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Poppin’ at PIPPIN: Patina Miller Gets Engaged on Opening Night!

26 Apr

Yes, there was poppin’ at the PIPPIN party and Patina answered in the positive to the proposal!  And that’s a lot of plosives for one paragraph!

Patina Miller Gets Engaged!

Patina Miller Gets Engaged!

Patina Basking In the Glow of the Moment

Patina Basking In the Glow of the Moment

Patina Takes It In

Last night, as if the Opening Night of the Broadway revival of PIPPIN wasn’t exciting enough, “Leading Player” Patina Miller found that there was magic to do in the corner of SLATE Restaurant when in no time at all this extraordinary kind of woman spread a little sunshine among partygoers who witnessed the glory of boyfriend David Mars popping the question.  The simple joy of this love song captivated the hearts of everyone in attendance.

David Mars Pops the Question to Patina Miller

CLICK THE PICTURE BELOW FOR A LITTLE VIDEO MONTAGE OF THE JOY!

Patina and David 2

VIDEO: Click the pic above for a little video montage of the joy.

PIPPIN co-star Matthew James Thomas congratulates the happy couple.

PIPPIN co-star Matthew James Thomas congratulates the happy couple.

Matthew shares a hug with his co-star.Matthew shares a hug with his co-star.

PIPPIN stars Patina MIller & Matthew James Thomas

PIPPIN stars Patina MIller & Matthew James Thomas

Patina Miller, I was honored to be in the room with you for this special occasion!

VIDEO: Ken interviews Patina Miller earlier in the evening.

VIDEO: Ken interviews Patina Miller earlier in the evening.

I’ll bet Patina and David had morning glow when the sun came up today and am certain they’re on the right track to a lifetime of happiness.  Congratulations on the PIPPIN Poppin’!!

Patina and David take it all in.

Patina and David take it all in.

The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple

p.s.  Extra points if you noticed that this entire post is comprised of every song title from PIPPIN…what is a science to some is just an ordinary life for me.  🙂

At the PIPPIN Party

At the PIPPIN Party

 

 

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Nick Jonas: HOW TO SUCCEED on Broadway!

7 May

Nick Jonas and Ken backstage.

Recently I was lucky enough to revisit “How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying)” (see my Daniel Radcliffe & Cast post here).  This time, the part of “J. Pierrepont Finch” has been taken over by the terrifically-talented Nick Jonas of “Jonas Brothers” fame.

Nick as “J. Pierrepont Finch”

Nick is no stranger to Broadway, having first performed in A CHRISTMAS CAROL when he was 8-years old (following-up with performances in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, BEAUTY & THE BEAST and LES MIZ),  made his West End debut in 2010 performing the role of “Marius” in LES MIZ and in 2011 played “Link Larkin” in a Hollywood Bowl production of HAIRSPRAY.

Nick Jonas & Chris Sieber in “Beauty & the Beast”

Here are some video highlights of my interview with the youngest (19) of the wildly successful “Jonas Bros.” where Nick discusses topics ranging from his early training, advice and the age-appropriateness of his character, what it’s like to replace Daniel Radcliffe and his passion for singing and what’s next for the Jonas Brothers!  I even got Nick’s goose a bit when I suggested that the “Finch” character was a bit of a likable creep (I know, I know…Finch isn’t that bad except for the half-truth and deception stuff…but that’s why we love him!).  Nick was a pro and charming as we all hoped he’d be, and after seeing his performance, he proved to sing the part better than any “Finch”  I had previously seen (including myself ).

 

For theatrical clips aplenty, visit MTIShowspace.  For more information about HOW TO SUCCEED and theatrical licensing, visit Music Theatre International.  For more information or tickets to the Broadway production of HOW TO SUCCEED click here.

Nick Jonas: How To Succeed on Broadway

That’s Kentertainment!‘s Twitter and Facebook.

Is Carol Channing alive? YEEESSSSHHHH!

25 Aug

Carol and Ken: The Magic Castle 2009

OK, that’s a lousy post title, especially since many-a-Carol Channing impersonator over-exaggerates that aspect of Carol’s wonderfully unique voice and speech pattern (except Richard Skipper, who is not so much an “impersonator” but wholly (and respectfully) embodies the true Carol Channing experience).  But, back to the cliche but eye-catching title.  Earlier today the Associated Press, for some reason, put out the very erroneous story that Carol Channing had passed away.  Concerned, I called a few contacts and was overjoyed to find that the reports of Carol Channing’s death had been greatly exaggerated (thank you Mark Twain.  By the way, did you know Mark Twain was kind of a stud?).

Carol's still kickin'!

Carol & Ken share a holiday laugh.

In any case, among the folks I spoke with today was my pal Larry Ferguson who is in the finishing stages of production of Carol Channing’s new patriotic CD, “True to the Red, White & Blue” (isn’t that a great title! I love it.).  Carol’s new CD (tentatively due in stores around Veteran’s Day 2011) features some old American chestnuts like “Over There”, “God Bless America” & “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, a couple sacred songs like, “Amazing Grace”, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” (a personal favorite) and even “St. Louis Blues” (for which Carol has quite the accompanying story as to why she includes this track).  Also featured is a new version of Carol’s signature tune from HELLO, DOLLY!: “Before the Parade Passes By”.  Carol has sung this song so many times over the years and it will be great to hear a new take on this classic.  Below, you can even hear a live version from one of my annual “Christmas Carol” episodes of “That’s Kentertainment!” (you just have to get through the surreal pseudo-Peanuts Christmas-Ken-Id-Ego opening bit…another personal favorite).  🙂

Speaking of surreal, here’s a quick clip of Carol Channing “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” – an except of a longer opening number from my “8th Annual Christmas Carol” from 2009.  I adore Carol and her terrific sense of humor.

Click here to see Carol "Gettin' Jiggy With It"!

So there ya have it.  Carol Channing is alive & well and ready to roll out her new CD.  At 90 years of age, this is not only impressive but also makes one ponder:  “What did I do today?”  Well, besides write this post.  🙂

p.s.  Richard Skipper started a petition to get Carol Channing a well-deserved Kennedy Center Honor.  Carol Channing is an American original.  As someone once said, “If Carol Channing didn’t exist, you couldn’t make her up.”  Her legendary stage, screen and television performances plus her tireless crusade & numerous benefit appearances to bring Arts Education back to schools are inspiring to all.  Click here to sign the petition.

Carol & Ken film the 2010 That's Kentertainment! "Christmas Carol"

The Uproarious and Exquisitely Divine Sister

3 Apr

Friday evening I saw the legendary and ambrosial Charles Busch in the uproarious Off-Broadway confection, “The Divine Sister“, also written by Mr. Busch.  This was my second visit to St. Veronica’s, the convent in which Mother Superior (Busch) and Sister Acacius (played by the always-inspiring and hysterical Julie Halston) reside. Possibly the best-written and performed play currently Off-Broadway (and Broadway, come to think of it), “The Divine Sister”  will make you laugh until all demons within are spewn-out onto the streets of New York City, or more specifically 15 Vandam Street where the show is playing until May 1 at the Soho Playhouse).  The other cast members are celestial as well:  Amy Rutberg who is giddily-glorious as Agnes (the young postulant who has healing powers and sees visions),  Jonathan Walker (who does a surprisingly accurate impersonation of fellow castmember Julie Halston…you just gotta see it to know what I’m talkin’ about)  in the dual-roles of  Jeremy & Brother Venerius, Jennifer Van Dyck (who I have adored since her stint on “The Days & Nights of Molly Dodd” and who is transcendent  in dual-roles as Mrs. Levinson & Timothy), and the immaculately marvelous Alison Fraser as both Sister Walburga (wait til you hear that dialect!) and Mrs. Macduffie (come to think of it, wait til you hear THAT dialect too…Ms. Fraser’s performance is truly heavenly.)  How about that for a run-on sentence!

The Divine "The Divine Sister" Cast

Here is how “The Divine Sister” is described in the press release: 

The Divine Sister is an outrageous comic homage to nearly every Hollywood film involving nuns. Evoking such films as ‘The Song of Bernadette,’ ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s,’ ‘The Singing Nun’ and ‘Agnes of God,’ The Divine Sister tells the story of St. Veronica’s indomitable Mother Superior (author Charles Busch) who is determined to build a new school for her Pittsburgh convent. Along the way, she has to deal with a young postulant who is experiencing ‘visions,’ sexual hysteria among her nuns, a sensitive schoolboy in need of mentoring, a mysterious nun visiting from the Mother House in Berlin, and a former suitor intent on luring her away from her vows.” It’s a “madcap trip through Hollywood religiosity” that “evokes the wildly comic but affectionately observed theatrical style of the creator of Die, Mommie, Die! and Psycho Beach Party.”

 

The Sisters take you on a ride too!

Nectarous Charles Busch as "Mother Superior"

 

Charles Busch is equally masterful in his humorous yet moving post-show Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS speech, which as you know, makes one want to contribute even more to this worthy cause (as well as the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic which the donations also support). 

 

The (holy) spirit of the show SO moved me that immediately afterwards I found myself in the Gramercy Park area at a church auditorium school dance (FOR REAL!  Don’t ask.). 

Neither a student nor a chaperone...

 I’m not quite as hep as I used to be when it comes to the latest dance crazes, but I did manage to teach the kids a mean “Bottle Dance” from “Fiddler on the Roof“. 

However, when it was discovered that I BYOB’d with a different kind of Busch for the aforementioned dance number, I quickly hightailed it out of there and skipped back to the streets of NYC where I feel most comfortable (or at least I keep telling myself that as I am 4 months behind on my rent and anticipate a happy future with all the urchins of the street who I know will welcome me with open arms and possibly even open cans of half-eaten tuna.  How’s THAT for another run-on sentence!)  But, lest I digress, “The Divine Sister” is truly one to check out and I URGE you to see it before it closes or you find yourself homeless, whichever comes first.

"That's Kentertainment!" interviews Charles Busch.

Daniel Radcliffe “Succeeds” on Broadway (Video Highlights)

30 Mar

OK, not the most original title but it gets the job done…as does Daniel Radcliffe, who makes a smashing musical comedy debut in the 50th Anniversary production of  “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying“, Frank Loesser’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece from 1961.

Daniel Radcliffe knows how to succeed.

Below I’ll post some clips (just click on the pix) from the March 27, 2011 opening night where I conducted interviews for the licensing house for “How to Succeed”, Music Theatre International.  Interestingly enough, MTI (the largest music theatre licensing company in the world) was founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser (and orchestrator Don Walker) and is now run by Chairman Freddie Gershon and President Drew Cohen.  Keep checking back as I’ll keep adding more clips and highlights to the mix:  H2S PLAYLIST.  (For more info, video clips, theatrical resources & more, visit MTI Showspace.)

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Interview Clip 1

Grand Old Ivy Jump

Video: Faber has a “long day” with Rose & Daniel

Daniel Radcliffe (a.k.a The Most Happy Fella in NYC) meets Liza Minnelli

28 Mar

Earlier this evening, I covered the opening night of the latest Broadway revival of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS (WITHOUT REALLY TRYING), the classic Pulitzer-Prize winning musical written by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser.   I was fortunate enough to interview members of the cast including the uber-charming Daniel Radcliffe (of HARRY POTTER fame),  John Larroquette (of NIGHT COURT fame), Christopher J. Hanke (as Bud Frump), Rose Hemingway (as Rosemary Pilkington) and the luminious-yet-hysterically funny Tammy Blanchard (as Hedy LaRue).  Seriously, all Tammy Blanchard has to do is step on stage, make a knowing grin or even open an envelope and she is a bona-fide scene stealer every stolen step of the way.  It’s a THRILL to see someone as confident and game as Ms. Blanchard but also equally thrilling to see Daniel Radcliffe having the time of his life on stage.  These two performers reinforced my hopes and dreams for a better Broadway-experience through sheer talent and life-force (and a great book and score don’t hurt none neither!). 

Daniel Radcliffe: Seriously happy.

BUT- this isn’t a review of the show.  I just babbled a bit to express my thanks (to the Theatre Gods or whomever may be responsible) for some fine talents hittin’ the boards.  What I meant to do is post a few pix of the moment Daniel Radcliffe met Liza Minnelli.  If he wasn’t already fully-charged after soaring in his opening night performance, the addition of Liza to the after-party proceedings seemed to make Daniel Radcliffe the happiest boy in New York City.  Actually, the happiest man, since he’s already 21.  Oh heck- let’s just go there and say that Daniel Radcliffe is the most happy fella in NYC (if you don’t get that Frank Loesser reference, you need to do some homework!).

Thank you to Jason Cochran for being cameraguy-extraordinaire for the evening and capturing these most-happy-moments on film.

UPDATE:  Jason Cochran wrote a terrific post offering his perspective from behind the camera for the evening,  You can read it here. 

Also, click here for interviews and video highlights from the opening night.

 

 

Ken&Jason: HOW TO SUCCEED Opening Night

Audio Interview: “The Other Steve & Edie” visit “The Kentertainment Report”!

4 Feb

Wednesdays at 12:15pm you can usually find me at the Sirius/XM Radio Studios in Midtown Manhattan doing my (mostly)-weekly “Kentertainment Report”.  This takes place during “The Frank DeCaro Show“, which is hosted by comedian/author/host Frank DeCaro (natch) and his ever-suffering sidekick (and producer) Doria Biddle.  Here’s a picture of us at the Sirius/XM Studios in West Hollywood, CA., taken August 8, 2007- the first day I met Doria in person.

Doria, Frank & Ken, together again…for the first time. And not in that order.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I generally dish on the latest Broadway, theatre and showbiz happenings around the US and environs, but also am lucky enough to interview special guests (recently folks like Donna McKechnie, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Sieber, etc.).  This Wednesday Frank and Doria celebrated 7 years together on the air, and as an anniversary gift, I brought in a couple of fantabulous talents as a surprise: Stephen Wallem and Edie Falco (both currently in Showtime’s NURSE JACKIE) a.k.a “The Other Steve and Edie”.  How’s that for a title?  I LOVE THAT THEY THOUGHT THAT UP!  And they even have a few upcoming cabaret dates to show it off.

The Other Steve and Edie. How clever is that?!

 
They will be performing at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC this weekend, February 4, 5 & 6.  (I hear that all the shows are now currently sold-out but there is a waiting-list.)  When asked what the audience could expect, they were mostly mum on the merriment (Edie: “I’m not saying…partially because I really don’t know…We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do on Friday!”) but the Laurie Beechman website has this description:  The Other Steve and Edie is conceived by Mr. Wallem and Ms. Falco, with musical direction by three-time After Dark Award winner, Beckie Menzie and Direction by Tony Humrichouser. Throughout the show, the duo will take on songs from contemporary pop to jazz standards, with a healthy dose of show tunes and original material, and even a salute to the other Steve and Eydie.   Sounds good to me! 
                                          
I first met Stephen years ago when we both lived in Chicago and he was performing in his highly-acclaimed show, “Off the Wallem” (how ’bout that guy and his killer titles?!!) and Edie I know as much (or even more) for her stunning theatre work (SIDE MAN, FRANKIE & JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE, ‘NIGHT MOTHER, etc.) as I do for her award-winning TV work (SOPRANOS, NURSE JACKIE, etc.).  These two are so sweet, immensely-talented and overall good sports…this interview came together at the last minute and Steve and Edie were game enough to come out in the slushy snow, run around the various floors of the studio building, check and re-check in with security (none of whom at that time knew me as I’m usually on an hour earlier which made Edie jokingly [?] wonder if I actually did a radio segment there) and were barely settled into their chairs when they found themselves live on the air.  I found it all to be a hoot and they did too.  Back in Chicago, the wonderful actor Charles Durning told me that the most talented people in showbiz are also the nicest and most down-to-earth because they have nothing to prove and nothing to hide…their talent speaks for them.  I have always remembered this and it has always proven to be true…and this case is no exception.  I hope you enjoy the interview.  Below is a link to the audio track with some pictures thrown in (in case you like your audio a little more “visual”).

 

Ken with Edie Falco & Stephen Wallem.