View Comments Andy Mientus(Photo: Bruce Glikas) Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Andy Mientus to Rock Out in Denver Production of TommyBroadway alum Andy Mientus (Spring Awakening) has been announced as the star of a new Colorado mounting the 1993 musical Tommy, featuring the Tony-winning music of iconic rock band The Who. Mientus will take on the title role in the production directed by Tony nominee Sam Buntrock (Sunday in the Park with George) and choreographed by Katie Spelman (Amélie). Tommy will run at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Stage Theatre from April 20 through May 27. Joining Mientus onstage will be Tony nominee Charl Brown (Motown) as Captain Walker, Carson Elrod (Peter and the Starcatcher) as Uncle Ernie, Betsy Morgan (Sweeney Todd) as Mrs. Walker and Lulu Fall (The Great Comet) as Acid Queen. The cast will also include David Hess, Sara Kapner, Gareth Keegan, Charlie Korman, Corbin Payne, Terence Reddick, Tristan Champion Regini, Timothy John Smith, Olivia Sullivent, Erin Willis, Owen Zitek, Samuel Bird, Radley Wright, Joe Beauregard and Katie Drinkard.Laura Benanti to Co-Host 33rd Annual Lucille Lortel AwardsTony winner, off-Broadway alum and Melania Trump impersonator Laura Benanti has signed on as co-host of the 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards, toasting the best off-Broadway theater debuting in the 2017-2018 season. Joining Benanti as co-emcee will be Jason Jones, co-creator of the TBS comedy series The Detour (in which Benanti appears). The Lortel Awards are slated to take place at NYU’s Skirball Center on May 6 at 7:00pm. Nominations will be announced on April 4.Idina Menzel to Receive Drama League Award for Distinguished AchievementTony-winning Wicked original Idina Menzel (who will return to the stage this spring in Skintight) is among the special honorees receiving a hat-tip at the 84th Annual Drama League Awards. The starry ceremony will take place at the Marriott Marquis Times Square on May 18 at 11:30am. Menzel will be presented with Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award alongside Tony-winning director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw (Mean Girls), who’ll receive the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing. The National Endowment for the Arts will also be honored by the Drama League with the Unique Contribution to the Theater Award. Nominees for the Drama League’s esteemed Distinguished Performance Award will be announced on April 18.New Book Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution Set for April ReleaseGear up for the Broadway revival of Carousel with a new tome about the legendary songwriters Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Henry Holt and Company has announced Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution, a new book by Todd S. Purdum offering an inside look at the personalities of R&H, their relationship with each other, their creative process and their groundbreaking innovations. In addition to Carousel, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musicals include South Pacific, Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, Cinderella and The King and I, the tuner from which the book gets its title. Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution is slated for an April 3 release.Tony Nominee Denée Benton to Lead CBS Pilot 25Denée Benton, the super talent who blew audiences away with her Tony-nommed Broadway debut in The Great Comet, has been cast in 25, a comedy-series pilot from CBS, according to Deadline. Emily Osment (Young & Hungry) and Matt Shively (The Real O’Neals) will co-star. 25 follows twentysomething Kyle (Shively), who travels to Austin to convince his friend Kate (Osment) that they are meant to be. Benton will play Kate’s roommate, Morgan. Look back at our Fresh Face video with Benton below and cross your fingers that 25 is picked up as a full series. P.S. Get ready for NBC’s starry Easter Sunday presentation of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert with this new promo.
View Comments Donna Murphy(Photo: Bruce Glikas) Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Donna Murphy Joins Live-Action Anastasia FilmTwo-time Tony winner and recent Hello, Dolly! star Donna Murphy has been cast in the upcoming live-action film Anastasia, according to Deadline. The new movie about the iconic Russian princess, taking place in 1917 and 1988, will feature Murphy in the new role of Yara the Enchantress. Unrelated to the 1997 animated film or the current Broadway musical, the live-action Anastasia will also feature Emily Carey in the title role alongside Amiah Miller, Brandon Routh and Joy Koy. A release date will be announced at a later time.Andrea Martin to Host ASTEP Gala; Erika Henningsen, Kate Baldwin to PerformTwo-time Tony winner Andrea Martin has signed on as emcee of the annual gala for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), slated to take place at Feinstein’s/54 Below on April 23 at 8:00pm. Joining ASTEP founder Mary-Mitchell Campbell onstage will be a starry group of performers including two-time Tony nominee Kate Baldwin (Hello, Dolly!), two-time Tony nominee Laura Osnes (Bandstand), Erika Henningsen (Mean Girls), Grey Henson (Mean Girls), Sean Green Jr. (Hamilton), Jessica Vosk (Fiddler on the Roof) and Georgia Stitt (Snow Child). All proceeds of the evening benefit ASTEP, which trains volunteer artists to deliver arts programs for children, regardless of their backgrounds.Joel Grey to Direct U.S. Premiere of Fiddler on the Roof in YiddishTony- and Oscar-winning Cabaret legend Joel Grey has been enlisted to direct a new production of Fiddler on the Roof performed completely in Yiddish. The mounting will play the Museum of Jewish Heritage beginning on July 4 with an opening slated for July 15. “This will be a bold and rich reimagination, with a highly acclaimed group of theater artists from Broadway that will respectfully reenvision this classic theater touchstone in fresh ways,” said Grey. The Fiddler creative team will also include Tony-winning scenic designer Beowulf Boritt and Tony-winning costume designer Ann Hould-Ward, with casting to be announced at a later date. Presented by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, the new production is scheduled for a limited engagement through August 26.Dean Dillon Jukebox Musical Has Eyes on BroadwayTennessee Whiskey: The Musical, a new jukebox tuner featuring the hit songs of country-music legend Dean Dillon, is looking to come to Broadway, Billboard reports. Off-Broadway playwright/director Dewey Moss (The Crusade of Connor Stephens) is at the helm. “We’re lining up some immense talent,” said Moss. “We’ve got a Broadway staff, set designers, costume designers, who have all looked at the script and all love Dean’s music.” Dillon’s tunes include “The Chair,” “Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her,” “It Ain’t Cool to Be Crazy About You,” “Ocean Front Property” and “Famous Last Words of a Fool.” A timeline for Tennessee Whiskey: The Musical will be set at a later date.The Maid’s Tragedy to Receive Off-Broadway Revival with New TwistA new production of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher’s classic play The Maid’s Tragedy is slated to play off-Broadway’s Access Theater beginning on June 13. Lucy Gram will direct the revival, featuring a new adaptation by Alyssa May Gold that sets the play in present-day Hollywood. The Maid’s Tragedy centers on the hero Melantius, who must challenge the monarchy and reclaim the family’s honor due to despicable conduct by the King. This new production reimagines the traditionally male tragedy as a story of two sisters in present-day Hollywood—a now-female Melantius, film producer, and Evadne, actress—whose different attitudes about sex, fame and honor collide in the wake of their studio king’s misconduct. The Maid’s Tragedy will play a limited engagement through June 30.P.S. Go inside Broadway’s Once On This Island with this gorgeous new 360° video. P.P.S. Get a look inside the newly renovated Lyric Theatre, home of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!
View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 18, 2019 And watch Pitts introduce the new song “Queen of New York” in the music video below. Related Shows The highly anticipated Broadway premiere of King Kong has arrived. The new musical based on the 1932 novel begins previews at the Broadway Theatre on October 5, in advance of an official opening night set for November 8. Christiani Pitts, Eric William Morris and Erik Lochtefeld star in the production directed by Drew McOnie.King Kong follows a young actress (Pitts) and a maverick filmmaker (Morris) as they voyage from the bustling streets of 1930s New York to an uncharted island to capture the greatest wonder the world has ever seen. At the center of the stage show is a 20-foot high, 2,000-pound gorilla brought to life by a team of seamlessly integrated artists and technicians. King Kong features a book by 2018 Tony winner Jack Thorne and a score by Marius de Vries and Eddie Perfect.Completing the Broadway company is an ensemble featuring Ashley Andrews, Mike Baerga, Rhaamell Burke-Missouri, Chloë Campbell, Leroy Church, Peter Chursin, Jōvan Dansberry, Kayla Davion, Rory Donovan, Casey Garvin, Christopher Hampton Grant, Jon Hoche, Gabriel Hyman, Harley Jay, James T. Lane, Marty Lawson, Jonathan Christopher MacMillan, Danny Miller, Brittany Marcell Monachino, Jennifer Noble, Kristen Faith Oei, Eliza Ohman, Roberto Olvera, Jaquez André Sims, Khadija Tariyan, Jena VanElslander, Scott Austin Weber, Jacob Williams, Lauren Yalango-Grant, Warren Yang and David Yijae.King Kong’s design team includes Peter England (set and projection design), Sonny Tilders (creature design), Roger Kirk (costume design), Peter Mumford (lighting design), Peter Hylenski (sound design) and Gavin Robins (aerial movement director).Get to know the stars and creators in the Broadway.com Show segment below. Christiani Pitts in a preview photo from “King Kong”(Photo: Joan Marcus) King Kong
Bat Out of Hell: The Musical Andrew Polec in Bat Out of Hell (Photo: Little Fang) Star Files Bat Out of Hell is a unique theatrical experience that Polec believes combines some of the best music into one night. “It is an absolutely crazy, operatic, rock-and-roll love story,” he said. “It’s almost as if Peter Pan and Romeo and Juliet got together and had this rock-and-roll love child and that’s what has been birthed on stage. It’s a beautiful birth. Jim Steinman has had this idea for forty-plus years and he sent all the music to the J.M. Barrie estate. The lawyer looked at the script and was like, ‘I really love it, but you lost me at this part where there are nuns flying on motorcycles.’ It’s been a labor of love and to see it culminate finally in this version is absolutely amazing.”For Polec, one of the most nerve-wracking moments has been meeting Meat Loaf himself. “Meat Loaf is thrilled [with the show],” he said. “He came to the Wednesday matinee and asked to see it again that evening. I called him Mr. Loaf but he said he prefers to just go by Meat. They warned me that he’s a really cool guy and he’s either going to like you right away, or, maybe, he won’t. I needed to absolutely make sure that he likes me. As soon as I got into the car with him I was like, ‘You are such a big inspiration in my life. You’re my rock-and-roll hero.’ He put up his hand, as if to calm me down, and said, ‘I’m just a regular, ordinary guy who loves performing these songs and giving them as gifts to the audience.’ He’s even cooler than I thought.” Andrew Polec just won’t quit. After playing the role of Strat in Bat Out of Hell in the West End and on tour, he has officially brought the Jim Steinman-Meat Loaf musical to New York City. “It’s a dream come true and wildly, wildly amazing,” Polec told Ryan Lee Gilbert in a recent episode of Broadway.com’s #LiveAtFive. “I came into this really ignorant. Like, oh yeah you do a workshop and of course we’ll find a theater right away and everything will be coming up roses. Then there was silence and I thought I did something wrong. Then I did The Fantasticks for ten months, which was wonderful and it a 180-degree turn of a character.” Andrew Polec After playing the role of Strat for so long, it can be difficult to know where the character ends and Polec begins, especially because of his signature hairstyle. “When you’ve lived with a character for a while, you seem to start to mix together,” he said. “One thing leads to another and all of a sudden they put all of these hair products in front of you and you want to use all of them and see what happens. A lot of love and magic goes into it. I can’t live without this look now.”For someone who has spent a majority of his professional career commanding a stage, it’s surprising to learn that musical theater wasn’t Polec’s passion growing up. “I played lacrosse and hoped I would get a scholarship,” he said. “All that changed one summer when I was riding a bicycle down a hill really fast. I saw a car at the end of a blind turn, hit the brakes, and just went flying and blacked out. After being in the head-trauma unit for five days, the doctors said I couldn’t do contact sports anymore. Seeing that I was down, my parents pushed me into other areas of interest. One day my dad played me ‘Paradise’ by the Dashboard Light and that’s all it took. That’s the dose of medicine that will carry you all the way through doing this kind of musical.”Catch Polec in Bat Out of Hell, playing New York City Center.Watch the full #LiveAtFive episode below! Andrew Polec (Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser for Broadway.com) Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 27:07Loaded: 0.00%00:00Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently behind liveLIVERemaining Time -27:07 1xPlayback RateChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedEnglishAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. Related Shows View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 8, 2019
Katie Brayben in “Girl from the North Country” (Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann) Is that actually you in the new poster art for the show, with sunglasses and your hair blowing in the breeze?It is me and was shot during the second week of rehearsals when, of course, you don’t yet know what you’re doing and they put me in a costume that I don’t wear in the show [laughs]. But it was actually quite fun: Conor started playing the guitar and I sang “Like a Rolling Stone,” and we played around with it. Maybe when the run is finished, they’ll let me take the poster home.How amazing is it to get to deliver that song onstage, not to mention another Dylan classic, “Forever Young”? Listening to Dylan’s “Forever Young” is just extraordinary, so to get to interpret these songs every night really is a gift—and that our genius musical supervisor and arranger Simon Hale has brought out another side to these songs so that they have their own originality within the piece. It’s a real pleasure to bring something to life in a completely different way.Had you seen Girl during either of its previous West End iterations, at the Old Vic or the Noel Coward Theatre?I saw it both times but wasn’t thinking about being in it! It was just something I went to see and really enjoyed, and when this came up, I was kind of surprised actually because it wasn’t something where I thought, “I must make sure I get seen for that.” I just feel very lucky to be involved in another piece that has such amazing music.Was it good in a way that both of Girl’s earlier London runs were some while ago so that you could approach the project fresh?Yes in that this doesn’t feel at all like a takeover. Our company was put together to do two months in Toronto, which we’ve done, and here we are in London. Conor works with everybody’s energy. You never feel like you’re recreating something; there’s none of that at all.What do you make of the character of Elizabeth Laine, which won a 2018 Olivier Award for its originator, Shirley Henderson? [Elizabeth is seen slipping into early-onset dementia in the story set in Depression-era Minnesota.]Elizabeth has a unique relationship with the music in the piece: it’s almost as if the music is coming through her, as if she is her own sort of radio. I feel as if she’s sort of in her own world but the question the audience is absorbing is how much is she or isn’t she with it? She’s got searing moments of lucidity but the brilliance of the writing is that nothing is tied down. Conor leaves it very free, which is scary but also thrilling.You were certainly surprised when Carole King showed up at a performance of Beautiful: are you bracing yourself for a similar appearance this time around from Bob Dylan?Well, you never know; he’s a man of mystery! The thing with Carole was that I didn’t want to know she was there because I couldn’t play someone who’s in the audience, but I’m not actually playing Bob Dylan in this show, so it would be different—and brilliant!Changing gears, what was it like to co-star on the West End in 2016 opposite Jesse Eisenberg in his own play, The Spoils?That was one of my most favorite things I’ve done. I love things that are incredibly naturalistic where the audience is like a fly on the wall, and Jesse is obviously amazing. He’s actually a huge fan of musicals, and I’d really love to do one with him—wouldn’t that be fun?Has it been a deliberate choice on your part to mix and match plays and musicals?Like I say, it’s about what appeals, and I know generally when something piques my interest. I’m a huge fan of straight plays, which I know is such a broad thing to say, but I like it when you can sit down with a writer or the director of a play and chat about the content. That feels very different to me than standing up and singing on demand, which is what happens when you audition for musicals. I find that quite stressful.That said, don’t you feel like a logical Bobbie in the newly female-led Company at some point soon?I saw that at the Gielgud, where I’m sitting right now, and I absolutely loved it. I’ve always had a soft spot for Company and played April [in 2011] at Southwark Playhouse.And if you could follow up your experiences singing Carole King and Bob Dylan with an ideal third music legend-led musical, whose music would you choose?It’s always Joni, it’s got to be Joni. I don’t think she’d let us but if she did, that would be great. Katie Brayben in “Girl from the North Country” (Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann) View Comments Katie Brayben won a 2015 Olivier Award for her star-making performance as Carole King in the West End premiere of Beautiful. Since that time, she shifted genres to star in a revival of the non-musical drama, Honour, and hopped continents to do a summer 2018 run in San Francisco of the new musical, A Walk on the Moon, opposite Jonah Platt. Drama and music combine to thrilling effect in Brayben’s current venture, Girl from the North Country, which opens its third London run on December 16 at the Gielgud Theatre. The ever-delightful Brayben was settling into her new dressing room perch when Broadway.com phoned for a chat.After your lauded immersion in the music of Carole King, does it seem a logical next step that you are now delivering the Bob Dylan songbook in Girl from the North Country, which tethers his music to an original story by the Irish writer-director Conor McPherson? I almost feel like we attract the things that we like, that we’re interested in, and that fit us as performers, and I think that’s probably what has happened here. It’s about [a performer’s] energy attracting certain things.Was your energy drawn to Dylan?So much of the musical landscape of my upbringing was Carole King, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell—but also Muddy Waters and Memphis Slim. My folks are blues singers and artists so my whole landscape musically has really been American music; I have been influenced a lot by American artists.
Alex Newell, Eden Espinosa & Jessica Vosk(Photos: Emilio Madrid for Broadway.com | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images | Michael Hull) View Comments Powerhouse stage stars Alex Newell, Eden Espinosa and Jessica Vosk have been selected to team up in the role of the Narrator in Manhattan Concert Productions’ upcoming one-night presentation of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Michael Arden is at the helm of the previously announced concert, which will star Noah Galvin as Joseph, scheduled to take place at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall on February 17, 2020 at 8:00pm.Newell, who made his Broadway debut in Once on This Island, appeared in Manhattan Concert Productions’ 2018 concert production of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Espinosa is known for her stage turns in Wicked, Falsettos, Brooklyn and Lempicka. Vosk, also a veteran of Wicked, recently concluded a turn in the world premiere musical Becoming Nancy at the Alliance Theatre.Marking the 50th anniversary of the 1970 amateur stage productions that gave Joseph its first life, the concert will feature a chorus of more than 200 singers from across the United States, a star-studded cast and the New York City Chamber Orchestra.Told entirely through song with the help of a Narrator (played by Newell, Espinosa and Vosk), the musical follows the story of Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph (Galvin), and his eleven brothers. After being sold into slavery by the brothers, he ingratiates himself with Egyptian noble Potiphar, but ends up in jail after refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife. While imprisoned, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams, and he soon finds himself in front of the mighty but troubled showman, the Pharaoh. As Joseph strives to resolve Egypt’s famine, he becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man and eventually reunites with his family.Featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, the show features songs that have gone on to become pop and musical-theater standards, including “Any Dream Will Do,” “Close Every Door to Me,” “Jacob and Sons,” “There’s One More Angel in Heaven” and “Go Go Go Joseph.”Additional casting for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be announced at a later date. Noah Galvin Star Files Alex Newell Jessica Vosk
Off-Broadway’s Irish Repertory Theatre celebrated the opening night of its newest production, Incantata by Paul Muldoon, on February 23. The play, written by Pulitzer-winning poet Muldoon, is about the death of his former partner, and is about grief and love. It’s directed by Sam Yates and stars Stanley Townsend. At opening night, actors Uma Thurman, Bill Irwin and Kate Mulgrew showed up to celebrate the play. Incantata runs until March 15. See photos from the opening night below. Bill Irwin and Paul Fahy, artistic director of the Galway Arts Festival Irish Rep producing director Ciarán O’Reilly, director Sam Yates, actor Stanley Townsend, producer Jen Coppinger, producer Paul Fahy, playwright Paul Muldoon and Irish Rep artistic director Charlotte Moore. Sam Yates, Uma Thurman and Paul Muldoon (Photo: James Higgins) Bill Irwin Kate Mulgrew View Comments Kate Mulgrew Uma Thurman Star Files
Center for an Agricultural Economy & Vermont Food Venture Center,Vermont’s first small scale food processing facility has officially opened the doors to local farmers and food producers in Central Vermont. Governor Peter Shumlin attended the ribbon cutting at the facility today, Tuesday, January 17th.Livestock and vegetable producers now have another way to add value to their products and tap into the growing local food movement in Vermont. The Mad River Food Hub is the first of its kind fully equipped, licensed vegetable and meat processing facility in New England. Located in Waitsfield, Vermont, it provides farmers and food producers with a wide array of commercial scale meat and vegetable processing equipment, as well as on-site storage and distribution services to local market outlets.The Mad River Food Hub complements what the Vermont Food Venture Center offers in that it is geared to even smaller scale producers and has the only fully licensed, shared meat processing space in the state. Consumer appetite for locally raised meat and homemade sausage is growing rapidly and the Mad River Food Hub is poised to help farmers and chefs to tap into this expanding market.Conceived in 2010 and constructed in 2011, the Mad River Food Hub is the first fully equipped, licensed vegetable and meat processing facility in the State of Vermont (& NE USA). It offers farmers and food producers affordable, daily rental of state licensed meat and vegetable processing rooms, together with on-site storage and distribution services to local market outlets. www.madriverfoodhub.com/about/(link is external)The design and implementation of the Mad River Food Hub’s services relied extensively on the research, data and analysis from the State’s Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. Funding for this facility was provided by a number of state, federal and foundation funds as well as private investment.‘ This new facility will is the first for-profit food hub and the only facility in the North East USA that combines a state-inspected meat & vegetable facility’ said founder Robin Morris. ‘We also chose to organize as a for-profit business as we felt it provided a more likely longevity for the services offered.’Over 10 local farms and food producers are already using the Mad River Food Hub’s services including: Vermont Bean Crafters, The Vermont Meat Company, Vermont Raw Pet Food, Lawson’s Finest, Gaylord Farm, Kingsbury Market Gardens, Screamin Ridge Farm, Knoll Farm, Tannery Farm & Three Springs Farm.The Mad River Food Hub is the result of many years of discussion and collaboration with the Mad River Valley Localvore Project, Valley Futures Network, Mad River Valley Planning District, Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce, Vermont Land Trust, Farmers, businesses, non-profit organizations and residents. Funding has come from a variety of sources including, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund – Farm to Plate, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board Farm Viability Program, Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center, Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant and local residents.Waitsfield, VT―January 17th 2012
by Andrew Stein June 23, 2013 vtdigger.org Former Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown delivered one salient message to the Vermont GOP on Friday night: ‘Have tolerance for other people in the party.’If factions continue to divide the Republican Party, he said, candidates will not be successful in Vermont or anywhere else in the country.Former Republican Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown addresses Vermont GOP officials on Friday. Photo by Andrew SteinBrown, in more ways than one, fit the bill for the keynote speaker slot at the Vermont GOP’s spring fundraiser. Although he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012, Brown was the first Republican elected to the US Senate from Massachusetts since Edward Brooke won in 1972. The moderate Republican won the seat, which belonged to liberal Democratic Sen Ted Kennedy, in a 2010 special election after Kennedy died of a brain tumor.In a liberal state much like Vermont, Brown found a way to win ‘if only for a short time. Brown says he still has political ambitions, and he is keeping an eye on Washington while he works as a commentator on Fox News and travels the country delivering speeches and promoting his 2011 book, ‘Against All Odds.’Brown’s call for GOP unity in Vermont is timely. Republicans here have been fighting over the future of the party, which in 2012 only held onto one statewide seat and lost more ground in the state Legislature where a ‘super majority’of Democrats continues to dominate. In April, the Vermont Press Bureau’s Peter Hirschfeld highlighted the rift between the ideological chair of the Vermont GOP, Jack Lindley, and moderate Lt. Gov. Phil Scott who is pushing for more centrist positions on issues.Scott said he and Brown are on the same page.‘I’ve always thought we can disagree with each other, but we need to treat each other with respect and learn how to compromise and agree on what we stand for,’Scott said.Lindley, who dug in his heels earlier this year, seems to have softened his hardline conservative stance. ‘His message is real,’Lindley said. ‘It’s part of what all Republicans are attempting to follow at this point in time.’Still no one on Friday, not even Brown, had a fix-all solution to the Republican’s fundamental problem: attracting enough liberal to moderate Vermonters and residents of Massachusetts to the party in order to gain a better political foothold.The $125-a-head private reception at the Rutland Holiday Inn began with veggies, dip and libations. After small talk and speculations about who might run for governor, the party of nearly 50 moved into the dining room for dinner and Brown’s speech.Lindley led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and grace before well-wishers broke into a chorus of ‘Happy Birthdays’for former Gov. Jim Douglas, who turned 61 on Friday.At a front and center table, Scott gave Brown a stock car racing lesson. Nearby, Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, lobbied his peers to persuade Douglas to run for election in 2014.‘He oozes honesty and integrity,’Mullin said of Douglas, as he leisurely sipped on a gin and tonic.Noticeably absent from the fundraiser were the three Republican candidates who ran for statewide office in 2012 and lost: Wendy Wilton, who ran for treasurer; Vince Illuzzi, who ran for auditor; and Randy Brock, who ran for governor.After the Caesar salads and chicken cordon bleus were devoured, and the plates were cleared, Brown took to the stage.‘Here’s the problem with our party,’he began. ‘We’re fighting against each other.’From Vermont all the way down to Southern states, Brown said, this is a problem. The issue was made apparent to him when he was a keynote speaker at the Republican convention in North Carolina.‘The message is the same,’he said. ‘We have tea party members, fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, moderates and liberals, and we fight against each other, and we give the other side the ability to use that to tear us apart, to divide and conquer us.’These factions of the GOP need to put differences aside for the betterment of the party, he said. Party infighting, Brown continued, is what likely cost him the election in Massachusetts.‘What I didn’t expect was the social conservatives and the tea party members to do and say things so that I had to battle on the left and the right,’he said. ‘Here I am, a sitting U.S. senator in a state with 11 percent Republican enrollment, and I’m battling with the left â ¦ and I’m also battling my flank.’Brown told the Vermont Republicans to hang in there and pull together.‘Don’t give up. I know it’s frustrating,’he said. ‘You’re fighting. You’re doing God’s work.’He then shifted to talking about the state of Vermont’s regulatory climate and its difficulty attracting young, highly skilled workers.‘You have to be competitive on a global basis in order to grow and expand and create jobs, and you’re not going to create jobs by tax and regulatory uncertainty that build barriers to businesses wanting to come to this beautiful part of this country,’he said. ‘It is breathtaking. But the young people aren’t staying; they’re leaving.’Vermont, he said, needs better tax breaks and regulatory relief for businesses.‘That’s your challenge when you run for governor is to make sure that happens,’Brown said, speaking directly to Phil Scott from the pulpit.Who would run for governor on the Republican ticket?Is Scott interested in running for governor?‘No, not at this point in time,’he said. ‘I’m happy being lieutenant governor, and I think I’m effective in that position.’What about in the long run?‘This hasn’t been a lifelong ambition or dream of mine to be in political life,’he said. ‘My lifelong dream was to race cars at Daytona. That didn’t happen, but I got close to it, and that’s my passion. But I’ve found later in life that I have something to offer from a political standpoint.’On Friday, the most frequently mentioned favorite potential 2014 gubernatorial candidate was Douglas.Former Gov. Jim Douglas made an appearance at a Vermont GOP event on Friday. Photo by Andrew Stein‘We need someone who can win. He can win,’Mullin said. ‘I’m encouraging everyone I know to ask Jim Douglas to run. There are some other people who would be strong candidates, but I just think Jim Douglas is the candidate.’Rep. Tom Terenzini, R-Rutland, seconded that motion.‘It would be a wonderful thing if Jim Douglas did run,’he said. ‘He was an inspiration as governor.’But Douglas and his wife, Dorothy, say that won’t happen.‘He’s done that, and it’s time to move on at a slower pace,’Dorothy said.‘That’s the definitive word,’Douglas chimed. ‘If I run for office, it will be re-election as town moderator in Middlebury. That’s it.’Rep. Lawrence Cupoli, R-Rutland, said he asked Douglas to run earlier in the evening. He also said Randy Brock would have made a good governor, but ‘his campaign never got going.’‘There was no spark,’Cupoli said. ‘Randy is a very articulate, well-educated guy, who would have been a good governor â ¦ I don’t see Randy these days. I have not seen Randy at all.’Other prominent Republican names, like the Snelling Center’s Mark Snelling, swirled around the room as possible candidates come 2014, but nothing was definite.‘I think there are a lot of Republicans that are sitting on the sidelines now, waiting for someone to come forward with great leadership skills to bring us back to where we were,’Terenzini said.Lindley is confident that the GOP will field a strong candidate against Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2014, and he says the governor is ripe for another run.‘He [Shumlin] has a personality that does not lend itself to what I would call appropriate leadership of a governor,’Lindley said. ‘He is self-destructing, and we are all sitting and watching it.’
University of Vermont,Claude Deschamps, MD, Chair of Surgery at the Mayo Clinic, has been named president and chief executive officer of the University of Vermont Medical Group and senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, effective January 2014. Dr. Deschamps has served as the chair of Mayo’s Department of Surgery since 2005 and is the Joseph I. and Barbara Ashkins Professor of Surgery at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He holds master’s faculty privileges in clinical and translational Science at the Mayo College of Medicine, and this year became chair of the Mayo Clinic in the Midwest Strategy Work Group Integration Project. As president of the UVM Medical Group, Dr. Deschamps will lead some 500 physicians at Fletcher Allen/UVM and be a part of both senior leadership teams. At the College of Medicine, he will oversee Graduate Medical Education, Continuing Medical Education, and support the development of educational and research opportunities across the clinical operation. Dr. Deschamps is an instinctive leader who will provide a steady, reassuring approach during a time of tremendous change in health care. He has focused on physician integration at the Mayo Clinic, and will continue that focus in Vermont. Dr. Deschamps received his medical training in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec, at the University of Montreal and the University of Montreal Affiliated Hospitals, and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His research interests include quality of life after anti-reflux procedure, hiatal hernia repair and esophagectomy, and he is part of Mayo’s Epidemiology and Genetics of Lung Cancer Research Program. Dr. Deschamps’ numerous professional memberships include the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He was previously co-editor-in-chief of Diseases of the Esophagus for the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus. He has been honored with multiple teaching awards at Mayo Medical School, and has a remarkable record of publication. Medical Group Interim President Howard Schapiro, MD, will continue to serve in that role until Dr. Deschamps’ arrival. Dr. Schapiro has been instrumental in setting the ground work for clinical integration with the Fletcher Allen Partners organizations. He will remain at academic medical center in a senior leadership capacity. About Fletcher AllenFletcher Allen Health Care, together with our partners at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, is Vermont’s academic medical center. Fletcher Allen, along with Central Vermont Medical Center, CVPH Medical Center and Elizabethtown Community Hospital, are members of Fletcher Allen Partners, established to develop a more coordinated system of care throughout the region. Fletcher Allen’s mission is to improve the health of the people in the communities it serves by integrating patient care, education and research in a caring environment. Fletcher Allen also serves as a regional referral center — providing advanced care to approximately one million people in Vermont and northern New York — and as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. For more information about Fletcher Allen, find us online at http://www.fletcherallen.org(link is external) or on our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blog sites at www.fletcherallen.org/socialmedia(link is external). About the UVM College of MedicineLocated in Burlington, the University of Vermont College of Medicine was founded in 1822 as the nation’s seventh medical school. One of only 137 medical schools in the US, the College and teaching hospital Fletcher Allen Health Care comprise Vermont’s academic medical center, where more than one-third of Vermont’s physicians were educated or trained. Enrollment currently includes 449 medical students, 147 graduate and post-doctoral students, and 290 residents and fellows. The College received $78 million in external research funding in 2011, and employs 762 full-time faculty and 415 staff, with over 1100 part-time faculty participating in medical education of students around the region.