The Fantasticks was a 1960 musical with music by Harvey Schmidt and book and lyrics by Tom Jones. It ran off-Broadway for 42 years (until 2002) and 17,162 performances, making it the world’s longest-running musical. The musical’s original cast included Jones as Henry, the Old Actor, and Jerry Orbach as El Gallo, the narrator, who sang Jones’ and Schmidt’s memorable “Try to Remember.”
Many productions followed, as well as television and film versions. The Fantasticks was a staple of regional, community and high school productions since its premiere, with approximately 250 new productions each year. The show was revived off-Broadway from 2006 to 2017. The show was originally written for a summer theater at Barnard College.
Tom Jones along with Schmidt also wrote 110 in the Shade, Celebration and I Do, I Do!, The original 110 in the Shade starred powerhouse Inga Swenson.
Their first Broadway show, 110 in the Shade, was revived on Broadway in a new production starring Audra McDonald.
I Do! I Do!, their two-character musical starring Mary Martin and Robert Preston, was a success on Broadway and is frequently produced around the country and the world.
Jones passed away on Friday at his home in Sharon, Connecticut, following a battle with cancer. He was 95.
Suzanne Somers Passes Away
She starred in “Three’s Company, ABC’s” Step By Step” and was known for the thighmaster in the 70s and 80s, today Suzanne Somers has passed away at 76. She had battled with cancer. It was the day before her 77th birthday.
Somers began acting in small roles during the late 1960s and early 1970s, including on various talk shows promoting her book of poetry, and bit parts in movies, such as the “Blonde in the white Thunderbird” in American Graffiti, and an episode of the American version of the sitcom Lotsa Luck (as the femme fatale) in the early 1970s. She also appeared in The Rockford Files in 1974 and had an uncredited role as a topless “pool girl” in Magnum Force in 1973. She also had a guest-starring role on The Six Million Dollar Man, in the 1977 episode “Cheshire Project,” she played a passenger on the first episode of The Love Boat as well as a guest appearance in a 1976 episode of One Day at a Time. She later landed her most famous role of the ditzy blonde “Chrissy Snow” on the ABC sitcom Three’s Company in 1977. Also that year, she was a celebrity panelist on Match Game, and appeared with husband Alan Hamel on Tattletales.
During the 1980s, Somers became a Las Vegas entertainer. In the early 1990s, she was the spokeswoman in a series of infomercials for the Thighmaster, a piece of exercise equipment that is squeezed between one’s thighs. During this period of her career, she also performed for U.S. servicemen overseas. Calling her a legend in the industry, on May 2, 2014, Direct Marketing Response inducted Somers into the infomercial Hall of Fame.
Her publicist confirmed she succumbed to her illness – an aggressive form of breast cancer that surfaced more than 23 years ago – while surrounded by family at her California home.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Escape To Margaritaville
Jimmy Buffett, the singer, songwriter, author, sailor and entrepreneur whose roguish brand of island escapism on hits like “Margaritaville” and “Fins” made him something of a latter-day folk hero, especially among his devoted following of so-called Parrot Heads, died on Friday. He was 76.
His musical, Escape to Margaritaville, opened at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway on March 15 under the direction of Tony winner Christopher Ashley. The production closed on July 1 after 29 previews and 124 regular performances. A national tour launched in Providence, Rhode Island, in the fall of 2019.
Of the over 30 albums Buffett released, eight are certified gold and nine are certified platinum or multiplatinum.
Aside from his career in music, Buffett was involved in two restaurant chains named after two of his best-known songs; he owned Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant chain.
After entering hospice care just five days prior, Buffett died on September 1, 2023, at his home in Sag Harbor, New York, at the age of 76 from skin cancer (diagnosed in 2019) that had turned into lymphoma.
Saying Good-Bye to Actor Ron Cephas Jones
Ron Cephas Jones passed away August 19th from a long-standing pulmonary issue. He was 66. Jones was best known for his role as William Hill in the drama series This Is Us (2016–2022), which earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award; along with four consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning twice for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2018 and 2020.
Jones appeared in television series such as Mr. Robot (2015–2016), The Get Down (2016–2017), Luke Cage (2016–2018), and Truth Be Told (2019–2023). He also appeared in a number of films, including Half Nelson (2006), Across the Universe (2007), Glass Chin (2014), The Holiday Calendar(2018), Dog Days (2018), and Dolemite Is My Name (2019).
In film he was in He Got Game (1998), Sweet and Lowdown (1999), Half Nelson (2006), and Across The Universe (2007).
Jones was in a play based on the Billie Holiday song “Don’t Explain”. His performance caught the attention of a casting director, which led to Jones being offered the lead role in the Tazewell Thompson production of the Cheryl West play Holiday Heart in 1994. Jones has performed in several theatrical productions with the Steppenwolf in Chicago. H appeared as the title character of Shakespeare’s Richard III with The Public Theater. In 2022, he was nominated for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play at the 75th Tony Awards, for his performance in the Broadway play Clyde’s.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Saying Good-Bye To Paul Reubens
Paul Reubens was an American actor and comedian, best known for creating and portraying the character Pee-wee Herman.
Reubens joined the Los Angeles troupe The Groundlings in the 1970s, and started his career as an improvisational comedian and stage actor. It was with the Groundlings that Reubens developed the Pee-wee character. After a failed audition for Saturday Night Live, Reubens debuted a stage show starring Pee-wee, The Pee-wee Herman Show, in 1981. Pee-wee became an instant cult figure and, for the next decade, Reubens was completely committed to his character, doing all of his public appearances and interviews as Pee-wee. He produced and wrote a feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), directed by Tim Burton, which was a financial and critical success. Its sequel, Big Top Pee-wee (1988), was less successful. Between 1986 and 1990, Reubens starred as Pee-wee in the CBS Saturday-morning children’s program Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
In 1991, Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure in an adult theater in Sarasota, Florida. The arrest set off a chain reaction of national media attention, though he received support from people in the entertainment industry. The arrest postponed Reubens’s involvement in major projects until 1999, when he appeared in several big-budget projects including Mystery Men (1999) and Blow (2001). Reubens subsequently started giving interviews as himself rather than as Pee-wee. After 2006, Reubens made cameos and appearances in numerous film and television shows. In 2010, he revived The Pee-wee Herman Show, which he performed in Los Angeles and on Broadway. In 2016, he co-wrote and starred in the Netflix original film Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, reprising his role as Pee-wee Herman.
Reubens’s Pee-wee character maintained an enduring popularity with both children and adults. Playhouse garnered 15 Emmy Awards during its initial run, and was aired again on late-night television in the 2000s, during which TV Guide dubbed it among the top ten cult classic television programs. Reubens died in 2023 from cancer, a diagnosis which had been undisclosed to the public.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: We Say Good-Bye To The Legendary Tony Bennett
19 Grammys, he recorded 60 studio albums and dozens of live albums and compilations, he had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and now at 96th he has joined God’s choir. Astoria-born jazz legend Tony Bennett was one of the most popular interpreters of jazz, pop and Broadway standards, he died Friday in New York City, his rep confirmed to CBS News. .
A cause of death hasn’t been provided. Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016, Hiswere held with at New York’s Radio City Music Hall in celebration of his 95th birthday in 2021.
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