Now Streaming: Johnny Mercer, Jerry Herman, Kristen Chenowith, Sinatra & Como
Here’s some truly great entertainment from our Broadway Babe, Randie Levine Miller that will keep you entertained on snowy, rainy, dreary winter weekends. Enjoy!
“The Songs of Johnny Mercer – Too Marvelous for Words”
OMG! How great this is! From 1997 (it aired on PBS), “The Songs of Johnny Mercer– Too Marvelous For Words” dedicated to the words and music of Johnny Mercer. This concert was videoed at the historic Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina with Peter Nero musical directing the Philly Pops… with performers: Margaret Whiting, Melissa Manchester, Johnny Mathis, the John Pizzarelli Trio, with Willard Scott hosting. A truly outstanding concert that I think sister Tomatoes will love!
Sidebar: I had the pleasure of working with 2 of the performers in this concert— Music Director/composer/ jazz pianist Peter Nero did a concert at Lincoln Center’s then Philharmonic Hall in 1972.. I was hired to do the publicity for the concert…and indeed, it was a true treat for this young publicist, to get him interviewed on TV, radio and in print, and having TV crews come to rehearsal..I was mesmerized by his talent… and he was wonderful to work with. His score to the movie,”Sunday In New York”, is one of my favorites, as is his orchestral work, “Fantasy and Improvisations” which hasn’t gotten the mass exposure it deserves….It compares with Gershwin’s “Concerto In F”, in my opinion.
Sidebar, too: Margaret Whiting and I were friends, I handled publicity for her,when she was starring in “Dream” on Broadway in 1997. She was also at my wedding party with her husband, Jack Wrangler in 1990. Besides being a great singer, she was an exemplary and totally lovely,spiritual, yet down to earth woman. And,she paid her bill before I billed her!!! She was the greatest. At my wedding party, for those of you who know me, I was too shy to ask her to get up and sing… I later,as time went on, found out that so many performers who come to private events, adore being asked to get up and do a number… that was a totally missed opportunity for me. So many years later, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask a star to perform!
“Jerry Herman’s Broadway At The Hollywood Bowl”
This aired on PBS in 1994 with performing greats who worked with Jerry entertaining…I’ve been trying to find this complete extraordinary concert for quite some time. I’ve run a much shorter version of this, but this is the real and truly big deal with showstoppers singing showstoppers! Musical Director, Don PIppin, worked with Jerry for many years… Here, he conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
Showstoppers appearing: Bea Arthur, Carol Channing, Michael Feinstein, Davis Gaines, George Hearn, Florence Lacey, Lorna Luft, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Karen Morrow, Lee Roy Reams, Leslie Uggams, along with Angela Lansbury and Paul and Linda McCartney sending their best wishes via tape. A must-see for Jerry Herman fans (and who doesn’t love his most melodic songs?) A true Tomatoes treat!!
Kristen Chenowith at the Boston Pops
This aired on PBS 2004 with Keith Lockhart, musical conductor… This is her debut concert performance after starring in the smash Broadway hit, “Wicked”.. She is a totally dynamic, uber-talented entertainer and really shows her “stuff” and we can see why and how she has become a major star in the last several years. She has a 4 octave range and makes everything look easy… but it’s not… she’s a well trained singer and totally gifted performer.
The concert pays tribute to movie musicals that became Broadway musicals. Also included on the program is Keith’s longtime friend and college classmate, Rob Marshall, Academy Award–nominated director of the screen musical, “Chicago”, who’s on-hand to discuss some popular films that went on to become Broadway musicals..
Sidebar: I first met Kristin when she won the Drama Desk Award (and the Tony Award!) in 1999, when I was one of the producers of the Drama Desk Awards events. She was totally delicious and we all fell in love with her and her upbeat personaltiy…She was, and remains, fun and funny and totally without guile and ego. She became our Drama Desk mascot and wound up hosting the Awards several times.
Sidebar, too: I recently ran into her in my neighborhood (she looks exactly the same as she did over 20 years ago)…She was in conversation outside my building, chatting with mutual friend and musical director, Michael Lavine, and wore no makeup….At first, I didn’t recognize her…. all of a sudden, I said, “you look and sound like Kristin Chenowith”… to which she replied,”come on Randie, it’s me… don’t you recognize me?” I was so embarrassed. I also can’t believe she’s 53 years old!
Frank Sinatra and Perry Como at the White House
Two of the greatest Italian-American singers of the 20th century, together on stage at the Reagan White House in 1982…This was a State Dinner in honor of Italian President Alessandro.Pertini…This is a real find, as this entre–nous event was not televised. One of the highlights of the performance included legendary guitarists, Tony Mottola and Bucky Pizzarelli. President and Mrs. Reagan, both former actors, had many ties to show business luminaries, and when asked, the biggest stars, would perform at various White House events.