Friday, January 22, 2021



As the tax season approaches here is a special offer to help you save taxes while helping to support the theatre community at the same time.
I have been preparing 1040s for individuals in all walks of life since 1972.  I share my knowledge and experience in several books of advice, information and resources for planning for and preparing your income tax return.
For each book you purchase I will donate $2.00 to the Actor’s Fund.  If you purchase the “2021 Tax Return Organizer” I will donate $5.00 to the Fund.
Click on the link to find out about the item -
This only applies to pdf or print versions of books purchased directly from me – it does not apply to Kindle versions purchased from AMAZON.COM.
You must mail your check or money order payable to TAXES AND ACCOUNTING, INC., and email or postal address, to –

Friday, January 8, 2021



+ An email from the Forestburgh Playhouse in Forestburgh NY announced -
Save the Date for the best (virtual) party around! On February 24th, come revel in the Diamond Delirium--A Virtual Gala Celebrating 75 Years of the Forestburgh Playhouse . . . Featuring performances by the best of Broadway, surprise celebrity guests, comedy fun and so much more!”  
+ Looking for something to watch this week-end?  “Pasadena Playhouse to Honor Jerry Herman With Virtual Music Celebration” -
Join Pasadena's ‘Playhouse Live’ on Sunday, January 10, at 5 p.m., for the Opening Night performance of ‘You I Like’, a tribute to celebrate the life of composer and lyricist Jerry Herman, who passed away on December 26, 2019. This will be the first time a theatrical tribute to Herman is being held since his passing.
This will be the first time a theatrical tribute to Herman is being held since his passing. The tribute will feature Bernadette Peters, David Hyde Pierce, ‘You I Like’ creator Andy Einhorn and Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman.”
BTW – Jerry Herman grew up in my hometown of Jersey City NJ.
+ Here is something new to me – BROADWAY PLUS.

Friday, December 18, 2020



+ BroadwayHD is a subscription on-demand digital streaming service created by Tony Award-winning producers Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley (“A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder”).  It records and distributes live theater performances and previously recorded theatrical productions. 
The service costs $8.99 per month or $99.00 for a year.  It offers a 7-day free trial.
The blog BROADWAY LOVER (“reviews and news about everything Broadway and more”) posted a “review” of the service and answered the question “BroadwayHD:Is it worth it?” -
So, is BroadwayHD worth it? My answer would be yes. Anyone who even remotely likes theater can find something to watch and there is very little chance of having major trouble with it. While I can't speak about the livestreams, I can say that their video library is 100% worth the price of the subscription and will certainly make any theater lover happy.”
+ From TOWN HALL in NYC -
Siblings Rufus, Martha and Lucy Wainwright bring their beloved Christmas show “A Not So Silent Night – Virtually Together” to a global audience for the first time streaming live on on December 20th.  They will be joined by aunts, mothers, fathers, nieces, cousins, sons and daughters of the acclaimed musical clans of the Wainwrights, McGarrigles and Roches.  The show will be accessible for purchase and stream until January 6th 2021.
The performance will support the Kate McGarrigle Fund.  The Fund provides funding for sarcoma research as well as music therapy resources to cancer patients with a passion for music.
Click here for a preview and here to order “tickets”.

Friday, December 11, 2020



Shadowlands Stages in Ellenville NY will present a special online presentation of a reading of a new play – CHRISTMAS EVE 1953 - premiering Saturday, December 19th at 8pm and available for viewing through Tuesday, December 22nd.


CHRISTMAS EVE 1953 (coincidentally my first Christmas Eve), a story by Tom Hanks that was included in his book “Uncommon Type: Some Stories”, “tells the story of Virgil Buell and his wife Delores, who every year on Christmas Eve get the house ready for a celebratory Christmas morning with their kids. And every Christmas Eve, right at midnight, Virgil gets a long-distance phone call from his old Army buddy, Bud. Bud’s annual call, from somewhere in the world, sends Virgil careening back through the tunnel of memory to the shells and shrapnel of their shared, explosive past. A Yuletide fable of love, loss, redemption and hope. 


The story was adapted for the stage by James Glossman and is part of a trio of stories Glossman has adapted from the book. This will be the first time it is heard.  It stars David Strathairn, Sharon Washington, Jay O. Sanders, Maryann Plunkett and Leyu Girma.


You can view this performance by donating to Shadowland Stages.  Go here to donate.



Friday, December 4, 2020



A FACEBOOK post from the Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven NJ led me to some ideas for supporting theatres at Christmas time.

I have previously suggested purchasing gift certificates from your local community or regional theatre to use for future subscriptions and productions.  But Surflight has some other options.

One way is by shopping at SmileAmazon.  When you join SmileAmazon you can designate a charity – like OceanProfessional Theatre Company Inc (aka Surflight Theatre) – and Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to the charitable organization, with no fees and no extra cost.  Or you can donate products to your charity selected from a list of items needed provided by the charity.  Over 1 Million charities have registered with this service.

Another way is with “naming opportunities”.  You can buy a brick - 3 lines of 15 characters each per brick.  Or name a seat in the theatre - 40 characters per plaque.

Your local theatre may also offer similar naming opportunities.  A few years ago, I purchased 2 personalized bricks for the sidewalk of the Ritz Theatre in Hawley, home of the Ritz Company Playhouse. 


Friday, November 27, 2020



SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK, with book by Julie Taymor, Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge, had 182 previews and 1,066 performances at the Lyric Theatre (known at the time as the Foxwoods Theatre) on 42nd Street from Nov 28, 2010 to Jan 04, 2014, was, at the time, the most expensive Broadway production in history.  It also gained a reputation for having a Macbeth-esque curse.
But Spiderman was not the first comic book super-hero to appear on the Great White Way.  In March through July of 1966 IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE, IT’S SUPERMAN ran for 19 previews and 129 performances at the Alvin Theatre.  I was in the audience for one of these performances.
This musical had a more traditional Broadway pedigree than the Spiderman adaptation.  Music and lyrics were by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams (ANNIE, APPLAUSE, BYE BYE BIRDIE, etc), and it was produced and directed by Hal Prince.   
While it had Lois Lane, there was no Lex Luthor.  The villains of the piece were a mad scientist and the Daily Planet’s Winchell-esque gossip columnist Max Mencken, played by Broadway veteran Jack Cassidy (father of “Tiger Beat” favs David and Shaun and husband of Partridge Family mom Shirley Jones).  Clark Kent, aka Superman, was played by Bob Holiday.
Coincidently, Holiday eventually left acting to become a premier home developer in the Lake Wallenpaupack Area, living, and passing away in 2017, in my current home town of Hawley, PA.
Also in the cast, as Cassidy’s assistant, was Linda Lavin, who would go on to fame on the small screen as Alice, a waitress at Mel’s Diner. Appropriately initialed for the “Silver Age” Superman, LL sang the show’s one contribution to the Great American Songbook – “You’ve Got Possibilities” – which was featured a few years back in a Pillsbury Doughboy commercial.
According to the Superman Supersite
The plot revolves around Superman's efforts to defeat Dr. Abner Sedgwick, a ten-time Nobel Prize-losing scientist who seeks to avenge the scientific world's dismissal of his brilliance by attempting to destroy the world's symbol of good. Additionally, Superman comes into romantic conflict with Max Mencken, a columnist for the Daily Planet newspaper, who resents Lois Lane's attraction to Superman.”
FYI, while I have a good memory, and I do still have my original Playbill from the production, I used a special online source to research this post.  To find out everything you always wanted to know about Broadway go the Internet Broadway Database (IBDB).  The IBDB archive is the official database for Broadway theatre information.
IBDB provides records of productions from the beginnings of New York theatre until today. Details include pertinent people involved as well as interesting facts and production statistics.
Get a list of every production of Hamlet on Broadway or a list of your favorite actor's credits. Or find out what shows opened in a specific Broadway season.   

Friday, November 20, 2020



+ The SpringLake Community House and Theatre, of course in Spring Lake NJ, is extremely pleased to announce our 38th annual production of “Scrooge” 2020 style – outdoors.   The production will be a reduced version of the play that has become a beloved Christmas tradition for thousands of people every December. It will be shorter but as joyful as ever.”
I have seen several musical productions at the Spring Lake Theatre over the years while vacationing at the Jersey shore.  They always do a good job.
Tickets are $35 each and include hot chocolate and cookies. Seating is limited and will be assigned in order of purchase. For everyone’s safety, all CDC protocols will be followed, social distancing guidelines will be observed, and seats will be spaced apart by groups. Seating requests are not possible. Face coverings will be required.
Performances are scheduled for December 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, and 20, 2020, at 7:00 PM.  In case of bad weather, performances will be rescheduled.
Tickets can be purchased online – click here - or by calling 732-449-4530 during Box Office hours (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 2:30 PM to 7:00 PM, Thursday 12:30 PM to 7:00 PM, and Friday 2:30 PM - 5:30 PM).
+ Back at the beginning of the pandemic when restaurants were shut down and only take out was allowed a NJ radio station suggested that listeners support local restaurants by purchasing gift certificates, to be redeemed when the restaurant re-opened.  Doing so would provide local restaurants with current cash flow during hard times.
This is also a good idea for supporting local theatres and theatre companies that are shut down due to the pandemic.  Think about giving friends and family gift certificates for performances at a local community theatre as Christmas presents.
+ Staying at the Jersey shore, but further south, the Surflight Theate in Beach Haven on Long Beach Island is actually presenting live theatre indoors. 
Surflight had been continually producing theatre in NJ from 1950 through 2014, when it filed for bankruptcy.  I saw several productions there over the years visiting Long Beach Island in “off-season”.  The theatre reopened in 2017 under new management.
A Surflight original, “We Need A Little Christmas” is the show to see this Holiday Season. A love filled Christmas Card filled with tradition, cheer and a little sparkle, you will leave this show with toes tapping and heart soaring, filled with the beautiful warm spirit of the Season, and the promise of better things to come.   
“We Need a Little Christmas” will be performed indoors at no more than 25 % capacity of audience and with enhanced ventilation systems and hygiene.   The audience will be in masks.   Click here to purchase tickets.







Friday, November 13, 2020



The classic musical SOUTH PACIFIC was having a bit of trouble during its out of town try-outs. It appears the show was running a bit long.  Consideration was given to how to trim a few minutes from the production.
Several people suggested that a little song in the 2nd Act be cut from the show. But Richard and Oscar would not have it – they were adamant in their support of this song. Their response was - if the song is cut, they might as well close the show out of town. Since R+H were the producers the song remained.
The song was “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”.
Even after SOUTH PACIFIC opened the song was highly criticized and, according to Wikipedia, was “judged by some to be too controversial or downright inappropriate for the musical stage”.
Wikipedia goes on –
Rodgers and Hammerstein risked the entire South Pacific venture in light of legislative challenges to its decency or supposed Communist agenda. While on a tour of the Southern United States, lawmakers in Georgia introduced a bill outlawing entertainment containing ‘an underlying philosophy inspired by Moscow’. One legislator said that ‘a song justifying interracial marriage was implicitly a threat to the American way of life’.”
We have certainly come a long way.  Or, considering the current empowering, emboldening and “legitimizing” of racism and white supremacy by Trump and his Administration, have we?
James Michener, author “Tales of The South Pacific” upon which SOUTH PACIFIC was based, explained, "The authors replied stubbornly that this number represented why they had wanted to do this play, and that even if it meant the failure of the production, it was going to stay in."
In the show the song is sung by the character Lt Cable and is preceded by Cable saying racism is "not born in you! It happens after you’re born."
Here are the lyrics -
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives, hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!
I remember the song being used in an anti-racism tv ad back in the late 60s or early 70s.

Rodgers returned to the theme of interracial relationships in 1962 with NO STRINGS, his first musical after the death of Hammerstein.
(FYI - the above item is from my book BOBSERVATIONS)

Friday, November 6, 2020


The movies are famous for sequels.  Some are actually as good as or better than the original, but many are at best unnecessary and at worst an insult to the original.  While there are often revivals, Broadway musicals are not known for spawning sequels.
There has been no “West Side Story – The Next Generation”, “Return of the Music Man”, “Cabaret II – Back to Berlin”, or “Guys and Dolls and a Baby”.
There were two actual Broadway Musical “sequels” in the early days of the genre. 
The 1906 George M. Cohan musical “Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway” had a 1907 sequel titled “The Talk of New York”. 
The first Pulitzer Prize winning musical, 1931’s “Of Thee I Sing” with book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind and music and lyrics by the Gershwins, begat the less successful 1933 sequel “Let ‘Em Eat Cake”.
During my lifetime, which began in the 1950s, there have been, to my knowledge, four musical sequels with the same characters and similar situations as the “inspiration” that take place after the story of the original production.
The first is “Bring Back Birdie”, obviously a sequel to the classic “Bye Bye Birdie”, which had 31 previews and only 4 performances (the original had 607) back in early 1981 at the Martin Beck Theatre.  It reunited the creative team of Charles Strouse and Lee Adams and librettist Michael Stewart.  Chita Rivera reprised her role as Rosie, but Albert and Mae Peterson, Dick Van Dyke and Kay Medford in the original, were played by Donald O’Connor and Maria Karnilova.  There was no sign of the McAfee family from the original, the patriarch of which was played by Paul Lynde.
In the sequel, 20 years after the end of the original, Albert, now an English teacher, is offered $20,000 if he can find Conrad Birdie, who has disappeared into obscurity, and persuade him to perform on a television show.  Albert takes a leave of absence and locates Conrad, now overweight and the mayor of Bent River Junction, AZ.
I was in the audience for one of the 35 performances.  There was an unsuccessful try at updating the innovative “Telephone Hour” production number idea using videos.  And Donald O’Connor considered attempting to reprise his “Singing in the Rain” off the wall back flip during one of his solo numbers, but thought better of it considering his age.  Despite its short run, Chita Rivera was nominated for a Tony and a Drama Desk Award as Best Actress in a Musical.  The original “Bye Bye Birdie” was nominated for, and won, many Tonys, including Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Direction, and Best Choreography.
Ken Mandelbaum writes in his book, “Not Since Carrie, 40 Years of Broadway Flops” – “’Bring Back Birdie’ may rank as the worst Broadway musical ever to be created by top-level professionals.  The book was tasteless and ridiculous.”   
I met BBB librettist Michael Steward, who also wrote the books for “Hello Dolly” and “42nd Street”, when he was a guest lecturer on one of my post-tax season transatlantic crossings on the QE2 back in the 1980s.  I saw the original “Bye Bye Birdie”" during its Broadway run, but with “Match Game” host Gene Rayburn and not Dick Van Dyke.  I also saw the inferior Broadway revival of a few years back.
“Annie”, which first promised Broadway audiences in early 1977 that “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow”, had not one but two attempts at a sequel.
The first was “Annie 2: Miss Hannigan’s Revenge”, which opened at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC in December 1989 to “universally disastrous reviews”.    Wikepedia reports that “extensive reworking of the script and score proved futile, and the project was aborted before reaching Broadway.”
The second attempt was made in 1993, with a completely different plot and score.  “Annie Warbucks” opened off-Broadway at the Variety Arts Theatre, where it ran for 200 performances.  It never made the transition to Broadway.  I did not see either sequel.
The third Broadway Musical sequel, which did briefly make it to Broadway, was “The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public”, which had 28 previews and 16 performances in the spring of 1994.  The original’s creative team returned for the sequel, including Tommy Tune as co-director and co-choreographer.  It told the tale of the best little whorehouse in Las Vegas.
Miss Mona, madam of the original Chicken Ranch, is coaxed out of retirement to take over the Las Vegas brothel “Stallion Fields”, which has been seized by the government and is being run by the IRS in hopes of recovering $26 Million in back taxes.  Mona is once again at odds with a zealous right-wing politician trying to close the “house” down.
The New York Times review indicated that, while it had all the glitz one expects from Las Vegas, and even had Siegfried and Roy (portrayed by one actor – half Siegfried and half Roy), “What is ain’t got is fun”.   
Dee Hoty, who played Miss Mona, was nominated for a 1994 Tony as Best Actress in a Musical.  I also did not see this fiasco.
Number four, although its source did not originate on Broadway, is Andrew Lloyd Weber’s sequel to “Phantom of the Opera” titled “Love Never Dies”, but it never did make it to Broadway (correct me if I am wrong).  I have seen neither show.
While “Lorelei”, which I did see, opens and ends years after the original “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” story takes place, it is not so much a sequel as a revival of GPB, created to capitalize on the popularity of Carol Channing after “Hello Dolly”.  So, it doesn’t count.  In the show Lorelei remembers her earlier Atlantic crossing while embarking on another after many years of marriage.
“Lorelei” opened January 27, 1974, at the Palace Theatre and ran 320 performances.  It had updated lyrics by Comden and Green and a new book by Kenny Solms and Gail Parent with a few scenes and songs thrown in to book-end the original show and score.  In addition to Carol Channing, the show also featured Peter Palmer (Broadway’s “Little Abner”), Dody Goodman, and Lee Roy Reams, who would many years later appear again with Carol in one of the revivals of Dolly.
So, there you have it – Broadway’s experimentation with sequels.  Did I miss any?


Friday, October 30, 2020


+ Upon Learning of the launch of this blog one of my 1040 clients sent me an email about the Mint Theatre.  I had not been familiar with this NYC theatre company.

According to a recent review from the Wall Street Journal he sent me, the Mint Theatre “specializes in unjustly forgotten 20th-century plays. The works they choose, no matter how obscure, are always worthy of revival, and their finely wrought small-scale productions make the strongest possible case for the plays”.

My client told me “Mint Theater used to be in a sixth-floor loft in the West Forties. Now their shows are on Theatre Row”.    

The company is currently offering free on demand streaming of the play “Conflict” through November 1st.  Click here to find out how to watch.

“Conflict” by Miles Malleson is a political comedy of English manners set against the backdrop of a hotly contested election in 1920’s London. According to the WSJ review, it “combines his two great passions: sex and politics. The result is a provocative romance that sizzles with both wit and ideas”.

You can go here to donate to the Mint Theatre.

+ I remember going to the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn NJ with my family to see professional productions of Broadway musicals and classic operettas as a child.  And for many years, as an adult, my parents, uncle and I had a subscription to the theatre - 4th and 5th row on the aisle on the first Thursday night after opening of each show.  I haven’t been back in years – the last thing I remember seeing there was a concert by Michael Feinstein 

PMP has been around for a long time – “In November of 1938, Paper Mill Playhouse opens its doors with The Kingdom of God, a play by Martinez Sierra”.

I recently came across a posting of the theatre’s “Reimagined 2020-21 Season” –

Paper Mill Playhouse will move forward with a mostly digital season, including several original productions to be captured on the Paper Mill stage and optimistically anticipating bringing smaller audiences back to the theater if that becomes possible by late spring or early summer of 2021.”

+ The Theatre Development Fund (see the link in the left hand margin), which operates the TKTS booth at Times Square in NYC among other things, tells us – “With in-person theatre out of commission for the foreseeable future, many companies and performers from Broadway and beyond are showcasing their work online”.

You can keep up-to-date on what performances are available to watch online here.

Membership in TDF is only $30.00 – well worth the price.  Go here to learn more.


Friday, October 23, 2020



In 1959, when I was 5 years old, my Uncle Ted took me to see my first Broadway musical – Robert Preston and Barbara Cook in “The Music Man”.  From 1959 through the early 1970s the two of us saw just about every new “age-appropriate” Broadway musical – always a Saturday matinee and always sitting in the front row of the Mezzanine.

I have seen, in addition to traditional Broadway royalty past and present, the Andrew Sisters (2 of them), Lucille Ball, Richard Burton (with and without Elizabeth Taylor), Sammy Davis Jr, Andy Griffith, Monkee Davy Jones, Bette Midler (not as Dolly but as one of Tevye’s daughters), and the original “Match Game” host Gene Rayburn (as Albert Peterson in “Bye Bye Birdie”) on Broadway. 

I saw Barbra Streisand’s Broadway debut, at age 19, in “I Can Get It For You Wholesale” (which starred Elliot Gould, who Streisand would marry) and Liza Minelli’s Broadway debut, also at, I believe, age 19, in “Flora the Red Menace”.  I have seen every Mama Rose except Merman, and I have seen every, I believe, Annie the gun-getter including Merman (in the 1966 revival).

In my 60 years of going to Broadway musicals it is my sincere belief that the greatest and most thoroughly entertaining production number written for a musical is “A Musical” from 2015’s “Something Rotten!”. 

As Wikipedia explains –

Something Rotten! is an original musical comedy with a book by John O'Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick and music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick. Set in 1595, the story follows the Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel, who struggle to find success in the theatrical world, as they compete with the wild popularity of their contemporary William Shakespeare.”

Sadly “Something Rotten!”, a textbook example of the traditional musical comedy, did not win the Tony for Best Musical (it was nominated for 10 awards but only won one), losing to “Fun Home”, which I did not see, nor want to see.

“Something Rotten” was scheduled as part of the Summer 2020 season at the Forestburgh Playhouse in Forestburgh NY, not far from me (I have seen many shows there since moving to Northeast PA, including Loretta Swit from “M*A*S*H” as “Mame”), but, of course, the pandemic has shut down all live theatre.  Hopefully they will try again next summer.  FYI – next year the Forestburgh will be celebrating 75 years of summer theatre!

Listen to this recording of “A Musical” from the original cast album – click here – and try to identify all the references in the lyrics and music to previous Broadway musicals.

And when things get back to normal, if “Something Rotten” plays at a regional or local theatre near you do go and see it – you will not be disappointed.


Friday, October 16, 2020


I have Sirius XM radio in my car.  There are a multitude of station choices, but I listen to only four – ‘60s on 6, Classic Vinyl, Siriusly Sinatra, and On Broadway.

The other day On Broadway host Seth Rudetsky mentioned “Stars in the House”, a daily live-streamed series of “music, community and education” he and husband James Wesley created when the pandemic caused the shut-down of Broadway theatres in March to support The Actors Fund and its programs.  Those who watch live shows can interact with the guests in real time. 

Viewers are asked to donate to The Actors Fund, and the series has so-far raised about $530,000 for the charity.  As the “Stars in the House” website explains - 

The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Through offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Fund serves everyone in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance with programs including social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services.” 

Guests on the series have included Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Lithgow, Jason Alexander, Kristen Chenoweth, Audra McDonald, Tina Fey and many other Broadway actors, writers, composers, and directors. 

I recently watched a “Knots Landing” reunion episode with Joan Van Ark, Ted Shackelford, Donna Mills, Michele Lee, and show creator David Jacobs, and a visit from singer Liz Callaway, that first “aired” on October 9th. 

BTW – I saw Michele Lee co-starring with tv’s “The White Shadow” Ken Howard on Broadway in the Michael Bennett, Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields musical “Seesaw”, an adaptation of “Two for the Seesaw”, back in 1973.  The show also featured Tommy Tune in the unforgettable production number “It’s Not Where You Start (but where you finish)”.

Past episodes of the series have included other tv and Broadway cast reunions.  

Seth and James have also created a “spin-off” series of play readings by Broadway actors called “Plays in the House”, and Seth hosts the online “Seth Concert Series”.