Tuesday, September 05, 2006

PLAYING in NYC… on and off BROADWAY …1957-1958



In my post of August 29 I wrote about "WORKING in the “Big Apple”. Now I will tell you how it was to PLAY there. We, at WABC radio, were often given tickets to Broadway shows and it was just my luck that 2 of the finest musicals ever written debuted in the late 50’s.

“My Fair Lady”, starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews was a treat. I remember how the audience insisted on 3 curtain calls at the end of the show. None of us in my party wanted to leave the theater but we finally danced out, singing “Get Me To The Church On Time”.

I also attended the opening of “West Side Story”. It was written by Leonard Bernstein, the most famous conductor in the world at the time and leader of the New York Philharmonic. The actors were mostly unknowns ...Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence, and Larry Kent, and this show launched their careers. Aside from the outstanding musical selections I was dumbfounded with the set changes. I loved the off Broadway shows too and it was a thrill to see “The Three Penny Opera”. Who could forget “Mack The Knife”?

Other fun things were:

The Staten Island Ferry… a ½ hour ride that provided a view of the Statue of Liberty and the skyline of New York. It cost 5 cents in 1957 and I understand it is FREE now. (that’s a switch!)

The Central Park Zoo…A story-book zoo and a fun place to meet friends for lunch or coffee.

Rockefeller Center, …with the open-air skating rink and the huge Christmas tree. I was thrilled to attend 3 of the lighting ceremonies

Restaurants of every ethnicity...boiled, broiled, fried, barbecued, baked or served raw...whatever your taste, you could find it in the “Big Apple”. (and, of course, you had your choice of "the bubbly", too.)

And last, but not least, the MUSIC...from Radio City Music Hall to the Met and everywhere in between. Piano bars were prevalent and supper clubs provided another type of music. It was my “ once-in-a-lifetime” 2 years & I savored every minute, making sure to get in some work between play dates !

9 Comments:

Blogger goldenlucyd said...

Ginnie, I just love your posts--so accessible, warm and so very interesting. I loved the portrait of your Pop! Again, I love sharing cyberspace with you!

12:39 PM  
Anonymous sam snowdon said...

Ginnie,
I think you missed your calling. Your writing is as good as your art. Both outstanding ! enjoy

12:49 PM  
Blogger Betty said...

I would love to go to New York some day. If I had lived there in the 50's, and even the 60's, I would have stayed broke going to all the on and off-Broadway shows and the Met. But, I have seen many of the Road Company offerings, and loved them.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

What great memories you have, Ginnie. And you truly were so fortunate to be able to soak up the Big Apple as you did. It's still one of my favorite places in the world.

2:49 PM  
Blogger saz said...

This is one city I regret I missed. My mom and dad loved it and were able to see so many of the Broadway shows. My brothers worked for United Airlines and at that time they had airline passes for my folks - New York was their favorite destination. Your posts make me feel like I'm there!

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Alan G said...

Sounds like you had a fun two years there Ginnie. Would not have expected less of you.

Claude inspired me to post one of my music selections and now you may have done the same. I have a version of the theme from "The Threepenny Opera" that I did several years back. It is patterned after an arrangement done by Billy Vaughn back in the early sixties. It is a slower version of the song "Mack the Knife" unlike the one done by Bobby Darin that was so popular. Are you aware that Cindy Lauper is currently playing the role of "Jenny" in a new Broadway version which opened earlier this year?

Seems like there is often something in one of your posts that crosses my interests. Keep 'um coming!

6:26 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Alan: I would love to hear your version of "Mack The Knife". You are so talented.
There was something very special about "off Broadway" shows back & we would never have guessed that it would make it to the actual Broadway!

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Claude said...

How wow! My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews. I wish I had seen that. I am going to NYC for five days in October, I should probably go see a musical. I'll look into it. Thanks for the post

11:26 AM  
Blogger Potato Print said...

What a fun post! I grew up listening to those two recordings. I really love hearing about NY in those days. It seems more magical and personal than it is now. I kind of imagine that the whole city existed in black and white, as in the photos that my parents shared with us.

6:25 AM  

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