Now Streaming: Ed Sullivan Show, Hal Prince, Patti LuPone, Jerry Herman
by Randie Levine Miller
The Broadway Babe, Randie Levine Miller has some wonderful nostalgic finds starting with an Ed Sullivan Show from around 1960. (And who remembers seeing the Beatles for their U.S. Debut in 1964 on his show?) She also shares a close encounter with Hal Prince, and Patti LuPone and Jerry Herman both in concert.
The Ed Sullivan Show circa 1960
Most of us are both Tomatoes and Baby Boomers, and we remember when we watched “The Ed Sullivan Show” Sunday nights, at 8PM on CBS-TV…Ed had a special affection for Broadway and often featured excerpts from musicals currently playing on Broadway… I unearthed this wonderful kinescope circa 1960 featuring excerpts from “Flower Drum Song” with Larry Blyden and Pat Suzuki; “Destry Rides Again” with Andy Griffith, Scott Brady and the show stopping Dolores Gray; and Bye Bye Birdie with Dick Van Dyke singing “Put On A Happy Face”, as well as Paul Lynde and cast singing “Ed Sullivan, Ed Sullivan, we’re gonna be on Ed Sullivan!”, and indeed they were! Ed also introduces Broadway’s “newest” singing star from “Do Re Mi”, Nancy Dussault singing “Make Someone Happy” (but the kinescope ends in the middle of her song, unfortunately)… A lovely trip down memory lane!
Sidbar: when I was a kid, I used to second act shows that I saw and loved. “Bye Bye Birdie” was the rage then and I’d hang out in Shubert Alley with all the other “wannabe” kids in show business… I knew some of the young cast…. actually took singing and dancing lessons with some of them at the “Charlie Lowe School of Song and Dance”(and personality!) in the basement of 1650 Broadway…”uncle” Charlie was an old vaudevillian…I took tap dancing with his wife, Kasha, and singing with Charlie… oh, what a character… I remember our recital, “The Charlie Lowe Follies”…..thank god, I was dancing in the back row…it was at Ward’s Island for the Criminally Insane!” And yes, they liked our show.
Company: Original Cast Album Documentary
This documentary, “Company: Original Cast Album” is actually a documentary of the making of the 1970 documentary
About the long and grueling making of the original cast album of “Company”.. Traditionally, the original cast album is recorded the first Sunday after a show opens (or at least it was that way, then). Filmmaker DA Pennebaker produced and directed the much lauded original 1970 documentary, as well as this 30 years later look back (2000) with commentary by Hal Prince and Elaine Stritch… It is truly fascinating, to say the least.
Sidebar: I met Hal Prince a few times, but I was too intimidated (and so in awe of him) to continue a conversation … I invested in “On The Twentieth Century”, which he directed.. which would have been a good conversation starter…. However, in 2017, I attended the final performance of “Prince of Broadway” and went backstage to see some of the cast members…I immediately ran into Hal Prince, who was as warm and friendly and down to earth, just as I’d heard…I told him he was truly ageless as he was always on to the next project … I predicted he’d live as long as his mentor, George Abbott, but alas I was wrong… he died
In July, 2019.
An Evening with Patti LuPone
This is a wonderful Patti LuPone concert from 1997 which aired on PBS-TV.. It was videoed at the McCallum Theatre at the Bob Hope Cultural Center in Palm Desert, California…. Enjoy!
Jerry Herman On Stage
From 1999, “Jerry Herman On Stage” at the Papermill Playhouse — In my opinion, there was no greater writer of hummable showtunes than the prolific Jerry Herman.. Host Robert Johansson and Jerry, in conversation, as well as performances by Jerry, Florence Lacey and Lee Roy Reams, Broadway’s (and virtually everyone’s favorite song and dance man!) .. This inside look at Jerry’s work is a must see for anyone interested in musical theater…
Sidebar: My parents took me to see the Actors Fund benefit performance of Jerry Herman”s first Broadway hit, “Milk and Honey” in 1961… Many years later, I was at an event at the 92nd Street Y where they screened a new documentary about Jerry’s life. I ran out during the credits to use the ladies room, and then I was the first one to walk into the reception area… the only other person standing there was Jerry… I walked over to him and introduced myself… He was totally “delicious”… I shared with him that as a kid, I saw “Milk and Honey”… I then burst into , But Jerry, ‘that was yesterday’ (song title) that was yesterday and it’s gone, it’s over and it’s done”! We continued singing together and then, Jerry took my hand and we started dancing the polka around the entire room (just like the king and Mrs. Anna in “The King and I”)….It was one of my most favorite
Memorable moments! It’s a pity I don’t have a photo or a video clip..but it’s emblazoned in my memory.
Unfortunately, Jerry died earlier this year…he was a musical mensch…. RIP
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.