RSSOffBeat With Phil Potempa
They call it "nature's Botox" and it's reportedly part of Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton's beauty regime.
I'm told bee venom has swarmed the beauty world with its promise of turning back skin aging.
But it's not really a new rage. Even though the stories spread about Middleton having a bee venom mask treatment prior to her 2011 wedding to Prince William helped draw publicity, it's a beauty treatment that's been practiced since the royalty of Ancient Egypt.
The entertainment, promotion and advertising of today owes a great deal to the great mind of master showman Phineas Taylor Barnum aka P.T. Barnum of circus fame.
When I teach college courses in public relations and mass media, Barnum's name is included in textbooks for his contributions to the field, debated by experts as both good and bad for his use of "puffery" and exaggerated claims.
What I never realized is there was a great woman at his side throughout most of his career, his wife Charity, who supported her husband while also chiding him for sensationalism.
Actress Joanne Dubach says she "played on self-insecurities" and "trusted impulses" to play fittingly frail, delicate Laura in Tennessee Williams' stage work "The Glass Menagerie" produced by Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company in Chicago.
Dubach, who is originally from Chesterton, played the role back in January for an original run until Feb. 17 that proved so popular, the entire cast is returning to remount it for another string of dates now staged at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., opening Thursday and playing until June 30.
For this story, Williams' written words for this specific tale are credited as an autobiographical reflection of his own early family life.
Deb Clapp, executive director of the League of Chicago Theatres, can vividly remember her first "big stage performance" experience as a young audience member.
"I was around 10 years old and grew up near Hartford, Connecticut," she said.
"My mom was a volunteer usher at a theater and she took me along one afternoon when Marlo Thomas was starring in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.' It's not exactly what you'd expect a 10-year-old to a see. But I caught a glimpse and it was real first taste of the world of theater."
Thanks to New York City Publicist Sarah Halford, I was tipped off that once local actor John Charles McLaughlin will be seen starring in the new off-Broadway production "Peter/Wendy" later this month in the Big Apple.
Conceived and directed by Jeremy Bloom, a protégé of Tony Award winning Mary Zimmerman, I'm told the plight of Peter Pan takes on "new life in an anxiety-ridden, deadly adventurous world of love, fairy dust and twilight."
She says this production includes pajama-clad performers, an exuberant ensemble of lost boys, pirates, fairies, and mermaids, while exploring familiar text compiled from the J.M. Barrie novels, "Peter Pan and Wendy" and "The Little White Bird."
In today's world of political correctness, employee harassment lawsuits and "he said/she said," it's only natural to wonder if the mindset of the "good ole' boys club" network still exists.
It's still a "dog-eat-dog" world.
But are the "dogs" of today's workplace more tame than the corporate canines of the past? This is the real question that longs to be answered.
The last time a major production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" set up shop in Chicago, it was the Broadway national tour playing a short stay hosted by Broadway in Chicago in July 2004 at Auditorium Theatre.
We finally have the singing cowboys and farmers of "Oklahoma!" back and in full swing with a rousing new production now at Lyric Opera of Chicago and certain to close on Sunday.
For me to say this three-hour song and dance tale that set the standard for musicals is not-to-be missed is an understatement.
I know how Valparaiso author Kate Collins spent her Mother's Day weekend.
She was surrounded by flowers, especially those in her imagination, as she feverishly worked to meet this month's deadline for the next book in her successful "Flower Shop Mysteries" book series. As I mentioned in November, she signed a new contract for books 14 through 16 in her flower-themed page-turners.
"Seed No Evil" ($7.99 Penguin), book 14, will be released in August. And the next installment, book 15, the one she's sending off this month, is titled "Throw in the Trowel" and will be available in time for Valentine's Day in February 2014.
Joyce Brothers, the psychologist-turned-pop culture personality, died Monday at age 85 of respiratory failure in New York City, according to her publicist Sanford Brokaw.
Brothers published 15 books and made cameo appearances on popular shows of the day, spanning "Happy Days," "Mama's Family" and "The Simpsons" to "Hollywood Squares," "Taxi," "The Gong Show," "Love, American Style," "Police Woman" and "WKRP in Cincinnati," while also visiting Johnny Carson's couch on "The Tonight Show" nearly 100 times.
For decades, from 1983 until 2006, The Times also ran her syndicated advice column, which was distributed by King Features to more than 300 newspapers.
Somewhere along the way, I missed last month's press opening for Drury Lane Theatre's latest production of the beloved stage musical "Oliver!," directed and choreographed by wonderful Rachel Rockwell.
But it just meant I had a reason to take my parents to this destination dinner theater in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. to catch it for Mother's Day weekend.
It's an easy reason to fall in love with the songs and story of Charles Dickens' woeful orphan. Find your way to a performance to this must-see before it leaves June 2.
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