The Adventure Continues

TT in the Blue Mountains and Sheldy in New York.

Culture Shock.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Randie's Round Table

Producer, publicist and Emcee Randie Levine-Miller is a vivacious redhead who once asked me to sing at an annual benefit she organizes for Actor's Temple and we've been buddies ever since. She likes to throw regular lunches at Sardi's for a hand picked group of show-type folk and there is an interesting rule. No private conversations. She asks each person to speak about themselves to the whole table and that way we all learn something about all the guests. Surprisingly, it works very well and we all had a terrific time.
First up was Jenny Lyn Bader, the daughter of legendary playwright Joseph Stein (FIDDLER, RAGS, ZORBA, MR. WONDERFUL, TAKE ME ALONG) and glamorous film actress Elissa Loti, and a successful playwright herself.

Jim Taylor is a journalist who reminded me that he had interviewed me in my dressing room at the Palace when I was in full slap.
Cary Hoffman started out as a Catskills comic, opened a Comedy Club with his late wife, the comedienne Suzanne Astor (NEW FACES OF 1968), became a booking agent and latterly created a successful one man show called MY SINATRA
He was tremendously touched that I could remember and sing his wife's big comedy song from NEW FACES, "I'm Hungry"
Critic and journalist Brian Scott Lipton writes for Theatremania, Broadway.Com and many other theatre sites.
Broadway star Beth Fowler played Hugh Jackman's mum in THE BOY FROM OZ and was the original Mrs. Potts in BEAUTY & THE BEAST. She was a Liedersinger in the original A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, one of the leads in BABY and Mrs. Lovett in SWEENEY TODD at Circle in the Square. She's now finding tv fame in ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. She told us that her first show was the one-performance Broadway flop GANTRY with Robert Shaw and she played two previews without rehearsal as understudy to the star Rita Moreno who watched from the audience!!
Next to her is former press agent and David Merrick employee Josh Ellis who is currently performing a one-man show about his many years as handler to the stars. Longing to see THAT one!
And the inimitable Marilyn Michaels. Inimitable because she spends all her time imitating other people!
Marilyn is most famous for her deadly and hilarious impressions which she lapses into at the drop of a beret, almost unconsciously. Indeed, Carey was so fascinated he started to count them off for the table as the luncheon went on. "She's up to FOURTEEN!"
Marilyn is also a gifted artist and writer and a sensational singer. She played Fanny Brice in the National Company of FUNNY GIRL in 1965 (with Lillian Roth as her mother!)
As Marilyn was leaving someone asked her to please sing a few bars of something. She immediately channeled Connie Francis singing "Who's Sorry Now?" and, even though she was singing very quietly, heads began whipping around at other tables in surprise, so convincing was the sound.
A splendid time was had by all, we didn't want to leave. Thanks, Randie!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sweeping the Clouds Away

Another triumphant LYRICS & LYRICISTS concert at 92Y, this time celebrating the American music that emerged during The Great Depression. Titled "Seeping The Clouds Away: Boom, Bust and High Spirits", the evening was beautifully staged by actor David Garrison putting the wonderful band Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks front and centre. They was cookin' with gas!!
Hosted by historian Robert Kimball, the cast tore through Gershwin, Porter, Duke Ellington and De Sylva, Brown & Henderson, recreating the hits of Ethel Merman, Ruth Etting, Eddie Cantor, Ethel Waters and all the great stars of the era. Terrific work all around from Erin Dilly, John Treacy Egan (who gave me a sentimental moment when he sang "Time On My Hands" which my mother recorded before I was born), the inspired and hilarious Jason Graae, and best of all, my wonderful buddies Christine Andreas and Klea Blackhurst.
Needless to say, Klea rocked the house with "I Got Rhythm".

Loitered in the foyer afterwards and schmoozed with Ted Chapin, Jamie De Roy, Karen Ziemba and reminded chanteuse KT Sullivan (pictured below, now the artistic director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation which presents the annual Cabaret Convention) that TT & I first saw her at the legendary Jan Wallman's cabaret room back in 1988 singing an evening of Bart Howard songs when she first arrived in NYC.
She became quite excited as not many people remember her from those days. Wot larks!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ice Follies

I was fortunate enough to be at this one-night-only event, a verbatim dramatization of the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan scandal and the climactic recreation of the entire women's skating event at the Olympics was one of the funniest things I've seen in a theatre. It's the sort of show that could run for years Off-Broadway if someone picked it up. It also alerted me to some wonderful talents working in this town that I will certainly be following from now on.

Zackary Grady, the author and director who also played Tonya was wonderfully sullen with all the requisite skating moves.
Scott Weber was an uncredited surprise appearance as the Russian skater who actually won the Gold medal and sobbed dramatically on the podium. He dances with the "Trocks" and was a showstopper.
And the brilliant improvisational comedian John Early, who played Nancy. There is a lot of his work on YouTube and I'm now an avid fan.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Oscar Party Pies

The LITTLE PIE SHOP on W43rd has a window display promoting their upcoming Oscar Night party. I was so delighted with the display I was forced to eat one of their sinfully delicious apple pies. Forced, I tell you.

The Siege of Troy

Gorgeous Aussie pal Troy Woodcroft has scored his first Broadway gig in MAMMA MIA! He went in to the show last week at 24 hours notice!!! Luckily he'd done the U.S. National Tour a couple of years ago so he had muscle memory to rely on. I hadn't seen Troy in fourteen months because he went home to Darwin for most of last year but now he's back in NYC, installed in a gorgeous Harlem apartment and on the Great White Way! May this be the beginning of a wonderful year for him.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's a Stritch, but I can do it.

Last night was the official premiere of the brilliant doco ELAINE STRITCH: DON'T SHOOT ME. I say official because I actually got to see it about six months ago as part of a film festival but I wasn't going to turn down the chance to escort Donna McKechnie to the Paley Centre.

We weren't expecting it to be quite so star studded but there were lots of pals. Tovah Feldshuh still looking trim and terrific after her stint in PIPPIN, Jim Caruso, Marcia Milgrom Dodge (below) who'll be directing me in CAMELOT, Stephanie J. Block & Sebastian Arcelus (pictured with Marcia).
We were sitting in front of Marni Nixon and Dale Soules (THE MAGIC SHOW) and behind Dianne Wiest and director Jack O'Brien.
Ellyn Burstyn, Tammy Grimes, Sandy Duncan
Nathan Lane, Alan Cumming, Jane Krakowski
Phil Donahue & Marlo Thomas
Sandra Bernhardt
Lee Grant. Also saw Barbara Barrie, Tina Louise & Lilliane Montevecchi.

The film was well worth seeing again, it's hilarious and harrowing. Particularly for performers.

Monday, February 17, 2014

First Time benefit pics

(back row) Compere Andrew Kober, Old Fogey, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Drew Gasparini, Nikki M. James, Ben Platt, Julia Murney, Elizabeth Stanley, director Colin Hanlon, producer Laura Motta
(front row) Kyle Dean Massey, Max von Essen, musical director Stephen Oremus, producer Aileen McKenna

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Last Call from the Producers of the Benefit!!

Feels Like the First Time Rehearsal: Holy Crap, So Many Broadway Stars

by lucky on February 10, 2014
So, we’re having a concert on February 10 – holy shit that’s tonight – at Le Poisson Rouge wherein your favorite Broadway stars tell stories and sing songs about their personal famous firsts — first gigs, first performances, first onstage catastrophes. It’s going to be the best thing that ever happened to you, so we highly suggest that you purchase yourself some tickets. Also, because it’s for a really excellent cause.
We had a rehearsal for this concert yesterday and wow, that was fun. Stephen Oremus, who is adorable, led the band and played some genius piano and things like that. Kyle Dean Massey showed up and we all started laughing because we honestly kind of can’t believe that human beings can actually look that perfect at like, noontime on a sunday in sweatpants. Julia Murney belted like crazy. Ben Platt made us fall more in love with him than we already are. Tony Sheldon is so charming that we all cried and it’s not even the real show yet, and Nikki M. James now has a cheerleading squad and it is us. Wearing Nikki M. James Is AWESOME t-shirts. Here are some photos.
And if you do come on down tomorrow, please do say hello! We like chatting. And Broadway. And all that jazz. See you at Le Poisson Rouge!
Drew Gasparini and Andrew Kober
Kyle Dean Massey
Nikki M. James, Tony winner and now rehearsing LES MIS
Ben Platt, currently starring in MORMON
Julia Murney
Andrew Keenan-Bolger
and Old Fogey.