One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood’s Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals.
Don long worked as a publicist for one singer he greatly admired; when age and ill health prevented her from working much anymore and her finances grew precarious, she told him she could no longer afford a publicist and would have to let him go. He continued to do what he could for her, gratis, and when she died he handled the public relations, to ensure she got the sort of send-off she deserved, even though there was no one to pay him for his services; he felt it was his responsibility as her long-time publicist. [more]
Composer/lyricist Jerry Herman was, of course, a Broadway legend. He gave us such unforgettable shows as "Hello, Dolly!," "Mame," and "La Cage Aux Folles." These musicals were all huge hits, brimming with songs that audiences quickly took their heart--songs like "We Need a Little Christmas," I Am What I Am," "If He Walked into My Life," "The Best of Times," and, of course, two of the most enduringly popular title-songs in Broadway history: "Hello, Dolly!" and "Mame." Among his other Broadway shows: “Milk and Honey,” “Mack and Mabel,” “The Grand Tour,” “Dear World,” “Jerry’s Girls,” “An Evening with Jerry Herman.” He also contributed material to both “Ben Franklin in Paris” and “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine.” [more]
Chasing Rainbows has an exceptionally appealing cast. This is one of those rare productions where even the smallest roles are vivid. The show itself is not perfect. There are fixes that need to be made, which I'll address shortly. But there's a million dollars’ worth of talent on that stage, and some moments that are so wonderfully rewarding, [more]
The final work, “Unveiling” by Sonya Tayeh, director of Tayeh Dance, known now as the choreographer of the Broadway hit 'Moulin Rouge!," used a trio which appeared to be about a female (the American Ballet Theatre star, Stella Abrera) an interloper interfering with a gay relationship between Robbie Fairchild (formerly of the New York City Ballet and the star of An American in Paris on Broadway and the West End in London) and Gabe Stone Shayer. What made “Unveiling” the hit that it proved to be was the music performed live by the super-humanly talented Moses Sumney who stood on a small platform singing, wailing, thumping, rattling and otherwise issuing a spectrum of gorgeous sounds that supported Tayeh’s complicated portrait. [more]
The show began with Arlen’s first hit, “Get Happy,” 1930, and ended with his 1939 score for the MGM film, "The Wizard of Oz." The first half of the evening was devoted to Arlen’s stand-alone popular tunes, his songs written for the Cotton Club Revues (1932-1934), and musical numbers for early sound movies. Blackhurst recounted how Arlen (born Hyman Arluck of Buffalo, New York), was a child prodigy singing in his father’s choir when he was seven, forming his own bands in his late teens, and occasionally appearing as a vocalist with them on records in his twenties. [more]
Cabaret has always been a mixed bag. The golden age is gone. However, in today's schizo world of nightclubs, things are looking pretty good. It is a milieu unique in the entertainment industry. And, it continues to reinvent itself. The late cabaret critic Martin Schaeffer wrote in Back Stage in 1993,“There cannot be a better night of classic American music than a Bobby Short gig at The Carlyle.” He was right; especially if you're a purist of the Great American Songbook. [more]
It did my heart good to see Matanya Solomon dancing all-out after being pretty much sidelined as a "Nutcracker" dancer, due to injury, for the last two years. I greatly admire all good dancers for their dedication and hard work; but to not give up after being hampered for so long is extra admirable. And he was fun as the Grandfather, making the most of the part (and interacting well with others) in the prologue (staged by Victoria Mazzarelli and Tim Melady). [more]
Fulfilling a dormant desire to give it a try and armed with a well-placed, strong voice, Seth Sikes took the plunge and got booked into 54 Below for one show only singing Garland's showstoppers laced with some personal anecdotes thrown in. To cut to the chase, the show quickly sold out and was a huge success. He's returned several times to the landmark club since and continues to sell out. The word was out that this charismatic guy is the big noise around town and his future looks bright. Tickets have been selling very fast for his next show there on September 18. And, he's got bookings through next March. So, how did it all begin? Where is it all going? [more]
Sandy Duncan and Don Correia, wearing shabby tuxedos, top hats, and Converse high top sneakers, beautifully dancing and singing, “A Couple of Swells,” was one of the many highlights of the 92 Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series’ "All Dancing! All Singing! Irving Berlin in Hollywood." Ms. Duncan and her husband Mr. Correia vibrantly demonstrated why they have had such enduring careers in show business, which have included a number of appearances on Broadway. Guest starring here, they effortlessly recreated that famous number from MGM’s 1948"Easter Parade," originally performed by Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, who replaced the injured Gene Kelly. The tune itself dated from 1917, when it had the unpopular title and lyrics, “Smile, and Show Your Dimple.” [more]
Mr. Busch, known as a playwright of campy homages to old movies in which he often plays female roles, was an appropriate and authoritative host. For most of the proceedings, he sat off to the side wearing male attire wryly reading the often affectionate commentary. He chronicled the history of the Hollywood musical, its stars, its songwriters and its studios. This background material described the distinctive cinematic styles of the major studios, and the idiosyncratic moguls who ruled them. The musical movie histories of Warner Brothers, MGM, Universal, Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Columbia were detailed. Well-selected illustrative slides and film clips were projected above the orchestra. [more]
The debonair Holbrook sang his way down memory lane with his enchanting voice and interesting stories about Astaire that he shared in-between songs, many showing a side to the man that is relatively unknown. This is one of the aspects of the show that makes it intriguing and a must-see for those who appreciate the talents of this widely respected artist.
Most remember Fred Astaire for his singing and dancing, and for his movie roles, but there was much more to the man. [more]
"For many of us this was our golden age," said creator, writer and host Scott Siegel in his introduction that for many present devotees of the art form that this evening's presentation was very meaningful as this was the era in which they came of age seeing many of these shows in their original productions and they are quite appreciative of them. [more]
But never fear, the show, as irrepressible as Allen himself, delivers an eleventh hour number, and the song everyone is waiting for, "I Go To Rio", borrows every show biz cliché, a staircase that lights up, chorus girls in huge headdresses, come down, and Jackman, heretofore often tethered to a piano, finally explodes onstage like an exultant puppy let off the leash in this bonanza of a finale. Truly irresistible! [more]