Providing a community of support for mature dancers.
We can’t wait to design, produce and present our next DO40 CARES Song and Dance Concert! It will reflect our mission, to preserve our History, our Legacy and Our Lives while paying it forward to the next generation. Submissions will be accepted starting in December. We hope this will be as diverse and entertaining as all our previous concerts (above)!
ALL THAT VERDON! ALL THAT FOSSE!
An exciting success as...
DO40 SHARED THEIR LIVES, STORIES AND KNOWLEDGE TO
MEMBERS ONLY: CLICK HERE to view 11 videos of this great event!
CLICK HERE to view 109 Photos from this event
Back to Front, Right to Left: John Gilvey, Ken Urmston, Mimi Quillin, Gene Foote, Michael, McArthur, Dana Moore, Harvey Evans, Lloyd Culbreath, Valarie Pettiford, Mary Callahan, Diana Laurenson, (Front Row) Kevin Winkler, Kathryn Doby, Nicole Fosse, Byron St. Cyr, Lauren Blackman, Tommy Scrivens (Not pictured: George Marcy, Dick Korthaze, Pam Sousa)
We knew it would be a love fest and gathering of long-lost friends and peers, but even we at DO40 were astounded at the amount of information and knowledge shared at our All that Verdon! All that Fosse! Event March 23, 2016 at St. Luke’s Theater in NYC. The evening featured gypsies from the 50’s to the 00’s, plus students learning about Verdon & Fosse through the Verdon/Fosse Legacy Workshops. Nicole Fosse and Valarie Pettiford lead the panels, including 50’s gypsies Ken Urmston, Dick Korthaze, George Marcy and Harvey Evans, all the way to FOSSE and SWEET CHARITY revival vets Mimi Quillin and Diana Laurenson. Also in the mix, Verdon/Fosse workshop teachers Dana Moore and Lloyd Culbreath, and gypsies Gene Foote, Pam Sousa and Fosse assistant Kathryn Doby. Also on hand, DO40 members and authors John Gilvey and Kevin Winkler, currently writing books on Verdon and Fosse, respectively.
Students from the Verdon/Fosse Legacy Workshops included Mary Callahan, Lauren Blackman, Kenna Morris Garcia, Michael McArthur, Tommy Scrivens and Byron St. Cyr. In the audience, MORE Fosse dancers: Michon Peacock, Denice Pence Boockvor, Lawrence Merritt and Penny Worth, along with sooo many other DO40 members – Pat and Bert Michaels, Norma Doggett-Bezwick, Nikki Fiertz Atkins, Felicia Velasco, Lawrence Leritz, Sasha Spielvogel, Barbara Bernardo (in from LA), Janice Herbert, Skip Schultz, Karin Baker, Ginger Tidwell, DO40 board members Teddy Kern, James Dybas, Nancy Dalton and Patrick McCarthy.
And welcome to the many audience members new to DO40, experiencing our panels – and our mission, to preserve the History, Legacy and Lives of our creative community while paying it forward to the next generation – for the first time! Special thanks to Nicole Fosse and Mary Callahan and stage manager Robert Levenstein for all their help – and Valarie Pettiford for those set of lungs! She blew the roof off the theater (don’t worry, St. Luke’s Producer Ed Gaynes will repair!) with her rendition of “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” Fosse’s favorite song.
The audience was fantastic! So glad to see new faces – and long lost friends as well! Video clips of the event will be posted on the member-only page of our website, www.dancersover40.org soon! Remember, if you’re not a member of DO40, you won’t be able to view this event! We do not publish our events on youtube any more!
And there will be a free Photo Gallery Posted with over 100 pictures from the event – up soon on our website, so you’ll be able to visit with all your former friends and castmates – and see what they look like… now! And remember, it’s never too late to join DO40! Join now and your membership will be good through August, 2017!!!!
And as DO40 Advisory Board Member Chita Rivera always says, “We Simply cannot do it alone!” – so please consider not only becoming a member, but donating yearly on our Patron Wall. Donations start at $250.00 (Swings) and go up through Stand-bys ($500 - $999), Chorus ($1000 - $1499) Understudies ($1500 - $19,999), Dance Captains ($2000 - $2499), Star Spots ($2500 - $2999), Choreographers ($3000 - $4,999), Directors ($5,000 - $9,999) and at $10,000 and above -- Producers, of course!
Add to this, terrific performances by DAMES AT SEA star Danny Gardner, doing the entire Broadway Musical 42ND STREET in 7 minutes, a cappella, singer Barbara Minkus performing two songs, the first from The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N (a 1968 musical featuring young beauties Donna McKechnie…and Barbara Minkus!) and the second, What I Did For Love, from A CHORUS LINE. The Finale of the evening featured two of New York’s Top Drag Queens, Tina Burner and Pattaya Hart, performing 13 musicals in under 13 minutes – all Broadway shows in which our honorees had been featured. It ended with a rousing disco number from PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT, which started TONY nominated Legacy Award Honoree Tony Sheldon!
Donna reunited with cast members from shows she did in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and the Verdon/Fosse Legacy Table found new friends and connections everywhere. Honoree Janice Herbert had her own “chorus line” of supporters, taking up a huge section of the audience, the ladies of Radio City Music Hall’s Corps de Ballet. James Dybas’ fan club incuded performers from George M!, Hello, Dolly, Plaza Suite, and more. On hand for Donna, Terri Ralston and Joy Franz, along with Barbara Minkus and scores of gypsies that Donna worked with throughout the years. Tony Sheldon had friends from Goodspeed on hand, as well as fellow soulmate and penultimate gypsy Harvey Evans. DO40 was so pleased that Gene Gavin’s three nephews flew in from all over the country to celebrate his life with us.
Seen everywhere – DO40 members Ken Urmston, Norma Doggett Bezwick, Mary McCatty, Joanna Rush, Leni Anders, Rose Dennis, Jean D’urbano, Carol Eiger Maxwell, Robert Alexander, Sharla Herbert, Steve Jones, Candy Brown, Lawrence Merritt, Linda Rose Iennaco, Dick Korthaze, Lawrence Leritz, Thomas McRoberts, Virginia Seidel, Erin Thompson, and many, many more!
The food was outstanding! Special thanks to LIPS Restaurant for providing such a wonderful three-course spread at an affordable price for DO40 and our members! The staff was top notch, and dinner was served quickly and we had the show up and running in record time!
The official Legacy Awards Photo Gallery is now up on our DO40 facebook page. Shortly, it will be up on the website, along with video from the night’s event – a perk for members only on our free website. Thanks to the Board, Host Richard Skipper, performers Barbara Minkus and Danny Gardner, and the wonderful Tina Burner and Pattaya Hart (with an assist from Kyler Puckett).
And of course, a video of this event will be donated to the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. But…(big but!!!) as DO40 Advisory Board Member Chita Rivera says, “We Simply Cannot Do It Alone!” So please continue to renew your DO40 membership and encourage others to join, whether they be over, or “under” 40 dancers or just friends of DO40. We continue to rely on membership dues and donations to provide you with our panels and performances, socials and awards shows, casting seminars, membership meetings, our internet platforms and hard copy newsletter. All this requires support from our community -- and friends -- in order to survive, and thrive. Stay tuned for our Verdon/Fosse Legacy event in March. And have a wonderful holiday season!
Raindrops, performed by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company,
DO40 Features over Two Dozen Dancers, Performing
Dancers Over 40 celebrated diversity in dance with Can’t Stop the Music! Can’t Stop the Dance! Diversity All Around Us! – on Wednesday, October 14th at St. Luke’s Theater in NYC. With over 22 panelists, 3 live performances, videos and audience guests, it was one of the most important events we have ever produced. Special thanks to DO40 Advisory Board member Jerry Mitchell and his production team on his new Broadway bound musical comedy, Gotta Dance, for allowing us to preview the show with cast members – and DO40 members Lori Tan Chinn, Lenora Nemetz – and Nancy Ticotin. Also along, producer Lori Berinstein, who explained how the show came to be (she also produced the movie of the same name in 2008). Broadway World’s crack entertainment ace Richard Ridge moderated the event. Each performer related their dance, music, acting backgrounds and how they came to be here – cast in a new Broadway show – at over 60 years old each!
DO40 member Lenora Nemetz mentioned going on for Gwen Verdon at a Wednesday matinee and then going on for Chita Rivera that night – during the original run of CHICAGO. DO40 prez John Sefakis mentioned she had tied DO40 member Iva Withers’ record, of going on for the stars of Oklahoma and Carousel on the same day (but at different theaters, of course) back in 1947 – making Lenora the new Iva Withers (who left us last year at 97!!!). Long live Lenora!
Nancy Ticotin’s career has also been astounding, from Jerome Robbins’ Broadway to the first revival of West Side Story, cabaret, acting gigs on TV and more.
And long-time DO40 member Lori Tan Chinn spoke about being ready to pack her bags and leave NY, figuring after 60 years in show business (!!!) it was time to call it a day! Then came Orange is the New Black – and Gotta Dance! Now she has groupies! (At a DO40 lunch last month with Sefakis, a young woman came over Lori to ask for a selfie with her!)
The Gotta Dance Panelists – Nancy Ticotin, DO40 members Lenora Nemetz and Lori Tan Chinn,
Then on to the serious matter of the Elephant in the Room – or in our case, the Pig in the Room (long story from Lillian Colon – we’ll get to that later!), Janet Collins biographer Yael Lewin spoke with dancers Carmen Lavallade and Dr. Mel A. Tomlinson about this groundbreaking African-American ballerina, the first to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in 1951. Janet was also Carmen’s first cousin, and she prepared Carmen for her voyage to NYC and the dance world she would encounter. (More on Mel in the next panel!)
Act I ended with an encore performance by Solomon Dumas from our highly successful DO40 CARES dance concert June 8th at the Ailey Citigroup Theater/Joan Weill Center for Dance. Choreographed by long-time DO40 member Sasha Spielvogel, it showcased one of the youngest members of that evening’s panel. Someone commented, “Dr. Mel A. Tomlinson was the Desmond Richardson of his day, and Solomon Dumas is training to become the next!”
Solomon Dumas, performing an excerpt from our DO40 Cares concert in June,
Act II began with a beautiful excerpt from Raindrops, a modern dance piece based on a Chinese umbrella dance, choreographed and danced by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company.
The following panel was the longest and most information-packed of the evening, featuring a bevvy of dancing beauties, all related through dance, and through decades! Carmen de Lavallade, Hope Clarke, Gail Reese, Karen Brown, Sarita Allen, all spoke about their beginnings, and videos were shown of all the ladies performing in Gus Solomons jr’s dance company, Paradigm. Also on hand was Solomon Dumas, for that next generation’s story, and DO40 Legacy Award honoree Gemze de Lappe, recalling Agnes de Mille and the ballet The Four Marys, danced by many on the panel. This was moderated by Dr. Mel A. Tomlinson, dancer extraordinaire, from NYCB, Dance Theater of Harlem, and a list too long to be featured here! He was the youngster among the women – at 61!
Dr. Mel A. Tomlinson (center) moderating the panel discussion on Gus Solomons jr and Agnes de Mille
The last panel’s topic was community, and featured Jill Williams of the Clark Center, Nai-Ni Chen (Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company), DO40 member Fernando Carrillo (Ballet Hispanico, Ailey II, Lion King), Plu Sayampol (STEPS jazz teacher and club performer) and Baayork Lee (The National Asian Artists Project, A Chorus Line, Seesaw, Promises, Promises..and so much more!). This was moderated by DO40 member and the first Puerto Rican Rockette, Lillian Colon. It was she who mentioned that the pig was a very popular animal in Puerto Rico, so it was OK that our Elephant in the Room… wasn’t!!
Moderator Lillian Colon with Baayork Lee, Fernando Carrillo, Jill Williams, Nai-Ni Chen and Plu Sayampol
The evening’s discussion were celebratory and focused on the careers and lives of all these talented individuals, but we did move into some uncomfortable territory dealing with racism, sexism, ageism and homophobia. Matter of fact, in the curtain call photo we DID include the Pig in the Room in the photo, to add more humor to the evening!
Those that were able to stay for the Curtain Call!
L to R: Lillian Colon, Fernando Carrillo, DREAMGIRLS Jaygee Macapugay, Robyn DeGuzman and Jonelle Margallo,
But the Finale, was breathtaking! Baayork Lee brought performers from her National Asian Artists Project to perform the number DREAMGIRLS (from the musical), and it was a stunning ending to the show – and well worth the wait!!!! (The show ran a bit long…. sometimes that happens!!)
Baayork Lee’s DREAMGIRLS, Jaygee Macapugay, Robyn DeGuzman and Jonelle Margallo
As always, a copy of this evening’s event will be donated to the Dance Collection at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, and it will be available for viewing only to DO40 members on our website’s video page. There will also be a photo gallery with over 100 pictures of the show (those are already on our DO40 facebook page for all to view)!! The best perk of being a member, whether in NYC or California, is to be able to view our events if you can’t get there in person! So if you haven’t joined DO40 yet, please do! As DO40 Advisory Board member Chita Rivera says, “We Simply Cannot Do It Alone!”
DO40 Legacy Award Honoree Gemze de Lappe, with Carmen de Lavallade, Gail Reese and Hope Clarke
The Gotta Dance Team – producer Dori Berinstein, DO40 members Lori Tan Chinn and Lenora Nemetz,
Backstage with dancer Solomon Dumas and the Nai-Ni Chen Dancers,
Seen in the audience, DO40’s OWN Dreamgirls!!! Leni Anders, Norma Doggett-Bezwick (7 Brides for 7 Brothers in 1954!!!)
Dr. Mel A. Tomlinson, DO40 President John Sefakis,
More photos as well as videos of the event to come!
DO40 was notified a few weeks ago that long-time DO40 member Gene Gavin died suddenly in his apartment on the Upper West Side after a fall in his kitchen. Gene was scheduled to receive a DO40 Legacy Award December 7th, along with honorees Donna McKechnie, Tony Sheldon, James Dybas and Janice Herbert. Gene had just come to our DO40 Membership Meeting September 21st and was extremely excited about receiving his award. Members of his family have contacted DO40, and some will travel to NYC for the awards event to help celebrate honor Gene and his long dance career.
Gene was with Jerome Robbins Ballet USA in the 1950’s and performed in many Fosse shows, including Pleasures and Palaces, Little Me, and How to Succeed in Business, as well as Walking Happy, Skyscraper, Sail Away, Finian’s Rainbow and the original West Side Story. He wrote a column called “The Dance Belt” for the DO40 Newsletter for many years, chronicling the comings and goings of all the gypsies, who, presumably, lived in the West 50’s – the “dance belt!”
Gene had a wonderful sense of humor and attended all of our events. He participated in our Men of Fosse and Agnes de Mille programs as a panelist as well. He has many nieces and nephews, and when we get more information we will pass it on. But for now, the family requests that donations in Gene’s honor be sent to:
Dancers Over 40
A very heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Rita Tuttle, wife of Gene Gavin’s late brother, James, for suggesting this wonderful tribute.
Here is a copy of the last newsletter article that Gene wrote for us, back in 2007, that ironically speaks about St. Peter and the Pearly Gates:
The Dance Belt, by Gene Gavin
Before I ever auditioned for the choreographer who is the subject of this little tome, I had met him socially several times. Each time I met him he was gratuitously complimentary. “I admire your work,” “you’re such a good dancer,” etc., and so, when the time came that I needed a job and he was having an audition, I figured I had a good chance of landing a job with him.
The audition started out well with his assistant teaching a combination and then in groups of three or five we all did the steps. When we finished, the choreographer called my name and asked me to do the combination by myself and proceeded to tell the rest of the dancers that he wanted them to do the combination as I did it. And then he hired someone who did it (I guess) like I did it. Just not me.
More socializing, more gratuitous compliments and one day the opportunity came to audition for him again. The same procedure. Everyone learned a combination, everyone did the combination, I was called forward to do the combination alone and again he asked everyone to do it as I did – and then he hired someone else.
So, if when I approach those “Pearly Gates,” I see Saint Peter, I’m turning around and telling him – I think you want someone like me, but just not me!
We will miss you, Mr. Gavin. And I’m sure you will get that big show in the sky.
The Annual DO40 Membership Meeting
New members mingled with our regulars, speakers illuminated the audience about their projects, and DO40 Prez John Sefakis introduced the 2015 – 2016 season at DO40’s September 21st annual membership meeting at the Ripley/Grier Studios. Casting guru Carol Hanzel took to the floor to talk about mature dancers and the casting process for the last half of the meeting. Q & A covered internet casting tools for performers, what to put in resumes and types of photos needed for the mature dancer.
It was a very neat and tidy two hours. Long time member Denise Pence spoke about the Rehearsal Club and their ultimate goal of producing a documentary, Joanna Rush and director/choreographer Lynne Taylor Corbet promoted Joanna’s one woman show, Kick, to be performed at our favorite theater, St. Luke’s on Sunday nights at 7pm, and then there was a lot of cross talk, that was reminiscent of 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon!
Joanna Rush realized she was in Boys from Syracuse with DO40 member Norma Doggett-Bezwick (the girl in the green dress in the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers!). Norma has had such a long career, it took her a while to focus one of her later shows. One would not think the two would have performed together. Norma is now 90 – and Joanna is definitely a few generations removed! It was one of Norma’s last shows, and one of Joanna’s firsts!
(Left) Casting Guru Carol Hanzel gives our members the scoop on casting for mature performers
(Left photo) DO40 member Denise Pence talks about the parallel missions of The Rehearsal Club and DO40.
In the crowd, Karin Baker and hubby Greg, Patti Mariano and Joanne Mariano, Denise Pence, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Leni Anders, Joanna Rush, John Sheridan, Patrick McCarthy, James Dybas, Michael Isaacs, Ann Murphy, Nancy Dalton, Paul Berne, Gene Gavin, Sasha Spielvogel, Cherylyn Jones, Ken Urmston, Roseanna Mineo, Norma Doggett-Bezwick and DO40 Prez John Sefakis. A sizeable crowd, considering we did have to change the date at the last minute! The meeting was also a great tool to recruit more volunteers for our tables at the BC/EFA Flea Market! See you same time next year (give or take a Jewish Holiday in between)!
(Left Photo) DO40 Board Member Patrick McCarthy can't stop binge carrot crunching....
LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO THE BROADWAY CARES/
A gaggle of gypsies participated throughout the 10am – 7pm ordeal. And, shhhh!! Don’t tell anyone! We found a great bathroom nearby!!! We won’t divulge the information here, since they may not want the, ah, publicity! But needless to say, it was a Godsend to have a loo so near to use!
(Left) Lori Tan Chinn, Susan Sigrist, Denise Pence, Paul Berne and Nancy Dalton Flowers
Big thanks to board members James Dybas and Patrick McCarthy, and of course, Ms. Karin Baker, price-maker extraordinaire, Thomas McRoberts, in from Virginia, Carolyn Kirsch and Robert Reader from Connecticut Sharon Wendrow, who schlepped in from Long Island, Ruth Feingold from Queens, Susan Sigrist, Lawrence Leritz, Denise Pence, Paul Berne, Patti Mariano, Joy Serio Dunbar, Lawrence Merritt and Nancy Dalton. Special Guest and long-time DO40 member Lori Tan Chinn added star power to our table! (Watch Lori on Orange is the New Black and look for her at our Diversity panel talking about being featured in DO40 Advisory Board member Jerry Mitchell’s Broadway-bound show, Gotta Dance!)
Sharon Wendrow, Lawrence Merritt, Lawrence Leritz,
We made some new friends, especially with the American in Paris table across the way from us! Some of the cast bought our Balanchine panel posters (of Patricia Wilde and Carol Sumner) and ballet shoes in our bin, called DONNA MCKECHNIE (did not wear these) SHOES!
The biggest hit was our container labeled SUTTON FOSTER (did not wear these) CLOTHES! Followed by the McKechnie bin and the ANGELA LANSBURY (did not use these) POCKETBOOKS! AUDRA MCDONALD (did not wear these) SCARVES! If we only could have asked for a dollar for each time someone took a picture of the boxes, we would have reached $5,000.00!
Our always popular STAR-POWERED clothing bins!!! (Photo Right)
And of course, a big thank you to all of you who donated the goods we sold (and a lot that we still have!). Some of you delivered goods to our midtown location and didn’t write down who you were! Two events, down, and two more to go to finish out the Fall portion of our season! Our Diversity panel is less than two weeks away! Make sure you get your tickets now!!!
(Left Photo)Thomas McRoberts and Susan Sigrist
Karin Baker and James Dybas
MONDAY, DECEMBER 28TH at 7:30pm
Many, many of our members studied with Luigi, and DO40 has honored him with a Legacy Award in 2011 and featured him at our TEACHERS WE LOVE panel in 2014, so we thought it fitting to publicize the “official” Luigi event here on our website. “100% of all net proceeds raised from the concert will be given to an organization for dance TBD in the name of Eugene Louis ‘Luigi’ Faccuito, to establish and provide classes and workshops, nationwide and worldwide, for teaching Luigi’s jazz technique and style.” - Elynn Diamond, Executive Producer/Producer, with Rick Traum, Associate Producer.
Headliners include (as of this newsletter) Melba Moore, Tony Award Winner & Four Time Grammy Nominee and Donna McKechnie, who received a Tony Award for her performance in A Chorus Line. There will be over 20 featured Broadway performers, all donating their singing and dancing talents for the event. (at right, Eugene Louis "Luigi" Faccuito)
YES! DO40 CARES IS BACK! ONE NIGHT ONLY!
The Dance Guild of America has chosen a portion of our DO40 CARES 2015 dance concert to be performed at the Guild’s annual concert series to be held Dec 3 - 6 at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. Stonewall, choreographed by DO40 member Sasha Spielvogel/Labyrinth Dance Theater will be presented one of those dates. When we find out which one, we’ll let you all know!
SOLD OUT. STANDING OVATION.
A COLLABORATION WITH LABYRINTH DANCE THEATER
It’s extremely important to our organization to promote the History, Legacy and Lives of the mature dance community and to pay it forward to the next generation. That has become part our mission statement and new logo. But it also reflects what DO40 did at our sold out song and dance performance - DO40 CARES: Come Back Once More So I Can Say Goodbye. There are generations who have never felt the loss, the grief or the joy of camaraderie from being a part of a generation who fought – and won -- so many battles in the fight against HIV. Our Dancers Over 40 mission statement also applies to the History, Legacy and Lives of the LGBT community – and that story needs to be told and retold, as it will continue to be dismissed in school textbooks, along with much of the civil rights, feminist and American Indian movement in this country.
Cast Curtain Call & Finale
“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.” --Old English Proverb
A note from DO40 President John Sefakis:
First and foremost I would like to thank DO40 member Sasha Spielvogel (and Artistic Director of Labyrinth Dance Theater) for her commitment to this project and for agreeing to this joint concert offering. And to our DO40 board, greenlighted this project, knowing that we had never attempted an event like this before. Sasha’s pieces have been seen in DO40 concerts from 1999 on – including at our first DO40 CARES concert in 2010 at the Baryshnikov Theater and here at Ailey in 2012. Due to the financial constraints of putting up shows like this, small non-profits have few opportunities to showcase new – and mature – talent and explore important current topics of interest to the communities involved.
Choreographer and DO40 member Sasha Spielvogel during the Curtain Call,
Seen in the audience: DO40 Advisory Board member Larry Fuller, DO40-ers Ken Urmston, Gene Gavin, Norma Doggett-Bezwick, Carolyn Kirsch, Karin Baker, Patti Mariano, Lawrence Merritt, Ruth Aronowitz, Paul Berne, Sharla Herbert and more. But this audience was special. More diverse, more age range. And so vocal of their love for the show! It was a seamless evening, a storytelling, merging and conjoining the generations in song and dance. The Photo Gallery and Video Clips will go up the end of June (remember, only DO40 members can watch the concert in the comfort of their own homes on our website!). A thrilling way to end DO40’s 20th Anniversary Season!
RUTH PAGE EVENT KICKS OFF
CURTAIN CALL: Joellen Meglin, Dr. Mel A. Tomlinson, Helene Alexopoulos, George de la Pena,
An impressive array of nearly two dozen dancers from ballet, Broadway and film, and distinguished curators and historians came from all over the country to celebrate the great American dance pioneer Ruth Page in DO40’s tribute “Ruth Page: A World Apart,” at St. Luke’s Theater, on Monday, March 23, 2015.
The evening began with a brief introduction by program coordinators DO40 member Lawrence Leritz and DO40 Board member Andrew Wentink, both of whom worked with Ruth Page, Leritz as a dancer in her The Nutcracker, and Wentink as her archivist/editor for 17 years. Three panels with video interludes followed in which Ruth Page, who died in 1991, and many of her famous collaborators from the dance, music, and art worlds spoke about Page and her career.
The first panel, “Ruth Page and Dance in Chicago,” featured Dolores Lipinski, Patricia Klekovic, Gildo Di Nunzio, Bill Reilly, Dean Badolato, Bil Badolato, Tom Gold, Lawrence Leritz, and moderator James Dybas. The panelists reminisced about working with Ruth Page at the Chicago Opera, in regional industrials, in her Chicago Opera Ballet (in Chicago and on tour), and in Page’s lavish production of The Nutcracker. All remembered her as a unique character both charming and demanding, who had a lifelong impact on their artistic and personal lives.
Panel #1: Gildo Di Nunzio, Bil Badolato, Dean Badolato, Patricia Klekovic, James Dybas,
Panel #2: Cynthia Roses, Mel A. Tomlinson, Karen Brown, Andrew Wentink,
The last panel was something of a departure for the usual DO40 tributes – an historic and scholarly appreciation of its subject and her place in American dance history. Dakin Hart, Senior Curator of the Isamu Noguchi offered a compelling insight into the artistically productive and personally intimate relationship between Ruth Page and the great Japanese-American sculptor/artist Isamu Noguchi. Jan Schmidt, Curator of the Jerome Robbins Dace Division, gave an overview of the vast collection of research materials donated by Page to the The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Preservation of and online access to hundreds of rare and historic films of Ruth Page’s work and dance research around the world dating to the early 1920s, was discussed by Nancy Watrous, Director of the Chicago Film Archives. Dance historian Joellen Meglin, the last presenter of the evening, explained the personal journey of researching her new biography of the fascinating Ruth Page for Oxford University Press.
Panel #3: Joellen Meglin, Jan Schmidt, Moderator Andrew Wentink, Nancy Watrous and Dakin Hart
The evening ended with the beautiful and romantic finale of the television of production of Page’s The Merry Widow, featuring Patricia McBride, Peter Martins, Rebecca Wright, George de la Pena, Warren Conover, Larry, Long and members of the New York City Ballet. The enthusiastic audience, which included a large contingent of Ruth Page’s family, left feeling delighted by an evening spent learning so much about this American dance original.
DO40 President John Sefakis (right) with Ruth Page event creators DO40 member
Born in Indianapolis in 1899, Ruth Page made her professional debut on Broadway in 1917, then with Anna Pavlova’s Company on its tour of South America in 1918, and at Chicago’s Auditorium Theater in John Alden Carpenter’s The Birthday of the Infanta in 1919. She danced ceaselessly for the next 40 years, with Adolph Bolm’s Ballet Intime, on Broadway in Irving Berlin’s Music Box Revue, with the Chicago Allied Arts, Diaghileff’s Ballets Russes, the Metropolitan, Ravinia, and Chicago Operas, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Les Ballets Americains, choreographed for all but one of those companies, choreographers the 1947 Broadway show Music in My Heart, and served as director/choreographer for the various manifestations of her own Chicago-based companies well into the 1970s. Among hundreds of dance works to her credit are landmark Americana ballets, dances with words and music, and her innovative opera-into-ballets.
DO40 board member (and panel moderator) James Dybas with
A WONDERFUL OUTPOURING OF LOVE CELEBRATING
Friends, Family, DO40 Members and more came together Sunday, January 18th
Videos to be posted shortly (for Members Only).
The family requests that donations be made to Dancers Over 40, P.O. Box 2103, NY, NY 10101
Approximately 100 people attended a celebration of the life of DO40 Legacy Award honoree Nicole Barth Sunday in NYC at the Glass House Tavern. Guests included her BFF of over 55 years, Valerie Harper, Nicole’s daughter Leslie and husband John and their children Jessica and Sam, Anita Gillette, and more dancers than a ballet teacher could shake a stick at!
Nicole and BFF Valerie Harper at the DO40 Cares
Speakers included Valerie, Ron Young, Paul Berne, Marilyn D’honau, DO40 president John Sefakis and Nicole’s partner, Artie Siccardi, who was extremely instrumental in making all of this happen. Dancers from the 50's, 60's, 70's and beyond came to celebrate Nicole, and a photo slideshow highlighted her life, career and friendships. DO40 president John Sefakis presented a video highlighting Nicole’s long association with the group, including an interview on Thirteen/WNET’s MetroArts/ Thirteen, her acceptance speech receiving her 2009 DO40 Legacy Award and speaking at the 2010 Awards explaining how important the organization is to creating a family where dancers can feel at home, wherever they meet.
A partial look at the guests at the restaurant – SRO for Nicole!
Host Richard Skipper went around the room to gather reminiscences from the guests. Over 75 people signed the guest book, including DO40 members Denise Boockvor, Joy Serio Dunbar, Leni Anders, Sharon Wendrow, Eileen Casey, Carolyn Kirsch, Penny Worth, Lori Tan Chinn, Patti Mariano, Joyce Nolen, Kristine Nevins, Joanne Mariano, Lawrence Leritz, Karin Baker, Marilyn D’honau, Ellen Fluhr, Bert Michaels, Richard Korthaze, Lawrence Merritt, Nancy Dalton, Alice Tierstein, Virginia Seidel, Harvey Evans and Diane Nicole. Special Thanks to the planning committee, Leslie and John Skinner, Ron Young, Richard Skipper, Valerie Harper and Artie Siccardi. And extra special thanks to Artie Siccardi for all his support and generous donation to DO40 in honor of Nicole.
DO40 president John Sefakis, Eileen Casey, Penny Worth,
For those who want to learn more about Nicole’s life and the interview she did with friend of DO40 Richard Skipper, go to this link:
2014 Legacy Award Honorees Paul Berne, Carolyn Kirsch,
Dancers Over 40’s last event of 2014 turned out to be the one with the most performances of the year! And one of the shortest events of the year (that wasn’t hard to accomplish!). Nicely packaged into a 90 minute presentation, we honored those members who hold a special place in the world of dance and all have contributed to promoting Dancers over 40 and the History, Legacy and Lives of our community: DO40 Advisory Board Member Jerry Mitchell, DO40 founding member Eileen Casey, those “killer-diller” gypsies Carolyn Kirsch and Penny Worth and Paul Berne. These five individuals’ careers span over 50 years in show business, and have worked with all the greats – Robbins, Fosse, Bennett, Champion, de Mille, Gennaro, Layton and more.
(Left) The room at LIPS right before the show.
Host Richard Skipper entertained the audience with his patter, and drag queens from LIPS restaurant and the best of NYC entertained by performing Broadway production numbers from shows many of the honorees were noted for! (It did take DO40 member Norma Doggett-Bezwick – from 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, the movie – a few minutes to realize the performers were not exactly biological women!) Skyla Versai performed “I am What I Am” from LA CAGE and a rare number from LEGALLY BLONDE for Jerry Mitchell, and Tina Burner and Brenda Dharling did a medley from CHICAGO that included “All that Jazz,” “Roxie,” and “Nowadays/Keep it Hot.” Tina Burner also performed a clever number called “I’m 50!” which included a medley of numbers from the great shows of the 70’s and beyond.
Performers Tina Burner and Brenda Dharling perform a medley from CHICAGO,
A total “love fest,” which sounds corny, but it’s true. Each honoree had deep affection for each other, and their speakers spoke eloquently about them: Robert Reader for Carolyn Kirsch, Lawrence Merritt for Eileen Casey, Harvey Evans for Penny Worth, Carol Carlin for Paul Berne and Nick Kenkel for Jerry Mitchell. Former winners in the audience: Norma Doggett-Bezwick, Larry Fuller, Ken Urmston and Lawrence Merritt. An entire contingent from the Gay Men’s Chorus came to cheer on fellow member Paul Berne, and Real Housewives of New York’s Heather Thomson was also in the house. A special thanks to LIPS restaurant for having us – and giving us such a reasonable rate for a wonderful three-course meal!
Performers, Honorees, Host and DO40 Prez all on stage for the “Finale!”
L to R: Tony Sheldon, Juliet Ewing, Patti Mariano, Bambi Jones, Anita Gillette and Joyce Nolen –
DO40 adds a new venue to our list of performance establishments! The Triad Theater was just the right place for “A Salute to Johnny Mercer,” staged by Karin Baker, with choreography by Patty Mariano. Celeb hosts (and DO40 members, of course!) Anita Gillette and Tony Sheldon sang and told tons of Mercer stories and introduced our quartet of performers -- Juliet Ewing, Bambi Jones, Joyce Nolen and Patti Mariano. David Hancock Turner was at the ivories (and banjo) and offered his voice to some Mercer tunes as well. The list of classic Mercer songs is longer than you think, and this production highlighted as many as could fit in the allotted 90 minutes! (Yes! DO40’s shortest and most condensed show ever!! LOLOL).
Our Mercer “Panel” – Anita Gillette, Tony Sheldon, Debbi Whiting and Michael Kerker
Keeping true to our “roots,” there was a short, mini-panel after intermission, featuring hosts Anita Gillette, Tony Sheldon, Debbi Whiting (granddaughter of composer Richard Whiting and daughter of Margaret) and Michael Kerker, president of ASCAP. Stories were spun, dish was served! Did you know Mercer turned down writing the musical to the Rose Tattoo with Jule Styne? You had to be there for the inside scoop. Tony Sheldon is a veritable encyclopedia of entertainment! And Anita Gillette had known Mercer socially for a brief time as well.
At one of the very chic banquettes, DO40 board member Andrew Wentink and
History galore. And we were there to help preserve Mercer’s legacy, to promote and allow our DO40 members to continue their creative lives by performing and working on this production. Thanks to all who worked on the show, onstage and off! We simply cannot do it – alone!
Hosts Anita Gillette and Tony Sheldon
CURTAIN CALL: DO40 Prez John Sefakis, Barbara Dare Thomas, Nicole Barth, Marianne Tatum,
People flew in from coast to coast to coast to be there! Jacksonville, San Diego, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Connecticut (well by train for that one!) all to honor their “leader,” Joe Layton. Host Bruce Vilanch opened the festivities with a monologue – a Joe Layton monologue, filled with drama and as we say now, “shade” about many, many performers. Noel Coward was the best at it, Bruce said. Especially the story about the horse on stage and the ingénue. Bruce worked with Joe on Bette Midler’s Clams on a Half Shell and then on the Alexis Smith/Lisa Mordente classic, Platinum.
Wakefield Poole, Bob Fitch, Lynn Summerall, Susan Lowrance, Grover Dale, Sondra Lee, Bruce Vilanch
Joe’s career was traced from his first show, Oklahoma, where he met Richard Rogers, to The Life and Radio City Music Hall, in 1994 when he succumbed to AIDS. Friends, assistants, dancers, singers were all in attendance. There were special moments of heartfelt song, with Walter Willison, Marianne Tatum, Loni Ackerman and Jill O’Hara singing songs from their respective shows.
The show ran a bit long. As a matter of fact, we are about to submit the DVD to the Guiness Book of Records as longest panel/performance in DO40 History! Three and one half hours, not counting intermission! Our first panel ran 2 hours (including Mr. Vilanch’s opening monologue!)
Lillian Colon, Roger Puckett, Barbara Dare Thomas, Walter Willison, Lawrence Leritz,
Grover Dale talking to Bruce Vilanch
Lawrence Merritt, Nicole Barth, Wakefield Poole,
Celebrities Lesley Ann Warren, Lisa Mordente and Angela Lansbury sent video clips in their absence, and Susan Guthrie Lowrances audio tapes of Joel Grey, Elliott Gould, Joe Tremaine and Florence Henderson tied in nicely with a Streisand “Happy Days are Here Again.”
Act II concentrated on Dear World and George M! panelists, with clips, songs and many stories about how Joe worked with the material to make it better – especially in the case of Dear World.
The George M! gang took their places right after the Dear World kids.
James Dybas, Wakefield Poole, Jill O’Hara, Lynn Summerall, Patti Mariano, Loni Ackerman
Although the show ran long, there wasn’t a boring story to be told. Maybe a little off topic when Carol Channing came up (Bruce Vilanch offered to host a separate Channing panel to expand upon Carol’s work in Lorelei!).
Moderator Walter Willison, DO40 President John Sefakis and Host Bruce Vilanch
This was one of the most difficult events to produce, as many panelists and moderators were not from the area. But put a few dancers on stage to talk about a show, well, you can’t go wrong. You can go long, but not wrong!
THE BEST EVER DO40 FLEA MARKET FOR BROADWAY CARES/EFA!!!
DO40 RAISES A FUNDRAISING RECORD $3500.00!!!
DO40 board members James Dybas & Bethany Christine Elkin,
As usual, an exhausting 12 hour day for DO40, with members taking four hour shifts to man the (FIVE!) tables this year. Last year's total of $2,000.00 was shattered, thanks to the donations of our many members: Joe Ahumada, Margaret Shuette, Felicia D'Amico Velasco, Sharon Wendrow, James Dybas, Sutton Foster (if you were there, you'd get it...!!), Paul Berne, Penny Worth, Chuck Kelley, Teddy Kern, Luna Borromeo, Marti Hespen, Patti Mariano, Skip Randall, Virginia Seidel, Andrew Wentink - and volunteers on the front lines Sharon Wendrow, Patrick McCarthy (pulled a full day's work!) James Dybas, Bethany Christine Elkin, Penny Worth, Lawrence Leritz, Teddy Kern, Patti Mariano, Karin Baker, Roger Ellis and Lawrence Merritt. But Damn those Environmentalists!! They screwed up the whole city - and left us short volunteers who couldn't make it in to the city to assist! The March on the West Side and to 42nd Street tied up traffic - and people -- for the whole day! We love you guys for trying your best to get in!
Amidst the hubbub and hullabaloo of the crowds, DO40 members Lawrence Leritz
Special thanks to new boss-of-the-day Valerie Lau-Kee Lai of BC/EFA and of course to Tom Viola, for his support of DO40 over these past seven years. We're happy to be able to give back to our community-at-large!
For those of you on Facebook, please go to our page, www.facebook.com/dancersover40, as we have posted a bunch of pics of the day!
OUR THIRD FREE CASTING SEMINAR – FOR DO40 MEMBERS ONLY!!
More news on this as it develops. Casting Agent Lakey Wolff, an ardent DO40 supporter, will round up yet another marvelous panel to help assist our members in finding print, TV and dancing opportunities!
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE FOR …THE TEACHERS WE LOVE!
(Trying to do that “Selfie” thing like the Academy Awards, but after almost 4 hours, this is all we could muster! Bella Malinka, Alan Onickel, Nicole Barth, Marilyn D’honau, Bob Boross, DO40 Prez John Sefakis taking the pic, Mary Cadorette-Harris, Jose de la Cuesta, Karin Baker, Carolyn Kirsch, Jessica Black, Francis Roach, Amy Burgmaier, Carter Poust, Chuck Kelley, Lester Holmes and DO40 board member Kathy Seng Gurland)
They said it couldn’t be done! They said nobody could do it! We tried, and despite a few bumps in the road, succeeded in getting most of the great teachers of our generation(s) together for the first time!
DO40 honored Gemze de Lappe, Bella Malinka, Marilyn D’honau, Bob Audy, Phil Black, Matt Mattox, Chuck Kelley and Luigi. Unfortunately, Gemze landed in the hospital the week before the show, and could not appear. She sent her love to all, and we all signed a get well card in the lobby for her. Phil Black, of course, is at the Actors Home in New Jersey, and a few panelists had to be changed last minute as well. But aside from these surmountable obstacles, we got it done! Videos! Singing! Dancing! Acrobatics! All Live!
DO40 founding member Eileen Casey opened the show with a rare 1997 video from a DO40 concert featuring Marilyn D’honau, Michon Peacock, Gary Gendell and Bill Thompson – and choreographed by Tony Stevens. Eileen noted that our 2014 – 2015 DO40 season marks our 20th anniversary as an organization. And they said it couldn’t be done! They said nobody could do it!
(Notice their feet do not touch the ground!!! Gene Castle, Patti Mariano, Karin Baker and Tim Falter,
DO40 member Karin Baker got together her George M! gang to restage a portion of All Aboard for Broadway (Joe Layton brought Bob Audy in as a consultant and to coach Joel Grey). The number featured Karin Baker, Patti Mariano and Gene Castle from the original company, and newcomer (“the kid” learning the role) Tim Falter. Tappers extraordinaire Lynn Schwab and Tony Waag did a tap rap of Holi Coles’, Amy Burgmaier sang “Satin Doll” to her teacher, Luigi, as Francis J. Roach danced, and DO40 Legacy Award honoree Billie Mahoney sent video greetings from Kansas City, and intercut her talk with clips from her “Dance On” local television series from the early 80s that featured Luigi. The evening ended with a DO40 video clip from the 2010 DO40 CARES concert, a dance choreographed by Luigi and danced by Erika Black. The dance faded midway through and out came Jessica Black, Erika’s twin sister, to continue to dance the music to the end, and present Luigi with flowers.
The panels were insightful, as were the videos. Phil Black Student Paige Dana Polisner noted in her video clip (taped at the Phil Black Students’ Reunion in March, 2014) something that could be applied to many of the teachers honored:
“He alone had the ability to get us where we wanted to go. We knew it was because he cared so deeply he was harsh, and in truth, he believed in us way more than we did, and he settled for no less than what he knew, even when we didn’t, what we could do. So he prepared us equally for both the best and the worst of what the business had to offer….. but his students endured even when they couldn’t, even when their dreams and hearts and bodies were broken… and this way Phil readied us not just for Broadway but for life. He made us resilient, strong and flexible of mind as well as in body. In short, he made us “something else,” something bigger and better than the person we were when we walked in his door – and for that, we are eternally grateful.”
Bob Audy, Luigi, Chuck Kelley
(l to r: Bob Avian, Tracy Everitt – accepting for Skip Randall – Lawrence Merritt,
DO40 presented its fifth annual Legacy Awards at their Holiday Dinner, this year again LIPS restaurant in NYC. Honorees this year were Chita Rivera, Bob Avian, Lawrence Merritt, Skip Randall and Louise Quick (posthumously), with a special Honorary Award to BC/EFA Executive Director Tom Viola. Speakers Lisa Mordente, Baayork Lee, Larry Fuller, Teak Lewis, Harvey Evans and Tracy Everitt were all eloquent and heartfelt in speaking the praises of all these wonderful people, who have given so much to their profession – and to DO40.
A special video montage was shown in honor of Legacy Honoree Louise Quick, who died November 1st. Her sister Ellie flew in from Colorado, along with her daughter Ashley and other family members to accept Louise’s award. Both Chita Rivera and Lawrence Merritt offered stories about Louise and shared their love for her. There was humor and heartache, laughs and gentle tugs at the heartstrings.
(Clockwise at the Honoree and Speakers’ table: Chita Rivera, Lisa Mordente,
Hostess for the evening was Broadway and Off-Broadway Diva Christine Pedi. She regaled the audience with story after story as well as impressions of the great stars singing holiday songs. Tracy Everitt filled in for Legacy Honoree Skip Randall, who was unable to fly in from New Mexico with his wife. Skip was in Call Me Mister and Make Mine Manhattan in the ‘40s with a young upstart named Bob Fosse…
(Chita Rivera – center – with Louise Quick’s sister Ellie and her daughter, Ashley)
Also in the audience, former Legacy Award winners Nicole Barth, Bella Malinka, Ken Urmston, Larry Fuller, George Marcy, Harvey Evans, Joe Tremaine, Lee Roy Reams and Norma Doggett-Bezwick. Members roamed the tables finding old friends they hadn’t seen in decades. And our newest – and youngest – board members, Roger Ellis and Bethany Elkin, were on hand to help out with our video set-up and round up loads of volunteers from Marymount Manhattan College. It’s so important for the younger generation of theater and dance students to understand the importance of the history, legacy and lives of our community.
Our volunteers for the evening – l to r, DO40 member Lawrence Leritz, Marymount Manhattan College students Tim Allen, Allison Scott, Liane Zelinski, Katrina Colletti and new board members – and teachers at Marymount – Bethany Elkin and Roger Ellis. Not pictured, DO40 members Leni Anders, Diana Baffa-Brill and Eileen Casey, and DO40 Board Members Teddy Kern, James Dybas, and Gitana Garcia)
The special honorary award to Tom Viola was so very important, as BC/EFA has played a central role in the growth of DO40, and with their yearly funding, have allowed us to produce the panels and performances we have today. We are like a sister organization, giving back when we can, through our dance concerts and at the BC/EFA Flea Market every year. DO40 has donated over $10,000.00 to BC/EFA in the seven years we have participated in that event.
(Hostess Christine Pedi, along with Harvey Evans, speak the praises of BC/EFA Executive Director Tom Viola)
Also in the audience... Patti Lupone and Matt Johnston, John Breglio, Patricia and Bert Michaels, Denise and Steve Boockvor, Marianne Selbert Troy and hubby Hector, Steve Jones and Valarie Pettiford of the Verdon/Fosse Legacy, LLC, Carol Maxwell, Felicia Velasco, Lori Tan Chinn, Roseana Mineo, Jodi Moccia, Frank Davis, Rose Dennis (in from Pennsylvania), Kim Greenberg (in from Rhode Island), Karin Baker, Carolyn Kirsch, Penny Worth, Ellen Fluhr, Mary Six Rupert, Loida Santos and cast members from every 1950s, 60s and 70s show imaginable! An impressive crowd. An impressive evening!
DO40 is so fortunate to have a membership of such dedicated people!
Life is Beautiful! The Girls are Beautiful! The Audience was Beautiful! The Show was Stunning! DO40’s Biggest – and Best – Panel and Performance!
Joel Grey, Sandy Duncan, Don Correia, Marge Champion, Donna McKecknie and Ben Vereen.
Monday, October 21st was a luminous night for DO40, panelists, performers – and especially the sold-out audience who attended Dancers Over 40’s latest panel and performance, this time honoring Director/Choreographer Ron Field. Along with seven members from the original production, on hand were Marge Champion, Sandy Duncan & Don Correia, Joel Grey, Donna McKechnie, Lee Roy Reams and Ben Vereen. A star-studded night, indeed for DO40!
Video clips from Ron’s shows were interspersed with performance pieces by the CABARET cast, Donna McKechnie, and the “Dueling Duanes,” Lee Roy Reams, Harvey Evans and Lawrence Merritt, all of whom portrayed Duane in APPLAUSE.
Cast members from the original Broadway version of CABARET: Marianne Selbert, Bert Michaels,
The panel segments whisked by – no one noticed 3 ½ hours passed! The CABARET cast with the wonderfully honest, witty and direct Joel Grey, and moderators Harvey Evans and Lawrence Merritt; The Fabulous D’honau Sisters – Marilyn, Lillian and Dorothy, Lee Roy Reams – and that was just Act One!
L to R: Marianne Selbert, Patricia Michaels, Bert Michaels, Moderator Harvey Evans,
Act Two’s panels included segments with Marge Champion, Sandy Duncan and Don Correia, moderated by Harvey Evans and Marianne Selbert, and insightful discussions with Ben Vereen and Donna McKechnie. Donna led the panelists and performers into a sing along that included songs from ON THE TOWN and CABARET.
L to R: Marilyn D'honau, Lillian D'honau, Dorothy D'honau and Moderator Lawrence Merritt.
The audience was ablaze with the best of the best – DO40 members, Legacy Award honorees, new facebook fans and Friends of Dancers over 40 (FODO 40’s as they are known!). Ben Vereen singled out his ballet teacher from the High School of Performing Arts, 2011 Legacy Award honoree Bella Malinka, and Gary Gendell, Carolyn Kirsch and Legacy honorees Ken Urmston and Nicole Barth were also in attendance, and spoke from the audience with reminiscences of Ron and his work. Fosse biographer and DO40 member Kevin Winkler, Harry Haun, St. Luke’s producer Ed Gaynes, Virginia Seidel and a gaggle more of gypsies going back at least 45 years filled out the crowd.
Harvey Evans, Lee Roy Reams and Lawrence Merritt in front of their younger selves
Special thanks to our new – and youngest -- members from Marymount Manhattan College and Broadway Dance Center, teachers and students, Roger Ellis, Bethany Elkin, Tim Allen, Kevin Breseley and BDC blogger Mary Callahan, none of them over 30 – but all of them involved in DO40 to learn about the History, Legacy and Lives of the performers, choreographers and artists who came before them.
Act I Finale, APPLAUSE, with Harvey Evans, Lee Roy Reams
From DO40 member Karin Baker: “It was a fabulous event! It was a pleasure to help take tickets and just to hug so many older dancers!!! Thanks so much Harvey and Larry for making it a dream come true. I felt very proud and happy to be counted as a dancer who has a legacy to offer along with all those talented people on stage. We were all a part of something special that doesn't happen today. I must have hugged over fifty people last night!!! I never had the pleasure of working with Ron, but I had worked with almost everyone who was up there. I auditioned for Ron when I was eighteen and almost got a job at the Latin Quarter. Now I wish I had actually gotten the job. But I do remember how much fun his audition was. It felt last night like he had the right and proper send off! Thanks DO40, for making it happen!!!”
Ben Vereen waxes nostalgic about Ron Field and his Emmy Winning TV Special,
From new DO40 member Barbara Wasson: “I just wanted to tell you how wonderful the tribute to Ron Field was the other night! I'm still trying to take it all in because it was so incredible. To be in the company of so many talented people, people who have inspired and entertained me since I was a little girl; to spend an evening extolling the amazing art of dance and choreography; it was nourishment to my soul! Everyone was so friendly and delightful. It's a privilege to be a part of this fun organization. If you ever need someone to stuff envelopes, lick stamps or run for coffee, I would be an enthusiastic volunteer. Again, thank you so much.”
Don Correia and Sandy Duncan.
From DO40 Board Member James Dybas: “What a terrific evening! Everyone was saying that it was the best ever. I have to say, Harvey Evans did a great job tonight, he really kept it moving and knew exactly when to stop a panel discussion and move on. He really does his homework!”
Act II Finale from ON THE TOWN and CABARET, led by Donna McKechnie.
From DO40 member Leni Anders: “It really was a spectacular event – and worked well being at 7:00pm. It was the best organized event we’ve had, and really ran smoothly…. Congratulations – they get better every time.”
Curtain Call with the Cast (Joel Grey and Ben Vereen absent).
Curtain Call/Finale with Tony Sheldon, Carol Lawrence, DO40 Prez John Sefakis and Liliane Montevecchi
THE STORY OF OUR LIVES
Hosted by Carol Lawrence,
Another year, another performance! And another lovely hosting gig by the luscious Carol Lawrence, and featuring new member Liliane Montevecchi, and long-time member Tony Sheldon….and the Paul Taylor Dance company and a Margo Sappington Ballet…and much, much more!
This was one of the most diverse entertainments DO40 has ever produced. The evening was a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Dance for PD® (Parkinson’s Disease), housed at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn. There was tap, jazz, ballet, modern, songs, duets, trios, and comedy… Tonight! (well, last week).
Opening Number: The Story of Our Lives, featuring (l to r on barre: Nicole Barth,
The evening was a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Dance for PD® (Parkinson’s Disease), housed at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn. There was tap, jazz, ballet, modern, songs, duets, trios, and comedy… Tonight! (well, last week). Margo Sappington and Mark Stuart provided two outstanding duets, “Fly Me” and “Night and Day,” that wowed the audience with their lifts and fabulous choreography.
Fly Me: Sarah O’Gleby and Adam Perry
Night and Day: Veronika Verterich and Vitali Krauchenka
And to promote DO40’s Legacy Project, hostess Carol Lawrence introduced the G.I. Jive, performed by DO40 members Bambi Jones, Juliet Ewing and Mary Lou Barber. This number, an excerpt from a longer, Johnny Mercer Songbook directed by DO40 member Karin Baker, was performed at the Lilian Booth Actors Home in NJ for their residents. (Choreography by cast member (not shown) Patti Mariano.) The Legacy Project seeks opportunities for DO40 members to perform, do workshops and speak at colleges, universities and arts organizations around the country.
Two different kinds of solos moved the audience in much different ways. Troy Barnes’ 2 Tears in a Bucket was a roller coaster of emotions, while Tony Sheldon lamented in song the travails and pitfalls of the “universal” Dancer over 40.”
Left: Two Tears in a Bucket - Troy Barnes
DO40 was honored to have the Paul Taylor Dance Company join us this year. The excerpt from “Cloven Kingdom” was impeccably danced by members of his company. A special thank you to Mr. Taylor for his largesse.
Cloven Kingdom: Michael Trusnovec, Robert Kleinendorst, James Samson and Sean Mahoney
For a taste of humor, or as one could describe it, a choreographic comic dialogue, the effervescent Claire Porter (from last year’s “Lady Lamp”) gathered a band of her merry men (and women) for an inside look at air travel, before – or after – the Sequester!
At the Gate: Jim Martin, Matt Buffalo, Susan Thomasson, Claire Porer and Sabatino Verlezza.
Always stunning, the beautiful Karine Plantadit, a new DO40 member, performed an original piece by choreographer Christopher Huggins. Karine performed in both Twyla Tharp shows on Broadway, MOVIN’ OUT and the Sinatra COME FLY AWAY.
Blue Lady: Karine Plantadit
A FUN EVENING OF TAP AND TALK,
HONORING JUNE TAYLOR & THE ROCKETTES!
They said it couldn’t be done. They said nobody could do it! Yes, TAP! was back again at St. Luke’s Theater and on the DO40 agenda, filled with performances and panel discussion, with plenty of video…and live “dish” for every dance and theater enthusiast to savour!
The Curtain Call!
Rare 50’s and 60’s footage of the June Taylor Dancers was provided by Craig Horwich, June Taylor’s nephew (Marilyn Taylor was his mother, Jackie Gleason his stepfather). Craig is head of Jackie Gleason Enterprises, and Jackie played an important role in the career of June Taylor. Panelists Mercedes Ellington, Diana Baffa Brill, Jane Defalco, Karen Prunzik and Horwich recalled the days of the June Taylor Dance School on 56th & Broadway, where just about everyone took class – ballet, tap, jazz, modern – you name it.
Setsuko Maruhashi, Kimberley Corp, Eileen Woods, Mary Lilygren Kane,
The Rockettes panel – and performers -- stuffed the stage of St. Luke’s like a Carnegie Deli pastrami sandwich! Ann Murphy, Mary Six Rupert, Jean Preece, Jennifer Jiles, Joyce Nolen, Maryelle Scilla, Sandy Scilla Gendell, Jeri Kansas, Dottie Bell, Lillian Colon (the first Latina Rockette), Eileen Woods, Madeline Jaye, Mary Lilygren Kane, Setsuko Maruhashi (the first Asian Rockette), Kimberley Corp and Katherine Corp, six of whom performed a precision and unison dance to, what else? New York, New York!
Go Into Your Dance, with Lee Roy Reams, James Dybas, Karen Prunzik,
Performances abounded! A snappy Spanish tap number, featuring Linda Rose Iennaco, Barbara Massey and Kathy Conry, a recreation of Go into Your Dance from 42ND STREET, with Lee Roy Reams, Karen Prunzik, James Dybas, Karen Calloway, Kathy Callahan, and Gabriela Zucckero, and the solo, star 11pm slot (at 10:45 – we finished on time!) with Luke Spring, the 9-year old tap prodigy from A CHRISTMAS STORY.
Mary Six Rupert, Jennifer Jiles, Lillian Colon, Maryellen Scilla, Dottie Bell,
Kudos to Karin Baker for organizing, compiling and rounding up these bevvy of beauties! Moderators Harvey Evans, Mary Six Rupert and Lee Roy Reams led the panels. And the audience was included in the discussion, with a shout out to the tappers/performers in the audience right before intermission.
June Taylor Panelists Mercedes Ellington, Diana Baffa-Brill,
Most special moment of the evening: Before Craig Horwich left to fly back to Chicago, he thanked us for honoring his aunt, saying that this is the way she – and his mother -- would like to be remembered, by their peers and fellow dancers. Priceless.
Craig Horwich, with the original Plaque from outside the June Taylor Studio, NYC
Dancers Over 40 is dedicated to preserving the History, Legacy and Lives of our creative community, while sharing the knowledge with the younger generation just beginning their careers. To that end, the event was videotaped and donated to the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection at Lincoln Center’s Library for the Performing Arts.
The Lovely Ladies of Spanish Tap: Kathy Conry, Linda Rose Iennaco and Barbara Massey
Our Facebook page continues to be hugely popular, with over 31,000 fans as of this newsletter. Please, look us up at www.facebook.com/dancersover40, post your thoughts, events you think are appropriate for our community, and remember to visit the page often! Our Facebook presence is another way that you and DO40 can continue to promote the History, Legacy and Lives of our members, friends and fans!
We’re always looking for volunteers! DO40 is always on the lookout for members with sales and marketing skills, accounting, fundraising and PR, as well as writing skills. If you think you can help, just call our DO40 Hotline (212-330-7016) and leave a message or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please let us know if you think you could contribute to a panel or social event! We can’t possibly know all the talents of our members, so please give us a call or call our Hotline and let us know your interest in our upcoming events. They are always announced yearly, so there is plenty of time to develop ideas and decide on participation. We can’t do it without you! But if we don’t hear from you, we’re hoping you will participate by attending all of our events. And please tell your friends and fellow dancers!
Membership dues are just $45.00 annually for NY/NJ/CT residents and $35.00 out of the area. We now have our member-only site, so it will be increasingly important to be a member – wherever you live. We’re working to get you the best “bang” out of your dance buck in these tough times. This year, the DO40 membership discount code is on the back of your membership card, good for all events and our member only site. Just go to www.dancersover40.org and click on the JOIN/DONATE button where you can pay by credit card with Paypal. You may also download the membership form and mail in a check if you don’t prefer the Paypal option.
Our ARTSWorkplace page on our website is really working! We had three casting directors call us and post auditions for our members this year! The feedback from those who were chosen was great! If you haven’t sent in a headshot to be posted on ARTSWorkplace, please email or snail mail one as soon as possible. Please include a resume as well, which we will keep on file and not disclose without your approval.
And our Legacy Project is up and running! As you saw from the brochure included in your membership renewal mailing, we have revived this very important DO40 educational tool. We are looking for those who have teaching, speaking and performance abilities and DO40 will do the promotional outreach to universities, colleges and arts organizations around the nation. So it’s no matter if you are in Missouri (Hi, Billie Mahoney!) or in Hawaii (Hi, Dorothy and Bobbie!), Connecticut (the lovely Carolyn Kirsch) or New Jersey (her partner in CHICAGO crime, Penny Worth), we will promote you and your History, your Legacy and your Lives to educate and entertain in as many venues as we can find!
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