Now Streaming: Dear Evan Hansen, Paul McCartney, Marilyn Maye and More
By Randie Levine-Miller
Our Broadway Babe Randie Levine-Miller scores big time with week with the original production of Dear Evan Hansen, now streaming. And she has some fabulous sidebars about Paul McCartney, Jan Maxwell, and more insider stories.
Dear Evan Hansen
And the winner is! “Dear Evan Hansen” starring Ben Platt, won a Tony Award for his star turn and he has catapulted to national stardom… with a book by Steven Levenson, and music and lyrics by the award winning team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, it first played a limited run at Second Stage Theater in 2016 (which is where I saw it)… After receiving rave reviews, the show moved to Broadway… For those of you who don’t know the plot, this ain’t “Gypsy”, LOL, but it’s a brilliant, sad, tear-inducing, memorable musical…Don’t miss this!
Sidebar: Ben Platt has been with the show since its beginnings… He left the Broadway show fall, 2017… His replacement was Noah Galvin…… the two Evan Hansens are now an off-stage couple!
The Kennedy Center Honors 2010
The Kennedy Center Honors is a broadcast I always look forward to seeing. The 2010 honorees were Jerry Herman, Paul McCartney, Merle Haggard, Bill T Jones, and Oprah Winfrey…Hosted by Caroline Kennedy, this is a clear and first-class video. Some of the stars paying tribute include Meryl Streep, James Taylor, Barbara Walters, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Hudson, Willie Nelson, Steven Tyler and Norah Jones.
Musical Theater fans will adore the Jerry Herman segment which runs about 20 minutes. Stars paying musical tribute to Jerry: Angela Lansbury, Carol Channing, Chita Rivera, Christine Baranski, Sutton Foster, Kelly O’Hara, Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer, Christine Ebersole.. the best of Broadway! This goose producing segment shows us that (as Jerry wrote) “The Best of Times” was then!
Sidebar: several years ago, I was celebrating my birthday at Shun Lee West…Paul McCartney and his then fiancée, Nancy Shevell, were also dining there. My old pal, composer Jack Urbont, knew Paul going back many years…Jack decided to say “hello” to Paul and told him it was my birthday…As Paul and Nancy were leaving, (I only wish I had a photo!), they came over to chat and wish me a happy birthday…They were delightful, warm and friendly…. Paul shared that they had gone to the movies prior to dining… So I said, “Paul, I assume you wore sunglasses.” He said: “Randie, if I wore sunglasses, everyone would notice me!”
Follies live at Kennedy Center
The revival of Stephen Sondheim‘s “Follies” opened on Broadway in September 2011, after a successful run at the Kennedy Center… It boasted a great cast: Jan Maxwell, Bernadette Peters, Danny Burstein, Ron Raines.. with one of Sondheim’s best and most popular scores…
Sidebar: The always luminous (five-time Tony nominee and two time Drama Desk Award winner) Jan Maxwell and I were friends. I always used to say that had she been born 10 years earlier, she would have been Meryl Streep! Jan was one of the most versatile and best actresses of her generation. In 2006, when she was having problems with Alec Baldwin, her co-star in “Entertaining Mr. Sloane,” which hit the papers, she confided in me that she feared that she would never work again because she wasn’t the star he was….I told her that she was very loved and respected by all of us at the Drama Desk, which was, indeed, true… her great talent won the day…she had countless theatrical nominations and awards after that well publicized incident .
Sidebar two: I used to love going backstage to see Jan. She’d always greet me warmly and Introduce me to her castmates and visitors… I remember going back to see her after a matinee …she apologized that she didn’t have time to visit, as she was running out to bicycle home to Manhattan Plaza, so she could make dinner for her young son and then return for the evening performance… I used to get the biggest kick out of her …successfully balancing her professional and private lives. She was an incredible person who fought breast cancer for years, but unfortunately it came back with a vengeance…She died in 2018…I have a picture of the two of us that I keep prominently displayed in my living room.
From 2019, in performance at the Tennessee Williams Theatre in Key West, Florida. The incomparable and legendary performer, Marilyn Maye, at 91, accompanied by her incredible musical director, Tedd Firth. if you’ve never seen her before, this is the perfect introduction. They don’t make them like that anymore!
Sidebar: When Marilyn first came back to New York about a dozen years ago, I took her to lunch at the Friars Club, and then showed her around the club, introducing her to various members… Including the then dean of the club, Freddie Roman, who immediately knew who Marilyn was. This pleased her so, as she hadn’t performed in New York for decades… she just couldn’t get over the fact that Freddie not only knew who she was, but he was a huge fan! I’ll never forget that day or the beautiful handwritten thank you note that she sent me… She was and is a class act!
That’s Entertainment 5
Wow, what a cast! This is truly a refreshing find… Aptly named “That’s Entertainment”…Videoed in 2016 at the Tennessee Williams Theatre in Key West, Florida, with Randy Roberts (who I’d never heard of) but what an incredible talent, hosting and performing, along with Ann Hampton Callaway, Debbie Gravitte and Marilyn Maye with a 17 piece band.. One showstopper after the next… I enjoyed every moment and I’m certain, Tomatoes will, too!
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.