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Posts Tagged ‘Bette Midler’

Bruce Vilanch To Perform At The 32nd Annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (STAGE)

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Playbill
20 Artists Currently Set for Sondheim No. 5 Concert in Beverly Hills
BY ANDREW GANS
APR 08, 2016

4-27-2013 3-49-54 AM

 

The 32nd annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (STAGE), which is entitled Sondheim No. 5, will be presented June 18 at 2 PM and 8 PM at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.

Currently scheduled to perform are Susan Anton, Barrett Foa, Loretta Devine, Allison Janney, Andrea Marcovicci, Cortes Alexander, Alexandra Billings, Mary Jo Catlett, James Clark, Carole Cook, Davis Gaines, Jason Graae, Alvin Ing, Branden James, Jean Louisa Kelly, Vicki Lewis, MaryJo Mundy, Madison Claire Parks, Bruce Vilanch and Lisa Vroman.

David Galligan directs with Michael Orland as music director.

Begun in 1984, STAGE is the longest-running annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser in the world. To date, STAGE has raised more than $5 million for HIV/AIDS organizations in the Southland. Funds raised through S.T.A.G.E. support a variety of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) programs, including its Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; freestanding and mobile dental clinics; in-home health care ; housing assistance; HIV prevention and testing efforts; and a range of other services on which thousands of Angelenos affected by HIV/AIDS depend.

For ticket information visit Stagela.com.

Orlando: Naked Boys Singing is a boozy, bawdy evening of ogling buff boys with their balls swinging in the breeze

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Orlando Weekly
Naked Boys Singing is a boozy, bawdy evening of ogling buff boys with their balls swinging in the breeze
By Seth Kubersky
Feb 12, 2016

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We live in a world of lies, bombarded daily by half-truths, obfuscations and outright falsehoods from promoters and politicians. So let’s get erect and give a standing ovation to Naked Boys Singing for earning the “truth in advertising” award. This spirited musical revue may not have any dialogue, characters or plot, but it’s got more exposed penises than a half-dozen productions of Equus. Which just goes to show how far our city has evolved: Back in 2000, a lone Naked Guy at the Orlando Fringe faced threats of arrest, but in 2016 seven nude dudes can strut on the Footlight stage for five weekends and no one blinks an eye.

A long-running hit in New York, NBS comes to Orlando courtesy of producer-director Tim Evanicki, who recently took the reins of the Parliament House’s Footlight Theatre. Under former artistic directors Michael Wanzie and David Lee, Footlight hosted not only PH’s popular drag shows, but legit dramas and comedies that drew audiences of every orientation. That leaves Evanicki some big shoes to fill in his new role, as he graciously acknowledged at the packed press preview.

“I am loving this job,” Evanicki told me in an interview after opening night. “Parliament House is an LGBT resort that caters to everyone. I’d like the programming in the theater to reflect that. We will be bringing in more book musicals and big names that appeal to all walks of life.”

Evanicki first saw Naked Boys Singing at NYC’s Actors Playhouse in 2004 and made it his top priority upon becoming PH’s new artistic director. “I wanted to make sure we kicked it off with something that would put the Footlight Theatre on the map,” he said. “I also wanted to pick a show that would cater to and attract more than just the LGBT community.” Of course, assembling a show where the cast is unclothed nearly the entire time required some adjustments. “Singing auditions were fully clothed, but the dance callback was done nude,” Evanicki recalled. “It was funny, because we have union performers, and the union required us to have a monitor from Actors’ Equity audit the audition process. Poor Doug Truelsen.” The early rehearsals were done dressed, but drawers were dropped once Pete Simpson’s choreography – which puts a floppy twist on the classic chorus kickline – was complete. “I left it up to the boys as to when they felt comfortable rehearsing nude,” said Evanicki. “We had 12 total rehearsals, and they were nude on day seven.”

It’s one thing to hoot and holler at a stage of stripped strangers, but I found the show a tad awkward to watch (at least at first) because I know some of the cast. For example, I’ve been friends with Joshua Roth since we worked on Tod Kimbro’s 2011 Fringe musical Suckers, but I’ve never seen him as exposed as during his “Perky Little Porn Star” number. “There is nothing that truly prepares you for 90 minutes of nudity; you kind of just have to jump into the deep end headfirst and with a smile on your face,” Roth told me. A theme-park performer by day, Roth’s NBS role has let him “step way out of my comfort zone, as well as become more comfortable with myself, my peers and also complete strangers.” Of course, you can’t do a nude musical without some unintended side effects: “I have been working a lot with aerial silks lately, and I have a pretty bad bruise on my upper left thigh … pretty much my groin area. I pulled Pete (our choreographer) into the dressing room, and without even thinking about it pulled down my pants and showed him the bruise. It wasn’t even until about five minutes after he left the dressing room that he realized that I had just whipped it all out for him and he didn’t even notice or care … and neither did I.”

So after all that, how is the show? As I said above, if you are interested in story or deep meaning, better move along: There’s a nod to nakedness as a metaphor for emotional vulnerability and a maudlin song about a dead lover, but otherwise the mood is kept light and campy. The performers are all solid (ahem), especially Kevin Kelly, who wears Liza well in the Fosse-flavored “Entertainer,” but the majority of the music is simply unmemorable. With a baker’s dozen of credited writers (including Bruce Vilanch), it’s a clear case of too many cooks muddling the man-chowder, and musical director John T. Gardner’s keyboard often drowned out the unamplified singers. As a hetero male, I didn’t identify with some of the topics (like gym addiction), though it appears sung schlong synonyms make everyone’s inner 12-year-old snicker, gay or straight. But if a boozy, bawdy evening of ogling buff boys with their balls swinging in the breeze sounds like ideal entertainment, better buy your seats now; Naked Boys Singing looks to be the hardest ticket of this theater season.


Bruce Vilanch To Play Coral Springs Museum Saturday, January 30th 2016

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 7pm

Emmy Award Winning Comedy Genius

BRUCE VILANCH

&

JESSICA KIRSON

(Comedy Central, NBC TV’s Last Comic Standing)

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From Mr. Vilanch: “Currently celebrating his seventeenth year as Lindsay Lohan’s sobriety coach, Bruce Vilanch is descending to The RRazz Room 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.”

Jessica Kirson’s unique style and captivating stage presence captures the attention of audiences and club bookers everywhere she performs. Her wide variety of characters brings a diverse energy to her routine. Once you’ve seen her amazing talent, it’s easy to understand why she was selected to perform at the Hamptons, Toyota, Marshall’s Women in Comedy, Comedy Central’s South Beach, Montreal, and HBO’s Las Vegas comedy festivals. She was awarded “Best Female Comic” by the MAC association in New York City and recently accepted the Nightlife Award for “Best Stand-up Comedian” in New York City. Her YouTube channel “The Jessy K Show” has more than 100 videos with a combined total of over 2.5 million views. She recently launched her own podcast called “The Jessica Kirson Podcast.”

Coral Springs Center for the Arts
2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33065 United States

To Buy Tickets: Click Here

Bruceback August 16, 1991: Bruce Goes It Alone

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Daily Herald Suburban Chicago
August 16, 1991

3-25-2012 2-13-20 PM

Bruce Vilanch, the so-called “Comedian for the Stars” who cut his dramatic teeth at Ohio State University and later in Chicago before making the trek to the coast, will bring his stand-up act to Zanies in Mount Prospect Thursday through Aug. 24.

Primarily a comedy writer and a lyricist. Vilanch has six Emmys under his substantial belt and has written for such heavyweights as Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin. Billy Crystal, Burt Reynolds and Whoopi Goldberg.

Plus, he’s penned gags for lots of awards shows, such as the Oscars, the Emmys, the People’s Choice awards and the American Comedy awards.

But can he cut it out there all by himself with just the microphone and his wits?

‘Sophie Mania’ Returns

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

The Huffington Post
‘Sophie Mania’ Returns
By Katherine Kramer
June 30, 2015

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I had the rare pleasure of seeing The Outrageous Sophie Tucker, a new documentary feature currently playing in select theaters. It opened the recent 2015 Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, and is a genuine “rags to riches” show business story that will inspire today’s performers and certainly empower women of all ages, shapes and sizes. The film is directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker William Gazecki, and written and produced by Susan and Lloyd Ecker. “The Last Of The Red-Hot Mamas” Sophie Tucker was known as the “female Al Jolson” and she paved the way for such icons as Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Midler, Cher, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, even Amy Schumer.

The Eckers have been working on this in-depth documentary for eight years including immersing themselves in Tucker’s personal scrapbooks, interviewing numerous family, friends and show business personalities. Some of the on-camera interviews include Tony Bennett, Barbara Walters, Bruce Vilanch, Michael Feinstein, Carol Channing, narrated by David Hyde Pierce. Sophie Tucker was a pioneer, a woman ahead of her time as an entertainer, and a leader in Social Media. From 1906 through the beginning of television, her brash, bawdy style prevailed as a “star” attraction.

I spoke to the Eckers about their passion for getting Sophie’s story on screen, and they plan both a Broadway musical and feature film about The Outrageous Sophie Tucker. Is Sophie still relevant today? “Sophie represented that strong personable female voice that you see reincarnated today in performers such as Lady Gaga and Amy Schumer,” Lloyd Ecker explained. “Bette Midler started doing Sophie routines in her one-woman-shows which she still performs to this day, and Bette named her daughter Sophie. And Mae West was an early mentee of Mae West. Without Sophie there would not have been Mae West saying “Come up and see me sometime.” She was also a mentor to the young Judy Garland. According to Susan Ecker, “Sophie was the Forrest Gump of the first half of the 1900’s. She was close with U.S. Presidents, King George VI,young Queen Elizabeth, Charlie Chaplin, J.Edgar Hoover, Al Jolson, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, and every other notable of her era.”

Was she a feminist? “Sophie definitely believed a woman should receive equal pay to a man,” Lloyd Ecker stated. “When the suffragette movement came about, first she was against it, when it was in vogue, she was for it. Sophie Tucker fought for herself, created an environment and image, and rode the trends. But all she ever wanted was equal pay to a man.”

She sang “Some of These Days” and “After You’ve Gone” and she interpreted sex and innuendo in a way no woman had before her. Even though she was overweight, she stated boldly, “This is me. I’m comfortable in my own skin.” And if she were alive today, you can bet she’d be the Queen of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vines, Periscope and all forms of social media.

The Outrageous Sophie Tucker is an intriguing documentary feature that celebrated an original and lets us in on the creation of a Show Business Pioneer’s life and struggles.

Annaleigh Ashford, Bruce Vilanch & More Set for VILLAIN: DEBLANKS at Rockwell Table & Stage, 7/27

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Broadway World
Annaleigh Ashford, Bruce Vilanch & More Set for VILLAIN: DEBLANKS at Rockwell Table & Stage, 7/27
June 15, 2015

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(VERB)____ until your sides hurt on Monday, July 27 at The Rockwell Table & Stage, where Villain: DeBlanks will be performed to benefit the ASPCA.

Starring six-time Emmy-winner Bruce Vilanch (Get Bruce!, “Hollywood Squares“), stunningly prolific Missi Pyle (Gone Girl, The Artist), three-time Tony-nominee Kevin Chamberlin(Disney’s “Jessie”), Tony-winner Annaleigh Ashford (“Masters of Sex,” Kinky Boots), omni-present voice artist/actor Robin Atkin Downes (How to Train Your Dragon, “The Strain”), and Tony-winner Daisy Eagan (The Secret Garden, Sunday Brunch of Shame), proceeds will benefit the ASPCA.

A Time Out NY Critics’ Pick written by Billy Mitchell, Villain: DeBlanks is an uproarious improvisational comedy where the cast says words you put in their mouths! The audience provides nouns, adjectives, and verbs (the wilder, the better), and the actors provide the laughs—uncensored and unrehearsed—as they enact the story of Philip DeBlanks’ untimely demise. It’s “Clue” meets adult “Mad Libs,” performed by some of the funniest people in show biz. Like a ride to summer camp in the back of a station wagon, this hilarious performance will be ridiculously one-of-a-kind.

Villain: DeBlanks benefit for ASPCA will play The Rockwell Table & Stage (1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA) on Monday, July 27. Show: 8pm. Cover charge is $10.00-$25.00 and there is a 2-item minimum per person.

For tickets & information, call 323.669.2550 ext. 20, or visit: villaindeblanks.com