Now Streaming: Awesome Dames, and Special Guys
If you need cheering up you will love this week’s suggestions from Randie Levine-Miller, our Broadway Babe. And we love her sidebars about her encounters with some of these greats. Enjoy.
Sondheim’s 75th Birthday
A truly star-studded magical evening…at the Hollywood Bowl celebrates Stephen Sondheim’s 75th birthday… (he’s now 90)… his longtime musical director Paul Gemignani conducts at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, co-starring: Angela Lansbury, Nathan Lane, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jason Alexander, Donna Murphy, Bernadette Peters, Jason Danieley, and Marin Mazzie.. Surprise guests:Barbara Streisand and Warren Beatty…This is a must-see!
Sidebar: I met Stephen Sondheim at the opening night party of the first revival of “Sweeney Todd” in 1989, starring (now close friend and Tomatoes Got Talent judge, Beth Fowler) and Bob Gunton, produced by the York Theatre.. I was very nervous approaching the king of musical theater…I wound up having a lovely conversation with him and told him how much I had loved “Merrily We Roll Along” which he was still smarting about, as it was a huge flop in 1981 (16 performances). I was rhapsodizing over it and he seemed so pleased… at that time, he didn’t know that “Merrily” would have a huge afterlife….And now, after 40 years, “Merrily” is being turned into a movie!
From 1978, London Weekend, The South Bank Show, did a spectacular documentary, profiling the genius that was producer/director Harold Prince… It focuses on his being on the job, directing the British cast of “Evita” which opened in London in 1978, working so well with his actors…(the program mentions that he currently has a major Broadway hit, “On The Twentieth Century”, which had just opened, in New York)
Sidebar: Hal Prince, as successful as he was, was a very approachable, down to earth, mensch of a human being. I had many opportunities to meet him, but didn’t as I was so intimated by this genius. I finally met him, towards the end of his life, after the closing performance of “Prince of Broadway”which was one of the highlights of my life…he was so warmed when I told him I was an investor in his “On The Twentieth Century”.. and was shocked to hear that I didn’t get my investment back!
Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey
Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theater, originally aired that year on ABC-TV…. PBS re-aired this classic in 2004…Both were red hot after their respective runs starring in “Hello Dolly”. These 2 legendary entertainers (with egos to match!) are beyond fabulous performing together. For musical theater fans, this is a must not miss!
Three Awesome “Dames at Sea”
From 1971, “Dames At Sea”, a delicious musical parody of Busby Berkeley style movie musicals, starring: Ann-Margret, Ann Miller, Anne Meara, Dick Shawn, Harvey Evans and Fred Gwynne, aired on NBC..it played originally off-Broadway, starring a very young Bernadette Peters in 1968. A very joyful all singing, all dancing (mostly) musical treat, directed by Martin Charnin (“Annie”) and executive produced by legendary producer, Joseph Cates.
Sidebar: Joe Cates and I were fellow Friars and friends.. He helped create “The $64,000 Question” and almost single handedly made the television special a regular feature of network broadcasting.