Hey, Old Friend: Quinton & Ludlam, Libin & Mann, Smith & Herz, Prince & McMartin

PlayBlog   Hey, Old Friend: Quinton & Ludlam, Libin & Mann, Smith & Herz, Prince & McMartin
Presenters for the induction ceremony of this year's Theater Hall of Fame practically qualified as Significant Others this year — and, in one case, was: Everett Quinton presented, and accepted, the honor posthumously for his co-star on stage and in life, Charles Ludlam, the founder and clown prince of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company.

Other longtime relationships on view at the Jan. 25 Hall of Fame ceremony in the rotunda of the Gershwin Theatre:

Presenter Paul Libin's Circle in the Square partnership with Theodore Mann falls short of life — "just" 47 years — and existed all that time, said Mann, on a handshake.

John McMartin was presented by director friend Michael Montel, who read a note from another director friend, Harold Prince. Prince recalled the first time he saw McMartin on stage — playing a claustrophobia breakdown scene in an elevator in Sweet Charity. McMartin would later have a famous breakdown as Ben Stone at the end of the Prince-directed Follies. Alas, the master of the onstage breakdown had no such scene in Prince's Show Boat, in which he played smooth-sailing patriarch Capt. Andy.

The queen mother of gossip columnists, Liz Smith, drudged up some hilarious recollections of her longtime gal-pal, publicist Shirley Herz, who received the 2009 Founders Award for her contribution to the theatre — and wanted the world to that Herz stopped dishing to her once she took up theatrical-flacking full-time. (Many moons ago.)

Herz thanked her parents for that defining moment when she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life. They took her, as a little girl, to see the final performance, after the Broadway run and road tour, of The Philadelphia Story.

"Katharine Hepburn came out after the show and made a curtain speech, and I was stunned," she remembered. "I didn't have much experience, but I had never seen a curtain speech, and there was such magic in it that, at that moment, I made up my mind that the theatre was going to be my life. That was it!"

— Harry Haun

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