Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Yes, I'm Still Here! Busy Making Plans and Having Fun!

Sorry for the long absence, but it's been a busy, productive life of late. My last entry was posted at the end of March. Since then, I've been enjoying the best of Broadway, going to/getting tickets for concerts and more Broadway, and doing a bit of travel. Fun in the Sun 2008 has begun!

In April, I had the pleasure of seeing the great Patti LuPone (or as we Long Islanders call her, "Northport's Own Patti LuPone") in the classic Broadway musical Gypsy, where she brought the house down as Mama Rose. What a spectacular performer she is. The rest of the cast was terrific (more on that later), and the production was directed by the legendary Arthur Laurents.

Next on the schedule was Joy Behar, who you may know from "The View," and who started in showbiz as a standup comic. She's still incredibly funny. It's a shame you only get snippets of her wit on "The View" (bring back Joy's Comedy Corner!), because her standup is terrific. She gets down and dirty sometimes, but all in good humor. Unfortunately, she was only the opening act -- the headliner was "Mr. Warmth," Don Rickles, and the roles really should have been reversed. Behar has a lot of respect for those who came before her, so I'm sure she would never publicly agree with that statement, but it's really time for Rickles to retire before his act gets really embarrassing. I used to enjoy him on variety shows when I was a kid, but that was a looooong time ago.

"Boeing Boeing" is a revival of a sex comedy from the 60s that started last year in London and is now on Broadway. The cast is amazing: Christine Baranski, Bradley Whitford, Gina Gershon, Mary McDonnell and Mark Rylance, who came over from the London production. Do I smell Tony awards? You bet I do!

Whoopi Goldberg hosted the Tonys on June 15, and a lot of the people I rooted for took home statues. South Pacific, which I'm seeing this fall, was awarded several Tonys, including best revival of a musical, but Gypsy took the Tonys for Best Actress in a Musical, for the incomparable LuPone, Best Supporting Actress, Laura Benanti (married to "Rescue Me" star Steven "Sean" Pasquale!), and Best Supporting Actor, Boyd Gaines, who gave a classy shoutout to my pal Danny Burstein, also nominated for that award for his role as Luther Billis in South Pacific. Danny had said he'd be happy to lose to his pal Boyd, so it was a bittersweet moment. Boeing Boeing also picked up Best Revival of a Play and Best Actor for Mark Rylance, who beat out Patrick Stewart in "the Scottish play that shall not be named." (An old Broadway superstition; look it up in your Funk and Wagnalls!) I was sorry that Xanadu lost out to In The Heights, but, on the whole, most of the people I saw this season were rewarded, so I feel ahead of the game.

Coming up on the Broadway/concert schedule: Rick Springfield (possibly), Young Frankenstein (orchestra seats!), Pat Benatar, South Pacific (house seats), and...Tina Turner! Yes, I'm going a little overboard, but since the dollar and the price of gas and everything else is so skewed, I cancelled my plans to go to Europe this summer and decided to see lots of shows instead.

In spite of my personal vacation plans being altered, there has been plenty of business travel on the docket. I spent a steamy week in Atlanta last month, wondering how on earth people live in that climate, but discovered several excellent restaurants and saw a few good friends. I leave next week for New Hampshire, where I will dwell in a lovely B&B on the beach (yes, New Hampshire has 16 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline) and visit clients in between fireworks on the beach, fantastic dinners, and maybe even a visit to dreaded Fenway Park, where I may plant some Derek Jeter tokens. All in good fun, of course! Early August will find me traveling from the San Francisco Bay area down the coast to Los Angeles, with a stop in Santa Barbara for what has been promised to be a fabulous dinner. Oh, and seeing clients.

The rest of the summer will be spent grilling and chilling with friends, which is one of the best things about summer (other than air conditioning and reasonable electric rates, both of which I have!). A few gatherings are already planned, and I'll be sorry to see the summer end (but not the heat).

The other nice thing about the end of summer is that it means my friend Tony will return from his two-month gig, drumming in Monte Carlo (one of my favorite places in the world). We played together in jazz band in high school, and he was always a phenom. Me, not so much. After many years, we've reconnected, which has been great, but I miss him like crazy. Two months and counting!

So, forgive me for not blogging, but these have been busy times! More later...