Marilyn! The New Musical, produced in association with ABG – the licensing wing of Marilyn’s estate – is coming to Las Vegas, NBC reports. A version of this show was first staged in Glendale, California back in 2016, but I understand there have been some personnel changes since then. As diehard fans will know, official approval is not always a guarantee of quality but let’s hope this will be an entertaining tribute.
“One of Hollywood’s most iconic stars is coming to the Las Vegas Strip in Marilyn! The New Musical, an original musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. The show will open at Paris Las Vegas with preview performances beginning May 23 and a grand opening June 1, just in time for Marilyn’s birthday. Written, directed and produced by Tegan Summer, CEO of Prospect House Entertainment, in partnership with Authentic Brands Group, owner of the Estate of Marilyn Monroe, the new musical will feature acclaimed Broadway actress Ruby Lewis as the resident Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn! The New Musical features 20 original musical numbers as well as classics like ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ and ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy,’ telling the story of one of the world’s most famous women, from her days as Norma Jeane overcoming a difficult childhood, to her meteoric rise to stardom and becoming one of the biggest and most enduring sex symbols of all time.
The Marilyn! cast includes the best talent that Broadway, Los Angeles and Las Vegas have to offer including: Brittney Bertier as Norma Jeane, Frank Lawson as Charlie, Marilyn’s trusted driver, Travis Cloer as Milton Greene, Chris Fore as Bill Pursel, Randal Keith as Darryl F. Zanuck, Christopher Showerman as Joe DiMaggio, Matthew Tyler as Arthur Miller, Lindsay Roginski as Jane Russell, Una Eggerts as Jayne Mansfield, and Chanel Edwards-Frederick as Ella Fitzgerald. Kelley Jakle will serve as the swing for Marilyn Monroe. In addition, the show anticipates a rotating cast of celebrity guest performers in the lead and supporting roles.'”
Watch out, San Diego: Some Like It Hot is being screened atop the Manchester Grand Hyatt by the Rooftop Cinema Club on April 12. (Cinephiles will be recall that the movie was partly filmed in San Diego County, at the Coronado Hotel and beach.)
Marilyn is among several Hollywood icons portrayed in ‘Faded Glory’, a new exhibition from artist Nicholas Reddyhoff at 54 The Gallery in London’s Shepherd Market from April 16-22. MM fans will recognise that his portrait is based on a photo from her 1962 session with Bert Stern. Nicholas spoke about his work with Sarah Juggins for Lynn News.
“I have tried to capture these incredibly well-known people in less than obvious poses. For example, the image of Marilyn Monroe really shows the haunted look she had in her eyes later in her life. We always think of her as voluptuous and cheeky, but here she looks thin and almost haunted. I think beauty fades more rapidly the more beautiful you are, but all of these characters had a presence and a quality that was undefinable but always seductive.”
Stephen Reinhardt, the US appeal court judge known as the ‘liberal lion’, has died aged 87. In an article for the Los Angeles Blade, Jon Reinhardt recalls how Reinhardt cited Marilyn in his historic ruling on gay marriage.
“In 2012, Judge Reinhardt wrote the Ninth Circuit’s politically-savvy opinion in Perry v. Brown, which affirmed the lower court’s decision holding California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The Supreme Court subsequently vacated that appellate decision, holding that the Prop 8’s opponents had no right to appeal the trial court’s ruling, but Judge Reinhardt’s opinion still shines with insight and humanity. He saw that, because California extended all the rights it afforded married couples to same-sex couples who registered as domestic partners, the only point of Prop 8 was to deny same-sex couples the ‘status and dignity’ of marriage.
‘That designation is important,’ he wrote. ‘A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of registered domestic partnership does not.’ Adding a litany of cultural references to marriage, he quipped, ‘Had Marilyn Monroe’s film been called How to Register a Domestic Partnership with a Millionaire, it would not have conveyed the same meaning as did her famous movie, even though the underlying drama for same-sex couples is no different.’
Because Prop 8 furthered no legitimate government objective and was only an expression of the majority’s view of same-sex relationships as less worthy than their own, it violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all.”
Marilyn is featured in a new book by Geoffrey Mark. ELLA: A Biography of the Legendary Ella Fitzgerald is fully illustrated, and in the text, Mark describes the two iconic women as ‘true girlfriends, each had the other’s back as both felt overworked, put-upon, and under-appreciated by the men in their lives as well as their employers.’
The story of Marilyn’s helping Ella secure a nightclub engagement in Hollywood has been somewhat exaggerated over the years (more info here), but there does seem to have been a genuine affinity between them. Geoffrey Mark gave his take on their friendship in an interview with Stephanie Nolasco for Fox News.
“Mark told Fox News Fitzgerald’s estate gave his book ELLA their blessing and he had full cooperation from the star’s recording companies. Mark also assisted Fitzgerald in her later years and befriended her inner circle. Mark insisted that despite Fitzgerald’s sweet, sunny voice that easily lit up any stage, few fans know the full measure of the cruelty she endured as a child before finding fame.
‘It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances,’ said Mark. ‘Ella’s mother died in a car accident. And the man who was her mother’s companion, turned to Ella for comfort. He drank too much and forced himself on Ella, forcing her to run away from home… And because she ran away… the government grabbed her and stuck her in this awful place where children were sent — far away from where she was living.’
‘Marilyn Monroe began going to Ella Fitzgerald’s concerts and nightclub gigs,’ Mark explained. ‘She struck up a conversation with her and what they found out was they had both been teenagers forced out on their own, they had to survive for themselves, they both had to deal with being women in a business that was completely dominated by men… And Marilyn saw how Ella was treated sometimes for being black, for being overweight and for being in the jazz world.'”
All About Eve will be screened at the Cape Cod Museum of Art on April 28. It will be shown after an informal reception at 3 pm, and a panel discussion will follow later. The museum is on the grounds of the Cape Playhouse in Dennis Village, where a 13 year-old Gary Merrill ushered back in 1928. Two decades later, Merrill would star as theatre director Bill Simpson in All About Eve, opposite a young Marilyn and his future wife, Bette Davis.