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Yakov says...

Sunday, June 1, 2003

Back from Broadway!

Hi Friends:

We wanted to share with you some great news!
America's Favorite Russian, Yakov Smirnoff Is Back From Broadway!

Yakov is back in Branson, Missouri after performing in his one-man Broadway show "As Long As We Both Shall Laugh". Yakov began performances on February 26 at the American Airlines Theatre in New York City for a limited six-week run during his Branson hiatus. However, "As Long As We Both Shall Laugh" was extended by popular demand for another six weeks through May 26. To honor his show schedule in Branson during the months of April and May and perform the extended dates on Broadway, Yakov flew twice a week back and forth to Branson. Yakov said, "Broadway nights and Branson days - What A Country!"

With rave reviews of "As Long As We Both Shall Laugh", including the New York Times calling Yakov "splendidly funny, sometimes poignant, and always entertaining", Yakov was approached by several Broadway producers seeking to again extend his Broadway performance through the summer doing 8 shows a week. "Being on Broadway was exhilarating, however eight shows a week on Broadway would mean I couldn't spend summer vacation with my kids. And then I started thinking about why millions of people a year come to Branson - to be with their families, have fun, and to enjoy life," Yakov said. "After thinking about playing Broadway through the summer I realized I'm just like all our Branson visitors - I want a vacation with my family!" Upon conclusion of the successful run of "As Long As We Both Shall Laugh" on Broadway, 5-Time Emmy Award winning director, David Stern, filmed the show for video and DVD release later this summer.

With a successful run on Broadway as another one of his many accomplishments, it's been quite a journey for Yakov. The immigrant who, in 1977, landed in this country with his parents and less than $100 in his pocket has grown to become a command performer at the White House, and a respected comedic voice. "New York has always played a significant part in my journey as an American - and part of my love affair with this Country started the first time I laid my eyes on Lady Liberty in the New York Harbor. And on July 4, 1986, my dream came true," said Yakov. "I was sworn in as American citizen at the Statue of Liberty ceremonies."

Not many people know that in addition to his other credits, Yakov is an accomplished artist. "On the night of 9/11, following the attack, I wanted to replace the fallen towers with something that could not be destroyed. I created a painting in which the American flag is in the shape of a heart with the Statue of Liberty in the foreground becoming a part of the New York Skyline. Underneath the painting I wrote, 'The human spirit is not measured by the size of the act, but by the size of the heart'. I called this painting "America's Heart". In order to help in the healing process, I wanted this painting to be a gift to New York and so we created a mural, 200 feet tall by 135 feet wide that was unveiled a few days prior to the memorial services on 9/11/02. I'm proud to say this mural is still displayed today at Ground Zero." To see the mural click here.

Though New York will always be an important part of Yakov's life, Yakov returns home to Branson where he will perform in his theatre. The rest of the time you can find him with his family at the lake, speeding on the go cart track, or by the windmill at miniature golf. During the summer months of June, July, and August, Yakov shows will be at 3:00 PM, Wednesday through Saturday.

Also sharing his theatre this year is country music superstar, Pam Tillis, performing shows at 8:00pm at the Yakov Smirnoff Theatre. Yakov says, "Comedy days and Country nights! I'm still trying to figure out what a sugar tree is but Pam's promised to explain it to me."


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