Monday, January 22, 2007

Rita at 75

I'm very lucky to have good friends like Brian who, in addition to being a source of strength and support for me over the years, frequently takes me to cabaret shows at swanky joints like the Cafe Carlyle -- places that I would have a hard time getting into otherwise!

Last week, on one of the coldest nights of the year, we caught the fabulous Rita Moreno in her Carlyle debut. Oh, I hope to look as good as she does and have as much energy as she has when I'm 75!

She lent her voice to some beautiful lesser-known songs, including "But Alive" from Applause, a great number from an under-appreciated musical; and "New Ways to Dream" from Sunset Boulevard. Didn't know that she once played Norma Desmond in London.

But I think my favorite part of the evening was an anecdote she shared about riding the elevator with a fellow -- and much less sophisticated -- guest of the Carlyle. As Rita tells it, the woman saw her gold-sequin top and asked if she was going to the show downstairs. "I am the show downstairs!" she quipped. And when the woman asked her her name, she replied: "Chita Rivera."

Monday, January 8, 2007

Tony in TONY

Before the issue is yanked from newsstands, allow me to direct your attention to my interview with the wonderful Tony Shalhoub in the current issue of Time Out New York. And he was a great sport as we tried to cram our interview into a limited amount of time and space before a rehearsal for The Scene, the Off-Broadway show he's starring in with Patricia Heaton.

The first time I saw his work, he was appearing on Broadway in The Heidi Chronicles (with the woman who would become his wife, Brooke Adams), but I wouldn't say I became a fan of his until I started watching Monk, a show that one can quickly become, well, obsessed with. I owe the discovery to my mother, who was raving about it because she'd finally found a TV character she could identify with.

And while I often find myself having a "Monk moment," part of what makes the show such a joy to watch is that contrary to the title, it really is an ensemble show, and Shalhoub seems like a generous actor and executive producer. Sometimes when a star has his or her name affixed to the title of a series, the supporting characters exist only to bolster said star. But to Shalhoub's credit, many terribly funny moments on Monk have involved the back-and-forth banter between Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) and Lieutenant Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford).