Around The Town

Broadway Babe

Nostalgic picks from Broadway Babe include Sondheim, Jule Styne, Do re Mi and more.

April 21, 2024:   Broadway Babe, Randie Levine Miller has some truly nostalgic finds—with some going back to the 1950s, including the legendary early TV producer Max Liebman Presents with some faces you will recognize before they were icons; composer Jule Styne at the piano, sharing some great anecdotes; excerpts from the 1960s Broadway show, “Do Re Mi”; and an extraordinary benefit concert for Carnegie Hall that pays tribute to Stephen Sondheim.

Phil Silvers and Nancy Walker in “Do Re Mi” (1960).

Nostalgic picks from Broadway Babe include Sondheim, Jule Styne, Do re Mi and more.

April 21, 2024:   Broadway Babe, Randie Levine Miller has some truly nostalgic finds—with some going back to the 1950s, including the legendary early TV producer Max Liebman Presents with some faces you will recognize before they were icons; composer Jule Styne at the piano, sharing some great anecdotes; excerpts from the 1960s Broadway show, “Do Re Mi”; and an extraordinary benefit concert for Carnegie Hall that pays tribute to Stephen Sondheim.

Musical Theater Master Serenaded By The Greats In 1992

From 1992, this was a benefit concert for Carnegie Hall, and aired on PBS-TV’s Great Performances. I remember that this event was a very hot ticket at the time. “Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall” had quite a roster paying tribute including Glenn Close, Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Betty Buckley, Dorothy Loudon, Jerry Hadley, Madeline Kahn, Mark Jacoby, James Naughton, and Karen Ziemba. The hilarious Bill Irwin was a very different choice to have as master of ceremonies, and it worked! Musical Director, Paul Geminiani, who has always been a favorite of Sondheim’s, conducted the American Theater Orchestra.  Susan Stroman choreographed the evening and Scott Ellis directed. This is one of the most extraordinary musical events ever recorded. A true treasure… Not to be missed!

Jule Styne, Cafe Manhattan, Rare 70’s TV

Broadway and movie composer, Jule Styne sits down at the piano and performs some of his hit songs, while sharing some great stories about his life and times in show business in this rare TV appearance from the 1970s. He tells stories about the early days of Barbra Streisand when she was co-starring in “I Can Get It For You Wholesale.”  He talks about his great affection for her and how he fought for her to be in “Funny Girl.” He’s written some of the greatest hits of all time. And in 1953, he won the Academy Award for “Three Coins In The Fountain”. He also won several Tony awards. He’s responsible for such hits as “People,” “Just In Time,” “Make Someone Happy,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” amongst many, many others.

Sidebar: Jule Styne and I were both members of the New York Friars Club. I was so intimidated by this very short genius that I could never approach him, even if we were just a few feet away from each other. I was in awe of his songwriting.  

Max Liebman’s Kaleidoscope

From 1955, “Max Liebman Presents: Kaleidoscope”, which aired on NBC-TV, was a variety type show. It featured sketches, songs, and musical production numbers. The cast includes Judy Holliday, Dick Shawn, Bea Arthur, George S. Irving, Bambi Linn and Rod Alexander, Peggie Castle, and a youngish Frank Sinatra, It was broadcast live in both New York and Los Angeles. Judy Holliday does a very funny (must not miss) Marilyn Monroe impression. Sinatra was very mellow in his performance as you’ll see.  He didn’t seem like he was the hot Sinatra that we all got to see later.  This historical show is worth viewing, and the commercials were all done live too.   Neil Simon was one of the writers on the show.  He wrote for TV before he moved on to being one of the theater’s most lauded playwrights!

Do Re Mi

OMG, this is a real find. From 1960, the Broadway show, “Do Re Mi”, by Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green, had almost a half hour presented on the Ed Sullivan Show with its original stars, Phil Silvers, and Nancy Walker.  It is so dated but so fabulous. 

Sidebar: J2 Spotlight Musical Theater is currently presenting a pared down version of, “Do Re Mi”, directed by my good friend, Rob Schneider at the AMT Theater at 354 West 45th Street. The musical is playing April 20, 21 and April 23 through April 27. The musical is a treat for Broadway musical theater fans.