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2021 The Ones We Mourn

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Nick Cordero

We lost so many this year who were legends, change the world in which we live and left impressions on our hearts and world. There are many I left out and for that I am sorry, as this list is already extensive.

Baseball’s home run king Hank Aaron held 23 major league records including 755 home runs during his long career for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves. Elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, Aaron played in 25 All-Star games and won MVP in 1957 and the National League batting title in 1956. Despite racist hate mail and death threats, Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974, was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers and then broke Ruth’s RBI record. Aaron died on Jan. 22, at the age of 86. 

Ed Asner

Ed Asner was a prolific character actor whose career spanned decades. He is most known for his role as Lou Grant, a newspaper editor on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which earned him several Emmys and a spinoff show, “Lou Grant.” Originally from Kansas City, Asner had over 300 acting credits and was no stranger to controversy. In 1982, Asner spoke out about U.S. involvement in Latin America and published a book in 2017 called “The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs.” Asner’s passing was announced on Twitter by his family.

Ned Beatty, a versatile and prolific actor of stage and screen, had countless supporting roles, including his Oscar-nominated appearance in “Network.” Born in Kentucky, his breakthrough role was in the backwoods nightmare film, “Deliverance.” His ability to play a wide range of characters, from Lex Luthor’s bumbling assistant Otis in “Superman” to Florida investigator Martin Dardis in “All the President’s Men,” kept him busy for decades. Beatty, who died on June 13, was also an Emmy-nominated TV actor.

Actor Chadwick Boseman was born in South Carolina in 1976. He studied directing at Howard University before attending a theater program at Oxford. He appeared in a series of television shows before playing Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film, “42.” He portrayed the Marvel character Black Panther in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” two years before the release of the blockbuster film “Black Panther,” one of the highest grossing films of all time. His death was announced on Aug. 28. He was 43.

Basketball player Kobe Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Considered to be one of the best players of all time, Bryant was drafted into the NBA straight out of high school. He would go on to win five NBA championships. 

Wilford Brimley’s first film role was in “True Grit” in 1969. His other movies include “The Natural,” “Cocoon” and “The Firm.” He starred in the television show “Our House” and had a recurring role in “The Waltons.” He was a guest star on “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “Seinfeld.” Brimley was also well known for his work in commercials for Quaker Oats and Liberty Medical. Wilford Brimley died in St. George, Utah, on Aug. 2, 2020, at the age of 85.

Pierre Cardin, revolutionary fashion designer who turned the fashion world upside down, creating for the masses when couture was aimed at the rich. His futuristic, ready-to-wear clothing and product lines were ahead of their time, influenced by geometric shapes and materials that made them more architectural. Born in Italy, but raised in France, his designs were worn all over the world – from Russia to Japan – and by celebrities from Lauren Bacall to the Beatles. 

Bulgarian-born artist Christo Vladimirov Yavachev, simply known as Christo, was known internationally for his massive ambitious public arts projects. He died at home in New York City on May 31, 2020. He was 84.

Jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea poses for a portrait in Clearwater, Fla., on Sept. 4, 2020, to promote his new double album “Plays,” available on Friday Sept. 11. (Mike Carlson/Invision/AP)

Jazz pianist Chick Corea released his debut album, “Tones For Joan’s Bones,” in 1968. He played with Miles Davis on the groundbreaking work “In A Silent Way.” In 1971, he began his successful solo career. When COVID-19 struck, he started playing and answering questions on Facebook livestreams. An enthusiastic response led him to start an online music school, the Chick Corea Academy, on May 14, 2020. He won 23 Grammy Awards and was nominated 67 times. Corea could posthumously win two more awards at this year’s Grammys. Chick Corea died on Feb. 9, at the age of 79.

Sean Connery,

Actor Sir Sean Connery, best known for his iconic portrayal of James Bond, died on Oct. 31 at the age of 90. The Scottish actor’s career spanned seven decades and he won an Oscar for his role in the 1987 film, “The Untouchables.” Connery was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 and was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” when he was 59 years old.

Actor Robert Conrad, most recognized for his work on the 1960’s television shows “Wild Wild West” and “Hawaiian Eye” continued acting in a career that lasted for over 40 years. He won a People’s Choice Award in 1977 and was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1978 for his work on “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” He died on February 8.

Nick Cordero, from Hamilton, Ontario, made his Broadway debut in 2012 in the show “Rock of Ages.” Two years later, he earned a Tony Award nomination for his work in “Bullets Over Broadway.” He also appeared in such television shows as “Blue Bloods” and “Law And Order: Special Victims Unit.” Most recently, he was performing in the West Coast production of “Rock Of Ages” in Los Angeles. On March 31, he was admitted to the hospital with what was later diagnosed as complications from COVID-19.

Ben Cross, a veteran actor who starred in the 1981 Academy Award-winning film for best picture, “Chariots of Fire,” and “Star Trek,” died after a brief illness on Aug. 18, 2020. He was 72.

Charlie Daniels moved to Nashville in 1967 and worked as a session musician, notably backing Bob Dylan for 1969’s “Nashville Skyline.” A few years later he formed the Charlie Daniels Band and in 1979, the group topped the charts with his song “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” winning three CMA awards and a Grammy for best country vocal. He was nominated for five more Grammy Awards from 1980 to 2005. In 2008, he was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, and in 2016 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame. He passed away in Hermitage, Tenn., on July 6.

Leslie Ann Warren and Stuart Damon

Stuart Damon soap opera star Stuart Damon passed away on June 29 at the age of 84. Damon, who played Dr. Alan Quartermaine on “General Hospital,” had suffered from renal failure for several years. He was also the prince in Cinderella opposite Leslie Ann Warren.

Actress Olivia de Havilland is best known for her role as Melanie Hamilton in “Gone With the Wind.” The two-time Academy Award winner appeared in several films opposite Errol Flynn, including “The Adventures of Robin Hood” and “Captain Blood,” as well as appearing in TV shows. De Havilland’s known rivalry with sister Joan Fontaine is something of a Hollywood legend, however the pair are the only siblings to win best actress Academy Awards. 

Bobby DeLeon an extraordinary international musical director, arranger, and pianist who played entirely by ear! Bobby conducted shows for some of the most prominent Philippine performers, both in the United States and overseas. He was a frequently sought-after as a pianist for some of New York City’s top fine dining establishments, with Tony Bennett calling him his favorite performer.

Brian Dennehy

Actor Brian Dennehy started his acting career on television in the 1970s, with guest roles on shows like “Kojak,” “M*A*S*H,” and “Dallas,” but he later became famous on the big screen in films like “Tommy Boy,” “Cocoon,” and his breakout role of Sheriff Teasle in the 1982 Rambo film, “First Blood.” In 1999 and 2003 he won Tony awards for his work in Broadway revivals of “Death of a Salesman” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” He died on April 15 at the age of 81.

Joan Didion, the revered author and essayist died at her home in New York City on Dec. 23, 2021 of Parkinson’s disease, according to her publisher. She was 87.

Dustin Diamond was best known for playing the role of Samuel Powers (Screech) in the hit television show “Saved By The Bell.” For 13 years, he acted in the franchise, including four seasons of the original show and several spin-offs. Diamond also appeared in such films as “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” and “American Pie Presents: The Book of Love.” He died at the age of 44 on Feb. 1.

David Dinkins was New York City’s first Black mayor in 1990. A barber’s son, Dinkins made his way through city politics and was elected during a period of high crime, unemployment, big budget deficits and racial strife. Facing major problems and criticized for not doing enough, he served only one term. In later years, he received more credit for his accomplishments. He taught at Columbia University and hosted a radio talk show. Dinkins died Nov. 23 at the age of 93.

Richard Donner, director of such films as “The Goonies” and “Superman,” has died. Donner’s breakthrough movie was “The Omen” in 1976. He followed that two years later with the hit movie “Superman.” In 1987 he directed “Lethal Weapon,” the first in a very successful four-movie franchise. In 2017, the Academy held a special tribute in his honor. Donner was also an animal rights advocate, rescuing several dogs and fighting against the captivity of killer whales. Richard Donner died on July 5 in Los Angeles at the age of 91.

In a career that spanned decades, Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas starred in dozens of movies including “Spartacus” and “Lust for Life.” He received an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts, among numerous accolades. No stranger to controversy, Douglas played a key role in dissolving the so-called “Hollywood blacklist” during the McCarthy era in the 1950’s and remained active in humanitarian causes. Douglas died at this home in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 5.

Hugh Downs, a familiar face and voice to American tv viewers for decades, got his start in journalism on radio in Ohio at age 18. After serving in the Army in WWII, he joined NBC. Downs helped launch “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar in 1957, became the host of the game show “Concentration”, co-host of the NBC News “Today” show and then went on to anchor the ABC News magazine 20/20.

MOONSTRUCK, Olympia Dukakis, 1987. (c) MGM/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Veteran actress Olympia Dukakis won an Oscar in 1988 for her supporting role in the movie “Moonstruck.” Beloved for her comedic warmth in films such as “Steel Magnolias” and “Look Who’s Talking,” Dukakis was also renowned for her support of the LGBTQI community. Her role as transgender character Anna Madrigal was groundbreaking when she originated it in the miniseries “Tale of the City” based on the novels by Armistead Maupin in 1993 and its sequels that continued until 2019. Olympia Dukakis’ death was announced on May 1. She was 89.

John Pizzarelli & Harvey Evans

Harvey Evans, an actor, singer and dancer who had a knack for landing roles in the original Broadway productions of such classics as “West Side Story,” “Follies,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Gypsy,” has died. Evans died Christmas Eve at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey. He was 80.

Don Everly, of the music duo the Everly Brothers, influenced a generation of rock music from the 1950s to early 1960s with country-infused harmonies. The Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, had 19 top 40 hits in their career, including “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love” and “Let it Be Me.” They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Don Everly died at his home in Nashville, Tenn. on Aug. 22, according to his attorney Linda Edell Howard. He was 84.

Actress Conchata Ferrell’s career spanned decades. She starred in several television shows and movies during the 1980s, and was nominated for her first Emmy for “L.A. Law.” However, her most notable role was as Charlie Sheen’s housekeeper in the sitcom “Two and a Half Men,” a role she played for 12 seasons and which earned her another two Primetime Emmy nominations. 


Sitcom veteran Arlene Golonka passed away on May 31 at the age of 85. The Chicago native, known for portraying Millie Swanson in the 1968 to 1971 series “Mayberry R.F.D.,” had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, her niece told Variety.

Willie Garson, who played Stanford Blatch on TV’s “Sex and the City” and its movie sequels, died on Sept. 21, his son announced. He was 57. Garson made hundreds of appearances on TV and in films. He had recurring roles on “Hawaii FIve-O,” “NYPD Blue” and “Supergirl” as well playing Mozzie, a con man on “White Collar.” He was also an adoption advocate and wrote that the day he adopted his son was the “Best day of my life. Always.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice and champion for women’s rights, has died at the age of 87. Ginsburg was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She was the second woman to sit on the high court, joining Sandra Day O’Connor, and went on to become its longest-serving woman in history and the first female Jewish justice. 

Actor and writer Charles Grodin was best known for his comedy work in films such as “Heaven Can Wait,” “Midnight Run” and the “Beethoven” movies, where he played opposite a large St. Bernard. He also published several plays and a number of memoirs and collections of humorous observations. In 1978 he won an Emmy Award for his writing on a Paul Simon special and in 1994 he won an American Comedy Award for his supporting role in the Ivan Reitman film “Dave.” He died on May 18 at the age of 86.

TV actor Robert Hogan, best known for his roles on “Peyton Place,” “Law & Order” and HBO’s “The Wire,” died on May 27 after complications from pneumonia. Hogan, who was 87 years old at the time of his death, had been diagnosed with vascular Alzheimer’s in 2013.

Actor Hal Holbrook had a long career in movies, TV and onstage, playing a variety of characters including Deep Throat in the movie adaptation of “All the President’s Men.” But it was his portrayal of Mark Twain that earned him a Tony and became his signature role, playing the writer in one-man shows for decades. He earned five Emmys and 12 nominations for his television work and was nominated for an Oscar at age 82 for “Into the Wild.” Holbrook died on Jan. 23, at the age of 95.

Ian Holm, the British actor whose long career included roles in “Chariots of Fire” and “The Lord of the Rings,” has died from a Parkinson’s related illness. He was 88. 

Roy Horn was part of the German-American performance duo Siegfried & Roy. The entertainers were known for their use of white lions and tigers in their shows. Their decade-long show in Las Vegas would become one of the most visited shows on the strip. Horn died from complications from COVID-19 in Las Vegas, May 8. He was 75.

Legendary Green Bay Packer Paul Hornung was the NFL MVP in 1961 and played on four championship teams. “The Golden Boy” won the 1956 Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame. Hornung died in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., Nov. 13, 2020, after a long battle with dementia. He was 84. 

Entrepreneur Tony Hsieh was the CEO of Zappos from 1999 until he retired in August 2020. He also worked to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas, where Zappos headquarters are located. Hsieh was injured in a house fire in New London, Conn., on Nov. 18, 2020, and succumbed to those injuries on Nov. 27. 

Comedian, actor, director, writer and historian Terry Jones is best known for his work with Monty Python. This includes starring in and co-directing “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” with Terry Gilliam and directing “Life of Brian” and “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.”

The death of iconic interviewer and host Larry King was announced on Jan. 23. The award-winning newsman, who famously sat down with presidents, celebrities, and foreign dignitaries, was known for his gravel baritone, signature suspenders and straight-forward questions, a style honed over the course of tens of thousands of interviews on the radio and television.

Larry Kramer

Pioneering gay rights activist and author, Larry Kramer, spearheaded the HIV/AIDS movement. His outspoken candor, sit-ins and protests in the streets, inspired him to write the screenplay, “The Normal Heart,” which looked at the early years of the AIDS pandemic and his campaign to get politicians to do something for gay men’s rights. The screenplay won a Tony award in 2011 during its revival and was turned into a made-for-TV movie.

David L. Lander brought the character of Andrew “Squiggy” Squiggman to life through all 8 seasons of “Laverne & Shirley,” a character he developed with his longtime comedic partner Michael McKean, whom he met at Carnegie Melon University. Once the show ended Landers made several guest appearances and movies before being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. On Dec. 3, 2020, Landers lost his decades-long battle with MS surrounded by family. He was 73. 

fficer with the British Foreign Service. Inspired by his work with spies behind the Iron Curtain, he began writing Cold War spy novels and developed the iconic character George Smiley. His post-Cold War novels included “The Night Manager” and “The Constant Gardener.” Many of his stories were adapted for TV and movies. Le Carre, died on Dec. 12 of pneumonia.

Cloris Leachman

Revered actress Cloris Leachman displayed incredible versatility in her decades-long career, with roles on stage, on television and in films. Leachman’s iconic turns in “Young Frankenstein” and “The Last Picture Show” on the big screen, as well as roles on the groundbreaking series “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spin-off “Phyllis.”Her roles garnered her eight Emmy Awards — tied for the most all-time with Julia Louis-Dreyfus — and a Daytime Emmy Award. She died at age 94 in her Encinitas, California, home on Jan. 27. 

James Lipton interviews Andy Cohen

TV personality James Lipton’s career in the entertainment industry spanned multiple decades and fields, having a stint as a writer, actor and producer, before earning recognition as the longtime host of “Inside the Actors Studio.” During the show’s 22 seasons Lipton interviewed high-profile, A-list actors, posing questions about their career, roles and method. He was known for his existential ending question: “If Heaven exists, what would you like God to say when you arrive at the pearly gates?”

Little Richard. The self-proclaimed “architect ” of rock and roll whose piercing wail, pounding piano and towering pompadour irrevocably altered popular music while introducing black R&B to white America, died on May 9, 2020. He was 87. He sold more than 30 million records and influenced the Prince, The Beatles, Otis Redding and David Bowie among others.

Trini Lopez was best known for his rendition of the song “If I Had A Hammer,” which reached No. 1 in 36 different countries and rose to No. 3 on the U.S. charts in 1963. Lopez received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1963. He opened for The Beatles during a concert series in Paris in 1964. The Gibson guitar company designed a line of guitars named after him. In 1969, NBC aired “The Trini Lopez Show.” He continued to perform until 1981. His music appeared in both television and movie productions. Trini Lopez died on Aug. 11, 2020, at the age of 83, after contracting COVID-19.

Diego Maradona 1986 World Cup Championship team. In the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England, he scored Argentina’s two winning goals: one known as the “Hand of God” and the other as the “Goal of the Century.” Though considered one of the game’s greatest players, his career was marred by a cocaine addiction. He went on to coach the Argentinean national team. Maradona died of cardiac arrest on Nov. 25, while recovering from brain surgery. He was 60. 

Ellis Marsalis Jr. was a prominent jazz pianist and teacher in New Orleans. His melodic style, with running improvisations in the right hand, has been described variously as romantic, contemporary or simply “Louisiana jazz.” While teaching jazz in New Orleans, several of his students would later become well-known jazz musicians, citing Marsalis as an influence, including Harry Connick Jr., Victor Goines and Terence Blanchard. 

Jackie Mason Iconic Borscht Belt comedian Jackie Mason died on July 24 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan surrounded by his wife, Jyll, and a few friends. He was 93 years old.

Fashion designer Jessica McClintock started her clothing line, Gunne Sax, in 1969. Her lacey dresses in the 1970s and her silk taffeta dresses in the 1980s were hugely popular. She helped make formal wear more affordable. Her brand expanded in the 1990s to include perfumes and accessories. She died at her San Francisco home on Feb. 16, at the age of 90.

Emmy winner Ray MacDonnell, best known for playing Dr. Joe Martin on the ABC soap opera “All My Children” for more than four decades, died of natural causes at his Chappaqua, NY, home on June 10. He was 93 years old. His daughter Sarah has carried on the acting bug.

“The Love Boat” star Gavin MacLeod, who played Captain Stubing on the famed series after roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “McHale’s Navy,” died on May 29. He was 90 years old.

Terrence McNally
Terrence McNally

Playwright Terrence McNally won a remarkable four Tony awards over just six years in the 1990s for “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” “Master Class” and “Ragtime.” In 1991 his play “Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune” was adapted into a movie starring Michelle Preiffer and Al Pacino. He was awarded an Emmy award for the TV adaptation of his play, “Andre’s Mother.” He died on March 24 at the age of 81.

Johnny Nash, a singer-songwriter, actor and producer who rose from pop crooner to early reggae star to the creator and performer of the million-selling anthem, “I Can See Clearly Now,” died at the age of 80 on Oct. 6.

Musician Michael Nesmith played guitar and sang in the 1960s pop group The Monkees. In 1966, “The Monkees” TV show debuted and ran for two years. The band had several No. 1 albums and hit singles. The band broke up in 1969 and Nesmith went on to form a successful country rock group called First National Band. Nesmith won a Grammy in 1982 for a music video collection. He reunited with The Monkees in 1996 for their album “Justus.” This year, he and Monkees bandmate Micky Dolenz did a farewell tour. Michael Nesmith died on Dec. 10, at the age of 78.

Actor Ken Osmond was best known for playing the obnoxious Eddie Haskell on “Leave It to Beaver.” Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons,” told the New York Times in 1993, “Bart is like what would happen if Eddie Haskell got his own show.” Osmond made guest appearances on TV after “Leave It to Beaver,” but eventually left show business to become a police officer. In 2014, he co-authored the biography, “Eddie: The Life and Times of America’s Preeminent Bad Boy.” His death was reported on May 18. He was 76.

Renowned film director Sir Alan Parker helmed such movies as “Fame,” “Midnight Express,” “Evita,” “The Commitments” and “Mississippi Burning.” He was a founding member of the Directors Guild of Britain and was the first chairman of the UK Film Council. He directed 14 movies, six of which he wrote. He was adept at many genres, excelling in musicals as well as comedies and dramas. His films have won multiple awards, including 19 BAFTAS, 10 Golden Globes and 10 Academy Awards. He was awarded a CBE in 1995, and was knighted in 2002. Sir Alan Parker died on July 31, 2020, at the age of 76.

Regis Philbin became a household name in the 1980s cohosting “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” and later padded an impressive resume by hosting “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Philbin died at age 88 on July 25, 2020.

Oscar winner Christopher Plummer, known for roles including Captain von Trapp in the “Sound of Music” and Leo Tolstoy in “The Last Station,” also was a premier Shakespearean actor. The classically trained Canadian won Tony Awards for “Cyrano” and “Barrymore.” Despite a long and accomplished career, Plummer didn’t win his first Oscar until he was 82. Accepting the statue, he looked at it and said, “You’re only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all of my life?” Plummer died on Feb. 5 at his home in Connecticut. He was 91. 

Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, married Queen Elizabeth in 1947, when she was still a princess, and fulfilled thousands of royal duties over decades of service. Born in Greece, the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg, he fled with his family after a coup and settled in Paris, later attending prep school in England and the Royal Naval Academy. He served in World War II and was introduced to Princess Elizabeth by his uncle, Earl Mountbatten. Outspoken, the prince was known for his royal gaffes as well as his devotion to his wife and his support of the royal family.

Singer Bonnie Pointer was a member of the Grammy Award–winning vocal group, The Pointer Sisters. Pointer formed the group with her three sisters and they released their debut album in 1973. Pointer left the group to pursue a solo career in 1977.

Actress Markie Post was best known for role as public defender Christine Sullivan on “Night Court.” However, her decades-long career on television saw her in roles on shows from “Cheers” to “Scrubs” and the recent “The Kids are Alright.” Post started her lengthy tenure in television working behind the camera as production crew on game shows before landing her first series regular role on “The Fall Guy,” alongside Lee Majors. On Aug. 8 Post lost her years-long battle to cancer. She was 70. 

Jane Powell was born in 1928 and began singing at a local radio station at the age of 5. She had a 2.5 octave vocal range and was considered a singing prodigy. Her movie career began in 1944 when she starred in “Song of the Open Road.” She sang at the inauguration of President Harry S. Truman in 1949. She danced with Fred Astaire in the 1951 movie “Royal Wedding” and starred in the movie “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers” in 1954. She performed on Broadway and appeared in a variety of television shows. Jane Powell died on Sept. 16 at the age of 92.

Actress Kelly Preston appeared in over 60 productions including “Jerry McGuire,” “Twins,” and “Mischief.” She met her husband, actor John Travolta, on the set of the “The Experts” and the couple had three children together. Their eldest son, Jett, 16, died after a seizure in 2009. Preston died on July 12, 2020, at the age of 57 after a 2-year battle with breast cancer. 

Charley Pride, pioneered Black country music legend who topped the charts with dozens of songs, has died at 86 due to complications from COVID-19 in Dallas. Born in Sledge, Miss., Pride took to music early, but was also a talented baseball player. He played in the Negro Leagues for the Memphis Red Sox as a pitcher, stepping away from the sport to serve in the Army. He signed with RCA in 1965 – the same label as Elvis Presley – and became the label’s top-selling country music artist.

British actor David Prowse was best known for his role as the iconic movie villain Darth Vader in “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” In the U.K., he was also known for his portrayal of the Green Cross Code Man, appearing in television commercials to warn children of the dangers of crossing the street. For this public service he earned an MBE, a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 2000. Prowse died on Nov. 28, at the age of 85.

Pat Quinn, co-creator of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, died at the age of 37 following his battle with the degenerative disease. Quinn and Pete Frates launched the viral video campaign to raise awareness and fund research for ALS. Celebrities and everyday people posted videos of themselves pouring an ice-cold bucket of water over their head and then nominating others to do the same. Quinn was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 30. The campaign raised $220 million and sparked studies to find new treatments. He died in New York.

Grammy-winning artist Helen Reddy became a feminist icon thanks to her hit, “I Am Woman,” which appeared on the Australian singer’s debut album, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” The song reflected Reddy’s interest in female empowerment and furthering the fight to equality. Re-released in 1972, “I Am Woman” became a No. 1 hit and an anthem for the movement. She was the first Australian-born artist to have a U.S. No. 1 hit and the first to win a Grammy. Reddy also had a TV and movie career, even hosting her own variety show. Helen Reddy died Sept. 29, 2020, in Los Angeles, at the age of 78.

Sumner Redstone was a media titan who made his family drive-in theater business into a global conglomerate. He served in the armed forces during World War II, and went on to receive a law degree from Harvard. In the 1950s he took over the family business and in 1967 became president of the theater and media company National Amusements. He grew the business, started investing, and became a billionaire by the 1980s. In 1987, he started a takeover of Viacom, in 1993 he acquired Paramount and in 2000 he acquired CBS. Sumner Redstone died in Los Angeles on Aug. 11, 2020, at the age of 97.

Carl Reiner, one of the original kings of comedy, worked alongside Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks through his early years on TV before turning his attention to writing. Creating “The Dick Van Dyke Show” made him a household name and ultimately earned him five Emmy Awards. Reiner also received several Grammy nominations for his comedy work and spoken word albums. 

Ann Reinking and John Mineo
Ann Reinking and John Mineo

Ann Reinking danced for almost three decades. She was known for playing Roxie Hart in the musical “Chicago,” a role which earned her a Tony in 1997. Reinking collaborated with Bob Fosse for 15 years. She was described by Fosse as “one of the finest dancers in the jazz-modern idiom. Reinking died Dec. 12, 2020, in Seattle, according to her manager. She was 71.

Acclaimed author Anne Rice wrote more than 30 books and sold more than 150 million copies in her career that spanned over five decades. Her “The Vampire Chronicles” series made her famous. The first book of the series, “Interview with a Vampire,” was published in 1976 and adapted into a movie in 1994. In 2003, she won the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2014 she won GoodReads Choice Awards – Best Horror for her book “Prince Lestat.” Anne Rice died on Dec. 11, at the age of 80.

Diana Rigg

Actress Diana Rigg starred as Emma Peel in the TV series “The Avengers” from 1965 through 1967. She co-starred in the James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” in 1969. In 1994, she won a Tony for her role in “Medea” on Broadway and that same year she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to drama. She won an Emmy for her role as Mrs. Danvers in “Rebecca” in 1997. More recently, Rigg played Olenna Tyrell on the TV series “Game of Thrones.” Rigg died Sept. 10, 2020, at the age of 82.

Actress and singer Naya Rivera rose to fame on the hit TV musical comedy “Glee.” She began acting at age 4, appearing in such series as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Family Matters” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” Rivera’s body was found after she disappeared on Lake Piru in Southern California on July, 8. She was 33. 

Actress Tanya Roberts is best known for playing a Bond girl in “A View to a Kill” and Midge Pinciotti on “That ’70’s Show.” She landed her first big TV role in 1980 on ABC’s “Charlie’s Angels,” playing Julie Rogers for the show’s fifth and final season. Roberts died on Jan. 3, in Los Angeles. She was 65. 

Actor-singer Kenny Rogers produced such hits as “Lucille,” “Lady,” and “Islands in the Stream.” Rogers died at his home in Sandy Springs, GA, on March 20, 2020. He was 81. The Grammy-winning balladeer’s music sold tens of millions of records, won three Grammys, and was the star of TV movies based on the “The Gambler” and other songs.

Retired U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes was known for legislation curbing fraudulent accounting practices. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which he co-sponsored, created federal oversight for the industry. Representing Maryland for 30 years, Sarbanes headed the Senate Banking Committee and served on the Foreign Relations Committee. He died Dec. 6, 2020, according to his son, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes.

Gale Sayers, a running back for the Chicago Bears, became the youngest player ever to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 1977 at the age of 34. Sayers played seven seasons in the NFL, from 1965 to 1971. In his rookie year, he scored six touchdowns in one game. Sayers wrote an autobiography, “I Am Third,” which spawned the Emmy Award-winning TV movie “Brian’s Song.” After his football career, he worked as a businessman and philanthropist. Sayers died on Sept. 23, 2020, at the age of 77.

Tom Seaver was one of the greatest pitchers to wear a New York Mets uniform. While only winning one World Series with the team, he captured three Cy Young awards given annually to the best pitcher in the National and American Leagues and became a household name following his unforgettable 1969 season, leading the Mets to their first World Series championship in team history. Seaver finished his career with 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992. He died after a battle with dementia surround by family. He was 75.

Filmmaker Joel Schumacher, originally from New York, had a career in fashion before making the move to Hollywood to pursue a film career in his early 30s. He found work in costume design before switching roles to direct films that include “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “The Lost Boys,” “Flatliners,” and “Dying Young.” His last film was 2011’s “Trespass,” with Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage. He died on June 22 at the age of 80.

Versatile actor Peter Scolari who had television roles on shows including “Newhart” and “Girls,” died on Oct. 22 after a battle with cancer. He was 66. Scolari began his career starring on ’80s sitcom “Bosom Buddies” with Tom Hanks. He also performed on Broadway in “Wicked,” “Hairspray” and 2014’s “Bronx Bombers,” in which he played baseball’s Yogi Berra. 

George Segal was best known as a comic actor, but his biggest role was in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” His performance earned him an Oscar nomination in 29166. Segal died in Santa Rosa, California due to complications from bypass surgery on March 23, according to his wife Sonia Segal. He was 87. Segal starred opposite Barbra Steisand in the film “The Owl and the Pussycat” and opposite Glenda Jackson in “A Touch of Class.” In his later years, Segal appeared in the TV sitcoms “Just Shoot Me!” and “The Goldbergs.”

Songwriter Jim Steinman, pictured in 1978, was best known for writing Meat Loaf’s 1977 debut, “Bat Out of Hell,” considered one of the top-selling albums of all time. Having started his career in musical theater, Steinman wrote the album based on his science-fiction stage musical, which was inspired by elements of “Peter Pan.” He later won a Grammy for his collaboration with Celine Dion on her album “Falling into You” and penned Bonnie Tyler’s chart-topping hit, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. He died April 19 at the age of 73.

Model and restaurateur B. Smith began her career as a model in the 1960’s. In 1986, she opened her first restaurant and would go on to publish several cookbooks and host her own cooking and lifestyle show. Smith died on Feb. 22 at the age of 70.

Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim, the songwriter who reshaped the American musical theater in the second half of the 20th century with his intelligent, intricately rhymed lyrics, his use of evocative melodies and his willingness to tackle unusual subjects, he was 91.

Jerry Stiller was best known for his television roles as Arthur in “The King Of Queens” and Frank Constanza in “Seinfeld.” He starred in such movies as “Hairspray” and “The Taking Of Pelham One, Two, Three.” He often performed as part of a comedy duo with his wife of 62 years, Anne Meara. He was the father of actor/director Ben Stiller. Jerry Stiller died on May 11, 2020, at the age of 92.

Actor Robert Dean Stockwell was born in North Hollywood in 1936 and his career spanned more than 70 years. He started acting at age 7, and appeared in three best picture Oscar nominated films: “Anchors Aweigh” (1945), “Gentlemen’s Agreement” (1947) and “Sons and Lovers” (1960.) Stockwell is best known for his role as Admiral Al Calavicci in the TV series “Quantum Leap” opposite Scott Bakula, receiving four Emmy nominations for his role. Stockwell died at home on Nov. 7. He was 85.

Grammy winner B.J. Thomas died in May at the age of 78. The singer, known for hits such as “Hooked on a Feeling” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” announced in March that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Alex Trebek, the quick-witted and debonair television host who won over generations of fans at the helm of the popular quiz show “Jeopardy!,” died on Nov. 8, 2020, at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Born in Ontario, Canada, his career stretched back to 1966 and included “High Rollers,” “Double Dare” and “The $128,000 Question.” But it was “Jeopardy!” that made him a pop culture icon, earning him six Daytime Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Trebek also created the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue at the University of Ottawa.

South Africa’s Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was a champion for equality and racial justice. Tutu rose to prominence as a leader of the anti-apartheid movement. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 after working to end apartheid while giving sermons calling for non-violent action. Tutu died in Cape Town, South Africa, on Dec. 26. He was 90. 

Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson

Groundbreaking actress Cicely Tyson began her career in the early 1970s when Black women were finally beginning to get starring roles. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 1976 film “Sounder,” and received an Honorary Oscar in 2018. Tyson won two Emmys for playing the 110-year-old former slave in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” She also won a Tony Award in 2013 for “The Trip to Bountiful.” Tyson died on Jan, 28. She was 96. 

Jean-Marc Vallee, the acclaimed director of the Oscar-winning film “Dallas Buyers Club” and HBO series “Big Little Lies,” got his start making music videos before breaking into film. The Canadian director, producer and editor was known for his naturalist style, using hand-held cameras, natural light and allowing for improvisation. Other notable works by Vallee include the movies “The Young Victoria,” “Wild,” “C.R.A.Z.Y” and the series “Sharp Objects.” Vallee died suddenly at his cabin outside Quebec City over the Christmas weekend.

Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen was the main songwriter and founder of the American rock band “Van Halen,” which dominated the hard rock scene in the 1970s and 1980s. The popular band was known for hits such as “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love,” “Jamie’s Cryin’,” “Dance the Night Away,” “Unchained,” “Panama” and the No. 1 hit, “Jump.” Eddie Van Halen died Oct. 6, 2020, in Santa Monica, Calif., at the age of 65 after battling cancer.

Iconic filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, known for his films including “Watermelon Man” (1970) and “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” (1971), has died. He was known for paving the way for the blaxploitation film genre. Van Peebles died on Sept. 21. He was 89. 

Max von Sydow had a decades-long acting career and was best known for his roles in such films as “The Seventh Seal” in 1957 and “The Exorcist” in 1973. He was also known for playing the Three Eyed Raven on the hit television show, “Game of Thrones.” He was twice nominated for an Academy Award – for “Pelle the Conqueror” in 1988 and for “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” in 2012. He died on March 8, 2020. He was 90. 

Jessica Walter, an actress with a six-decadelong career, was best known for her performance in the role of Lucille Bluth in the television show “Arrested Development.” She also voiced the character of Malory Archer in “Archer.” Walter earned an Emmy for “Amy Prentiss” in 1975 and starred in Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut, “Play Misty for Me.” Jessica Walter died March 24 at the age of 80.

Charlie Watts was born in London in 1941. He became a jazz fan early in life and started playing drums at 14. He cut his teeth in jazz and blues bands before playing his first show with the Rolling Stones in January 1963. His drumming helped propel the English rock group into the stratosphere of popularity, with multiple albums landing on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of greatest albums of all time. He married Shirley Ann Shepherd in 1964 and continued playing and recording jazz with various groups later in life. He died Aug. 24 at the age of 80.

Dawn Wells, Mary Ann Summers on the hit TV show “Gilligan’s Island,” died in Los Angeles at the age of 82 due to complications from COVID-19. She won the 1959 Miss Nevada crown and represented the state at the Miss America pageant. She appeared in episodes of TV shows such as “Maverick” and “Bonanza,” before landing the role of Mary Ann in “Gilligan’s Island” from 1964 to 1967. For the 50th anniversary of the show in 2014, she wrote a book, “What Would Mary Ann Do?: A Guide To Life.” Wells starred in a spinoff series, “Rescue From Gilligan’s Island,” in 1978.

Lina Wertmuller is one of Italy’s most poignant and controversial filmmakers. Best known for the films “Swept Away” and “Seven Beauties,” Wertmuller got her start by assisting Federico Fellini on his film “8 ½.” She later gained notoriety for her use of political and sexual themes, as well as, social commentary, in most of her films. While she never won an Academy Award, she was the first female director to be nominated, and was given the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. 

Mary Wilson, a founding member of The Supremes, died Feb. 8, at her home in Las Vegas. She was 76 years old. Wilson, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, were the original members of The Supremes. The group hit the charts with five consecutive No. 1 songs, including “Baby Love,” and “Stop, In the Name of Love” in the 1960s. They helped Motown Records play an influential role in the music industry.

Fred Willard, the beloved comedic actor best known for his roles in such films as “Best in Show,” “Anchorman” and “This is Spinal Tap,” died in his sleep May 15, 2020, his daughter confirmed. Willard was 86. WIllard was a sketch-comedy master. His career spanned 50 years, including the tv series “Modern Family” and “Fernwood 2 Night.” 

Acclaimed actor Michael K. Williams, best known for his roles as Omar on “The Wire” and Albert “Chalky” White on “Boardwalk Empire,” was found dead at his Brooklyn apartment, Sept. 6. He was 54. He most recently appeared in “Lovecraft County” as Montrose Freeman, the father to Jonathan Majors’ Atticus Freeman, for which he earned an Emmy nomination.

Clarence Williams III, who broke new ground as “hippie” Detective Linc Hayes on “The Mod Squad” from 1968 to 1973, died in his home in Los Angeles on June 4 after a battle with colon cancer. He was 81.

Singer and songwriter Bill Withers was born the youngest of six children in West Virginia. After a stint in the Navy, he went to Los Angeles in 1967 and started a music career that earned him three Grammy awards for the songs “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Just the Two of Us,” and “Lean on Me.” He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. According to a statement that his family sent the AP, he died in Los Angeles on March 30. He was 81.

Photographer Baron Wolman was the first chief photographer for Rolling Stone. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Wolman published his first story on the newly built Berlin Wall while stationed with the U.S. Army. He moved to California after his discharge where he met Jann Wenner in 1967, and was invited to join his new publication. During his time with Rolling Stone, Wolman photographed the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, along with some of the most celebrated musicians of the time. Wolman died on Nov. 2. He was 83. 

Singer Betty Wright is best known for R&B hits such as “Clean Up Woman” and “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do.” In 1975 she won a Grammy for best R&B song for “Where Is the Love.” She was nominated for a total of six Grammys, including album of the year in 2008 for her contribution to Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III.” Wright died from cancer in Miami on May 10. She was 66. 

TV actor Robert Hogan, best known for his roles on “Peyton Place,” “Law & Order” and HBO’s “The Wire,” died on May 27 after complications from pneumonia. Hogan, who was 87 years old at the time of his death, had been diagnosed with vascular Alzheimer’s in 2013.

Charles “Chuck” Yeager American aviation legend was the first pilot to break the sound barrier in 1947. Yeager flew for more than 60 years, including piloting an X-15 to near 1,000 mph (1,609 kph) at Edwards Air Base in October 2002 at age 79. His exploits were told in Tom Wolfe’s book “The Right Stuff,” and the 1983 film it inspired. The retired Air Force brigadier general died Dec. 7, 2020, according to his wife Victoria Yeager. He was 97.

We’d like to acknowledge ABC, US Weekly, The New York Post

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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Chita Rivera Awards Part 2 The Interviews

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T2C was at the 2024 Chita Rivera Awards at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. We got to interview some of the best in dance and look forward to sharing this with you.

On this video watch Michael-Demby Cain, Joe Lanteri, Bernadette Peters, Debbie Allen, Justin Peck, Norm Lewis, Rick and Jeff Kuperman, Chita’s daughter Lisa Mordente, Kenny Ortega, Serge Trujillo,  winners for Water For Elephants Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, winner Camille A Brown Hell’s Kitchen, Marina Tamayo, Lorin Latarro, David Petersen, Bruce Robert Harris, Ali Louis Bourgzgui, Huey Lewis, Phil LaDuca, Riki Kane Larimer, Grant Plotkin and highlights from the show with Ali Louis Bourgzgui, Kristin ZChenoweth, Norm Lewis, Wayne Brady and more.

This was one spectacular night.

Video by Magda Katz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Theatre News: The Drama League, Once Upon A Mattress , Swept Away, Chita Rivera Awards and Moulin Rouge!

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The Drama League announced the winners of the 2024 Drama League Awards. The event hosted by NY1 reporter Frank DiLella, was held at The Ziegfeld Ballroom (141 W 54th St, New York, NY). Sarah Paulson wins Distinguished Performance Award. Hell’s Kitchen wins Outstanding Production of a Musical. Stereophonic wins Outstanding Production of a Play. Merrily We Roll Along wins Outstanding Revival of a Musical. Appropriate wins Outstanding Revival of a Play. In the directing categories, Daniel Aukin took home the Outstanding Direction of a Play award for Stereophonic and Maria Friedman took home Outstanding Direction of a Musical for Merrily We Roll Along.

The competitive awards were presented by Lear DeBessonet, Alfred Molina, Bebe Neuwirth and Ben Platt.  LaTanya Richardson Jackson presented The Gratitude Award to Kandi Burress; Thomas Schumacher presented The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing to Schele Williams; Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez presented The Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award to Jonathan Groff; and Jim Parsons presented the Contribution to Theatre Award to Jessica Lange.

Tony Award-winning producers Seaview and Creative Partners Productions have announced that, on the heels of its record-breaking, sold-out run at New York City Center’s Encores! earlier this year, Once Upon A Mattress will open on Broadway this summer at The Hudson Theatre (141 W 44th St). Tony Award winner Sutton Foster (Anything Goes, The Music Man) will lead the Broadway cast, reprising her acclaimed performance as Winnifred the Woebegone, hailed by The New York Times as “perfectly goofy, and imprinted with an ebullient, joyful relish in the very act of performance.” The beloved musical returns to Broadway in a new adaptation by Emmy Award winner Amy Sherman-Palladino (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, “Gilmore Girls”), directed by Tony Award nominee and Drama League Award winner Lear deBessonet (Into The Woods). Previews begin Wednesday, July 31, 2024, with an Opening Night set for Monday, August 12, 2024, for the limited engagement through November 30, 2024.

Following its Broadway engagement, Foster will headline the production in Los Angeles for a four-week engagement at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre from December 10, 2024 – January 5, 2025.

An uproarious update of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Princess and the Pea,” Once Upon A Mattress sets an unapologetic free spirit loose in a repressed kingdom, reveling in Winnifred’s ability to charm and transform with willpower, honesty, and a little bit of help from her friends.  Full of gloriously catchy melodies like “Shy” and “In a Little While,” the musical first premiered in 1959, with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer.

The Broadway production will feature Choreography by Drama Desk Award nominee Lorin Latarro (The Who’s Tommy), Scenic Design by Tony Award winner David Zinn (Fun Home, SpongeBob SquarePants), Lighting Design by Tony Award winner Justin Townsend (Moulin Rouge! The Musical), Costume Design by Andrea Hood (Into the Woods), Sound Design by Tony Award winner Kai Harada (Days of Wine and RosesMerrily We Roll Along), and Hair and Wig Design by J. Jared Janas (Sweeney Todd, &Juliet). General Management is by Wagner Johnson Productions. Casting is by The Telsey Office (Bernard Telsey, CSA; Craig Burns, CSA). Orchestrations are by Tony Award winner Bruce Coughlin (The Light in the Piazza), and Drama Desk Award winner Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Company) will serve as Music Supervisor, Annbritt duChateau as Music Director, and Cody Renard Richard as Production Stage Manager.

A special fan pre-sale will begin on Tuesday, May 28, at 10:00AM ET – sign up atOnceUponAMattress.com for early access to tickets. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, May 29 at 10:00AM ET.

Further casting and creative team will be announced at a later date.

The Avett Brothers announced that their new musical Swept Away will begin previews on Broadway this fall at a Shubert theater to-be-announced. An odyssey of “mythic proportions” (San Francisco Chronicle), Swept Away features a book by Tony Award winner John Logan (Red, Moulin Rouge! The Musical), direction by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot) and choreography by Tony Award nominee David Neumann (Hadestown).

After sold out runs from coast to coast, Swept Away storms Broadway this fall.

The Swept Away creative team includes music arranger & orchestrator Chris Miller, music arranger & orchestrator/music supervisor Brian Usifer, music director Will Van Dyke, Tony Award-winning set designer Rachel Hauck, Tony Award-winning costume designer Susan Hilferty, four-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer Kevin Adams and Tony Award-winning sound designer John Shivers.For ticketing updates and more information, visit SweptAwayMusical.com.

Jared Grimes (Funny Girl) will host the Chita Rivera Awards, it was announced today. The 2024 Chita Rivera Awards will be presented on May 20 at 7:30pm at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place off Washington Square Park), and are produced by Joe Lanteri, Founder and Executive Director of the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation, Inc. in conjunction with Patricia Watt.

Presenters include: Debbie Allen (Fame), Shoshana Bean (Hell’s Kitchen), Corbin Bleu (High School Musical, Little Shop…), Anthony Crivello (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Joel Grey(Cabaret), Huey Lewis (The Heart of Rock and Roll), and Joe Morton (Scandal, ART), Bebe Neuwirth (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, Chicago), Kenny Ortega (High School Musical), David Hyde Pierce (Here We Are, Spamalot), Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan; The Adams Family), Ben Vereen (Pippin), and more.

The evening will feature performances by: Wayne Brady (The Wiz), Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked), Norm Lewis (Phantom of the Opera; Porgy and Bess), and Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon; Old Friends).

There will also be performances from the casts of Suffs, The Heart of Rock and Roll, and The Who’s Tommy.

At the May 20 Awards, Bernadette Peters will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, Phil LaDuca will receive the Vanguard Award, for his outstanding contribution to the international dance community, and Mayte Natalio (Suffs; How to Dance in Ohio) will receive the Douglas and Ethel Watt Critics’ Choice Award.

The Douglas and Ethel Watt Critics’ Choice Award is bestowed by the journalists of the Chita Rivera Awards’ Broadway judging committee, to recognize outstanding work that falls outside the framework of the original categories. It is named for the longtime Daily News theater critic Douglas Watt and his wife Ethel, an original cast member of Carousel and Kiss Me, Kate who later became a producer.

Tickets to the Chita Rivera Awards are available to the general public atwww.ChitaRiveraAwards.com.

Pop the champagne! The Museum of Broadway will celebrate its newest special exhibit celebrating the 10-time Tony Award®-winning Best Musical Moulin Rouge! The Musical, presented in partnership with Chase Freedom and created exclusively for The Museum of Broadway. The exhibit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical: Spectacular, Spectacular, invites fans to step into the world of Belle Époque Paris and experience the splendor, eye-popping excess, and glittering extravagance of the hit show.

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TDF partnership sends 1400 service members to Broadway and Off Broadway during Fleet Week

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For the second year in a row, TDF, the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, has partnered with the Community Foundation of New Jersey to help obtain and distribute 1400 tickets to 11 Broadway and two Off-Broadway shows. These tickets will be given at no cost to members of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Blue Star Families, who will be in New York City during this year’s Fleet Week, May 22 to May 28, 2024.

The 13 shows that service members will see for free are Back to the Future: The Musical, The Book of Mormon, The Great Gatsby, Hamilton, Hell’s Kitchen, The Lion King, MJ, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, The Outsiders, The Play That Goes Wrong, SIX, Titanique, and Water for Elephants.

“This is the second year of our partnership with the Community Foundation of New Jersey, and we are honored once again to facilitate tickets to Broadway and Off Broadway for our service members during Fleet Week,” said TDF Executive Director Deeksha Gaur. “We know from our companion program for veterans that attending the theatre can support healing and help build community.  But most of all, we are thrilled that service members will get to experience the magic and joy of New York theatre at no cost to them.”

The Community Foundation of New Jersey serves approximately 1,160 fundholders—individuals, families, and businesses with philanthropic funds, which they use to recommend grants to worthy causes and communities.

“Funds at the Community Foundation of New Jersey may be used to directly improve people’s lives beyond the usual grantmaking, and this is a great example of that,” said Madeline Rivera, Program Officer at the Community Foundation. “Unique philanthropic ideas like these enable us to have broad impact in areas important to our fundholders.”

Those wishing to donate so that service members can attend future performances should contact Madeline Rivera at the Community Foundation of New Jersey atmrivera@cfnj.org or (973) 267-5533.

The Community Foundation of New Jersey creates and scales custom solutions for purpose-driven individuals, families, and businesses. From creative projects that tackle critical societal or policy issues, to scholarship funds, corporate philanthropy, legacy funds, and donor-advised funds, CFNJ manages nearly every kind of giving vehicle and tailors solutions to meet critical needs. CFNJ’s specialists understand the unique contours of communities and manage the scope of CFNJ investment and grantmaking capabilities with precision. With $790 million in assets, the CFNJ grants tens of millions of dollars each year through its more than 1,100 funds. In 2023, CFNJ granted more than $70 million to nonprofits in New Jersey and beyond.

Founded in 1968, TDF (formerly known as Theatre Development Fund) is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. We fulfill our mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities, and support the makers of the performing arts.

We are known for our theatregoing programs, including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booths (which celebrated 50 years in Times Square in 2023) and the TDF Membership Program; TDF Accessibility Programs (including open captioning, audio description, Autism Friendly Performances and the Veterans Theatregoing Program); Education programs (serving more than 10,000 NYC public school students annually), and Community programs (serving 18,000 people in the tristate area); as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research Programs. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible, and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to tdf.org; Facebook/Instagram/Threads: @tdfnyc.

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Summer Listening: Here We Are, Water for Elephants, Days of Wine and Roses, Harmony, How to Dance in Ohio, The Great Gatsby, Lempicka, The Outsiders, Stereophonic and Suffs  

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Today Concord Theatricals Recordings released the original cast recording of Here We Are, on CD and digital platforms worldwide. The album will be available on 2-LP, 180g baby blue vinyl on Friday, September 6. Here We Are (Original Cast Recording) has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, and music supervision and additional arrangements by Alexander Gemignani, conducting a 14-piece orchestra. The album was recorded and mixed by Ian Kagey and mastered by Oscar Zambrano. The album packaging was designed by Derek Bishop. Complete production credits can be found in the album booklet available for free download HERE.

Stream, download or purchase the album HERE.

The album features the cast of Joe Mantello’s celebrated world premiere production: Francois Battiste, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannaval

Ghostlight Records has announced that Water for Elephants: Original Broadway Cast Recording, which preserves the show’s soaring score by the acclaimed PigPen Theatre Co., is available in streaming and digital formats today, Friday, May 17. A CD is being planned for this summer. The show has been nominated for seven 2024 Tony Awards, including “Best Musical.” Produced by Peter Schneider, Jennifer Costello, Grove Entertainment, Frank Marshall, Isaac Robert Hurwitz, and Seth A. Goldstein, Water for Elephants is currently running at the Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street). Water for Elephants is based on the critically acclaimed and New York Times-bestselling novel by Sara Gruen. The new musical has a book by four-time Tony Award nominee Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher) and is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Jessica Stone (Kimberly Akimbo). The album is produced by Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Ian Kagey. Stream or download the album at ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/WaterForElephants

Water for Elephants is currently running at the Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street). The cast stars Grant Gustin (“The Flash,” “Glee”) in his Broadway debut, Isabelle McCalla (The Prom, Shucked), four-time Tony Award nominee Gregg Edelman (City of Angels), Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Award nominee Paul Alexander Nolan (Slave Play), Stan Brown (“Homicide: Life in the Streets”), Joe De Paul (Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion), Sara Gettelfinger (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), and Wade McCollum (Wicked), and features Brandon Block, Antoine Boissereau, Rachael Boyd, Paul Castree, Ken Wulf Clark, Taylor Colleton, Gabriel Olivera de Paula Costa, Isabella Luisa Diaz, Samantha Gershman, Keaton Hentoff-Killian, Nicolas Jelmoni, Caroline Kane, Harley McLeish, Michael Mendez, Samuel Renaud, Marissa Rosen, Alexandra Gaelle Royer, Asa Somers, Charles South, Sean Stack, Matthew Varvar, and Michelle West.

Days of Wine and Roses written by Adam Guettel, features powerful songs like “Forgiveness” and “There Go I”, performed by Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James. Stream the Tony Award-nominated score here.

Harmony has a score by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman. The cast recording was released last August. You can still stream the cast recording here.

How to Dance in Ohio released an original Broadway cast recording on January 19, 2024. To stream the album, which features “Building Momentum,” click here.

The Great Gatsby has a new score by Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen, they will release a cast album digitally on June 21, 2024. Ahead of the album’s release, hear a sneak preview of tunes “For Her” and “My Green Light”performed by Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada.

Lempicka has songs that were fabulously sung by Eden Espinosa, Amber Iman, Andrew Samonsky, George Abud, Natalie Joy Johnson and Beth Leavel. The new score from Matt Gould and Carson Kreitzer will be available to stream on May 29, 2024.

The Outsiders new score by Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay & Zach Chance) and Justin Levine will be available to stream on May 22, 2024. The songs were written by Academy Award nominee and Grammy Award winner Will Butler. You can get a sneak preview of the song “Masquerade” here.


Well Suffs is the show that will win the Tony for Best Musical and Score. The book, composer, lyricist, and star is Broadway darling Shaina Taub. The cast recording, produced by Atlantic Records, will be available to stream on June 14, 2024.

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“The Heart of Rock and Roll” Does Exactly What It Needs To Do Joyfully 80s Style on Broadway

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Hey, Bobby!” she calls to snap him out of his constant, adorable daydreaming. But it’s a different Bobby than the one who’s having a birthday over at Company, and it’s a whole different beast of a show, to be honest, as The Heart of Rock and Roll, the new jukebox musical comedy, inspired by the iconic songs of Huey Lewis and The News, drives forward with appealing delight. It’s a feast of fun and frivolity, setting itself up in 1987, as this Bobby, played charmingly by the wonderfully gifted Corey Cott (Broadway’s Bandstand), has his musical mind wandering all over the place about the future. He’s forever daydreaming of a way to climb that corporate ladder and make a name for himself after giving up his nighttime dreams of being a rock and roll star.

The man has traded in his family heirloom, an electric guitar, for a seat at the corporate table. But first, he has to navigate himself off of the conveyor belt line, working for a cardboard box company struggling to make ends meet. Bobby has some big ideas that he wants to deliver to his boss, the “Hip to Be Square” Stone, playing lovingly by John Dossett (Broadway’s War Paint), and his tense corporate daughter, Cassandra, who’s as tightly wound as one could be. Played adoringly by the wonderful and talented McKenzie Kurtz (Broadway’s Wicked; Frozen), Cassandra is one unique creation. She has given up her independent dreams of making it big on her own in the big city to return home after the death of her mother and help out her grieving father and the family business. And to no audience members’ surprise, these two opposites are as blindly attracted to each other as two souls can be, and they can’t seem to fight “The Power of Love.” And we know right from the get-go that we don’t want them to.

Corey Cott, McKenzie Kurtz, and the Company of Broadway’s The Heart of Rock and Roll. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

The Heart of Rock and Roll is exactly what you would imagine a musical comedy inspired by the songs of Huey Lewis and The News would be. It’s not breaking any new ground here, nor is it reformating or reinventing jukebox musicals. Many have called it the ‘first AI-invented musical’ as it checks all the boxes, moving like a well-timed machine through the framework of a well-intentioned musical. And I get why they say that, but as tenderly directed by Gordon Greenberg (RTC’s Holiday Inn) and inventively choreographed by profoundly good Lorin Latarro (Broadway’s Tommy), the show is definitely a whole lot more fun and enjoyable than many others who have tried and failed in the same format. It has a tender heart and a great comic backbone that never disappoints. The songs are as engagingly head-bopping as you remember, and performed with enthusiasm and love by a cast of pros that never let the piece falter or stall. The story is a rom-com joyride, fulfilling all the requirements of a feel-good jukebox show, but dressed up in the 80s, with costumes designed perfectly by Jen Caprio (Broadway’s Spamalot), a solidly functional set by Derek McLane (Broadway’s Purlie Victorious), well-formated lighting by Japhy Weideman (Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen), a solid sound design by John Shivers (Broadway’s Shucked), and layered with a few other popular themes around dreams, fulfillment, and family. That’s what gives it the Heart that they all keep singing about.

It’s a magnificent cardboard dance and ride on a well-tuned conveyor belt that soars into your heart and soul like your favorite soda pop, thanks to the music supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Brian Usifer (Broadway’s Book of Mormon) led by musical director Will Van Dyke (Off-Broadway’s Little Shop of Horrors). The book and story by Jonathan A. Abrams (“Juror No. 2“) with an assist from producer Tyler Mitchell (“Lucky Number Slevin“) is as charming as it is fun, filled with so many musical moments that make you sit up and take notice, especially when Bobby’s best gal pal, Roz, played to the heavens by the miraculous Tamika Lawrence (TNG’s Black No More), strides onto the stage. She’s one of the best things in this show filled with many best things.

Corey Cott, Raymond J. Lee, John Michael Lyles, and F. Michael Haynie in Broadway’s The Heart of Rock and Roll. Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Heart of Rock and Roll isn’t reinventing any kinda wheel, but there is enough playful energy flying forward from the cast that even though we see the ending pretty early on, we also want to enjoy the ride like that roller coaster we keep going on over and over again. Cause it’s just a whole heap of fun. The side kicks; Bobby’s former band mates: F. Michael Haynie (Broadway’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Glenn, Raymond J. Lee (Public’s Soft Power) as JJ, John-Michael Lyles (Broadway’s A Strange Loop) as Eli; and Casandra’s old school friends: Zoe Jensen (Broadway’s Six) as Paige and Josh Breckenridge (Broadway’s Come From Away) as Wyatt, all perform fabulously playing their parts with a wink and smile as they systematically deliver all the goods required. Orville Mendoza (CSC’s Pacific Overtures) as businessman Fjord, is a riot and delivers the ridiculous with the biggest Swedish wink you could give, and Billy Harrington Tighe (Broadway’s Pippin) as Tucker does a fantastic job playing the old boyfriend from Cassandra’s past who represents everything we don’t want for her. As written, it’s the perfect balance of sleaze and charm that makes us understand why she would have dated him before when she was at school, but also makes us want her to forget all about him and focus her eyes on Cott’s Bobby, cause that the ending we truly want.

The Heart of Rock and Roll does not disappoint, not in the slightest. It’s warm-hearted, well-played, beautifully performed, fantastically charming, and full of fun, without ever trying to be of a higher frame than it needs to be. I’m not surprised it didn’t garner a ton of nominations this award season. It’s not that kind of show, but don’t be fooled by this. It’s pretty much one of the funniest fun musical rides on Broadway. It doesn’t pretend to be ‘high art’ but doesn’t really need to be for us to laugh and cheer for these two to finally give it all up for Love.

Corey Cott, McKenzie Kurtz, and the Company of Broadway’s The Heart of Rock and Roll. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

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