Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Music · Dominic Fortuna
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Dominic Fortuna

Rick Coates - June 27th, 2011
For Dominic Fortuna the Show Must Go On
By Rick Coates
Dominic Fortuna is back in Northern Michigan, at least for the moment. Fresh off his third stint with Grease, that kept Fortuna on Broadway and on the road for much of the past three and half years, he is happy to be back in Northern Michigan and working on a new summer season.
Fortuna and his wife Ashley Moeggenberg Fortuna are producing three shows this summer at the Williamsburg Dinner Theater beginning this Friday, July 1 and continuing through August.
“I launched the Williamsburg Dinner Theater eight years ago and we have had a great run and we want to keep it going,” said Fortuna, who is a 33-year veteran of the region’s entertainment scene. “My wife and I talked and decided we are going to put everything we can into making this work as we want to stay here in Northern Michigan and be performers and raise our children.”

The challenge Fortuna is facing is that the rest of the country is calling for his talent. Vegas wants him, so does LA and Nashville and New York is also calling and they want him back.
“I started performing in Northern Michigan in 1978 at Brownwood, I was in the Young Americans and built a following performing at my father’s restaurant,” said Fortuna. “I have been fortunate to be able to perform throughout the region and I love it here; I am hoping to stay but I have to make it work financially.”
While enjoying the comforts of home, Fortuna wanted to know if he had what it took to perform on a national level. He began exploring opportunities outside of Northern Michigan a few years back that led to appearances on Dick Clark’s Your Big Break and NBC’s Grease: You’re the One That I Want.
Fortuna has also over the years has shared the stage with stars including Dean Martin, Barry Manilow and Joe Piscopo. His big break with NBC’s Grease (an American Idol-style show to create the Broadway cast for the musical’s revival that was a huge hit with 30 million viewers) came with some challenges.
“I went down to Chicago in October of 2006 for an audition and one of the writers/producers of the show spotted me. And it was a good thing because the lines were long and after waiting several hours I realized that I wasn’t going to get my chance. So I got out of line and went up and handed my resume and photos to one of the organizers because I had to get back to the Williamsburg to do a show that night,” said Fortuna.
“Well they told me that one of the writers, Jim Jacobs, was interested in me and so I got to move to the front of the line. They liked what I did and asked me to come back the next day for the dance auditions. So I drove home, did the Dinner Theater, slept for about two hours and left at 2 a.m. to head back to Chicago. They liked my dance audition and they asked if I could come back the next day. So I had to drive back again for a Dinner Theater show and again leave at 2 a.m. I got back and they told me I was moving on to the semi-finals in LA.”

Well, Fortuna was auditioning for the lead and his luck would turn sort of after arriving in LA.
“I arrived and they decided I was too old to play the part of Danny and I responded ‘find me an older Sandy.’ They came back and said ‘well you are too short as well,’ and I said “find me a shorter Sandy,” said Fortuna. “But then they (producers) told me they wanted me to play the part of Vince Fontaine on Broadway.”
The producers kept their word and contacted Fortuna, eventually sending him a script and flying him to New York to read and sing in front of the writers and producers.
“Well they threw me a curveball and said that the previous Vince Fontaine, who happened to be my friend Joe Piscopo, also did a warm up act prior to curtain going up for about 15 minutes and they asked me to show them what I would do if they were to give that to me as well. So with about 30 seconds of thought I put a comedic routine together that included audience interaction,” said Fortuna. “Well, they told me they would get back to me. So I head to the airport to get on a plane at La Guardia wondering if they would call and my phone rings and they told me they wanted me for Broadway and for the eventual national tour for both the Vince Fontaine part and the pre performance stand-up routine.”

Fortuna starred on Broadway along with American Idol winner Taylor Hicks for a year and eventually went on a 49-city two-year tour of the off-Broadway production of Grease with Hicks. Fortuna received rave reviews and often he was singled out as the “bright spot” or the “best performance” in the reviews. His opening act also received two thumbs up from the critics. At each tour stop the media sought out both Fortuna and Hicks for interviews.
“It was great because I got to to promote Traverse City and Northern Michigan in every major city in the country in several publications and on TV,” said Fortuna.
Fortuna left the Grease tour last fall to return home to be with his family and to get the Williamsburg Dinner Theater back on track but what he found was sort of an “out of sight, out of mind” response when he returned home.
“It’s not like people forgot me but it was like ‘what have you been up to, haven’t heard your name much lately’ sort of thing,” said Fortuna. “I was under the impression that all of these reviews were getting back home but I guess not. I was on CNN, in major publications but word didn’t get back.”
With business being slow, Fortuna received a call late this winter asking him to return to Grease to finish the tour.
“The person playing the role of Teen Angel and Vince Fontaine left the tour to be with his family and they called and asked me to finish the tour,” said Fortuna. “It was great as I was billed as the headliner. I just finished a couple of weeks ago and now I am focused on the Williamsburg Dinner Theater.”
Fortuna and his wife said they are going to see if they can make it go and if not he is going to entertain some options in Vegas or New York this fall.

The Williamsburg Dinner Theater will offer three different musical tribute shows through the rest of the summer.
• “Country Cool” on Thursdays will feature country hits from Johnny Cash to Shania Twain and everything in between.
• “Yesterday Once More” focuses on the iconic music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s including TV, movies, and more on Friday nights.
• “Rock ‘N’ Roll Heaven” on Saturdays is a tribute to the best of entertainers who have have passed on from Elvis to Hendrix to Judy Garland and several in between.

Make reservations and review the schedule at www.cateringbykellys.com or call the box office at 231-938-2181. Both Fortuna and his shows are also available for private events.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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