Now Streaming: Roundtables, Streisand, Mary Martin and More!
“The Ten Year Lunch; Wits and Legends of the Algonquin Roundtable” is a 1987 Academy Award documentary by Aviva Slesin which traces the 10 years of its existence (1919-1929)and its participants who were some of the most famous writers, critics and actors at that time…. some called it “The Board” as well as “The Vicious Circle”…They engaged in wisecracks, wordplay, witticisms and dish. Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman, Harpo Marx, Edna Ferber, Harold Ross (who founded the New Yorker Magazine), Haywood Braun, Alexander Woollcott were some of the “regulars”..
Sidebar: Once a month at Sardi’s, since 2012, I’ve hosted “Randie’s Roundtable” with accomplished folks in the entertainment world, mostly theater folks….including several legends: actors, writers, directors, producers, composers, lyricists, press agents. Journalists, stage managers, musical directors etc.. It’s basically a spinoff of the Algonquin Roundtable, but without the snobbery or eliticism… We share stories and anecdotes and our coda is : What’s said at Sardi’s, stays at Sardi’s…. Since the pandemic, we do it every 3-4 weeks virtually…
Attendees have included: Sandy Duncan, Judy Kaye, Don Correia, Lee Roy Reams,Penny Fuller, Josh Ellis, Donna McKechnie,John Lloyd Young, Ken Waissman, Larry Blank, Anita Gillette, Jim Morgan, Marilyn Sokol, Beck Lee, Richard Hillman, Peter Filichia, Doug Denoff, MIchael Garin, Steve Garrin, Sidney Myer, Beth Fowler,Shirley Jones, Corinna Sowers Adler, Nick Adler, Douglas J. Cohen, Michael Lavine, Jimmy Roberts, Christine Andreas, Martin Silvestri, Michael Bernardi,Larry Kerchner, Neal Rubenstein, Elmore James,Laila Robins, Robert Cuccioli, Jeff Harnar, Reed Birney, Mimi Turque, Margaret Colin, Danny Bacher, Jon Surgal, Ed Gaynes, Julie Budd, Richard Skipper, David Kaufman, Marilyn Michaels, Frank Skillern, Anna Bergman, Ken Fallin, Karen Mason, Gene Castle, Dan Manjovi, Roger Gindi, Bob Ari, Jim Kierstead, Elisa Stein, Jenny Lyn Bader,Philip Carruba, Jeffrey Sweet, Rachel Zatcoff, Adam Grupper, Nora Mae Lyng, Peter Martin, Bruce Roberts, Bob Shear, Adam Grupper,Bryon Sommers, Jimmy Horan, Barbara Minkus, Bernie Furshpan, Richard Kind, Jack Urbont, Paul Chamlin, Stephen M. Silverman, and Michael Colby (who is a lyricist/author, who actually grew up at the Algonquin… his grandparents owned the hotel! His memoir is “The Algonquin Kid.”)
Barbra: The Concert!
A true Tomatoes treat! Barbra:The Concert! Live at the Arrowhead Pond Anaheim, which was taped there for broadcast in 1993….the first time Barbra went out on a concert tour in 27 years! This is an excellent quality video (I watched in full screen on my iPad). This is Barbra at her very best..a living phenomenon
in a class by herself….a gooseflesh inducing event! Her longtime musical director/ lifelong friend, Marvin Hamlisch conducts this “gift” of a concert.
Sidebar: Marvin’s major break came in 1963 when at age 19, he would accompany Anita Gillette, playing piano at her auditions and other gigs… Anita was booked to do the Bell Telephone Hour and as soon as she and Marvin got to to the studio, Anita touted Marvin as the greatest thing since sliced bread, introducing him to Buster Davis, who immediately hired him as his assistant at the TV show, and then brought him over to work on “Funny Girl”..He and Barbra clicked immediately… it was the most perfect decades long musical marriage…. At the same time, Marvin remained the music counsellor at Camp Geneva in 1963 and 1964,churning out original songs for the weekly shows… on his way to Broadway!
Annie Get Your Gun
A theatrical treasure! From 1957:Mary Martin and John Raitt starring in the TV version of Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun” … broadcast live on NBC-TV with a studio audience.
Sidebar: the role of Annie wa originally offered to. Mary Martin, who turned in down. Her husband, producer Richard Halliday came home after attending opening night, starring Ethel Merman (1946) and said to Mary, “You’re going to kill yourself!” When Merman turned down doing the national tour, Mary jumped at the chance and toured all over the U.S. for 2 years and did a brilliant job… with political incorrectness intact!!!
I can’t resist posting this fabulous revival of Clare Booth Luce’s “The Women” which was produced by the Roundabout Theater Company in 2001, and taped for broadcast airing on PBS-TV… with a huge cast of all women…This classic play from 1936 is about a group of “gold-diggers, schemers, gossips and social climbers… bitching, competing and out-quipping each other with brilliant banter. It stars: Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Tilly, Kristen Johnston, Rue McClanahan, Mary Louise Wilson and Jennifer Coolidge. Of course, in today’s world, we don’t know women like that!!!!!! Enjoy this not so fluffy delight!