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THE DANCERS. THE MOVIE. THE DO40 EVENT!

WEST SIDE STORY AT 50 October 9, 2011
at St. Luke’s Theater, NYC

by Marcina Zaccaria

DO40 West Side Story Event

DO40 President John Sefakis at the Q & A section of the WSS Event,
with Host Harvey Evans, Bert Michaels and David Bean
(also onstage shooting footage for us to donate the Lincoln Center Library, Manny Santiago

CLICK HERE for More Photos!


The Audience Responds!

“I loved every minute of it.  I must confess I melt every time I see Harvey Evans.”

“I can't stop thinking about the evening….so glad that you video all of these events.  This information is so precious to preserve.  Imagine how happy the viewers are who live too far away to get to the events!  What a learning tool for the young hopefuls.”

“What a fabulous day yesterday!  It was absolutely perfect!  That film meant a lot to me - like Joe Mantegna, I saw it 11 times! And of course, like everyone else, I was madly in love with George Chakiris - he was plastered all over my teenage walls.  The 3 "live" guys onstage were amazing, and the continuation afterwards at Joe Allen's, with lots of old friends, was the perfect ending.  You have done an amazing job - I salute you!  It just gets better and better.”


“Now THAT was fabulous!” 

DO40 West Side Story Event On Sunday, October 10, 2011, D040 members and NYC theater and dance fans gathered at St. Luke’s Theater in NYC to celebrate West Side Story at 50 – The movie, The Dancers, the Documentary.  There was a spirited panel and Q & A with the audience about the play, movie and documentary by Peter Fitzgerald, with additional footage by Robert Banas and Harvey Evans.  The unreleased documentary features dancers remembering the filming of West Side Story, and the lives that they’ve led after the film was made.  The dancers were happy to discuss the camaraderie they’ve had throughout the years (left, Bert Michaels, Harvey Evans and David Bean).

Host Harvey Evans and original Jets Bret Michaels and David Bean were there to share their insight on the making of the movie.  Unfortunately Russ Tamblyn had scheduling conflicts and Al Verso had a last minute emergency and could not attend.  We DID want one Shark in attendance!  Harvey has been instrumental in helping to preserve the History, Legacy, and Lives of the dance community – and the community of West Side Story dancers.  He shared what it was like to work with Mr. Robbins, and remembered the ‘Yes Sir’ mentality that many dancers had when working with him.  In pushing the dancers to their limit, Robbins often made the dancers better, and perhaps there was something magnificent on screen because of that.  

Harvey said the dancers felt like they were walking on eggshells when they were around Robbins, but so many also felt blessed that Jerry had chosen them to do the show.  They always tried to find a way to say' thank you' to him for giving them this special opportunity -- and sometimes they told him off -- and he liked it!  Harvey was asked by an audience member if he ever thought about the fact that he was part of the “Golden Age of Theater and Dance.”  He responded with a Gwen Verdon quote, “Well, if I had known THEN that it was, I would have!”

DOr0 West Side Story Event

In the audience with DO40 Prez John Sefakis: DO40 Legacy Award Winner Gemze de Lappe,
Director/Choreographer and Advisory Board Member Larry Fuller and Betty Jacob

Other great stories were shared about the different vantage points of seeing the work.  The documentary catches the dancers warming up and exercising on location and shows vividly that many scenes were shot on the land where Lincoln Center was later built.  The original film, of course, featured music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.  The movie starred Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer and Rita Moreno and won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  The 50th Annual Version of West Side Story is being re-released on November 15th on Blu-ray DVD.  The re-release boasts hundreds of hours of restoration, new 7.1 digital audio, and a collection of bonus features.

Many thanks to everyone who came to the event, and of course, many thanks to Harvey Evans, David Bean, and Bert Michaels for sharing their perspective and their unique point of view.

DO40 West Side Story Event

The fabulous Marge Champion, DO40 Advisory Board Member and Legacy Award Winner,
with West Side Story cast member David Bean


CLICK HERE for more photos of the DO40 WSS Event.

 

DO40 presents Gwen Verdon

GWEN VERDON EVENT - THE BIGGEST in DO40 HISTORY!!

With Special Thanks to Moderators Lee Roy Reams and Harvey Evans!

DO40's Gwen Verdon Tribute

DO40 President John Sefakis with Paul Phillips, Tony Stevens, Marge Champion, Donna McKechnie, moderators Harvey Evans and Lee Roy Reams and Rachelle Rak and audience member Gene Foote

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PHOTO GALLERY (67 Photos)

A Cavalcade of Gypsies on – and offstage – highlight the career of Broadway’s Ultimate Gypsy:
Ms. Gwen Verdon

Gwen VerdonDO40 tried something different--a video tribute--a smaller list of speakers--and an audience filled with a gaggle of gypsies from over 60 years of Broadway’s best, starting from 1947!!!  And then we put it all on video!

It was a long time in the making.  DO40 had wanted to honor Gwen Verdon for years, but we just didn’t know how to approach it.  Finally, DO40 Board Member Lee Roy Reams took it upon himself to start the wheels going--and with assistance from Harvey Evans (it took NO arm twisting at all!), the blueprint for the evening was set:  Show Gwen.  In her glory.  Dancing.  Some rare clips, some interviews, some not-so-new videos.  But all Gwen -  all the time.

Gwen’s dear friend and stage manager, Paul Phillips flew up from Florida to speak, and came with his date – Nicole Fosse!  Other speakers included Marge Champion (who met Gwen when she was seven; Marge, eleven!), Donna McKechnie, Tony Stevens and Rachelle Rak.  Speakers that spanned the Gwen Verdon era from 1932 – 2000.

You don’t get this information in text books!  Some of it, Mr. Reams, could have been censored, but then again, it WAS historical fact (and made Marge Champion blush – a Marilyn Monroe/Jack Cole story!). 

DO40 then turned the cameras on the audience.  Right before Intermission, DO40 president John Sefakis came on stage to do his usual “sales pitch” and then brought the DO40 cameraman to the stage to film the AUDIENCE – any chorus person who wanted to stand up and say their name and what show they did with Gwen was filmed – David Gold  and Rudy Tronto (from California), Christine Stewart Fornier (from Minnesota), Candy Brown (from Colorado) Gene Foote, Norma Doggett Bezwick (Gwen assisted Jack Cole in Norma’s first Broadway musical, Magdalena In 1947), Gwen Arment, Louise Quick, Lawrence Leritz, Hellen Gallagher, Jack Lee, Ken Urmston (from Can-Can) and many, many more.

Nicole Fosse regaled the audience with stories of her mother “getting into shape for work” at home by jumping rope four times a week and vocalizing.  She also taught Nicole ballet at home – with the refrigerator as the barre!  Wonderful, heartwarming stories of the History, the Legacy and the Life of Gwen Verdon, as told by the people WHO WERE THERE -  mostly our members!

This was DO40’s biggest hit so far. We’re thankful not only to our members, but to the FRIENDS of DO40 who came as well. We can’t do it without all of you!

Special Thanks to Lee Roy Reams and Harvey Evans, as well as Marcus Gallante for his superb video clips and editing. The speakers – from Marge Champion and Paul Phillips to Donna McKechnie, Tony Stevens and Rachelle Rak (who was a hoot and a half, as we used to say!). And all those who contributed stories from the audience, including Gene Foote, David Gold, Nicole Fosse, Louise Quick, Gwen Arment, Lawrence Leritz, Rudy Tronto and more

DO40;s Gwen Verdon Tribute

You can view video clips on our youtube channel, www.youtube.com/dancersover40. Go to Playlists and chose Gwen Verdon: I’m not Lola. We are the only organization dedicated to preserving a community of support for the mature dancer, with panels, performances, socialsand awards events, to help document the History, Legacy and Lives of these important artists. DO40 thanks all of you for the success of this important event.

DO40's Gwen Verdon Tribute


Remember, we are a HUGE part of Facebook! Over 10,000 Fans! Pictures galore of the Gwen Event (pictures will be put up here on the website as well). The great thing about Facebook is you all can COMMENT on the events and talk to each other! So please, take time to go to www.facebook.com/dancersover40 and enjoy the conversations -- and news! It hits there first!

DO40's Gwen Verdon Tribute

 

DO40's Gwen Verdon Tribute

 

DO40's Gwen Verdon Tribute

Generations of Gwen Admirers: Rachelle Rak, Candy Brown and Donna McKechnie

Click HERE to see 67 more photos of this great event


THE MEN OF FOSSE -- Continuing a Legacy

Our biggest panel performance ever
- so far!

Men of Fosse

The Curtain Call for the Men of Fosse – with a few Women of Fosse, too!
(back row, l to r) Gene Gavin, Johnny Nola, Dick Korthaze, Bill Guske, Harvey Evans, Ken Urmston
(front row, l to r) Gene Foote, Penny Worth, George Marcy,
DO40 President John Sefakis and Louise Quick

The Men of Fosse broke all records for DO40!  Our third in the series of In the Company of Friends:  Dancers Talking to Dancers, brought together four short of a dozen men who danced Fosse from 1955 to the 80s.  The crowd was bursting out of the New Dance Group space, but that also contributed to the intimacy – and some tearful moments shared.

The afternoon began with David Lewis at the piano playing a montage of music from all the Fosse shows.  As people arrived they were greeted by old show tunes – and old friends – and a sumptuous buffet courtesy of DO40 member Joe Ahumada and his partner, Brian Albert. However, this time the audience was interspersed with a large contingent of internet types, young dancers and musicians as well.  A wonderful article in the December issue of AMERICAN THEATER MAGAZINE with pictures of President John Sefakis and new Board Member Harvey Evans helped boost ticket sales!  Word of mouth spread through All That Chat, Talkin’ Broadway’s message board and there were stories on Theatermania.com and Playbill.

Men of Fosse 2

Pres John Sefakis with Louise Quick
and Johnny Nola

The panel included DO40 board members Richard Korthaze (PIPPIN, CHICAGO, DANCIN’), George Marcy (DAMN YANKEES -- original cast, BILLION DOLLAR BABY -- with Fosse), and Harvey Evans (NEW GIRL IN TOWN, REDHEAD, DAMN YANKEES tour with GWEN VERDON in 1974), and DO40 members Ken Urmston (NEW GIRL IN TOWN, PIPPIN) Johnny Nola (REDHEAD) and Gene Gavin (LITTLE ME).  Special guests and returning members also included Bill Guske (REDHEAD, HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO) and Gene Foote (SWEET CHARITY, PIPPIN and CHICAGO). 

The opening number, “Whatever Lola Wants,” from DAMN YANKEES, had DO40 member Penny Worth dancing between the chairs of the eight Broadway gypsies, and later in the program, she slithered around doing a female rendition of Fosse’s “snake” from the movie THE LITTLE PRINCE.  Also performing were Ken Urmston and David Lewis who sang “Razzle Dazzle,” and George Marcy, who ended the show with original choreography from the devil – doing “Those Were the Good Old Days” from DAMN YANKEES.

Moderator and Fosse dancer and assistant Louise Quick brought out the best of the men and knew exactly what and how to ask the right questions to the panel.  Louise had been on the Women of Fosse panel moderated by Harvey Evans, so she had experience on her side! 

Penny Worth 1Intermission was a love fest-social event, and the audience watched a clip of Harvey Evans dancing “Who’s Got the Pain” from DAMN YANKEES with Gwen Verdon on an old Ed Sullivan show. There were prizes, raffles and promises of more panels to come. Next on the agenda, The Dancers of Gower Champion! This is tentatively scheduled for February. Long-time DO40 member Nicole Barth, Gower’s assistant on HELLO, DOLLY! , Karin Baker from 42nd STREET, Eileen Casey, one of the founding members of DO40 and possibly that Harvey Evans again (did he dance in EVERY show from the 50s and 60s?!??!?!) have been penciled in to appear. Stay tuned via the website and newsletter. Remember, only members get newsletters – and discounts at events such as these panels, parties and fundraising events.

So, if you haven’t joined yet – you can do so online right here on this site! Fast, simple and an important way to support your fellow dancers! Please join now!

The event was filmed and will be donated to the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts.  Portions of the program may be aired on Thirteen/WNET’s website, www.thirteen.org in the future, as may The Women of Fosse.  So, stay tuned!


www.manhattanmotion.com


Korthaze and McIntyre

Broadway Dancer Gerry McIntyre
and Dick Korthaze

 

Penny Worth 2

Penny Worth performing
"Snake in the Grass"

 

DO40 New Friends

New Friends...

 

 

Men of Fosse Panel Photo 9

An Eileen Casey husband, Lee Hooper
and Bill Guske

 

 

Penny Worth kicks it up

Penny kicks it up...

 

Dance Spaces Logo

Men of Fosse Curtain Call

More Curtain Call with (l to r) Gene Gavin, Johnny Nola, Dick Korthaze, Gene Foote, Bill Guske,  Penny worth, George Marcy, John Sefakis, Harvey Evans, Louise Quick and Ken Urmston

 

George Marcy

George Marcy, that ole Devil!!

 

D040 Regulars

..and Regulars

 

 

Men of Fosse Panel Photo 10

Penny Worth, Harvey Evans,
David Lewis, Bill Guske

 

 

Marcy Finale

And Georgie gives us an 11:00 o’clock number
– at 4pm!!!

 

SEE MORE PHOTOS of
THE MEN of FOSSE


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