Hidden in a theater’s orchestra-level wall is the pass door. Step through it, and you will enter the backstage area, but beware, once you enter, you will encounter the realities dwelling in the kingdom of make-believe.
In this seriocomical look at life, with a who’s who in the theater during the 1960s and 70s, attend the final days of the Golden Age of Theater and the beginnings of its new sounds – Hair and Company.
You will read about Carol Channing prior to her acclaim in Hello, Dolly! Liza Minnelli’s stage debut and Judy Garland’s final stage appearance. Be a spectator during Hair’s first year. Reach for something other than a glass of Remy Martin as you watch cognac shatter a relationship with Maggie Smith. Observe a coterie of distinguished Broadwayites destroy a gift from the United States Government. Be a witness to Deborah Kerr’s strength knowing that she’s in a failed play, and Billy Dee Williams, the then hot-hunk with the chiseled body, take on the role of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
Also appearing (in order of appearance) are Lucille Ball, Gene Kelly, Barbra Streisand, Barbara Cook, Stan Getz, Ethel Merman, Fred Astaire, Elaine Stritch, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, James Baldwin, Kim Stanley, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, Fidel Castro, Doris Day, and Mae West.
Fly to 1960s Havana; drive through France; experience the London of 1974, and visit Venice Beach, CA before it became an in-place.
You’ll see reality warp into illusion, then comprehend how a young boy, whose own family turned to illusion during World War II, spiraled to drugs and alcohol at adulthood. You’ll also view that young gay man, who ignored reality in favor of illusion, immerse himself into a dark hole whose force of gravity was so intense that escape seemed improbable.
About Ron Bruguiere
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Published February 24, 2011
Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography.