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A celebrated duo is reuniting for what is being billed as their final shows together.  One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga will play Radio City Music Hall on August 3rd and 5th.

If you go to see Tony and Gaga, you’ll likely need proof of a Covid vaccine.  After all, you can’t kill an American treasure – or Gaga, for that matter.  You’ll need that same proof when Broadway comes back.  It’s been announced that each of Broadway’s 41 venues will require proof of vaccine…AND masks will be required.  This is part of a landmark agreement between the Broadway League, Actors’ Equity, and the various other unions.  An exception will be made for those 12 years of age and younger, and those with either a medical condition or a “closely held religious belief”.  I can’t wait to see how they carry out this mandate – especially at the Metropolitan Opera, which has a capacity of 3,500.

The 2020 Tony Awards will finally take place in the last quarter of 2021.  And the Tony Committee has announced the winner of the Isabelle Stevenson Award – which is given to a member of the community “who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations”.  I surely wasn’t the only person who assumed that would go to Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley – who started Stars in the House moments after the pandemic hit.  Not only did they keep the world entertained, they also raised over $1 million for the Actors Fund (continuing their long track record of charitable work).  However, the award will go to the estimable Julie Halston – whom I also adore, but could have waited until next year.  Julie was chosen “for her dedication and advocacy in raising funding and awareness for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation”.  She started working for this cause in 2008 when her husband, Ralph Howard, was diagnosed with the disease.  Since that time, she has helped raise millions of dollars.  Brava, Julie.

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Despite having a healthy amount of skepticism that Broadway will resume performances in September, I’m willing to play along.  One of the most anticipated revivals is of Richard Greenberg’s play Take Me Out – about a star baseball player coming out of the closet.  This revival will star Jesse Williams as the ballplayer in question.  Fun fact – prior to his alleged assault on the streets of Chicago, Jussie Smollett was the front-runner to play that part.  Williams will be joined by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and the show begins previews on March 9th.

A new national tour of the musical Hairspray is hitting the road.  Even more exciting, the role of Edna will be played by drag diva Nina West (aka Andrew Levitt).  The tour launches in Yakima, Washington on November 12th.

Prior to the pandemic, Frankie Valli made an announcement about the musical Jersey Boys.  “It is being filmed for television and Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers is playing Frankie, and I’m really excited about that.”  When recently asked the status of the project, Valli said, “It will be filmed, I think, somewhere in Cleveland, and I will be going there to check it out.”  The original director of the Broadway show, Des McAnuff, is helming this version, and we hear it will land on Peacock – with the team hoping for a Hamilton-like success.

 

 

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