Monday, November 20, 2006

CABARET OPENS ON BROADWAY AND HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY TO KAYE BALLARD AND ROBERT KENNEDY







On this day forty years ago, the first musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb opened at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City starring the incredible Joel Grey as "The Emcee" The initial production was produced AND directed by Hal Prince and ran for three years (1966-1969) Bert Convy (remember him?) played Clifford Bradshaw and Jill Hayworth played Sally Bowes. It was the show that launched Kander and Ebb's career. Veteran star Jack Gilford was also in the production. There was a 1987 revival that also starred Joel Grey as The Emcee. The story takes place in Berlin in the years 1929-1930 when Hitler had just taken power in Germany. the 1998 revival starred the amazing Allan Cumming as "The Emcee" For me, however (as much as i love an original Broadway show) it was the 1971 movie version that made it for me. That movie of course won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1971. The movie version of course made the Sally Bowes character a very talented performer whereas in the stage version, she is only marginally so. The subplot involving the landlady is gone and the movie really focuses dead on to the issues being portrayed. Recently, another revival has starred Neil Patrick Harris as "Emcee". He really looks strange in that getup-- but hey, a great Broadway musical has lots of room for very different interpretations. One can only point to new recent adaptations of "Sweeney Todd" or "Company" to illustrate that point. Today is also the birthday of legendary comedian Kaye Ballard. Kaye is eighty years old today. She has those amzingingly beautiful blue eyes and an incredible smile! I remember her from the classic television show "The Mothers-In-Law" from the 1960's. Her classic routines are some of the funniest ever! And today, had he lived, Robert Kennedy would have been eighty-one years old. To me, Robert Kennedy's legacy still lives. I remember that fateful night when he was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. I had just gone to bed and my mother who was a night owl was listening to the radio in her bedroom. All of a sudden, I hear her cry out "My God, they've shot Robert Kennedy!" I got up and watched with her on television in horror that awful June morning. How different would this world have been if this sweet gentle man had become president of the United States. Who knows? But i do think that the Vietnam war would have come to a screeching halt. Well the Christmas retail season starts with a bang this week and I'm hoping I will sell very well this week. I have a big expense that needs to be paid for, but with God's help, I will get through this!

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