Monday, October 29, 2012

Casting Director Barry Moss!

Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes cast by Barry Moss
Barry Moss



 This above all: to thine own self be true.
- Hamlet Act 1, scene 3

"To thine own self be true" is Polonius's last piece of advice to his son Laertes, who is in a hurry to get on the next boat to Paris. It also happens to be casting director Barry Moss' favorite quote.

The idea for today’s blog comes from my friend JackieJoseph-Lawrence.
She happens to be a dear friend of Barry's and felt that he would be a great blog subject. 
She was right as you're about to find out.
Today, I celebrate Broadway casting director Barry Moss and his body of WORTH! He is about creating a bit of history on Broadway and I’m happy to say that he has and continues to do so.The shows that he has cast over the past twenty-five plus years read like a major part of the history of Broadway.
Margaret Herrick, a fortuitous meeting
Barry started out as a directing major at UCLA.
Barry always knew that he was going to be in the entertainment business in one form or another. 
When he graduated from college, he worked for the Academy  of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  Margaret Herrick who was the Academy librarian from 1936 to 1943, and served as the Academy’s executive director from 1945 to 1971, created a job for Barry after meeting at the Academy Awards. Once again, he knew what he wanted and he told her that he would love to work at the Academy Awards. Then he went on from there to work as a publicist for Stanley Kramer. He was assigned to the Oscar campaign for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes

Barry was also a manager of a major movie theater in Beverly Hills. One night, he met Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd. He told her that he wanted to go to New York and direct. She said “Maybe we’ll work together someday.” He said of course. Years later he cast her in The Little Foxes
Still one of my favorite afternoons EVER at the theater! Barry was also the one who came up with that play for her. He never dreamed that would come to fruition. That opening night was one of the most exciting nights of his life and one that he will never forget.
Year’s later, a funny thing happened involving Elizabeth Taylor. Barry's best friend is John Rubinstein. he and Barry went to have coffee with his Mother who had just arrived from Paris with her neighbor for the first NIGHT OF A HUNDRED STARS. They were staying at the Helmsley Palace.
John Rubinstein, April 2008
At no point had John or his Mother told Barry who her neighbor was. The Helmsley Palace suites are duplex and suddenly who should appear at the head of the stairs? 
Her neighbor...Grace Kelly!  She said she had heard some funny noises in the hall next to her room, Johnny ran upstairs to check the hall and Barry went out the front door to check. As Barry entered the hall the elevator door opened and out came Elizabeth Taylor "Barry, what are you doing here?"  "Having coffee with Princess Grace."  Barry's father loved that story.
He eventually moved to New York to be a director, which is not a good thing to jump in to. He had a very good friend who was an agent, Mary Jo Slater. She was with the Mort Schwartz Agency.
She left to become a very successful casting director. She proposed for Barry to replace her at the agency. The Mark Schwartz Agency was mostly commercials, but Barry was put in charge of the theatrical department. He used to go to auditions with his clients to offer them advice on what they were doing right and what he needed to improve. 
This cast is Barry Moss' creation!
At one of those auditions, Barry met Julie Hughes. He said to her that if she ever thought of expanding her casting business, he would like to be involved. She called him and they met and he met with the president of her company.
He wanted to know if Barry could bring business in. Barry says he could never have been able to live up to it if he had said yes. He did say he would do his best to do a really good job. They became a very successful team. One time, they had eight shows running on Broadway.
He was also casting The Cosby Show on television and was also casting film. She retired about eight years ago. He has been on his own since then. He has a new partner, Bob Kale.
The very first show that Barry cast was called Spotlight.
It was supposed to star Dan Daly but he broke his leg. They went through a lot of interesting choices before casting Gene Barry. It was Barry’s first musical foray. It didn’t last very long, the pre-Broadway tryout played briefly at the National Theatre in Washington, DC from January 7 - February 5, 1978, before folding, cancelling its scheduled Broadway opening. It was, however, fun to do. David James Carroll was also in that cast along with D'Jamin Bartlett and Lenore Nemitz.
It was directed by David Black. It was a great way to start.
Casting the original production of Nine was one of his favorite experiences.
Barry remembers sitting on the steps of the Martin Beck Theater, now the Hirschfeld, watching Grand Hotel and thinking to himself,”Oh my God, I have absolutely affected Broadway like I always wanted. I’ve actually made a difference.”
Watching people perform that Barry has cast is such a high. It is really the reward for casting because you don’t make that much money. It is such a pleasure to see someone succeed that you have given the opportunity.

Barry loves his work because of the above. Barry recently went to see Bedbugs: the Musical which he cast. To see that audience cheering the cast members is a great feeling.    
Interesting facts about Barry Moss
He was at one time called Hairorella because he had lots of hair…no longer the case.
Barry considers his best quality his open-mindedness.
         
He is a liberal. He is a compassionate person. He loves dogs.
The one change that Barry would like to see in this industry is less dependence on stars and more leeway to cast really talented people.
Unfortunately with the economy the way it is, that isn’t going to change.
When it comes to who he thinks is the one person to most revolutionize Broadway in his lifetime, Barry thinks that would be Bob Fosse. He really turned Broadway into a dance medium.
Agnes de Mille did a great deal of that as well. 
There was such magic in what Fosse did when he directed and choreographed.
Barry’s favorite form of entertainment is the theater. He loves movies. He loves television. But if he had to choose, it will always be theater.

The most unusual casting request Barry ever received came from Gower Champion who requested a black tap dancer who also played the violin.  
The perfect day for Barry would be a spring like day with a slight breeze, not too hot. He would probably be out with his dog. 
Barry Moss' latest casting venture
If it was a matinee day, he would catch a matinee.
He would come home, watch a little television, and return to the theater at night.
He hardly ever vacations but his dream vacation spot is Italy. He has always wanted to go but never has. His favorite place to live is New York with San Francisco being a close second.
The one thing he has to do before he dies is write a book. He has the opening line for sure: "If I had a dime for every time someone told me I should write a book I wouldn't have needed to write it."

Barry would like to be remembered as a great Broadway casting director! He has achieved that.
 
Thank you Barry Moss for the gifts you have given to the world and will continue to give! Thank you, Jackie Joseph for suggesting Barry!


With grateful XOXOXs ,


Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!

I desire this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  
If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!
Do you have any pics?

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at Richard@RichardSkipper.com.


NO COPYRIGHT 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!    
              
My next blog will be... My Exclusive interview with Tony Cointreau and Jim Russo on Ethel Merman!


Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!


  
Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

If I'm offended one person, I've offended one person too many!


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com                            

 
This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!       








Sunday, October 28, 2012

Costumer and Designer margaretrose


margaretrose design for Carole Cook's Dolly
margaretrose started out as an actress. That’s how she got started in costuming. Margaret was still in college and studying acting when she was hired as an apprentice for the state theater of Florida. When you are an apprentice, you did everything.
She took tickets, she worked the box office, she did PR for them. 
margaretrose's Dolly design for Carole Cook
margaretrose was also put to work in the costume shop. It was a fun place to be.
She liked the people there. She would do stuff there and create extracurricular costumes they needed here and there.
The next year they invited her back, not as an apprentice/actress, but as an assistant costumer.
The head of the costume department saw that margaretrose had a talent and started working with her. 

The California Institute for the Arts was just starting around this time.
margaretrose was invited to go to Cal Arts. She said she didn’t want to pay someone to someday tell her that maybe someday she’ll get a job.
She told them that if they thought she was that good, they should give her a scholarship, and they did.
 She went to California and got her Masters at the California Institute for the Arts. She taught there for two years and just kept doing costumes.    
In keeping with the theme of most of my blogs, margaretrose was in New York when Hello, Dolly first hit. She was a young theater student that never got to see Carol Channing in her iconic role.
 It was around the time that Ginger Rogers had just taken over the role.
margaretrose was not a big fan of Carol Channing’s, so she never went to see her years later, even did wigs for her. 

She NEVER saw any of the Broadway Dollys.
margaretrose has only been designing for the past thirty years and has not been in the business that long in the scheme of things.She has also done Vegas for fifteen of those thirty years. She hasn’t done a Broadway production, which she would love to do. When she first went to California, there was not a lot of theater.
margaretrose got involved with Hello, Dolly years later because of Carole Cook. Shet had been designing Carole’s costumes for years when Carole was asked to return to the role of Dolly Levi, this time in Birmingham, Alabama through David Galligan Productions.
  She asked margaretrose to design her costumes. Director Stephen DeGhelder tells me that all other costumes were rentals. 

Fannie Flagg also produced a production in the LA area that Carole starred in.
She insisted on having her own costumes and they allowed margaretrose to design the costumes for her which were used in both productions.
The costumes were margaretrose’s own designs. Carole knew what Carole’s requirements were.
Carole would tell margaretrose exactly what she needed and margaretrose delivered.
The only thing they really stuck with the red dress.
Unfortunately, a lot of pictures were not taken of that production so we don’t have pictures in full make-up and costumes. It’s a period piece, number one. It’s musical comedy, number two. Number three, margaretrose was working with a specific person who KNEW what she desired. 
Coat designed for Carole Cook
margaretrose put all those elements together and made it happen. margaretrose admits that she is not familiar with Freddy Wittop’s original costume designs for Dolly.  
Everything was built and fitted in LA and shipped. margaretrose never saw the production.

margaretrose was happy with those costumes and would not do anything differently today…unless she had triple the budget. Both Carole and she were very happy with the end results. The most important aspect for margaretrose when she is designing a costume is that the actor/performer can work to the best of their ability.
Then she adds to that. That is what is important. Working with Carole was and continues to be a joyful experience. 
 margaretrose does all of Carole’s clothes, her real clothes and her costumes.
Every year, Carole does at least two major events and margaretrose always comes up with something new and exciting and bigger and BIGGER.
 margaretrose gets to do over the top designs for her which is a lot of fun. Carole is totally involved. She KNOWS herself.
She knows her body. She is a very professional lady. She is involved in all aspects.
  margaretrose does come in from time to time with her own ideas. Although she was very nervous about it,
Another Carole Cook design
Carole gave margaretrose free reign to design something completely different this past year. She ended up being thrilled about it which is always good. They have now been working together for twenty plus years.
Getting to know Carole is the greatest aspect of this collaboration. She is one of the most talented professional people that margaretrose has worked with.
margaretrose’s experience is with most is that the more talented they are, the more professional they are.
There are many “fly by night” people that are not very nice. With Carole, she is ALWAYS trying to be better; she is always expanding on her talent.
 You give her one sentence to say, she multiplies it into three that takes it over the time. She is always giving, sharing, a true professional in every sense of the word.
Right now, we are discussing a very good friend of margaretrose’s after all this time.  
   The ONLY Dolly Levi that margaretrose has seen is Barbra Streisand. She really didn’t care for it. She felt that it was more Streisand than Dolly. It was a little too slick. There is a lot more to the story. It is a little meatier than what we were served, especially when you think about The Matchmaker.
 The last big production that margaretrose designed for was the Crystal Cathedral in 2006. It was a big huge production. It was called The Glory of Creation.
The business has changed so much since margaretrose first got into it. 
 What inspires margaretrose and what thrills her is creating something new. That is a reason why margaretrose loves costume design more than regular clothing, which she also designs. 
You have so many requirements with everyday stuff but you can go over the top with costumes.
 That is one of the reasons why Broadway and Vegas are the place to do the work. Who wants to keep putting people in jeans and T-shirts? That is not exciting. Period pieces are great. Musical comedy is great.
Vegas is now swamped by Cirque do Soleil. Hopefully, it will come back again…soon!
Cirque do Soleil is a giant change as far as Las Vegas is concerned. They not only have their own costume designers, they have their own costume shops, they have their own fabrics made, they have their own make up made, hair; it is all self contained. 
Another Margaret Rose design
They train their own actors. As far as monies are concerned, it is a bottomless pit.
In the old days, everyone in all of those departments went to Vegas and got paid a weekly salary. That doesn’t happen anymore. Now, if you go to Vegas and you desire to entertain in a room, you pay the hotel a rental AND a percentage of what you earn. You have to have deep pockets in order to sustain something, especially a big show. The people who are doing that right now are Cirque du Soleil which is why they have eight shows running in Vegas.
Everything is four walled now. If you walk into The Venetian, a four wall production is all you get. There is not a seat, a light, nothing there unless the “producers” bring them in. You have to start from scratch. 

They are bringing in tab versions of Broadway shows. Middle sized producers, which are the ones that Margaret has worked for over the past twenty years, used to get a pay check. They would invest their money and after six weeks, they would start making money. They can’t do this without deep pockets. The unfortunate thing is that this paradigm has seeped into almost every area of the business.
The percentages show there is more four walling than entertainers, who now mostly self produce, getting paid for their talent. Those days of paying your dues and systematically moving up the success ladder are fading away. margaretrose sees designers now coming out of school who don’t have a clue what to do. They don’t even know what to do with a needle!         
The advice that she would give for people desiring to get into this profession is to be totally versed on where they want to create.
She gets kids/students who want to go into film. Most of them haven’t seen that many movies. 
Monte Carlo Hotel, Las Vegas
LANCE BURTON: MASTER MAGICIAN
They don’t understand that there is a huge realm that they need to know about. They have this little pocket idea that they can be a stylist and they can go to a store and get clothes, that’s what they think this profession as a designer is. You have to know how to sew and you have to know how to fit and you have to know a little bit more about history. There are fewer schools now teaching that. Cal Arts is supposedly getting better at that. The kids that margaretrose is now seeing don’t feel that it is that important.
margaretrose wants people to know she is still here. Perhaps she hasn’t done something that is so over the top or memorable that she is a household name. She would like to be known as someone who is respected in her field.
She has always delivered what she has promised.  
 Thank you margaretrose for the gifts you have given to the world and will continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,


Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!

I desire this to be a CELEBRATION of Hello, Dolly! I am more of an enthusiast than an expert!
If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!

Do you have any pics?

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at Richard@RichardSkipper.com.


NO COPYRIGHT 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!    
               
My next blog will be... My Exclusive interview with Casting Director Barry Moss!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!


  
Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!



TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com                            

 
This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!





Friday, October 26, 2012

Beth Fowler: Irene Molloy in Molly Picon’s Hello, Dolly, Summer Tours of 71 and 72

Beth Fowler: Courtesy: Beth Fowler and The Gage Group

Beth Fowler, a  two- time Tony nominee, was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. She trained as a vocal teacher and as a music major in a small Catholic college. She really just trained to teach, which she did for eight years before coming into the theater.
She got right out of the class and did a little bit of summer stock. She then got her Equity card in one of those theaters where you do eight shows in nine weeks. 

She auditioned for Gantry in 1969 starring Robert Shaw and Rita Moreno. That was her very first audition in New York. She auditioned to be in the ensemble and got into the ensemble AND was also asked to understudy Rita Moreno. In previews, she was put on opposite Robert Shaw for two performances with no rehearsal.
The nuns taught her well. She never saw Rita do the performance on stage because she was always working on her ensemble work. 
She found herself in the theater preparing with the stage manager at nine AM the day that she first went on. At Eleven thirty AM, she was rehearsing her regular chorus part.      
The show unfortunately closed on opening night. She had better luck with her next outing, Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. Additional Broadway credits include 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Peter Pan, Baby, Teddy and Alice, the 1989 revival of Sweeney Todd, in which she portrayed Mrs. Lovett, Beauty and the Beast, in which she originated the role of Mrs. Potts, Bells Are Ringing, and The Boy from Oz where she portrayed Peter Allen's mother Marion.

Beth had never seen the original production of Hello, Dolly with Carol Channing when she auditioned to play Mrs. Molloy in a summer stock touring company in the summer of 1971. 

She did see the 1995 Broadway production later on directed by Lee Roy Reams at the Lunt-Fontaine Theater.
All she really knew of Dolly in 1971 was the music of Dolly. Nobody could get away from it! The title song was always on the radio. Beth also saw Carol appearing on numerous TV specials of the day, sometimes performing songs from the show. She also was familiar with her due to Thoroughly Modern Millie. Everybody knew that song. Beth doesn’t have any vivid memories beyond that.
Beth ended up in the Molly Picon production the usual way, she auditioned. Her agent at the time got her an audition as Mrs. Molloy. She had only been in the business two years at this point. She auditioned for it and got it. It was first done at North Shore Music Circus in the summer of 1971. 
They also did it in the summer of ’72. Peter Lombard produced it at North Shore  Art Kassul and David Christmas played Horace and Cornelius the second year.Beth’s Minnie Fay was Isabelle Farrell, Vandergelder was Mickey Deems,

Wayne Cilento and Rick Atwell were DANCERS in the North Shore production.
Wayne and Rick were electrifying.
Wayne was in his early twenties and was in love. Everyone went to his wedding in ’72. Wayne and Rick were magnetic together on stage. They were fantastic dancers. They glowed on stage and Molly rode on that. She loved them.
Molly Picon
Beth knew Molly Picon from Come Blow Your Horn and her reputation in New York. 
Diminutive superstar of Yiddish stage and screen Molly Picon over her course of eighty years as an entertainer had an enormous impact on Jewish culture in Europe and Israel as well as in America. 
Until she was well into her forties, her typical persona was an adorable but streetwise waif of twelve, often dressed as a boy, capable of executing headstands, somersaults, cartwheels, and flying stunts while singing, dancing, and playing all sorts of musical instruments. Most of Picon's vehicles were written, produced, and directed by her husband, Jacob Kalich, who sometimes performed as well. Beth thought at first that it was an odd choice. Molly was so little. How was she going to do this? She would get lost in the middle of this production. She was dynamite! She was feisty. She was cute. She was adorable. She was incredibly energetic and she was always a crowd pleaser. 
The audiences adored her which just pumped the show up so much. Beth hasn’t seen many other actresses play Dolly, but she can’t imagine anyone doing the Ephraim speeches as poignantly and as touchingly as she did. She went right from this dynamic rolling through character getting things done, smacking her hands together and moving on the next task to and then she would give her Ephraim speeches. She would become transformed and speak to him as if he was sitting on a ladder just above her, not in heaven. 
She would look up and talk to him as if he was right there.
The show remained true to the script. Molly had her own moments in the curtain speech.  
These performances were performed both in the round and proscenium. They did transfer to a proscenium when they were in Kennebunkport and Corning. North Shore and Philadelphia were in the round. There were re staging issues.  
Beth got to know Molly those two summers. It was the first time since marrying Jacob Kalich “Yonkel”.  Molly had auditioned and was hired by Yonkel and the two married in 1919 when she was twenty one. Their honeymoon was spent traveling through Eastern Europe collecting scripts of the Yiddish theater. They came back to the lower East Side in New York and produced Yiddish theater here and he produced all these shows for her. That’s when she became a star of the Yiddish Theater. 
When they were doing Dolly, he was recovering from very serious surgery and couldn’t travel. He still wasn’t able to travel the second summer. He was recuperating at home and she was so homesick. Beth’s apartment was right next to hers and she would sit and hear her through the wall and hear her have her morning meeting with Yonkel over the phone. She spoke to him as if they had just fallen in love and they were going to get married. Beth had her car and often asked Molly if she would like to join her for lunch. 
She was always happy to get out. She often felt trapped in the hotel. They would go shopping. They would go to lunch. Molly would present Beth with her credit card at the end of lunch. She would tell Beth, “You’ve treated me and traipsed me all around. Now, I’m treating you. But I have to tell you a little secret. I’ve never signed a credit card receipt in my life. I’m always with Yonkel at my elbow.” She did not know how to take care of herself. All she knew what to do is what she did. He was so attentive to her and took care of her. Those Ephraim speeches were reflective of what was going on in her personal life. 
Beth Fowler in '71
She would come to tears when she spoke of Yonkel. She was afraid she was going to lose him. She didn’t know what she was going to do. When she did those Ephraim speeches, you could hear a pin drop in the house. Then she would pick herself up, and GO!
Beth’s favorite recollection is standing at the top of the aisle each night at the end of the curtain calls with several cast members at the end of the show while their dressers waited for them. Molly would do the requisite Dolly curtain speech. The second year, they also played Playhouse in the Park in Philadelphia and Corning and Kennebunkport as part of that little tour. She would give a curtain speech. Philadelphia was also a home to her. She was very famous there. Part of the reason for watching this curtain speech is that they were learning how to charm an audience. She had them in the palm of her hand. She nailed it every time with little stories she shared with the audience. She wore these beautiful gowns with huge hats. She had a beautiful figure for a woman of her age, trim and dainty and cute as a button. 
Molly Picon at Nine Months
She carried around this huge purse of satin and beads. She had tremendous physical vitality. She would say to the audience, “I know what you’re all waiting for and you’re all wondering if I can still do it.” She would then take her hat off with great stage aplomb, starting with the removal of her hat pin with great stage business. She would set this on the side. Remember, they were performing the round. 
She would roll up the sleeves of her gown and she would do a one hand cartwheel holding the train with the other hand!
Beth remembers Molly as vividly as being so dear. 
She would go out for a beer with the cast after a show. 
Molly Picon with her sister Helen, 1978
She didn’t want to be alone, she hated that. When she first started doing shows in Yiddish theater and have an opening night, Yonkel would take her home after the party and read aloud to her from The Rise and Fall of Western Civilization to put in context what the evening in the world, that it’s just a little something, that in the scheme of things, it’s not ALL that important. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t go well. Beth will never forget that Molly told her this. He was quite a guy.   
The second summer, these costumes were going to have to be worn by Julie Wilson who was going to take over for the last week of the tour when they were in Corning. Molly had another commitment at the end of that summer. She was carrying around that Julie Wilson, who was about eight inches taller, would be taking on. This was not a happy time for Julie. Due to personal issues, Julie was not prepared for this show. She was in the thick of a very nasty divorce which involved a child custody battle. Julie was also offered the Australian Company of Dolly prior to Carole Cook taking over several years earlier. Her husband told her she would have no marriage if she went off to do it. It is one of her biggest career regrets. Beth first met Julie in the dressing room in Corning. She was absolutely beside herself emotionally. She could barely put together a whole sentence, she was so flustered and so nervous and so terrified. She was literally in the thick of a terrible mess at home with lawyers and the like and was constantly on the phone dealing with this at the time and had been in the midst of this for some time. 
Julie Wilson
Beth remembers that everyone was working overtime to get Julie through that run. She was being led around. She wasn’t terrible. Julie Wilson can’t be terrible but she didn’t know her lines. She was mortified and was constantly apologizing to everyone. She is very strong physically woman. Beth remembers her grabbing on to her arms. She was thanking Beth for being there for her. The rest of the cast had been together all summer. 

 Beth is a huge fan of Julie’s and this was heartbreaking to her. That was the most nerve-wracking part of this tour. That was a scary time. 
It was an emotional time for everyone. They had had such a wonderful time with Molly. It is such a fun show to play. The audience is having so much fun. It is up to the actors to have fun. When you do a show like Dolly, the casting is so much fun. Fun people are required. It was fun to be with on AND off stage. It was summer stock and everyone got attached and playing bridge at night and drinking wine and just having a great time. The way the tour ended was not the way everyone wanted the tour to end. Molly wasn’t there and the show was kind of shaky. Actually, the theater in Corning was also kind of yucky. Dorothy Churnik was the producer there.  

Beth Fowler

Beth, being absolutely honest with me says she is not “in love” with Hello, Dolly and or Dolly Levi, although she did fall in love with the Dollys. She pictures Dolly’s success based on someone iconic playing her. She thinks it’s a very difficult role. The audience has to love “Dolly” in order for the show to be a success. You have to KNOW Dolly from her first entrance. She does also love the love story between Cornelius and Irene. 

It also has to do with that woman of a certain age who realizes that life is passing her by. The man she had is gone and she really hasn’t been looking for anything else. Then this surprise arrives in the form of this young man. It brings out the “ribbons down my back” girl in her. 
It brings out her youth again. Beth was thirty-one years old when she played Irene the first time and she was single. She could relate to Irene on a certain level. The fun part that first summer was that Beth also had a wonderful Minnie Fay, Isabelle Farrell. She had played Minnie Fay before on tour in 67 with Channing. She was dynamite. 
Isabelle Farrell
She did national tours of Irma La Deuce and Sweet Charity as well.
Beth brought her sense of humor and her voice to Irene Molloy. Audiences loved it when she sang Ribbons Down My Back. It sat beautifully in her voice and it was her moment. Beth loved performing that as well as the hat shop scene. 
Beth had a background in comedy and that served her well.
The following summer, many in the cast had been replaced, and therefore, everything had to be readdressed.
Professionally, there was nothing carried forward throughout the rest of her career from this tour. Personally, great friendships were formed. Rudolph was played by Douglas Marland who went on to become Emmy nominated for writing soap operas in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. 
When Beth married her husband, Jack, Richard Rossomme
who appeared in both productions was their best man. Isabelle Farrell and Beth remained friends for years. In fact, they did 42nd Street together years later in Elmsford, New York. Life happens and careers take actors in different directions and they have since lost touch with each other. After Dolly, Beth and Molly continued to stay in touch and correspond with each other for a few years.
Beth thinks Broadway is ready for a Dolly revival. She won’t venture a guess as to who might do it.
One of the many Dollys, Yvonne De Carlo

Hello, Dolly has given audiences a sense of community as time has gone on. 
When you go to see a show that you know has seen virtually by everyone in the English speaking world in one form or another, you feel part of that community. You love that feeling of familiarity and universality in the music and the score. 
That is what is wonderful about this show.  
When Beth did Hello, Dolly in ’71 and ’72, she was very new in the business. She had had some experience. She had stood in for a Broadway star in Gantry. She was not treated as “new”, but she still felt like she was the new kid on the block. She was thirty one years and only had been doing it a few years professionally. She was still learning. She learned from Mickey Deems about timing. She picked up a lot of tricks from him. She watched Molly all the time and learned comedy timing from her, as well, to take your time and listen and use the audience. They are a member of the cast. 
A scene from Milk and Honey in which Robert Weede milks a goat onstage while Mimi Benzell and Molly Picon look on

She used them and they played their part. 
Beth learned from her as she would years later with Hermione Gingold. 
They were old pros. Beth did not do it with deliberation. It was an awareness she had. 
“Don’t forget this, Beth. Pay attention to what she is doing”, she would say to herself.   

Although she doesn’t know him very well, Beth loves Jerry Herman. 
The only time she had the privilege of performing for him was when a tribute was done in his honor at Carnegie Hall with the Gay Men’s Chorus. Beth sang If He Walked into My Life. Jerry was sitting in a box seat house left stage right. David Krane played a special arrangement that he had written for Beth. Piano was the only accompaniment that she had. She was very nervous. Jerry was sitting on his feet. By the time she got to the second verse, he was sitting with his hands on the edge of the box, by the time she got to the last part; he was virtually hanging over the box. He was crying and that is Beth’s quintessential recollection of Jerry Herman responding to her singing one of his songs. She saw him at the party afterward and he was very gracious.
Jerry Herman
Beth has had and continues to have a rewarding career. When something comes along that gets her juices going, she grabs it. She now says no a lot. 2012 has been a busy year for her. She is very excited about an upcoming production of Flashdance, the musical

She recently did a workshop production which is about to go on tour. Several of the principals from the workshop will be going into the production when it hits Broadway. Everything is crossed that everything is a go in 2013. They did a brilliant workshop at the Baryshnikov Center.  Sergio Trujillo was and is the director and choreographer of this NY based workshop and  twenty six week tour of FLASHDANCE which is planned for Bway. He was the choreographer of  both JERSEY BOYS and MEMPHIS! It will then go into rehearsals in August for a Broadway opening. It’s a wonderful part and a reworking of the Flashdance that was done on the West End in London and toured in London.
Beth Fowler and Richard Kline Don’t Talk to the Actors
They have totally restructured and reworked it. They are approaching it in a whole new way and it Beth is looking forward to that. She is also doing a series called Orange is the New Black in which she plays a nun in jail. Beth is sorry to see Gossip Girl closing because she was called in from time to time to play the mistress of ceremonies at the debutant balls. She had a wonderful time playing opposite Richard Kline for the second time up at Joe Brancato’s Penguin Rep up in Stony Point, New York. They chewed up every stick of wood in that barn! They had entirely too much fun. It was hilarious.
Beth feels that she has a responsibility to share with the next generation the theatrical tradition that she came out of. There is not a feeling with tradition for most that are coming up in the business these days. There is a sense of entitlement now. It’s not easy and you don’t just jump in and become a star because that’s the way they’ve seen it done on TV. You have to pay your dues. Beth had plenty of jobs that were a pain in the butt, but she had a good time. When she got out there on that stage and she was with good people, she was having a good time. She has been in shows that closed opening night. She still gave her heart and soul. When they closed, it hurt her. It was like a piece of heart was ripped out, but you do it. When Take Me Along closed, Beth said she was going back to teaching. She just couldn’t do this anymore. A couple of years later, Baby came along.
In closing, Beth loved her experience with Dolly. She loved Molly. Everybody did. Molly Picon was so funny and sang really well. She was also a great dancer and really danced those numbers. 
It was a special heart-warming time for Beth. She found herself surrounded by wonderful and talented people, all led by Molly. There was a lot of heart in that production. Beth doesn’t know if it was as a result of the casting, but it was just a happy, warm experience that she wishes she had also experienced with a lot of other shows that she did. It truly was a happy time.
   Thank you Beth Fowler for the gifts you have given to the world and will continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,


Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!

I desire this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  
If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!

Do you have any pics?

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at Richard@RichardSkipper.com.


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Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
               
My next blog will be... My interview with Margaret Rose: Costumer and dress designer for Carole Cook

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!


  
Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

I'm celebrating Pamela Luss on Thursday, November 15th, 2012 at 9:30 pm
Pamela with Houston Person at The Metropolitan Room in NYC
Just The Two Of Us and Friends
Hope you can make it. It’s going to be a party!
Reserve today if that date is available! Call me if any questions!
 Richard Skipper 845-365-0720


TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com                            

 
This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!