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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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The Big Parade

As the nation gathers to celebrate and give thanks with family and friends, the biggest spectacle of the holiday season returns to entertain millions, as the 88th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is televised on NBC on Thursday, November 27 at 9 AM.

BROADWAY PRECEDES THE PARADE

Let’s be honest; the best part of the parade telecast is the pre-parade performances by the casts of various Broadway musicals. So as Carol Ann Kanipple would say, ”Let’s cut right to the cheese,” and see which shows will be included in this years line-up. They are:

Sting’s THE LAST SHIP              SIDESHOW   

ON THE TOWN                   FINDING NEVER LAND

And

This season's Tony Award-winning Best Musical
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER

The out-in-the-cold-in-the-middle-of-the-street Broadway spectacle will also feature a special sneak preview performance from NBC's
PETER PAN LIVE
(Premiering December 4th)

Performing during the parade this year are the Big Apple Circus, Before You Exit, William Blake, Sabrina Carpenter, Cirque du Soleil, Hilary Duff, Renee Fleming, Becky G, Lucy Hale, Nick Jonas, KISS, Sandra Lee, The Madden Brothers, Idina Menzel, Miss USA 2014 - Nia Sanchez, MKTO, the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, NEEDTOBREATHE, NHL legends John LeClair and Pat LaFontaine, Pentatonix, Romeo Santos, Cole Swindell, Meghan Trainor, The Vamps, Quvenzhané Wallis. and more.

Kicking off the march will be a special group of children who have embodied the parade's spirit of teamwork. Throughout their remarkable run this past season at the Little League World Series, Philadelphia's Taney Dragons displayed an inspiring level of collaboration, spirit, and camaraderie - as perfectly evidenced by the group's embrace and support of pitcher Mo'ne Davis. In honor of that exemplary effort this year, the Taney Dragons will lead this years’ Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade down the streets of Manhattan.

And of course after the parade –

The National Dog Show airs for the 13th year on NBC. Hosted by actor, author, and Broadway star John O'Hurley, the two-hour live event features two thousand of the nation's leading canines from over 170 breeds (including the world's largest, smallest, and most exotic) strutting their fur in the hopes of becoming this year's top dog.

Noon, Thanksgiving Day, also on NBC

Pictures of the Week

From its humble beginnings in 1924 to the breathtaking spectacular of today, the Macy's Parade lineup unfolds each year in grand fashion.

It's not just a parade marching down an avenue; it is a march through tradition, history, and popular culture. The magic parade's famed lineup this year features 16 giant character balloons, 33 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads, and trycaloons, 27 floats, 1,300 cheerleaders and dancers, 1,000 clowns, 12 marching bands, and a host of celebrity performers.

9 AM     NBC

The Story Behind Wanzie’s Version of The Nativity

Meet Living Nativity Producer
MRS. HENDERSON

Founder and President of The Orange Blossom Trail Beautification Society, and Producer of “The Glory and Pageantry of Christmas – A Living Nativity,” Mrs. Deloris Henderson

Mrs. Deloris Henderson first visited the North Orange Blossom trail in 1963 when she honeymooned at both The Wigwam Village Motor Court and The Carolina Moon Cottages.

Following the recent unexpected death of her husband, Mrs. Henderson decides to retire from rural Pennsylvania to the Carolina Moon after a 40-year absence.

Upon her arrival back in Orlando, Mrs. Henderson is shocked to discover the Carolina Moon mostly razed and its remains boarded up. She is disgusted at the state of “The Trail,” and vows to dedicate the remainder of her life to “cleaning it up.”

After a seeds distribution program ends with mixed results, Mrs. Henderson quickly establishes The Orange Blossom Trail Beautification Society. Being its only member, she appoints herself President.

One day, while folding her laundry on the porch of the abandoned The Full Moon Saloon where she is currently a squatter, her ceramic bust of Jesus speaks to her.

Jesus admonishes Mrs. Henderson to produce a Living Nativity on the Orange Blossom Trail to raise funds for the Beautification Society and its goal of cleaning up the trail.

Mrs. Henderson applies for, and is awarded a grant from the Orange County Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs. The check is cheerfully presented by none other than Terry Olson himself. However, the grant mandates that only persons who live or work along North Orange Blossom Trail may be hired to participate in the Christmas pageant.

Mrs. Henderson once again walks the trail, this time handing out audition notices to anyone who will take one, using the promise of “Free Krispy Kreme Donuts upon successful completion of the audition process” as a lure.

Pageant casting director and nativity writer Michael Wanzie is doing his best to adhere to an authentic Bible-based narration of the Nativity, which he is determined to present in the time honored style of medieval madrigals on stage at the donated Footlight Theatre. However, the talent Wanzie has to work with – all of whom have been recruited from “The Trail” by Mrs. Henderson - range from startling to bizarre, and it seems Mrs. Henderson is being greatly influenced by drag queens and streetwalkers alike, resulting in many unusual interpretations of familiar Nativity characters. What was intended to be a tableau turns out to be a very moving production.

We at the WANZeGRAM assure you that after seeing WANZIE’S “All-New-For-2014 Christmas Spectacular” you will never again be able to look at a Nativity scene with a straight face.

The production utilizes costumes for days, set pieces and props galore, wigs, beards, still photography, video, live music, singing, choreography, special super-secret guest stars, six audience volunteers, a donkey, a snowman, and sheep!

It’s a really big show!

WANZIE’S ORANGE BLOSSOM TRAIL “LIVING NATIVITY” CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR opens on November 29, playing Saturday evenings through December 20, with a bonus Industry Nite Show on Monday, December 22 in the Footlight Theater at The Parliament House Resort.

Select-A-Seat

Re-Imagined THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at New Arts Center

There have been three previous U.S. National Tours of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA that grossed over $1.5 billion in combined box office sales, and played 216 engagements in 77 cities for an unprecedented total of 36 years, and over 14,500 performances to 31 million people.

While the melodies and the story will be familiar, it is not that same old Phantom that will open on Wednesday, December 3 as the Broadway Across America season opener at The Doctor Phillips Center For The Performing Arts. Au contraire. Next week Orlando theater goers will be treated to a newly imagined Phantom that is so lavish it tours in 18 tractor trailer trucks, and requires an additional “load-in” day, thus opening on a Wednesday rather then the usual opening Tuesday night debut.

Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group are presenting this spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this one of the largest productions on tour in North America.

 Cooper Grodin is the man behind the mask, and Julia Udine is Christine Daae’ in the spectacular new touring production of PHANTOM.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said, “It’s wonderful to have a new production of PHANTOM touring America now that the show has celebrated over 26 years on Broadway. Director Laurence Connor has done an amazing job, and this production has received huge critical acclaim in the UK.”

Cameron Mackintosh said, ''After a glorious celebration of 26 phenomenal years on Broadway with no end in sight, I’m delighted that this dazzling new production of PHANTOM has been phenomenally well received by both audiences and critics alike in the U.K., and now the U.S. With an exciting new design and staging retaining Maria Björnson’s amazing costumes, I am confident North American audiences will fall in love with the PHANTOM in his new guise - for the first time, or all over again.”

WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING

“Extraordinarily opulent. This PHANTOM’S storytelling and relationships have an electrifying tension.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“An intense and spectacular new production
with a stunning new design, fresh drama,
and added momentum.”

Sunday Express (UK)

“Take a deep breath and prepare to be dazzled;
this kind of gorgeous escapism is exactly
what audiences need.”

The Scotsman (UK) 

“Powerful, gorgeous…and better than ever.”  
The Philadelphia Inquirer 

“This PHANTOM is for a new generation.”  
Roy Leonard, Chicago Now 

This new production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is directed by Laurence Connor (the 25th Anniversary production of Les Misérables now on Broadway), with choreography by Scott Ambler, set design by Paul Brown, and the original Tony Award-winning original costume design by Maria Björnson.

THE DEBUT OF THE BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA

2014/2015 SEASON

at

DOCTOR PHILLIPS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS 

The Newly Imagined Spectacular

December 3 – December 14

$38.75 - $128.75

www.DrPhillipsCenter.org

844.513.2014

or

Visit the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office located at
155 East Anderson Street in downtown Orlando

ATTENTION TRIVIA NUTS AND THEATER GEEKS

JUST FYI:

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA became the first stage production to reach worldwide grosses of $6 billion, which it did just this past summer.  Revenues far surpass the world’s highest-grossing film Avatar (at $2.8 billion), as well as such other blockbusters as Titanic, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars

There are currently eight productions of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA around the world: the flagship London production (approaching 28 Years and counting), New York (26½ Years and counting), Sapporo (Japan, 25 Years and counting, in repertory), Budapest (Hungary), Hamburg (Germany), the Asian Pacific Tour (now in Taipei, Taiwan), Moscow (Russia, which had its official opening on October 4) and Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production now on North American Tour.  Following Moscow, the next international openings will be in Hong Kong in December 2014, and Istanbul (Turkey) in April 2015. 

Worldwide, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has played over 65,000 performances that have been seen by 140 million people in 30 countries and 151 cities in 14 languages.

For more information on the production and a video sneak peek:

www.ThePhantomOfTheOpera.com/USTour

Thanksgiving Festivities at The Parliament House

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26

6th Annual AND FINAL LOSERS’ PARTY
Commemorating Disengaged Bartender
Brian Humphries’
Regrettable Remarks

In an Equally Regrettable Orlando Weekly Article

About “Losers” Who Frequent Bars on Family Holidays
(If you have no idea as to what the above statement refers, then you really should come to the party.)

 The Is A Thanksgiving Eve Happy Hour Event

Hosted by
WANZIE

VARIOUS TRIVIA CONTESTS
&
GAME SHOW COMPETITIONS

FREE FOOD     GREAT PRIZES 

LOSERS’ DRINK SPECIAL

 CROWNING OF BIGGEST LOSER of 2014

4:30 PM – 6 PM

Pool Bar at The Parliament House

Saturday, November 29th

Debut Performance of
WANZIE’S ORANGE BLOSSOM TRAIL “LIVING NATIVITY” CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR

7:30 PM

 

SPECIAL LA CAGE
Celebrity Impersonation Shows

10 PM & MIDNIGHT

On Sale In Our Box Office

OPENING THIS WEEKEND!

The Most

TWISTED SHOW

Of

The Holiday Season

Opening Night Tickets Include

COMPLIMENTARY HOLIDAY NOSH BUFFET

&

POST SHOW MEET & GREET RECEPTION

At No Additional Charge

On Saturday, November 29th ONLY!

Also Includes Complimentary Club Cover

Including Special
 “LA CAGE” Shows at 10 PM & Midnight

Reserve Your Seats Today For
This All New-For-2014

CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR

Opening Night Festivites

Saturdays November 29 through December 20 at 7:30PM

Monday December 22 at 8PM

Select-A-Seat

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Wednesday, Nov 26 Thursday, Nov 27 Saturday, Nov 29 Sunday, Nov 30
       
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Weekly Events Until They Are Not:
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Every Wednesday Every Thursday Monday Happy Hour
     
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PLEASE WRITE!
Email your submission to wanziemichael@gmail.com

Short Takes

“My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor.”
– Phyllis Diller

Happy Birthday, Val Bungart
- Wanzie, Jeff and Gary

My Two Cents

GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?
By all means, share it with your subscriber friends right here in your WANZeGRAM. Submit your 350-words-or-less opinion piece, rant, rave, or observations to Email your submission to wanziemichael@gmail.com

Now Playing

Through December 14
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
Sonnentag Theatre at The Ice House
$9.50 - $19.50
http://www.tix.com/Schedule.asp?ActCode=101949

Through December 14
I AND YOU
Mad Cow

$36.75/$33.75 Senior/$31.75 Student

Through December 22
WANZIE’S ORANGE BLOSSOM TRAIL “LIVING NATIVITY” CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR

Footlight Theatre
$18 Advance/$20 Cash at Door

Wanzie Presents Box Office

Through December 22
A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Theatre Downtown
$22/$18 Students & Seniors
407.841.0083

Epcot's Candlelight Processional 2014

Celebrity Narrators

Each night, a celebrity narrator recounts the biblical account of a savior born to a virgin in Bethlehem. All the while, gorgeous choral pieces are woven into the production as an orchestra and choir provide an inspirational backdrop with songs of hope and joy.

This year, an exciting line-up of celebrities—including a few all-new to the Candlelight Processional—are set to lend their voices, including:

  • Jodi Benson – November 28 - 29, 2014
  • Neil Patrick Harris – November 30 - December 2, 2014
  • Jonathan Groff (NEW!) – December 3 - 4, 2014
  • Whoopi Goldberg – December 5 - 6, 2014
  • Levar Burton – December 7 - 9, 2014
  • Edward James Olmos – December 10 - 11, 2014
  • Joe Morton – December 12 - 14, 2014
  • Chita Rivera – December 15 - 17, 2014
  • Ana Gasteyer (NEW!) – December 18 - 20, 2014
  • Marlee Matlin – December 21 - 23, 2014
  • Isabella Rossellini – December 24 - 25, 2014
  • Blair Underwood – December 26 - 27, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 - 30, 2014

Show times take place 3 times during each day of the event at 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM, except on December 7, 2014 when show times will take place at 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM only.

Please note that sign language interpretation will be performed at each show. All celebrity narrators, dates and other entertainment are subject to change without notice.

Candlelight Processional Dinner Package
Enjoy guaranteed seating at the Candlelight Processional.
Click here for more information

THEATER – A CHRISTMAS CAROL
The Theatre Downtown tradition continues. The annual Christmas classic, now in it’s 13th year (and its final performance at the Theatre’s present location), Christopher Rohner’s stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL will be presented as no other theater in Central Florida has ever presented it. It’s a lavish production complete with live music and singing under the direction of Rochelle Curbow Wheeler, period dancing with choreography by Darci Riccardi, fabulous costumes by Fran Hilgenberg donned by a very large cast headlined Tim DeBaun giving a most memorable performance under the direction of Frank Hilgenberg.

As the curtain falls on the Orange Avenue chapter of the Theatre Downtown saga during this, their 25th Anniversary year, what better way to show your support for this cherished institution than by coming out and enjoying this highly produced, much loved, traditional telling of Dickens’ immortal Christmas classic.

Arrive early to enjoy pre-show caroling which begins 30 minutes prior to each performance.

 

Through December 22

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 PM

Sundays, November 30 and December 7, 14, and 21
2:30 PM

THEATRE DOWNTOWN
2113 N. Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL  32804

$22/$18 Seniors & Students

407.841.0083

MUSIC – SEASONS GREETINGS: A STEVE AND EYDIE HOLIDAY TRIBUTE.
Soprano Natalie Cordone (Off-Broadway, Orlando Opera) and Baritone Shawn Kilgore (Orlando Philharmonic, Universal Studios) pay energetic and loving tribute to 'The King and Queen of the Nightclub World' in this 90-minute concert, complete with a live band.  Just having returned from performing for the Salisbury Symphony in North Carolina, Cordone and Kilgore are also featured soloists with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

The gifted singers (and married couple) will be accompanied by The Joshua Glenn Wilson Trio.

SEASONS GREETINGS:
A STEVE AND EYDIE HOLIDAY TRIBUTE

NATALIE CORDONE & SHAWN KILGORE

With

The Joshua Glenn Wilson Trio

ONE SHOW ONLY

Sunday, December 7 at 7:30 PM

THEATRE DOWNTOWN
2113 N. Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32804

$20

407.841.0083

THEATER – I AND YOU
A high school project is the only common ground for two completely unconnected students - chronically ill Caroline and basketball playing,
jazz music loving Anthony. I and You is a valentine to youth, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness. I AND YOU, by Lauren Gunderson, won the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for shows that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2013. 

November 14 through December 14

Thursdays through Saturdays, 8 PM

Sundays 3PM

Also Wednesday, December 3 at 8 PM – PWYW

MAD COW THEATRE
55 West Church Street
Downtown Orlando
 

$36.75/$33.75 Senior/$31.75 Student 

Mad Cow Theatre Tickets

Coming Attractions
In this section you will find opening dates for future attractions so you may plan ahead. Emboldened listings indicate events added as of this edition of your GRAM.

Tickets for

IN ORLANDO
Now On Sale

NEWSIES will be leaping into the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on January 27, 2015,

Playing through February 1

www.DrPhillipsCenter.org
844.513.2014

November 28 A CHRISTMAS CAROL Theatre Downtown
November 29 HYPNOTIST RALPH RIZOR The Venue
November 30 Mac Cosmetics’
WINTER WHITE, BLACK AS NIGHT Gala
The Parliament House
December 1

World Aids Day
CELEBRATION OF LIFE

Lake Eola Park
December 3 PHANTOM Of The OPERA Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts
  A CHRISTMAS CAROL Orlando Shakes
December 4 PETER PAN LIVE NBC
December 5 James Joyce’s THE DEAD Mad Cow
December 6

LIGHT UP THE COURTYARD

Parliament House
December 7 STEVE & EYDIE HOLIDAY TRIBUTE Theatre Downtown
December 8

Fringe Lottery & MERRY FRINGIN’ CHRISTMAS Show

Orlando Shakes

 

MISS COMEDY QUEEN HOLIDAY SHOW The Venue
December 9 KENNY G The Plaza
December 11 TURN-A-BOUT for Hope & Help Pulse
December 19

Orlando Ballet THE NUTCRACKER

Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts
December 26 THE BOOK OF MORMON Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts
January 5 JEREMY JORDON The Abbey
January 21 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Orlando Shakes
A Note From Wanzie

Giving Genuine Thanks to Genuine People this Thanksgiving

“There but for the grace of…”

One year ago on November 19 I was hospitalized and was thought to have had a stroke. I had pretty much lost the use of the right side of my body, and I was in tremendous pain for days.

For a little bit there I actually felt I might be dying. Till this day there is no definitive answer as to what truly was the issue. They basically did every test known to mankind, and once my pain was under control and I regained significant mobility, they released me just in time for Thanksgiving, offering me only guesses and hunches, and leaving me on a regimen of 9 prescription drugs a day for treatment of the unknown at a cost of $480 every 30 days.

I was put on a blood pressure medication, which we now know was the reason for my 8-month long battle with Vertigo which rendered me unable to work.

Now every time I see a homeless person I can’t help but think how easily that could have been me. I see those living in the streets and honestly think, “There but for the grace of my friends, go I.”

Along the way – from Gary Bungart who first drove from Lake Mary in the middle of a work day to take me to the hospital and kept me sane throughout the tests; to my sister Judy who sat with me for hours on end during my stay; to my employer friends at The Parliament House who continued to pay me for weeks after I first became incapacitated even though I wasn’t coming in to work (until I finally tendered my resignation on my own); to Barry who didn’t evict me when I couldn’t pay rent and who has literally been paying my utilities; to Scott and David who have kept me electronically connected to the world on their dime (and served up some very fine meals); to various people (and you know who you are) who simply sent me a check or picked up a bill from time to time; to anyone who ever bought me a drink this past year, or invited me out to dinner, or thoughtfully dropped by with staples or toiletries; to the theaters and theater troupes that allowed me to attend shows without need for payment; to George and Beaver for many acts of kindness; to Steve Singhaus for the same; to Joe Swanberg for being there when I fell apart; for the creative collaborators in my life without whom I would have surely withered; to the Fringe Festival and The Abbey (my projects at both made up the bulk of my meager income this past year); to Channing Bolick and Natalie Doliner who have done more to make me well than a legion of traditional practitioners of western medicine; to everyone who shared their pot freely with me – knowing I would be unable to return the favor in anyway; to each and every person who took time to send a note or even a Facebook post of encouragement; to Blake Webber for the transitional lodgings; to Blue for offering me The Venue for my annual Christmas Eve Party, and to those who offered to assist to keep that annual soiree’ a viable option this year, especially to my longest-running cheerleader and a true love of my life - Rich Charron who looks after me in some fashion each and every time he’s in town; and most especially to Chris Yakubchic for accepting me as part of the package (or might that be baggage) that came along with linking hearts with Kenny while never once, not for a single second, allowing me to feel anything but love and welcoming acceptance from him along with a most generous spirit;  and most, most especially to my beloved Kenny Howard who has truly been my personal savior and anchor through this most difficult past year, and one who truly owns a very special piece of my heart.  To all these people I simply and most inadequately say, with all the meaning these two heartfelt words could possibly engender – THANK YOU!

I’m WANZIE And That’s All I Wrote!

 Wanzie Signature Photo

email me

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