We are happy to welcome guest celebrity blogger Phyllis Newman, the famed singing actress who won a Tony Award for her performance in Subways Are for Sleeping as well as the special 2009 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award. Newman, who was married to the late lyricist-librettist Adolph Green, will blog for Playbill.com all week; her second entry follows:
I have never thrown away anything in my entire life. Have you?
I mean nothing….menus, invitations, notes, tickets, programs, (PLAYBILLS, of course). Clippings, diaries, notebooks, photos by the thousands, lists and more lists, clothes I’ll fit back into when I lose 542 pounds, hats, scarves, multi-colored boas, crayolas, old arrangements from nightclub days….I just stuffed everything into any available opening. But into this madness came a skilled archivist who is changing my life. She comes in four days a week. She has organized and unearthed amid the boas and rhinestones, some pretty interesting memorabilia of two lives whose passion was every aspect of “The Arts.”
I didn’t even remember getting the following note from Johnny Carson. I was the first woman to host his show, and I appeared on it probably over a hundred times. We found each other mutually funny, and during the breaks off camera (it’s long ago enough for me to admit), we broke each other up with silly and often dirty talk.
This is just the second blog I’ve ever written, and I’m discovering, during the process, especially for Playbill which has been such an important part of our lives…that I’m newly appreciating what a lucky and glamy life I’ve had and continue to have.
A few nights ago I was at The Public Theater seeing a really funny and imaginative rock musical called Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. It was created and performed by a new generation of comic talents…and now I’m reminiscing in print about Johnny Carson and heady times on television. Now and then…it’s nice to be able to access both when you want to.
I didn’t really strip.
I’ll show you one of the other newly unearthed notes….and riff on Sinatra. I met him through my husband Adolph. They had been good friends for years…and I was more than happy to inherit him along with the marriage. Sinatra starred in a couple of movies Adolph wrote. The most well known of which is On the Town…also starring Gene Kelly, based on the hit show by Comden and Green and Leonard Bernstein, choreographed by Jerome Robbins when they were all in their twenties.
Sinatra was everything that he was supposed to be. Besides the staggering talent, looks and charm, he did have that sexy undercurrent of danger around him. Friendship and loyalty were part of his mantra (that makes no sense… so if you think of a better word than mantra, let me know). He entertained lavishly…every show…every night was an occasion. We had a lot of good times. Hence.
How is it possible for one person to drop so many names…and not seem to be boasting?....Because I really was a Broadway baby…now a Broadway widow…and I guess I’m working it out publicly….shamelessly….but I sure hope entertainingly.