Talkin' Broadway V.J.

Cole, Ward, & Sockley...Millennium Trio

There is an acclaimed trio of multi-talented men with many projects that will enhance the growth of the American musical theatre as it enters into the new millennium. Individually and collectively they've expanded theatrical horizons with numerous awards, praise and accomplishments.

Stephen Cole is a native New Yorker. His theatrical career began as an actor, expanded as an author of three published books and continues as the writer of lyrics and books for musicals. As an author his subjects have included Noel Coward and the forthcoming "That Book About That Girl: The Unofficial That Girl Companion" (written with the cooperation of Marlo Thomas). His musical Dodsworth had its premiere with Hal Linden and Dee Hoty. It was presented with John Cullum and Dee Hoty at the National Alliance of Musical Theatre Festival of New Musicals. Gavin McLeod and Ruta Lee starred in his musical Grossinger's. His musical Night of the Hunter has been recorded and will have its premiere under the direction of Robert Falls at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Stephen's special material has been performed by Christine Baranski, Elaine May, Dorothy Loudon, JoAnne Worley and Marlo Thomas to name a few. He is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatist Guild.

Matthew Ward is an award-winning composer, pianist, musical director and occasional actor. He is currently appearing in Forbidden Broadway Cleans Up Its Act. He made his debut with the Milwaukee Symphony at 12 and has a music degree in Piano performance. Matthew started playing by ear when he was 2 1/2. He made a living during college playing in piano bars, jazz clubs, with big bands and occasionally singing in temple on High Holy Days. He was the musical director of Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back and can be heard on that cast recording and the Off B'way hit Whoop-Dee-Doo! He conducted Nunsense, Ruthless and others. He has made the rounds with numerous regional musical productions: Godspell(s), Joseph(s), Fantasticks(s) and Side by Side by Sondheim. He composed the background music for Masques of Melancholia starring Richard Chamberlain, Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach as well as numerous film scores, industrials and jingles.

Travis L. Sockley is an award-winning director of over one hundred professional productions. From his tutelage under Fritz Holt, he has directed throughout the US, Europe and Mexico. He has directed a host of conceptually re-conceived classic musicals. In Chicago he won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Sweeney Todd which predated the eventual NYC productions. Travis has received eleven additional Jeff nominations and many Best Production Awards while working in Chicago. He has an MFA from Northwestern. As a Producer, he has entered three shorts in the Sundance Festival and been a finalist in the Sundance Theatre Lab. His production of Cole Porter's Nymph Errant with a new book will play Chichester in England this summer. Travis serves as an Associate Professor of Theatre at Long Island University. Development of new works of musical theatre is his passion and a personal mission.

The three men are all involved with other future musical projects, collectively and independently. They just collaborated on the new lush musical After The Fair (an adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel). It has just been recorded by Varese Sarabande. The musical is set in turn-of-the-century England in which a wealthy mistress lets her feelings go too far when she writes love letters for her illiterate maid. The acclaimed musical soars around four people who are changed by the searing passion, envy and sweeping romance. After The Fair starred James Ludwig, Michele Pawk, Jennifer Piech and David Staller. It just concluded a successful engagement at The York Theatre at St. Peter's Church in New York.

Tidbits: "The Phantom of the Opera Movie Campaign," which promotes the casting of Michael Crawford for the role of the Phantom in the future film, made the weekend edition of USA TODAY. In an article written by Ann Oldenburg she explains what the campaign's lobbying is all about.

Ticket sales have been brisk for The Phoenix at The New York International Fringe Festival, "The Phoenix" will be performed between August 19-29 at WOW Café, 59-61 4th Street, 4th Floor, in New York City. Morgan Spurlock's black comedy features two women who aren't being saved in this story about the male ego, life fulfillment, and drinks on the house. Tickets are $11. For more information about the festival, please call (212) 420-8877 or 1-888-FringeNYC.

"It was confusing and dark but not realistic. But the darkness is now funny, the burlesque is played more to the audience and everything that was wrong before is gone." So says Hal Linden to a Las Vegas journalist about the 1975/96 productions of Chicago and his upcoming gig as Billy Flynn in the Vegas company at the Mandalay Bay. He replaces Ben Vereen at the end of the month. Charlotte d'Amboise replaces Marilu Henner and Jasmine Guy will replace Mamie Duncan-Gibbs.

Fans are singing "I'm Flying" as they board airplanes all across the country. They're heading to New York to catch Sandy Duncan (everyone's favorite Peter Pan) as Roxie in Chicago. Word is Hot, hot, hot!

Speaking of Peter Pan, the wonderful Cathy Rigby ends her run after 17 more performances. The musical will begin touring in the fall.

Priority mail orders are being accepted for Waiting in the Wings which will star Lauren Bacall beginning December 3rd in previews. Mail orders will be accepted and must be postmarked by September 11th. $67.50 orchestra & front mezz, $50 rear mezz. Tix on sale for the first 12 weeks of the run. List 2 alternate dates; make check payable to The Wings Company, 1776 Broadway, Suite 1100, New York, NY 10019.

Talkin' Broadway is giving away a night on the town! Dinner for two at Sardis ($100. value) and 2 tickets to Dame Edna, The Royal Tour. Just guess what the closing figure will be for the Dow Jones Average on September 15th. The Dow is currently around 10,975. Entries must be received via e-mail no later than 4 P.M. Sept. 13th. Anyone can enter and the closest guess to the number wins. In the event of a tie we'll have a drawing. e-mail to:

If you missed the last column we announced the opening of our new Gallery section, a virtual tour of Old New York and The Broadway of Yesteryear. The photos and prints show what New York looked like long ago. Presented for us by Robert Rusie in our Broadway 101 section.

See you Thursday!

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