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Baltimore/Washington Backstage-June 23, 2006

It's television time for non-Tony Award nominated "Tarzan". The Disney produced Broadway musical was conspicuously absent from the Tony Award presentation (nominated for only for lighting). Well, the Disney publicists are working overtime and you will FINALLY get a chance to see what this is all about…maybe. You certainly did not get much of the show from two appearances on Friday morning. Both "The Today Show" and "The View" featured composer/singer Phil Collins and Josh Strickland (playing the starring role) but it was mainly Collins who was interviewed and performing. Where was the adorable Jenn Gambatese who plays Jane? You can watch the performance on "The Today Show" at You can view Collins singing "You Can't Hurry Love", "True Colors", and a medley from "Tarzan" with Josh Strickland singnig "You'll Be in My Heart" and "'Who Better Than Me".

 You'll get two more chances. Tuesday, June 27, the day the CD will be released, catch them on the CBS' "Early Show" and on Saturday, August 5 on NBC's "Weekend Today".

Speaking of the CD, those who pre-order it by June 27 (at will also get a digital scrapbook featuring backstage "Tarzan" photos and one additional song from each of "The Lion King", "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aida". The CD includes 18 tracks from the show and a bonus track of Collins singing "Everything That I Am". You can also pre-order the CD from or You can also check out the show at

There will be plenty of fireworks in Central Park on Monday night, June 26. For the first time, the annual "Target Presents Broadway Under the Stars" concert will be held in this great location (enter the park at West 81st St. at Central Park West or East 70th Street at Fifth Avenue.

Jim Calhoun (Big River) will direct the 8 p.m. concert which is paying tribute to Hal Prince. Performers include Carolee Carmello, Michael Cerveris (who should have won the Tony for his incredible performance in "Sweeney"), John Cullum, Christine Ebersole, Manoel Felciano, Sutton Foster, Shuler Hensley, Brian d'Arcy James, Jane Krakowski, Rebecca Luker, Donna McKechnie, Matthew Morrison, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelli O'Hara, Anika Noni Rose, Elaine Stritch, and four members of the cast of "Jersey Boys" (including Michael Longoria, the terrific understudy for the role of Frankie Valli) doing a Four Seasons twist on "All I Ask of You" from "Phantom". Fireworks will follow. For more info, check out

 If you live in NYC or have a friend who lives there, WCBS will broadcast a one-hour highlights version on Saturday night, July 15 @ 7 p.m. I would hope in the future networks like A&E or Bravo would one day broadcast these shows nationally so we all could see them. So, I ask you ALL to call them or write them!!! Why should ONLY New Yorkers get this. After all, they can go see these shows in person.

A&E's "Breakfast with the Arts" is on hiatus. But I will try to keep you in touch with some good repeat segments. This Sunday morning (8-10 a.m.) will feature Michael Crawford who will reminisce about "Phantom" from its inception to an international mega hit…soon to open in Las Vegas. There is also a nice segment on the Irish sensation, Enya.

MPT's wonderful "Artworks This Week" has a great interview with Michael Kahn, Artistic Director of the DC's Shakespeare Theatre Company, and you'll see some amazing scenes from their spectacular 1960 India version of "Love's Labor's Lost". This will air Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and Monday morning at 5:30 a.m. (set your VCR's). This is one show I don't want to miss. It plays until July 30. 877-487-8849.

Also on this edition, there is a lovely segment on "Opera Night" at Baltimore's terrific Italian restaurant, "Sotto Sopra" located at 405 N. Charles St. May I suggest you attend the next opportunity, Sunday night, June 25 at 5:30 p.m. where you will get a six-course meal with live opera music with some of the best opera performers in the B/W area. Call 410-625-0534 for reservations. Let me know what you think.

Before you head to "Sotto Sopra", you can attend the final performance of the Everyman's wonderful production of "Candida" which is at 2:30 p.m. Vince Lancisi directs a terrific cast and they do a splendid job with this Shavian comedy. 410-752-2208. What a double-header this could be. Shaw, opera, and Italian food.

It was really a terrific season. Do you remember how it began? The terrific "Last Five Years" by Jason Robert Brown. Well, LFY will be premiering in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory beginning July 18 till Sept. 30 with the hope to transfer to the West End like this theater did with their production of "Sunday in the Park with George". Go to Check out their shows for next season at

Also ending this week-end, Theatre Hopkins presentation of "Travesties" by Tom Stoppard. 410-516-7159. The Spotlighters continues with "Southern Baptist Sissies". Read my colleague James Howard's great review and interesting interviews with the cast on this web site and it also outlines how you can see this show for only $10 with a promotion. (Hint: just mention when you make your reservation!). Call 410-752-1225.

Do not miss "The Full Monty" at the Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre at Essex Community College. What a delight! You only have two more week-ends. Also at CIC, beginning tonight is "Plaza Suite" in the Cabaret Theatre, a lovely intimate in-the-round venue. 410-780-6369.

The Vagabond Players continues with "On Borrowed Time" by Paul Osbourne till July 9. 410-563-9135.

 Opening this week-end is the Maryland Arts' Festival's "Beehive: The '60's Musical" at the Kaplan Concert Hall at Towson University. Ends July 16. Next Friday is opening night for "Gypsy" directed by Todd Pearthree until July 22 on the Mainstage Theatre. Could see both in one day!! My kind of double-header. Call 410-704-2787 or

 If you really want something different to do and go to a theater maybe you have never been to where I guarantee you will have a terrific time? Head to Olney this summer. The Olney Theatre Center has an INCREDIBLE line-up on entertainment starting this week-end with "Hedda Gabler" playing in the Theater Lab until July 23. What about a little Shakespeare? For FREE!!! Yes, Free!!! "Much Ado About Nothing" is being presented by the National Players till July 2. Are you looking for something different to do on July 3rd that does not include expensive BSO Oregon Ridge tickets and massive traffic jams or the NSO in front of the Capital with hordes of sweaty tourists? How about heading to the OTC to see the great musical "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris" with Pay-What-You-Can admission. I never get tired of this show. I'm looking forward to seeing J.D. Goldblatt who many of you recall from the marvelous Center Stage production of "Once on This Island" and recently performed in "Jelly's Last Jam" at The ALLIANCE THEATRE Company in Atlanta. JB runs until July 30. Coming July 20-August 27 is "Enemy of the People". 301-924-4485 or

 If you are lucky…tickets may be available for the Signature Theatre's well-received "Assasins". 800-955-5566 or It has been extended twice.

 "Spamalot" is still packing them in at the National. Running through July 9. 800-447-7400.

Opening this week-end is "Blood Brothers" at Just Left of Broadway Dinner Theatre. This will play until Aug. 6. Call 410-391-5557.

If you have NEVER seen "Urinetown, the Musical", thanks to the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre (outdoors) you have another chance. Opening night is Jun 30 and it goes till July 29. 410-268-9212 or

 In James Howard's "Charm City" column he recommended the CD of the new Broadway musical "The Wedding Singer". James, honest, I had planned to recommend a CD this week as well BEFORE I read your recommendation. My recommendation is "Brian Stokes Mitchell". This new recording is the very first on Playbill Records. I am a huge fan of "Stokes" and you will be very surprised by this collection of songs. This is NOT "Kiss Me Kate", "Ragtime", or even "La Mancha". This is a different Stokes, with a huge a great jazz ensemble of instruments behind him with new arrangements of some classic songs. I love his "Something's Coming". "Pretty Women" is nothing like his incredible performance as Sweeney at the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration. He does "Being Alive", "Losing My Mind" but my favorite is a combination of "Take the A Train" with "Another Hundred People". Very clever and it works. I saw this rendition on "The Today Show" a while back (which had shots of his beautiful wife and child). For those lucky enough to have seen him at the Center Stage gala two years ago, you had a sneak preview of this CD. Let me know what YOU think. Thanks to BWW TV you can see the latest edition of the Broadway television show "Broadway Beat" on this web site. You are now able to see all of their episodes throught "state of the art"video streaming. This week's edition featured "Jersey Boys" and a nice ten minute segment on the new Brian Stokes Mitchell CD. You will get a chance to see Stokes in the recording studio and get a sneek peak at his artistry.

Special Recommendation: On Wednesday, June 28, do NOT miss pianist Ben Folds with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Columbia's Merriweather Post Pavilion. I saw his concert with the BSO at the Meyerhoff earlier this year and it was incredible. If you can't go, pick up the DVD of him performing with the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra. Call 410-547-SEAT or This is a concert NOT TO BE MISSED!!! Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Concert is at 8 p.m.

For comments write to me at


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