Friday, May 30, 2014

Are YOU A Liberal? Take This Test . . .

It would seem quite clear -- either someone is a liberal or isn't, right?
In these polarized times, there can't be that many people on the sidelines. Correct?
And yet, sometimes you may not be sure if someone's a lefty.
In fact, many people who say they are "independent" or  "moderate" actually harbor liberal views and even some people who think of themselves as "conservative" view themselves that way simply because they may prefer traditional (e.g. preppy) style clothing or some-such.  So, you may wonder: "Is he (or she) really a liberal?" Or you might even have similar doubts about yourself.
Well, wonder no more.
Here's a quick test that will tell if you (or someone you know) may be a liberal:

If you favor added funds for public education and oppose school choice but actually send your own kids to private school, then you may be a liberal.

If you embrace class warfare and badmouth Wall Street "fat cats" while secretly checking the growth of your investment portfolio daily, then you may be a liberal.

If you're all for windmill-produced energy but don't want those monstrosities anywhere near your house, you may be a liberal.

If you say you're a women's libber but you still stand by Hillary Clinton for standing by her man, you may be a liberal.

If you still believe in the labor movement but haven't bought or leased an American-made car in decades, then you may be a liberal.

If you think Sarah Palin's a dingbat but excuse Nancy Pelosi even when she says "we have to pass the bill in order to find out what's in it," then you may be a liberal.

If you hate Rush Limbaugh even though you've hardly ever actually listened to his program, you may be a liberal.

If you preach tolerance and understanding but are among the first to dismiss the views of anyone who watches Fox News, you may be a liberal.

If you say you love babies but still voted for a candidate who favors partial birth abortion, you may be a liberal.

If you think it's OK to overlook Eliot Spizer's and Anthony Weiner's indiscretions and infidelities but you absolutely refuse to forgive Mark Sanford or Newt Gingrich, you may be a liberal.

If you faithfully read the New York Times but never read the Wall Street Journal, you may be a liberal.

If you favor keeping the drinking age at 21 but think its OK for fifteen-year-olds to buy the morning after pill over the counter without parental permission, then you may be a liberal.

If you say that you really like Chris Christie and agree with a lot of his views even though you'd probably never actually vote for him if he ever ran for president, you may be a liberal.

If you say you support government funding of the arts but do not regularly go to museums or attend live theater, you may be a liberal.

If you call yourself "spiritual" but you rarely go to church, synagogue or other religious services, you may be a liberal.

If you like Obamacare but are inquiring as to whether or not your doctor will be providing concierge services, then you may be a liberal.

If you're all for clean energy but you think solar panels look tacky and/or you wouldn't dare part with your gas-guzzling Mercedes, you may be a liberal.

If you tend to agree with Barack and Oprah on race relations but you still live in an all-white neighborhood, you may be a liberal.

If you hate corporate bigwigs but were relieved when Jeff Bezos (net worth $25.2 billion) bought the Washington Post, you may be a liberal.

If you're all for the working man but wouldn't be caught dead having a shot and a beer with him, you may be a liberal.

If you dislike aristocracies but you love Downton Abbey, you may be a liberal.

If you hate Walmart but you rush to buy the latest Apple products made in sweatshops in China, you may be a liberal.

If you believe in global warming and don't want to be disturbed by the fact that we're now having one of the coolest summers on record, you may be a liberal.

We could go on.
But we think that by now you probably get the idea. Yes?

Now! The Dan Cirucci Blog In Russia!

For those of you who have been wondering where the Dan Cirucci Blog will turn up next -- here we are.
We are in Russia in historic St. Petersburg, the city that was created by Peter the Great because of its proximity to waterways and trade routes.
We've just arrived on a train from Helsinki -- a lovely train ride through forests and over and around lakes.
And we've just gotten settled on board the beautiful Viking Ingvard, one of the Viking River Cruise ships. We'll be here for twelve days cruising the Waterways of the Czars.
We'll be visiting both small towns and large cities in Russia on what is bound to be a memorable journey that will culminate with out arrival in Moscow.
So, stay with us as we take you to Russia on an unforgettable adventure.
And come back to the blog regularly as we update you with photos.
Here we go, as we discover the world's largest nation. All aboard!

Cinderella On Broadway? Take The Family!

Did you know that Cinderella's real name was Ella and that she was tagged Cinderalla by her mean stepmother because she spent so much time sweeping up cinders and cooking near the fireplace?
Okay, so maybe you knew that.
But did you know that Rodgers and Hammerstein created a musical version of Cinderella starring Julie Andrews? Yes, that was in 1957 (seven years after the hugely successful Disney animated film) but the show never appeared on Broadway. Rather, it was televised on CBS and it remains the only musical that R&H ever made for TV. This TV production was produced again in 1965 starring Leslie Ann Warren and yet again in 1997 starring Brandy Norwood. Both TV remakes added songs from other R&H musicals.
But during all this time, though Rodger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella was occasionally performed on stage from time to time it never played on the Great White Way.
Never, until now.
With a new book by Douglas Carter Beane (adapted from the original by Oscar Hammerstein) and a few songs dropped from Oklahoma and South Pacific, a lush, full-scale production of Cinderella has opened at the Broadway Theater and it's drawing large and enthusiastic crowds.
In this Cinderella you will see the magic of Broadway without pyrotechnics, hydraulic lifts, lasers, strobe lights or other new-age technical wizardry. This is a big, old-fashioned, richly orchestrated Broadway musical with up-to-the-minute appeal for the entire family. And the magic is that much more seductive because it doesn't rely on gadgetry.
Did we say this is symphonically superb?
Indeed it is, for you shall be treated to the sound of a full Broadway orchestra -- a sound worthy of Rodgers and Hammerstein. And you will also hear great choral singing the likes of which you simply don't hear anymore.
And the costumes by William Ivey Long alone are worth the price of admission. Surely, this is the pinnacle for this renowned costumer's career and worthy of the Tony Award that he rightly won.
This show has a big, hugely competent cast all-around.
But we still thought that Mark Brokaw's direction could have been a bit tighter and Josh Rhodes' choreography more inventive and more precise. For the record, this is only Brokaw's second Broadway musical outing. So, we'll take all that into account.
Also, we wouldn't have you believe that this is R&H's best score ever -- hardly. But even less-than-best R&H is better than most of what's being offered today. Standout numbers include Impossible and Ten Minutes Ago.
This is a beautiful, extravagant show of high production values produced in one of Broadway's grandest, prettiest theaters. It's what you expect when you hear "Broadway"-- and though a national tour is planned it's a stretch to expect that it will match this. The place and the time to see it is here and now.
And what a joy it was to see so many children enjoying live theater -- and all very, very attentive we might add.
Yes, Cinderella captivated them -- and it will charm you as well!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

'Lady Day' To Get Official Cast Recording 7/15

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Lanie Robertson’s play with music, starring five-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald, will be recorded live at Circle in the Square during a regularly scheduled performance during the week of May 27–31 by PS Classics. The label has announced a July 15th street date; preorders are already being accepted at the label’s website,


The two-disc set will be produced by label co-founder Tommy Krasker, who previously helmed Ms. McDonald’s first three solo albums. Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill continues Ms. McDonald’s longstanding relationship with Mr. Krasker and PS Classics, following the label’s Broadway cast recordings of 110 in the Shade and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.


“Audra McDonald is a vocal genius!

One of the greatest performances I ever hope to see.”

New York Magazine


MESMERIZING! Pouring her heart into her voice, Audra McDonald breathes life into Billie Holiday’s greatest songs.”

The New York Times



Daily News


“The best 90 minutes you’ll ever witness!

Audra McDonald is again AUDACIOUSLY AWESOME.”



“STUNNING & HEARTBREAKING. The performance of her career!

Get to the Circle in the Square theatre – pronto!”

Huffington Post


“One of the most exquisite & haunting performances of the year!”

Entertainment Weekly


Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, which began previews on March 25, 2014, opened on April 13, 2014,and is enjoying an extended run until August 10, 2014, recounts Holiday's life story through the songs that made her famous. In a small, intimate bar in 1959 Philadelphia, Holiday puts on a show that, unbeknownst to the audience, will leave them witnesses to one of the last performances of her lifetime.  Through her poignant voice and moving songs, one of the greatest jazz singers of all time shares her loves and her losses.   


Among the songs that are performed: “God Bless the Child,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Strange Fruit” and “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness.”


Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is directed by frequent Ms. McDonald collaborator Lonny Price. The pair have been developing and working on Lanie Robertson’s playwith music for more than two years. The intimate setting of the Circle in the Square provides a unique theatrical experience, drawing audiences – especially those seated at the tables onstage – into the performance.


Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill is produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Jessica Genick, and Will Trice, who are joined by Ronald Frankel, Rebecca Gold, Roger Berlind, Ken Greiner, Gabrielle Palitz, Irene Gandy and GFour Productions.


Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grillmade its award-winning premiere with off-Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre in 1986.


Tickets are available via, by calling (212) 239-6200, or at the box office of Circle in the Square.


NHL Draft: Flyers Offer Free Tickets 5/30

In anticipation of the upcoming 2014 National Hockey League Draft, coming to the Wells Fargo Center (June 27-28), the Philadelphia Flyers will begin offering free tickets on Friday, May 30 at 1 p.m., exclusively Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.


The Draft allows hockey fans throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region to witness the beginning of the careers of future NHL stars by attending the sessions which begin with Round One on Friday, June 27 at 7 p.m. The Draft continues with Rounds Two through Seven on Saturday, June 28 at 10 a.m.


"This is truly an exciting event for hockey fans throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region," said Philadelphia Flyers Chief Operating Officer Shawn Tilger. "Hosting the Draft in Philadelphia enables us to generate excitement for hockey in an otherwise quiet time of the year. In addition, the event is a terrific way to showcase the Wells Fargo Center, XFINITY Live! and the City of Philadelphia to visitors from across the world who will be traveling to Philadelphia for the Draft."


NHL team executives, scouts and coaches from all 30 clubs will be present on the NHL Draft floor, the playing surface of the Wells Fargo Center, while thousands of fans from across the country and around the world will also be in attendance. The Flyers hold the 17th overall pick in the first round of the Draft.


In addition to seeing future NHL stars selected, fans attending the Draft will be able to take their photo with a collection of NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup, and shop from vendors selling one-of-a-kind collectibles at the 2014 NHL Draft Trading Card Show. Fan Zone at the Wells Fargo Center will be carrying items from all 30 NHL clubs and a special line of Draft apparel and commemorative novelties. Wells Fargo Center doors open at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 27 and at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 28 to all ticket holders.


During the NHL Entry Draft festivities, fans can attend NHL Draft Fan Fest at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia, featuring  hockey-themed and kid-friendly activities, food and beverages, exclusive Draft and Flyers merchandise, and more. Admission to Fan Fest is free and does not require a ticket. Fan Fest hours of operation are Friday, June 27 from 3 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 28 from  8 a.m. until 2 p.m.


Philadelphia Flyers Social Media Accounts:

Twitter: @NHLFlyers; Facebook: Philadelphia Flyers; Instagram: PhiladelphiaFlyers


Why 'Newsies' Still Has Broadway Dancing

The cast of Disney's Newsies perform "King of New York" on Broadway in New York City. This is absolutely the best-choreographed show in town. Visit for ticket and performance information! 

We've never been fans of Disney on Broadway.
We've always felt that Disney is Disney and Broadway is Broadway: Two different kinds of stories, two different types of music, two different sorts of entertainment.
To us Disney always meant a genre rooted in fantasy and the tales of storybooks. So we skipped Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King and the other Disney musicals on Broadway. Enjoyed the movies, no need to see the live show.
But now there is a Disney musical on Broadway that changes all that.
Yes, it's a re-working of a Disney movie. But it's a movie you've probably never heard of or seen. And no, it's not a fantasy tale. Rather, it's based on actual real-life events.
The show is called Newsies, it's at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway and it's absolutely wonderful.
Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies revolves around the plight of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy who leads a ragged band of teen aged "newsies," who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. Newsies are the guys who used to hawk newspapers on street corners, shouting headlines and charming potential buyers. They thrived in the age of tabloids, a time when print was king.
The story takes flight when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense. Then, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.
Of course, there are a few twists and turns (and some disappointments) along the way as this pioneering labor/management struggle ensues. And there's a bit of romance, too as Jack captivates the gorgeous and savvy newspaper reporter, Katherine Plummer.
Newsies is a fast-paced show with with jaw-dropping choreography, catchy songs by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and a book by Harvey Firestein that theatergoers of all ages can enjoy.
Yes, this is a feel-good family musical. But it's also actually meaningful and uplifting because it's anchored in a strong story with solid values. The show not only introduces Newsies to a new generation  but also pleases fans of the original 1992 film which did not get nearly enough attention when it was released. The Broadway production also includes many of the songs from the movie as well as new tunes and an added love story between Jack Kelly and the new character Katherine Plumber.
Christopher Gattelli's inventive choreography is thumpingly athletic and leapingly airy, all at the same time. And Jeff Calhoun's direction is snappy without being breathless.
With a cast of 33, a multi-story scaffolded set, imaginative backdrops and evocative lighting, this is  big, Broadway musical production at its very best.
At the performance that we attended, the SRO audience howled with delight.
Go. See. Enjoy. And take the whole family!

Old And New Harmonize In Hip Helsinki

Old and new blend in hip and historic Helsinki, Finland.
We'll post more photos just as soon as we can!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Land Where 'Angry Birds' Was Invented

By now you may have figured out that we are in Finland. It's probably the last of the Scandinavian countries you'd mention if we were to ask you to list Scandinavian nations. It's a bit more obscure than the others. In fact, many people confuse Finland with Iceland. Well, it is cold and icy here through most of the year. But this time of year it's moderate and ready to welcome summer with days of near-endless daylight. We're in the capital city of Helsinki -- a cozy metropolis of about 600,000. Helsinki is an easy-to-learn, eminently walkable, intimate city defined by its proximity to the Baltic Ocean and its numerous islands. In fact two-thirds of Finalnd is waterways and the nation contains literally thousands of lakes. The land is defined largely by forests, lakes and rock formations inasmuch as it was created by glaciers. For a long time Finalnd was part of Russia. But in 1917, Finland declared its independence and Lenin supposedly opted not to challenge that move, arguing that the people must be allowed to determine their fate. Still, after the second world war, 12 percent of Finland fell back into Russian hands and has remained part of Russia till this day. Finland was once also part of Sweden and even now signage in the nation is written both in Finnish and Swedish. Today, Finland is part of the European Union. A leader in design and innovation, Finland has given birth to the Nokia telecommunications and cyber empire (recently acquired by Microsoft) as well as Marimekko and the well-known online game, Angry Birds, among others. Here you will find some of the best design and architecture in the world -- practical, sleek, functional, eye-appealing and efficient. We'll post pictures as soon as we can. Stay with us as we move along in our journey!

Great Broadway Memories In 'Happy Face'

As many of you know, we love show biz memoirs. And what better time to talk about such books than during Tony Awards season on Broadway?

One of our favorite Broadway memoirs has been Put On A Happy Face, a delightful book by composer Charles Strouse.

Subtitled A Broadway Memoir this journey through five decades of Broadway recounts Strouse's upbringing and his education through the Eastman School of Music. studies under the great Aaron Copeland and adventures in Paris as a young man before taking us through some of the great Broadway musicals of all time.

Three-time Tony-award-winning songwriter (Bye Bye Birdie, Applause, Annie) Charles Strouse can remember attending shows at an early age with his parents and being awestruck with all the glamour. The composer of "Put on a Happy Face" (from Bye Bye Birdie), "A Lot of Living to Do," and "Once Upon a Time" has enjoyed success on both the stage and screen. He co-wrote the opening theme for Norman Lear's '70s TV sitcom All in the Family titled "Those Were the Days." 

Some of his collaborators included Lee AdamsAlan Jay LernerMartin Charnin, and Sammy Cahn.
Bye Bye Birdie, his first and probably most-known success, was responsible for winning him his first Tony Award. The London production of the show won the London Critics' Best Foreign Musical Award. Strouse also co-wrote the 1966 musical It's a Bird, a Plane, It's Superman and Golden Boy starring Sammy Davis Jr.In 1970, Strouse won another Tony for Applause starring Lauren Bacall

Two of the musicals were made into major motion pictures: Bye Bye Birdie, starringJanet LeighDick Van Dyke, and Ann-Margret (Columbia, 1963), and Annie (Columbia, 1982). The soundtrack to Annie went gold -- extremely rare for a show tunes album -- mainly off of the ballad "Tomorrow." The song has been covered by numerous artists including Johnny Mathis and Cissy Houston. The LP has the distinction of winning both a Tony and two Grammy awards. 

Bye Bye Birdie was also a 1995 ABC-TV movie starring Jason Alexander of Seinfeld. The song "Let's Settle Down" won a 1996 Primetime Emmy Award. Strouse contributed scores and or songs to the following movies: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), There Was a Crooked Man (1970), Just Tell Me What You Want (1980), Ishtar (1987), and All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989). Other musicals Strouse has contributed to include Broadway Musical, Charlie and Algernon, All American written with Mel Brooks and Lee Adams, Mayor, Dance a Little Closer, Nick and Nora, Annie Warbucks, Rags, and Nightingale. By Strouse, a musical consisting of songs from Strouse's catalog, tours frequently, while Strouse himself is an active guest lecturer. Ed Hogan.

One of the first Broadway shows we ever saw was a Stouse/Adams vehicle, All American which starred the great Ray Bolger and debuted in Philadelphia at the old Erlanger Theater. We weren't certain it would be a huge hit on Braodway. It wasn't. But it had a respectable run.

And Strouse produced many other hits and he is said to be working on a new Broadway musical, The Night They Raided Minsky's.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Where Are We Now? You'd Be Surprised!

The Dan Cirucci Blog is traveling once again!
We're in Scandinavia -- but not in a country you might immediately think of when we say "Scandinavia."
And w're in Europe, but not in a country that might immediately come to mind when we say "Europe."
It took us two flights and 17 hours, door-to-door to get here.
We are in the capital of this country -- in a city that's been called "a bit eastern and a bit western." And though this is a center of modern international design, the city itself has touches of old Europe. Comparisons to America? Well, we can tell you that the surrounding countryside looks a lot like Minnesota.
Have you figured out where we are yet?
We are in the land of the midnight sun -- where this time of year we enjoy "bright nights" with only a few hours of darkness each evening. Temperatures now are moderate -- in the 60s or 70s during the day and a bit cooler at night. For the natives, that's considered quite warm, thank you.
Outdoor activities are big here year round and there is plenty of space so this is a place of high adventure. It's also surrounded by many islands and very much dependent upon a life aquatic, sitting as it does alongside the Baltic Sea. 
So, the diet here is heavy on treasures of the sea but the city boasts cuisine from all over the world.
We'll be telling you more as we move along and we'll be posting photos just as soon as we can.
But we leave it to you to figure out exactly where we are, if you haven't already done so.
And this is just the start of a Big Journey for us -- a journey very much connected to waterways.

10 Big B'way Musical Flops - We Saw Them All!

With the Tony Awards approaching, Broadway will soon celebrate the season's most successful plays and musicals. Mostly forgotten (as always) will be the flops -- the shows that simply didn't make it on the Great While Way.
And, you know what they say: "There's a broken heart (and a closed show) for every light on Broadway."
Well, it's hard to believe but, over the years, we have actually seen ten of the biggest Broadway musical flops that you can image.
Some of these shows barely arrived on Broadway.
Some only played on the Great White Way for a few performances.
Some played for a week or a month or even a bit longer.
And some never even got to Broadway. They closed out of town.
But all we're money-losers -- some monumentally so. Among them are star-vehicles, shows based fully or in part on successful movies and shows penned by renowned authors, composers and lyricists or boasting name directors and/or producers.
Some have even been revived from time to time and tinkered with in efforts to rehabilitate them. But they all bombed -- each and every one of them. And we saw every single one.
Not only that but we sat through every one. Some were excruciatingly bad -- cacophonous, confusing and tedious, to say the least. But some we actually enjoyed -- somewhat.
Here, from the best of the worst to the worst of the worst are the top ten:

10. Teddy and Alice (1987). We enjoyed what the New York Times called an "extravagant treatment of the life of our 26th President [Teddy Roosevelt] and his terminally spunky daughter." We thought the show had a lot of charm but the Times summed it up in two words: Rough riding. It closed after 77 performances.

9. Passion (1994). Set in 19th century Italy, this Stephen Sondheim musical wanted us to believe that a devastatingly handsome soldier would abandon a ravishingly beautiful young woman for a grotesque, decrepit invalid. Not only was the premise dumb but the show contains what is probably the worst score Sondheim ever wrote. Yes, the show won the Tony Award as best musical but with 280 performances it is the shortest-running musical ever to win the Tony. We left the theater with a headache -- and we're huge Sondheim fans. It was revived in London in 2010 but ran there for only two months. A failure, no matter how you measure it.

8. A Joyful Noise (1966). We saw this show in tryout. Starring the great John Raitt (father of Bonnie) it told the tale of a wandering minstrel in the Tennessee hills. Yes, the choreography was wonderful. But then again this show marked the Broadway debut of choreographer (and later, director) Michael Bennett. Though we enjoyed it, the show closed on Broadway after only 12 performances.

7. Grind (1985). What a terrible title for a musical. And that was just the beginning! We don't remember much about the show except that it took place in the depths of the depression in Chicago and it was dreary and grimy. It did feature a star turn by Ben Vreen but that was not enough to save it. It closed after 79 performances.

6. I Remember Mama (1979). Would you believe that Liv Ullmann actually starred in a Broadway musical? She did star in this one. But she simply couldn't sing and reportedly had trouble remembering her lines. We saw this in tryout with Ullmann and George S. Irving. With such star power and music by  the legendary Richard Rodgers, the show was based on the famous book, radio and TV show of the same name. So, it had a huge advance sale and it actually ran for 108 performances. But it was one of the first musicals to cost more than a million bucks to mount and it actually lost $1.5 million.

5. We Take The Town (1961). Opening in New Haven and closing (mercifully) in Philadelphia, this show never made it to Broadway. With Robert Preston as Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, this was a star vehicle but Preston emerged from it bruised and battered even though years later he insisted this was his favorite role. We went to see this show because a friend's parents had tickets for it and (wisely) decided not to go. It was one of our first Broadway musicals -- maybe even the first. All we remember about it was a lot of feigned machismo.

4.  The Red Shoes (1993). We thought we'd take a chance on this extravagant $8 million musical based on the book by Hans Christian Andersen and the successful 1948 movie. It tells the story of a middle-aged impresario who wants to control Victoria (a beautiful ballerina) both on-stage and off. She is torn between this control-freak, and a handsome but egocentric young composer. Both get in the way of her desire to simply dance. Ultimately, she commits suicide. We never read the book and we never so the movie so we didn't know about poor Victoria. The show closed after only five performances -- one of which we attended!

3. Metro (1992). Metro was the Polish musical. Yes, a Polish Broadway musical, if you can imagine that. We don't know what we ere thinking when we bought tickets to this one. It focused on the story of a group of youngsters who, for various reasons, decide to live underground, in the subway tunnels. The play, initially staged in Warsaw was a hit on native soil. But it didn't transfer very well into a musical and it didn't travel well. This mostly grim outing also involved suicide. We didn't know, honest! It closed after an appropriate number of performances -- 13! We don't remember whether or not we attended the 13th performance but we were there for one of them. Ugh!

2. Miss Moffatt (1974). In 1945 Bette Davis played a schoolteacher in a Welsh mining town in one of her favorite films, The Corn Is Green. In 1974 she agreed to star in a musical based on the same story. But this time Miss Moffatt (the teacher) would be teaching in the cane fields of the American South and her star pupil would be a black field hand. Bette Davis wasn't meant to sing. And she wasn't particularly good at stage acting. Plus, she was 62 years-old playing a middle-aged spinster. To say that the short-lived show had a  nonetheless stormy run would be an understatement. But the cast did include Nell Carter in one of her first stage outings. Due to Miss Davis' "illness" Miss Moffatt closed in Philadelphia and never made it to Broadway. Four years later Nell Carter won the Tony Award for Ain't Misbehavin.

1. Kelly (1964). Kelly has been called the most notorious flop of all postwar Broadway musicals. It opened and closed on Broadway on the same night. We saw it in Philadelphia. It was all about a man who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, his name was Kelly -- Hop Kelly, a young busboy. It was based on the true-life story of Steve Brodie who may or may not have jumped off the bridge in the 1880s. The show starred Canadian actor Don Francks and became Broadway's biggest money loser ($650,000) up to that point. Did Hop Kelly survive his jump off the bridge? We'll just say he had better luck than the show.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Dan Cirucci Blog Embarks On Magical Journey!

The Dan Cirucci Blog
goes On The Road!
Over the next two weeks
we will take you on an
unforgettable journey to some of the
most historic and memorable
places on earth as we visit
the world's largest country and
one of the world's smallest nations.
Stay with the Dan Cirucci Blog.
Don't miss a single day!

The Real Meaning Of Memorial Day . . .

Tony Run-up Features Broadway Memories

As we approach the run-up to the Tony Awards, the Dan Cirucci Blog will treat you to two weeks of Broadway memories leading to the big awards show on June 8.
Right here, we'll feature reviews of current Broadway shows and our take on Broadway personalities, restaurants and memoirs. It's nearly all Broadway, all the time as we celebrate The Great White Way on the Dan Cirucci Blog.
You won't want to miss this -- starting tomorrow.

Could These Be The Best Donuts Ever?

Do you like donuts?
Well, we know where you can find some of the very best donuts, ever.
These are custom-made donuts -- each one personally crafted just for you. You can chose from 10 different donut coatings (from bare to peanut butter) and four different luscious toppings (including coconut and rainbow sprinkles) to create the perfect donut of your choice. These are extraordinary donuts -- every single one is fresh, warm and delicious. And that are designed to be eaten promptly or, barring that, briefly rewarmed in a microwave for just a few seconds.
But to enjoy these donuts you must go to one of Duck Donuts four locations at North Carolina's Outer Banks or their stores in Williamsburg or Virginia Beach, Virginia.
We tried the new store in Virginia Beach and we loved it.
Look at the photos and dream of these magical, fresh, warm treats!

Now And Forever: Honor Their Sacrifice!

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields. He was a medical officer in both the Boer War and World War I. A year into the latter war he published in Punch magazine, on December 8, 1915, the sole work by which he would be remembered. This poem commemorates the deaths of thousands of young men who died in Flanders during the grueling battles there. 

Pope In Israel, Endorses 'Two State' Solution

Early this afternoon, the Pope visited the Basilica of the Nativity. The first historical references to this “cave of the manger of Bethlehem” date back to Origenes. In 326, the emperor Constantine ordered the construction of a basilica at the over the Grotto of the Nativity, with its floor raised slightly higher than ground level. Damaged by fire and the revolt of the Samaritans, it was restored in 540. In 614, the Persians under Khosrau II invaded the region but left the Basilica intact on account of its frescoes of the Magi in Persian dress. In 638, the Muslims entered Bethlehem, which passed to the Crusaders with the entry of Tancred in 1099. In 1187 Saladin occupied Jerusalem and Bethlehem but again spared the Shrine. In 1192, the bishop of Salisbury, Hubert Valter, re-established the Latin cult in return for payment of a tribute by the faithful. 

In 1347, the Franciscans obtained permission from the Ottomans to officiate in the Basilica and possession of the Grotto and the Basilica. In the sixteenth century there began a period of disputes between Franciscans and Greek Orthodox regarding the possession of the Basilica, which changed hands according the favour enjoyed at the Sublime Porte by the nations supporting the communities. With the defeat of the Venetians and their expulsion from Crete in 1669, the Orthodox were authorised to take possession of the Grotto and the Basilica. The latter is still their property, whereas the Grotto of the Nativity returned to the Franciscans in 1690. St. Catherine's Basilica, next to the Basilica of the Nativity, is the parish of the Latins in Bethlehem.

The ownership of the individual Holy Places is a vexed question that has given rise to dispute between the communities belonging to the three monotheistic religions of the Holy Land, and remains a delicate theme for international chancellors. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the struggle between the Byzantine and Latin communities, already heated, began to be affected by the highs and lows of international politics and the relations between the powers of the age: the Sultan of Istanbul, who considered the Christian Holy Places as state property; the Italian Maritime Republics which protected the Latins; and the Tsar of Russia, traditionally the protector of Orthodox Churches. 

Some sanctuaries passed from one community to another, at times only on the basis of the sum of money offered to the Sublime Porte. In 1850, a French request to the Sultan to clarify the matter led to a further dispute with Russia, and and a decree was issued from Istanbul in February 1852 to authorise the existing situation in the various shrines. The “statu quo” virtually froze the claims of the Franciscans in relation to the expropriations of which they had been victims for centuries, and cost them a high price in terms of human lives and property. This Ottoman edict remains in force today and continues to govern the situation in various Shrines such as the Grotto of the Nativity (Bethlehem), the Cenacle and the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem).

Pope Francis visited the Grotto of the Nativity, which he reached via an internal passage between the “Casa Nova” Convent and the Greek-Orthodox Basilica, and spent some time there in prayer. He returned by the same passage to the Convent where he was photographed with the Friars. He then proceeded to the “Phoenix Centre” in Bethlehem, a reception centre in the refugee camp of Dheisheh; the centre was built as a result of a donation from Pope John Paul II on his visit in 2000. The Pope was received in the auditorium of the centre by around one hundred children from the refugee camps of Dheisheh, Aida and Beit Jibrin. 

There was a festive atmosphere with singing, and two children presented the Pope with drawings, letters and craft works. The Pope prayed with the children, and before imparting his blessing a child read him a letter in which he said, 'we are children of Palestine. Our parents have endured occupation for 66 years. We opened our eyes to this occupation and have seen the nakba in the eyes of our grandparents as they left this world. We want to tell the world: enough suffering and humiliation!”.

“Don’t ever allow the past to determine your lives”, the Holy Father responded. “Always look to the future, work hard and make efforts to achieve what you want. But you must understand this: violence cannot be overcome by violence. Violence is overcome by peace! By peace, by working with dignity to help your homeland to move forward”. He then returned to the heliport, where he was awaited by the president of the State of Palestine who bid the Pope farewell, accompanied by the Guard of Honour. After a half-hour journey by helicopter the Pontiff arrived at the International Ben Gurion Airport of Tel Aviv, Israel, where he was received by Shimon Peres, president of the State; Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister; the political, civil and religious authorities, the Ordinaries of the Holy Land, and a choir of young people. “I have come on pilgrimage to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the historic visit of Pope Paul VI”, said Francis. 

“Since then, much has changed in the relationship between the Holy See and the State of Israel: diplomatic relations, established some twenty years ago, have favoured the development of good relations, as witnessed by the two Agreements already signed and ratified, and a third which is in the process of being finalised. In this spirit I greet all the people of Israel with prayerful good wishes that their aspirations of peace and prosperity will achieve fulfilment”.

The Pope went on to remark that the Holy Land is a spiritual point of reference for as the scene of a multi-millennial history and the principal events in the origin and growth of the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. “So I express my hope and prayer that this blessed land may be one which has no place for those who, by exploiting and absolutising the value of their own religious tradition, prove intolerant and violent towards those of others”. He commented that during his pilgrimage he would visit some of the most significant places in Jerusalem, “a city of universal importance”. “Jerusalem, of course, means 'city of peace'”, he continued. 

“This is what God wills it to be, and such is the desire of all people of good will. Yet sadly Jerusalem remains deeply troubled as a result of long standing conflicts. We all know how urgent is the need for peace, not only for Israel but also for the entire region. May efforts and energies be increasingly directed to the pursuit of a just and lasting solution to the conflicts which have caused so much suffering. In union with all men and women of good will, I implore those in positions of responsibility to leave no stone unturned in the search for equitable solutions to complex problems, so that Israelis and Palestinians may live in peace. The path of dialogue, reconciliation and peace must constantly be taken up anew, courageously and tirelessly. There is simply no other way”.

He went on to renew the appeal made by his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI during his 2009 visit: “the right of the State of Israel to exist and to flourish in peace and security within internationally recognised borders must be universally recognized. At the same time, there must also be a recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign homeland and their right to live with dignity and with freedom of movement. The 'Two State Solution' must become reality and not remain merely a dream”.

The Pontiff went on to speak about a “particularly moving” part of his stay, his visit on Monday to the Yad Vashem Memorial to the six million Jews who were victims of the Shoah, “a tragedy which is the enduring symbol of the depths to which human evil can sink when, spurred by false ideologies, it fails to recognise the fundamental dignity of each person, which merits unconditional respect regardless of ethnic origin or religious belief. I beg God that there will never be another such crime, which also counted among its victims many Christians and others. Ever mindful of the past, let us promote an education in which exclusion and confrontation give way to inclusion and encounter, where there will be no place for anti-Semitism in any of its forms or for expressions of hostility, discrimination or intolerance towards any individual or people”.

He added, “It is with a profoundly saddened heart that I have heard of how many people lost their lives in Saturday's atrocious attack in Brussels. I thoroughly condemn this criminal act of anti-Semitic hatred, and commend the victims to God's mercy and pray for the recovery of the injured”.

The Holy Father remarked that the brevity of his visit necessarily limits the encounters he is able to make, but took the opportunity to greet all Israel’s citizens and to express his closeness to them, “particularly those living in Nazareth and in Galilee, where many Christian communities are found”. 

He concluded by addressing a “warm and fraternal greeting” to the bishops and the Christian faithful, and encouraged them “to persevere in their quiet witness of faith and hope in the service of reconciliation and forgiveness, following the teaching and example of the Lord Jesus, who gave his life to bring about peace between God and man, and between brothers. May you always be a leaven of reconciliation, bringing hope to others, bearing witness to charity! Know that you are constantly in my prayers”.

Final Day: Great Meal Deals At Ruby's!

Christie: 'We Will Never Forget Their Sacrifice'

In honor of Memorial Day, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released the following statement:

“Today, we honor the brave men and women who have defended our country’s freedom throughout history with bravery, courage, and selflessness. Their service to our state and to our nation is unequaled and sets an example for all Americans. 
"We will never forget the sacrifice and commitment of our veterans and their families who support them every single day. 
"This Memorial Day, I encourage all New Jerseyans to join me in thanking these men and women for their love of our country and their willingness to serve in order for us to secure the lives and freedoms that we’re privileged to have as Americans.”

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Visit To Normandy And Omaha Beach


In our hearts, forever!

Photos copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.

A Salute To All Those Who Gave All

President Reagan's Address at the Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-day at Point-du-Hoc - June 6, 1984.

For more information on the ongoing works of President Reagan's Foundation, visit

A Great Place To Observe Memorial Day

If you go to Washington DC and you don't see the beautiful World War II memorial (between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial) you will miss one of the most majestic and inspiring places in our nation's capital.
The World War II Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home. Symbolic of the defining event of the 20th Century, the memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people. The Second World War is the only 20th Century event commemorated on the National Mall's central axis. 
This classically-designed memorial traces the history of the war and those who fought it with words, wreaths, columns, gold stars, fountains, ramps and a huge plaza complete with seating around the rim for moments of quiet contemplation.
And yet the World War II memorial contains not a single statue of any one person. And that's appropriate because it honors every single person who contributed to the success of the war effort.
The Atlantic and Pacific theaters of war, the D-Day Invasion, the Battle of Midway and every state and territory are all here. Nothing has been forgotten.
And yet for all it's grandeur -- and it is grand -- the World War II memorial lends itself to quiet reflection and a real sense of intimacy.
This is an exceptionally well-designed public space and it stands as one of the finest monuments in Washington.
The memorial is operated by the National Park Service and is open to visitors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about visiting the memorial, accessibility, parking, directions, special events and other details, please visit the National Park Service Web site at or call the Park Service at (202) 619-7222.