Talkin' Broadway V.J.

Hal Linden joins Vegas "CHICAGO"

Tonight Ben Vereen gives his final performance as sleazeball lawyer Billy Flynn in the Las Vegas production of Chicago at the Mandalay Bay Hotel/Casino theatre. Vereen has been with the show since it opened in March. Taking his place will be Hal Linden beginning on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Linden, no stranger to musicals, is probably best known from the television series Barney Miller. His Broadway credits include On A Clear Day, The Apple Tree, Bells Are Ringing and many more including The Rothschilds in which he was honored with a Tony Award. His cast recording of Anything Goes is considered to be the best recording of this show by many.

Last week the Chicago shuffle began when both Marilu Henner and Mamie Duncan-Gibbs finished their stints as Roxie and Velma. Charlotte d'Amboise and Jasmine Guy have taken their places and will play the merry murderesses through November. Ernie Sabella, as Mr. Cellophane, has been replaced by Michael Tucci and M. Spencer as Mary Sunshine gives her final performance tonight. The new Mary Sunshine will be Broadway's own D. Sabella. Matron Mama Morton also saw a switch when Roz Ryan came from the Broadway Company and Marcia Lewis returned to her home on the Great White Way.

It's anyone's guess whether Chicago in Las Vegas will extend beyond December. The show is a surefire hit with the audiences but some little details have to be worked out involving contracts if the show continues into the millenium. Still, the Mandalay Bay is selling tickets right through the new year, so maybe the wrinkles have been taken care of. Touring shows like Rent, and Cats are heading Vegas way and next year 2 new musicals will be debuting (Notre Dame and Miss Spectacular). With Tommy Tune in EFX and other shows being talked about the city of glitz and glitter is fast becoming Broadway West.


  • Betty Comden and Adolph Green will be celebrated at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, Sept. 16 and Friday Sept. 17. Guest artists include David Campbell, Amanda Green, Nathan Lane, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Phyllis Newman, Faith Prince, Diane Schuur, Elaine Stritch and Bobby Short. Celebration begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $18 - $75 and available at Carnegiecharge (212) 247-7800.

  • Box Office is now open for Epic Proportions. Previews begin on Sept. 7 at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Telecharge (212) 239-6200.

  • The following day, Sept. 8, The Exact Center of the Universe starring Frances Sternhagen begins at the Century Theater on E. 15th Street. Tickets now available through Telecharge.

  • Kat and the Kings gets not one, but two standing ovations at each performance! The high-energy show opened last week to pretty good reviews. Cort Theatre & Telecharge for tix.

  • Last performance today of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby. The show hits the road in the fall.

  • Broadway on Broadway concert is set for Sept. 12th. The free concert will include casts of Broadway musicals and plays. One of the highlights will be Brian Stokes Mitchell and Marin Mazzie singing a duet from the forthcoming revival of Kiss Me Kate.

  • And speaking of Kiss Me Kate I got a letter from someone who was in the original cast way back in 1948. She, and a few other gypsys in that production, have stayed in touch for the last 50 years. Their dream is to see the show on opening night to support the new cast. Now, wouldn't that be nice!

  • The annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Flea Market and Grand Auction will be held on Sunday, September 26th. Last year they raised over a half a million dollars for this worthwhile charity. The Market opens at 10 AM and the auction begins at 4:30 PM.

See you Thursday!

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