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03.08.2015
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. The best of enemies: They've been arch rivals through 25 years of scandal, wild partying and dodgy boyfriends. I know many of you have put a lot of work in contributing to that section but we absolutely have no choice. Chapter 1 takes place between February and September 1933, and introduces young Woody Hazelbaker as a junior member of a Wall Street law firm in trouble thanks to the Depression. When Woody Hazelbaker got there at the end of the 1920s, he thought it grand, even after the breadlines that followed the Stock Market Crash in October a€?29: New York was Americaa€™s greatest and most bustling city, its port the gateway to the world. Owney Madden was no scientific genius like Professor Moriarty, but he handled things the same way. In Chapter 2, during the autumn of 1933, Woodya€™s deepening involvement with Owney Madden jars his cultural preconceptions loose when he visits the flagship of Maddena€™s nightclubs, the Cotton Club in Harlem. Club DeLuxe opened in 1920 at 142nd and Lenox Avenue, but Owney Madden bought it three years later and turned it into the Cotton Club, offering not only booze but the best jazz to be had, launching meteoric careers for Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and others. Bleecka€™s had opened as a speakeasy in the mid a€™20s, and though ruled with an iron hand by its irascible owner Jack Bleeck, it was instantly and permanently adopted by the newspapera€™s editors and reporters. Bleecka€™s saloon was a few paces from the Herald Tribunea€™s back door, a stonea€™s throw from Seventh Avenue. Nevertheless Walker and Beebe become important resources about New York social life for Woody, their perspectives stretching from the 1920s into the a€™40s.
Prohibition ends December 5th, 1933, just about when Harvard Club librarian Earle Walbridge a€” later a€?The Sussex Vampire,a€? BSI, and at his death in 1962 the only man whoa€™d attended every BSI dinner back to its a€?first formal meetinga€? in June a€™34 a€” takes Woody to Christ Cellaa€™s speakeasy on East 45th Street, where he meets Christopher Morley and some of his friends just as the nascent Baker Street Irregulars are about to burst out into the open. In Chapter 3, over the winter, Woody is incurably bitten by the Sherlock Holmes bug, but his work for Owney Madden is not done.
New York Police Commissioner Grover Whalen estimated in 1929 that there were 32,000 illegal speakeasies in the city. It will take all of $5.00 to pay for a dinner for two at Christ Cellaa€™s little hideaway restaurant in the basement of a brownstone front at 144 East Forty-fifth Street, just a block from Grand Central Palace.
Cella, sleek, brown-eyed and chunky, is a born innkeeper, though he gives mural painting as his profession. But in the early 1930s it was a speakeasy, where around a table in the kitchen Chris Morley and his Three-Hour Lunch Club friends met to drink, laugh and talk, gestating The Baker Street Irregulars.
He sat back and sipped the drink that Chris brought him, watching the room through half-closed eyes. The crew Woody met that day were about to bring the BSI out into the open, once Repeal took effect. In Chapter 4, stretching from spring to autumn, 1934, a chance meeting with Lucius Beebe at Bleecka€™s propels Woody into a more cosmopolitan circle at the Plaza Hotela€™s Mena€™s Bar. It still exists a€” known now as the Oak Room: a€?by far the hotela€™s most significantly historic space, virtually unchanged since the day the Plaza opened for business, Oct. It was then known as the Mena€™s Bar, an all-male enclave said to be the favorite room of the hotela€™s architect, Henry J.
For the next 70 years, it was patronized by some of the most celebrated folk of the 20th century. Alsop was younger than me, short and pudgy with a pale face and dark-rimmed glasses beneath thin brown hair. When the National Organization for Women decided to challenge the men-only policies at restaurants and clubs, it chose the Oak Room, which refused to serve women at lunch on weekdays, as a test case, knowing the kind of upscale publicity it would lend to the cause. The Mena€™s Bar Oak Room is sadly the only venue this chapter that still exists (with a close escape a few years ago when the Plazaa€™s barbarian redeveloper intended to gut it). If Ia€™d seen the place empty I might have wondered what the fuss was about, but it was busy when we arrived. Shake well with ice cubes and dash of orange bitters, twist of lemon peel and just a touch of sugar.
Owner John Perona and maA®tre da€™ Frank Carino made El Morocco, once a speakeasy, the place to go and be seen for all manner of celebrities, including Broadway and Hollywood stars. People kept stopping by to speak to Beebe, hoping to find themselves in his column the next day. I must have snickered, because he went on reprovingly: a€?Believe it or not, fortunes and careers are made by sitting at the right table. Beebe basked, and started to reply, when suddenly behind me a silvery voice spoke out of the blue.
In Chapter 5, December 1934 through the next several months, Woody attends the first Baker Street Irregulars dinner at Christ Cellaa€™s and solidifies his position in Chris Morleya€™s BSI. Suddenly, with an explosive burst so nobody would miss his entrance, Alexander Woollcott arrived.
Chapter 6 stretches from the spring of 1935 to New Yeara€™s Eve in 1936, more than a year and a half of political turbulence in America, and in Woodya€™s life as well. Woody attends the a€™36 annual dinner at Christ Cellaa€™s a€” neither he nor anyone else there realizing that it will be the last for four years. In the early 1930s the New Schoola€™s snazzy new Greenwich Village building, with an informal left-wing faculty and ties to outfits like the John Reed Clubs, was just the place for a Wall Street lawyer to validate his anti-Wall Street feelings, as long as he could duck.
Chris Morley looked down the table at me, elbows propped up on it and chin resting on tented hands.
After taking Diana to see After the Thin Man on New Yeara€™s Eve, he finds himself finally, truly, completely alone with Diana a€” and this time all escape cut off. And Diana snatched the paper from me, dropped it on top of the others, and pushed the entire stack off onto the floor. The consolation of BSI seems to be denied: there is no Annual Dinner in 1937 (nor will be in 1938 either). Pratt stood only 5'3", had thin receding red hair, and wore round-rimmed eyeglasses with tinted lenses.
In 1937 even Irregulars have foreign dangers on their minds, and not just those convening at the Mena€™s Bar Sundays for martinis and chicken soup. The British Empire may no longer be able to regard itself, as it reasonably could until 1914, as the leading power of the world; since we let opportunity slip through our fingers in the early twenties, it may be doubted if the world has had any leading power, which may be one of the things that is the matter with it.
When the crisis that ended with the abdication of Edward VIII had been quickly and smoothly settled the English indulged in a good deal of excusable self-congratulation. Americans are not particularly proud of their countrya€™s isolation from world politics, but do not see what else can be done about it at the moment. People who try to describe the Czechoslovak Republic in its nineteenth year seem driven to metaphor.
Diana has her own response: use her family money to fund groups opposed to Nazi aggression.
Everyone did after Benny Goodman took the Paramount Theater by storm, people clamoring for tickets nearly rioting in Sixth Avenue.
The first time I heard them do a€?Moonglowa€? it was three in the morning, Diana and me listening to the sweet haunting music through a dreamlike haze of smoke and alcohol.
Bleecka€™s had opened as a speakeasy in the mid a€™20s, and thoughA  ruled with an iron hand by its irascible owner Jack Bleeck, it was instantly and permanently adopted by the newspapera€™s editors and reporters. A A A  Cella, sleek, brown-eyed and chunky, is a born innkeeper, though he gives mural painting as his profession.
A A A  He sat back and sipped the drink that Chris brought him, watching the room through half-closed eyes. With the World Series beginning tonight, everyone is hyper aware of baseball, and none more than in NYC when the Yankees are in the World Series.
At the end of this week, we sadly bid farewell to our beloved Laura Osnes as Nellie Forbush. On May 10th, five of us boys sang a Musical Mother-Medley at a benefit concert called a€?When Youa€™re Good To Mamaa€? at The Center.
The next day, ten of us guys from the show took the subway out to Citifield and got to sing the National Anthem at the Mets vs. Softball season has started up, and the Broadway Show League plays in Central Park every Thursday. April 1: Members of the original 1949 Broadway and tour companies of South Pacific attended our matinee in honor of the 60th Anniversary of the show.
Today, Garrett Long is taking over Nellie for one performance before Laura Osnes steps into the role on Tuesday. As January 22nd approached, the original cast was abuzz with the realization that they were approaching the year anniversary since their first day of rehearsal. On Monday, our first day of two performances, we had a quick tech rehearsal during the day, and then performance at 4:30pm.
It was exciting to hear the sounds of the other casts: In The Heights, White Christmas echoing though the canyon streets as they performed.
So, I guess our show is the hot show to see in Hollywood because any celebrity that breezes through NYC from LA seems to catch our show. Later that same week, I was watching the show from the house, and after a€?Damesa€?, I noticed one of the Seabees limp offstage. So, now Ia€™ve had the experience of going on for 5 different guys, going on at a moments notice, and doing different tracks within the same week. As if that all wasna€™t exciting and crazy enough, on Thursday the 26th, Lincoln Center filmed their Video Archive of the show.
Our first big audience attendance drop-off since we opened happened the week after Labor Day. He gets a chance (and despite trepidations, takes it) to hang on by undertaking work for a clandestine client, the kind his firm would never accept in good times: bootlegger Owney Madden, and his No.
What I knew about them came from Walter Winchell in the Mirror and movies like Little Caesar.
Owney Madden was in the bootlegging business and everything else that went with it, including his chief aide and enforcer Big Frenchy DeMange. Black entertainers performing for strictly white audiences reflects the eraa€™s racial segregation, but the Cluba€™s showcasing of brilliant talent helps make jazz a national treasure. Beside the entrance was a tarnished brass plaque saying a€?Artists and Writersa€? a€” the admission policy? It finally comes to an end a year after it started, with Madden retiring from the rackets in New York and departing for a new life elsewhere. Lexington Avenue could still be followed south to 45th Street; and on 45th Street Chris Cellini should still be entertaining his friends unless a tidal wave had removed him catastrophically from the trade he loved . The kitchen was the supplement to the one small dining room that the place boasteda€”it was the sanctum sanctorum, a rendezvous that was more like a club than anything else, where those who were privileged to enter found a boisterous hospitality undreamed of in the starched expensive restaurants, where the diners are merely so many intruders, to be fed at a price and bowed stiffly out again. The flash of jest and repartee, the crescendo of discussion and the ring of laughter, came to his ears like the echo of an unforgettable song. On the far side, back to the wall, was a burly man with a broad hearty face, thick brown hair, and lively eyes full of mischief. 1, 1907,a€? wrote the Times five years ago (a€?What Would Eloise Say?a€? by Curtis Gathje, Jan. One day in February 1969, Betty Friedan and several other women swept past the Oak Rooma€™s maA®tre da€™ and sat down at a table. The Biltmore Hotel is gone, turned into office space despite protected-landmark status at the time.
I froze, then scuttled out sideways like a crab, and turned to face the most stunning girl Ia€™d ever seen.
At Decembera€™s BSI dinner, he observes a Worlda€™s Champ and a Fabulous Monster, both of whom he will meet again, but more importantly he makes a new friend for life in Basil Davenport. Everybody knew his face from magazines and high piping voice from the radio a€” and some people hated both.
Woollcott and Morley might be rival bookmen, but Chris didna€™t look half as annoyed as Bob. One of his dislikes was Alexander Woollcott, whose presence at the December 7, 1934, annual dinner Leavitt always insisted was uninvited, unwanted, and obnoxious. Woody can use one: his regained professional calm is jolted the self-possessed young heiress he met at El Morocco has daddy switch his legal work to Woody. The still young phenomenon of radio carries not only FDRa€™s reassuring Fireside Chats into American homes, but also the demagoguery of former Louisiana Governor, now Senator, Huey a€?Kingfisha€? Long, and the maverick priest Father Charles Coughlin.
Not only cana€™t he get started with Diana, he doesna€™t even seem to have her attention when theya€™re together a€” and is silly enough to look for answers in the movies, as if life were one big screwball comedy. For some it was Shirley Temple, for others Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, for more than you could count Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Diana is beautiful and wealthy, but comes with a father-in-law whose politics Woody can barely abide. But Woody and some others, instead of shrugging, organize occasional Irregular three-hour lunches of their own. But into those sessions now is injected an isolationist note even Anglophiles like Elmer and Woody cana€™t ignore, from Chris Morleya€™s brother Felix, a€?the Second Garrideb,a€? editor of the Washington Post sharply critical of FDR and his policies.


Elmer Davis gives up fiction to write serious foreign policy articles for Harpera€™s Magazine, about the dangers in store for an indifferent and unprepared America. Not only had they disposed of a troublesome situation with less fuss than almost any other nation would have made over ita€”the reaction abroad, they told one another, had demonstrated that all men of good will realized that the stability of England was vitally essential to the stability of a somewhat unsteady world.
You still meet Europeans who ask you why America does not come into the League and help to do something about world peace; but most of them, after recent collapses of the system of collective security, know why, and only wish that they could do as we do.
President BenA?s, in his radio broadcast last Christmas Eve, said that a€?Czechoslovakia stands like a lighthouse high on a cliff with the waves crashing around ita€”a democracy that has the mission to keep the flag of peace, freedom, and toleration flying in Central Europe.a€? The propaganda German radio stations and newspapers have been pouring out for months sees the country as a a€?sally port of Bolshevism,a€? And K.
It is a great annual event for the Broadway community to sell paraphernalia from different shows and raise money for a good cause. By now the show doesna€™t have a a€?newa€™ feeling for me anymore, but I still cherish the experience. There were 4 guys out of the show a€“ I split 3 of them and George, the other swing did one of the tracks and part of the others. The South Pacific guys were generally healthy and not taking personal days, and I found myself experiencing a rare dry spell from being onstage. On April 26th, the producers threw a beautiful One Year Anniversary party for the show at a rooftop lounge near Madison Square Park. Current cast members introduced their original counterparts during the curtain call, and an onstage press event was held afterward.
Garrett is one of the Nellie understudies, but the cast joked that since Kelli is technically gone, and Laura doesn't start until Tuesday, that Garrett is the "STAR" of South Pacific for one day! I was onstage practically every performance between mid November and Christmas for one reason or another. Having a show the night before, I had about 4 hours of a€?unconciousnessa€? before I had to be at the theater at 5:30am. I was called an hour before the show to confirm I was going on for the guy Ia€™d been on for all week. Now that the Tony Awards are over, Stage Management is starting to swing cast members out of the show so they can see the show and to give them a rest. The week between finding out I had the job as the new male swing on Broadway in South Pacific and my first day of rehearsal was full of excitement a€“ phone calls, emails, texts, writing a bio, filling out tax forms, etc.
I had an opportunity to do the role for 7 performances last summer,and I fell in love with the part and the musical. It was a huge production with stars and chorus people from a bunch of Broadway shows.A  I don't know how much they earned but the house was full!A  The Gershwin Theatre, where Wicked plays, is a fun theater to perform in. Of the original cast, three left when I arrived, we lost another about a month ago, one is on a month's leave to film a TV pilot in Los Angeles, and two of our 'nurses' are leaving soon.
Member of Hudson Dusters gang, convicted twice of safecracking with 13 arrests total, including one for murder. And as winter approaches Woody makes a third discovery that will change his life for good, this time at the Harvard Club library: Vincent Starretta€™s brand-new and magically evocative book, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Ellingtona€™s a€?Cotton Club Stompa€? captured the beat and drive as well as the venue and era.
Astora€™s Horse (1935) are available today; The Night Club Era especially evokes the New York popular culture in which the BSI gestated and was being born in the early a€™Thirties.
Woody has weathered the Depressiona€™s worst year and learned a lot a€” but the ending of his clandestine association with Owney and Frenchy DeMange leaves him feeling blue. One was opened in a brownstone at 144 East 45th Street in 1926 by an Italian immigrant named Christopher Cella, whose boyhood friend Mike Fischetti was on the NYPDa€™s a€?Italian Squad,a€? one of the toughest cops in town. Although there were no familiar faces seated round the big communal table, the Saint felt the reawakening of an old happiness as he stepped into the brightly lighted room, with the smell of tobacco and wine and steaming vegetables and the clatter of plates and pans. It was the same as it had always beena€”the same humorous camaraderie presided over and kept vigorously alive by Chrisa€™s own unchanging geniality. Its German Renaissance design features walls of sable-dyed English oak, frescoes of Bavarian castles, faux wine casks carved into the woodwork and a grape-laden chandelier topped by a barmaid hoisting a stein. Cohan, the Broadway hyphenate, a composer-playwright-actor-producer-theater owner, and the only person ever awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for a song, the rousing World War I anthem, a€?Over There.a€? Cohan made the Oak Room his pre-theater headquarters, his preferred table being a booth in its northwest corner. There was an air of privilege about him even in the way he held his drink and his cigarette. The waitersa€™ response was to remove the table, leaving the women sitting awkwardly in a circle. Banquettes along the walls, and backs and seats of chairs, were in the blue zebra print identifying El Morocco in newspaper pictures.
At a podium outside the arch, the maA®tre da€™ greeted us and led us inside, where Beebe was perched on a stool watching a bartender perform with a cocktail shaker. On his favor and discretion hang feuds, romances, careers, ambitions, the very foundations of the most bitterly jealous and competitive social hierarchy of our generation.
She looked at me with indignation, rubbing the top of one gold-sandaled foot against the back of her other ankle. His acquaintance with Elmer Davis moves beyond the BSI into other realms, and Woody comes to understand what Morley had told him: they do all have Sherlock Holmes in common, but the BSI is primarily about friendship.
But a September 9, 1938, letter from Elmer Davis to Vincent Starrett gives a different impression: an older friend of Morleya€™s than Leavitt, Davis took up merrily with Woollcott that night. While Elmer Davis worries about a native despot poised for the a€™36 elections, Woodya€™s worries are closer to home.
For me, it was one romantic comedy of William Powella€™s after another until my mind turned to mush. Yet Ambrose Converse is also his most important client now, as if Jimmy Stewart had gone to work for old buzzard Potter in Ita€™s a Wonderful Life. The big stories were the Prince of Walesa€™ abdication, Italy invading Ethiopia, and FDRa€™s new term. Four columns were marching on the city with a a€?fifth columna€? inside it waiting to strike like a snake. To Basil Davenport, Peter Greig, Earle Walbridge, and Dave Randall are added two more, one a kinsprit already, the other someone who will become important to Woody as the world drifts closer to war. Wiry and muscular, with a neatly clipped mustache, he resembled a wary bird whoa€™d bite off any finger poked in his direction.
I believe that every democratic nation in Europe today would get out of Europe and stay out if it could; out of the neighborhood of Germany . But for them both, 1937 is their newlywed year a€” out on the town, taking in the movies, seeking out the coolest jive joints with the hottest jazz, and going dancing with the Age of Swing in full blast. One night I overheard a callow youth say something to his girl about a€?shaming the old folks off the floor,a€? and realized in dismay that he meant me.
He said he could play drunk because he practiced drunk, and he sure could play, but we were watching self-destruction right before our eyes. We went on that way into 1938, celebrating our first anniversary without even a BSI dinner to break the mood.
I saw lots of friends in other shows, as well as friends just there shopping, and celebrities.
But that week is typically a bad week for Broadway because school has restarted, and a lull happens before the holiday crowds start coming in. When an audience is particularly responsive, or if they cheer especially loud during curtain call, Ia€™m reminded what a special experience this is. Our director, Bartlett Sher will restage the entire production in order to fit inside a proscenium stage, rather than Lincoln Centera€™s thrust. In that year, Ia€™ve performed in 175 performances in 9 different roles (and a bit of a 10th). What made it particularly challenging was that it was the 3 guys I have the least experience with (and one I had never been on for before). It was a great to be on the whole week before I took a short medical leave for a bit of surgery. It was a gorgeous warm night a€“ one of those times in my life that I look out over the skyline of New York City and think how far this guy from small town Missouri has come. By the 2nd show (2 show day), Kelli's dressing room door was littered with letters and drawings. A a€?gypsya€? is a slang term for a Broadway chorus person, and this performance is a chance for all the gypsies of the Broadway community to perform their talents outside the show. The lower lounge at the New Amsterdam Theater was crammed full of performers, stepping over one another stretching, putting make-up on, snapping pictures a€“ like the backstage of a school talent show.
Ted Sperling, our conductor, pitched it back onstage, but because there is audience on 3 sides of our stage, the hat overshot and landed in the audience Stage Left. Ita€™s a treat for the actors to see the show that they are in, and it gives us swings a chance to perform. Even a call from the stage manager giving me the time for the first day of rehearsal gave me a thrill. I attended the South Pacific Tony Party at Oa€™Neilla€™s Restaurant across from Lincoln Center.
I was riding my bike when I got the call, which will now and forever be known as the a€?Best Bike-ride Evera€?. Last summer, when I took the role, there is that terrifying moment when I accepted the job thinking: Am I really going to be nude onstage? When an audience is particularly responsive, or if they cheer especially loud during curtain call, Ia€™m reminded what a special experience this is.A  The national tour of our show is going out in September. For the green and rather innocent Woody, Madden, DeMange, and the work prove quite an education.
Then decades later, in Francis Ford Coppolaa€™s 1984 movie The Cotton Club, its life and times were recreated superbly, with Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne playing Owney Madden and Frenchy DeMange. A chorus line of nearly naked colored girls ran out onto the stage and went into a routine never seen south of Central Park.
Its big room, mahogany, brass and mirrors with a forty-foot bar, served as clubhouse for Trib reporters and editors. Tables are covered with clean white cotton cloths and the waiters wear long white linen aprons that flap about their ankles. It took him back at one leap to the ambrosial nights of drinking and endless argument, when all philosophies had been probed and all the worlda€™s problems settled, that he had known in that homely place.
Why were there not more places like that in the world, he began to wondera€”places where a host was more than a shop-keeper, and men threw off their cares and talked and laughed openly together, without fear or suspicion, expanding cleanly and fruitfully in the glow of wine and fellowship? It drove me across town to East 39th, the wet streets dark and nearly deserted at that hour.
Offering a fine view of all comings and goings, it became known as the Cohan Corner, where the great man was courted by theatrical types looking for work. A man at a nearby booth offered breadsticks, which were declined, and the group decamped to form a picket line in front of the hotel.
But the movie Woody saw there that night has lasted: The Thin Man, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Ita€™s comical that the Nobel Committee gives its Peace Prize to do-gooders like Jane Addams.
Ia€™d struggled through it in high school; they talked about Horace as if he were a mutual friend. So Woody dwells uncomfortably in a higher social and economic stratum of an increasingly disturbing world, as he takes stock of it when they return from their honeymoon. Fierce debate had started over his court-packing scheme, to circumvent the Supreme Courta€™s a€?nine old mena€? striking down one New Deal program after another.
Frank of the Czechoslovak parliament, a German belonging to the half-Hitlerized Sudetendeutsche Partei, has said that the state must be a€?either a bridge between Germany and the southeast or a barricade against Germany.a€? . But when I walked into a jive joint with Diana, nobody took me for a rootietoot, let alone a lawyer.
He had an about-town column in the Herald Tribune called a€?This New York.a€? It wasna€™t Woody Hazelbakera€™s New York. The set will be reduced and scaled differently (a full war plane wona€™t be able to fit on the tour- perhaps a scaled down version).
The next day was my birthday, (which was our day off), so on Tuesday the cast had cake for me. Ita€™s tough to balance both, so as much as I love it, Ia€™m glad to take a break from bowling until the fall. And in the few days that she's been around us in rehearsals and backstage, she has immediately endeared herself to us. Once in awhile (hopefully a very long while) life throws a curveball, and I had to take a medical leave from the show starting on January 22nd. Often this takes the form of comedic skits poking fun at themselves, another show, or at the community a€“ much like a roast.
Most of us watched the show, and left a few numbers before ours to get into microphones and get backstage. After 2 weeks of rehearsals, I was officially part of the show as the new male swing on June 24th.


So I went on for a new track last night (different from the one I was on for last week.) This was my first experience ever switching tracks, and it was a bit scary. The first week of rehearsal passed quickly, and yet was so full that by the end it felt a lot longer than a week.
Ia€™ve been working towards this watershed in my career for 14 years a€“ or perhaps even longer.
But anyone who knows the show, knows that the nudity is so fast, the audience is so wound up, and there is so much to look at (no pun intended), that it is barely seen. Rehearsals start in late August, and three of our guys are leaving our production for the road: Eric Christian, Mike Evariste, and Genson Blimline.
But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized.a€? Same with Madden, and I discovered a separate and different world beneath the surface. Formed alliance with Tammany Hall chieftain Jimmy Hines, went into bootlegging including many speakeasies and night clubs. Kidnapped and held for ransom by a€?Mad Doga€? Coll in 1931 (an unwise career move on the lattera€™s part). It was nearly empty at eleven in the morning, but even busy I couldna€™t have missed Walker halfway down the bar, next to an arresting sight: another man dressed, at that hour of the day, in white tie and tails. I carried the briefcases when we got there, and Owneya€™s driver lugged the rest up to my apartment. After his death in 1942, a bronze plaque was installed to commemorate his tenure; it still hangs there today.
As the evening wore on and more and more people arrived, additional tables and chairs were brought out and placed on the dance floor until it almost disappeared. When I finally got a word in edgewise and asked what the hell, Basil shrugged off a€?two perfectly useless degreesa€? in classics from Yale and Oxford. Bradford, another Thin Man imitation, had come out while Diana was in Europe, but when she got back I took her to My Man Godfrey at Radio City. Enlarging the Court had peoplea€™s backs up, while others felt the Court was so pre-Depression in make-up, it might as well be the Dark Ages. It was the New York of El Morocco by night, people with plenty of money despite the Depression, Broadway openings instead of bank closings, charity scavenger hunts instead of breadlines, uninterrupted self-indulgence instead of the dole. There was a whoop from a contingent in the audience - clearly some Phillies fans in the crowd. I think they were very nervous having the Broadway cast there watching (I certainly would be if I was in their position.) But we all feel strangely like proud parents (or big siblings?) of the tour cast getting their great reviews. But we are also thrilled to welcome back Kelli Oa€™Hara to our show October 13th through the end of the year. The sheer size of the Broadway production allows for such an emersion into the environment of the island. We were ushered to our talent trailers which were nice and warm and thankfully stocked with coffee and muffins. Once again, the dressers held our coats as we ran to places, waving to the crowd in the stands. Some of the cast jokingly said it was the a€?Greg Roderick Showa€? because it seemed like I was all over the stagea€¦and sometimes I was. It was totally surreal to be watching the show one minute, and then have a costume thrown on and find myself walking onstage about 10 minutes later! Through the rehearsal process, you build up to it, so by the time you actually get to the unveiling, you are really ready for it.
It's like jumping off a cliff - exhilarating, scary, and so much fun that you want to do it again.
When they leave, about half the male ensemble will have been replaced from the original cast. But she is leaving us for the happy occasion of having a baby.A  We had a goodbye cake for her at intermission. The list read something like this: Laura Marie Duncan is on for Kelli Oa€™Hara, Wendi Bergamini is on for Laura Marie Duncan, Andrew Samonsky is on for Matt Morrison, Branch Fields is on for Andrew Samonsky, George Merrick is on for Sean Cullen, George Psomas is on for George Merrick, Greg Roderick is on for Nick Mayo, Emily Morales is on for Li Jun Li, Emilya€™s track is cut, Charlie Brady will be playing a€?Buzz Adams and Shore Patrolmana€™.A  There were so many faces in different places on stage last night, no one knew who anyone was! Owney Madden grew up in the part of New York called Hella€™s Kitchen, and had been in the rackets since he was a kid, starting with one of its Irish gangs, The Gophers. He held a drink in one hand, a cigar in the other, and on the surface of the bar rested a silk top hat. I hung up my hat and coat, opened the briefcase Owney had given me and gazed at the money again, then stashed it in the back of my closet.
Then as I started thinking of him as a pudgy intellectual, he said something to Gene Tunney across the table about their boxing a few rounds at the Yale Club before coming to Cellaa€™s.
He and drummer Gene Krupa were from his band, but the others were colored musicians, cool Teddy Wilson on piano and excited Lionel Hampton on vibes, the first mixed group wea€™d seen. On Memorial Day, the South Pacific guys sang a€?Nothing Like A Damea€? at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum - an aircraft carrier docked in the Hudson River at the end of 45th St. South Pacifica€™s entry was a comedy sketch centered around the Terminator movies, gently poking fun at three talented actors that seem to always play the leads in the Sondheim revivals.
Luckily it was two of my main guys, so I knew the parts very well and fairly easily combined them in my mind. They were incredibly gracious and came backstage to shake every cast and crew members' hand.
As a trade-off, I gave the other swing one of my performances that I had slated down the road.
One of our guys was nursing a hurt knee, and I ended up going on for him 6 times last week! I will be going into the hit Broadway revival of South Pacific at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Ultimately, the moment that is far scarier than the quick 'reveal' at the end is the entire chorus of the song we sing leading up to the reveal dancing around in nothing but a pair of boots and a red g-string. The other swing had been switched into the track I had been on for because it was much less physically demanding and he was nursing a hurt knee.
He had to eat; and in all the world there are no steaks like the steaks Chris Cellini broils over an open fire with his own hands. Author: History of the New York Times, 1921, Times Have Changed, 1923, Ia€™ll Show You the Town, 1924, Friends of Mr. I loosened my tie, poured myself a stiff drink, and sat down beside a window a€” sat there a long time, the untasted drink in my hand, listening to it rain. Anyone whoa€™d box Gene Tunney for funa€” I gave up, and went and got another drink myself. Powell was a stockbroker down on his luck, plucked out of a hobo jungle to butler for the nuttiest family on Fifth Avenue. No sexy?a€? A little unintentional baseball rivalry talk right in the middle of South Pacific.
This was in honor of Fleet Week when thousands of naval troops and officers descend on New York City for a weeka€™s leave. Most people outside the Industry really wouldna€™t get it, but usually the audience is mostly filled with show biz folk. By then the crowds had grown quite a bit, and our dressers held our coats while we jumped around to keep ourselves warm.
Certain parts were cut, of course, when one of the two had a more necessary moment onstage.
I've also personally met George Wendt (Norm from Cheers), Ted Danson & Mary Steenbergen, Pierce Brosnon, Allison Janney, and Daniel Radcliffe. New Years is overrated anyway, so it was nice to be busy until an hour before midnight.A  On New Years Day evening, Kelli O'Hara, our leading lady, called us to the greenroom to announce that she's pregnant.
And she's tiny, about the height of an average 10-year-old.A  She loved the show, and had some pictures taken with some of our sailors for the newspapers.
Certain parts were cut, of course, when one of the two had a more necessary moment onstage.A  But having passed my 4th month with the show, I still feel like the time has flown, and I know the show so well now that ita€™s not very stressful going on at a moment's notice. Before the show, I had to run up onstage and mentally switch gears into the new track, tracing my blocking onstage while ushers stuffed flyers into programs. Staff New York Herald Tribune since 1929; writer, syndicated column a€?This New Yorka€? since 1933. 1919; professional boxer, 1919-1928, World Heavyweight Champ, 1926-28, a€?Fighter of the Year,a€? 1928, retired undefeated that year. The Times called Lombarda€™s Irene a€?a one-track mind with grass growing over its rails,a€? but that was a damn sight better than her mean sister Cornelia.
Ita€™s easy to transport yourself to the island when you are standing in the middle of the stage surrounded by the ocean, the sky, the sound of the waves, the palm tree and sand dune.
A battalion of photographers lined the a€?49-ersa€? up at the bottom of the sand dune, with the a€?09-ersa€? layered on the dune above them.
With sweaty palms and racing heart, we stepped out onto the dark stage after our introduction. We ran the number twice through with some adjustments from our director, Bartlett Sher, as to which camera to focus on when, etc. The only thing I can possibly think of that it might compare to is someonea€™s wedding day.
Of course I mentally beat-myself-up afterwards for it, but my mind had been on all the stuff I had to remember. A battalion of photographers lined the a€?49-ersa€? up at the bottom of the sand dune, with the a€?09-ersa€? layered on the dune above them.A  To think most of these people had not seen each other for 60 years.
Afterwards, we all gathered at a restaurant across the street from Lincoln Center to socialize and say our goodbyes one last time. But Laura has got a captivating personality, sings like a bird, and is going to be terrific in the role of Nellie. Member Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Wine & Food Society of America, Republican.
It was a big, blurry, adrenaline-filled, fun, exciting, slightly-scary, and wholly magical moment in my life.
But the audience is screaming, and laughing, and the live energy is so great, that it's worth it.
Even in rehearsal she was already making it her own, and doing some different things than Kelli. We never actually march in the parade.) As the commercial break ended, we heard Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera introduce us, and our music play. So not only was it overwhelming making my Broadway debut, but I had to work on the social aspect of coming into a tight-knit company. Except for a couple minor boo-boos like putting a prop back on the wrong prop table, the show went smoothly.
As male swing, Ia€™ve got 5 primary tracks and 5 secondary tracks to cover (meaning if the other male swing is already on for one of his guys and another one goes out, I cover his primary tracks as a back-up). I know other shows that have nudity in it, (having been in the audience), they just watch in uncomfortable silence as the clothes come off. Founded, with Cleon Throckmorton, Hoboken Theatrical Co., 1928, producing revivals of a€?After Dark,a€? a€?The Black Crook,a€? etc. Wea€™ve been a tight group of guys for 6 months (some for 10 months) and the dynamic will be changing. The paparazzi was waiting outside our stage door at least 2 hours before the show and they were there afterwards too.
The a€?Montya€™s were recognized wherever we went a€“ usually met with a slight smirk and a giggle. But the show ended on a high note a€“ It turns out I had FOUR friends in the audience that night, purely by chance. Guggenheim Fellow, League of Nations, Geneva, 1928-29, dir., Geneva office, League of Nations Assoc. South Pacific came in 3rd for fundraising for Broadway Cares, and the total of all the shows brought in over $3 million dollars. Afterwards, we were rushed off set, grabbed our coats and bussed back to the theater to get out of costume.
Here in New York, most head off to their homes and their lives and their own friends (as do I).
I live near the theater, and within a half hour after performing for 50 million people nationwide, I was back home and catching a two hour nap before my own Thanksgiving festivities.




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