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  • Broadway's marquees and signage will dim again.

    In one week, we've lost two musical theater giants: the librettist Joseph Stein and composer Jerry Bock, both of Fiddler on the Roof fame.

    Mr. Bock's 15-year collaboration with lyricist Sheldon Harnick yielded scores for shows such as Fiorello!, The Body Beautiful, She Loves Me, The Apple Tree, and The Rothchilds.

    The lights of Broadway theatres will be dimmed tonight at 8 P.M. in Mr. Bock's memory.

    Mr. Stein, who began as a sketch writer in 1948, went on to write the book to over 17 shows, including Irene, Plain and Fancy, Mr. Wonderful, Take Me Along, Carmelina, Zorba, and Rags. His autobiographical comedy Enter Laughing, a hit in 1963, enjoyed recent acclaim in the musical adaptation, originally titled So Long, 174th Street, at the York Theatre.

    Gala Dance Retrospective

    Career Transition for Dancers, the estimable org that segues dancers to other rewarding fields when dance is no longer an option, presents their 25th Anniversary gala, Jubilee: A Star-Studded Retrospective, Monday at 7 P.M. at  City Center. Angela Lansbury hosts. Rolex is the presenting sponsor. Ann Marie DeAngelo will direct/produce. CTFD's Alexander DubĂ© is exec producer. 


    Set to appear are Marge Champion, Charlotte d'Amboise, Marvin Hamlisch, Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking, Desmond Richardson, Chita Rivera, Randy Skinner, Edward Villella, and Karen Ziemba. 

    Skinner's spectacularly-choreographed number from 42nd Street  opens the show, followed later by "All That Jazz" from Chicago. Members of ABT II, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Louisville Ballet, MOMIX, and Parsons Dance will present special performances. Also on the bill will be American Tap Dance Foundation Youth and the National Dance Institute.

    Marvin Hamlisch and Rupert Holmes will debut the song "I'm Really Dancing," a light-hearted anthem capturing the spirit of the dancer that always stays alive. Hamlisch will perform with Miss Champion, Miss Lansbury, Neuwirth, Reinking, Rivera, Skinner, and others taking part.

    Twyla Tharp receives the Rolex Dance Award. Capezio's Ballet Makers Dance Award will go to Trisha Brown. 

    Miss Lansbury, a five-time Tony and three-time Drama Desk-winning actress, also had a distinguished TV and film career which includes many age-stretching characterizations. They include the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney's Beauty and the Beast and her 12-year run as Jessica Fletcher on TV's Murder She Wrote TV series.

    Among her acclaimed film roles are her 1944 debut as servant Nancy in Gaslight; The Picture of Dorian Gray; opposite Garland in The Harvey Girls; and her celebrated portrayal of sinister Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate. She made her TV musical debut starring in Jerry Herman's Mrs. Santa Claus. As a precursor to Ms. Fletcher in MSW, Miss Lansbury portrayed Jane Marple in the 1980 film, The Mirror Crack'd


    After 16 films, Miss Lansbury made the transition to the "Golden Era" of TV. Her Broadway debut came in 1957, which was followed by boffo hits Mame and Gyspy. For a complete listing of Miss Lanbury's Broadway roles and awards/nominations, visit www.ibdb.com. For a complete listing of film and TV roles/appearances, visit www.imdb.com.

    Gala honorary chairs include Cynthia Gregory, Bebe Neuwirth, Sono Osato, Ann Reinking, Chita Rivera, Lisa Niemi Swayze, and Tommy Tune.

    Show-only tickets are $45 - $130 and available at the City Cenjer box office and through CityTix, (212) 581-1212. Gala tks include a dinner dance at the Rockefeller Hilton. 

    CTFD has offices in New York, L.A., and Chicago. Since its 1985 founding, it's provided more than 46,000 hours of free career counseling and program services and  awarded millions in scholarships, entrepreneurial grants, and certification programs.

    The org.'s Caroline & Theodore Newhouse Center for Dancers is located at 165 West 46th Street, in the Equity Building. For more information, call (212) 764-0172.

    No Amps

    Town Hall and Scott Siegel's Broadway Unplugged "ith "sound design by God," is one of Fall's eagerly awaited attractions. Wait no longer. Get ticketed for the Seventh Annual concert to be held November 15 at Town Hall at 8 P.M.

    "We've got quite a line up," said Siegel, who is also the writer/host for Town Hall's Broadway by the Year series, "and they plan to show they've got vocal chops. They'll be singing Bway show tunes sans mikes - dipping back into Broadway's past and doing them the way they used to be sung."

    RRaines.jpgScheduled to appear are James Barbour, Stephanie J. Block, Ron Bohmer, Quentin Earl Darrington, Bill Daugherty, Jeffry Denman, Marc Kudisch, Karen Mason, Euan Morton, William Michals, Julia Murney, Ron Raines, and Max Von Essen. Ross Patterson will be music director/arranger along with his Little Big Band.

    Tickets are $25-$75 and available at the Town Hall box office, through TicketMaster.com at (800) 982-2787.

    In January, Town Hall will launch The Siegel Season. The first attraction, January 15 at 8 P.M., stars Marc Kudisch in his solo concert The Lower Depths: In Defense of the Baritone Voice. On January 31, Town Hall presents and Siegel hosts the Ninth Annual Night Life Awards.

    The Music of Jerome Kern

    Tony and DD noms Rebecca Luker and Kate Baldwin, and Heidi Blickenstaff, will headline a cast of six for Broadway Close Up: All the Things You Are, Jerome Kern November 15 at 8 P.M. at the Kaufman Center's Merkin Hall [129 West 67th Street, between Bway and Amsterdam Avenue].

    composed scores for Show Boat and Roberta. His classic songs include "A Fine Romance," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "All the Things You Are," and Oscar-winner "The Way You Look Tonight." The concert will focus on some of his earlier songs in "new and inventive" arrangements by Bway's David Loud

    On November 30 and December 2 at 8 P.M., the New York Festival of Song will present Manning the Canon - Songs of Gay Life, a tribute to gay composers with songs by Poulenc, Tchaikovsky, Griffes, Bernstein, Porter, and Blitzstein. Tenor Scott Murphree, baritones Jesse Blumberg and Matthew Worth, and bass Matt Boehler will be accompanied on piano by NYFOS artistic director Steven Blier.

    Tickets are, respectively, $40 and $40 and $50 and may be purchased at the Kaufman Center box office, online at
    www.kaufman-center.org, or by calling (212) 501-3330.

    Name That Tune

    American Songbook is back this Saturday at 7 P.M. the Edison Ballroom [240 West 47th Street, between Bway and Eighth Avenue] with a new edition of Name That Tune Costume Party, this time to honor ailing singing legend Margaret Whiting and Tony/  DD-winning director Michael Mayer [Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spring Awakening, American Idiot]. Hosting the costume fashion show and live auction will be Jim Caruso. But you don't have to be costumed to attend.

    JKaczmarek.jpgPerforming will be seven-time Emmy and three-time Golden Globe nom Jane Kaczmarek, Tony and DD-nom'd lyricist/librettist Dick Scanlan [Everyday Rapture, TMM], and Tony/DD-nom Kate Baldwin. Maureen Moore and Nellie McKay will do a tribute to Miss Whiting.  Brooke Shields and John McDaniel are teaming for a live auction prize of a private concert for up to 30.

    The judges panel will include five-time Tony/DD-winning costume designer William Ivey Long; NY 1 News' Frank DiLella, Jujamcyn Theatres prez Jordan Roth, casting director Tara Rubin, jazz vocalist Hilary Kole, and Time Out NY critic Adam Feldman. The grand prize for Best Song Title Costume wins a week vacation in Paris and the French Riviera courtesy of Radisson Blu Hotels that includes RT airfare

    Since its founding in 1999, explains founder Michael P. Estwanik, the American Songbook Project has brought Bway and cabaret talent into NYC schools to educate and develop new audiences to the heritage of popular songwriting. ASP's advisory board includes Lucie Arnaz, Danny Burstein, Malcolm Gets, and Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez.

    Tkts are $250, which includes dinner, dancing, and open bar; with a limited number of $150 tkts are available for those under 35. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (212) 362-2115, or visit www.theamericansongbookproject.org.


    In Support

    AliForneyImage.jpgMonday at 8 P.M. at the Hiro Ballroom in the Maritime Hotel [16th Street at Ninth Avenue] Alan Cumming, Billy Porter, and Ari Gold present In Concert: David Raleigh, and the prem of Michael Akers' musical video of "That's What Friends Are For." It's a benefit the Ali Forney Center [224 West 35th Street, Suite 1102], started in 2002 in response to the lack of safe shelter and HIV testing for NYC LGBT youth. 

    Tickets are $75 and $95 and available at www.thefriendsproject.org. Student/young professional discount and table service tickets are also available. For more information, visit www.aliforneycenter.org.

    Saving the Temple

    The Best of Broadway and Cabaret Salute The Actors Temple, a musical celebration to benefit the historic Actors Temple [339 West 47th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues].  November 21 at 7:30 P.M.

    The fundraiser, produced by Randie Levine-Miller, will include Len Cariou, Eric Comstock, Jamie deRoy, Beth Fowler, Anita Gillette, Jackie Hoffman, George S. Irving, Kurt Peterson, Steve Ross, Martin Vidnovic, Sal Viviano, and numerous others. Dennis Buck is music director.    

    "There's so much history at the Actors Temple," says Levine-Miller, "but it's not the well- heeled or solvent organization it used to be. Legendary members include Jack Benny, Sophie Tucker, Eddie Cantor, Joey Adams, Al Jolson, Milton Berle, and Red Buttons."

    Tickets, all tax-deductible, are $100-$500. An after-party follows at Tony's Di Napoli [147 West 43rd Street, just off Broadway]. To RSVP, phone (212) 362-3616 or contact Ms. Levine-Miller at [email protected].  

    Arresting Dramas

    There's always interesting theater in NYC. For example, take these two prems, one of a long-thought lost John Osbourne play:

    59E59 Theatres and the 2010 Brits Off Broadway Fest November 10-21 is hosting the U.S. prem of John Osborne and Anthony Creighton's recently rediscovered play Personal Enemy direct from its Fall Out Theatre production at London's White Bear Theatre. The 1953 play is a depiction of the political and sexual paranoia that gripped America during the height of McCarthyism. At the time it debuted, it was so controversial in the U.K. that numerous pages were deleted. This production marks the first time the play appears uncensored. There will be no performance Thanksgiving day.

    Through November 21, Brits Off Broadway also presents the U.S. prem of acclaimed Welsh writer Hywel John's Pieces, a Brothers Grimm-like dark fable of loss and revenge, from Clwyd Theatr Cymru, under A.D. Olivier-winning director and former RSC head Terry Hands. CTC's Kate Wasserberg directs. 

    Tickets are, respectively, $35, $24.50 for 59E59 members; and $25/$17.50. To purchase, call Ticket Central, (212) 279-4200 or logo onto www.59e59.org. For more information, visit www.britsoffbroadway.com.  For more information, visit www.britsoffbroadway.com.

    Guy Fredrick Glass' new play The Last Castrato, presented by Gap in the Wall Productions at Off Bway's Connelly Theater [220 East 4th Street, between Avenues A and B in the East Village] tells the story of Alessandro Moreschi, the last of that unique, almost forgotten group - the castrati - who preserves his voice for the newly-invented phonograph.  Set at the Vatican, he battles bureaucracy, homophobia, and political ambition while grappling with his sexual identity. Glass, who's also a psychiatrist, ays he wanted to tell the story "with humor, passion, and also showcase the music of the castrati." The cast of nine includes Frank Anderson, the recipient of the 2010 NY Innovative Theatre Award as Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role for The Return of Peter Grimm. John Henry Davis [TV's Oz] is director.  Tickets are $18.
    To purchase tickets and more information, log onto www.lastcastrato.com.


    Can He Dance!

    Tommy Tune and his touring revue Steps in Time: A Broadway Biography in Song and Dance will make a one-afternoon-only stop at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College [IRT Flatbush line] November 14 at 3 P.M. Tune will be backed up by longtime collaborators, the Manhattan Rhythm Kings. TT calls the show "a personal look back at my career, featuring my choreography and some timeless standards - and, of course, my charm and warm-hearted humor." Tickets: $32-$42 [$35-$45 day of performance] and available at the Performing Arts box office, by calling: (718) 951-4500, or online at www.BrooklynCenterOnline.org. 


    On DVD

    Sonhheim! The Birthday Concert, a celebration of the career of one of Bway's greatest composers on the occasion of his 80th birthday, is yours to relive as often as you wish [Image Entertainment; 116 minutes; SRP, DVD, $25; Blu-ray, $30].

    Shot March 15 and 16 at Avery Fisher Hall, it includes all the festivities and performances by a show biz Who's Who, with 24 numbers from the Sondheim canon - many rarely heard. Several are performed by original cast members of his shows. David Hyde Pierce hosts with SS's longtime collaborator Paul Gemignani conducting the New York Philharmonic. Lonny Price directed.


    aaSondBd.jpgJoanna Gleason and Chip Zien reunite from Into the Woods; Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin perform songs from Sunday in the Park with George; Patti LuPone, George Hearn, and Michael Cerveris team for Sweeney Todd showstoppers; The Follies salute features Hyde Pierce performing "Beautiful Girls," Marin Mazzie, Donna Murphy, and LuPone in poignant renditions of "Losing My Mind," "Could I Leave You," and "Ladies Who Lunch" with Elaine Stritch doing a memorable "I'm Still Here."

    The cast also includes Laura Benanti, Matt Cavenaugh, Victoria Clark, Jenn Colella, Jason Danieley Alexander Gemingnani, Nathan Gunn, Audra McDonald, John McMartin, Marin Mazzie, Bernadette Peters, Bobby Steggert, Jim Walton, and dancers from the West Side Story revival.

    Image and PS Classics have released a two-disc original Broadway cast recording of Sondheim on Sondheim, starring Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, and Tom Wopat.

    PBS will broadcast
    Sonhheim! The Birthday Concert on Great Performances on November 24. The concert audio is available via digital download.  

    Glee1Pt2.jpgNip/Tuck series creator Ryan Murphy certainly writes from one extreme to the other. This is certainly evidenced by the hit Fox sitcom Glee, the vastly dysfunctional and entertaining adolescent soap opera with big musical numbers that's pure feel-happy delight. Now Season One is complete on DVD with Glee: Season One, Volume Two - Road to Regionals [20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; four discs, nine hours and 40 minutes; widescreen; SRP, $40] [The Complete First Season is also available, seven discs; SRP, $60] 

    The Volume Two 
    episodes began airing in April, ending the musical-comedy-drama's four-month hiatus and restoring its place as one of TV's most talked-about shows. Will (Matthew Morrison) and Emma (Jayma Mays) discover that starting a relationship isn't quite as easy as they expected.

    The budding match between Rachel (Lea Michele) and Finn (Cory Monteith) also hits some snags, mostly in the person of Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff), a defector from Vocal Adrenaline who takes an interest in Rachel.

    With sectionals over and regionals coming up, Will meets their coach, Shelby Corcoran (Idina Menzel), and then April Rhodes (Menzel's Wicked costar, Kristin Chenoweth) returns to complicate Will's life even further. 

    Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) make an unexpected choice, Sue (Jane Lynch) meets and makes a music video with guest star Olivia Newton-John. The club performs in the regionals in an emotion-packed finale "Journey."


    Music production is still stellar. The Power of Madonna episode showcases the music of the Material Girl. Another episode features songs of  Lady Gaga. But you could call this the Latter Season of Duets. Chenoweth and Morrison, Neil Patrick Harris and Morrison, and Menzel and Michele team. 

    The season finale is an explosion of Journey and Queen during the competition, and tenderness afterward. While some people may only watch Glee's musical numbers, it's knowing the characters behind the songs that gives them their emotional punch, a major reason the show resonated with audiences so well during its first season.


    Smart Comedy 

    Roger Michell [Notting Hill]'s romantic comedy Morning Glory, which stars Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, and Patrick Wilson and is written by Aline Brosh McKenna [The Devil Wears Prada] is set in the "dysfunctional world of morning TV. The film opens Wednesday.

    After getting fired, news producer [McAdams], stumbles into a morning gig,  the last-place morning network program. She revitalizes the show by bringing on a legendary TV anchor [Ford], who's none to happy to be reporting gossip, weather, fashion, and crafts, let alone work with his abrasive co-host [Keaton], a former beauty queen.

    Do they clash? Yes, they do and it makes for some hilarious big-screen entertainment. When all else fails, cast the pros and just let them have at it.
    It's the perfect escape from holiday shopping, cooking, and pressure. Nothing is more fun than laughter. Well, not everyone will agree with that, I'm sure.

    a sneak peak at Morning Glory [courtesy of Paramount Pictures]:

    Harry's Coming

    In advance of the November 19 release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 [Warner Bros.; SRP, $17], which will officially usher in the holiday season [with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade quick to follow], Water Tower Music has released the original motion picture soundtrack - recorded with the London Symphony at London's Abbey Road Studios. It features 26 compositions [over 70 minutes] by Oscar and Grammy nom and Golden Globe winner Alexandre Desplat [Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Queen, The Painted Veil].

    With purchase, buyers receive a free download of the soundtrack in 5.1 Surround Sound. There's a limited collector's edition package [SRP, $80]with bonus CD with extra music, poster, picture disc vinyl, interview DVD, Harry Potter film cells, autographed sheet music, and numbered authenticity certificate. Go to 
    www.deathlyhallowssoundtrack.com for more details.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 is directed by David Yates. Daniel Radcliffe, soon to be on Bway in the revival of How to Succeed..., Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson reprise their roles. Part 2 arrives next summer.

    Morning Glory 

    Ellis Nassour is an international media journalist, and author of Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline, which he has adapted into a musical for the stage. Visit www.patsyclinehta.com.

    He can be reached at [email protected]

    Why are you looking all the way down here?
    For more articles by Ellis Nassour, click the links below!

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