Myron Martin, president of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, is in New York this week seeing a bevy of Broadway plays and musicals to fulfill his responsibility as amember of the group that selects winners of the Tony Awards each year. He was in a lunch meeting at the Crown Plaza in Times Square when a 27-year-old Navy veteran driving a red Honda Accord hurtled through the streets below, killing a pedestrian and injuring at least 22 more.
The famous entertainment district and tourist destination was swiftly closed to all traffic for the next several hours.
“I am here, right in the middle of the madness,” Martin said via text, shortly after posting “I’m OK” on his Facebook page.
Martin learned details of the incident from a news feed on his phone. “As we were leaving hotel, there was talk about whether we should shelter in place,” said Martin. “It had just happened, and no one knew much.”
Visitors were re-routed through back entrances of many hotels in the area. As Martin said, for a day, “Broadway was closed.”
Jewel in the desert
Recording star Jewel is headlining the first INSPIRE charity concert at 8 p.m. today at Palazzo Theater. A performance by Palazzo Theater production show “BAZ — Star Crossed Love” is also scheduled.
The event is a benefit the Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation (ICF), which focuses on providing aid and opportunities for at-risk youth. The organization has been named as the first member of the Las Vegas Sands’ Sands Cares Accelerator Program, which provides funding to develop nonprofit organizations.
Something to know about Jewel: She’s sold 30 million albums (leading with her 1995 debut, “Pieces of You”). And she opened Springs Preserve with a performance at the amphitheater June 8, 2007.
The Reckless effect
More good works in VegasVille: Reckless in Vegas founder and front man Michael Shapiro and his father, Lenny Shapiro, donated $2,000 to the development of The Space. In return, The Space founder Mark Shunock gave Shapiro’s band two open nights at the entertainment venue that is home to the bi-weekly charity showcase Monday’s Dark.
Shapiro is cashing in one of those shows at 8 p.m. Saturday, when Reckless in Vegas will perform a benefit show for the Strong A.R.M. Foundation. The Las Vegas charity fills artistic and recreational needs of disadvantaged kids in Southern Nevada (A.R.M. stands for Arts, Recreation and Multicultural services).
The need for charitable assistance in Las Vegas is palpable. When Shapiro posted a note asking for any charities interested in partnering in the show, he received more than 100 responses. Tickets are $20-$35 and proceeds go directly to Strong A.R.M.
Shapiro is also a cast member of “The World’s Greatest Rock Show” at Stratosphere, playing the role of Bruce Springsteen. Shapiro has been a professional performer since his teens, but has never appeared in a production show until being hired by producer Dick Feeney for “World’s Greatest.” It’s a different animal.
“I’ll say, 15 minutes of Bruce Springsteen is like three hours of Reckless,” says Shapiro, who has taken vocal lessons and studied acting to perfect the portrayal of The Boss. “You just can’t match that guy.”
A quirky concept that was fighting the tide from the start, “The Paul Lynde Show” has closed at Windows Showroom at Bally’s. The final performance was Thursday. The Big Reveal: A tribute to the entertainer most famous as center square on “Hollywood Squares” is a challenging sell, especially at 2 p.m. in a second-floor theater.
Comic actor Michael Airington, a very funny guy who nobly hired a three-piece band led by former “Jersey Boys” music director Keith Thompson. Airington had hoped to move to 5:30 p.m. for the summer. Instead, that slot goes to the disco exercise “Solid Gold Soul.” As for Airington, who is fighting bronchitis, “We are trying to find another room.”
Note: This version of the column corrects the night of the INSPIRE charity concert.