|Daniel Nardicio (Source BroadwayWorld.com)|
I hope this finds you all having a great day! As I embark on this blog, I'm sipping my coffee and listening to the finale of Hello, Dolly! (1995 Broadway Revival). The excitement of that incredible chorus singing You'll Never Go Away Again gets me EVERY TIME! I felt the same thing in a room of 550 people at the Ice Palace on Fire Island Saturday night as Justin Vivian Bond led the audience at the end of what was actually a swell party celebrating Carol Channing.
The man responsible for getting Carol Channing back to the East Coast and Fire Island is Daniel Nardicio. I personally want to commend Daniel for the professionalism involved and running everything like a well oiled machine.
I know that it takes a village to make something like this happen but you have to have someone in charge to lead the way. Carol Channing always referred to David Merrick and Gower Champion as benevolent despots.
|with Margaret Cho and friends|
I was so taken with Saturday night, beyond my
|with Lynda Carter|
Daniel started out as an opera singer/actor. He appeared in Europe a lot. He developed this booming voice which has come in handy in dealing with Carol and the older Icons of his series.He did that for years. He eventually came to realize that his talents were better served for producing rather than performing.
He actually prefers and likes this aspect better.
|with John Waters|
He was working with Dirty Martini and other entertainers that are really great. These entertainers are in the style of Gypsy Rose Lee and entertainers from that era. They are bringing back that burlesque vibe. Daniel did that for a few years before realizing there is no money in it, very much like New York cabaret. From that, being a gay man, he segue-wayed into New York gay nightlife. He started producing events for that market incorporating aspects of burlesque. He produced a lot of parties and events as part of the New York gay nightlife scene.
Now, in his forties, he decided he didn't want to be still in some gay club in his fifties doing just that. That led to him deciding to produce shows. That led to
Last year solidified his standing in this arena with his evening of Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli, also at the Ice Palace. That show was so successful, they added a second performance and this year on Liza's 67th birthday, they recreated the concert in a sold out performance at New York's Town Hall and now there is even talk that it may go to Broadway!
It is veryclose to happening.
Oddly enough, Alan Cumming and Daniel had gone on a couple of dates years ago, so they are friends.Daniel had already been working on Fire Island for quite a few years doing nightclub events. He realized that everyone was catering to a 22 year old demographic. No one was catering to the 45-55 age range or older who have a disposable income and no where to go on a Saturday night.
He thought about what HE would like to see on the Island. He got the idea for the ICON series and decided to start at the
|Tommy Tune, Carol Channing, Daniel Nardicio|
|Margaret Cho (lgbticons.com)|
From there, Daniel started reaching out to really fun people he knew like Margaret Cho, Sandra Bernhard, and Lea Delaria.
He brought them each out on different weekends and it was such a smashing success that people kept asking Daniel how he was going to top getting Liza Minnelli. People also thought the ONLY way to top getting Liza is getting Judy Garland!
Over the winter, he kept thinking about who he would most desire to see. Chita Rivera and Carol Channing came to mind.
There are a lot of stars from that age bracket that come to mind with the same questions. Some of them have passed on but there are many that haven't.
After Daniel's posting on Facebook, a friend reached out and told
|Justin Vivian Bond (Source: BroadwayWorld.com)|
Daniel though, she still has a publicist? He wrote to Harlan and asked what she was up to these days. He was told that she had been out of commission for a while but that now she was doing better.
Daniel told Harlan he was interested in producing an evening with her on Fire Island. Harlan said, "Make us an offer."
Daniel made an offer and Harlan said they would be back in touch.
This was in the winter. Two months later, Daniel received a call in which he was told that Carol desired to do it! It was just as exciting as it was when Liza agreed to do it the previous summer.
Daniel jumped at the chance, but knowing Carol's age, felt that he needed to pair her with someone. That would make it a little easier on her. Justin Vivian Bond and Daniel are dear friends and Daniel asked Justin if she would like to do this.
From the moment Justin said yes, they started putting it together.
Daniel started out talking to Harlan and later on with Carol's manager, Wayne Gimiter.
Daniel loved dealing with both. They are great guys. Talking to Harlan solidified that they were on strong footing. Daniel's only concern was that he didn't desire it to seem "sad". That was his big trepidation. 92 is not young! He was concerned that she might not be up to it.
Then he met Carol and instantly fell in love and was bowled over.
He had gone out to California for work but was unable to meet her at that time.
I alluded to this before but will reiterate that from the moment we arrived, everything moved like clockwork. There was such a feeling of love permeating throughout the Ice Palace. If that could have been bottled, it would obliterate all the challenges of the world.
Saturday night (August 31st), Lorna Luft will finish out the season for this summer.
Looking over this past summer, with all due respect to all of the icons, the icon that exceeded Daniel's expectations was Chita Rivera.
He is in love. Carol and Justin were amazing.As a producer, there were so many other tactical things to think about; getting Carol safely to Fire Island, dealing with her accommodations, getting her back and forth, and all that goes with all of that. He wasn't even able to just sit back and enjoy the evening which is why he had the evening filmed for posterity. He wasn't able to be "present" for the show because he was so involved with all the minute details. With Chita, with which he had no emotional relationship with before this show...although he was very familiar with her body of work, the moment he met her, as he did with Carol, he fell in love. When Chita walked out on stage, she OWNED that stage. At that moment, Daniel became an audience member and was no longer the
|I took this picture prior to the show of guys sitting behind me. Look at how happy everyone is!|
He was in awe and EVERYONE in her presence that night shared in that awe. She is a total joy.
At the show I attended for Carol and Justin, there were 550 audience members! That was easily the fullest show they had this summer.
Liza and Alan were a little less full last year because they did two shows.The evening with Carol and Justin sold very quickly and there was actually talk about adding a separate show. They realized it would have been too much for Carol. She flew in from Palm Springs. They also realized it is very difficult to recreate a conversation. They knew that Justin would have asked all the juicy questions for the first show. What do they do for an encore? It can't be replicated. The right decision was made to make it a one shot deal.
|Daniel and Justin|
|Justin, Daniel, and Parker Posey after Saturday night's show|
Daniel is leaning towards ALL of the evenings next summer being pairings. This is Daniel's signature, putting someone younger and putting them onstage with an Icon/Legend. That is when the series is at its best like with Carol and Justin.
A lot of people, myself included, were not familiar with Justin's work. I quickly became a fan.
Ana Matronic, lead singer of the Scissor Sisters group, was at the show as well on Saturday night. She has suggested to Daniel that she would like to do an evening with Ann-Margret. YES! Having seen Ann-Margret perform LIVE, I'm there!
|With Josh Wood II at Grove Hotel - Fire Island - Cherry Grove.|
Next year, he is thinking of just doing five weekends and going as big as he can.
He basically gets a great entertainer to the Island, has a great time with them, and they leave, and Monday morning he is in preparation for the next one. He was just getting over his break-up with Chita when Carol was arriving. He really needed two weeks between shows to deal with the marketing.
|Glen Hanson's work|
When Daniel booked Carol, the artwork of Carol by Glen was sent to Daniel and he used it somewhere.
Glen sent Daniel and email saying, "Do you mind giving me credit?" Daniel wrote back saying, "Credit? I desire you do the entire series!"
Glen did such great work than none of them had to be edited or redone. All of the artists loved them and desired their own copies As a matter of fact, John Waters wants to use his as his Christmas card this Christmas. Chita said she never liked the art work that is done for her but she wants one for her house.
|Carol Channing, Justin Bond (Glen Hanson)|
It all boils down to what they have to work with in terms of sound and lighting.
The bottom line is he desires it to be a positive experience for all that are involved both on and off stage. He has had people traveling to see these shows as far away as Florida. A couple sitting next to me had come in from Washington DC.
Everything from getting in and getting seated to getting a drink is done with pristine precision. These details keep Daniel awake at night.
The crew that Daniel has in place, from the ticket takers on, waiters, etc, are all brought in by Daniel. They all understand Daniel's work philosophy, his manifesto for how he desires everything to work. It was all amazing!
After Lorna exits the stage on Saturday night, Daniel is looking forward to having a relaxing September out on the Island. He has certainly earned it. Then he goes right into his next big Icon, Joan Collins at BB King's on November 5th. I'll be there! It is selling really well.
He is very excited to be working with her. He is a big fan of that Carol Channing, Joan Collins bigger than life persona. Daniel's philosophy is that if they can be impersonated, they are the kind of entertainer he loves. He can't imagine Sutton Foster being impersonated because their isn't that character. He loves Sutton Foster but it is a whole other kind of energy.
Carol Channing and Liza Minnelli are "characters" and they live it. As highfalutin' as this sounds, Daniel's goal is to give them different opportunities for work.
Putting Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli together gives Alan a whole new audience and gives Liza a whole new way of working. She has someone to help elevate her another notch.
Daniel loves nightlife and is thankful to where it got him, but now it is time to exercise this bigger muscle that he is developing in producing bigger shows. Something tells me this is just the beginning!
|with Alan Cumming|
A special thank you to BroadwayWorld.com for the use of some of the photographs used in this blog.
NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!
Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY
|With Randy Jones and Justin Vivian Bond at Grove Hotel - Fire Island - Cherry Grove.|