Broadway Babe’s Picks: Ethel Merman, Donna McKechnie, Sondheim, Streep
Our Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller, has come up with some delightful finds including: a star-studded Sondheim concert with the NY Philharmonic, a film clip of Donna Mckechnie’s Tony Award winning performance in “A Chorus Line”, a Times Talk with Meryl Streep and Ethel Merman (as you’ve never seen her) on the TV interview show “Person to Person” with Edward R. Morrow.
Ethel Merman, Person to Person
From 1955, “Person to Person” with Edward R. Murrow interviewing Ethel Merman at home in Denver, when she was married to Bob Six, CEO of Continental Airlines. He appears as well as her 2 children. The program was one of a kind with Murrow broadcasting via live remote and no tape or film was used. Merman comes across as you’ve never seen her before – up close and personal. She’s domestic at this time in her life (didn’t last long!). She’s warm, unassuming, and comes across as genuinely nice and kind. Merman fans must view this historical footage.
Sidebar: “Who Could Ask for Anything More”, was an autobiography which Merman wrote, which I’ve never heard of before. It goes up to her life in the 1950s.
Sidebar,too: The marriage didn’t last, and Six married Audrey Meadows who remained with him for the rest of his life, and became a very wealthy widow!
Donna McKechnie, “The Music in the Mirror”
From 1975: I just came upon this black and white footage of dear friend, Donna McKechnie stopping the show in her Tony Award winning performance in “A Chorus Line”. I couldn’t resist posting her performing “The Music In The Mirror”. The film quality isn’t great, but the sound is just fine, and you can see her authentic star performance!
“Sondheim: The Birthday Concert”
This is truly the best of the best! “Sondheim: The Birthday Concert”, from 2010. David Hyde Pierce hosts the New York Philharmonic’s salute to Stephen Sondheim, which aired on PBS-TV’s “Great Performances” which is indeed great! Conducted by longtime Sondheim favorite, Paul Gemingiani, as well as directed by longtime favorite, Lonny Price (who co-starred in the original “Merrily We Roll Along” in 1981), the cast includes a who’s who of Broadway’s finest performers: Bernadette Peters, Patti Lupone, Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie, Joanna Gleason, Mandy Patinkin, Michael Cerveris, Nathan Gunn, Laura Benanti, Victoria Clark, George Hearn, Donna Murphy, John McMartin, Chip Zien, and many more. This is a totally rousing, delicious concert, which I think you’ll love.
From 2016: Times Talks with the incomparable multiple award winning Meryl Streep, interviewed by New York Times chief classical music critic, Anthony Tommasini. She is so authentic, warm and accessible. Streep has played an astonishing array of characters and happens to be an accomplished singer, too. It’s so easy to see why everyone is in love with this amazing down to earth woman who is unarguably, the greatest actress of her generation. This is a truly fascinating conversation.
Randie Levine Miller is Director of Special Events for The Three Tomatoes, and co-produces and hosts the annual Tomatoes Got Talent show. Known around NYC as a modern day “hostess with the mostess, she has performed in and hosted benefits for the Actors Fund, the Actors Temple, Multiple Sclerosis, and Prostate Cancer Research. Randie’s performance venues have included: The Triad, The Metropolitan Room, the Laurie Beechman Theater, and the Friars Club. For many years, she was special events director for the Drama Desk Awards. Randie also had a successful 30-year career as a public relations consultant and handled several major health and medical technology clients.