ERVIN DRAKE CELEBRATATION
By Linda Amiel Burns
On April 9, legendary composer Ervin Drake (“It Was a Very Good Year”) celebrated his 91st Birthday at the Edison Ballroom (formerly The Supper Club) at The Edison Hotel in New York’s latest hot spot for dining and dancing.
Ervin Drake and his beautiful wife, Edith are one of the youngest couples I know, although they claim to be 88 & 91! In attendance was actor Joe Sirola, producer Sandi Durell, Laura Slutsky, Drama Desk’s Bob Blume, Playwright Russ Weatherford, Designer Andrea Rose, Singer Dana Lorge and several other celebrants. The room is so elegant that you felt as if you are walking into a movie set from the heydays of the MGM movie musical. It is wonderful to see romance and elegance return to New York. A perfect setting for the birthday party of a legend.
The 17,000 ft Edison Ballroom has been completely renovated, yet still retains that magical “deco” style of the past, reminiscent of the glamorous days of the 30’s and 40’s. On the stage was Joe Battaglia’s “New York Big Band” consisting of 18 of the city’s finest musicians who played everything from standards to swing, with some of the original Harry James and Glen Miller arrangements updated with a contemporary feel. He played a tribute to the songs of Ervin Drake, including some of his biggest hits such as "Al Di La", "Tico Tico" and songs from the musical What Makes Sammy Run. A dynamic female vocalist occasionally sang with the band, which added to the stylish ambiance. On the band’s breaks, a four-piece Latin combo rocked the room getting people up on the floor for cha-chas, rumbas and sambas and lots of hip swinging.
On the large dance floor, couples of all ages and abilities whirled around the room – all elegantly attired and having the time of their lives. Where else in New York can you see people out for an evening, enjoying fine dining and drinks, and able to show off their new dance steps and routines? Maybe it is due to the popularity of “Dancing With The Stars” but it looked to me as if people have the desire to dance together again and not just jump around the floor spastically as in the disco days.
Happy Birthday Mr. Drake
Photo: Barry Gordin