Two Reasons to Watch Tony Awards

Area theater buffs who are fans of Broadway musicals have two special reasons to watch the live broadcast of the Tony Awards tonight.

Two men with local ties are connected to two of the musical productions vying for Tony prizes this season.

Will Van Dyke, a second cousin of the late Ellen Dunable of Wheeling, is the associate music producer for “Kinky Boots,” one of the big hits of the current Broadway season. Van Dyke is a music producer and lyricist based in New York.

Meanwhile, Darin Harris, son of Bernedene Harris of Bethlehem and the late Jack Harris, works as an assistant to Bonnie Osher, one of the producers of the Broadway version of the popular children’s story, “Matilda: The Musical.”

Over her career, Osher has already won at least seven Tony Awards for various productions. Darin Harris got to accompany Osher to England for the opening of “The Book of Mormon” in London. He walked on the red carpet in London for the musical’s premiere. The audience for the premiere included members of the cast of the hit television drama, “Downton Abbey.”

Adding to the excitement for all concerned, Variety editor Gordon Cox has predicted that the Tony Awards’ best musical category will be a “nail-biter” between “Kinky Boots” and “Matilda: The Musical”

CBS will telecast the American Theatre Wing’s 67th annual Tony Awards live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, beginning at 8 p.m. today.

When Glen Dale’s own star musician, Brad Paisley, brought his summer tour to First Niagara Pavilion at Burgettstown, Pa., Saturday, June 1, he wasn’t the only tri-state native on stage.

The country superstar was joined for one number by an amazing little drummer, Avery Molek, 6, from Washington, Pa. Earlier this year, the young, drumming prodigy performed with Paisley on two television shows in New York, “Good Morning America” and “Live with Kelly & Michael.”

Avery is the son of Ed and Elizabeth Molek of Washington.

Author Laura Lynn Brown, formerly of Bridgeport, has been informed that her essay, “Fifty Things About My Mother,” has been chosen by author Susan Orlean for the Iowa Review Nonfiction Prize.

Brown, who now lives in Little Rock, Ark., said the essay was “the scaffolding” for her book, “Everything That Makes You Mom: A Bouquet of Memories.”

Brown and her recently published book were featured on the cover of the Sunday News-Register’s Life section April 28.

The gift book presents the author’s memories of her mother in a journal format that gives readers space to write their own memories.

When West Virginia Historian Laureate Ronald L. Lewis spoke at West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling Thursday, June 6, he offered words of encouragement for people concerned about the fate of the city’s downtown area.

During a question-and-answer session after his talk, the industrial historian spoke of taking “the long view of history.” He remarked, “Wheeling will reinvent itself and become something different than a steel town because it is too important to go away.”

Lewis warned, though, that the transformation “might take a long time.” He cited the example of the changing face of Akron, where many of the old buildings were removed and replaced by other facilities.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@theintelligencer. net.