“Streisand’s support of Abzug culminated that year in her headlining the “Broadway for Bella” concert at Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum on November 1, 1970. My dear friend John Richkus, whom I’ve known since the early 1980s, recently reminded me that he actually went to the “Broadway for Bella” concert. I was fascinated as he shared his memories of how he attended the concert by himself, not just because it was full of anecdotal theater lore, but also because as he told me the story, I realized it was a turning point in his life; you see John was only thirteen years old in November, 1970.”
“Liza was still in her fine mid-1990s post-Betty Ford fighting form, but Luciano is just a quivering lump of bearded vibrato.”
“I ended up gifting the finished Liza Box to my little brother Robbie for Christmas that year. To gild the Minne-lily, I filled the box with all matter of Liza loot, including VHS copies of Rent-A-Cop and Arthur 2 from my personal collection and, the jewel in the crown, a customized Liza snow globe that played “New York, New York.” This feature gave me an unexpected thrill because the shaking movement required to activate the snow seemed to push Liza’s already erratic vibrato into previously uncharted tremulous territory.”
Being a lifelong outsider had informed everything about Lauper’s work, both musical and philanthropic. Her empathy has motivated her tireless work on behalf of the LGBT community over the years, despite being neither L, G, B, or T. She is only “C,” for “Cyndi,” but wholly “one of us.”
For International Women’s Day, I thought it might be interesting to drag the Texas-based burger chain Whataburger into the 21st-century and give them a little of the #MeToo treatment. In this case, it should be #Hertoo, because the illustrated history of the brand that adorns the wall of each location is absurdly sexist and factually misleading.
Victoria Principal (actress), 17 years old: “It was a month before my eighteeenth birthday that I finally lost my virginity….We were in the front seat. To have gotten in the back would have seemed to premeditated and I was still holding on to some vestige of propriety. It was very short and there was no particular pain or pleasure, no particular physical sensation. In fact, afterward I thought, ‘Jesus, there’s got to be more than this. If not, I’m going back to the other stuff because petting was a lot of fun.'”
Which leads me back to the great Totie Fields. Perhaps her greatest moment was the time she made mincemeat of Kiss’ Gene Simmons on the Mike Douglas show in 1974. Only during that era could you even have two disparate entities like Totie Fields and Gene Simmons inhabiting the same stage; they were simply from two totally different planets, she from the Catskills and he from Mars. Or were they?
In 1978, Ethel’s voice was still as efficient a killing machine as it was in the 1930s. Taking aim on the lovely set decorated for Christmas, Merm launches into the Strouse/Charnin standard with the intensity of a category five hurricane and proceeds to do to Sesame Street in 1978 what Godzilla did to Tokyo in 1956.
“I am so enamored of ‘Something about December’ because of its beautiful melody and simple, heartfelt lyrics. The song and production have an elegance and ease about them. Christina Perri ballad is a wonderful example of the importance of economy in songwriting.”
Ben Platt’s performance is a potent reminder that excellence in vocal performance is about communicating, evoking feeling, and connecting emotionally. Good singing in any context, but especially in the theater, depends on singing well but also to greater or lesser degrees, on skillful acting; Ben Platt is both.