The Algonquin Kid – the Book Launches April 2nd
On Thursday, April 2, from 6-8 PM, New York’s Drama Book Shop, 250 West 40th Street, NYC will host the launch of the new book by Michael Elihu Colby: The Algonquin Kid: Adventures Growing Up at New York’s Legendary Hotel.
Published by BearManor Media, the book The Algonquin Kid covers the years Michael ‘s grandparents, Ben and Mary Bodne, owned the legendary Algonquin Hotel (from 1946-1987), spearheading a cultural renaissance there. Lerner and Loewe wrote My Fair Lady at the Algonquin. Marilyn Monroe flashed Mary Bodne on the corner. B ellmen scrambled to find an Oscar winner’ s missing bag of marijuana. And Michael would visit his grandparents (later moving into the hotel), encountering the glittering likes of Noel Coward, Ella Fitzgerald (who sang to him at breakfast) , Angela Lansbury, and Laurence Olivier.
The book also reveals how the Bodnes turned the hotel into a haven for victims of 1950 s McCarthyism and a home away from home for such Black Americans as Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Wilkins, and Maya Angelou. Amid the hotel’s parade of illustrious figures ( some on a meteoric rise, some in tragic decline) . Ultimately, Michael found his own place in the topsy-turvy world of the Broadway theatre and musicals.
Performing will be stars of the Algonquin’s Oak Room, Steve Ross (who opened the room), Broadway’s Tovah Feldshuh, and KT Sullivan (now head of the Mabel Mercer Foundation and Lincoln Center Cabaret Convention). Other guest stars (singing numbers from Colby shows) include Tony Sheldon (PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT), Klea Blackhurst (EVERYTHING THE TRAFFIC WILL ALLOW), Christina Bianco (FORBIDDEN BROADWAY), Jessica Grové (A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC), Michael Winther (MAMA MIA!) and Jack Urbont (Emmy winning composer). The musical director is Michael Lavine. And there will be refreshments, lots of Algonquin alumni, and book signings.
Also expected to attend are cabaret stars Julie Budd and Peggy Eason, as well as Larry Hart II (nephew of Lorenz Hart) and such Broadway luminaries (many who’ve appeared in Michael’s musicals) as Merle Louise (SWEENEY TODD), Michael McCormick (1776), Lori Tan Chinn (TV’s Orange Is the New Black) and Bethe Austin (WHOOPIE!).