PLAYING in NEW YORK CITY
I've written a lot about what it was like to work in the "Big Apple" so now I will tell you how it was to PLAY there. My favorite things where the live plays, both on and off Broadway, and, of course, the music that was everywhere ... from Radio City Music Hall to the Met and all places in between.
We, at WABC Radio were often given tickets to Broadway shows and it was because of this that I was privileged to see two of the finest musicals ever written that debuted there in the late 50's.
"My Fair Lady", starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews was the first and I remember how the audience insisted on 3 curtain calls at the end of the show. It seemed like the applause would go on forever.
My second thrill was attending 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 unknown, Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence and Larry Kent, and this show launched their careers. Of course the music was magnificent but I was also intrigued with how cleverly they switched stage settings. The lights would dim and, within seconds, a whole new scene would appear.
The off-Broadway circuit was a lot of fun too. Usually these were small companies of actors and musicians who had yet to hit the big time; but, I did see an outstanding adaptation of "The Three Penny Opera" there ... one that included the unforgettable ballad "Mack the Knife" which I understand was not in the original script.
All in all these were "once-in-a-lifetime" years in New York City for me and I savored every minute ... making sure to get in some work between play dates!