[As usual, notes to myself to remember shows I've seen but I'm mailing you this letter since maybe it's of interest you] 

Wall to Wall Rodgers Richard Rodgers Symphony SpaceOnce a year Symphony Space on Broadway in the 90s does a "Wall to Wall" show: 12 hours non stop of one composer Bach and Beethoven but also Porter and Kern. This year it was Wall to Wall Richard Rodgers from 11am to 11 pm. Unfortunately, something happened to the West Side IRT local and I got up to 96th street about 1 minute before 11. By the way, the music on the subway has changed a lot over the years. There's a lot of quality jazz and classical being played in the stations by vagrant musicians. Since I had to use the 8th Avenue IND, I saw a lot of local families making outings to the Natural History on the way up.

I did get into Symphony Space but because of the crowd I had to wait about 15 minutes for a seat. During a pause for a scene change I got into a conversation with two women. One was a West Side local who had dropped in for the show -- carrying her lunch and supper. The other had come in from somewhere on Long Island and mentioned she had seen Golden Boy last night. I fished for her opinion by saying ".... and what did you think of the music". Her answer was: she liked everything in the show; she always likes everything; it must have been good because she hadn't fallen asleep during it. [She also had bought a seat higher up and cheaper than mine the night before but still sat down in the orchestra "I'm certainly not going to walk upstairs".]

Symphony Space InteriorThe theater, I'm guessing, holds about 600 people and was filled. Because it was a pay-what-you-wish event that had so many big names, I was worried it might be a madhouse of a crowd. It was, in fact, crowded but people weren't pushing or unpleasant. The biggest part of the crowd was in their 20s and 30s but there were large numbers of elderly and even a few children.

The Wall to Wall Rodgers was featuring famous performers like Maureen McGovern, John Collum, Jo Loesser, Celeste Holm and Comden & Green, not so famous jazz performers, scenes put on by Juillard and NYU theater students, an excerpt from an upcoming Rodgers and Hart musical performed by a professional theater group, interviews on Rodgers with his daughters, etc. All were interesting; click here and also here for extracts of part of the program.

The interview with Rodgers' daughters, both composers, both in their 70s, showed striking differences in their personalities. Mary [who wrote the musicals Goldilocks and Once Upon A Mattress] is outgoing, brash and very New York; the other one [whose name I forget and whose works I don't know] was quiet, demure and as if she were from Iowa. The moderator kept trying to get them to reveal background information on Rodgers' composing style and on the famous people he was connected with; basically, they said, they only had one childhood, couldn't compare it with a "normal" childhood and so thought their childhood was totally ordinary. The closest to an anecdote of the type the moderator wanted was that one of them went to school with a daughter of Irving Berlin and asked her mother who was more famous, Irving Berlin or Richard Rodgers. Mrs. Rodgers apparently said "Irving Berlin".

Tove Feldschuh got off on the wrong foot - no pun intended - with me by beginning her set with a lot of corny and embarrassing Upper West Side schtick - aren't we local supporters of the arts on the West Side proud to be here and lets give ourselves a big hand - but when she went into her performances of It Never Entered My Mind and I Wish I Were In Love Again she was creative and electric. The excerpts from Rodgers and Hart's 1925 Dearest Enemy that were performed by the Village Light Opera were so good that I'm trying to get my sister and cousins to go see the full show when it opens next month.

[The performance was being broadcast live over WNYC - we had to applaud at certain times as lead ins and lead outs - and I suspect there's a good chance it may be replayed on PBS or NPR stations. If you see it listed, listen to it.]

Unfortunately I had to leave Symphony Space at 2pm in time to get back to pick up my satchel at the hotel on Pavonia Avenue.

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