Usher Tony Bondi welcomes VIPs and patrons
CALLAWAY AT CHERRY GROVE
endearing, adorable and delicious
Cherry Grove theater was twice blessed by yet another Callaway
sister generously displaying her talent as a fundraiser for the newly
landmarked community house theater.
She heralded her act with “Something’s coming…maybe tonight” which
set a tone of optimism that pervaded the evening.
I’m in a Broadway mode “which was soon enhanced by her other two loves, movie
music and the ‘60’s.
Liz Callaway is the exact opposite of her sister Ann, who made a
memorable appearance last month on the same stage. Her classic good looks
include a blue eyed blonde, slender and graceful in black and white, with a
smile that made her immediately endearing, adorable and delicious. She could be
everybody’s funny valentine.
“It’s my Cherry Grove debut, a special day in my career and I
changed my mind many times this afternoon deciding what to sing for you’
And she chose “Its My party and I’ll sing what I want to”
seamlessly sliding into “You Don’t Own Me…I’m young and I’m free to live
my life the way I want to…” which seemed an early woman’s liberation song and
perhaps could be another Cherry Grove anthem (“I am What I Am’).
Instead of following her own show biz advice, that the second song
should be warm and welcoming, she prefaced the next with “I’m always following
in my sister’s footsteps and once more here” as she jumped into a special
“I gotta be me,
what else could I be?
we don’t look alike,
I’m short, she’s tall,
she writes her own songs,
I can’t write a line,
though she has 10 major awards
that’s nine more than mine”
Which had the house howling with laughter.
“I feel so much better now”. How endearing is that!
She did get to that warm and welcoming song “Something Wonderful”
from King & I which she used to welcome her own Yul Brunner –the
extraordinary music director Alex Rybeck who delivered some sophisticated and
innovative special arrangements especially to “Meadowlark” which she would sing
to her patrons as a singing waitress – her first job in NY at 18 - “to make up
for the horrible service”. She also recalled that she could only sing it on
Tuesdays because there was only one pianist who could play it.
Her Broadway career had an inauspicious start with a show that ran
2 weeks – but it was Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. Her next, an off
Broadway show which lasted only one week but she loved enough to sing a song
from it “There have been changes made…” and somehow, maybe because it was new,
we hung on every word.
A musically clever meld of “Singing in the Rain” with “Raindrops
Keep Falling on my Head” illustrated a contrast of moods as well.
The lovely Liz lent her voice to several animated films including
Anastasia (for which she sang the Oscar nominated “Journey to the Past” as ‘a
Russian princess with a mid western accent”) including one that Tara Lapinsky
skated to in her gold medal Olympic performance.
In her ‘60’s segment she revered the 5th Dimension and
Jimmy Webb singing “This Time We Almost Made It”
But for fun she went to Petula Clark and had the audience singing
along (I had a solo moment!) to “Downtown”.
Then to Sondheim, first with a touching ode to New York (to
the grime…my favorite color is gray”) and the cleverest moment in the show when
she (we later leaned was a gimmick) “lost” the lyrics to his tongue twister
from Company “Another 100 People” then jumped into a parody
written by Loren Mayer.
Ms Callaway considers Baby her most important show. Not
only was it her first big role but she met her husband during previews and he
pursued her 8 months of its run.
Her Broadway “success” was five years as Grisabella in Cats.
When asked how she could perform that for so long she answered “I have a very
nice house”. Then she sang what she described as the most beautiful theater
piece every written “Midnight”. The audience was rapt.
She recalled the oddest job, as stand-in for Streisand concert,
for which she learned 40 songs “I’d like to sing them all to you now’ she
dedicated one “to this wonderful theater” with “People”.
music director Alex Rybeck, Liz Callaway, George McGarvey
She left us with the thought: “I think next year Ann and I can
come back together”
What night that would be!!!
Elegant set by George McGarvey
Note from producer George McGarvey:
Thank you Jeannie! It was my great pleasure to bring both Liz and
sister, Ann to the Grove this summer. Personally, it is my way of
giving to SOCH and the community. I want to "up the ante" on
entertainers on the stage of our historic LGBT theatre.
Local talent and community shows every
weekend are terrific and fun, but let's augment with great entertainers like there were in the Grove once upon a time!
These people enjoy coming to entertain our community and help our
cause. My next project is working on Sam Harris, who has agreed to
come in 2014. I'm working with Carl Luss (who was strategic in making
the historic designation of the CH happen) on enticing Lily Tomlin to
come next summer as well as inviting the Callaways back to do a show
together. So, much to do to ready for more great entertainment in the
Glad you were witness to the Callaway's shows. They were the
highlight of our season.
You are wonderful to promote the theatre and
Thank you dear lady! See you soon. G
Liz signing and selling CD’s
before racing for the ferry