Broadway Goes Curtain Up in Times Square

This weekend, Broadway takes to the streets of Times Square for a three day Curtain Up Festival that is free and open to the public.  Sponsored by Playbill, The Broadway League, the Time Square Alliance, and Prudential Financial the event will feature a block party filled with performances and sing-alongs.

For a map of the weekend’s events go to

So who is performing for Curtain Up this weekend???

Sept 30:
The festivities begin at 2pm with the Official Kick-Off on the main stage hosted by John-Andrew Morrison and James Jackson Jr from “A Strange Loop”

3pm – “Chicago” Sing-Along on the Dueling Pianos stage

3:45pm – “Wicked” Sing-Along on the Dueling Pianos stage

4:30pm – “Little Shop of Horrors” Sing-Along on the Dueling Pianos stage

5pm – The Broadway Block Party begins at the Main stage

6:30pm – Broadway Sings: The Golden Age of Broadway on the Dueling Pianos stage

Oct 1:
10:30am – drummers from Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” teach some African drumming on the Main stage

11:15am – “Kinky Boots” Sing-Along on the Dueling Pianos stage

12:30pm – Belt it Out Broadway on the Dueling Pianos stage where Michael McAssey and Rachel Kaufman will duel it out on the piano.

1pm – Game Show Live on the Main Stage where the stars of Broadway show off their knowledge of the Great White Way

3pm – Jason Gotay on the Main Stage with a performance of original music from “Where You’ll Find Me”

4pm – Belt it Out on the Dueling Pianos stage with Michael McAssey and Drew Wutke.

5pm – Once Night Only on the Main stage – a benefit concert

6:30pm – Rockers on Broadway: Live in Times Square on the Dueling Pianos stage

Oct 2
10:30am – Curtain Up! Live on the Main stage hosted by Amber Ruffin and Jesse Tyler Ferguson

1pm – Belt it Out on the Duel Pianos stage with performances and sing-alongs to close out the festival.

2022 Latin Grammy Award Noms

It’s known has the biggest night in music – the annual Grammy Awards.  On November 17, the Latin Grammy Awards will hold their annual ceremonies from the Mandalay Bay Resort.

On September 20, the nominees for the 23rd Lati Grammy Awards released the nominees for all 53 categories.

The nominees for the 23rd Latin Grammy Awards are:

Record of the Year:
“Pa Mis Muchachas” by Christina Aguilera, Becky G, and Nicki Nicole with Nathy Peluso
“Castillos de Arena” by Pablo Alboran
“Envolver” by Anitta
“Pa’lla Voy” by Marc Anthony
“Ojitos Lindos” by Bad Bunny and Bomba Estereo
“Pegao” by Camilo
“Tocarte” by Jorge Drexler and C. Tangana
“Provenza” by Karol G
“Valelapena” by Juan Luis Guerra
“La Fama” by Rosalia with The Weeknd
“Te Felicito” by Shakira and Rauw Alejandro
“Baloncito Viejo” by Carlos Vives and Camilo

Album of the Year:
“Aguilera” by Christina Aguilera
“Pa’lla Voy” by Marc Anthony
“Un Verano Sin Ti” by Bad Bunny

“Deja” by Bomba Estereo
“Tinta y Tiempo” by Jorge Drexler
“Ya No Somos Los Mismos” by Elsa y Elmar
“Viajante” by Fonseca

Song of the Year (a songwriter’s award):
“A Veces Bien y a Veces Mal” written by Predro Capo, Ignacio Cibrian, Ricky Martin, Pablo Preciado, Julio Ramirez, Mauricio Rengifo, and Andres Torres
“Agua” written by Rauw Alejandro Emmanuel Anene, David Alberto Macias, Nile Rodgers, Juan Salinas, Oscar Salinas, and Daddy Yankee
“Algo Es Mejor” written by Mon Laferte
“Baloncito Viejo” written by Camilo, Jorge Luis Chacin, Andres Leal, Martin Velilla, and Carlos Vives
“Besos en la Frente” written by Fonseca and Julio Reyes Copello
“Encontrarme” written by Carla Morrison, Juan Alejandro Jimenez Perez, and Mario Demian Jimenez Perez
“Hentaj” written by  Larry Gold, Noah Goldstein, Chad Hugo, David Rodriguez, Rosalia, Jacob Sherman, Michael Uzowuru, Pilar Vila Tobella, Dylan Wiggins, and Pharrell Williams
“Indigo” written by Edgar Barrera and Camilo
“Pa Mis Muchachas” written by Christina Aguilera, Jorge Luis Chacin, Kat Dahlia, Becky G, Yoel, Henriquez, Yasmil Marrufo, Nicky Nicole, and Nathy Peluso
“Provenza” written by Kevyn Mauricio Cruz Moreno, Carolina Giraldo Navarro, and Ovy On The Drums
“Tacaones Rojos” written by Juan Jo, Manuel Lara, Manuel Lorente, Pablo, and Sebastian Yatra
“Tocarte” written by Jorge Drexler, Pablo Drexler, Victor Martinez, and C. Tangana

Best New Artist:
Angela Alvarez
Sofia Campos
Cande Y Paulo
Silvana Estrada
Pol Granch
Yahritza y Su Esencia

Best Pop Vocal Album:
“Ya No Somos Los Mismos” by Elsa y Elmar
“Amor Que Merecemos” by Kany Garcia
“Cliches” by Jesse & Joy
“El Renacimiento” by Carla Morrison
“Dharma” by Sebastian Yatra

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album:
“Aguilera” by Christina Aguilera
“ViaJante” by Fonseca
“Filarmonico 20 Anos” by Marta Gomez
“La Vida” by Kurt
“Frecuencia” by Sin Bandera

Best Pop Song (a songwriters award):
“Baloncito Viejo” written by Camilo, Jorge Luis Chacin, Andres Leal, Martin Velilla, and Carlos Vives
“Besos en la Frente” written by Julio Reyes Copello and Fonseca
“Indigo” written by Edgar Barrera and Camilo
“La Guerrilla de la Concordia” written by Jorge Drexler
“Tacones Rojos” written by Pablo Maria Rousselon De Croisoeuil, ManueLara, Manuel Lorente, Juan Joseph Monserrat Riutort, and Sebastian Yatra

Best Urban or Fusion Performance:
“Pa Mis Muchachas” by Christina Aguilera, Becky G, and Nicki Nicole with Nathy Peluso
“Santo” by Christina Aguilera and Ozuna
“Volvi” by Aventura and Bad Bunny
“Titi Me Pregunto” by Bad Bunny
“This is Not America” by Residente with Ibeyi

Best Reggaeton Performance:
“Desesperados” by Rauw Alejandro and Chencho Corleone
“Envolver” by Anitta
“Yonaguni” by Bad Bunny
“Nicky Jam: BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 41” by Bizarrap and Nicky Jam
“Lo Siento BB” by Tainy, Bad Bunny, and Julieta Venegas

Best Urban Music Album:
“Respira” by Akapellah
“Trap Cake Vol. 2” by Rauw Alejandro
“Los Favoritos 2.5” y Arcangel
“Un Verano Sin Ti” by Bad Bunny
“Animal” by Maria Becarra

Best Rap or Hip Hop Song (a songwriters award):
“Amor” written by Akapellah
“Dance Crip” written by Santiago Ruiz, Brian Taylor, and Trueno
“Demuseo” written by Bad Bunny
“Elgranrobo, Pt 2” written by Phanlon Anton Alexander, Geovanny Andrades Andino, Daddy Yankee, and Kito McCassisy
“Freestyle 15” written by Farina

Best Urban Song (a songwriter’s award):
“Desesperados” written by Rauw Alejandro, Chencho Corleone, Jose M. Collazo, Jorge Cedeno Echevarria, Luis Jonuel Gonzalez, Eric Perez Rovira, Jorge E. Pizarro Ruiz, Nino Karlo Segarra
“Lo Siento BB” written by Bad Bunny, Tainy, and Julieta Venegas
“Namiii” written by Luis Miguel Gomez Castano, Becky G, Karol G, Ovy On the Drums, Justin Quiles, Elena Rose, and Daniel Uribe
“Ojos Rojos” written by Samantha M. Camara, Nicky Jam, Vicente Jimeniz, Dallas James Koehike, Manuel Larrad, and Juan Diego Medina Velez
“Titi Me Pregunto” written by Bad Bunny

Best Rock Album:
“Mojigata” by Marilina Bertoldi
“Unas Vacaciones Raras” by El Mato A Un Policia Motorizado
“Cada Vez Cadaver” by Fito y Fitipaldis
“1021” by La Gusana Ciega
“RPDF” by Wiplash

Best Rock Song (a songwriters award):
“Dia Mil” written by Eruca Sativa
“Esperando Una Senal” written by Bunbury
“Finisterre” written by Juan Manuel Latorre
“Lo Mejor De Buestras Vidas” written by Fito Paez
“No Olvidamos” written by Molotov
“Que Se Mejore” written by WOS and Facundo Yalve

Best Pop/Rock Album:
“Trinchera” by Babasonicos
“Monstrous” by Bruses
“La Direction” by Conociendo Rusia
“Los Anos Savajes” by Fito Paez
“Cable a Tierra” by Vetusta Moria

Best Pop or Rock Song (a songwriters award):
“Arran Carmelo” written by WOS and Facunda Yalve
“Babel” written by Fito Paez and Carlos Vives
“Bye Bye” written by Diego Castellan, Adrian Dargelos, and Gustavo Torres
“Disfraz” written by Felicitas Colina and Conociendo Rusia
“Que Voy a Hacer Commigo???” written by Bruses, Elsa y Elmar, and Alan Saucedo

Best Alternative Music Album:
“The Sacred Leaf” by Afro-Andean Funk
“Kick II” by Arca
“Deja” by Bomba Estereo
“Eldisko” by Ca7riel
“Motomami” Digital Album by Rosalia

Best Alternative Song ( a songwriters award):
“Bad Bitch” written by Ca7riel and Tomas Sainz
“00:00” written by Alejandro Perez, Siddhartha, and Rul Velaquez
“Conexion Total” written by Yemi Alade, Carles Campi, Jose Castillo, Jeff Penalva, Liliana Saumet, and Magdelys Savigne
“Culpa” written by Ricardo Mollo, Omar Varela, WOS, and Facundo Yalve
“El Dia Que Estrenaste El Mundo” written by Jorge Drexler
“Hentai” written by Larry Gold, Noah Goldsten, Chad Hugo, Rosalia, David Rodriguez, Jacob Sherman, Michael Uzowuru, Pilar Vila Tobella, Dylan Wiggins, and Pharrell Williams

Best Salsa Album:
“Sera Que Se Acabo” by Alexander Abreu y Havana D’Primera
“Pa’lla Voy” by Marc Anthony
“Luis Figueroa” by Luis Figueroa
“Y Te Lo Dice…” by Luisito Ayala y La Puerto Rican Power
“Lado A Lado B” by Victor Manuelle

Best Cumbia or Vallenato Album:
“Clasicos De Mi Cumbia” by Checo Acosta
“Feliz Aniversario” by Jean Carlos Centeno y Ronal Urbina
“Quiero Verte Feliz” by La Santa Cecilla
“El De Siempre” by Felipe Pelaez
“Yo Soy Coolombia” by Zona 8 R & Rolando Ochoa

Best Merengue or Bachata Album:
“Este Soy Yo” by Hector Acosta El Torito
“Multitudes “by Elvis Crespo
“Entre Mar y Palmeras “by Juan Luis Guerra
“Resistira” by Milly Quezada
“Tanon Pal’ Combo Es Lo Que Hay” by Olga Tanon

Best Traditional Tropical Album:
”Café Con Carino” by Renesito Avich
“Chabuco Desde El Teatro Colon De Botota by Chabuco
“Gonzalo Rubalcaba y Aymee Numiola Live in Marciac” by Gonzalo Rubalcabo y Aymee Nuviola
“Gran Combo Pa Rato” by Septeto Nacional Ignacio Pineiro
“Canten” by Leoni Torres

Best Contemporary Tropical Album:
“El Mundo Esta Loco” by Jorge Luis Chacin
“De Menor a Mayor” by Gente Do Zona
“All Inclusive” by Marissa Mur
“Tropico” by Pavel Nunez
“Cumbiana II” by Carlos Vives

Best Tropical Song (a songwriters award):

“Aguita Coco” written by Mario Caceres, Jorge Luis Chacin, Kany Garcia, Richi Lopez, and Yasmil Marrufo
“El Malecon Vio El Final” written by Jorge Luis Piloto
“El Parrandero (Masters En Parranda)” written by Juan Botero, Miguel Henao, Alvaro Negret, Santiago Restrepo, Joaquin Rodriguez, Juan Jose Roesel, Sin Animo De Lucro, Jose Nicholas Urdinola, Juan “One” Sebatstian Valencia, and Carlos Vives
“Fiesta Contigo” written by Luis Figeroa and Yoel Henriquez
“Mala” written by Marc Anthony and Alvaro Lenier Mesa

Best Singer-Songwriter Album:
“Malvadisco” by Caloncho
“Tinta y Tiempo” by Jorge Drexler
“Agendas Vencidas” by El David Aguilar
“Marchita” by Silvana Estrada
“En Lo Que Llega La Primavera” by Alex Ferreira
“El Viaje” by Pedro Guerra

Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album:
“Mexicana Enamorada” by Angela Aguilar
“Mi Herencia, Mi Sangre” by Majo Aguilar
“40 Aniversario Embajadores Del Mariachi Mariachi Sol De Mexico De Jose Hernandez” by Mariachi Sol De Mexico De Jose Hernandez
“Ep #1 Forajido” by Christian Nodal
“Que Ganas De Verte” (Deluxe) by Marco Antonio Solis

Best Banda Album:
“Esta Vida Es Muy Bonita” by Banda El Recodo De Cruz Lizárraga
“Va De Nuevo” by Banda Fortuna
“Me Siento A Todo Dar” by Banda Los Recoditos
“Sin Miedo Al Exito” (Deluxe) by Banda Los Sebastianes
“Abeja Reina” by Chiquis

Best Tejano Album:
“Despreciado” by El Plan
“Camino Al Progreso” by Grupo Alamo
“Una Ilusion” by Isabel Marie
“Dime Como Se Siente” by Destiny Navaira
“Para Que Baile Mi Pueblo” by Bobby Pulido

Best Norteño Album:
“Bienvenida La Vida” by Bronco
“La Reunion” (Deluxe) by Los Tigres Del Norte
“Corridos Felones (Serie 35)” by Los Tucanes De Tijuana
“Estas Se Acompanan Con Cerveza” by Pesado
“Obsessed” by Yahritza y Su Esencia

Best Regional Song (a songwriters award):
“Ahi Donde Me Ven” written by Gussy Lau
“Cada Quen” written by Edgar Barrera, Eduin Caz, Nathan Galante, Maluma, and  Horacio Palencia
“Chale” written by Eden Munoz
“Como Lo Hice Yo” written by Edgar Barrera, Carin Leon, and Matisse
“Cuando Me De La Gana” written by Christina Aguilera, Rafael Arcaute, Jorge Luis Chacin, Kat Dahlia, Yoel Henriquez, Yasmil Marrufo, and Federico Vindver
“Nunca Te Voy A Olvidar” written by Mireya and Roman Rojas
“Vivo En El 6” written by Edgar Barrera, Eden Munoz, and Christian Nodal

Best Instrumental Album:
“Back to 4” by the C4 Trio
“Gerry Weil Sinfonico” by Gerry Weil & Orquesta Sinfonica Simon Bolivar
“Ofrenda” by Grupo Raices De Veneuela
“Maxixe Samba Groove” by Hamlinton De Holanda
“Ella” by Daniela Padron & Glenda Del E

Best Folk Album:
“La Tierra Llora” by Paulina Aguirre
“Quedate En Casa” by Eva Ayllon
“Flor y Raiz” by Pedro Aznar
“Palabras Urgentes” by Susana Baca
“Un Canto Por Mexico – El Musical” by Natalia Lafourcade
“Bendiciones” by Sandra Mihanovich
“Ancestros Sinfonico” by Sintesis, X Alfonso y Eme Alfonso

Best Tango Album:
“Horacio Salgan Piano Transcriptions” by Pablo Estigarribia
“Alma Vieja” by Los Tangueros Del Oeste
“Tango” by Ricardo Montaner
“Milonguero” by Pablo Motta Ensamble with Franco Luciani
“Tango De Nuevos Ayres” by Mariana Qutineros
“Spinettango” by Spinettango

Best Flamenco Album:
“Organica” by Carmen Doora
“Libres” by Las Migas
“Leo” by Estrella Morente
“Elcante” by Kiki Morente
“Ranchera Flamenca” by Maria Toledo

Best Latin Jazz/Jazz Album:
“Jobim Forever” by Antonio Adolfo
“#Cubanamerican” by Martin Bejerano
“Chabem” by Chano Dominguez, Rubem DAntas, and Hamilton De Holanda
“Mirrormirror” by Eliane Elias, Chick Corea, and Chucho Valdes

Best Spanish Language Christian Album:
“Ya Llego La Primavera” by Aroddy
“Alfa y Omega” by Athenas
“¿Quien Dijo Miedo?” Live by Gilberto Daza
“¿Como Me Ves?” by Jesus Adrian Romero
“Vivire” by Marcos Witt

Best Portuguese Language Christian Album:
“Antes Da Terapia” by Asaph
“Osambaeoamor” by Antonio Cirilo
“Epifania” by Covis
“Es Tudo” by Bruna Karla
“Laboratorio Do Groove” by Eli Soares

Best Portuguese Language Contemporary Pop Album:
“Sim Sim Sim” by Bala Desejo
“Pra Gente Acordar” by Gilsons
“Pirata” by Jao
“De Primeira” by Marina Sena
“Doce 22” by Luisa Sonza

Best Portuguese Language Rock or Alternative Album:
“QVVJFA?” by Baco Exu Do Blues
“O Futuro Pertence A…Jovem Guarda” by Erasmo Carlos
“Sobre Viver” by Criolo
“Memorias (De Onde Eu Nunca Fui)” by Lagum
“Delta Estacio Blues” by Jucara Marcal
Best Samba or Pagode Album:
“Bons Ventos” by Nego Alvaro
“Mistura Homogenea” by Martinho Da Vila
Desengaiola” by Alfredo Del-Penho, Joao Cavalcanti, and Moyseis Marques e Pedro Miranda
“Numanice #2” by Ludmilla
“Ceu Lilas” by Pericles

Best MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) Album:
“Pomares” by Chico Chico
“Sintese Do Lance” by Jaoa Donato e Jards Macale
“Indigo Borboleta Anil” by Liniker
“Nu Com A Minha Musica” by Ney Matogrosso
“Portas” by Marisa Monte
“Meu Coco” by Caetano Veloso

Best Sertaneja Music Album:
“Chitaozinho & Xororolegado” by Chitaozinho & Xororo
“Agropoc” by Gabeu
“Expectativaxrealidade” by Matheus & Kauan
“Patroas 35%” by Marilia Mendonca, Maiara, y Maraisa
“Natural” by Lauana Prado

Best Portuguese Language Roots Album:
“Afrocanto Das Nacoes” by Mateus Aleluia
“Naestrada-Aovivo” by Banda Pau E Corda with Quinteto Violado
“Remelexo Bom” by Luiz Caldas
“Belo Chico” by Targino Gondim, Nilton Freittas, y Roberto Malvezzi
“Senhoradas Folhas” by Aurea Martins
“Oriki” by Iara Renno
“Senhora Estrada” by Alceu Valenca

Best Portuguese Language Song (a songwriter’s award):
“Baby 95” written by Liniker, Mahmundi, Tassia Reis, and Tulipa Ruiz
“Idiota” written by Jao Pedro Tofani and Zebu
“Me Corte Na Boca Do Ceu A Morte Nao Pede Perdao” written by Criolo and Tropkillaz
“Meu Coco” written by Caetano Veloso
“Por Supuesto” written by Iuri Rio Branco and Marina Sena
“Vento Sardo” written by Jorge Drexler and Marisa Monte

Best Latin Children’s Album:
“Marakei” by Claraluna
“Danilo and Chapis, Vol 2” by Danilo and Chapis
“Trade de Juegos” by Mi Casa Es Tu Casa”
“La Sinfonia De Los Bichos Raros” by Puerto Candelaria
“A La Fiesta De La Musica Vamos Todos” by Sophia

Best Classical Album:
“Brujos” by Orquesta Sinfonica De Heredia
“El Ruido Del Agua” by Eddie Mora
“Erik Aribeiro – Igor Stravinsky, Sofia Gubaidulina E Hermeto Pascoal” by Erika Ribeiro
“Legado” by Berta Rojas
“Villa-Lobos: Complete Violin Sonatas” by Emmanuele Baldind

Best Classical Contemporary Composition:
“Adagio for Strings, A Mother’s Love” composes by Juan Arboleda
“Anido’s Portrait: I. Chacarera” composed by Sergio Assad
“Aurora” composed by Jimmy Lopez Bellido
“Canaue, for Orchestra” composed by Dimitri Cervo
“Cuatro Haikus” composed by Eddie Mora

Best Arrangement:
“Llevatela” arranged by Rosino Serrano
“Son De La Loma” arranged by Daniel Baron and Henry Villalobos
“Adoro” arranged by Marco Godoy
“Cucurrucucu Paloma” arranged by Paul Rubinstein
“El Plan Maestro” arranged by Fernando Velazquez

Best Recording Package:
“Ancestras” designed by Isaura Angulo, Carlos Dussán, Karen Flores, Manuel Garcia-Orozco, Juliana Jaramillo, Ledania, and Lido Pimienta
“Bailaora-Mis Pies Son Mi Voz” designed by Pedro Fajardo and Siudy Garrido
“Duando Te Muerdes El Labio (Edicion Ceramica)” designed by Boa Mistura
“Feiralivre” designed by Carlos Bauer
“Motomani” (Digital Album) designed by Ferran Echegaray, Viktor Hammarberg, Rosalia, Daniel Sannwald, and Pili Vila

Best Engineered Album:
“Dentro Da Matrix” engineered by Cesar J. De Cisneros Erico Moreira, and Felipe Tichauer
“Indigo Borboleta Anil” engineered by Ze Nigro, Gustavo Ruiz, Joao Milliet, Rodrigo Sanches, and Felipe Tichauer
“Jobim Forever” engineered by Marcelo Saboia, and Andre Dias
“Motomami” (Digital Album) engineered by Chris Gehringer, Jeremie Inhaber, Manny Marroquin, Zach Peraya, and Anthony Vilchis
“Ya No Somos Los Mismos” engineered by Julián Bernal, Nico Cotton, Carlitos González, Alberto Hernández, Michel Kuri, Malay, Felipe Mejía, Jv Olivier, Juan Sebastián Parra, Alejandro García Partida, Alan Saucedo, Mikaelin Bluespruce, Raul Lopez, Lewis Pickett, Harold Sanders, and Dave Kutch

Producer of the Year:
Edgar Barrera
Eduardo Cabra
Nico Cotton
Julio Reyes Copello

Best Short Form Music Video:
“Mia” by Cami
“This is Not America” by Residente with Ibeyi, Lisa-Kainde Diaz, and Naomi Diaz
“A Carta Cabal” by Guitarricadelafuente
“Hentai” (Official Video) by Rosalia
“Nadie” by Sin Bandera
“Tocarte” by Jorge Drexler with C. Tangana

Best Long Form Music Video:
“Bailaora – Mis Pies Son Mi Voz” by Siudy Garrido
“Hasta La Raiz: El Documental” by Natalia Lafourcade
“Motomami (Rosalia Tiktok Live Performance)” by Rosalia
“Romeo Santos: King of Bachata (Documentary)” by Romeo Santos
“Matria” by Vetusta Morla

‘Phantom’ to Close

With over 13,000 performances “The Phantom of the Opera” is by far the longest running show on Broadway.  The Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber production has spent the past 35 years at the Majestic Theatre; but on February 18, 2023 the production will give it’s final show – number 13,925.

One of the top grossing musicals on Broadway for many years, the production has had difficulty is keeping up with the costs of the production since reopening in October of last year after Broadway was shut down due to the Covid pandemic.

Producer Cameron Mackintosh spoke on the musical via a statement saying, “as a British producer who has been lucky enough to have been producing in New York for over 40 consecutive years, it has been an unparalleled honor to have presented the longest-running musical in Broadway’s history, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’.  That this legendary show has thrilled New York for nearly 35 phenomenal years is quite astounding to me. As a producer, you dream that a show will run forever. Indeed, my production of Andrew’s ‘Cats’ proudly declared for decades ‘Now and Forever.’  Yet ‘Phantom’has surpassed that show’s extraordinary Broadway run. But all shows do finally close, and after considerable discussion between The Shuberts, The Really Useful Group, Andrew and myself, we concluded that the right time for ‘Phantom’ was after the show’s 35th birthday on February 18—a double celebration of ‘Phantom’s’ phenomenal success.”

Common Heads to Broadway

Rap star and actor Common is looking to complete the alphabet of awards.  He already owns an Academy Award (Oscar), Grammy Award, and an Emmy Award; all that is missing from the EGOT is the T for Tony.

This fall Common will make his Broadway debut at the Hayes Theater in the Pulitzer Prize winning play “Between Riverside and Crazy” by Stephen Adly Guirgis.

Previews are set to begin on November 30 with the official opening set for December 19.

The play has previously played on Off-Broadway in 2014 with Stephen McKinley Henderson, Victor Almanzar, Elizabeth Canavan, Rosal Colon, Liza Colon-Zayas, and Michael Rispoli will all be reprising their Off-Broadway roles.

It will be the Broadway debut for Almanzar, Canavan, Colon’Zayas, and Rispoli.

Common will be replacing Ron Cephas-Jones as Junior.

The play follows widowed ex-policeman Walter “Pops” Washington and his recently paroled son Junior as they strive to keep their New York City rent controlled apartment.

Common earned his Academy and Grammy Awards for the song “Glory” which he wrote with EGOT winner John Legend.  He earned his Prime Time Emmy Award for the “13th”.

feature photo credit: 20090120 Common at 2009 Obama Home States Inaugural Ball.JPG

Toy Hall of Fame Announces Finalists

The kids are back in school and the amount of daylight is growing shorter, but that only means that playtime moves indoors where children of all ages can enjoy many of the toys that have been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame or half to induct a few new ones.

Each year at the end of summer a new list of finalists is announced for consideration into the Toy Hall of Fame.  The finalists for 2022 are Bingo, Breyer Horses, Catan, Lite-Brite, Nerf Toys, Masters of the Universe, the piñata, Phase 10, Pound Puppies, Rack-O, Spirograph, and the top.

In order to even be considered for induction into the Toy Hall of Fame, a toy must have longevity – lasting for generations, help to spark learning and discovery through play, and reach icon status where it is not only recognizable the world over but influences its creation in other forms – films, TV, books, etc.

The new class of inductees will be selected by a panel of experts and revealed on November 10.  Currently the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York features 77 toys  that span the simple cardboard box and sand to board games and coloring books to LEGOS, tinker toys, and video games.

The National Toy Hall of Fame can be found on the second floor of The Strong Museum of Play at Manhattan Square in Rochester, New York.  The Strong is also home to the World Video Game Hall of Fame and hundreds of exhibits on the main floor that include a stoop from “Sesame Street”, a mini Wegman’s grocery store. A post office, numerous dolls and dollhouses, and a display of devices for alternate learning for people with disabilities.

Meet the 2022 finalists for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame:

Popular with many adults, the game of Bingo has been around since the 1500’s.  The game made its way across the pond to America in the 1920’s.  And since that time, it has become a staple at charity and fund raising events; especially among churches.

since the Breyer Molding Company created hand designed realistic horses in 1951, the equestrian toys have sparked the imaginations of children and adorned the shelves of collectors everywhere.

A relative new comer in the annals of historic toys, the board game Catan was originally called The Settlers of Catan upon its release in Germany in 1995.  Players work together to form a settlement on an island by trading, the spending of resources, and rolls of the dice.  Since it’s inception, the game has been translated into over two dozen languages. 

Lite-Brite returns to make a go at lighting up the Hall of Fame.  Players use colored pegs to create colorful designs against a black background that light up once the board in turned on.  The imagination and creativity are limited only by the number of pegs available to the player.

The rubbery characters that make up the Masters of the Universe have done much more than spark the imaginations of children everywhere; the characters have spawned an entire universe of products from comic books to toothbrushes and sleeping bags.

Children around the world have heard a parent tell them that they weren’t allowed to play ball or darts inside.   It thanks to the invention of the Nerf ball  – a foam rubber sphere that is lightweight and soft – children can play ball inside…and stay warm, dry, and safe.

The Piñata has long been a part of celebrating as far back as the 1300’s in China.  Brightly coloured papier Mache objects are filled with toys, candy, etc and blindfolded party goers attempt to bust open the pinata and shower party goers with goodies.  Most recently the pinata became the focus of a different type of celebration when Mexican born NASCAR driver Daniel Suarez busted a taco shaped pinata as a part of his post race celebration when he won a race.

In 1982, Ken Johnson invented the car game Phase 10, similar to Rummy the game has taken on a life of its own and is second only to Toy Hall of Fame inductee Uno in sales.

Another 80’s creation, the Pound Puppies allowed millions of children to have the favoured household pet without all the expensive veterinarian bills and hassle of cleaning up after the dog.  After over two million puppies were “adopted” in the first year in 1985, the plush pets launched its own animated series.

Milton Bradley has released numerous games over the years, in 1956, they launched the card game Rack-O – a game where players have to create a sequential numeric pattern with their cards.  Not only is it a way to wile away the hours on a cold or rainy night, it can help the youngest members of the family learn their numbers.

Spirograph is much more than a drawing game; it can also help with pattern learning and even some math.  The drawing toy is also disguised as an educational tool and for over 50 years has been thrilling children and adults alike.

And finally a toy as old as time itself – the spinning top.  The toy can be found in many forms including an eight sided top, round, and even a four sided top known as a dreidel that is also a game.

Rapids Theatre Rocks in Night of Music

Niagara Falls is known for millions of visitors each year coming from around the world to visit the majestic Falls.  On September 14 an international group of musicians gathered at the historic Rapids Theatre with Lions Gate, Uncured, Butcher Babies, and Lacuna Coil; while fans from both sides of the border cheered them on.

The audience started out rather small and grew as the night went on as the standing room only crowd packed the floor in front of the stage cheering on the musicians who were whipping their hair – some while they continued to play.

The long night of music began promptly at 7pm with the five piece band Lions at the Gate.  The band came out on stage ready to rock the stage…and the crowd.

When the music began the large stage that a century ago was filled with vaudeville performers was crowded with equipment and gear; but as the night went on and each band took the stage, there was more room to dance and jump around…and they did.

Next up was the Jersey band Uncured in a set that featured whipping hair and a blindfolded guitar player.

Then came the five piece band Butcher Babies that included two female singers. And while all of the musicians moved freely about the stage – except the drummers – the girls in Butcher Babies could give a Mexican jumping bean a run for its money. Nor did they let the audience stand still as they engaged them in some audience participation and encouraged jumping up and down.

Shortly before 10pm, it was finally time for the main attraction – Italian rockers Lacuna Coil with female lead singer Christina Scabbia.

In “Black Anima” the band notes that the night has an energy of its own; but so does the stage of a darkened theatre when Lacuna Coil takes the stage in full costume and ambient lighting with plenty of strobe lights.

Celebrating 20 years since the release of their album “Comalies” the band’s set list included songs from the original album and the remade edition set for an October 14 release including “Swamped XX”.

After leaving the stage the crowd cheered and yelled for one more song for several minutes before the bad returned to the stage to perform a three song encore to end the night of music.

And fans got an extra treat when many of the artists throughout the night greeted them at the merch tables after performing.

The Rapids Theatre originally opened as an upscale venue for vaudeville in 1921; over the years it has seen numerous incarnations; but the latest renovation has restored much of the original beauty which lends itself well to the atmosphere of the modern concert lineup of metal and goth artists.

Reportedly the theatre even comes with its own ghost which was the object of a “Ghost Hunters” episode in 2011.

Top Broadway Shows

The vaccination and mask requirements are gone and Broadway is finally getting back to normal including pre-Covid audiences.

Throughout its history, Broadway has seen some very successful and some not so successful productions.  Many of them have had well over 1,000 performances.  In fact, some of the most successful shows are approaching…or even topped…the 10,000 performance mark.

A show typically gives eight performances each week for around 416 performances each year.

Not surprising “The Phantom of the Opera” tops the list with 13,709 performances…and counting as it continues to run on Broadway.  Numbers were posted as of August 21, 2022.

The most successful Broadway productions with at least 1,000 performances are:
“Phantom of the Opera” – 13,709 (running)
the 1996 Revival of “Chicago” – 10,066 (running)
“The Lion King” – 9,683 (running)
“Cats” – 7,486
“Wicked” – 7,219 (running)
“Les Miserables” – 6,680
“A Chorus Line” – 6,137
the 1976 revival of “Oh Calcutta!” – 5.959
“Mamma Mia” – 5,758
“Beauty and the Beast” – 5,461
“Rent” – 5,123
“Hersey Boys” – 4,642
“Miss Saigon” – 4,092
“The Book of Mormon” – 4,079 (running)
“42nd Street” – 3,486
“Grease” – 3,388
“Fiddler on the Roof” – 3,242
“Life with Father” 3,224
“Tobacco Road” – 3,182
“Aladdin” – 2,850 (running)
“Hello, Dolly!” – 2,844
“My Fair Lady” – 2,17
“Hairspray” – 2,642
“Mary Poppins” – 2,619
“Avenue Q” – 2,534
“Kinky Boots” 2,507
“The Producers” – 2,502
“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” – 2,416
the 1998 revival of “Cabaret” – 2,377
“Annie” – 2,377
“Man of La Mancha” – 2,328
“Rock of Ages” – 2,328
“Abie’s Irish Rose” – 2,327
“Hamilton” – 2,294 (running)
“Oklahoma!” 2,212
“Smokey Joe’s Café” – 2,036
“Pippin” 1,944
“South Pacific” 1,925
“The Magic Show” – 1,920
“Aida” – 1,852
“Gemini” – 1,819
“Deathtrap” – 1,793
“Harvey” – 1,775
“Dancin’” – 1,774
“La Cage aux Folles” – 1,761
“Hair” – 1,750
“The Wiz” – 1,672
“Born Yesterday” – 1,642
“Dear Evan Hansen” – 1,640 (running)
“Crazy for You” – 1,622
“Come from Away” – 1,621 (running)
“Ain’t Misbehavin’” – 1,604
“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” – 1,584
“Monty Python’s Spamalot” – 1,575
“Mary, Mary” – 1,572
“Evita” – 1,567
“The Voice of the Turtle” – 1,557
“Matilda the Musical” – 1,554
“Waitress” – 1,544
“Jekyll & Hyde” – 1,543
“Barefoot in the Park” – 1,532
the 2001 revival of “42nd Street” – 1,524
“Dreamgirls” – 1,521
“Mame” – 1,508
the 1994 revival of “Grease” – 1,505
“Same Time Next Year” – 1,453
“Arsenic and Old Lace” – 1,444
“The Sound of Music” – 1,443
“Me and My Girl” – 1,420
“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” – 1,417
“Hellzapoppin’” – 1,404
“The Music Man” – 1,375
“Funny Girl” – 1,348
“Mummenschanz” – 1,326
“Oh! Calcutta!” – 1,316
“Billy Elliot: The Musical” – 1,312
“School of Rock – The Musicial” – 1,309
“Movin’ Out” – 1,303
“Brighton Beach Memoirs” – 1,299
“Angele Street” – 1,295
“Lightinin’” – 1,291
“Promises, Promises” – 1,281
“The King and I” 1,246
“Cactus Flower” – 1234
“Sleuth” – 1,222
“Torch Song Trilogy” – 1,222
“1776” – 1,217
“Equus” – 1,209
“Sugar Babies” – 1,208
“Guys and Dolls” – 1,200
“In the Heights” – 1,185
“Amadeus” – 1,181
“Once” – 1,168
“Memphis” – 1,166
“Cabaret” – 1,165
“Mister Roberts” 1,157
“Annie Get Your Gun” 1,147
the 1992 revival of “Guys and Dolls” – 1,143
“The Seven Year Itch” – 1,141
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” – 1,136
“Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk” – 1,135
“Butterflies are Free” – 1,128
“Pins and Needles” – 1,108
“Plaza Suite” – 1,097
“Fosse” – 1,093
“They’re Playing Our Song” – 1,082
“Kiss Me, Kate” – 1,077
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” – 1,067 (running)
“Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark” – 1,066
“Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope” – 1,065
“The Pajama Game” – 1,063
“Shenandoah” – 1,050
the 1999 revival of “Annie Get Your Gun” – 1,045
“The Teahouse of the August Moon” – 1,027
the 2014 revival of “Les Miserables” – 1,024
“Damn Yankees” – 1,019
“Grand Hotel” – 1,017
“Contact” – 1,010
“Never too Late” – 1,007
“Beatlemania” – 1,006
“Big River” – 1,005
“Newsies” – 1,004

2022 MTV Video Music Awards

In a heavily laden Hip-Hop list of artists and nominations, the MTV Video Music Awards will feature three hosts – Nicki Minaj, LL Cool J, and Jack Harlow.  Harlow is; along with Lil Nas X and Kendrick Lamar lead the way with seven nominations each.  Harry Styles, Dona Cat, Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish, Drake, Dua Lipa, Tayler Swift and The Weeknd also garnered multiple nominations.

Harlow isn’t the only one pulling double duty, Nicki Minaj has been named the recipient of the Video Vanguard Award and will be performing during the show.

Jack Harlow gets the night of music started off with a performance of his song “First Class”.

Fergie takes the stage to join Harlow in a performance.

Lizzo gave a performance.

Host LL Cool J encourages the Jersey crowd to be LOUD! and be the loudest show ever.

Offset and DJ Khalid presented the first award of the night for Best Collaboration to Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow for “Industry Baby”.

Black Pink takes the VMA stage for the first time ever and their first ever America Awards show to perform their latest single “Pink Venom”.

Latin stars J Balvin and Skrillex gives a performance.

The award for Best Longform Video went to Taylor Swift for “All too Well”.

Conan Gray gives a performance from the Doritos “Push” stage which features new up and coming artists.

Kalid and Marshmello take the stage for a performance.

Late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon presented the award for Album of the Year to Harry Styles for “Harry’s House”.  Harry is at Madison Square Garden getting ready to perform.

Nicki Minaj takes the stage to perform a medley of several songs prior to receiving her Video Vanguard Award for her inspiration and ground breaking videos and music. 

Flo Milli perform on the Doritors Push Stage.

In a VMA first Snoop Dogg and Eminem join up for a performance that included a giant joint.

The award for Best K-Pop went to Lisa for “Lalisa”.

Cheech and Chong presented the Global Icon Award to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  The band has six Grammy Awards, sold over 100 million albums, and a Super Bowl performance.  The Peppers take the stage for a performance.

The award for the Video for Good went to Lizzo for “About Damn Time”.

Making her MTV stage debut, Anitta takes the stage to perform.

JID performs on the Doritors Push Stage.

Country music star Kane Brown makes his debut MVA performance outside after “descending from a rocket”.

Back inside, Nicki Minaj introduces Ashley Graham who presents the award for Best Latin to Anitta for “Envolver”.  It is the first time that a Brazilian has every won an MTV Award.

Måneskin perform their hit song “Super Model”.

Becky G presents the award for Best Hip-Hop went to Nicki Minaj with Lil Baby on “Do We Have a Problem”.

Lauren Spencer Smith performs on the Doritos Push Stage.

The award for the Song of Summer went to Jack Harlow for “First Class”.

Nicki Minaj presented the Artist of the Year Award to Latin star Bad Bunny.  He is currently at Yankee Stadium performing.

The award for Best Rock went to the Red Hot Chili Peppers for “Black Summer”.  Band members engaged in a “thank off” for their acceptance speech.

Panic at the Disco! Give a performance.

Avril Lavigne – who received the award in 2002 – presented the award for Best New Artist to Dove Cameron.  She dedicated the award to “all the queer kids out there.”

The biggest award of the night – Video of the Year – went to Taylor Swift for “All Too Well” the 10 minute version.

Awards not presented during the live television broadcast:
Song of the Year: Billie Eilish for “Happier than Ever”
Push Performance of the Year: Seventeen for “Rock with You”
Best Pop: Harry Styles for “As it Was”
Best Alternative: Maneskin for “I Wanna Be Your Slave”
Best R&B: The Weeknd for “Out of Time”
Best Metaverse Performance: “Blackpink the Virtual”
Best Cinematography: Harry Styles for “As it Was”
Best Direction: Taylor Swift for “All too Well” the 10 minute version
Best Art Direction: Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow for “Industry Baby”
Best Visual Effects: : Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow for “Industry Baby”
Best Choreography: Doja Cat for “Woman”
Best Editing: Rosalia for “Saoko”
Group of the Year: BTS

‘Star Trek’ Actors Head to Space

Nichelle Nichols – who is best known for her role as Lt Uhura in the original “Star Trek” television series and films will soon be making her final voyage into space ; along with cast members Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (Christine Chapel), James Doohan (chief engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott), and “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry.

After their deaths, Doohan and the Roddenberry’s also wished to have their ashes flown into space.  Celestis Inc will soon be carrying some of Nichols’ ashes; along with a sample of her DNA and a sample of her son Kyle’s DNA some 90 to 190 million miles into space on what they are calling the Enterprise Flight on a ship called Vulcan.  The flight is scheduled to take place sometime later this year.

Nichols will not be alone on her flight; the Roddenberry’s and Doohan; along with over 200 capsules filled with ashes, DNA, and messages will make the trip into space.  Academy Award nominated visual effects artist Douglas Trumball will also be a part of the flight.

After launching from Kennedy Space Center in Cap Canaveral, Florida the ship will begin with a trajectory to the moon.  The Centaur stage will head into deep space where it will enter an orbit around the sun and become an outpost that will be called the Enterprise Station.

Nichols son Kyle Johnson spoke on the impending flight saying, “my only regret is that I cannot share this eternal tribute standing beside my mother at the launch.  I know she would be profoundly honored for this unique experience and enthusiastically encourage ALL of her FANS to join us vicariously by contributing your thoughts, affections, memories, NN inspired successes, dreams, and aspirations via email to be launched with her on this flight! WOW!”  Fans may send their messages via the Celestis Inc website.

After the conclusion of the original “Star Trek” series and films, Nichols worked for NASA.  Her family has created the Nichelle Nichols Foundation to “inspire the next generation to aim for the stars and lead us closer to Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future.”

Planet Drum

It has long been understood that music is not just an universal language; but a language all its own…one that can be shared the world over.

Percussionists from across the planet have come together for “In the Groove” a world of rhythm and dance. The album is available now.

Planet Drum includes Mickey Hart form the Grateful Dead, Indian Tabla master Zakir Hussain, talking drum virtuoso Sikiru Adepoju form Nigeria, and Puerto Rican conga master Giovanni Hidalgo.

Zakir Hussain spoke on the project saying, “the first thing we all know about rhythms is that they are universal. So that is what makes it possible for rhythm players all over the world to be able to interact and communicate and be able to work together to make music.”

Mickey Hart added, “drums are a language unto themselves.”

In 1991, Planet Drum released their debut album and went on to win a Grammy Award for Best World Music.  The group repeated for a second Grammy in 2009.

Giovanni Hidalgo spoke on being a part of Planet Drum saying it is, “an honour for me to travel the whole world with all of them, because it is amazing when you analyze and you appreciate different cultures, different styles, from different countries — Africa, India, United States, Puerto Rico. It’s amazing and we respect all of them.”

With some of the players true masters of their instruments, Mickey Hart noted, “it was a challenge to be able to play together as a dance band.”

In the music video for “ King Clave” the group is joined by more than 50 drummers from around the world.

Sikiru Adepoju spoke on drumming via a statement saying, “drums form an integral part of Indigenous Cultures around the world… used through the centuries, not only for festive occasions, but to communicate (sending messages from village to village… even).  They feature prominently in a broad spectrum of community events (spiritual ceremonies, births, funerals, carnivals, etc), hence their universal appeal.”

In a process he calls processed percussion, Mickey Hart has been using technology to warp and manipulate the acoustic sounds of the drums to create new sounds including a bass guitar and even the sound of water drops from the tabla.  He explains, “so, it’s electronic, very much so, but most of it comes from an acoustic source that makes it rich and pure.”  Hart’s process isn’t limited to the studio, it can also be reproduced on a live stage.

Zakir Hussain notes, “it has been since the beginning of time when people would get around the fire and the drums would play and people would dance and chant and do all that stuff.  And there’s no reason why we can’t bring that traditional element into the into the modern sonic experience.”

feature photo credit: Tabla y duggi2.JPG

NFL and Broadway Offering New streaming Services

Thanks to network, cable, satellite, and streaming services there are literally thousands of choices when it comes to watching a program; whether it be news, sports, reality, or just a traditional television show.


The NFL and Broadway have just added to those choices with new streaming services of their own.


Launched earlier this week, the National Football League offers NFL+ which will offer out of market pre-season games, regular and pst season games, radio feeds, NFL network programs, and the NFL Films archive.


Chief media and business officer for the NFL Brian Rolapp said that the service will available for this upcoming season.


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke on the new service saying, “we think this is a major step forward. It will evolve, build and get better as more and more content becomes available on this platform. The work that we’ve done either with other offerings or research has helped us sort of frame this in a way that we think would be very attractive and engage our fans.”


The executive vice president of NFL Media Hans Schroeder said, “we’ve had our toe in the water with ‘Game Pass,’ but this is our next step forward.  We think this will be attractive for fans and sort of bring down the price point for fans on a monthly basis. There is an eye on future content down the road. We’re excited to see where this can go this year and beyond.”


This season, the Thursday night football games will be exclusive to Amazon Prime.  DIRECTV is in the last year of their Sunday Ticket package that allows subscribers to view any game.


The standard NFL+ is being offered for $4.99 a month or $39.99 per year.  There is also a premium package that includes condensed game replays and coaches film for $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year.



For the theatre aficionado, Broadway on Demand has joined forces with Triple-B Media to offer a Smart-TV channel filled with Broadway, Off-Broadway, and West End productions free of charge.  The channel will also feature some original programming and some behind the scenes content.


Broadway On Demand CEO and President Sean Cercone spoke on the new channel saying, “we are extremely proud to provide Broadway On Demand free in over 20 million homes, expanding global access to Broadway and theatre content.  Triple-B’s long-standing expertise in live-television and the FAST space is integral in helping us to make everyone in the world a theatre person.”


Broadway at Home is currently available on DistroTV, FreebieTV, and SelectTV; and are looking to further expand platforms and availability over the coming months.

feature photo credit: [[File:Cptvdisplay.jpg|Cptvdisplay]]

Aerosmith at 50

Most artists celebrate a major anniversary with a new album release or a special concert.  The boys in Aerosmith have planned a big extravaganza that includes raiding the Aerosmith vault.

“50 Years Live!” will feature rare and previously unreleased archival footage of the band through the year.

The party begins on July 29th with the premiere of concert footage from every decade.  This is previously unreleased footage and will be available on the official Aerosmith band page and their YouTube Channel.

The first concert on the roster is the 1977 show in Houston, Texas.  The five “official bootleg” concerts planned all feature multiple camera angles so the fans can see Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, and Brad Whitford in all their glory.  The video used for the anniversary concert are the same footage fans saw on the big video screens during the show.

The Houston performance was taken from multiple night concerts and will premiere at 12 noon Pacific time (3pm in the east) on July 29.  The show is available for just one week then a new show will take its place.

Clips from the show will be available the following day on the YouTube channel.

Other Decades Live performances are:
The 1989 Live at The Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland premiering August 5 with clips available the following day.

The 1993 Coca-Cola Star Lake Amphitheatre performance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania premiering August 12 with clips available the following day.

The 2003 Comerica Park performance in Detroit, Michigan, premiering on August 19 with highlight clips available the following day.

The 2016 Mexico City performance at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico to premiere on August 26 with highlight clips available the following day.

Aerosmith is also making a return trip to Las Vegas for their “Deuces are Wild” show at the Dolby Live at Park MGM beginning September 14 and will runt through December 11, 2022.

East coast fans can see Aerosmith on September 4 at the Maine Savings Amphitheater in Bangor and September 8 at Fenway Park.

“Aeromith – 1971: The Road Starts Hear” is available now on CD, vinyl, and streaming.  Previously available as a limited edition cassette and vinyl Special Record Store Day release, the album is now available around the world.

Over the course of their 50 year career, the Grammy Award winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band has amassed over 150 million albums sold around the world.

Kennedy Center Names 2022 Honourees

When the Kennedy Center revealed the list for the 2022 Honours, it features an actor, a composer, and three musical acts.  Each year the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D. C. Honours five members of the artistic community for their contributions and lifetime achievements to American culture through artistic endeavors.   

This year’s honorees feature an international flavor when Irish rockers U2 become the fourth musical group to be honored; joining The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and Earth Wind and Fire. 

Christian and Country music singer Amy Grant, R&B legend Gladys Knight, actor George Clooney, and composer Tania Leon are also being honored.

This marks thE 45tH year of the Kennedy Center Honours and while it has been a bit rough over the past few years, the Kennedy Center plans a full presentation on December 4 with a two hour television broadcast later in the month as they look to a return to normalcy.

Meet the 2022 Kennedy Center Honourees:

U2 – since making their debut in New York City in 1980, Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. have called the Untied States their, “home away from home.”  Since coming on to the music scene, U2 has sold over 170 million albums and have adorned their trophy case with 22 Grammy Awards.

Actor George Clooney is a two time Academy Award winner who enticed female television viewers as the hunky Dr. Doug Ross on the hit medical drama “ER”.  His other roles include the “Oceans” film series, “Syrians”, “Argo”, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, “Up in the Air”, and “The Descendants”.  The 61 year old Kentucky native issued a statement saying he “never have imagined that someday I’d be the one sitting in the balcony at the Kennedy Center Honors.”  Adding it a “genuinely exciting surprise”.

This year eight Grammy Award winning icon Gladys Knight returns to the Kennedy Center except this time she will be sitting in the balcony watching other artists perform her music.  The last time she appeared was as a performer when Country music legend Garth Brooks was being honored.  The 78 year old Knight broke onto the music scene as a part of the Motown scene with Gladys Knight and the Pips – a group of four men who were known as much for the dance moves as the backup vocals.

While her husband Vince Gill has been a frequent performer at the Kennedy Center, six time Grammy Award winning Christian singer Amy Grant admits that she has never been inside the building.  Her first visit will be sitting in the balcony as an honoree.

The 79 year old composer and conductor Tania Leon has worked with the Kennedy Center on a number of occasions but when the call came through to tell her this time she was one of the honourees, Leon was left speechless.  The Havana native has travelled the world leading orchestras and continues to work and keep busy saying, “we are going to be dead for a long time.  We have to live to the fullest and do the best that we can while we are alive.”          

Actors’ Equity Sanctions Producer

Actors and stage managers for the Broadway musical “Paradise Square” have sent a letter to the union citing an “outstanding payments and benefits, and a continued pattern of abuse and neglect that created an unsafe and toxic work environment.”

Since receiving the letter, the Actors’ Equity union has issued a “Do Not Work” order against the show’s producer Garth Drabinsky.  The move means that no union member will work for Drabinsky and in effect end his ability to produce any productions on Broadway and many other venues across the country.

The company is seeking $350,000 in unpaid wages.  It is unknown at this time whether Amy plans for a national tour or international performances will be affected by the ruling.

“Paradise Square” ran on Broadway from April 3 to July 17.  Prior to that April opening, news is now coming out that a crew member fell while climbing a ladder causing his pinkie finger to be severed.  Medical personnel were unable to reattach the finger.  The crew member cites, “how emotionally and physically unsafe that entire process was,”; adding that the producer constantly yelled at the stage manager.

In a “show of solidarity” the Canadian Actors’ Equity guild has also placed a Do No Work order for Drabinsky.

This is not Drabinsky’s first legal difficulty. In 2009, the Tony Award winning producer was charged with fraud and forgery for which he served time in jail.  “Paradise Square” is his first production since being released from jail in 2014.

“Paradise Square” tells the story of African and Irish Americans in post Civil War New York.  Actress Joaquina Kalukango earned a Tony Award for her performance at the 2022 Awards.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ Names First Cast Member

Disney and ABC have announced that their next Live Action film remake will be the classic “Beauty and the Beast”.

Set for a December 15 debut with streaming beginning on Disney+ the following day, the production is set to mix elements from the animated film and live on stage performances.  The production will mark the 30th anniversary of the original film release.

Executive producer Jon M. Chu and director Hamish Hamilton have announced the first casting for the production…Grammy Award winning entertainer H.E.R. will play the role of “The Beauty” Belle.

H.E.R. has recently completed filming the movie version of the award winning Broadway hit “The Color Purple” where she takes on the role of Squeak.

feature photo credit: Siobhan and the Beast.jpg

Breaking the Binary Festival

The Tony Awards made history this year when the musical “A Strange Loop” – the story about a gay man writing a musical about a gay man.  This year’s awards also featured a number of non-heterosexual nominees and winners.

This October, Breaking the Binary Theatre Festival will feature seven works by transgender, non-binary, and two spirited peoples.  The works will be performed at Theatre Row from October 10 to 16.

Tickets for the productions will be made available to anyone who wishes to attend; assuring the works are everyone who is interested in attending and supporting the BTB community.  Tickets are available from

“Trans World” by Ty Defoe will kick off the festival on October 10.  The story tells of a group of Transgender individuals who are a part of a reality TV series.

“Twitch” by Liliana Padilla runs on October 11.  The play follows a series of events including a missing person, a marriage falling apart, and the construction of a rehab center.

Set to run Oct 12, “Hide and Hide” by Roger Q. Mason tells the story of a Filipina immigrant who comes to Los Angeles in search of stardom in 1980.

“Work Hard Have Fun Make History” by Ruth Tang is set for October 13.  While it does not say what the play is about, the press notes that it is NOT about Amazon, Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk.

Running October 14, “Nana” by Aziza Barnes is set in the Bronx and explores colourism and substance abuse in a multi-generational lineage.

The final play is on October 15; “Thelma and Louise and The Time Machine” by Mara Velez follows an iconic film duo on a journey as they revisit their relationship.

The festival closes out on October 16 with “An Evening of Commissioned Monologues” by 15 different writers.

All participants in the presentations are members of the BTB community.

The Breaking the Binary Theatre Festival notes that “TNB2S+ artists have long been misrepresented and underpaid for their work in the American theatre. Breaking the Binary Theatre Festival is a space for over 100 TNB2S+ artists to reclaim their stories and artistic liberty:  all creative decisions will be made exclusively by TNB2S+ artists. Each participant will be compensated equitably for their time and labor, with all wages based upon New York’s living wage of $21.50 an hour.”

‘Bowie @ 75’

Whether it be “Space Oddity”, “Ziggy Stardust”, putting a new spin on an old Christmas Carol with Bing Crosby, or “Lazarus”; David Bowie was a pioneering artist his entire career.  More than just a musician; he embodied all forms of art.

Bowie died in 2016 just two days after his 69th birthday as a result of cancer.

In celebration of Bowie and what would have been his 75th year, Martin Popoff has created a hard cover book of Bowie – his life and music.

“Bowie @ 75” features 200 pages of David Bowie and includes hundreds of black and white and colour photographs of Bowie through the years…even some when he was just a lad.

In 75 separate “chapters”, Popoff details the world of the man, the myth, and the legend that became David Bowie.

The orange hard cover book comes encased in a box adorned with Bowie’s face and outlined in velvet.  Inside, the journey begins with a glimpse into the beginning of David Robert Haywood Jones – he later changed his name to David Bowie so as not to be confused with the lead singer of the boy band known as The Monkees – and ends with the release of his final album “Blackstar” which was released just two days before his death on his 69th birthday.  Bowie worked on the album knowing that the end was near and not knowing whether he would survive to reach that momentous date.

Retailing at $75.00 in the U.S., “Bowie @75” is set for a September 6 release.  The book is currently available for pre-order.

Simone Biles Among Medal of Freedom Recipients

This month President Joe Biden will be presenting 17 Americans with the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honour to be awarded in the United States.

Among the list are actors, sports figures, politicians, activists, and military personnel.  The list includes both living and posthumous presentations. 

Leading the list of honourees is Olympic Gold Medal gymnast Simone Biles.

A Medal of Freedom recipient himself, Biden said the new recipients, “have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities, and across the world, while blazing trails for generations to come.”

According to the White House the Medal of Freedom is given to “people who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values or security of the United States, world peace or other significant societal public or private endeavors.”

Simone Biles is the most decorated gymnast in United States history with 32 Olympic and World Championship medals.

Other Medal of Freedom winners are:
New York City nurse Sandra Lindsay
former U.S. Congressman Bob McCain
Award winning actor Denzel Washington
Sister Simone Campbell
former University of Texas at Brownsville president Julieta Garcia – the first Latina to be a college president
former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Civil Rights activist and for member of the Alabama legislature Fred Gray – a posthumous award, Gray was the first man of colour to be a member of the Alabama Legislature after Reconstruction
Apple founder Steve Jobs – a posthumous award
assistant to Archbishop Demetrios of America Father Alexander Karloutsos
Gold Star father and immigrant Khirz Khan
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee founder Diane Nash
Olympic Gold Medalist and two time Women’s World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe.  She is also an advocate for equal rights
Retired U.S. Senator and advocate Alan Simpson
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka – a posthumous award
retired Brigadier general Wilma Vaught
Civil rights advocate and former U.S. Ambassador Raul Yzaguirre

feature photo credit: 1894 US Presidential Seal.jpg

2022 Theater Hall Inductees Named

On July 5 the Theater Hall of Fame announced the newest class of inductees.  The induction ceremony for the 51st annual Theater Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater will be held November 14 at the Gershwin Theater.

The 2022 Theater Hall of Fame class:
playwright Lynn Nottage
playwright Suzan-Lori Parks
actor Christine Ebersole
actor Bill Irwin
actor Mandy Patinkin
director Frank Galati
sound pioneer Abe Jacob
and a posthumous induction for playwright Ntozake Shange.

James M. Nederlander, Earl Blackwell, and Gerard Oestreicher created the Theater Hall of Fame in 1970.  Artists are eligible after 25 years of performance in a minimum of five production appearances; leaders  in Off-Broadway or a pioneer of regional theatre may also be eligible.

Bachman Finds Stolen Guitar

For many musicians, their instruments are like their own children and losing it is just as painful as losing a child.

Forty-five years ago, Canadian rocker Randy Bachman had his most prized possession stolen out of a hotel room in Toronto. 

After saving his money from numerous jobs, Bachman bought a 1957 orange Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins for $400.  As a member of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive while still in his teens, he wrote numerous songs including the hit “American Woman” on that guitar.  He said that he cried for three days after it was stolen and over the years had bought some 300 guitars trying to replace his cherished orange Gretsch.

On July 1, Bachman was finally reunited with the cherished guitar when a Japanese musician, who had purchased the guitar in a Tokyo music store in 2014, presented the guitar to Bachman at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo.

Bachman spoke on the guitar saying, “it made my whole life. It was my hammer and a tool to write songs, make music and make money.”

Bachman spoke often of the stolen guitar and in 2020 a fan, William Long, began an internet search for the Gretsch and found it in Tokyo.  Upon learning that Long had found the guitar, Bachman contacted the Japanese musician TAKESHI.  Recognizing the guitar in a video clip, Bachman said, “the “I was crying,” Bachman said. “The guitar almost spoke to me over the video, like, ’Hey, I’m coming home.”  TAKESHI agreed to trade the guitar for one that was similar.  Bachman found a “sister” version of the guitar and the trade was made.  “To find my guitar again was a miracle, to find its twin sister was another miracle,” said Bachman.

TAKESHI noted that he agreed to return the guitar to Bachman because as a musician he could understand how much it was missed; saying, “I owned it and played it for only eight years and I’m extremely sad to return it now. But he has been feeling sad for 46 years, and it’s time for someone else to be sad,  I felt sorry for this legend.”  He added that returning the guitar made him feel good.

Bachman noted that now he and TAKESHI are like brothers with their “twin sister” guitars; adding that they will be doing a documentary about the guitar and will be performing the new song “Lost and Found” together.  The duo also performed some songs together as a part of the guitar swap.

Bachman said that he is going to lock the guitar up in his home and never take it out of the house again.

Film Academy Invites New Members

iSince the cry of “Oscar so White” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been working to diversify the Academy.

Among the 397 new invitees are Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose, Troy Kotsur, and Billie Eilish; as well as, her brother Finneas O’Connell.

The Academy noted that of the new invitees 44 percent are women and 37 percent are from “underrepresented ethnic and racial communities”.

Any invitee who accepts the invitation will have voting privileges for films and actors in the 95th annual Academy Awards.

Other invitees include Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessie Buckley, Gaby Hoffman, Jamie Dorman, Caitriona Balfe, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Under the international banner, Iranian Amir Jadidi, Norwegian Renate Reinsve, Frenchman Vincent London, Funke Akindele of Nigeria, and Hidetoshi Nishijima of Japan.

Film directors Andrew Ahn, Reinaldo Marcus Green, Mary Lambert, Amy Seimetz, and Isablel Sandoval are also among the list of invitees.

In other Film Academy news, eligibility for film nominations are  returning to “normal”.  During the two year span of the pandemic, the Academy allowed films that were released on streaming services to be eligible for nominations.  That will no longer be allowed; a films must be released in the treater in order to be deemed eligible for a nomination.

While a film may be released on streaming services the same day as a theatrical release, it must air at least once a day for at least seven days to be eligible.  The film must also air in at least one of six cities – New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, and the San Francisco Bay area.

In addition, a film may submit no more than three songs in the Best Original Song category.

The 95th Academy Award ceremonies is returning to its early March date in 2023 with ceremonies set for March 12.

2022 BET Awards

On June 26, BET held their annual Awards ceremonies that honour artists in the world of music, film, and sports.  Actor Taraji P. Henson hosted the annual gala event.

While the night was filled with fantastic performances, the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs.  Babayface Edmonds and Kanye “Ye” West presented the award.  In his acceptance speech, Combs channeled Martin Luther King saying, “I got this dream of Black people being free.  I got this dream of us controlling our own destiny. I got this dream of us taking accountability and stop killing each other. I got this dream of us being rich and wealthy and living on the same block. I have this dream of us unifying.”

Combs joins Prince, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah, Samuel L. Jackson, Lionel Richie, Anita Baker, and the New Edition as winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award winners.

Lizzo, Jack Harlow, Lil Wayne, Brandy, Chance the Rapper, and Joey Bada$$ were among the artists who performed during the ceremonies.

Winners of the 2022 BET Awards:
Best Female R&B or Pop Artist: Jazmine Sullivan
Best Male R&B or Pop Artist: The Weeknd
Best Group:  Silk Sonic – Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak
Best Collaboration: “Essence” by Wizkid with Justin Bieber and Tems
Best Female Hip Hop Artist: Megan Thee Stallion
Best Male Hip Hop Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Video of the Year: “Family Ties” by Baby Keem with Kendrick Lamar
Video Director of the Year: Anderson .Paak
Best New Artist: Latto
Album of the Year: “An Evening with Silk Sonic” by Silk Sonic – Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak
Best Gospel or Inspirational Award: “We Win” by Kirk Franklin with Lil Baby
Best Movie: “King Richard”
Best Actor: Will Smith for his role in “King Richard”
Best Actress: Zendaya for her role in “Spider-Man: No Way Home”
Youngstar’s Award: Marsai Martin
Sportswoman of the Year: tennis player Naomi Osaka
Sportsman of the Year: basketball player Stephen Curry
BET HER Award: “Good Morning Gorgeous” by Mary J Blige
Best International Act: Tems from Nigeria

feature photo credit: BET Networks Logo.png

49th Daytime Emmy Awards

After a two year hiatus, the Daytime Emmy Awards returns to a live audience event with the 49th annual ceremony with Kevin Frazier and Nischelle Turner serving as hosts for the gala event.

There was a time when the daytime drama ruled the airwaves; today only a few remain and “General Hospital” was the big winner of the night taking home a total of five Emmys.

Counting the previous weekend’s creative arts awards event, singer, coach, and talk show host Kelly Clarkson took home the most awards overall with seven.

But perhaps the biggest event of the night was when Mishael Morgan from “Young and the Restless” became the first female actor of colour to take home the award for lead actress.  In her acceptance speech the Trinidad and Tobago native said, “we are breaking glass ceilings left, right and center.  We can and we will do this thing called equality and unity together.  I am being honored regardless of the color of my skin, regardless of my passport, for being the best at what I do.  Now there are little girls all around the world and they’re seeing another step forward and they know that no matter their industry, no matter their vocation, no matter what, they can strive to be the best at what they do. Not only can they achieve it, but they will be celebrated.”

Michael Bolton sang “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” as the In Memoriam segment aired which was introduced by Susan Lucci.

Jennifr Aniston presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to her Dad John Aniston for his 37 year role a Victor Kiriakis on “Days of Our Lives”.  The 88 year old actor was not present for the presentation.

Daytime Emmy Award winners:
Outstanding Daytime Drama Series: “General Hospital”
Outstanding Leading Actress in a Daytime Drama: Michael Morgan for her role as Amanda Sinclair in “The Young and the Restless”
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Daytime Drama Series: John McCook for his role as Eric Forrester in “The Bold and the Beautiful”
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Daytime Drama Series: Kelly Thiebaud for her role as Dr. Britt Westbourne in “General Hospital”
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama Series: Jeff Kober for his role as Cyrus Renault in “General Hospital”
Outstanding Younger Performer in a Daytime Drama Series: Nicholas Chavez as Spencer Cassadine in “General Hospital”
Outstanding Game Show: “Jeopardy!”
Outstanding Game Show Host: Steve Harvey on “Family Feud”
Outstanding Informative Talk Show: “Turning the Tables with Robin Roberts”
Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host: Tamron Hall on “Tamron Hall”
Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show: “The Kelly Clarkson Show”
Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host: Kelly Clarkson on “The Kelly Clarkson Show”
Outstanding Entertainment News Series: “Entertainment Tonight”
Outstanding Writing Team for a Daytime Drama Series “Days of Our Lives”
Outstanding Directing Team for a Daytime Drama Series: “General Hospital”
Outstanding Culinary Series: “Barefoot Contessa: Modern Comfort Food”
Outstanding Culinary Host: Frankie Celenza from “Struggle Meals”
Outstanding Legal or Courtroom Drama: “Judy Justice”
Outstanding Lifestyle Program: “Super Soul Sunday”
Outstanding Travel, Adventure, and Nature Program: “Penguin Town”
Outstanding Instructional and How-To Program: “Home Work”
Outstanding Arts and Popular Culture Program: “First Film”
Outstanding Daytime Special: “Shelter Me: Soul Awakened”
Outstanding Short Form Daytime Program: “Cornerstones: Founding Voices of the Black Church”
Outstanding Interactive Media for a Daytime Program: “You vs. Wild: Out Cold”
Outstanding Daytime Promotional Announcement: “Entertainment Tonight: Treat Yourself”
Outstanding Guest Performance in a Drama Series: Ted King for his role as Jack Finnegan on “The Bold and the Beautiful”
Outstanding Daytime Program Host: Bear Grylls on “You vs. Wild: Out Cold”
Outstanding Writing Team for a Daytime Non-Fiction Series: “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”
Outstanding Directing Team for a Single Camera Daytime Non-Fiction Program: “Shelter Me: Soul Awakened”
Outstanding Directing Team for a Multi Camera Daytime Non-Fiction Program: “95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day”
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition: “Cat People”
Outstanding Original Song: “GratefuL for it All” from “The Young and the Restless”
Outstanding Lighting Direction: “The Kelly Clarkson Show”
Outstanding Technical, Camera Work, and. Video: “The Kelly Clarkson Show”
Outstanding Cinematography: “Penguin Town”
Outstanding Single Camera Editing: “Power On: The Story of Xbox”
Outstanding Multiple Camera Editing: “The Kelly Clarkson Show”
Outstanding Live sound Mixing and Editing: “The Kelly Clarkson Show”
Outstanding Sound Mixing and Editing: “Penguin Town”
Outstanding Main Title and Graphic Design: “Headspace: Guide to Meditation”
Outstanding Casting: “The Young and the Restless”
Outstanding Art Direction, Set Decoration, and Scenic Design: “The Kelly Clarkson Show”
Outstanding Costume Design and Styling: “The Drew Barrymore Show”
Outstanding Hairstyling: “Red Table Talk: The Estefans”
Outstanding Makeup: “The Real”
Outstanding Special Effects Costumes, Makeup, and Hairstyling: “The Drew Barrymore Show”

Broadway Updates Mask Policy

For fans of Broadway, the long wait is about to be over…

Beginning July 1, The Broadway League is lifting the mandatory requirement for face coverings at all theatres.  Previously the League eliminated the requirement for mandatory vaccines for theatre attendees, cast, and crew.

For those fans who wish to continue wearing a mask, may do so under the new optional ruling.

However, the ruling is just for the month of July.  The Broadway League may change the policy at any time.

Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin issued a statement saying, “millions of people enjoyed the unique magic of Broadway by watching the 75th Tony Award ceremony recently. Millions more have experienced Broadway LIVE in theatres in New York City and throughout the U.S. since we reopened last fall. We’re thrilled to welcome even more of our passionate fans back to Broadway in the exciting 22-23 season that has just begun.”

The Broadway League will update the guidelines for masks in August and the new season later in July.  Whether or not the guidelines will be issued on a month by month basis or for a longer period of time is not known at this time.

The new ruling is for Broadway theatres only, Off Broadway and other area theatres will continue to set their own Covid policies.  It is recommended that theatre fans check with the specific theatre or website to learn what policies are in place.

Academy to Presents Special Oscars

Recently the Recording Academy announced some new Grammy Awards including one for songwriting.

The Academy for Motion Picture Arts and  has announced the list of honouees to receive special Oscars as a part of the Governors Awards.  Songwriter Diane Warren, and directors Peter Weir and Euzhan Palcy will receive the honours; with actor Michael J Fox being awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.  This will be the first Academy Awards for each of them.

Academy president David Rubin issued a statement saying, “the Academy’s Board of Governors is honored to recognize four individuals who have made indelible contributions to cinema and the world at large.  The honorary Oscar statuette is given for extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the academy.”

A prolific songwriter, Diane Warren has written songs for over 100 different films and has earned a nomination for 13 of them but has never won an award.  The 65 year old Warren has worked with a number of artists including Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Cher, Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston.

Australian filmmaker Peter Weir’s credits include “Dead Poets Society”, “Witness”, “The Truman Show”, “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”, “Green Card”, Picnic at Hanging Rock”, “The Last Wave”, and “Gallipoli”.

Trailblazing director Euzhan Palcy was born in Martinique.  She made her film debut with “Sugar Cane Alley”.  She also directed “A Dry White Season”.

Best known for his role as Marty McFly in the  “Back to the Future” movies, Michael J Fox has worked tirelessly to advocate for Parkinson’s research since his diagnosis with the disease at the age of 29.  His Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has been named a leader in the field of research.  While the 61 year old has never earned an Academy Award nomination; he holds five Emmy, one Grammy, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The Governors Awards will be held in Los Angeles on November 19.

The Vamps Celebrate 10 Years

When most bands celebrate an anniversary, they usually do so with a special album collection or re-release an anniversary issue.

The Vamps have a little more than that planned.  Along with an album and a tour around the British Isles, and  special fanzine that has been compiled by the fans themselves.

From the humble beginnings of posting a few videos on YouTube, The Vamps have over six billion streams and two billion YouTube views.  Of the five albums the band has released, two of them went to number one; whit two more reaching the number two spot.  And a feat even some of the biggest rockers have yet to achieve, The Vamps have headlined at The O2 five years in a row.  And if that wasn’t enough, the band has collaborated with numerous artists including Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato, and Bruno Mars.  They have also shared the stage with the likes of Taylor Swift, Kings of Leon, Jay Z, Coldplay, Weezer, Pharell Williams, Sam Smith, and Ed Sheeran.

Band members spoke on the success saying, “it’s crazy to think what started in our bedrooms and Tristan’s parent’s garage led to us headlining arena’s all around the world. The past 10 years have been an incredible journey but what makes it even more special is that it has felt like a shared one between us and our fans. The Vamps have taken us across all five continents and given us the privilege of playing in front of millions of people. These five albums are chapters in our lives and moments we are hugely proud of. This last year has been one of reflection for us and as four best friends who’ve had the chance to live out our dreams we now can’t wait to celebrate these memories with you all.”

Set for an Octorber 14 release, “Ten Years of The Vamps” is a special edition fanzine that has been compiled by the band and the fans.  Currently available for pre-order, the fanzine features personal accounts of memories, photos, art cards, and a CD of previously unreleased music.

The Vamps will begin their “10 Years of The Vamps – The Greatest Hits Tour” in Manchester this November where they plan to play all of their hits.  Tickets go on sale July 1 on the band’s website:

The Vamps tour dates:
Nov 23 at the O2 Apollo in Manchester, UK
Nov 25 at the Brighton Centre in Brighton
Nov 27 at The O2 Arena in London, UK
Nov 30 at the International Centre in Bournemouth, UK
Dec 1 at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, UK
Dec 3 at the 3 Arena in Dublin, Ireland
Dec 5 at the SSE Arena in Belfast, UK
Dec 7 at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, UK
Dec 8 at the OVO Hydro in Glasgow, UK
Dec 10 at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, UK
Dec 11 at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham, UK

feature photo credit: courtesy of fun-house ent

Mark Morris Dance Group to Perform Bacharach

Over the past few years, Broadway has seen numerous musicals that feature the music of pop and rock stars.  The Mark Morris Dance Group will be presenting a performance based on the music of award winning Hall of Fame composer Burt Bacharach title “The Look of Love”.

The evening length performance will feature choreography by Mark Morris with musical arrangements by Jazz musician Ethan Iverson.

While a number of performances are scheduled, “The Look of Love” will give the world premiere on October 20, 2022 at BroadStage in Santa Monica, California.  Shows will run through October 23.

Morris spoke on the upcoming program saying, “always engaging melodically, always surprising rhythmically, with a touch of melancholy and a striving hope, Bacharach’s marvelous music calls out for dancing.  There is a rich range of emotion, point of view, and dynamics in Bacharach’s (and lyricist Hal David’s) amazing compositions, both the very familiar and the relatively obscure. ‘The Look of Love’ will be an action-packed, varied, song and dance show, with something for everyone…a moving return to live theater.”

Bacharach spoke on his music being used in a production saying, “for many years, I’ve wanted to see my music reimagined in some kind of theatrical production – not just a jukebox musical formula of songs, but an original work with its own story and appeal.  I’ve found an ideal collaborator in Mark Morris, whose brilliant choreography and deep musicality give songs new meaning and dimension through movement. Like a great melody, his dances evoke an atmosphere and inspire feelings, and I think that’s just what the world needs now. I’m excited to see how Morris and his creative team bring my songs to the stage in The Look of Love.

Additional performances are:
Oct 26-29 at The John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington D.C.
Nov 8 at The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center in Auburn University, Alabama
Jan 27 at the Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Virginia in Richmond, VA
Feb 17-19 at the Cal Performances at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, CA
April 14 & 15 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois in Urbana, IL
May 6 at the UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures in Santa Barbara, CA
July 8 & 9 at The Grange Festival in Hampshire, UK

The song list for “The Look of Love”:
“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”
“What the World Needs Now is Love”
“Don’t Make Me Over”
“Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”
“The Look of Love”
“The Blob”
“Message to Michael”
“Anyone Who Had a Heart”
“Walk on By”
“Are You There (with Another Girl)”
“I Say a Little Prayer”
“Do You Know the Way to San Jose”
“There’s Always Something There to Remind Me”

feature photo credit: Mark Morris Dance Company – 51861833202.jpg

First Time Winners Dominate 75th Tony Awards

The annual Tony Awards celebrating the best of Broadway returns to their summertime spot for 2022 before a live audience at Radio City Music Hall after having to take a break due to the coronavirus.

Julianne Hough and Darren Criss host the “Tony Awards: Act One”.

The night of music and awards begins with a musical performance which was written by Darren Criss.

The first award of the show is for Best Original Score written for the Theatre to Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow for “SIX: The Musical”.

The award for Best Costume Design of a Play went to Montana Levi Blanco for “The Skin of Our Teeth”.  Blanco also worked on costume design for “A Strange Loop”.  This is his first Tony win.

The award for Best Costume Design of a Musical went to Gabriella Slade for “SIX: The Musical”.  This is her first nomination and Tony win.

The award for Best Scenic Design of a Play went to Es Devlin for “The Lehman Trilogy”.

The award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical went to Bunny Christie for “Company”.  This is her second Tony win.

The award for Best Lighting Design of a Play went to Jon Clark for “The Lehman Trilogy”.  This is his first Tony win

The award for Best Lighting Design of a Musical went to Natasha Katz for “MJ”.  With 15 Tony nominations, this is Katz seventh Tony win.

The Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement goes to Angela Lansbury.  The five time Tony Award winner has been acting for 75 years.  She has hosted the Tony Awards five times and appeared in 15 Broadway productions.  Angela could not be present to accept the award but the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus gave her a musical salute.

Giving the Vulcan salute, 85 year old George Takei makes his ”Broadway debut” by presenting the awards for Best Sound Design. 

The award for Best Sound Design of a Play went to Mikhail Fiksel for “Dana H”.  This is his first Tony win.  Previously he was known as a DJ who went by the name White Russian.  Noting that he is getting married in a couple of weeks, Fiksel call it the best wedding gift ever.

The award for Best Design of a Musical went to Gareth Owen for “MJ”.  This is his first Tony win. 

The award for Best Orchestrations went to Simon Hale for “Girl from the North Country”.  This is his first Tony win.

Agnes de Mille won the very first award for Best Choreography; this year the award for Best Choreography goes to Christopher Wheeldon for “MJ”.  This is his second Tony win.

Ariana DeBose hosts the 75th annual awards presentation and opens the show with a musical performance that featured a mashup of songs from the history of musicals on Broadway.

DeBose pointed out the diversity of this year’s nominees including seven playwrights of colour, the first transgender actor in a major role, and the first non binary winner.

The first award of the night was for Best Featured Actor in a Play and went to Jesse Tyler Ferguson for his role in “Take Me Out”.  This is his first Tony Award nomination and win.  He said that he could not believe he got to do this for a living.

Hugh Jackman, Sutton Foster, and cast members from “The Music Man” performed “76 Trombones”.

Ariana DeBose gave a big shout out to all of the under studies and crew that help to put on the productions.

The award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical went to Patti LuPone for her role in “Company”.  This is her third Tony Award win.  LuPone also thanked all of the crews and under studies; adding the Covid safety people to the list.

Prince and Paris Jackson introduced the production “MJ: The Musical”.  Prince noted that his father loved musicals.  Cast members of “MJ: performed “Smooth Criminal” form the show.

The award for Best Direction of a Play to Sam Mendes for “The Lehman Trilogy”.  This is his second directorial Tony Award.

The award for Best Direction of a Musical went to Marianne Elliott for “Company”.  This is her third directorial Tony win.  Her first thank you was to Stephen Sondheim.  She dedicated the award to everyone fighting to keep theater alive.

Cast members of “Mr. Saturday Night” including Billy Crystal perform.  Crystal tried to teach the audience a little Yiddish scatting.  “Oy Vey!”.

Ariana DeBose noted that Bob Fosse was the greatest choreographer and did a little dance with Sam Rockwell.

There are 150 Covid Safety managers in the house tonight as a thank you for getting Broadway back to work and thriving.

The award for Best Featured Actress in a Play went to Phylicia Rashad for her role in “Skeleton Crew”.  This is her second Tony win.  She also noted that you don’t come to the stage alone. 

The original musical “Company” has been reimagined as a gender bending production.  Cast members from the show give a performance.

The American Theatre Wing pays tribute to the person who gave the Tony Awards its name – Antionette Perry.

Among the new productions beginning on Broadway in the fall is “The Piano Lesson” starring Samuel L. Jackson who began his career as an understudy in the play 32 years ago, and his wife LaTonya will be the first female ever to direct an August Wilson play.

The award for Best Revival of a Play went to “Take Me Out”.

Cast members of “The Girl from the North Country” give a performance from the show that feature the music of Bob Dylan. 

Host Ariana DeBose performs as she wanders through the audience.

The award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical went to Matt Doyle for his role in “Company”.  This is his first nomination and Tony win.

Four time Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda paid tribute to the late Stephen Sondheim who died last year.  The tribute featured a video of Sondheim’s own words and a performance by Bernadette Peters.

The award for Best Book of a Musical went to Michael R Jackson for “A Strange Loop”.  He received a standing ovation when he took the stage.  Currently 41, Jackson said that he began writing “A Strange Loop” when he was 23.  He told everyone to never settle for anything but your best.

The award for Revival of a Musical went to “Company”.  One of the people on the stage to accept the award held up a photo of Stephen Sondheim.

Jennifer Hudson and RuPaul introduce a performance form “A Strange Loop” the tale of a queer man of colour writing a production of a queer man of colour.

The original cast of “Spring Awakening” return give a performance from the eight time Tony Award winning musical.

The playwright nominees for this year speak about their plays in a video clip.

The award for Best Play went to “The Lehman Trilogy” by Ben Power and Stefano Massini.

Cast members from “Paradise Square” give a performance and earned a standing ovation from the audience.

The award for Best Leading Actor in a Play went to Simon Russell Beale for his role in “The Lehman Trilogy”.  This is Beale’s first Tony win. 

The award for Best Lead Actress in a Play went to Dierdre O’Connell for her role in “Dana H.”

Laurence Fishburn introduced the In Memoriam segment honouring those who were lost over the past year.  Billy Porter performs “On the Street Where You Live” from “My Fair Lady” as the names and photos were presented on the screen.

The award for Leading Actor in a Musical went to Myles Frost for his role as Michael Jackson in “MJ”.  This is his first Tony win.

The award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical went to Joaquina Kalukango for her role in “Paradise Square”.  This is her first Tony win.

Cast members from “SIX: The Musical” give a performance.  The performance included an alternate that learned she would be a part of the performance just 12 hours earlier.

The original Anita in “West Side Story” Chita Rivera presents the award for Best Musical to “A Strange Loop”.

Ariana DeBose closes out the night with one more mashup performance.

Special Tony Awards not presented during the live broadcasts:

Special Tony Award: James C. Nicola

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Robert E. Wankel

Regional Theatre Tony Award: Court Theatre in Chicago, IL

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre:
Asian American Performers Action Coalition
Broadway for All
Feinstein’s 54 Below
Emily Grishman
United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829, IATSE

Grammy Adds Categories

A number of years ago the Recording Academy reduced the number of categories from 110 to 78, since then they have added a few to 86 after protests from artists to have them restored.

This week, the Academy has added some new categories including a new songwriting category that covers far more than the Song of the Year awards.

A non-classical category, the Songwriter of the Year Award will honour a composer’s body of work.  The Academy classifies the category as honouring “the most prolific non-performing and non-producing songwriter for a body of new work during an eligibility year”.

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason spoke on the new award saying, “this new category is truly for an expert person at the songwriting craft.” 

To be eligible for the new Songwriter Award the nominee must have written a minimum of five songs where they are listed as the songwriter or co-writer but not the performer.

Mason added, “somebody who writes their own music and records it would not be eligible.  They would have to be doing songs for others. We want to highlight the craft of writing songs professionally for artists.  Songwriters are at the heart of our business and industry.  Nothing happens without songwriters. For us, this was a no brainer. It’s in alignment with all the changes. We thought, ‘How can we do more? Showcase more people and be more inclusive to different genres?’”

The Spoken Word category is being split up with one of the new awards being for Best Spoken Word Poetry Album.  The Best Spoken Word category has been renamed Best Audio Book, Narration & Storytelling Recording.

The other new awards are for Alternative Music Performance, Americana Music Performance, and Score Soundtrack for video games and other interactive media.

Nominees for the Best Score Soundtrack must feature predominantly original music that was written specifically for the video game or interactive media.

Along with the new performance categories, the Recording Academy will be presenting a special merit award for Best Song for Social Change.  Nominees will be determined by its lyrical content that address timely social issues that promotes “understanding, peacebuilding and empathy.”

Harvey Mason spoke on the new award saying, “it’s always the right time to recognize music that’s changing the world.  I think it deserves a special recognition. These songs are important and impactful. We want to make sure we’re honoring and celebrating that artform. This is a great way to do that.”

The Best Alternative Music and Americana Performance categories are for solo, collaborative artist, duo or group.

The new awards will begin with the 2023 Grammy Award ceremonies.

Other changes in the eligibility rules are:

To be eligible music on an album goes from 50 to 75 percent new content.  Package and compilation releases do not count.

The New Age category has been renamed Best New Age, Ambient Or Chant Album.

Category definitions have been updated.

Drama Desk Award Winners Announced

The winners for the 2022 Drama Desk Awards have been announced with the awards being presented at Sardi’s Restaurant on June 14.  “Clyde’s”, “Company”, and “SIX: The Musical” lead the list of winners with four each.  “Flying Over Sunset”, “MJ”, “Prayer for the French Republic”, “Lackawanna Blues”, and “Paradise Square” also garnered multiple wins.

The Drama Desk Awards are the only theatrical honours that include Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway in a head to head competition.  Winners are determined by critics, journalists, editors, and publishers who cover the New York City theatrical scene.

Playwright Alice Childress is being presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously.

The Ensemble Award goes to Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Brittney Mack, Abby Mueller, Samantha Pauly, and Anna Uzele from “SIX: The Musical”.

Marjan Neshat from “Selling Kabul” is being presented the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award.

Costume designer Dede Ayite, scenic designer Adam Rigg, and writer Heather Christian will also be presented with special awards.

Drama Desk Award winners:
Outstanding Play: “Prayer for the French Republic”
Outstanding Musical: “Kimberly Akimbo”
Outstanding Revival of a Play: “How I Learned to Drive”
Outstanding Revival of a Musical: “Company”
Outstanding Actor in a Play: Ruben Santiago-Hudson in “Lackawanna Blues”
Outstanding Actress in a Play: Phylicia Rashad in “Skeleton Crew”
Outstanding Actor in a Musical: Jaquel Spivey in “A Strange Loop”
Outstanding Actress in a Musical: Joaquina Kalukango in “Paradise Square”
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play: Ron Cephas Jones in “Clyde’s”
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play: Francis Benhamou in “Prayer for the French Republic”
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical: Matt Doyle in “Company”
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical: Patti LuPone in “Company”
Outstanding Director of a Play: Rebecca Frecknall for “Sanctuary City”
Outstanding Director of a Musical: Marianne Elliott for “Company”
Outstanding Choreography: Bill T. Jones, Garrett Coleman, Jason Oremus, Gelan Lambert, and Chloe Davis for “Paradise Square”
Outstanding Music: Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss for “SIX: The Musical”
Outstanding Lyrics: Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss for “SIX: The Musical”
Outstanding Orchestrations: Jason Michael Webb and David Holcenbert for “MJ: The Musical”
Outstanding Music in a Play: Bill Simms Jr for “Lackawanna Blues”
Outstanding Book of a Musical: Brussman for “Harmony
Outstanding Scenic Design for a Play: Takeshi Kata for “Clyde’s”
Outstanding Scenic Design for a Musical: Beowulf Boritt for “Flying Over Sunset”
Outstanding Costume Design for a Play: Jennifer Moeller for “Clyde’s”
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical: Gabriella Slade for “SIX: The Musical”
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play: Christopher Akerlind for “Clyde’s” and Amith Chandrashaker for “Prayer for the French Republic”
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical: Matasha Katz for “MJ: The Musical” and Bradley King for “Flying Over Sunset”
Outstanding Projection Design: 59 Productions for “Flying Over Sunset”
Outstanding Sound Design for a Play: Ben and Max Ringham for “Cyrano de Bergerac”
Outstanding Sound Design for a Musical: Gareth Owen for “MJ: The Musical”
Outstanding Wig and Hair: David Brian Brown for “Mrs. Doubtfire”
Outstanding Solo Performance: Kristina Wong in “Sweatshop Overlord”
Unique Theatrical Experience: “Seven Deadly Sins”
Outstanding Adaptation: “Merry Wives” by Jocelyn Bioh
Outstanding Puppet Design: James Ortiz for “The Skin of Our Teeth”

2022 MTV Movie Awards

The MTV Movie and TV Awards are making a full live return on June 5 with Vanessa Hudgens hosting the gala event.

“Spiderman: No Way Home” leads the list of nominees with seven.  The film earned nearly $2 billion at the box office but failed to strike a hit with the major awards shows.  “Euphoria” and “The Batman” also received multiple nominations.

This year all of the 28 awards are gender neutral.  Winners receive a bucket of golden popcorn.

Jack Black is being honoured as a Comic Genius and Jennifer Lopez will receive the Generation Award. 

The Generation Award is presented to a performer whose “diverse contributions in both film and television have turned them into household names.”  Lopez will join previous winners Scarlett Johansson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, Will Smith and Reese Witherspoon.

MTV Awards executive producers Wendy Plaut and Vanessa WhiteWolf spoke on Lopez winning the award saying, “Jennifer embodies everything about the Generation Award.  As a woman who does it all — in the acting, singing, dancing, producing, fashion and beauty realms — Jennifer Lopez is a timeless icon who’s made a lasting impact on film, TV, music and culture.”

Diplo and Swae Lee will be performing during the show,

Snoop Dogg is the DJ for tonight’s ceremony.

The first award of the night was presented by cast members from “Stranger Things”.  The award for Breakthrough Performance went to Sophia Di Martino for her role in “Loki”.

The award for Best Music Documentary went to Olivia Rodrigo for ”Olivia Rodrigo: Driving Home to U”.

The award for Best Villain went to Daniel Radcliffe for his role in “The Lost City”.  Radcliffe accepted his award via video.

Aquafina presented the award for Comedic Genius to Jack Black.  Black came on stage dressed as a panda bear.  Black said that he doesn’t deserve it but he will take it. 

The award for Best Song went to Jennifer Lopez for “On My Way (Marry Me)” from “Marry Me”

Via a video, Tom Cruise thanked everyone for the film “Top Gun” and “Top Gun: Maverick” before airing a clip from the film.

Two of the cast members from “Top Gun: Maverick” presented the award for Best Fight to Cathy vs Maddy from “Euphoria”.

Elvis Presley’s granddaughter presented a world premiere clip of the new biopic film “Elvis”.  Diplo and Swae Lee perform music from the film.

The award for Best Kiss went to Poopies and the snake in “Jackass Forever”.

The award for Best Team went to Sophia Di Martino, Owen Wilson, and Tom Hiddleston in “Loki”.

Host Vanessa Hudgens presented the Generation Award to Jennifer Lopez.  Lopez noted that you are only as good as the people you work with. 

The award for Best Performance in a Show went to Zendaya for her role in “Euphoria”.

“Buzz Lightyear’s” Chris Evans presented the award for Best Movie to “Spider-Man: No Way Home”.  Cast members thanked fans via video.

The award for Most Frightened Performance went to Jenna Ortega for her role in “Scream”.

The upcoming film “Bros” is the first Gay-RomCom featuring a full cast of openly gay performers.

The award for Best Comedic Performance went to Ryan Reynolds in “Free Guy”.

The award for Best Movie or TV  Musical Moment went to “Dance with Me” from “Heartstopper”.

Cast members from “The Umbrella Academy” give a sneak peak from the new season.

The final award of the night was for Best Show and went to “Euphoria”.

Awards not presented during the live television broadcast:
Best Performance in a Movie:  Tom Holland in “Spider-Man: No Way Home”
Best Hero: Scarlett Johansson in “Black Widow”
Here for the Hookup: “Euphoria”

In the unscripted awards…
The award for Best Reality Return went to Paris Hilton.

The award for Best New Unscripted Series went to “The D’Amelio Show”.

Cast members from “Vanderpump Rules” presented the award for Best Reality Fight to Bosco vs Lady Camden from “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.

Paris Hilton presented the Reality Royalty Award to Bethany Frankel.

The award for Best Talk or Topical Show went to “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”.  Via a video Jimmy thanked the other nominees.

The award for Best Competition Series went to “RuPaul’s Drag Race” RuPaul accepted the award via video; thanking the crew and the queens.  Several of the queens from season 14 were present at the awards.

The award for Best Reality Star went to Chrishell Stause from “Selling Sunset”.

The award for Best Reality Romance went to Loren and Alexa Bravarnik. 

The award for Best DocuReality Show went to “Selling Sunset”.

Library Director Suspends Theme Displays

Libraries and schools around the country have faced numerous calls for the banning of books over the past several months.

Lafayette Parish Library Director Danny Gillane has found what he hopes will be a solution and keep his books on the shelves and not hidden away behind a counter or worse behind a locked door.

Gillane has suspended all themed book displays outside of general topics like romance, western, mystery, and literature.  The suspension will stop themes like Cajun history, Pride, Black History, Women’s History, and Native American History. 

The suspension is in place until further notice.

Gillane told the local Lafayette newspaper that the decision was made in order to protect the library and the book and film collection saying, “I’m doing this because everything’s a fight.  And if I put these books out right now, I feel like I am inviting people to challenge these books.”

So far this year Gillane has faced two possible bans and has made changes to the collection in order to save them.  In the case of the book “This Book is Gay”, Gillane moved it – and other nonfiction teen books to the adult nonfiction section.

The Library Board assigned the NC-17 rating – meaning no one under the age of 17 may check out the video – for a previously unrated documentary about gay Hollywood stars and their unofficial “pimp”.

While Gillane is looking to keep his collection of books and films safe on the shelves, some see the move as “self-censorship”.

Administrator for the Lafayette Citizens Agains Censorship Facebook page Lynette Majia said, “for a library, that’s ridiculous, it It goes against everything a library is supposed to stand for.”

President of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Lafayette Matthew Humphrey added, “this is viewpoint discrimination.  Denying representation to any minority community at the public library will not go unanswered. We are not afraid to sue.”

In an email to library managers, Gillane said, “after two years without a full-blown celebration, we would like the focus to be on all things Summer Reading, including our displays.  We want to take the spotlight away from anything considered political and focus on what the library does best: Providing programs and services to everyone in Lafayette Parish. Period.”

Queen’s Honour’s List Announced

Twice a year, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II releases her choices for the Honours list.  Among this year’s recipients are author Ian Rankin, actor Damian Lewis, fashion designer Stella McCartney, composer Stephen Hough, and singer Bonnie Tyler.  Salman Rushdie is also being honoured.  This year it is a special honour for the recipients as it coincides with Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee for serving 70 years on the throne.

The honours begin with the Member of the Order of the British Empire, next is the Officer of the Order of the British Empire, then Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and then Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.  If a woman reaches knighthood status, she is called Dame; while the men are Sir.

Honourees are presented with the titles for their service to their craft and their philanthropic endeavours.

Welsh born singer Bonnie Tyler – who is best known for her hit song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – has been awarded an MBE.  Tyler spoke on the honour saying, “I’m just a girl from a small town in Wales who just loves to sing, so to be recognized for that in this way is very significant to me and my family and friends.”

Screenwriter Heidi Thomas who is best known for “Call the Midwife” is to receive the OBE.

Fashion designer and daughter of musician Sir Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney has been awarded an CBE – one step below knighthood.

Actor Damian Lewis  – who is known for his roles in “Homeland” and “Billions” has also been awarded a CBE.

Author Ian Rankin is best known for his fictional Detective Inspector John Rebus has been awarded knighthood.  Sir Ian spoke on the honour saying, “I am not sure what Detective Inspector John Rebus would make of it.  He’d almost certainly tell me not to get too big-headed.”

The former First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster, filmmaker Isaac Julien, and pianist and composer Stephen Hough have also being knighted.  Ann Limb is the first person to head the British Scout Association who is also openly gay.  She will also now carry the title Dame Ann.

“The Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie has been awarded the Companion of Honour – an award that is given to only 65 people; as well as, children’s classics author Roald Dahl.

National Health Service personnel were also honoured for their dedication to service during the recent coronavirus pandemic; as were officials who helped to bring British troops home from Afghanistan.

Elvis Themed Weddings in Jeopardy

Elvis Presley is as much a part of Las Vegas as slot machines and gambling.

But, that is about to change…

Authentic Brands Group, the company that oversees Graceland and the Elvis Presley estate, have sent cease and desist letters to the chapels who use Elvis as a part of their themed wedding ceremonies.

The letter is designed to “halt unauthorized use of “Presley’s name, likeness, voice image, and other elements of Elvis Presley’s persona in advertisements, merchandise and otherwise.”  The Authentic Brands Group stated that “Elvis”, “Elvis Presley”, and “The King of Rock and Roll” are all copyrighted trademarks.

The Las Vegas wedding industry notes that the order will throw a decimating blow to their industry.

Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya added that the order “couldn’t have come at a worse time for the sector.”  The Las Vegas Wedding industry is a $2 billion a year business with a significant number of those involving Elvis themes.  “It might destroy a portion of our wedding industry. A number of people might lose their livelihood,” Goya said.

Graceland Wedding Chapel manager Rod Musum noted that they perform over six thousand Elvis themed weddings each year; adding that so far they have not received a cease and desist order.

Saying that they have, “no intention to shut down chapels that offer Elvis packages in Las Vegas”, the Authentic Brands Group said, “we are seeking to partner with each of these small businesses to ensure that their use of Elvis’ name, image and likeness are officially licensed and authorized by the estate, so they can continue their operations.  Elvis is embedded into the fabric of Las Vegas history.”

Authentic Brands Group oversees some 50 brands including Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali.

The cease and desist order does not apply to the live stage shows like “All Shook Up” since impersonations during a live show is an exception under Nevada state law.

Elvis impersonator Kent Ripley noted that in 25 years of performing as Elvis, he has never had an issue; adding, they want to protect the Elvis brand. But what are they protecting by taking Elvis away from the public?” Ripley asked.

Elvis Presley himself got married to Priscilla in Las Vegas in 1967.

Broadway Sing-A-Longs on Pride Weekend in NYC

June is Pride Month – the time the LGBTQ+ community celebrates and along with all of the parties and parades, Broadway is joining in on the celebration with a series of Sing-A-Long concerts from five Broadway Musicals.

In the heart of Broadway in Times Square June 24-26 the Pride in Times Square weekend will include stage and screen stars, special promotions, and lots of musical celebrations.  Beau and The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus will perform.  There is a panel discussion on the Tony nominated “A Strange Loop” is planned.  And Sing-A-Long concerts from “Head Over Heels”, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, ”Kinky Boots”, “Taboo”, and “The Prom”

The Playbill Pride Piano Bar returns with Sing for Hope; Austin Artists Project, JJ Maley, Joey Contreras, The Playbill Pride Mix Sing-Along, and Fowl Play will all perform.

Sing-A-Longs from “Fun Home”, “Girlfriend from Hell: The Musical”, and “La Cage aux Folles” are also planned.

The lock down is over and the restrictions have passed; Times Square is once again ready for the crowds to return and celebrate music and Pride month.

Playbill Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Alex Birsh spoke on the weekend’s events saying, “Playbill is extremely proud to take part in this celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community.  We are always honored to change our iconic yellow design to the Pride Flag colors, celebrating this expansive and important community. And this year, we are even more proud to celebrate Pride in our biggest way yet: a big party in Times Square. Playbill aims to be a leader in our community, and we look for this event to continue expanding our tradition of standing with and behind our LGBTQIA+ friends, family, and allies. Here’s to an amazing celebration with our partners, sponsors, and the entire Broadway community.”

Previously announced The Big Broadway Disco, Interactive Double Decker Buses, and the Playbills in Times Square will also be a part of the weekend’s events.

feature photo credit: Playbill Facebook page

Freaky Deaky Festival Returns

The Most Haunted Festival in America returns this Halloween in Baytown, Texas at the Houston Raceway  with the fourth Freaky Deaky Festival.

The Electronic Music festival runs October 29 and 30; it features dozens of musical artists including Steve Aoki, Kaskade, and Illenium.

Tickets go on sale June 1.  The campgrounds will be open again this year beginning October 28.

Disco Donnie reports that the four freaky stages – The Shrine, The Crypt, The Boneyard, and The Haunted Hollow will all be making a return to provide, “full scale production to the spookiest extent along with frequent appearances from the Mayor of Freakytown himself.”

The lineup for the 2022 Freaky Deaky Festival:
AC Slater
Arnold & Lane
Barnacle Boi B2B Deadcrow
Champagne Drip
Chapter & Verse
Chris Lake
Chris Lorenzo
Dirt Monkey B2B Jantsen
Gorgon city
John Summit
Level Up B2B Ace Aura
Liquid Stranger
LP Giobbi
LS Dream
Maddy O’Neal
Marten Horger
Martin Ikin
Marvel Years
Neonix B2B Syzy
Ranger Trucco
Shift K3Y
Space Wizard B2B Smith
Steve Aoki
TV Boo
Two Friends

feature photo credit: courtesy of Disco Donnie and the Freaky Deaky Festival

Live Prince Coming

It has been six years since “The Purple One” Prince passed on; but he will never be forgotten.

And while the estate has yet to release anything out of the massive vault that Prince left behind; fans will be able to listen to a concert from 1985 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

“Prince and the Revolution Live” is set for a June 3 release via digital streaming, a three LP vinyl set, a two CD edition, and a concert film on Blu-ray.

For the avid Prince fan there is a boxed featuring three coloured vinyl albums, two CDs, the Blu-ray video, a 44-page book that includes never before seen photos from the ”Purple Rain” tour.

The set list includes “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Delirious,” “1999,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Take Me Home,” “Let’s Pretend We’re Married,” “Computer Blue,” “When Doves Cry”, “I Would Die for U”, and “Purple Rain”.

And on June 9 “Prince: The Immersive Experience” opens in Chicago and features wardrobe, music influences and hits of the iconic rocker.

feature photo credit: Prince at Coachella crop.jpg

2022 Drama League Awards

Award season in Hollywood is over for the year, but award season on Broadway is just beginning.  On May 20 the 88th Annual Drama League Awards were presented.

Denee Benton and Andre De Shields hosted the annual event.

The Drama League Awards were first presented in 1922 and are the oldest theatrical awards in the United States.

Marianne Elliott, Kate Whoriskey, Sutton Foster, Hugh Jackman, “The Lehman Trilogy”, “A Strange Loop”, “Take Me Out”, and “Company” were among the winners.

Winners of the 2022 Drama League Awards:
Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater: Hugh Jackman
Founders Award for Excellence in Directing: Lileana Blain-Cruz
Contribution to the Theater Award: Billy Crystal
Gratitude Award: Willette Murphy Klausner
Outstanding Production of a Play: “The Lehman Trilogy”
Outstanding Revival of a Play: “Take Me Out”
Outstanding Production of a Musical: “A Strange Loop”
Outstanding Revival of a Musical: “Company”
Outstanding Direction of a Play: Kate Whoriskey for “Clyde’s”
Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Marianne Elliott for “Company”

2022 Billboard Music Award Winners – Complete List

While none of her award wins was presented during the live television broadcast, teen pop singer Olivia Rodrigo topped the list of award winners at the annual event with seven.  Over the past year and a half, Rodrigo has seen her hit song “driver’s license” covered by every singing hopeful auditioning for the latest reality singing competition.

Drake, Ye, Taylor Swift, BTS, Justin Bieber with The Kid LaRoi, and Doja Cat also took home multiple awards.

Winners of the Billboard Music Awards are selected based on record sales, streaming, downloads, and radio airplay.

Winners of the 2022 Billboard Music Awards:
Top Artist: Drake
Top New Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Male Artist: Drake
Top Female Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Duo or Group: BTS
Top Billboard 200 Artist: Taylor Swift
Top Hot 100 Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Streaming Songs Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Song Sales Artist: BTS
Top Radio Songs Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Billboard Global 200 Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Billboard Global Artist Outside of the U.S.: Ed Sheeran
Top Tour: The Rolling Stones No Filter Tour
Top R&B Artist: Doja Cat
Top Male R&B Artist: The Weeknd
Top Female R&B Artist: Doja Cat
Top R&B Tour: Bruno Mars
Top Rap Artist: Drake
Top Male Rap Artist: Drake
Top Female Rap Artist: Megan Thee Stallion
Top Rap Tour: Omarion & Bow Wow
Top Country Artist: Taylor Swift
Top Male Country Artist: Morgan Wallen
Top Female Country Artist: Taylor Swift
Top Duo or Group Country Artist: Dan + Shay
Top Country Tour: Eric Church
Top Rock Artist: Glass Animals
Top Rock Tour: The Rolling Stones No Filter Tour
Top Latin Artist: Bad Bunny
Top Male Latin Artist: Bad Bunny
Top Female Latin Artist: Kali Uchis
Top Latin Duo or Group: Eslabon Armado
Top Latin Tour: Los Bukis Una Historia Cantada Tour
Top Dance or Electronic Artist: Lady Gaga
Top Christian Artist: Ye
Top Gospel Artist: Ye
Top Billboard 200 Album: “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo
Top Soundtrack: “Encanto”
Top R&B Album: “Planet Her” by Doja Cat
Top Rap Album: “Certified Lover Boy” by Drake
Top Country Album: “Red” by Taylor Swift
Top Rock Album: “Scaled and Icy” by twenty one pilots
Top Latin Album: “KG0516” by Karol G
Top Dance or Electronic Album: “Fallen Embers” by Illenium
Top Christian Album: “Donda” by Ye
Top Gospel Album: “Donda” by Ye
Top Hot 100 Song: “Stay” by The Kid LaRoi and Justin Bieber
Top Singing Song: “Stay” by The Kid LaRoi and Justin Bieber
Top Selling Song: “Butter” by BTS
Top Radio Song: “Levitating” by Dua Lipa
Top Collaboration: “Stay” by The Kid LaRoi and Justin Bieber
Top Billboard Global 200 Song: “Stay” by The Kid LaRoi and Justin Bieber
Top Billboard Global Song Outside the U.S.: “Stay” by The Kid LaRoi and Justin Bieber
Top Viral Song: “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat with SZA
Top R&B Song: “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic
Top Rap Song: “Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X with Jack Harlow
Top Country Song: “Fancy Like” by Walker Hayes
Top Rock Song: “Beggin’” by Maneskin
Top Latin Song: “telepatia” by Kali Uchis
Top Dance or Electronic Song: “Cold Heart” PNAU Remix by Elton John and Dua Lipa
Top Christian Song: “Hurricane” by Ye
Top Gospel Song: “Hurricane” by Ye

While none of her award wins was presented during the live television broadcast, teen pop singer Olivia Rodrigo topped the list of award winners at the annual event with seven.  Over the past year and a half, Rodrigo has seen her hit song “driver’s license” covered by every singing hopeful auditioning for the latest reality singing competition.

Drake, Ye, Taylor Swift, BTS, Justin Bieber with The Kid LaRoi, and Doja Cat also took home multiple awards.

Winners of the Billboard Music Awards are selected based on record sales, streaming, downloads, and radio airplay.

Winners of the 2022 Billboard Music Awards:
Top Artist: Drake
Top New Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Male Artist: Drake
Top Female Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Duo or Group: BTS
Top Billboard 200 Artist: Taylor Swift
Top Hot 100 Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Streaming Songs Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Song Sales Artist: BTS
Top Radio Songs Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Billboard Global 200 Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Top Billboard Global Artist Outside of the U.S.: Ed Sheeran
Top Tour: The Rolling Stones No Filter Tour
Top R&B Artist: Doja Cat
Top Male R&B Artist: The Weeknd
Top Female R&B Artist: Doja Cat
Top R&B Tour: Bruno Mars
Top Rap Artist: Drake
Top Male Rap Artist: Drake
Top Female Rap Artist: Megan Thee Stallion
Top Rap Tour: Omarion & Bow Wow
Top Country Artist: Taylor Swift
Top Male Country Artist: Morgan Wallen
Top Female Country Artist: Taylor Swift
Top Duo or Group Country Artist: Dan + Shay
Top Country Tour: Eric Church
Top Rock Artist: Glass Animals
Top Rock Tour: The Rolling Stones No Filter Tour
Top Latin Artist: Bad Bunny
Top Male Latin Artist: Bad Bunny
Top Female Latin Artist: Kali Uchis
Top Latin Duo or Group: Eslabon Armado
Top Latin Tour: Los Bukis Una Historia Cantada Tour
Top Dance or Electronic Artist: Lady Gaga
Top Christian Artist: Ye
Top Gospel Artist: Ye
Top Billboard 200 Album: “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo
Top Soundtrack: “Encanto”
Top R&B Album: “Planet Her” by Doja Cat
Top Rap Album: “Certified Lover Boy” by Drake
Top Country Album: “Red” by Taylor Swift
Top Rock Album: “Scaled and Icy” by twenty one pilots
Top Latin Album: “KG0516” by Karol G
Top Dance or Electronic Album: “Fallen Embers” by Illenium
Top Christian Album: “Donda” by Ye
Top Gospel Album: “Donda” by Ye
Top Hot 100 Song: “Stay” by The Kid LaRoi and Justin Bieber
Top Singing Song: “Stay” by The Kid LaRoi and Justin Bieber
Top Selling Song: “Butter” by BTS
Top Radio Song: “Levitating” by Dua Lipa
Top Collaboration: “Stay” by The Kid LaRoi and Justin Bieber
Top Billboard Global 200 Song: “Stay” by The Kid LaRoi and Justin Bieber
Top Billboard Global Song Outside the U.S.: “Stay” by The Kid LaRoi and Justin Bieber
Top Viral Song: “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat with SZA
Top R&B Song: “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic
Top Rap Song: “Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X with Jack Harlow
Top Country Song: “Fancy Like” by Walker Hayes
Top Rock Song: “Beggin’” by Maneskin
Top Latin Song: “telepatia” by Kali Uchis
Top Dance or Electronic Song: “Cold Heart” PNAU Remix by Elton John and Dua Lipa
Top Christian Song: “Hurricane” by Ye
Top Gospel Song: “Hurricane” by Ye

2022 Billboard Music Awards

The Grammy Awards are determined by industry officials; while the American Music Awards are a fan voted award, but the Billboard Music Award winners are determined by record sales, radio airplay, and streaming.

The 2022 Billboard Music Awards returns with Diddy serving as host and opens the show with a performance.

From the MGM Grand, Diddy noted that he did not like award shows because they were boring but this year he is the executive producer and plans to make it a fun night…tapping into their inner seven year old.  Saying that he is returning to making music, Diddy called it his coming out party.  Diddy tells everyone that there will be no boring wins tonight but for everyone to tap into their winergy.

The first award of the night went to Doja Cat for Top Rap Artist of the Year.

Silk Sonic take the stage for a performance.

Country artist Laney Wilson presents the award for Top Rap Female Artist of the Year to Megan Thee Stallion who sat for several seconds with a very shocked look on her face before taking the stage.

Raoul Alexander takes the stage for a performance.

The award for Top Rock Artist went to Glass Animals.

Florence + the Machine give a performance.

The award for Top Country Duo or Group went to Dan + Shay.

Elle King and Miranda Lambert pair up for a performance of “Drunk and I Don’t Wanna Go Home”.  They are the first female duo to hit number one on the Billboard Country Chart in 30 years.

Saying they celebrate women who stand up, Diddy presented an award to Tomika Mallory for her work in social justice and freedom.  Noting that while they arrested the person who killed 10 people, they did not arrest the hate.

Platinum selling Rap artist Latto takes the stage to perform.

Top Dance or Electronic Album went to Illenium for “Fallen Embers”.  Ellenium noted that it was the first time he had won an award.

Country artist Morgan Wallen gives a performance.

Megan The Stallion performs.

Dan + Shay give a performance.

Glass Animals was presented with the first ever Pepsi Mic Drop award for their song “Heat Waves” that took 59 weeks from the time it entered the chart to reach the number one spot.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist and multiple Grammy Award winner Janet Jackson took the stage to present the 2022 Billboard Icon Music Award to May J Blige.  Blige has eleven Billboard Awards, nine Grammy Awards, and over 75 million albums sold.  H.E.R., Ellie Mai, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, and Taraji P. Henson were among those who spoke on Blige.  She is the first woman to be nominated for a music and acting award at the Academy Awards.  Blige spent several minutes thanking everyone beginning with God and ending with her fans.

Travis Scott gives a performance.

The Top Country Male Artist award went to Morgan Wallen.

Calling him the Crown Prince of Punk Rock, Diddy introduced Machine Gun Kelly who gave a performance. 

What began as fighting for awareness of a major clean water issue and turned into a major wave of activism, Miss Flint Mari Copeny was presented with the Billboard Change Award.  She is the first female and youngest person to receive the award.

On tour in Belfast, Norther Ireland, Ed Sheeran gives a performance before a packed arena.

The award for Top R&B Album went to Doja Cat for “Planet Her”.

Latin music star Becky G gives a performance.

In a 40th anniversary celebration, Maxwell pays tribute to Michael Jackson and “Thriller” with a performance of “Lady in My Life”.

Burna Boy closes out the night of music with a performance.

Niagara Falls Up Close

For over 150 years visitors to Niagara Falls have taken the boat ride to get a close up view of the three majestic waterfalls – the American, Bridal Veil, and Horseshoe – that make up Niagara Falls.

Over the years the boats have gone steam powered to diesel motors; but they always been called the Maid of the Mist; named for a maiden who jumped over the Falls to her death.

Last year the Maid of the Mist christened a new boat – an electric boat. The quieter motor allows visitors to experience the full power of the Falls. A longer boat, the Maid of the Mist boat on the American side now has a capacity of 600 poncho clad visitors for the ride that lasts about 30 minutes.

The view is spectacular and the trip is the ride of a lifetime!

The Maid of the Mist is a part of the attractions at Niagara Falls State Park – the oldest state park in the United States.