Broadway Babe: In Memory of Harry Belafonte, and More
Our Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller has some wonderful nostalgic videos she’s found on YouTube. In memory of Harry Belafonte, who died this past week, she found a BBC concert from 1977; a documentary about the evolution of the legendary musical, “Grease,”an HBO special with the late, great comedienne, Totie Fields; and Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey in conversation on “Oprah” from 20 years ago.
In memory of Harry Belafonte
“Harry Belafonte – Live at the BBC”, from 1977, which shows him performing in his prime. He was one of the greatest entertainers and actors….so talented, so versatile, so handsome, so intelligent. His legacy will be as a leading social activist and one of the greatest humanitarians. RIP Harry Belafonte…. May his memory be a blessing.
The Sanitisation of Grease
This informative documentary about the history of the musical “Grease”, including back stories, is quite accurate, according to its Broadway producer, Ken Waissman. The Broadway Dorks (I don’t know who these guys are) have done their research with ‘The Sanitisation of Grease” documentary, a detailed look at how this germ of a show, when performed in a basement in Chicago,evolved into the classic musical we know today, due to Ken Waissman’s (flying out to Chicago at the urging of his college roommate) vision. It’s “the gift that keeps on giving!” Everyone loves “Grease”, the show and the movie.” And, in 2022, producer Waissman and colleagues celebrated 50 years of Grease by writing a book and having it published, called “Grease:Tell Me More, Tell Me More!” (You can buy it on amazon.com)
Sidebar: Close friend, Ken Waissman gave many young talents (he was young then, too!) their break for the off-Broadway, Broadway and touring companies of “Grease”, including Marilu Henner, John Travolta, Treat Williams, Richard Gere, Adrienne Barbeau, Barry Bostwick. They often do zoom reunions where there have been as many as 50 “Greasers” on board.
Sidebar, too: “Grease” was the first Off-Broadway musical to make the move to Broadway. It set the stage for other musicals to follow. Its writers, Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey never wrote another musical!!
Baby boomers will remember the late comedienne, Totie Fields. “Totie Returns” aired in 1978 on HBO. She was brave, audacious, hilariously funny and painful as you’ll see in this incredible special filmed live in Las Vegas. It seems as though everyone came out for her that night including: Milton Berle, Lucille Ball, Phyllis Diller, Jerry Lewis, Florence Henderson, Steve Lawrence and Edye Gorme, Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows. (See the pre-show interviews.) Totie Fields was an authentically funny lady, and she was one of the most loved performers in show business. Her love for her husband, Georgie was legendary and she spoke about him all the time on TV shows, as well as in her standup act. Sadly, Totie died shortly after this TV special aired. She was only 48 years old.
Sidebar: “I’ve been on a diet for 2 weeks– all I lost was 2 weeks!” …. Totie Fields
Streisand and Oprah
From 2003, Barbra Streisand and Oprah, in conversation on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, both looking great. A true treat to view these two legendary entertainment business legends. Barbra, one of the greatest entertainers in the world, rarely makes any TV appearances, outside of her own TV Specials. In this appearance, she’s actually promoting her latest album, and performs on the show. The two of them together is like “buttah”!!!