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‘Will in the World’ author to speak at UNLV

Shakespeare didn’t leave a lot of clues about his private life. That’s why Stephen Greenblatt’s New York Times best-seller "Will in the World" is such a fun read. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is bringing the author to town for a public chat at 7 p.m. Monday in Doc Randall Hall.

The Harvard professor’s book explores its subject’s relationship to his wife (not good), his possible love and lust for a young man, and the circumstances that may have led him to write certain plays (the chapter on "Hamlet" is spellbinding).

The UNLV program, labeled the Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series, is on a roll. The most recent guest was the London Times’ Benedict Nightingale, who is thought by some to be the most influential theater critic on the planet. …

Beginning actors with limited knowledge of musicals often are at a loss about what to perform for auditions. Sony BMG Masterworks has just released a pair of CDs titled "Broadway Scene Stealers" that spotlight a variety of little-known songs from original cast albums. Among the gems: an unknown John Travolta crooning "Dream Drummin’ " from 1974’s "Over Here," and a sweet, youthful Betty Buckley singing "He Plays the Violin" from 1969’s "1776." Definitely worth a listen. …

Sherri Brewer is giving a professional-level performance in the Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s world-premiere production of "The Masks of Rioclora," playing through Sunday at UNLV’s Black Box. But her casting raises some uncomfortable issues. Brewer is the wife of Nevada Conservatory Theatre director Robert Brewer, and she has had a multitude of leading roles at UNLV. Some feel it’s not kosher for the artistic director to cast his wife over other students or actresses in the community. As good as Sherri Brewer is, it sets the wrong tone for her husband to cast her so repeatedly. …

Signature Productions’ "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," playing through April 28 at the Summerlin Performing Arts Center, is an excellent show. And that’s why it bothered me when an usher, after carrying on a brief, loud conversation in the aisles, allowed late-comers to climb over audience members to get to their seats while I was trying to enjoy a riveting production number. Why don’t directors demand that late-comers be seated either at a scene break or in a place where the audience won’t be disturbed? It’s disrespectful not only to theatergoers, but to the performers who are working their butts off.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.

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