News Round-Up: January 21, 2021

Dozens of Broadway performers took part in 'Seasons of Love' at the Biden Inaugural Concert
No presidential pardon for the Tiger King plus dozens of Broadway performers took part in 'Seasons of Love' at the Biden Inaugural Concert
Broadway at the Biden Inaugural Concert

Some news items you might have missed:

CNN: Out news anchor Shep Smith has broken his silence about his departure from Fox News. Now at CNBC, Smith says he stayed as long as he did in order to try and counterbalance the misinformation coming out of the right-leaning network.

Broadway at the Inaugural: I was thrilled to see this beautiful collaboration debut during last night’s Biden Inaugural Concert (above). I know several folks in this but five I have longtime ties with: Tony Award winners Betty Buckley, Chita Rivera, and Leslie Uggams, as well as Tony Award nominees Vanessa Williams and Charlotte d’Amboise.

Charlotte gives you LIFE dancing in the center during the last minute. #LovedIt

Outsports: 39 current NFL players on 22 teams say they have already had an out gay teammate, including six players with the Arizona Cardinals.

Instinct Magazine: Tiger King star Joe Maldonado-Passage (a.k.a Joe Exotic) truly believed Donald Trump would issue him a presidential pardon on his last day in office. The Tiger King was so sure the pardon was coming he had a limo standing by to pick him up at the prison.

HuffPost: An 18-year veteran police officer, most recently with the Houston Police Department, stormed the U.S. Capitol and then tried to cover his tracks by deleting photos from inside the rotunda and lying about his conduct.

Twitter: First Lady Dr. Jill Biden shares her first video message thanking service members, first responders, civil servants.

Stars In The House Remembers ‘Carrie The Musical’

(image via the original poster for the Broadway production of Carrie)

Michael and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Saturday night’s edition of Stars in the House which brought together the creative team and actors from the 1988 Broadway musical Carrie.

Adapted from the 1976 movie of the same name by Stephen King, the musical was first produced at Stratford-upon-Avon in England starring Linzi Hately as Carrie and Broadway veteran Barbara Cook as her mother, Margaret White. Directed by Terry Hands and choreographed by Debbie Allen, the cast also included Charlotte d’Amboise (Song & Dance), Gene Anthony Ray (Fame), R&B star Darlene Love, and Sally Ann Triplett.

In order to achieve the effects of Carrie’s telekinetic powers, the production boasted an elaborate technical design in terms of sets and lights utilizing lasers. According to theater lore, Cook tendered her resignation on opening night when she was nearly decapitated by a set-piece.

Betty Buckley and Linzi Hately in ‘Carrie’ (production photo)

Tony Award winner Betty Buckley (who had played the gym teacher in the film) was summoned to save the show as it transferred to Broadway. But after 16 previews and 5 performances, the producers pulled out their money following mixed reviews despite packed houses and standing ovations each night.

In a time before smartphones, little video footage exists of the Broadway production although, during last night’s streaming reunion, it was revealed cast member and soon-to-be Tony Award winner Scott Wise had planted an old-school video camera in the back of the audience before the audience was admitted in hopes of capturing footage.

Apparently, Wise’s camera was able to capture Act One before the battery ran out of juice.

Just to give you a peek into the power and sensitivity Buckley brought to the role, this is the haunting “When There’s No One.”

The show, capitalized at a then-enormous $8 million, was considered the most expensive flop in Broadway history.

I was on the road performing in CATS at the time, but my bestie Carlye saw the closing night performance. According to her well-informed opinion, while much of the show proved problematic I’ve never forgotten her final assessment – that the scenes between Buckley and Hately were some of the most thrilling musical theater she’d ever experienced.

Playbill put together a terrific recap of some of the existing footage along with interviews with cast members including Charlotte D’Amboise here.

Here’s the full reunion show from last night hosted by SiriusXM’s Seth Rudetsky & James Wesley. The creative team of Lawrence D. Cohen, Michael Gore, and Dean Pitchford share the history of creating the book and score and are then joined about halfway through by Buckley, Hateley, D’Amboise, and Triplett.

Over the past four months, the streaming series has brought theater fans the backstage stories they’ve longed for (for free!) while raising over $442,000 for The Actor’s Fund in donations.

Charlotte d’Amboise Answers Your Questions

The fab Charlotte d’Amboise answers Facebook questions from her dressing room at the Ambassador Theatre on Broadway while preparing for her role of “Roxie” in CHICAGO.

Charlotte was by far my favorite “Roxie” I ever did CHICAGO with (and at one time it felt like I did it with every “Roxie” over 10 years).

I came across these videos this morning and it felt very Saturday morning. Plus, this is EXACTLY what Charlotte is like is real life. Great person, great artist.

Charlotte d’Amboise honored at 2013 Astaire Awards

Pippin star Charlotte d’Amboise and Motown player Eric LaJuan Summers took home the awards for Outstanding Female and Male Dancer in a Broadway show, respectively, at the 31st Annual Fred and Adele Astaire Awards. The ceremony was held June 3 at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Additionally, Pippin choreographer Chet Walker and Motown choreographers Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams tied for Outstanding Choreographer of a Broadway show.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaouit took home the award for Outstanding Choreographer in a Feature Film.

I was fortunate to perform in CHICAGO the Musical many times with Charlotte – my favorite “Roxie.”  AND I’d followed and enjoyed her work for many years before and after.  MORE than deserving of the honor.  What a great, great theater artist.

Congrats to Charlotte and all the honorees!