A column of Broadway tidbits by Playbill On-Line's Senior Editor Louis Botto.
COOK ON HAMMERSTEIN II
An unbeatable combination is heard on a new CD called Barbara Cook: Oscar WinnersThe Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II. Ms. Cook brings her lilting voice to 15 Hammerstein gems, such as "It Might As Well Be Spring," "I Won't Dance," "All the Things You Are," "The Gentleman Is a Dope" and others. The splendid orchestrations are by Peter Matz, arrangements and conducting by Wally Harper, and the executive producer is Hugh Fordin. In a letter to Ms. Cook, the lyricist's son, William Hammerstein, wrote: "You don't just sing the song . . . [you] express a feeling of profound understanding of the author's intent . . . I know that your friends and fans will adore listening to this collectionas I do." (DRG Records) DOUBLE DUTY
Joe Traina, house manager for Shubert's Belasco Theatre, where A Doll's House is playing, has another job. Returning by popular demand for a third season in Sardi's Club Room, The Joe Traina Quintet plays the great jazz standards of Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller every other Friday evening. Traina's Quintet, a two-time Mac Award nominee, is featuring the jazz vocalist Natalie English, who has appeared in Purlie and One Mo' Time.
CALLING ALL TEENS
Fools Company, Inc., a performing arts organization located in the heart of Broadway's theatre district, is serving as an incubator and showcase for teen-agers with theatrical aspirations. The company produces and presents leading-edge works of theatre, music and dance by new and experimental artists from around the world and provides both professional performance and youth development programs in its new performance space. Teens interested in developing their creative potential and communication skills, and who want to explore the work of actor, dancer, writer, poet, designer or stage technician, now have a low-cost opportunity to do so. Those between 16 and 20 living in one of New York's five boroughs who wish to hone their creative skills should apply to Fools Company's New York School for Performing Arts. These year-round, weekly performance workshops are free of charge for N.Y.C. residents. There is only a $25 semester registration fee. For non-N.Y.C. residents, classes are $25 per week. The President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities include this program in their report highlighting successful youth programs. Call to register: (212) 307-6000.
NEW YORK SOUNDS
Now on view through May 31 is an unusual exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, N.Y.C. In the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sounds, there is an exhibit called New York in Sound: Recordings Celebrating the City's Last Century, featuring recordings of music about New York City or made in N.Y.C.sounds of the city and events and public personalities reflecting life and culture in the Big Apple. Included are songs from West Side Story and Company.
GRIM PRACTICAL JOKE
One anecdote about John Barrymore that is not included in the splendid new play Barrymore, starring Christopher Plummer as the Great Profile, is the practical joke that his friend and biographer Gene Fowler played when the famed actor died in 1942. Together with some bibulous Barrymore friends, Fowler and cohorts managed to steal the actor's corpse from a funeral parlor and propped his remains up in an armchair in the bedroom of Barrymore's great friend, actor Errol Flynn. Flynn had a grotesque surprise when he came home that night and turned on his bedroom lights.
-- By Louis Botto