By Andy Coughlan Special to the News Once upon a time in a theater in Port Arthur, there lived a baker and his wife, who desperately wanted to be parents, but a witch had cursed them with childlessness. In order to break the spell, they had to bring the witch a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold. Along the way, they met Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, some very charming princes and various other classic characters. As in any good fairy tale, they accomplish their task and everyone lives happily ever after — or do they? Visit Lamar State College-Port Arthur and Port Arthur Little Theater’s production of the musical “Into the Woods,” opening July 21, to find out how the story ends. Written by multiple Tony Award-winner Stephen Sondheim, “Into the Woods” offers a twist on the classic stories of childhood. “Sondheim was trying to find something that resonated with all of our childhoods,’ director Keith Cockrell said. “The play is about parents and children and that is what fairy tales are about. Sondheim has always been fascinated by those relationships, and ‘Into the Woods’ lets him explore those themes. We all know the story of Cinderella and Rapunzel and so on, so he doesn’t have to spend a lot of time telling the story and he can spend time playing with it and enjoying giving us thoughts about it we hadn’t had before.” Cockrell said that with “Into the Woods,” Sondheim set about creating his own “Wizard of Oz.,” something that makes us see the world differently, while comforting us with stories from our childhood. The show is well known among singers and actors, he added, but is rarely performed in community theater. “The show is not difficult or inaccessible for an audience, they always lap it up” Cockrell said, “but is really difficult for a group to do which is why you seldom see local productions because it requires complicated musicianship. It takes wonderful voices, it’s a costuming and set nightmare — but we’ve got the talent here to cover all that. “You always know how good a show is by how much talent shows up at your auditions. I turned away people that I would have been delighted to have as leads in any other show that I couldn’t use here because there’s no chorus. I had such incredible talent show up to audition that it really reassured me about the quality of the show. “People who know theater love it.” Local theater stalwart Victoria LeBlanc, who plays the witch, said she jumped at the chance to perform Sondheim’s work. “I love Sondheim’s music and his lyrics,” she said. “I think his lyrics are clever and complex. They remind me of Gilbert and Sullivan in a way, the cleverness of the lyrics, the patter songs, but also the stuff that’s really lyrical as well. And the barbs.” LeBlanc said that Gilbert and Sullivan, because of the times in which they lived, had to be more subtle, but if they were here today, she thinks they would have been writing shows like Sondheim. Stephen Morgan plays the baker, who with his wife, drives the show’s plot. A frequent performer in local theater, he said he originally attended the audition just to watch. “When I saw the caliber of the people who were auditioning, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be in the show,” he said. “I really would have taken any part just to be in it because the talent level is out of this world.” Cockrell said that there multiple All-State choir people in the cast and the quality of the music and lyrics brought them out. “It’s the role of a lifetime for some of these people and they knew they would probably only get one shot at it,” he said. Sondheim has a reputation for writing complex shows, but Cockrell said that people should not think that the shows are difficult to watch. “‘The Fantasticks’ is the sweetest little simplest musical to listen to, but to play it is a nightmare because everything is in the weirdest key,” Cockrell said. “It’s hard on the artist, but great fun for the audience.” The cast repeatedly come up with adjectives like challenging and complex when describing performing the work, but another word also is prominent — fun. “I’ve decided Sondheim is a sadist,” Roxane Gray, who plays the baker’s wife, said, following the remark with a howl of laughter. “His music is difficult and just when you think you know him, he morphs on you. His lyrics are very complicated — fun, but complicated.” Gray’s daughter, Hayley Ledet plays Florinda. “I have always been a big fan of fairytales and I think this puts a funny, new twist on them,” Ledet said. “People will enjoy that. “The most difficult part of the show is the music, especially to perform while doing all this wild and crazy fun stuff on stage. But it’s been a fun journey so far.” The ensemble also includes Jeff Courts, Jeana Forman, Jacob Willis, Dana Deggs, Krista Courts, Patrick Lene, Jessica Gengo, David Sorrells, Dennis Riley, Jesus Pineda, Elise Stover, Scott Slack, Adam Domingue, Nate Hall, Kayla Harper, Amy Maxwell and Cassie Queen. Cockrell said he thinks Sondheim owes a lot to the spirit of the 1960s “Fractured Fairy Tales” segments of the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” shows. “He isn’t quite as silly as those, but he’s doing the same thing,” Cockrell said. “But that’s part of reaching back to what we’ve all shared. We all, of a certain generation, have heard Edward Everett Horton narrating ‘Fractured Fairy Tales.’” The play is a light-hearted look at fairy tales, but with a twist. There is a strong notion of being careful what one wishes for, Cockrell said. While many of the show’s themes are mature, “Into the Woods,” like all good fairy tales, connects with all ages, Cockrell said. “We’re rating this one PG, but that’s for a few suggestive lines. There’s no nudity or profanity. You’d hear worse on ‘The Simpsons.’” So, how does the story end? Only a visit to the theater will reveal that. “Into the Woods” runs July 21, 22, 28, 29 at 7:30 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays), with one Sunday matinee on July 23 at 2:30 p.m. at the new Lamar Theater on the campus of Lamar State College-Port Arthur, at 1700 Procter Street. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $5 with Lamar ID. For reservations, call 984-6111.
By Susan BroussardThis letter is in regard to a few recent articles about feral cat overpopulation issues in the area and the idea that adopting feeding bans is a legitimate solution. It is not. There seems to be a war declared against these innocent animals due to a great misunderstanding of them. Irresponsible pet guardians who allow their cats outside or abandon them without being spayed and neutered are the main contributors to the numbers of feral cats. These cats produce many litters of kittens that become feral due to lack of human contact. They spend their lives searching for food to sustain them, shelter from weather, and safety from predators. Instead of our city authorities promoting humane care to homeless animals, they continue to support outdated and cruel policies of trying to starve these cats to death.First, as Angela Dodson stated in an article on February 17, tame cats are caught in the crossfire. She has valid reason for her concern. People trying to lure feral cats into traps end up trapping pets as well. Tame cats will fight to escape and exhibit aggressive behavior the same as a feral cat as their natural instincts to protect themselves take over. This leaves them at risk of being misjudged by inexperienced handlers including some animal control officers. If taken to a shelter these cats will be killed immediately if deemed feral. That is not euthanasia. Euthanasia is using humane methods of ending life for a sick, old, or injured animal with no hope of recovery. These cats are healthy animals that are killed simply because it is still legal. Your city officials in charge of making decisions about animals are not always, in fact are seldom, the right ones to do so. Ordinances or orders of any kind prohibiting the feeding of stray/outside/feral cats are cruel and will not solve the problem (www.alleycat.org/feedingban).As individual pet guardians, we must abide by state cruelty laws. Providing food, water, and shelter are a requirement. Why, then, is it legal for city officials to demand we stop feeding cats that have been in our care? Starving an animal to death is cruelty in any situation. This is an ignorant approach and a disregard for life.Not feeding a feral colony will not make it disappear. The cats will simply become more visible looking for food that had been provided. These cats are not drawn to a particular area because they are being fed by humans. They are already established colonies that have found a source of food (although insufficient) and shelter. Caring people then begin feeding. Through the TNR (trap, neuter, return) program, which is a proven means of controlling the overpopulation of outside cats, these cats are fed regularly by volunteers. TNR volunteers trap, spay and neuter, and return the cats to their colonies providing food and care, preventing more cats from being born. I have TNR’d many neighborhood cat colonies at the request of the people who feed them in cities all over the Golden Triangle and beyond. This can be done city wide which will eventually make a huge difference in what many city officials perceive as a problem.Groves Fire Chief Dale Jackson stated in the article feral cats spread diseases to other pets. This is misinformation. Feral cats have no more health issues than pet cats. Their systems have not been compromised by all the vaccinations (other than rabies) and medications pet cats are subjected to. It is highly unlikely pet cats will even come in contact with feral cats unless they have been abandoned or are not being fed regularly. I have extensive experience with feral cats and have been using the TNR program over 15 years. In a managed colony with caretakers, feral cats are monitored for illnesses or injuries and get medical help when needed. They are not left to suffer and die. Mr. Jackson also said the only way to solve the problem of feral cats is to trap them. That would be true only if the cats were to be spayed, neutered, and returned to their colonies with caretakers to provide for them, not trapping to kill. That’s how TNR works. Cats are not pests that should be exterminated.Another fact to take note of: State cruelty laws protect feral cats as well as tame ones. It is illegal to dump (abandon), kill, poison, torture, or neglect cats, tame or not.The comment included at the end of the article about TNR along with the so-called facts had no reasoning or truth. That was not research. It was a search to find articles on a subject written by those who object to and want to disprove a program that is saving thousands of lives and reducing shelter kill rates to practically zero in TNR cities. Go to the source of the TNR movement, www.alleycat.org. Alley Cat Allies has successfully helped implement the TNR program in numerous cities nationwide, including Austin and San Antonio. Most of all go to your city officials and voice your disapproval of their feeding bans for cats and let them know you want to be represented as a compassionate community. Request the TNR program be recognized as a means to help the city control the population of feral cats. Through the TNR program, caretakers would be reducing the numbers of cats and kittens throughout the cities, keeping the shelter intake and kill rate down, and saving taxpayer dollars. For some, the money is important; for the cats, their lives are important.Susan BroussardFormerly of Groves, now of Kountze
Mr. Carl Edward Diles of Port Arthur died Monday, September 19 at Harbor Hospice House. A native of Hardin, Texas, he was a resident of Port Arthur for 65 years and was retired from Gulf/Chevron and the United States Army National Guard. Mr. Diles was a 1960 graduate of Lincoln High School, Port Arthur, Texas.He was preceded in death by his father, Frank Diles, his son, Carl Reginald Diles, his grandson, Carl “Slug” Jolivet, his sister, Rebecca Ann Giles, and his brother, Jimmy Washington. He leaves to cherish his memories, his wife, Willie Mae Jolivet Diles, his mother, Bernetha Jones Nickles, son, Gary Diles Sr. of Port Arthur, son, Edmond Francois Jr., of Austin, son, Eric Francois (Valerie) of Round Rock, sister, Carolyn Washington Wright, brother, Ervin Washington of Port Arthur, 9 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren. Next UpFamily and friends will celebrate the life of Mr. Diles, Saturday, September 24, 2016 at Rock Island Missionary Baptist Church with viewing from 1 pm to 2 pm and the funeral service at 2 pm. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Cemetery under the direction of Gabriel Funeral Home in Port Arthur, Texas.
Greysen Alezander Droddy, 7, of Sealy, formerly of Nederland, passed Saturday, December 17, 2016. He was born on April 7, 2009, in Beaumont, to Sheila Marie Conner and Winston Keven Droddy II.Greysen was an honor student every year. He enjoyed playing soccer and video games, like Minecraft. He loved to draw and was a member of Sealy Cub Scout Pack 443 Wolf Pack. Memorial contributions for Greysen may be made to https://www.gofundme.com/droddy-family-medical-funeral-fun. A gathering of Greysen’s family and friends will begin at 12:00 p.m., with his funeral service to follow at 3:00 p.m., Monday, December 26, 2016, at Broussard’s, 505 North 12th Street, Nederland. His cremation arrangements will be handled through Broussard’s Crematorium, Beaumont.Complete and updated information may be found at: broussards1889.com. Survivors include his parents, Sheila and Keven Droddy; brothers, Kasey Duff, Logan Droddy, and Keenyn Droddy; grandparents, Mary Conner; Denise Arens and her husband, John; and Winston Droddy Sr. and his wife, Tracy; great-grandparents, Bobby and Alberta Droddy; uncles, David Conner, Seth Droddy, Christian Droddy, Adam Langston, and Jeffrey Jones; aunts, Tia Richards, Stephanie Jones, Debra Jones, and Mayre Jones; and a large extended family.He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Donald “Poppie” Conner, Jr.; great-grandparents, Durway and Rose Fontenot; Gracie Jane Smoak; and Donald Wesley Conner, Sr.
Scott said 500 volunteers were in Houston during spring break. They’ll return to Houston, then spend a week in Victoria and a week in Corpus Christi/Rockport.BOUNCE does the planning and organizational work, Baptist churches from around the state supply the labor force. Nederland First Baptist is housing and feeding the volunteers.“We hope to complete what we can in a week’s time,” said Mason, standing in the front yard of a Port Arthur home near the seawall. Seven different churches — six from Texas, one from Georgia — are among those providing labor.Volunteers arrive with various levels of skills, but are trained by veteran construction crew leaders. Some have volunteered before, some are “newbies,” Scott said. Spokeswoman Cherish Mason said 97 student volunteers have fanned out across the community, working at sites identified by local partners. Including their adult leaders, some 130 people will work at the sites through Saturday.“We are mobilizing students who have a desire to help,” said Mason. All volunteers pay their own way.David Scott, director of disaster recovery for the Baptist organization BOUNCE, said the organization, launched in 2013, oftentimes goes out of state to help. Projects planned out of state this year were shelved in favor of helping fellow Texans who are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey. “One girl took 10 minutes to get up the ladder and on the roof,” he said, but workers are assigned to age- and skill-appropriate tasks and they learn as they go under supervision.“We encourage them along, and stress to them to try to do something they’ve never done before,” Scott said.In Port Acres, seven students, primarily middle-schoolers, worked under the direction of Rick Robbins, a retired high school track coach.“We’ve got a great group of guys and girls here,” he said, as he directed his crew in drywall and sheetrock work in a four-bedroom home unoccupied since Harvey. The owners are staying with friends. Some of the volunteers were from Houston, some from Longview.“None of us has a lot of experience, myself included,” he said. He’d done roof work on a previous BOUNCE trip.“I thought it was a great opportunities to tell others about God and learn the homeowners’ stories,” said Nadia Torres, 13, of Grace Temple Baptist in Dallas.Mason said there is evening worship and teaching time in the evenings.The mission of BOUNCE, she said, is to restore hope, rebuild communities and reflect Christ. In short, they help those short on hope to bounce back from disaster.“We understand ourselves that we were needy, dead in our sins, and when we were needy, Christ provided for us,” Mason said.BOUNCE was created with the idea that students want to help and should be afforded the opportunity to do so. Although it is a ministry of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, it works with evangelical groups and with those from other states, including Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia.They also work with partnering organizations. In this community, those include Help I’m Hurting, Shalom Builders, First Baptist Church in Nederland and Waco Community Development. By Ken [email protected] ACRES — A student disaster recovery program, sponsored by Texas Baptists, is sending help to 11 Greater Port Arthur and Nederland work sites this week. The students — middle school through college — are doing roofing, plumbing, sheet rock and electrical work under the direction of skilled adults.
Because school districts levy the majority of property taxes in Texas, many lawmakers have been seeking ways to help reduce those portions of Texans’ tax bills. But since the state is required to ensure school districts have enough money to educate students, any effort to cut taxes would have a significant cost — requiring the state to reimburse schools if they’re unable to collect enough from local property taxes.Gov. Greg Abbott, Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen — considered Texas’ “Big Three” GOP leaders — have in past weeks thrown their full support behind a proposal to pay for long-term decreases in Texans’ tax bills by raising the state sales tax by 1 percentage point, which would raise about $5 billion a year.The proposal has so far been moving through the Capitol in the form of a joint resolution, which needs two-thirds of each chamber to pass. If the Legislature passed the resolution, the sales tax swap would then land on the November ballot for voters to decide.On Tuesday morning, before the House gaveled in for the day, Bonnen told House Republicans during a caucus meeting that there would be no point in bringing up the proposal for a vote in the lower chamber if it was considered dead in the Senate, according to multiple people who were at the gathering. Caucus members at the meeting, according to those sources, largely agreed with Bonnen, who said the Senate stripping such a provision from its version of the school finance bill Monday suggested the upper chamber couldn’t muster enough support to approve a tax swap proposal.Perhaps the first major public blow to the Big Three’s tax swap proposal happened Friday, when state Rep. Chris Turner, a Grand Prairie Democrat who chairs his party’s caucus, told The Texas Tribune there were more than 60 “hard no” votes from members against it. That is enough opposition to block the House from passing such a constitutional amendment, which requires at least 100 votes in the House. And on Monday evening, the night before Tuesday’s scheduled debate, Turner and several other House Democrats in leadership positions, signed on to a letter addressed to Huberty that made clear they “cannot support HJR 3 or any other proposals to increase the state sales tax.”Democrats’ opposition to the proposal centers on the fact that the sales tax is regressive, meaning it takes a bigger portion of income from poorer Texans than richer ones. An official analysis of the economic impacts of HJR 3, which first circulated Friday, showed that the average Texas household making less than $100,000 would expect to see an increase in its annual tax bill. The average household making $100,000 and up would see a lighter annual tax bill.The future of the sales tax proposal, which state leaders first endorsed in April, appeared especially fraught after the Senate signaled it was backing away from the idea during a debate on its school finance legislation, House Bill 3. That bill originally included billions of dollars in mechanisms to cut school district taxes, contingent on a form of long-term funding, such as the percentage-point increase in the sales tax. State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, the school finance bill’s author, instead stripped the sales tax swap from HB 3.Instead, the upper chamber voted to create a Tax Reduction and Excellence in Education Fund to pay to lower school district taxes. A Senate working group came up with a plan to get about $3 billion from a few sources, without raising taxes, including diverting money from the severance tax on oil and gas extraction and collecting money from an online sales tax.Taylor said that could pay to lower school district taxes statewide by 10 cents per $100 valuation, saving the owner of a $250,000 home about $250 a year.“The bill before us today has no linkage to the sales tax and is not contingent upon a sales tax,” he told fellow senators Monday, hours before he successfully moved to pass the school finance bill.Beyond the tax swap proposal, Huberty told reporters Tuesday after delivering his remarks that he’s still hopeful the two chambers can reach a compromise on the school finance bill. He also said he supported some of the Senate’s other ideas for long-term revenue to cut school taxes.The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. By Cassandra Pollockand Aliyya SwabyThe Texas Tribune Despite Tuesday’s postponement, the idea could still be revived this session; lawmakers could use a different bill as a vehicle to fund school district tax cuts.Huberty criticized members of the Senate on Tuesday who “have spent their whole careers calling for property tax relief” but did not vote for the school finance measure the day before. And he repeatedly affirmed questions by House colleagues that suggested state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, the Houston Republican who leads the upper chamber’s property tax committee, had failed to take responsibility for coming up with a viable mechanism for property tax cuts when he was part of a school finance commission last year and during the current legislative session.Bettencourt has arguably been the most vocal GOP senator opposed to the tax swap proposal, a position that has caught some by surprise since he’s closely aligned — both personally and professionally — with Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has made clear he supports the measure. Bettencourt marked himself “present, not voting” on the school finance bill Monday, while the majority of the upper chamber approved the legislation. And on Tuesday morning, ahead of business in both chambers, Bettencourt took to Facebook to once again reiterate his opposition to the tax swap, saying there is “simply no need to raise taxes even higher.”Abbott and Patrick did not immediately return requests for comment Tuesday. texastribune.orgState Rep. Dan Huberty, the top public education leader in the Texas House, postponed two items of legislation Tuesday that would pay for long-term, ongoing school district tax cuts by raising sales taxes — effectively killing any chance of passing the legislation this year.Huberty tabled until 2021 — the next legislative session — House Joint Resolution 3 and the accompanying House Bill 4621, which would ask voters to increase the state sales tax by one penny to buy down school district property taxes. The Houston Republican’s move came the day after the Senate, headed by a lieutenant governor who had endorsed the proposal, stripped such a provision from its version of the school finance bill in what was perhaps a signal that the measure would be dead in the upper chamber anyway.
A visitation for family and friends will begin at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, July 2, 2019 at the United Methodist Temple followed by the funeral service at 1:00 p.m. with Reverend Phil Chamberlin officiating. James “Jim” Odis Blackwell, 68, of Groves, Texas passed away Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at Kindred Hospital in Houston, Texas.Jim was born September 18, 1950 in Rosebud, Texas to Odis Green Blackwell and Margie Lewis Blackwell. Jim has been a resident of Groves for 25 years and was a member of the United Methodist Temple. He was a pipefitter employed by Pipefitters Local #195 and later ran his own handyman business. Jim proudly served in the U. S. Army.Survivors include his wife, Susan of Groves; three sons, Shawn Blackwell and wife Natalie of Lumberton, Brent Blackwell and wife Julie of Nederland, and Jason Blackwell of Kountze; sisters, Linda Evans and husband Buddy of Groves, Tammy Louviere and husband Ronnie, and Michelle Blackwell Langham of Groves; brother, Gary Blackwell of Port Arthur; grandchildren, Connor, Drake, Cadence, Aspen, Kenslee, Tyler James, Easton, and Zaylee Blackwell. Burial will be at Oak Bluff Memorial Park in Port Neches under the direction of Levingston Funeral Home in Groves.Friends wishing to make memorial contributions may send them to: Wounded Warrior Project, Salvation Army, or Covenant House.
Port Arthur police have identified a man charged in a purse-snatching robbery as Brandon Jones, 37. Next Up According to the Jefferson County Inmate Roster, Brandon Lamar Jones was being held Monday on a $100,000 bond for robbery and possession of a controlled substance.Police were called to BJ Food Store, 1201 Seventh St., at 8:18 p.m. in reference to a theft. A description of the suspect was given to officers, who detained a man fitting the description almost immediately, according to a news release from the Port Arthur Police Department.Officers learned that the victim had been assaulted during a purse snatching, though no additional information was available on any injuries the victim received.The alleged robber was arrested and the case remains under investigation by the department’s Criminal Investigations Division.
The Port Neches-Groves Independent School District will be closing schools Thursday, September 19th.Classes at Lamar State College Port Arthur have been canceled for Thursday, September 19, 2019 due to flooded streets in Southeast Texas. The campus will resume its regular operation on Friday morning, September 20. All Bob Hope Campuses are closed. There will be no school Thursday, September 19. Due to the inclement weather Nederland ISD will be closed Thursday September 19, 2019. School will resume with regular hours Friday, September 20, 2019. With severe weather and road flooding concerns across Jefferson County, all school districts have canceled classes for Thursday. Due to weather conditions, Port Arthur Independent School District will be closed today.
ALSO: Brian Stokes Mitchell kicks off the Starry Summer Nights concert series at Town Hall; two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz reprises Girls, Girls, Girls at 54 Below; Stephanie J. Block sings the roof off at Birdland. View Comments WEDNESDAY, JULY 10 ROCK OUT WITH RAUL A super-talented cast has assembled for Encores! limited-run staging of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock, a musical about fat-cat capitalists and at least one kind-hearted prostitute. Raul Esparza leads a talented ensemble that lincudes Matthew Saldivar, Danny Burstein, Anika Noni Rose and Da’Vine Joy Randolph. Catch this rockin’ Cradle through July 13. ALSO: Agatha Christie gets the musical comedy treatment as Murder for Two begins previews off-Broadway; Norbert Leo Butz croons again at 54 Below. TUESDAY, JULY 9 FIRST DATE’S FIRST DATE Zachary Levi (TV’s Chuck) and Broadway favorite Krysta Rodriguez go on a blind date for the ages in the new musical comedy First Date, which begins preview performances July 9 at the Longacre Theatre. Everything from Google background checks to woebegone Jewish grandmothers pop up, and preview audiences will be the first to see it all! MONDAY, JULY 8 KAZEE WHAT YOU WANNA KAZEE Tony winner Steve Kazee is bringing back his show to hotspot 54 Below, where he played a popular debut engagement earlier this year. Joining Kazee in the July 8-13 run are his band, The Shiny Liars, and a handful of special guest musicians. Embrace this Broadway hunk in the only place more intimate than Once’s onstage bar: 54 Below! Zachary Levi ALSO: Rising Broadway stars take the stage in Women & Men on the Verge at 54 Below; Alcestis Ascending opens at Clurman Theatre. With all of the fantastic events that are happening in the Broadway community, it’s hard to keep track of them all! Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered with our handy dandy Datebook, which this week includes everything from a Tony winner’s return to 54 Below to a pair of red-hot hoofers burning up the floor with a Tango. Check out the list of events for the week of July 8! FRIDAY, JULY 12 PIANOS GET PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE NYC’s fabulous Dueling Pianos have swapped downtown’s swanky Webster Hall for uptown’s new nightclub The Wall, where the crowd favorite piano players will continue their popular show every Friday at 8PM. The audience is in control of the music, so you only have yourself to blame during the eighth reprise of “I Will Survive.” ALSO: Forever Tango starts previews at the Walter Kerr Theatre; Remy Auberjonois replaces Jeremy Shamos in The Assembled Parties; David Abeles becomes Pierre in Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812; Jinkx Monsoon lights up the Laurie Beechman; Alcestis Ascending: A Rock Myth starts at the Clurman Theatre; Hands on a Hardbody’s cast album gets a digital release; Pippin’s new cast album hits stores. Star Files Krysta Rodriguez Steve Kazee THURSDAY, JULY 11 GONG WITH THE WIND The live stage version of the 1970s talent competition The Gong Show performs its third of six pre-off-Broadway tryouts at the Cutting Room, wherein over a dozen acts will take the stage to perform for a rotating panel of “celebrity” judges. It’s the folks in the audiences who are the real winners, though—14 crazy acts for the price of one! ALSO: Jane Lynch plays her final Annie performance; A Kid Like Jake ends; Macbeth, starring Tony winner Alan Cumming, finishes its extended engagement at the Barrymore Theatre; The Broadway-star-populated Newsroom’s second season begins on HBO; Jackie Hoffman brings Old Woman, New Material to 54 Below. SATURDAY, JULY 13 76 MILKBONES LEAD THE BIG PARADE Broadway is going to the dogs for the 15th annual Broadway Barks! dog and cat adoption event, wherein a slew of stage favorites will go off-leash to raise money and awareness for the ASPCA. Prepare for a cavalcade of puppies! Raúl Esparza Norbert Leo Butz SUNDAY, JULY 14 TAKE UP THE TANGO Dancing with the Stars hotties Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy will burn the floor in the return Broadway engagement of Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango, which officially opens on July 14 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Sixteen world-class dancers, one vocalist and a pitch-perfect orchestra will keep this Tango going…well, forever! (Just kidding…the limited run ends September 15.) ALSO: Wanda’s Monster begins performances off-Broadway; The Awesome ‘80s Prom starts performances at The Wall; Glee fave Matthew Morrison hits 54 Below. Jane Lynch View All (6)