Around The Town

Broadway Babe

Four Notable Nostalgic picks from Broadway Babe include Chita Rivera & Dick Van Dyke, together in 2006.

February 21, 2024:  Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller, has four notable nostalgic finds from yesteryear to share this week including: The original “Bye Bye Birdie” stars, Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke performing songs they did decades earlier; a show stopping event for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS saluting the 50th anniversary of “West Side Story”; the American Film Institute salute to Fred Astaire; and Ethel Merman and Dinah Shore performing together. This is a perfect group of videos to watch while staying indoors during the wintry weather.

Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke.

Four Notable Nostalgic picks from Broadway Babe include Chita Rivera & Dick Van Dyke, together in 2006.

February 21, 2024:  Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller, has four notable nostalgic finds from yesteryear to share this week including: The original “Bye Bye Birdie” stars, Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke performing songs they did decades earlier; a show stopping event for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS saluting the 50th anniversary of “West Side Story”; the American Film Institute salute to Fred Astaire; and Ethel Merman and Dinah Shore performing together. This is a perfect group of videos to watch while staying indoors during the wintry weather.

Salute to Fred Astair

From March 1981, “The 9th Annual American Film Institute Salute to Fred Astaire,” for Lifetime Achievement, featuring many greats of yesteryear paying tribute to the great Astaire, include Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Bob Fosse, Hermes Pan, Baryshnikov, Charlton Heston, Audrey Hepburn, Barrie Chase, James Cagney with David Niven as host. Though Ginger Rogers was unable to attend, in her place was Eleanor Powell, who gives the most charming, beautiful, and heartfelt tribute to her former co-star and dance partner from 40 years before. There are several clips of Fred performing in some of his legendary films. It was certainly a star-studded event… Both onstage and in the audience. He was 82 at the time of this tribute. One thing is for sure, will never see the likes of Fred Astaire, or that era again!

Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke

This is an incredibly special reunion that took place in 2006 during Chita Rivera ‘s Broadway show “The Dancer’s Life”. It’s Chita’s birthday, and Dick Van Dyke, who starred opposite Chita in the original Broadway cast of “Bye Bye Birdie” in 1960, appears to surprise Chita. Then, they proceed to perform some of the songs they did in Birdie. To see these two stars together on a stage 46 years after their original pairing is magical.  Dick Van Dyke does his showstopping “Put On A Happy Face.” “Birdie’s” composer, Charles Strouse and lyricist, Lee Adams come up from the audience to wish Chita a happy birthday. And then there is an interview with Chita and Dick where Dick claims that he never sang or danced before “Bye Bye Birdie” which is so hard to believe, as he has proven over the years in film and on TV to be extraordinary at song and dance. This is a feel-good segment of pure joy and is a must-see!

Tribute to West Side Story

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS 19th Annual Gypsy of the Year competition, from 2007, decided to pay tribute to 50 years of “West Side Story”. They flew in 22 original cast members from the 1957 production and put together, with several young Broadway gypsies, a historical opening number. This video is the rehearsal. The young Broadway generation perform snippets of the legendary Jerome Robbins choreography, with the original cast members joining them to create one of the most moving and thrilling opening numbers! You’ll see Ken Leroy, the original Bernardo, Mickey Callan, the original Riff, along with all the original Jets performing the Jets song.  In addition, the original Maria, Carol Lawrence sings, “I Feel Pretty” followed by Chita Rivera and Carol singing their duet, “A Boy Like That.” This is historical footage of a historical Broadway musical.

Ethel Merman and Dinah Shore

From 1958, “The Dinah Shore Show” features a wonderful duet medley with Dinah Shore and Ethel Merman, who were both very much in their prime at that time. What a pleasure witnessing such musical magnificence blending together.  This is two years before Merman appeared on Broadway starring in “Gypsy.” They both sing “Hostess with the Mostes” from “Call Me Madam” which Dinah recorded on the original cast album because Merman had a strict contract with Decca Records at the time. While Dinah wound up singing Ethel’s role on the original cast album, Ethel did her own version on Decca! They are great together in this segment on Dinah’s TV show.