PASSING STAGES: Some Interesting Coincidences

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PASSING STAGES -- June 1996

PASSING STAGES -- June 1996

TWIN VICTORY: At a recent playbill luncheon at the Algonquin, Tony Roberts, who plays Carroll Todd in Victor/Victoria, confessed that when he first auditioned for the part, he was told that it was going to be played by Robert Loggia. Michael Nouri, who plays King Marchan in the musical and who also attended the luncheon, was surprised to hear that. "That's what they told me when I auditioned!"

BIG TRIVIA: Theatregoer Esther Rifkin of Cliffside Park, N.J., sent us this interesting information about Big: "In Act Two, Scene Seven of Big, one of the kids stumbles upon a carousel, which he thinks may have come from Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey. Having just finished reading the delightful new book, Palisades Amusement Park‹A Century of Fond Memories by Vince Gargiulo (Rutgers University Press), I now know that the carousel was sold to Canada's Wonderland in Maple, Ontario, where it was restored to its original splendor. The Park's Cyclone, so splendidly idealized in Big by Robin Wagner, was demolished in 1972. I thought readers of playbill might enjoy sharing this nostalgia."

LITERARY AWARDS: The George Freedley Memorial Award for excellence in writing about live theatre has just been presented to Lyle Leverich by Edward Albee for his biography Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams (Crown); the Freedley Award Honorable Mention was presented by actress Marian Seldes to Claire Tomalin for Mrs. Jordan's Profession: The Actress and the Prince (Knopf).

The Theatre Library Association Award for excellence in writing about film, TV or radio was presented by film historian and author Charles Musser to Gregory Waller for his book Main Street Amusements: Movies and Commercial Entertainment in a Southern City, 1896-1930 (Smithsonian). The Theatre Library Association Award Honorable Mention, presented by Lee Roy Reams, went to Richard Barrios for A Song in the Dark: The Birth of the Musical Film (Oxford). The presentations took place on May 31 in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at The N.Y. Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center in Manhattan.

HARBURG'S SECOND HOME: When the famed lyricist E.Y. Harburg ("Yip") was growing up on Manhattan's Lower East Side at the turn of the century, there was no heat in the family's cold-water flat. "So, my study was the library on Tenth Street, right opposite Tompkins Square," he once revealed. From this humble beginning he went on to write lyrics for such classics as The Wizard of Oz and Finian's Rainbow. Recently, when The N.Y. Public Library unveiled its newly renovated Tompkins Square Library, it recognized Harburg's contributions to our culture by naming the branch's first floor reading room in his honor. Among his most famous songs are "Over the Rainbow," "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?," "April in Paris," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "If This Isn't Love" and "Lydia the Tattooed Lady."

The Tompkins Square Library at 331 E. 10th St. was revitalized through the N.Y. Public Library's Adopt-a-Branch program.

WORTHY EXHIBITION: Painter and theatre designer Peter Harvey, who created the sets for George Balanchine's The Jewels and A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as Dames at Sea, The Boys in the Band and many other Off-Broadway productions, is having his first one-man exhibition in 12 years at Nicholas Davies & Co., Inc., 23 Commerce Street (June 11­July 6). The exhibition consists of a combination of works from the theatre, paintings made in response to AIDS and gouache and ink studies from life. Mr. Harvey has lost many friends to AIDS. "To take one example," he says, "of the 18 or so men involved in the Broadway milestone The Boys in the Band, only the author, three actors, an assistant stage manager and I survive; the rest have died from AIDS." Gallery hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday­Saturday. Admission is free.

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