Thursday, February 9, 2012

Boynton Beach Club: From Movie to Stage!

"Here are the values I stand for: I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you'd want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That's what I stand for." - Ellen DeGeneres
Happy Thursday! 
I've learned an incredible amount about life in my time here in New York and continue to learn more and more every day. The older I get, the more baffled I am by human behavior. 
As someone who is fast approaching 51...any minute now, I embrace getting older. Every year is a gift AND I have amazing role models: Carol Channing, Marge Champion, Ervin Drake (ALL in their 90s...and their prime!) ...and Harry Kullijian , till the day he passed on.  I won't say died because he is very much still with me. I constantly learn from each of them about embracing life at any age. Tonight, I will be seeing for the fifth time Dori Berinstein's incredible documentary, Carol Channing: Larger Than Life.  Yes, I love the film, however, my reason for attending tonight is because of the talk back session at the end of the film with Dori Berenstein and Tommy Tune.Tommy is also in the prime of his life. As I sit and type these words, I am listening to Tony Bennett in the background. Talk about someone in the prime of his life! A couple of nights ago on PBS, I saw Jane Fonda discussing her latest book, Primetime. She does consider this her primetime and has essentially drawn her life into three acts, ACT ONE is up to 30, ACT TWO is 30 to 60, and ACT THREE is 60 and beyond. I've enjoyed being 50 and I am looking forward to 51. 
A few days ago I wrote about Michael Colby, who is the lyricist for a musical version of the Boynton Beach Club based on the movie of the same name. First, "The Boynton Beach Club" was a movie in 2005. BOYNTON BEACH CLUB is a new musical spotlighting how people today are aging differently than in the past.
In case you never saw the movie, it is about a group of people who were now in act two and act three of their lives. Michael, along with composer Ned Ginsburg, have been working on this, according to Ned, for five years. In 2009, there was a staged reading at the York Theatre Company here in New York. Most of the cast of that reading have remained intact as it moves to the next level. 
On Tuesday morning, I was invited by Michael and director Pam Hunt to come to a read through at the Davenport rehearsal studios in New York. This was without any staging and I did not hear any of the songs. I have to admit that I have never seen the movie. Susan And Florence Seidelman, who wrote the screenplay for the movie, have also written the libretto. SUSAN SEIDELMAN (Book) is best known for her work as a film director. She began her filmmaking career as an NYU student in the mid 1970s. In 1982 she directed her first low-budget feature film, SMITHEREENS, about the early punk rock scene set in New York’s Lower East Side. This became the first American “Independent” film to be accepted into the Official Competition of the Cannes Film Festival. 
I have to say in all honesty, that it is quite funny. As stated earlier, it is about a group of people in the later stages of their lives. 
I envy the audiences at the Park Vista Theater in Lake Worth, Florida, who will get the opportunity to see a staged concert version of the show this weekend. It was great to see two of my favorites among the cast, Barbara Minkus, the subject of Monday's blog, and Heather McRae, who I would love to do a future blog on. Heather MacRae is perhaps best known for her role in the Woody Allen 1972 comedy film Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask).
There is always an excitement of being in a rehearsal studio of of a group of actors sitting in a circle and conveying the written word of the script and being able to convey the intent of the creative team with no costumes, no props, and no movement. If the actors totally embody the characters they are portraying, it will work. Tuesday's read through prove this to me once again. Liberal portions of this blog are taken verbatim from the official website. Time constraints prohibited cast interviews. My goal with this blog is to give a huge appetizer in anticipation of this weekend's Florida concert treatment of this show.
BOYNTON BEACH CLUB is a musical romantic comedy about people’s amazing capacity to rebound and fall in love—at any age. It’s the story of aging Baby Boomers who live in a retirement community in Boynton Beach, South Florida. 
Their lives intersect at a local Bereavement Club, where many have gone to find emotional support and companionship after the loss of a loved one. Soon they find themselves back in the “dating game” after decades of married life—only to discover that all the rules have changed.
Barbara Ann Walsh
In the film, Dyan Cannon portrays Lois Paulson. In the musical Barbara Ann Walsh plays Lois, a sexy and outgoing 60-year old widow who finds herself romantically involved with Donald Best (portrayed in the film by Michael Nouri and here by Alan Campbell), a slightly “younger” man she meets at a coffee shop. Handsome, charming, and successful, he’s almost too good to be true. Lois also befriends Marilyn Carter, ( portrayed here by Heather McRae, in film by Brenda Vaccaro), a traditional housewife, who was deeply dependent on her husband, Marty (Jerold Goldstein here in a scene in which Marilyn is speaking to her late husband after confronting the woman who killed him while talking on a cell phone) .
After Marty’s death in a tragic accident, Marilyn tries to cope with her new-found independence. Then there’s Harry Fanelli (played by Stephen Berger here/Joseph Bologna in the film), an aging, self-professed Lothario hooked on computer dating. 
Finally, there’s Jack Goodman(in the film portrayed by Len Cariou/here by Mark Zimmerman), a Jewish widower, who’s devoted to the memory of his deceased wife. 
Jack is surprised to find he’s reluctantly falling for Sandy Wills (Janice Lynd here/film by Sally Kellerman), a striking woman he meets at the Bereavement Club, with a secret in her past.
 Complications occur for all these characters. Hot-to-trot Harry’s ego is boosted then deflated by Florence, his Internet dreamgirl, who turns out to be an unexpected surprise. 
Marilyn has to face Anita Stern, the pampered, self-indulgent woman who killed Marilyn’s husband, while backing out her car and talking on the cell-phone. Encouraged by Lois and other friends, Marilyn finally develops the spine to stand up to Anita. 
Heather MacRae
Meanwhile, Jack pursues the lovely, but insecure Sandy in a series of disastrous dates. These setbacks are overcome by their deep attraction to each other. That is, until Jack discovers Sandy isn’t a widow at all, but a divorcee who’s been misleading him.


Lois has her own emotional tribulations. She admits to Marilyn that her reason for joining the Bereavement Club is unlike that of other members: she grieves for the death of her son, stating how the loss of her child has surpassed all other sorrows in her life. She receives another jolt when she discovers the dashing Donald is not the real estate developer she assumed him to be. His real job is far less glamorous.
Scott Burkell
I will say the casting for this musical us superb. All accomplished actors! 
 Rounding out the cast in dual roles is Scott Burkell as Bernie and Leonard and  Nora Maye Lung as Camille and Molly.   
NORA MAE LYNG (Camille/Molly) Broadway credits include featured roles in INTO THE WOODS, AMOUR, CABARET, THREE MEN ON A HORSE, DIRTY BLONDE, WIND AND THE WILLOWS, LES MISERABLES, and MY FAVORITE YEAR.
SCOTT BURKELL (Bernie/Leonard) spends most of his time now as the lyrical half of the musical theatre writing team Burkell and Loesel with musician Paul Loesel. 
Their musical THE EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY was produced Off-Broadway in 2011 is well as the Farmer’s Alley Theatre in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 
Dyan Cannon and Michael Nouri
They are currently developing their musical ELLA MINNOW PEA (previously produced at the University of Michigan) with the Breaking Bread Theatre Company in New York. 
 JEROLD GOLDSTEIN (Marty Carter/ Marv/Herman) was last seen in New York in Irving Berlin’s FACE THE MUSIC at the City Center and before that he played Mushnik in the national tour of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. He has appeared on Broadway in HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, with Matthew Broderick and in the musical AIN’T BROADWAY GRAND. He was featured in the national tour A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM starring Rip Taylor (standing by for Mr. Taylor) and co-starred with Dick Van Patten in the out of town tryout of SCANDALS
Jerold played Chico Marx in both ANIMAL CRACKERS at Arena Stage, Washington and THE COCOANUTS at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. He won Philadelphia’s prestigious Barrymore Award for his performance in GUN METAL BLUES at the Wilma Theatre, was in the Kennedy Center’s long-running production of SHEAR MADNESS and toured Europe as Bert Barry in 42ND STREET. On television he has been featured on NBC’s “Law and Order” and CBS’ “Hack.”
 BETHE B. AUSTIN (Florence/Anita Stern) was seen this summer as Mrs. Braddock in THE GRADUATE starring Patricia Richardson. Her Broadway debut was starring opposite Robert Preston in Larry Gelbart’s SLY FOX, followed by WHOOPEE with Charles Repole, ONWARD VICTORIA opposite Jill Eikenberry, RAGGEDY ANN directed by Pat Birch, and NOISES OFF with Dorothy Louden (Drama Desk Award, Best Ensemble).
Bethe B. Austin
She also costarred with Richard Kiley in the pre-Broadway tryout of the thriller GUILTY CONSCIENCE. Off-Broadway credits include OLYMPUS ON MY MIND (from which she is delighted to own an original Hirschfeld of herself as Dolores), ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, IRON CURTAIN, Melissa Manchester’s I SENT A LETTER TO MY LOVE, PASTORALE (Second Stage), ZERO POSITIVE (Public Theater), and David Ives’ ALL IN THE TIMING. Bethe played Annie Dummermont in Kander and Ebb’s THE VISIT starring Chita Rivera and George Hearn (nominated for nine Helen Hayes Awards, including Best Musical and Best Ensemble). She also understudied Chita Rivera for that project.  
Regional roles have covered a wide range: from Drood in THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD (directed by Rob Marshall) to Suzie in WAIT UNTIL DARK; from Mona in BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS to Anne in STAGESTRUCK; from Ruth in BLITHE SPIRIT to Amnesia in NUNSENSE JAMBOREE and Penny in YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU
Bethe won the 1998 Barrymore Award (Philadelphia) for Best Supporting Actress in Larry Gatlin’s TEXAS FLYER at the Bristol Riverside Theater where she has since performed in numerous pieces (nominated again in 1999 for She Loves Me). National Tours include Hortense in THE BOYFRIEND directed by Dame Julie Andrews and several seasons as Mrs. Claus in THE RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR. TV credits include guest-starring roles on “Growing Pains,” “Nurses,” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” Film work: OUR SONS with Julie Andrews, SERIOUS MONEY, STEPFORD WIVES, and Cannes Film Festival entry SURPRISE.
 JOAN BARBER (Mimi) is a proud member of Equity, SAG, and AFTRA. After graduating from the University of Michigan, and performing in dinner theater, summer stock, childrens’ theater, and Off Off Broadway, Joan made her Broadway debut in MAN OF LA MANCHA opposite Richard Kiley. She has the distinction of being the only woman to play Aldonza on Broadway opposite both Mr. Kiley and the late Raul Julia. Other Broadway shows include BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, BIG, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, FOLLIES, and KING DAVID. 
I spoke with Joan a few moments over the phone yesterday. She told me she was originally called by Ned about five years ago for The York Theatre presentation. She plays various roles in addition to Mimi in the show and loves the entire company of "ALTER COCKERS" She says the entire company is fun and playful and she is having a blast!
 

Boynton Beach Club

A New Musical in Concert

Friday February 10 @ 8 PM
Saturday February 11 @ 2* PM & 8 PM,
Sunday February 12 @ 3 PM
To hear a few of the songs, CLICK HERE 
Alan Campbell

 Here's to Boynton Beach Club: The Musical being a bigger hit than "Book of Mormon"!
I have an idea!  I want the Broadway community to get behind me!
I want to start an advertising campaign to celebrate Broadway! Very much like the old "I LOVE NEW YORK" campaign. I would LOVE to have  the voices that make up Broadway, past and present in this campaign. It will play nationwide and the slogan is "I am the voice of Broadway...I am proud to be too Broadway!".
This should celebrate ALL that Broadway is! Broadway, are you with me?
 
I am proud to be TOO BROADWAY!
IF you watch SMASH or GLEE, or THE TONY AWARDS,  watch with caution...it may be too Broadway!


Joan Barber
THANK YOU TO EVERY PERSON WHO HAS EVER BEEN ON A STAGE and FOR THE GIFTS YOU HAVE GIVEN and GIVE TO THE WORLD!

NO COPY WRITE INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY! 
Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!
Follow me on Twitter If you've seen one of my appearances/shows, add your thoughts to my guestbook at www.RichardSkipper.com 

Tomorrow's's blog will be... CELEBRATING STACY SULLIVAN!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!
Stephen Berger
  Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow  for ALL...with NO challenges!


Now, GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TOMORROW!

Alan Campbell
 Become a Facebook friend of mine!
Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING  and HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS

Janice Lynde Zoch
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
Nora Mae Lymg
                                      
The official Website for Boynton Beach Club: The Musical

Please note: Regarding the Florida shows this weekend: 
Barbara Minkus
This *is* a musical but--being performed for only four performances--the show will be done simply but inventively. The emphasis is on the material and the performances. A wonderful cast of 13 Broadway veterans. 5 musicians. No scenery except projections. No fancy costumes. It's in the style--that's becoming more popular all the time--of the Tony winning Encores! series of staged concerts at City Center NYC (where the hit revival of CHICAGO began).
  GO SEE THIS SHOW IF YOU ARE IN FLORIDA! You will thank me. If you are not in Florida, please forward to anyone you know in the Fort Worth region

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