News Round-Up: December 26, 2018

Do not forget to watch the Kennedy Center Honors tonight on CBS at 8pm as Cher, Philip Glass, Reba McEntire, and Wayne Shorter receive the 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors.  Hamilton co-creators Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, Andy Blankenbuehler, and Alex Lacamoire receive a special Honors for groundbreaking work.
The 2018 Kennedy Center Honors air tonight on CBS at 8pm

Some news items you might have missed:

• Do not forget to watch the Kennedy Center Honors tonight on CBS at 8pm as Cher, Philip Glass, Reba McEntire, and Wayne Shorter receive the 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors.

Hamilton co-creators Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, Andy Blankenbuehler, and Alex Lacamoire receive a special Honors for groundbreaking work.

• An unhinged Catholic priest claimed Satan designed the Pride flag.

• Legal pot was a popular Christmas gift in California this year as cannabis businesses reported up to 5x normal foot traffic in the days leading up to the holiday.

• House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi trolled Donald Trump and his infamous wall telling USA Today he’s now shifted from a concrete structure to “a beaded curtain or something.”

• The transgender teen who was bullied by an assistant principal in a bathroom speaks to the press about the hideous experience.

• A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll asked Democratic and Independent voters who would excited them the most in the 2020 presidential race.

“Someone entirely new” garnered 59%, followed closely by former Vice President Joe Biden (who is the exact opposite of that) at 53%.

Sunday Slowdown: Reba McEntire “Sunday Kind Of Love”

Looking for sleepy Sunday, lazy morning music today I remembered  Miss Reba McEntire’s stylish and vocally flawless rendition of the Etta James classic, “Sunday Kind of Love.”

A bit of intersectional awareness here: I’m currently staging South Pacific for San Diego Musical Theatre and Reba famously sold-out Carnegie Hall in June 2005 with a killer “Nellie Forbush” in the staged concert version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic.

Plus, Reba’s music video for “Sunday Kind of Love” is set in the 1940s during wartime as is South Pacific.

In 1988, Reba’s music video was nominated for “Video of the Year” at the Academy of Country Music Awards for the video below.

Happy Sunday everyone.

Reba McEntire: “I Don’t Understand Why People Have A Problem With (Marriage Equality)”

In an interview with Pride Source promoting her new album Love Somebody, country music super star Reba McEntire made clear her support marriage equality.

I just went to my first gay wedding a couple of months ago in California for Michael and Steven, my two great friends. They’ve been together for 20 years! I thought that it was not fair, and I didn’t understand why they couldn’t get married. It wasn’t because they just wanted to get married. If one of them had gotten injured and gone to the hospital, the other one couldn’t make decisions for them.

It’s very upsetting. It’s not only for convenience or for romantic reasons – it’s for practicality. For practical reasons! I get a kick out of what Dolly said: “Why shouldn’t they get married and be as miserable as the rest of us?” (Laughs)

[snip]

I don’t understand why people have a problem with it. I’m a very spiritual person, but I don’t judge. I try not to; I’m only human. To each his own, and everybody is different. God did not make us all the same. So, I just pray for an open mind and a loving heart, and I think that’s all I can do.

Asked about how she would feel if she were to have a gay grandchild:

What a child needs when they’re growing up is support and love, mainly love. Love can go a long, long ways whether they’re gay or not. All the troubles and the problems and the obstacles that they are going to face in their lives are going to be astronomical, especially in their very young, inexperienced minds. And if they do happen to be gay, that’s going to be a harder hurdle to get over. What a parent needs to do more than anything is jump in there with love and support. You made ’em. They’re a gift from God. Love ’em as they are.

It’s no wonder this woman has enjoyed such tremendous success for decades.

Rock on, Reba!

Lily Tomlin & Reba McEntire in “Malibu Country”


I’ve been a fan of both Lily and Reba forever it seems, so I’m looking forward to their new ABC series this fall “Malibu Country.”  Check out the trailer above.

I recently met Lily Tomlin after her performance at The Smith Center here in Las Vegas. Not only was she brilliant on stage, but backstage she could not have been more charming.

AND when I wrote about her performance on The Randy Report, she personally emailed me to say “thank you.” How many legends can you say that about?

Good luck this fall with the new show ladies!

With Larry Edwards, Lily Tomlin and Michael after Lily’s fab performance in Las Vegas

The brilliant and fabulous Lily Tomlin

Larry Edwards, Lily Tomlin, me and Michael backstage after Lily’s show at The Smith Center

So, Sunday I had the chance to enjoy the brilliant comedy of Lily Tomlin at the beautiful new Smith Center in Las Vegas as a guest of my friend Kirk Weber, who has known Lily for years.

This was my first trip to the Smith Center since it opened. Not only is it beautiful but it was packed for the Mother’s Day performance by the ever insightful and hilarious Lily Tomlin.

How do you even begin to write about a talent this sharp, this astute, this observant of the human condition?  Ms. Tomlin gave us a few glimpses of her iconic characters like “Edith Ann” and “Ernestine” but also didn’t shy away from topical issues like President Obama’s support for gay marriage.

It was interesting to sit in an audience that was clearly split on the subject and not prepared when she brought up the subject of marriage equality: “I’m really ambivalent on the idea of gay marriage – I mean, once you start with gay marriage where do you do next?  Monster truck rallies?  It’s such a slippery slope…  And while I applaud the President’s courage to embrace gay marriage, it may cost him votes.  Although, on one hand you have the President – who’s a human being…”   And from there she just let the audience fill in the gap.

It was really fun watching a comedic genius at work.  Her pace, her body language, even the cut of her eyes told you volumes of where we were going next.

Many people are so comfortable with Ms. Tomlin’s expertise at her own comedy some may have forgotten that she was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in the film “Nashville” in addition to all the other awards (Grammy, Emmy, Tony, NY Film Critics) she has won.

Backstage I was able to catch up to her briefly before she had to catch a flight out.  She did mention that she mention that we will be seeing more of her this fall as she will be starring in a new ABC TV series that was just picked up – “Malibu Country” co-starring Reba McEntire.

Just Saturday night Reba tweeted “Okay, for those of you who do not know what “Malibu Country” is, it’s a new sit-com on ABC that I get to act in along with Lily Tomlin!!!”

On ‘Malibu Country,’ Tomlin will star as the mother of Reba’s character, who will be a Nashville mom who abandoned by her musician husband. He takes most of their money, which forces her to relocate to Malibu, Calif. to try and relaunch her career as a singer. Professional aspirations aside, she also has to deal with her responsibilities as a mother, keeping her three kids on the up and up in a new and foreign environment which is more materialistic than they are used to.

From the ABC website: “Her life reads like a country music tune: Her husband cheated on her and
spent all of their money, and after she gets mad, she’s going to get
even. From country music superstar/executive producer Reba McEntire and
executive producer Kevin Abbott (Last Man Standing, My Name Is Earl, Reba) comes a hilarious new comedy about new beginnings that will make your heart sing.”

Look for it this fall.