Broadway Babe: That’s Entertainment
Our Broadway Babe has some great YouTube finds today including an evening with legendary songwriter Arthur Schwartz, who wrote “That’s Entertainment” among other big songs. And how about Chita Rivera in “Anything Goes?” There’s a terrific documentary about Dionne Warwick. And let the laughs begin with Joy Behar and Susie Essman in conversation at the 92Y.
The Songwriters: An Evening with Arthur Schwartz
One of my most favorite finds! Probably from the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.This is from the Songwriters Series from the 92nd Street Y ….featuring the songs of prolific and legendary songwriter, Arthur Schwartz, who was originally a lawyer.…He narrates, plays the piano, sings some of his songs, and shares behind the scenes stories… Some superlative singers support him: Nancy Dussault, Judy Kaye and Edward Evanko, singing his songs to a much appreciative audience. When talking about his life and times as a songwriter, he shares that it was a “privilege” collaborating with Howard Dietz. Some of his most notable songs include: “Dancing In the Dark,” “Alone Together,” “By Myself,” “Something to Remember You By” and “That’s Entertainment”— a truly delicious concert that’s a must see!!
Sidebar 1: This incredible concert was a spin-off of the brilliant “Lyrics and Lyricists” series at the 92nd Street Y which was started by the late Maurice Levine, 50 years ago, and still continues (even though most of the great songwriters are no longer alive to participate.) This show was executive produced by Sonny Fox, who many of us remember as the host of the popular children’s show, “Wonderama”!
Sidebar 2: Arthur Schwartz was a regular at Sardis, as was I.. I was so intimidated by this great songwriter until one day I finally got the nerve to walk over to his table and meet him… He extended his hand and warmly greeted me.. One of the true greats was such a warm mensch!
Sidebar 3: I was a fan of both Judy Kaye, who starred in “On The 20th Century” on Broadway— a show I invested in; and Nancy Dussault… two of the greatest singers in the American theater. They both have become friends of mine over the years. Nancy, who lives in LA, has become a regular at my monthly “Randie’s Roundtable” which I’ve recently been doing virtually, with theater folks…. Judy was at the very first roundtable I did about a dozen years ago, at Sardi’s. They’re both remarkable talents and exemplary women!.
Chita Rivera in ANYTHING GOES
From 2000, 18 musical minutes from Chita Rivera’s star-turn as Reno Sweeney in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” with Lee Roy Reams, Broadway‘s favorite song and dance man, directing. These musical moments include: “Anything Goes”, “Friendship”, “I Get a Kick Out of You”.
Co-Starring with Chita: George Dvorsky, Bruce Adler and Patrick Quinn. I’ve heard Chita in much better voice over the years,(even recently) but this musical legend is still so interesting to watch. She was no spring chicken then…Chita’s been working in the theater since 1950 and will turn 90 in January!
Dionne Warwick: “Then Came You”
From 2018, this terrific documentary is about Dionne Warwick’s incredible career, from her early days until now… She, Burt Bacharach and Hal David were a magical musical blend… And of course, they wrote most of her hits. She calls Hal David “a poet”, not just a lyricist….. This PBS special is a must see for admirers of Dionne Warwick… Some of her friends and colleagues doing commentary on the special, besides Dionne, herself, include: Burt Bacharach, Barry Manilow, Chuck Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Johnny Mathis and Gladys Knight, who along with Warwick, Elton John and Stevie Wonder teamed up for “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1985, to raise funds and awareness of the rising Aids epidemic.
Susie Essman with Joy Behar
From 2009, at the 92nd Street Y, Joy Behar and Susie Essman in conversation… A coupla comediennes sitting around talking and dishing! They’re best friends, colleagues, and each other’s biggest fans and champions for decades. They first bonded as stand-up comics years ago. And now, of course, we know Joy as one of the hosts for the last 25 years of “The View”, and Susie,as one of the stars of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
Sidebar: Joy and Susie, as well as myself were members of the Friars Club. Each of them were regular roasters at the annual Friars Roasts, and were funnier, wittier and filthier than the men!
Sidebar too: I did several events with Joy at the Friars Club. Most notable is that I booked her on a panel years before “The View” was viewed as a political and news show. I annually produced a panel with leading journalists called “Putting the Spin on Spin”, discussing how and why news stories and features are selected and how some people have their “15 minutes of fame” that often continues ad nauseam. I considered Joy, even at that time, to be a news person!