Now Streaming: Cinderella, Six, Sondheim, London Chicago
by Randie Levine Miller
We don’t care how old you are, you never tire of Cinderella, and we can’t wait to watch this Rogers & Hammerstein version which aired LIVE on CBS in 1957 starring Julie Andrews. This is just one of today’s gems uncovered by our Broadway Babe, Randie Levine Miller. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Julie Andrews as Cinderella – 1957
This is one of my favorite finds…. ever! Julie Andrews (today) introduces Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” in which she starred on CBS TV in 1957… It was done LIVE and truly made her a star (in addition to “My Fair Lady”)…. This special was seen by 107 million viewers, compared to 65 million who watched “Peter Pan” in 1955..This kinescope (in black & white) I found it easy to view and hear. A true frothy treat!!
And what a supporting cast: Edie Adams, Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, Dorothy Stickney, Ilka Chase, Howard Lindsay and Jon Cypher (as the Prince).
Six the Musical
“Six” the Musical, was scheduled to open on Broadway, March 12, 2020! But alas, was a victim of the pandemic. One of the producers is the prolific Kevin McCollum (“Rent”, “The Drowsy Chaperone”, and the upcoming “Mrs Doubtfire”, also a victim of the pandemic)
The musical is about the 6 ill-fated wives of Henry VIII of England…He beheaded 2 of them!! What an idea for a musical!
The wives form a pop group and recount their stories… The buzz about it was excellent… catchy songs… an audience pleaser.
Sondheim on The American Musical Theater
A wonderful trip down memory lane.. from October, 1961, “The American Musical Theater” which aired locally on WCBS-TV, was a program I looked forward to seeing every week…it featured interviews and performance with theater songwriters.. The guest is “lyricist” Stephen Sondheim, who at that time, did the lyrics to “West Side Story” and “Gypsy”… and hadn’t tackled Broadway composing yet.
The full CBS-TV orchestra was conducted by Irwin Kostal (yes, the network had it’s resident orchestra in those days). The show was hosted by Earl Wrightson with singers Martha Wright and Ralph Curtis performing songs from the 2 shows… Enjoy!
The Making of London Chicago
In 1997, Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago” Revival (of the 1975 musical) opened in London starring Ruthie Henshall, Ute Lemper, and Henry Goodman.
This BBC documentary is a behind the scenes look at preparing for opening nite… you’ll recognize some of the first nite audience.. “Chicago”’s Broadway producers, Fran and Barry Weissler who brought the show to London, are prominently featured in the film. Directed by former performer, Walter Bobbie, as he did on Broadway with choreography by Ann Reinking, it was a carbon copy of the New York revival production and continued to run for decades.
Sidebar: The late Broadway and movie producer, Marty Richards, and I were good friends…He produced the original “Chicago” in 1975 on Broadway, starring Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach.. Marty was the ultimate New York host, somewhat flamboyant, a bon vivant and very inclusive… His parties at River House in Manhattan, and in Southampton were legendary and I was one of the lucky ones who attended many of them…A late friend of mine, who was in the last stages of lung cancer.. told me he had a request… “I’d like to attend a Marty Richards party with you.” But alas, by that time Marty, himself, wasn’t well and was no longer entertaining…Sadly, Marty died in the fall of 2012..
Sidebar 2: In September, 2003, I produced a star studded musical tribute to Marty Richards at the Friars Club, with old friend, Marvin Hamlisch hosting..everyone in the show had worked for Marty throughout the years….Marty had just won the Oscar for the film version of “Chicago”… When the Friars presented him with a beautiful statue, Marty excitedly said: “What Randie just did for me, was better than winning the Oscar!” It was truly one of the best nites my entire life, so far.
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.