winning composer Lance Horne, will be casting a LOVE spell at 54 below. Earn your merit badge on the ways of LOVE by entering a midsummer night’s dreamscape of musical enchantment featuring a collection of songs with “LOVE” in the title made famous by a wide variety entertainers such as Lena Horne, Kate Bush, Cat Power, The Gossip, Bronski Beat and MORE! Get ready for the summer of love at 54 Below!... Viva L’Amour! Cover charge $25-35. $25 food & beverage minimum.

A Mamma Rice Presentation. Join Mamma Rice as he takes you on a musical tour of the universal absurdities that underpin human relationships, love, and sex, featuring songs by Gershwin, John Cameron MitchellKaty PerryAmy Winehouse, and new music from award-winning composers Mike Pettry and Drew Gasparini. No cover charge. $20 food & beverage minimum.

Bruce Vilanch, June 13 at 7PM & June 14 at 11PM:
From Mr. Vilanch: “Currently celebrating his fifteenth year as Lindsay Lohan’s sobriety coach, Bruce Vilanch is descending to 54 Below, which he is old enough to remember when, to dispatch more updates on his bizarre career behind, before and squatting over the footlights. A Hairspray star, a Hollywood Square and the latest success story on Christian Mingle, (who just hooked him up with a guy who used to be Pope), Bruce has more than a few songs to sing and stories to tell.” Cover charge $40-50 for 6/13 and $25-35 for 6/14. $25 food & beverage minimum.

LATE NIGHT: 54 PIANO BAR, June 13 at 11PM:
On Thursdays at 11 pm, pick a song and join extraordinary pianist and host Brian Nash as you take your turn on the stage at 54 Piano Bar. See new Broadway talent perform on a whim, and perhaps take part in the ever-popular (and inevitable) audience sing along. No cover charge. $20 food & beverage minimum.

EARLY ELTON, June 14 at 8PM:
The Gospel/Funk of Take Me To The Pilot, the soulful storytelling of Levon and Amoreena, the epic-sounding Burn Down The Mission, the countrified Country Comfort,and the grand scale of Madman Across The Water are just a few of the fantastic chapters that make up the Early Elton songbook. Join us for a one night only tribute to the Elton John, Dee Murray, and Nigel Olsson trio tours of 1970 – 1972. As the story goes, Elton’s label didn’t have the funds to send him out to tour the US with a full band, yet Elton needed to promote his imminent releases. Having decided on Dee and Nigel, Elton then rearranged the songs and vocals to fit within the limitations of his new lineup. Suddenly, a new sound emerged that was both raw and poignant. Jeff Kazee (piano, vocals), Rich Pagano (drums and vocals), and John Conte (bass and vocals) blur the lines between replication and innovation, while capturing and utilizing the spirit, mood and energy from those early tours. Cover charge $25-35. $25 food & beverage minimum.

Bryan Batt, June 15 at 8:30PM & June 16 at 7PM:
Television audiences know him from his two-time SAG Award-winning performance as Salvatore Romano on the critically acclaimed television series Mad Men. But New York audiences have been delighting in Bryan’s performances for decades, including his work in Jeffrey, Beauty and the Beast, Cats, Starlight Express, Joseph…, Sunset Boulevard, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Seussical, as well as his hilarious long run in Forbidden Broadway. Now Bryan makes his triumphant return to 54 Below for two special performances only. Be there! Cover charge $30-40 for 6/15 and $25-35 for 6/16. $25 food & beverage minimum.

Stars from Broadway band together and raise their voices in tribute to the work of singer/songwriter Andrew McMahon. Savvy music mavens know Andrew from his work with his bands Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. As a solo artist, his tunes were heard most recently on NBC’s Smash. McMahon’s passionate, personal lyrics and melodic, piano-driven music are a perfect fit for some of the most exciting performers from the world of musical theater. Proceeds benefit McMahon’s charity, The Dear Jack Foundation, which provides a powerful voice in the fight against young adult cancer. Guest vocalists will include Nick Blaemire (Godspell, Dogfight), Alex Brightman (Big Fish, Wicked), Ariana DeBose (Motown, Bring It On), Jake Epstein (Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, “Degrassi”), F. Michael Haynie (Wicked, Dogfight), Greg Hildreth (Cinderella, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Emma Hunton(Rent, Spring Awakening), Julia Mattison (Godspell), and Krysta Rodriguez (“Smash,” First Date). Cover charge $35-45. $25 food & beverage minimum.

AMBER MARTIN, June 16 at 9:30PM:
This high-octane vocalist belts out a collection of the best songs ever written by acclaimed singer/songwriter Laura Nyro, joined by a bevy of superior musicians. Lovers of Laura Nyro can expect the evening of their lives as Amber interprets some of Laura’s finest hits along with some very obscure cuts, performed live like they’ve never been heard before. From singing backing vocals for The Scissor Sisters to her sold-out performances in some of New York’s hippest venues, Amber’s shows have been likened to “watching Ruth Draper after she’s come back from an acid trip during which she thought she was Janis Joplin.” An acclaimed vocalist and comedic performance artist in the tradition of Lily TomlinCarol Burnett and Dolly Parton, Amber was recently named one of New York’s Top 10 performers byThe New Cover charge $25-35. $20 food & beverage minimum.

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call (866) 468-7619.