Thursday, March 24, 2005

Houston: Capsule Reviews

The King and I "Shall we dahnce?" asks Anna (Stefanie Powers) in her best charm-school, upper-crust accent, extending her lace-gloved hands to the imperious King of Siam (Ronobir Lahiri). In Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1951 Tony award-winning classic musical, their last great one, this definitive scene -- in which polka stands in for sex -- packs a punch. The king and Anna, the young widow and governess to his children, embrace, the music swells, and off they gallop around the stage, moving to that ethereal, bouncy melody. It's music theater at its most sparkling. In this Theatre Under the Stars revival, however, the heat's been turned down. Powers has spunk and the right amount of propriety, but there's a serious lack of chemistry between this governess and the autocratic, yearning-to-be-benevolent ruler. Lahiri plays the King by following Yul Brynner's sterling interpretation, speaking his songs and blustering mightily. But he misses the exotic, animal danger that Brynner so naturally possessed. The beneath-the-surface spark that drives this West-meets-East tale and gives it sensual weight just isn't there. The most memorable sequence is a faithful restaging by Susan Kikuchi of the brilliant Jerome Robbins's "Little House of Uncle Thomas" ballet (one of Robbins's finest works), while the best voice belongs to mezzo Catherine MiEun Choi, as first wife Lady Thiang, whose deeply felt anthem "Something Wonderful" almost stops the show. The show looks great, though, with enough silk and gold lame for a dozen productions of Scheherazade. Through April 3 at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby, 713-558-8887.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Houston: The King and I deserves royal treatment

On the grounds of familiarity alone, it would be easy to take The King and I for granted — if the whole thing were not so extraordinarily good.

The touring revival currently at Hobby Center benefits from a solid cast headed by Stefanie Powers' spirited, firm-minded and tender-hearted Anna and Ronobir Lahiri's charismatic, quick-tempered King. It also boasts handsome settings by Kenneth Foy, rich and authentic costumes by Roger Kirk (from the 1996 Broadway revival) and astute staging by director Baayork Lee.

Yet the crucial effect of these virtues is to unleash the potency of Richard Rodgers' soaring music and Oscar Hammerstein's superbly crafted libretto — the core strengths that, since its 1951 premiere, have kept The King and I one of the most beloved musicals of Broadway's golden age. It ranks alongside Carousel as one of this nonpareil team's most inspired and deeply felt works.

They began with a fascinating, fact-based story unusual for the musical stage: the clash of wills between the autocratic King of Siam and the feisty English widow who came to 1860s Bangkok to teach his children. Hammerstein reshaped episodic source material into a coherent libretto. Despite constant conflict, growing understanding develops as Anna becomes the King's adviser in a diplomatic crisis. But they reach an impasse of irreconcilable differences over the King's treatment of his slave Tuptim when she attempts escape to be with her lover.

As much about the war between the sexes as the clash of cultures, The King and I entertains by finding the humor, charm, romance and poignancy in its story. Yet underlying its entertainment are themes of genuine substance: the need for understanding between different peoples, the evils of slavery, the challenges of leadership, the uneasy passage of power to a new generation.

Hammerstein's sensitive, poetic lyrics crystallize the story's emotional peaks, which take wing on Rodgers' gorgeous, long-lined melodies. Memorable in their own right, the songs are also perfectly tailored to reveal character and situation.

Anna's I Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You and Shall I Tell You What I Think of You convey her grace, crispness and determination. The King's A Puzzlement shows his mercurial temperament and questing spirit. The doomed lovers' haunting ballads We Kiss in a Shadow and I Have Dreamed combine melancholy yearning with fleeting rapture.

Anna's wistful Hello, Young Lovers both recalls her love for her late husband and foreshadows her championing of Tuptim's cause. The eloquent Something Wonderful speaks volumes about the person singing it (head wife Lady Thiang), the person she is singing about (the King) and the person she is singing it to (Anna). Then there is the uniquely delightful meeting of East and West in Shall We Dance?, the joyous polka in which Anna and the King finally touch.

The King and I is an argument for the joys of specificity that can be achieved only with an original score created for a particular story. It puts to shame the current spate of "jukebox musicals" built on pre-existing pop catalogs.

Director Lee has a long history with the show. At age 5, she originated the role of tiny Princess Ying Yaowalak in the premiere production. Her sensitive staging is faithful yet fresh in feeling. While stressing the humorous aspects of early scenes, her handling takes on the requisite seriousness as the story deepens.

Powers and Lahiri, reprising their roles from a 2002 tour of the United Kingdom, prove felicitously cast. Powers' Anna exudes briskness, drive and sympathetic warmth, and she sings with feeling and authority. Lahiri brings commanding physicality, arbitrary fury and threatening power to the King — but also glints of nobility and quizzical humor.

Catherine Mieun Choi gives a moving portrayal of the self-effacing but quietly devoted Lady Thiang, peaking in her superbly rendered Something Wonderful. Michelle Liu Coughlin brings her fine, strong soprano to Tuptim's melancholy yearning, pairing in duets with Martin Sola's stalwart-voiced Lun Tha. Ronald Banks plays the Kralahome with brooding force.

Susan Kikuchi has re-created Jerome Robbins' distinctive choreography for the brilliantly conceived ballet, Small House of Uncle Thomas (Tuptim's take on Uncle Tom's Cabin). Natalie Turner dances its lead role, Eliza, with piquancy and precision; the entire dance company acquits itself admirably in this showpiece.

For the record, this is the first major production of King and I here since the tour of the 1996 Broadway revival in 1998. The new tour is produced by a consortium of 22 regional companies, including Atlanta's Theatre Of The Stars (lead producer) and Houston's TUTS, which is presenting it here.


• When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, through April 3
• Where: Sarofim Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby
• Tickets: $27-$72; 713-558-8887

Friday, March 18, 2005

Houston: Today's Trivia

Stefanie Powers is currently starring in Theatre Under The Stars' production of The King and I at the Hobby Center. But back in 1966, she kicked some serious rear end as the The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. on television.

Here's your two-part trivia challenge:

1. What was her character's name?

2. What did the letters U.N.C.L.E. stand for?

Trivia answer: April Dancer, one of the coolest names ever in prime-time TV, was The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., which stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

Houston: On the Town

Stefanie Powers, here to star in TUTS' production of The King and I, made the rounds like a veteran Houstonian Tuesday. She lunched at Artista with Houston Polo Club's Sheri Roane, stopped in at Maida's Boots and Buckles to see Jason Maida and order custom boots, and popped in at Neiman's to select an outfit (size 2, thank you) for her cabaret performance Monday at the Hobby Center. She finished her day at Cartier where she visited with general manager John Evatz, a pal from his Cartier days in L.A.

Powers hosts "A Cabaret Evening of Song & Dance" Monday, benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fighting AIDS, AIDS Foundation Houston and Casa de Esperanza de los Niños. The King and I cast joins Powers on stage for the intimate evening that includes a buffet supper by Cordúa Catering. Details: 713-864-2660.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Houston: Siam I Am

Sing along with the Powers that be in The King and I

There's something about 19th-century Siam that just makes you wish you lived there. Come on, everyone wore fancy gold hats and bright silk outfits and danced around with fans. And all the children sang happy little songs about getting to know each other. At least this is the Siam of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I, opening this weekend at the Hobby Center. It tells the story of a widowed Englishwoman, Anna, who travels to Siam, hoop skirts in tow, to be the governess of the king's many children. After initially thinking the king's an arrogant prick (though she conveys this with subtler language), she grows to love him. Prime-time '80s TV star Stefanie Powers stars as Anna; whistle a happy tune with her at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 17. 800 Bagby. For tickets, showtimes and information, call 713-558-8887 or visit $27 to $72.

Sunday, March 13, 2005 - Zest Calendar

The King and I: Stefanie Powers stars in the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, set in 1860s Bangkok, depicting the clash of wills between the king of Siam and the Welsh widow who becomes governess to his children. National tour presented by Theatre Under The Stars. Opens Wednesday. 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, through April 3. Sarofim Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby; 713-558-8887.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Seattle: 5th Avenue lists productions for its new season

Seattle: The 5th Avenue Music Theatre Company's 2005-2006 season of musicals range from rock and pop to the sophisticated music of Stephen Sondheim and classic Broadway show tunes.

"The King and I" opens the season Sept. 20-Oct. 9. This touring production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical stars Stefanie Powers, a stage and television actress who starred in TV's "Hart to Hart."

Friday, March 11, 2005

Private Zoo Tour

A private tour of the LA Zoo on April 5, 2005 has been confirmed for anyone in the fan club who will be (or lives) in the Los Angeles area, and will be attending the WHWF benefit that evening.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Stefanie Powers in "THE KING AND I" at Theatre Under The Stars

March 16 - April 3, 2005 at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

HOUSTON, TX -- East meets West in the timeless love story between a stubborn, autocratic king and a determined governess. Theatre Under The Stars is thrilled to present star of stage and screen Stefanie Powers as Anna in the new National Tour of Rodgers' & Hammerstein's The King and I, playing March 16 - April 3 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (800 Bagby at Walker).

TUTS is producing this new tour in cooperation with Theater of the Stars in Atlanta and the Independent Presenters' Network. Featuring a dazzling score by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, The King and I is five-time Tony Award-winning musical showcasing some of the most memorable songs of the musical theatre including "Shall We Dance?," "Getting To Know You," and "I Whistle A Happy Tune." This new production boasts ornate sets and costumes and features direction by Baayork Lee, who made her professional stage debut in the original Broadway production at age 5. Ronobir Lahiri will join Powers as The King.

Powers, who may be best known as the stunning renaissance woman Jennifer Hart, the character she portrayed on the hit television series, "Hart to Hart," is recreating the role of Anna that she recently played in a UK revival of The King and I. Her numerous stage credits include Oliver, Annie Get Your Gun, My Fair Lady and the London production of Matador. Powers was last seen on the TUTS stage in the National tour of Love Letters, which also starred her fellow "Hart to Hart" co-star Robert Wagner.

Lahiri was last seen as the King of Siam on the U.K. National Tour opposite Powers. He first came to The King and I in 1997, as the understudy to the King in the Broadway production. New York credits include Antigone at Pearl Theater and The Three Sisters at La Mama Etc.

Set in the 1860's in the exotic capital city of Bangkok, The King and I is the timeless love story between a powerful and stubborn king and a determined governess named Anna. Based on the real life adventures of the English widow Anna Leonowens, and the best-selling 1944 novel, Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, The King and I is a fascinating tale about a clash of customs. Over time Anna earns the admiration of the royal family, and eventually she wins the respect of the king himself.

Director Baayork Lee's artistic ventures span five continents around the globe. On Broadway, she created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, serving as Assistant Choreographer to Michael Bennett, and recently directed and choreographed TUTS' production. Lee has directed a number of productions over the past 12 years for the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, including Goya with Placido Domingo. Susan Kikuchi will oversee choreography, while musical direction will be provided by Kevin Farrell, scenic design by Kenneth Foy, costume design by Roger Kirk, lighting design by John McLain and sound design by Abe Jacob and Mark Cowburn.

Single tickets for The King and I ($27-$72) are available to the public by phone at (713) 558-8887 or outside the Houston area at (888) 558-3882; or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office, (800 Bagby at Walker, Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-4pm); or on-line at Audio described performances are available March 27 at 2 p.m.; open captioning March 27 at 7:30 p.m. & March 31 at 8 p.m. Wheelchair accessible. Student and Seniors (60+) discounted tickets available one hour before performance. Group discounts available for 15 or more and may be purchased by calling (713) 558-8888.

Sponsors of The King and I include The Downtown Club, Sterling Bank, EIM, Humana, Mr. & Mrs. Edward E. Hickam and Ernst & Young. Air transportation is provided by Continental Airlines the official airline of Theatre Under The Stars. Media sponsors are ABC-13 and the Houston Chronicle.

Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS), one of America's largest producers of non-profit musical theatre, was founded in 1968 by Frank M. Young. Theatre Under The Stars was the first theatrical organization in Houston to perform free to the public at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park, and has since performed there each summer, giving Houston 46 lavish musicals such as South Pacific and The Who's Tommy. Since its founding, TUTS has produced more than 275 major musicals including many local, national and world premieres and is currently represented on Broadway with Beauty and the Beast. TUTS is also noted for mounting many International tours, including Debbie Reynolds in The nsinkable Molly Brown and the Tony Award-winning Carousel. As a way to continue the tradition of musical theatre, TUTS' Humphreys School of Musical Theatre provides instruction and stage experience for more than 1,700 students annually. Now housed in the new Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, TUTS also annually presents the Tommy Tune Awards, honoring the best and brightest in Houston's high school musical theatre programs.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Role of Anna in the ‘King’ is a perfect fit for Powers

WILMINGTON, Del. -- Stefanie Powers covers as much territory as CNN.

The actress, due in Wilmington tonight to begin a 10-day run in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s "The King and I," is more than bi-coastal. She’s intercontinental, with homes in California, England, and East Africa. Consider that "The King and I" is set in Asia, and following Stefanie Powers’ itinerary is like taking a world tour.

East Africa is the intriguing place. If you think of Powers as half of the married detective team on television’s "Hart to Hart," you think of glamour and champagne with some action. You don’t picture an exotic outpost where Powers does a lot of important work in animal preservation and habitat conservation.

Stefanie Powers wears many hats. Her stage, film, and TV performances account for her most visible occupations. She is also a writer and the producer/star of fitness videos. The work that Powers says is most important to her, though, is protecting wildlife in Africa via the William Holden Wildlife Conservancy, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the well-being of 37 species of animals whose existence may be threatened without it.

The Holden Conservancy, named for the great American actor who became interested in Africa and wildlife after making films there, has an educational program that trains people - 10,000 students per year -- in conservation, an idea which Powers says is still in some ways new.

"It is not in the popular vocabulary of some people, and this endangers the animals and their habitat. The William Holden Conservancy protects the animals and preserves their natural habitat. I began it as a posthumous honor after Bill’s death. It is situated on land Bill owned in East Kenya. He bought it in the late 1950s, when conservation was a brand new concept."

Powers has also turned her attention to Central America where she has begun the Jaguar Conservancy in Belize. Cleverly, she sought and received funding from Britain’s Jaguar motor company and its partner, Land Rover. This initiative, Powers says, is a year-and-a-half old, and she will speak about the Jaguar Conservancy during her time in Wilmington.

"Conservation makes good sense," Powers says. "It takes work and time to get that message across and make both conservation and preservation a part of our culture as humans."

Among the reasons that Powers tours in shows like "The King and I," writes books like her current volume about Pilates, "Power Pilates," and makes CDs, like her current jazz album, is to raise money for her conservancy causes.

"To make sure all public donations to the William Holden Conservancy go directly to its education and conservation programs, I pay all administrative costs, including staff salaries and wages, out of my own pocket. I am a working actress and would perform as long as I can. That said, it’s especially important for me to be on the road and to have sources of income that allow the Conservancy to devote all gifts to program."

Powers said she works hard in several fields to make sure the Conservancy is financed and can do its work. Charities are often hurt by the overhead. I personally take care of the Conservancy’s overhead. The book and CD contribute to that."

"The King and I" is not a new role for Stefanie Powers. She has played Anna Leonowens, the widow who comes to make her living as the teacher to the King’s children in mid-19th century Siam (Thailand), in England and says the acclaim she received there encouraged her to repeat the role for an American tour.

Powers says she does not want to discuss the contrast between the prim, cultured Anna and the more modern, sophisticated characters she’s created for movies and television. She is more interested in the history behind Leonowens and the true story of the woman who left colonial India to take her job in Siam.

"When you read the book on which this play is based, Mrs. Leonowens’s own book about her experiences, you see that she understood her position clearly. She was of British birth, but she had lived for many years, before and after marriage, in colonial India. She had a sense of life in Asia, even if Siam, without a British community and with customs of its own, would be different from India," Powers explained.

"Gertrude Lawrence saw Anna’s story as a great role for her, especially after the movie, ‘Anna and the King of Siam,’ came out with Irene Dunne in 1946. Lawrence went to work to have a commercial musical created for her. When you read Leonowens’s original text and see how Oscar Hammerstein II adapted it for the musical stage, you appreciate what an artist Hammerstein is and what a brilliant piece ‘The King and I’ is."

Powers is set to stay with "The King and I" through April. The last two weeks of her run will take her to her California home, Los Angeles. She will remain on the road to talk about her Pilates book and jazz CD. After all, their sales affect the finances of the William Holden Conservancy. Powers also said she will be making a movie this year. She added she did not want to speak about it because she says she prefers to wait until the movie is finished with her scenes intact before saying too much. Spoken like a veteran.

Appearing with Powers in "The King and I’s" other title role, the King, is Ronobir Lahiri, who understudied Lou Diamond Phillips in the 1996 Broadway production.

If You Go

* "The King and I" runs tonight through next Sunday, March 13, at the Du Pont Theatre, 10th and Market streets, in Wilmington, Del. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets range from $67 to $49 and can be ordered by calling (302) 656-4401 or (800) 338-0881.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

'King and I' revival beautifully performed

FLINT, MI - A decent number of sturdy souls braved the stormy weather Tuesday evening, trudged into The Whiting, and were rewarded with a truly sumptuous performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein's exotic "The King and I."

Based on Margaret Landon's book "Anna and the King of Siam," the story follows the 19th-century exploits of a widow arriving from England to teach Western ways to the children of the Siamese court. It is a story about clashing cultures. It is also a story about understanding, conciliation and compromise.

Any time you march adorable children across the stage, you can be sure to engage even the most critical viewer, and this show has no shortage of delightful youngsters. Indeed, director Baayork Lee's first parade of the children was a scene-stealer as each showed off their individuality in their specific approach to the King.

Of course, Stefanie Powers in the role of Anna Leonowens was a huge drawing card and proved to be a worthy one. Her voice was up to the task, and her diction through a feigned British accent was clear. Powers moved with a certainty and purpose that gave grit to this strong woman in a land that generally devalued women.

Powers was supported to no small degree by Ronobir Lahiri as the King. His demeanor, vocal power and slight accent combined to infuse the role with a magnetic sense of humanity and strength. Lahiri's King is a many-faceted ruler with an impish sense of humor that endears the character.

Michelle Liu Coughlin was glowing as Tuptim, and it wasn't just her gorgeous gold and diamond-studded costume that gleamed. Her voice was strong as well. As Lady Thiang, Catherine MiEun Choi's voice soared in her outstanding rendition of "Something Wonderful."

One of this show's most spectacular production numbers is the "Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet. Beautifully set and performed, it was a true highlight.

This entire production is lavishly decorated. Rich crimsons and golds adorn the sets as well as many of the gorgeous costumes, while

large gilt statues of gods and warriors anchor several scenes.

The signature image of this show has always been the "Shall We Dance?" scene between Anna and the King. True to expectations, Powers swept about the stage in yards of gloriously swirling pale-pink satin accompanied by Lahiri in plush red and gold.

As with many of the recent musical revivals, this production has kept what was good about the original show and allowed modern technology to improve on the rest.

"The King and I" concludes tonight at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, contact the box office at (810) 237-7333.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Powers' fans can get discount for 'King and I' - Flint, MI

Want to stretch your theater-going dollar?

Show up for Stefanie Powers' 12:30 p.m. Wednesday appearance at Borders Books & Music, and you can get a coupon for $10 off the price of a ticket for her performance that night in the musical "The King and I" at The Whiting.

Powers will sign copies of her new book, "Powers Pilates: Stefanie Powers' Guide to Longevity and Well-being Through Pilates," at the Flint Township store.

In addition to the discount coupons, fans can enter a drawing for two free tickets to that night's 7:30 performance. The drawing will be conducted at 1:30 p.m.

Powers appears in "The King and I" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Whiting. Tickets are $29, 39 and $59 at the box office and Details: (810) 237-7333, (888) 8-CENTER.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Stefanie Powers visits Petoskey, MI

Actress Stefanie Powers currently is traveling the Midwest to perform in a stage production of "The King and I," but a stop she made Monday in Petoskey had a business and environmental, rather than theatrical, focus.

While en route from a performance in Milwaukee to two more in Flint, Powers visited Petoskey Plastics' plant on U.S. 31 South to learn more about the company's use of plastic recycling in the creation of many of its product lines.

Along with acting credits such as the television series "Hart to Hart" and "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.," Powers' background also includes more than three decades of involvement in wildlife conservation and environmental advocacy in Africa.

Having noted a litter problem involving plastic bags around that continent, Powers is exploring whether recycling of plastics to create new products would present viable business opportunities - and a chance to boost people's living standard - in developing countries.

Powers has cooperated with Ford Motor Co. on various environmental pursuits. Staff from the Dearborn-based automaker - which purchases products such as protective plastic seatcovers from Petoskey Plastics - arranged Powers' visit Monday.

"She's taken the opportunity to visit Petoskey Plastics knowing how much they've done for Ford and the environment," said Andrew Acho, Ford's worldwide director for environmental outreach and strategy who accompanied Powers to the plant.

In 2004, Petoskey Plastics supplied Ford with 2.6 million pounds of plastic products which contain a minimum of 25 percent recycled material.

After a plant tour and discussion, Powers and Petoskey Plastics officials agreed that there's more exploration to be done as to whether plastic recycling enterprises would be a workable option in the developing world.

Petoskey Plastics general manager Jim Eklund said he expects his company will have additional dialogue with Powers and those working with her on such issues.

"It sounds like they want to leverage some of our expertise in solving some of these problems in Africa," he said.

Powers said she found encouragement in Petoskey Plastics' reuse of plastic wastes in the production process.

"It gives hope to all of us who are working in conservation and environmental protection," she said.

Interview with and a Recipe from Stefanie

Co-starring with Robert Wagner on the romantic TV hit, "Hart to Hart", was only one facet of Stefanie Powers' remarkable career as an actress, author, and tireless humanitarian. Beginning in January 2005, you can catch her starring in the new national tour of the beloved Broadway hit, "The King and I." You can hear her sing a dozen American standard tunes on her CD, "On The Same Page," and in March her exercise book, "Powers Pilates" will be in bookstores everywhere. Ms. Powers helped to found the William Holden Wildlife Foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation of wild animals and the education of thousands of students yearly at the Foundation's facilities in Kenya.

Give us the appetizer, main course, and dessert for the perfect hotel room service romantic dinner.
"Caviar and bellinis, caviar and baked potato, and caviar and whipped cream with lots and lots of lovely champagne, either Vintage Krug or Louise by Pommery"

You are conversant in seven languages. So what's your favorite name for a food dish?
"Ma Po Dough Fu is a spicy Szechuan bean curd. The literal English translation of the name is roughly 'Pockmarked, or pimpled Mother,' so-called because of the look of the seeds of the chili contained in the sauce."

Everyone wants a food-related tale from the set of Hart to Hart.
"How about a closely guarded secret? Lionel Stander, who played Max, could not cook, and he even made awful coffee!"

Regarding the WH Wildlife Foundation, tell us about a typical breakfast in that part of the world.
"The local diet in Kenya has a mainstay of corn meal in the form of a porridge, which is to Sub-Saharan Africa what rice is to the Orient."

Name a restaurant somewhere in the U.S. at which you could dine every day.
"Zen Palette vegetarian restaurant in Manhattan... because they use a sort of Asian infusion approach to tofu and vegetable protein in ways that delight the palette and feed the body beautifully."

Old-Fashioned Pierogies

2 1/2 cups self rising white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons oil
3/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cottage or hoop cheese
2 1/2 cups cold mashed potatoes

For Pockets:

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg, oil and water to make a soft dough. Knead dough until smooth, divide in half and let sit in covered bowl for 10-15 minutes.

For Cheese and Potato Filling:

Cook onion in butter on skillet until soft, then combine it with cheese, potatoes, and egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare a large pot of boiling water. Roll dough thin on a floured board. Use biscuit cutter to make large rounds. Place a round in your hand and place a spoonful of filling into it. Fold over edge to make a half circle, and crimp the edges. Drop two pierogies at a time into boiling water. Stir gently so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Boil 3-4 minutes until puffed, and remove from water with a slotted spoon. Allow to cool. Drizzle with melted butter and crisp chopped bacon. Serves 4.

Fund-raiser for WHWF April 5, 2005

It has just been confirmed that the Opening Night of "The King and I" starring Stefanie Powers at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood on Tuesday,
April 5th will be a fund-raiser for the William Holden Wildlife Foundation. There will be an after show party following the performance.