Broadway Babe’s Streaming Finds: Cagney, Frankie Valli, Bacharach and More
Our Broadway Babe, Randie Levine Miller, has a great video of Jimmy Cagney being honored at the Kennedy Center. She also shares some anecdotes about the 50th Anniversary Party of Grease, which she recently attended with her dear friend, Ken Waissman, who was the producer. At 88 year’s old Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are still going strong! There’s a A Salute to Legendary Jazz and Ragtime Composer, Eubie Blake. And there’s a private performance of Carole Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach.
James Cagney, The Kennedy Center Honors, 1980
In 1980, James Cagney was an honoree at the Kennedy Center Honors. Baryshnikov opens the 20 minute segment, along with tributes from Cagney’s friend and colleague of over 50 years, Pat O’Brien. Film clips of Cagney’s memorable moments are also shown. Then, a very young John Travolta comes out to pay tribute to his idol who he has befriended. John then introduces the show-stopping musical performance featuring his good friend and fellow Broadway “Grease” castmate, the young musical actor (and now multiple award winning Broadway theater director, Jerry Zaks: “Hello Dolly” with Bette Midler and the current Broadway hit, “The Music Man”). Jerry and the cast of “Tintypes” do a George M. Cohan medley which is the ultimate audience pleaser. A most memorable program that I think my sister Tomatoes will enjoy!
Sidebar: My BFF, Ken Waissman, legendary Broadway producer of “Grease” invited me as his guest to the 50th Anniversary party of “Grease”, at Sardi’s in June, which was also the launch of his book, “Grease: Tell Me More, Tell Me More”. Many of the original cast attended, including the delightful Jerry Zaks, who I engaged in conversation. I asked him, “why don’t you perform anymore? I saw you perform at a benefit several years back with Susan Stroman, and you were great.” He replied: “I don’t ever want to be onstage again. I’m scared to death!” Wow, what a response from one of the most lauded men in the American theater!
Frankie Valli Nottingham 2022
This is an incredible find…. 88 year old Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in concert in Nottingham, England this past June. He still sounds amazing. This is a 20 minute excerpt, from the concert, singing some of his greatest hits. The 4 young men performing with him weren’t even born, when Frankie was in his prime!
Sidebar: I produced a celebrity luncheon iho Frankie in 2006 at the Friars Club, with his close friend, comedian Stewie Stone, (who was his opening act for 50 years) in conversation with him. It was a fabulous afternoon with a packed house of celebrities and Friars members. The only disappointment, was that Frankie didn’t sing, though he did one song, acapella, at the end.
Sidebar, too: I was referred to as “the good Randie”, as Frankie was married for decades to Randy, and it was a somewhat contentious divorce. I remember going to see him in concert and going backstage, after the show. I told security, “just tell Frankie that the good Randie is here to see him!”… I was immediately admitted in to visit Frankie!
A Salute to Legendary Jazz and Ragtime Composer, Eubie Blake
“Memories of Eubie” aired on PBS in 1979… Saluting legendary jazz and ragtime composer, Eubie Blake, who wrote many hits with his writing partner, Noble Sissle, including: “I’m Just Wild About Harry” and the Broadway show, “Shuffle Along” in 1921. When Eubie performed in this show, he was 96 and still playing the piano like someone half his age… Appearing on the special with Eubie are Lynnie Godfrey, Gregory Hines, Maurice Hines, and Billy Taylor and his Orchestra..
Sidebar: I had the good fortune to work with Eubie Blake, William Bolcom, Joshua Rifkin and Avon Long on what turned out to be the first commercially successful ragtime concert at Avery Fisher Hall…I publicized the event and got to work with these incredible musicians. Eubie was only 90 at that time!
Carole Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach
Not sure how I stumbled onto this incredible find, videoed at a private event, in 2013 – a fundraiser for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art at the home of philanthropist friends of prolific hit songwriter, Carole Bayer Sager, who performs her songs for this intimate crowd. Burt Bacharach, also prolific, performs many of the songs he’s written. They share the stage and are obviously good friends, as well as ex-spouses! Two of the greatest modern day songwriters… very special and entre-nous.
Sidebar: Carole’s first hit was “A Groovy Kind of Love” which she co-wrote with Toni Wine, who was my friend and classmate at the High School of Music and Art. Carole was a year or two ahead, but both were signed to the same music publisher. Toni went on to be musical director, while still in her teens, and continues to be, for Tony Orlando and also has written several hits for him!