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July 17, 2017:

O-KAY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, Kay Cole made her cabaret solo show debut last night and it was pretty grand and very special. We were basically sold out and the audience was absolutely great – they cheered, the cried, they laughed, they stood. She was very assured even though I knew she was extremely nervous – so much so that even though she had the patter down cold, she kept asking John what was next just to be sure – that will all go away as we do the show a few more times, and it was charming anyway. Her energy was great and she really had them in the palm of her hand from her entrance to her exit.

I’ve talked about the opening number, which did exactly what I knew it would do – got big laughs, served to bring the audience to her, and let her shine. It was the first thing I thought of and the minute I said what the idea was, John figured it out perfectly in three minutes. And boy did it work. So, I haven’t said what it was but now I will: I thought Once in a Lifetime would be a great opener for her, just because of the lyric (I had to adjust a couple of lines so it worked for a female and for her), but more importantly because she did Stop the World – I Want to Get Off with Mr. Newley. But that wasn’t the real idea – the real idea was to announce her and then John starts playing the famous A Chorus Line vamp for One. She comes out (tonight they cheered and it went on for a really long time) – she gives John and the audience kind of a sly look, then instead of singing One, which is what everyone is expecting, she begins “Just once in a lifetime.” It gets a great laugh and the One accompaniment keeps going through the song. After her first time through, I had her strike the famous One pose and the audience went nuts, then John plays the ba-dump-ba-dump, dump dump from the top of A Chorus Line and says, “Again” and she goes back into Once in a Lifetime and finishes it. At the end he plays those weird repeated chords where the actors all hold their photos in front of their faces – she pulled out a photo and did that, then peeked out from behind it smiling – end of number. Well, it really brought the house down. When you open like that, it buys you a lot of good will right out of the gate.

The patter got lots of laughs and even some gasps because most people don’t know just what kind of a career she’s had and how long it’s been – she began at six in TV, doing Playhouse 90s, Loretta Young, the movie Dino with Sal Mineo, The Parent Trap (that was a gasp moment) – so that was really fun. Every song worked and she did a beautiful job with my song Simply. Three days ago I made a change to her encore, which is In My Life, as we do it on her CD. John starts it by playing the Chorus Line Maggie (the role she created) music to “Please take this message to mother from me, carry it with you across the blue sea” and then she starts singing in my life. After our run-through three days ago I said, “You have to sing it, the Maggie song.” She looked at me for one second and said, “Right.” And there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. So, very proud of our Kay and the act. John Boswell was his usual brilliant self.

There were so many fun folks in attendance – at my table up front we had Doug and Dorathy Haverty and his daughter Hartley, and Adryan Russ and her ever-lovin’ Dale Alan Cooke. My friend Barbara Deutsch was at the next table. Next to her was a woman named Sheila, a sassy old lady in a very short skirt. She knows Kay because she did the national tour of The Music Man with Kay – Sheila played Zaneeta and, amusingly, ended marrying Professor Harold Hill, played by Forrest Tucker. Who knew? Michael Kerker of ASCAP was there, and nearby was Cheryl Clark who, next to Donna McKechnie, was the best Cassie I’ve seen – she did a tour back in 1982 that played the Wilshire Theater here. Because I knew Ron Kurowski in the show, we all went next door to eat and she remembered that entire meal and what we all talked about. She looks great. Ron Dennis, the original Richie was there, as was Armelia McQueen. From Hit Song, our general manager John Holly, our stage manager John Calder, and bass player/cast member Tim Christensen. It was fun to see all of them and John Holly had just come from the matinee of Dial ‘M’ for Murder, which he really enjoyed. I was told the matinee went really well, and we had over sixty people.

After the show, Kay, her ever-lovin’ Michael Lamont, John and his boyfriend Paul and I went downstairs. For dinner I’d had a chicken Caesar salad that was on the small side, but pretty good. So, I was hungry – I had a small mac-and-cheese that was great, and a bite of Kay’s fish and chips, which I’ll now have to order from there – they were really good. We all unwound and laughed a lot, then I finally came home.

Prior to that, I’d gotten nine hours of blessed sleep, relaxed, did some work on the computer, and watched a bit of a motion picture on the Flix of Net, which I’ll finish today and then talk about. Then it was time to get ready, and then I moseyed on over to The Federal for sound check.

Today, I haven’t a clew as to what’s going on – I think something is going on and I hope someone reminds me of what it might be. Otherwise, I’ll make a show order and start writing the commentary. I’ll eat (probably a salad), I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and at some point I’ll relax. The rest of the week is meetings and meals, and all manner of things.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, figure out what’s going on, make a show order, write commentary, eat, hopefully pick up packages, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite fish dishes? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy that Kay Cole was 1000 times more than O-Kay.

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