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David Gest, Liza Minnelli

The ex-husband of Liza Minilli David Gest was found dead at the Four Seasons hotel in Canary Warf, London. His death was confirmed by a statement from his friend and former bodyguard, Imad Handi. Mr Handi said: “It is with great sadness that I can confirm that David Gest has died today. Best was was 62-years-old.

 

Born in LA, California, Gest was close friends with Michael Jackson. He had a relationship with Latoya Jackson as a teenager. Gest produced a documentary about Jackson starring himself, The Life of an Icon, in 2011. Gest began his career at 17 when he was hired by London Records as a West Coast Publicity Director after pretending to be 21. He handled the careers of Tom Jones, Englebert Humperdinck, ZZ Top and Al Green. When Al Green said he didn’t have a manager he opened up his own PR and management firm took on Green, the Doobie Brothers and Burt Bacharach. In 202 he Married Liza Minilli and produced Liza’s Back, Liza’s Broadway comeback. They divorced one year later.

For 14 years the American Cinema Awards. The producer and TV personality sparked concerns for his health in the Celebrity Big Brother house in January when he was placed into a separate room to rest after becoming unwell. He then had to leave the house after just 13 days due to unspecified medical reasons. Gest was also the fourth runner-up in the 2006 series of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!

 

He was due to begin a UK tour entitled David Gest is Not Dead, But Alive With Soul, in July.

 

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

Cabaret

Adrienne Haan Sings Cabaret Francais at The Triad

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You don’t need to know French to feel the words that Adrienne Haan sings in the recent incarnation of her show, Cabaret Francais, that she performed on April 16th at The Triad. I don’t have any knowledge of the French language (my high school Spanish from almost 40 years ago can help me order a cerzeva fria in a Mexican saloon) but even without understanding the words, when Ms Haan sings you know why French is categorized as a romance language.

Adrienne enjoys telling stories

A Wistful Look

Ms Haan is accompanied by her wonderful pianist Richard Danley, who she has had a successful partnership for over 22 years. He opens the evening with a lovely overture until Adrienne is introduced on to stage in another beautiful wardrobe creation of sparkling red. Singing the songL’Accordéoniste, (The Accordionist in English), she is greeted by the sold out audience with applause and appreciation. Adrienne returns the joy as she walks into the crowd, getting them to join in with claps as she sings Milord. As she breaks into her Edith Piaf section, she also gets the room singing with her on the very passionate tune, Padam Padam.

Enjoying the crowd

Singing to a sold out audience

Adrienne always tries to educate her audiences and true to form, tells us about Edith Piaf, raised in a bordello and singing in the streets at 14; but rising to be the world famous chanteuse. She also surprises and while she sang the famous La Vie en Rose, a woman rose from her seat and began to sing along. The lovely Brittany Baratz Yeshion joined Adrienne, singing the tune in English as Ms Haan continued in French. The two singers met at a musical reading, playing mother and daughter and they continued this connection as they sang a bilingual edition of Cole Porter’s I Love Paris.

Brittany Baratz surprised the room as she rose from her seat to sing

Brittany made it on stage to sing La Vie En Rose

Moving on from Edith Piaf, Adrienne continued telling stories and singing tunes from famous composers of French tunes (regardless of whether they were French or not). Egyptian born, French loving composer Georges Moustaki wrote Ma Liberte. Moustaki was Jewish and both France and Israel felt a connection with this song and Ms Haan sang the tune in two languages French and Yiddish; both to the audience’s delight.

Brittany and Adrienne a bilingual duet

Feeling the song

Belgian composer, Jacque Brel, was up next as she sang a thrilling rendition of Le Port D’Amsterdam, and a passionate Ne Me Quitte Pas (Don’t Leave Me in English). While these tunes may not be familiar with many in the crowd, Michel Legrand’s Windmills of Your Mind (Les Moulins de mon Coeur), the Academy Award winning song from the film The Thomas Crown Affair is recognizable in either French or English and the sell out crowd appreciated Ms Haan’s interpretation.

Richard Danley and Ms Haan have worked together for 22 years

Adrienne uses all parts of the stage

Charles Aznavour, the French singer/songwriter of Armenian decent, who wrote over 1,000 songs was represented in the evening with For Me! Formidable! and La Boheme, both love songs with very different tones and meanings. So many wonderful songs from Brel, Legrand and Aznavour – a tie vote from the audience on who is their favorite.

The final song left No Regrets

Adrienne’s special guest, Brittany joined her on stage for the closing number, Non, je ne regrette rien, another Edith Piaf song written by Charles Dumont, Michel Vaucaire. The duet in English and French summed up the feeling of the audience – absolutely no regrets for attending a wonderful night of song and stories.

A raucus song about Amsterdam

Adrienne is truly an entertaining performer who always brings surprises to every show and if you haven’t seen her yet she is returning to the Triad on May 21, when she will be performing Between Fire & Ice – A Weimar Berlin Cabaret. I know I will be there.

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Cabaret

Autumn in New York, in April 

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Have you ever had an acquaintance that you knew for many years, and then one day you realize there’s so much more to this person, and before you know it, you can’t get enough of them?  If this is familiar, you’ll understand the kind of experience we all had at Chelsea Table + Stage Sunday night when Klea Blackhurst left us no choice but to fall in love with Vernon Duke.   

Klea took us on a journey exploring the life and music of this man, who was born Vladimir Dukelsky,  and operated under both names.  He wasn’t a spy, but one of those rare remarkable talents that could have one foot in Tin Pan Alley and the other in Carnegie Hall.  Klea reminded us of others in this category: Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Weill were two.  Even Cole Porter dabbled on the classical side, producing the ballet Within the Quota.  Dukelsky took charge of the classical side of this man, composing symphonies and concertos, and even a ballet for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes.    

Life took a turn for Mr. Dukelsky when he met George Gershwin who told him to “not be scared about going low-brow—that’s where the money is!”.  Gershwin also encouraged him to change his name, and Vernon Duke was born!    

Klea delivered the standards Duke was known for: Taking a Chance on Love, Autumn in New York, April in Paris et al with her usual panache.  But then there were songs I had never heard before, like Not a Care in the World and Poor as a Church Mouse which had a charm that made one hope for more. 

With her characteristic warmth and enthusiasm, Klea peppered this lesson in Vernon Duke with tidbits that those of us who live for this music relish.  Did you know that Duke wrote April in Paris in ten minutes?  No show of Klea’s is complete without a mention of Ethel Merman.  In 1944, Ethel was to star in a new musical by Duke and Deitz entitled Sadie Thompson.  After a brief rehearsal period, Ethel quit over a dispute about the name of a lipstick!   

Finally, did you know that Mary Martin was asked by Rodgers and Hammerstein to be the original Laurey in Oklahoma!?   And after she turned it down, they sent her flowers on every anniversary of the opening.  For details, catch this show next time around.  Or ask Klea yourself—she’ll be back at Chelsea Table+ Stage on May 5 for her Jerry Herman show—One of the Girls.  But wait—there’s more!   On September 15 you can join her for Dreaming of a Song—a salute to Mr. Stardust himself, Hoagy Carmichael.  and on November 20 join in the fun with An Evening with Klea Blackhurst.    

For those unfamiliar with the Blackhurst magic, Klea’s love and enthusiasm for what she does is infectious, and no one leaves one of her performances without catching some of her fire.  If there was ever an antidote to the blues, it’s Klea Blackhurst. 

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

COUGAR HEAT — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) John Mellencamp has a clear message to fans planning to attend his shows: behave or just stay home.The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer – known for such timeless tunes as “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane” – recently hit the road for his 2024 Live and in Person tour. In a conversation with The Washington Post, Mellencamp detailed what he expects of his fans.

“I do expect etiquette inside of the theater, the same way you would at a Broadway show,” the rocker explained. “My shows are not really concerts anymore. They’re performances, and there’s a difference between a performance and a concert.”

To that end, Mellencamp demands a certain amount of decorum from his audiences.

“Look, I’m not for everyone anymore,” the singer admitted. “I’m just not. And if you want to come and scream and yell and get drunk, don’t come to my show.”

Mellencamp’s directive on manners comes after a series of notable outbursts. In March 2023, the singer told concertgoers to “keep your f—ing mouth shut,” during an acoustic portion of the show.

Last May, an audience member yelled “play the f—ing music” after Mellencamp offered criticism of the U.S.A.

”If these people don’t shut the f–k up I’m just going to leave, OK?” Mellencamp told the crowd. “Because I’m not used to this crap. Look, guys, if I wanted to play in this type of drunken environment, I’d play outside or I’d play in an arena.”

Then, last month, things reached another cantankerous height. At a show in Toledo, Ohio, Mellencamp became outraged at a heckler in the crowd who told him to “play some music.”

“What do you think I’ve been doing, you c–ksu–er?” the rocker responded. “Here’s the thing, man. You don’t know me. You don’t f—ing know me. Hey Joe, find this guy and let me see him after the show.”

Mellencamp later stormed off the stage, seemingly cutting the performance short. However he eventually returned to play a few more songs.

I am a fan of his music and his art, but I’ve negative stories about him for decades. Tommy Mottola used to manage him, then Randy Hoffman and there’s a long list of people who will NOT work for him. Great music though; from the heart.

Mottola in his memoir said Mellencamp was the type of person who if he won  million dollars, would fume why it wasn’t two-million! I know people like that!

“Human Wheels” is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.

SHORT TAKES — Mixed reviews for The Outsiders on Broadway which opened last week in NYC. Angelina Jolie is one of the producers. It’s a great book by S.E. Hinton and even though Theatermania panned Coppola’s movie it stills stands as a classic. Check out their review: https://www.theatermania.com/news/review-the-outsiders-becomes-a-soggy-broadway-musical_1736986/Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman interviewed Woody Allen for The Observer ten years ago. His just-out, new interview with Allen is a classic. Take a read: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/04/17/exclusive-woody-allen-on-marriage-kids-his-great-films-influence-on-movie-making-writing-a-novel-epstein-and-not-retiring … If a new Woody-interview wasn’t enough, Tatiana Siegel in Variety touts the new films coming from ageless auteurs Spielberg; Scorsese; Scott; Coppola; and 93-year old Clint Eastwood. Breathtaking for sure. Take a read: https://variety.com/2024/film/news/martin-scorsese-frank-sinatra-biopic-dicaprio-jennifer-lawrence-1235973769/

Micky Dolenz and Alice Cooper at Coopstock -photo by Valerie La Rue

Micky Dolenz joined in with Alice Cooper for “School’s Out” at Coopstock last weekend in Arizona. Coopstock is Cooper’s annual charity event … Director Quentin Tarantino abruptly dropped plans for his last movie The Movie Critic; which was to star Brad Pitt  …

CBS, which inexplicably cut the Billy Joel at the Garden special 1/2-hour too early last weekend (and during Joel playing his signature “Piano Man” no less) gets a repeat tonight … And, remember the Sullivan Street Playhouse where The Fantasticks ran? Check this out: https://www.villagepreservation.org/2012/01/13/sullivan-street-playhouse-gone-but-not-forgotten/ … RIP Dickey Betts … Happy Bday Marc Eliot!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Dan Zelinski; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; David Letterman; Robert Morton; Janice Zegers; Jane Rosenthal; Frankie Crocker; Deb Caponetta; Jimmy Fallon; Kelsey Ledbetter; Chuck Scarborough; Mark Bego; Kent and Laura Denmark; Bruce Haring; Greg Evans; David Kramer; Joe Malone; Charley Crespo; Jodi Ritzen; Tone Scott; Anthony Noto; and BELLA!
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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

LET IT BE AGAIN — (Via SHOWBIZ 411) I told you yesterday the Beatles are releasing a restored version of “Let it Be,” the film, on Disney Plus. Peter Jackson, who made the “Get Back” series, did the work with his lab of mad scientists. “Let it Be” will begin streaming on May 8th.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot all the footage in 1969 and then made the final film. It played in theaters briefly, then disappeared. The rumor always was that Paul McCartney didn’t like the film. But when Jackson released “Get Back,” those reasons didn’t make sense.

Now the general public will see the film. (I saw it back in the day.) It should be exciting.

“Let It Be” contains footage not featured in the “Get Back” docuseries, bringing viewers into the studio and onto Apple Corps’ London rooftop in January 1969 as The Beatles, joined by Billy Preston, write and record their GRAMMY Award®-winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award®-winning title song, and perform live for the final time as a group.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg

Michael Lindsay-Hogg says, “’How often do you get to see artists of this stature working together to make what they hear in their heads into songs. And then you get to the roof and you see their excitement, camaraderie and sheer joy in playing together again as a group” …“I was knocked out by what Peter was able to do with ‘Get Back,’ using all the footage I’d shot 50 years previously.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Michael’s movie, ‘Let It Be,’ has been restored and is finally being re-released after being unavailable for decades,” says Peter Jackson. “Over three parts, we showed Michael and The Beatles filming a groundbreaking new documentary, and ‘Let It Be’ is that documentary – the movie they released in 1970.”…“I now think of it all as one epic story, finally completed after five decades. The two projects support and enhance each other: ‘Let It Be’ is the climax of ‘Get Back,’ while ‘Get Back’ provides a vital missing context for ‘Let It Be.’

As much as I liked the Peter Jackson-version, the original still burns in my head. I well remember when it came out – with a greatphoto book I still have on my shelf. When all the chatter began about how much fun they really had come out; I sort of didn’t believe it. Face it, if the Fab Four didn’t like Hogg’s version back then … it never would have come out.

I think there was a backlash of sorts and that’s why the original is finally coming out again, though Jackson ‘s involvement is curious. The first time in 50 years no less!  If you want to see it unvarnished and how it really was … watch it.

DON IS BACK — (Via Deadline) Don Johnson is set to star opposite Joshua Jackson in Dr. Odyssey, a new ABC drama series from Ryan Murphy, which is targeting a fall launch. It hails from 20th Television in association with Ryan Murphy Television.

As is the case with any Ryan Murphy series, no details about the premise are being revealed. As the title suggests, Dr. Odyssey is believed to be a medical procedural. According to sources, it is set on a cruise ship.

Details about Johnson’s character are being kept under wraps.

Dr. Odyssey is written, and executive produced by Murphy, Jon Robin Baitz and Joe Baken. Paris Barclay is directing and executive producing. Eric Paquette, Alexis Martin Woodall, Eric Kovtun, Scott Robertson and Nissa Diederich also executive produce alongside Jackson.

Johnson is known for his roles as Det. Sonny Crockett on the classic 1980s NBC series Miami Vice and as the title character in the 1996 CBS series Nash Bridges, which he also reprised in the 2021 Nash Bridges movie for USA. Recent credits include the Emmy-winning HBO limited series Watchmen, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out and the Book Club feature franchise. He has coming up Book Club 2: The Next Chapter and Rebel Ridge.

Tokyo Vice

SHORT TAKES — Watched the second season of MAX’s Tokyo Vice-toplining Ansel Elgort; Ken Watanabe and Rachel Keller. Was a great run, though the ending seemed somewhat somber. Sure the bad-guy was offed, but it was his wife who did the most damage. Great show. Michael Mann is one of the Executive Producers and you can see his hands on everything … Felix Cavaliere and The Rascals at SONY Hall on May 17 …

(Via Deadline) Financier and producer Participant is shuttering after 20 years. Founder Jeff Skoll alerted staff at 10:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday, Deadline has confirmed. Sources say Skoll did an audit of the company and wanted to pivot from entertainment. We understand that most of the 100-person staff is being let go except for core employees who will settle out remaining productions and oversee outstanding commitments to the catalog. Participant’s m.o. was to bring content to the world that was socially conscious, read its Oscar Best Picture winners Spotlight from Open Road and Universal’s Green Book, as well as DreamWorks’ Oscar winner Lincoln. All in, Participant counts 135 films, five series, 21 Oscars — including the two Best Pictures, four Best Documentaries and two Best International Features — 18 Primetime Emmys and north of $3.3 billion in global box office

Pam Anderson joins Liam Neeson in a Naked Gun re-boot? Yes indeed …

Ripley

Steve Zaillian’s Ripley on Netflix is a staggeringly spellbinding take on Ripley; the novel by Patricia Highsmith. Not quite the often comedic-romp that was Matt Damon’s take, but rather a very stylish re-construction. Michael Scott as Ripley is pretty awesome and shot in black-and-white, the images are stunning. After the first few episodes that meandered a bit, I’m definitely into it. Very much recommended.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — John Boulos; Manny’s; Al Roker; Roger Friedman; Roy Trakin; Alec Baldwin; Ken Sharp; Surf Ballroom; My Father’s Place; Eppy; Chuck Pulin; Joel Diamond; Billy Amato; Ray Free; Al Teller; Joel Diamond; Robey; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Glenn Friscia; and SADIE!

Images on this page have been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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Kjersti Long (David Kaptein)

G.H. Harding

GO LONG —- We’ve spoken before of 17-year-old Kjersti Long – on Origin Entertainment/ModSquad (ADA) Records. Her latest single “Sad Song” has become a digital-hit and a new album (her second) is in the works.

She’ll also be in NYC for June’s Tribeca Festival and a prominent agency is stepping up to rep her and her play Relative Space is prepping for an opening in the West End.

Said NEW HD’s Zach Martin: “Kjersti Long, at just 17, stands as a beacon of talent and ambition in the music industry. Her journey from a prodigious debut at the tender age of 11 with the album “Stronger Than You Think I Am” on Broadway Records to becoming a significant influencer on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Kjersti’s career trajectory is nothing short of remarkable​​. Her engagement with her fans and the music community through platforms like Instagram and TikTok, where she has garnered over 50 million views and more than 160,000 new followers, underscores her magnetic appeal and the resonant connection she forges through her music​​.”

She also has a song on the new Vanessa Williams album, “Legs.” Williams’ official video will be out April 26, but here’s an update on her from LifeMinute TV:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD-Okb_T8CM

www.kjerstilong.com


RASCAL-ING AROUND —
(Via Forgotten Hits) Look for a new Rascals box set coming out May 31st.

The 7-disc set encompasses their entire recorded output with Atlantic Records, 1965 – 1971, including mono and stereo copies of their albums, special singles mixes and some previously unreleased tracks.  (I remember shelling out big bucks for an earlier CD edition of this set … but I’ve gotta tell you, this one has got the COOLEST looking cover!!!).

“The Rascals:  It’s Wonderful: The Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings features 152 remastered songs, including 14 previously unreleased tracks. The first four albums are presented in both stereo and mono, along with significant single edits and foreign language versions. The collection includes a 60-page booklet with detailed notes and rare illustrations from The Rascals archives.

Amazon’s got it for $69.99 (I paid 2 ½ times that much way back when for the original!) so pre-order now.  This is quite the collection!

Interesting that this box set is from the UK-based Cherry Red Records. Founded by Iain McNay in 1978, Cherry Red Records has continued to uphold the same fiercely independent values since day one. Check them out here: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/about

And don’t forget about Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish and The Rascals at SONY Hall on May 17.

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Atlantic-Recordings-Rascals/dp/B0CZ3NHLGG?crid=3S8UG8TZCIC3M&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.fcz-QxVsrVNGCoS-EbSPkg.htVhtZLFLUN8n9NrR1H-6rJi5fsjLvQexjIPS6c2Ges&dib_tag=se&keywords=B0CZ3NHLGG&qid=1712320481&s=music&

Micky Dolenz at Troubadour (Stevo Rood)

SHORT TAKES — Check out Tone Scott’s review of Micky Dolenz at LA’s Troubadour in Goldmine: https://www.goldminemag.com/columns/micky-dolenz-songs-and-stories-raises-the-roof-off-the-troubadour-all-for-make-a-wish#gid=ci02dac725a00025c5&pid=thumbnail-3

RIP Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford Coppola at 87. Years ago, I was at a screening of Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind Of Charles Swan with Charlie Sheen. I loved the movie and at a post-screening event, I met Francis Ford Coppola, who could not have been more approachable.

He invited me to sit at his table with his wife Eleanor. Both were terrific. She’ll be much-missed by the film community as well. From Deadline: https://deadline.com/2024/04/eleanor-coppola-dead-hearts-of-darkness-francis-coppola-wife-1235883537/Happy Bday Brit Brashear.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Melinda Newman; Barry Fisch; Toby Rasmussen; Roy Trakin; Joel Diamond; Fred Armisen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Richie Kaczor; Jim Burgess; Tom Scott; Steve Walter; Dan Zelinski; Herb Alpert; Hubert Laws; Eppy; Craig Newman; Jane Blunkell; John Billings; Lora Evans; Andrew Sandoval; Chris Carter; Wen Fernandez; and ZIGGY!

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