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Archive for July, 2011

Get Ready 80s Fans: Debbie Gibson and Tiffany are on Tour Together!

Get ready to don those legwarmers and pull out all those ripped, neon shirts from your closet – Debbie Gibson and Tiffany are currently on tour together! The two are currently traveling throughout the United States, beginning in New Hampshire on July and lasting until August 13 where they’ll perform their last show in Chicago, Illinois.

During the 80s when both artists were at the top of their game, it was widely rumored that the two were tough competitors who couldn’t stand each other. Over the years, they’ve shown that’s never been true, and that they have been long-time admirers of each other’s work. This tour, says Gibson is “unashamedly about the 80s!” So get your hair as high as possible and get your tickets to this flash from the past now!

Watch The Throne: Kanye West and Jay-Z Take the Stage Together in Fall 2011

Hip hop fans now have a real reason to celebrate the coming fall, as Kanye West and Jay-Z have just announced that they will be touring together come late September! The two teamed up this past summer to record the collaborative album, Watch the Throne, which is still yet to be released on August 8. Now, they’ll be taking those tunes to all their fans across the United States and Canada!

The tour begins in Detroit, Michigan on September 22 and from there the two will head across the border for one stop each in Toronto and Montreal before coming back to the States. Once back, they’ll travel across the country for just over another month, wrapping it all up in Boston, Massachusetts on November 3.

Watch the Throne is an album that fans have been talking about for months on end now. And while the album is sure to be worth the wait, the live show is bound to be something that only the best in the biz could put on. Get the full listing of concert dates here (The Throne Tickets), and then get your tickets right here! The Kanye West and Jay-Z tour this fall will be the stuff legendary hip hop is made of, and it’s one you’ll be sorry to miss!

The Before and After Story of Steel Magnolias

If you have ever seen Steel Magnolias the movie, starring Sally Field, Julia Roberts and Shirley MaClaine, then it may surprise you to know that there is a before and an after to the story. Steel Magnolias started as an Off-Broadway play in 1987 and was then made into a movie in 1989. Since then, it has been revived on Broadway, starting in 2005, with a few changes.

Besides some uproarious dialogue and some heartfelt moments, Steel Magnolias is considered unique because of its one set production and its strong female cast–not to mention the fact that there are no male actors in the play. (All male characters are only spoken of in dialogue.) The play is similar to the movie and is a comedy drama (written by Robert Harling) set in a beauty parlor. The play follows the major characters Shelby, Truvy, Clairee, Ouiser, Annelle and M’Lynn.

In 2005, the play premiered at the Lyceum Theatre and garnered some very positive reviews. Since then, the production has been touring, not only in the United States, but even internationally, in Tokyo, and in Stockholm. Obviously, this is a human interest story that appeals to people of all ages, all cultures and all sensibilities. The play was written by playwright Harling as a means to cope with his own sister’s death. Susan Harling was a diabetic (as is the play’s central character) and did die from complications of the condition. Harling was advised to write about his feelings as a means to cope. He wrote it as a short story and then eventually turned the story into a play. It was Hartling’s brilliant idea to make the play just as funny as it was heartbreaking–just like real life.

To see the play today still remains a wonderful live theatre experience, all the more so when you take these identities off screen and put them on a small set. This Louisiana-based play will leave you breathless, as you observe firsthand the meaning of “steel magnolias.” Don’t you remember what that meaning is? Women who are as delicate as magnolias but as tough as steel.

The ESPY Awards State The Obvious

You got to love to the ESPY Awards, a sporting event devoted to rewarding the most obvious standout players of every major sport. The motto of the ESPY’s should be “No Duh.” Just look at this year’s big winners, like Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers (Best NFL Player) and tennis icon Serena Williams (Best Female Tennis Player). Of course, the real reason we watch the ESPYs is to enjoy the shenanigans, not necessarily root on the underdogs.

The event started out wonderfully bizarre, with Serena Williams wearing a low-cut, hot pink skirt suit, while Brian Wilson of the MLB showed up in a spandex tuxedo suit. Dirk Nowitzki and his Dallas Mavericks teammates, fresh off a historic NBA Championship win sang, “We are the Champions” much to the chagrin of Miami Heat. Nowitzki took home ESPY trophies for Male Athlete of the Year and NBA Player of the Year, while the Mavericks won Best Team and Rick Carlisle won Best Coach. Nowitzki took home the trophy even when while competing with other nominees Jimmie Johnson of NASCAR, Rafael Nadal in Tennis, and Aaron Rodgers in football.

Other awards to went to ski racer Lindsey Vonn, who won Female Athlete of the Year for the second straight year, and Tim Thomas won Best Championship Performance and Best NHL Player. Meanwhile the Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay won Best MLB Player. The Best Game of the Year went to the Eagles and Giants, 38-31.

The honorary awards, though not “surprising” were certainly amazing to watch. Anthony Robles was given a Jimmy V Award for Perseverance (and another award for an athlete working with a disability) for his career, in which he became NCAA Champion despite having been born with just one leg. Dewey Bozella was handed an Arthur Ashe Courage Award though he was only an amateur boxer in his day. However, he was wrongfully imprisoned for 26 years over a murder he did not commit. Still, that didn’t stop him from becoming Sing Sing Correctional Facility Boxing Champion.

The ESPY Committee even made time to honor the sports movie The Fighter, based on the true story of boxer Micky Ward and his half brother Dicky Eklund. The ESPYs are a great night for entertainment, not only because they allow inter-league competition, but also because it lets us relive the greatest moments in sports.

Who Will be at the MLB All-Star Game This Season?

MLB standings for the second full week of July are much the same as the first week. The Boston Red Sox are leading the American League East (barely surpassing the Yankees), while the Detroit Tigers are edging over Cleveland in Central, and Texas is inching its way past Los Angeles. In the National League East, Philadelphia is dominating Atlanta (and every other team in the league), while Milwaukee is tied with St. Louis in Central, and San Francisco is pushing back Arizona in the West.

We are now close to the All-Star Game, and some players have already guaranteed their appearance. Pablo Sandoval of San Francisco hit an RBI double (and has a streak of 21 on his site) to ensure inclusion, while Andre Ethier of Los Angeles hit two home runs, qualifying for his second straight All-Star Game. Other team members going to the game include Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh, Jordan Zimmermann of Washington, and Justin Verlander of Kansas City.

However, many fans view the All-Star Game as a pleasant distraction, and one not necessarily tied to the overall season or the World Series. One individual everyone is watching is Miguel Montero of Arizona, who may very well help the MLB National League West score an All-Star victory. In fact, the prevailing prediction this year is that the NL has the advantage, 3-1 against the AL, which has suffered some significant losses this season. Predicted MVP winners include Miguel Montero, as well as hot home run hitters like Jose Bautista and Curtis Granderson.

At least 16 major players will be absent from the All-Star game, and some of the players that will be there are actually replacement players, as opposed to All-Stars. Big names like Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, David Price and Derek Jeter are on the injured list, while quality players like CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez and Matt Cain are ineligible to play.

This will definitely be an unpredictable game. If anything, this coming game will be an opportune time for a “replacement player” to make a name for himself in front of the entire nation and Fox Sports fans. The game will take place on July 12, 2011 at the Chase Field Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona. It may turn out to be a predictor of the World Series, or may prove to be just another MLB game. Either way, you know we’re going to be watching!

Experience A New Generation Of Cabaret

You may not have seen Cabaret in ages, especially if the last recollection you have of the Tony and Oscar winner is of Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey wiggling around to “Money (Makes the World go Round).”  Granted, most movie adaptations of musicals are drastically different from the source material.  Still, it may surprise you to know that today’s Cabaret show is also a far cry from the Cabaret musical you remember of the 1960s and 1970s.

The show playing now is based on a 1998 Broadway revival, which was based on the original show by the late Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb.  (Which was based on Joe Masteroff’s book, which was based on John Van Druten’s “I Am a Camera” and Christopher Isherwood’s “The Berlin Stories”…that is one multi-adapted story!)

Sam Mendes directed the Broadway revival, shortly before receiving his directing Oscar for American Beauty.  Mendes’ production was co-directed by Rob Marshall, a musical veteran who also directed the film version of Fosse’s Chicago.  Mendes and Marshall’s interpretation of the story was a bit different from the original Fosse production.

The Emcee character drastically changed in the revival, and became an overtly sexual creature (as opposed to Grey’s asexual and surreal interpretation) as imagined by Alan Cummings.  The dramatic “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” number was also changed, along with the concluding scene involving the Emcee.  We won’t give away the changes explicitly, but suffice it to say, this is a newer and grittier Cabaret than you remember.

The current version is directed by Joel Ferrell and is based on the revival version.  Your favorite songs are still part of the show, including “Mein Herr”, “Maybe This Time” and “Two Ladies.”  The new vision of Cabaret does contain partial nudity and adult themes, so it is recommended for mature audiences.  Reviews for the show have been positive, particularly for newcomer Joel Ferrell’s choreography, and has garnered praise from such high profile publications as the Dallas Morning News.

Get your Cabaret tickets for this legendary American musical when it stops by your hometown. It’s never been friendlier in the “Kit Kat Club!”