Now Streaming: Sunset Boulevard, Liza, Manilow, Valli

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Our Broadway Babe, Randie Levine Miller has some wonderful finds this week. A BBC documentary on the history of “Sunset Bouvlevard”; a 1986 concert with Liza Minelli; and in the “you can’t keep down” category, a 2016 concert with Frankie Valli and a 2019 concert with the ageless Barry Manilow. Plus some juicy sidebars!

History of Sunset Boulevard

From 1993, a wonderful BBC Documentary about the history of “Sunset Boulevard” from film to stage with interviews with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyricist Don Black, book writer Christopher Hampton and director Trevor Nunn, and Glenn Close….. terrific clips with Gloria Swanson (she was really spooky in the film), and multiple award winning Broadway star Glenn Close(also somewhat spooky as Norma Desmond!) … A Tomatoes treat!

Sidebar: When I was in my early 20’s, I dated a much older man who I was told, owned the home on Sunset Blvd. where the movie was filmed… He was a major player in Hollywood who ran Desilu for several years…An accomplished lawyer and tough negotiator, Desi Arnaz brought him in to run the studio… as Desi said in his book, “I figured it was better to have that son-of-a-bitch on our team, than have to deal with him on the other side!”

Liza in London

90 minutes of pure musical pleasure…..from 1986… “Liza in London at the Palladium” …aired on HBO…As a live performer, no one can touch her… the energy, the talent, the insecurity, and the need to be loved are all there…and her audience is totally with her…She’s in great form, in excellent voice.. This is a very special concert that I know Tomatoes will love!

Sidebar: I spent an afternoon with a young Liza at the pool at the Dellwood Country Club (my parents were members) in 1965… She was a guest of one of the heads of the William Morris office, who introduced us. She had just opened in “Flora, The Red Menace” and it was her day off… She seemed anxious, and somewhat awkward… and did not present well..I remember her looking disheveled…And she didn’t like it when I compared her to Streisand…who was then starring in “Funny Girl”!   

Barry Manilow 2019 Concert

33 incredible minutes of Barry Manilow in Concert with the full BBC orchestra, from 2019… This ageless phenomenal entertainer will be 78 this coming June.  He does it all…he sings, he composes, he plays piano, he dances…the consummate all American entertainer…This is the abridged version of the longer concert he did on Broadway, which I saw…This is so much better as you can view it on your smart TV, up close and personal, and the sound is much better than when I saw him on Broadway… He performs his biggest hits and you just want to get up and sing and dance.. which is what many audience members felt compelled to do…If you like Manilow (and what Tomato doesn’t?) , you’ll absolutely love this video!

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

Wow…From 2016… Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons…with the BBC Orchestra… Frankie was 82 at the time, and in excellent voice… his Four Seasons backup group are very, very young… they look as though they just started shaving!  But Frankie still reaches those notes (prednisone, anyone??) and is in excellent voice… and he still moves like a young man.. 30 minutes of his biggest hits!

Sidebar: For several years, I produced the celebrity luncheons at the Friars Club and we honored Frankie… The main dining room at the Friars was packed to the rafters…But the disappointing news is that he didn’t sing that afternoon. He was interviewed by his opening act of many years, comedian Stewie Stone, who was hilarious and had Frankie sharing many behind the scenes stories.

Sidebar, too: Frankie knew me as “the good Randie”,as opposed to the not so good Randy, his ex-wife, who I’m sure went for the gold!  Still a great performer and a heckofa sweet man…

The “Other” Frankie Valli

Here’s Randie with John Lloyd Young, at 54 Below in 2020. John won the Tony Award, and every other theater award, for his starring as Frankie Valli in the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys”. He also starred as Frankie in the Clint Eastwood directed movie version. “He’ll always be my Frankie…and I’ll always be his Auntie Randie.”

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