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Designated Survivor (

Designated SurvivorCast of Designated Survivor premiere September 21st on ABC

Designated Survivor!
By Ken Werther

In the United States, a designated survivor is an individual in the presidential line of succession who is placed at a physically distant, secure, undisclosed location when the President and the country’s other top leaders are gathered at a single location, such as during State of the Union addresses and presidential inaugurations. The intent is to maintain continuity of government in the event of a catastrophic occurrence that kills the president and others in the line of succession. Did you know any of that? I sure didn’t!

One of the most anticipated new television series this fall is — you guessed it — Designated Survivor. This ABC suspense thriller will star Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman, the designated survivor who becomes president when very bad things happen. Without warning, Kirkman faces the challenges of keeping the country from falling apart while leading the search to find out who is responsible for the very bad things that landed him in the Oval Office.

After eight seasons of 24, Sutherland was disinclined to take on the rigors of another TV series. When he read the pilot script of Designated Survivor, however, he instantly changed his mind. I’ve seen that pilot episode but I’m not allowed to share anything about it here… so I’ll just say this: plan to watch.

Designated Survivor” premieres on ABC on September 21st.

The Fantasticks (

The Fantasticks The Fantasticks is at The Pasadena Playhouse September 6-October 2nd

The Fantasticks
By Ken Werther

The Fantasticks is the longest-running musical in recorded history. It opened off-Broadway on May 3, 1960 and ran for 42 years! The show played 17,162 performances before closing on January 13, 2002. And then … a revival opened off-Broadway on August 23, 2006 where it continues to run today! Jerry Orbach, the beloved Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order, was in the original cast of The Fantasticks. He created the role of El Gallo (pronounced guy-o), the character that opens the show with the now iconic song, “Try to Remember.”

The allegorical story revolves around two neighboring fathers who trick their offspring into falling in love. They build a wall (portrayed by one of the characters known as The Mute) between their houses to keep the kids apart, and at one point in the story, the fathers hire two old actors, Henry and Mortimer, to stage an abduction of the young girl.

To see how all these pieces fit together, head out to The Pasadena Playhouse this month where Hal Linden, still going strong at 85, will be playing Henry in a new production of The Fantasticks. Personal note: I played the role of The Mute in high school and my dad kept telling me to “go rehearse my part.” (True story.) Go see the show — I promise you a delightful time!

For show times and tickets, click here.

Dancing Feet! (

42nd Street42nd Street hits the Pantages Theatre

Dancing Feet!

By Ken Werther

“Come and meet those dancing feet … on the avenue I’m taking you to … Forty-Second Street!” Theatre history was made on the evening of August 25, 1980 when this musical opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. After only six preview performances, 42nd Street opened and ran for a whopping 3,486 performances. It won Tony Awards in 1981 for Best Choreography and Best Musical.

Based on the 1933 film, 42nd Street focuses on the efforts of a dictatorial Broadway director trying to mount a successful musical at the height of the Great Depression. How did the stage adaptation of 42nd Street make history? The Broadway opening night triumph was overshadowed by tragedy when, following a lengthy standing ovation, producer David Merrick announced that the director/choreographer Gower Champion had died that afternoon from a rare form of blood cancer. Merrick had managed to keep the news a secret from everyone until that moment at the curtain call.

A revival of 42nd Street opened on Broadway in 2001, won the Tony Award for Best Revival, and ran for 1,524 performances. I had the good fortune of handling publicity on the LA production in 1984 and on the touring version of the revival in 2003, so the show is very close to my heart. This sparkling song and dance extravaganza is not to be missed!

42nd Street” opens May 31st at the Pantages, for tickets and more information, click here.