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D040 News - Page 6
An October 19th Love Fest for Peter Gennaro!
Members, old friends and new faces came together to honor director/ choreographer Peter Gennaro October 19th, and the raves keep pouring in! The show featured video clips thrown up on a faux television screen, to honor Peter’s TV work, with posters of all his Broadway shows scattered around the set. A sextet of Gennaro dancers performed a portion of one of Peter’s most popular numbers, and like Pajama Game (that gave Peter his first big boost) and 42nd Street – the show had to go on with one of our prize dancers out sick. Co-host Lee Roy Reams fell ill late Monday, so DO40 Pres. John Sefakis stood in for him as co-host with Carol Lawrence and performed in the dance number!
(l. to r.: Liza Gennaro, Carol Lawrence, Chita River, & Moderator Harvey Evans discuss Peter Gennaro’s contribution to West Side Story)
Surprises in the audience abounded! Actress and dancer extraordinaire (AND of course Catwoman!) Julie Newmar attended, as did Jacques D’Amboise and documentary filmmaker Rick McKay (Broadway’s Golden Years).
Gemze de Lappe, John Sefakis & Julie Newmar
The three panels captivated the audience and panelists (especially Steve Boockvor) had them rolling in the aisles (well, not literally – THAT would not be a good thing at a DO40 event!). Juliet Seignious offered a more serious note to discuss how Peter could not get her on the Perry Como show in the 60s (no blacks allowed), but he did remember her from that audition and called her later and begin a long and fruitful collaboration on the Ed Sullivan and other variety TV shows.
Steve Boockvor, Liza Gennaro, Juliet Seignious, Jean Gennaro (Mrs. Peter Gennaro) and Fiona Evans, Liza Gennaro's daughter
Iva Withers discussed working with Peter in Guys and Dolls when she replaced star Vivian Blaine. Peter put her in the “Take Back Your Mink” number – back in 1950 – 51! Bill Guske and Larry Fuller commented on how generous Peter was in allowing his dancers to grow and take on choreographic duties. And of course, there were the 5, 6, 7, 8 jokes in Peter’s inimitable “accent;” the cute butt jokes and stories about how Peter would choreograph a number by first deciding on the color of the costumes!
A meeting of the Minds – Harvey Evans, Carol Lawrence and Lee Roy Reams, at an early discussion of the Gennaro event at DO40 President John Sefakis’ home. Also attending, his cat, Shafafa, who took an instant liking to Carol – and from the looks of it, to Lee Roy, as well!
Penny Worth discussed how Peter always looked after his dancers and tried to find them work. Gary Gendell got his dance job after a stint in the army! And Nancy Dalton spoke lovingly of Peter’s kindness and professionalism that permeated each and every rehearsal. Never had any of the panelists had such “painless” rehearsals with a choreographer! Act II began with a restaging (by Liza Gennaro) of a portion of Gennaro’s “The Sophisticates,” with Steve Boockvor, Juliet Seignious, Gary Gendell, Nicole Barth, Penny Worth and DO40 Pres. John Sefakis stepping in for Lee Roy Reams. And Act III, well, what fascinating conversation: Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence, Harvey Evans (all West Side Story alumni) with Liza Gennaro discussing Peter’s participation and choreographic achievements in that landmark musical.
It was an evening of reminiscences and joy, celebrating the History, the Legacy and the Lives of the dancers of Peter Gennaro and honoring Peter’s contribution to the world of dance. And as is DO40’s custom, the program was filmed and the tape donated to the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts.
Co-host Carol Lawrence performed an interlude from “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story to open Act III, and explained how Peter had the idea to use a scarf and how the limitations of the stage forced some choreographic decisions to be made – mostly by Carol! The WSS panel even discussed Peter’s contract and how he received his co-choreographer credit. Peter’s contribution to West Side Story was fairly well known in the theater community, but the general public has never really known how much of the choreography was actually his.
Julie Newmar, Chita Rivera,
Gene Foote, Louise Quick
Long time members and accomplished actor/singer/ dancers Louise Quick and George Marcy have labored long and hard to present cabaret acts that reflect their History, their Legacy and their Lives. Both performers performed admirably at multiple shows at Don’t Tell Mama in November. They are triple-threat artists who have worked with the biggest and the best in the industry. Both have worked closely with Bob Fosse and almost each and every other important director/choreographer from the latter half of the 20th Century! And that is a helluva lot of History!
Louise Quick and Lovable Larry Merritt
Louise Quick presented a song and mini-dance revue entitled, “Still Just Breezin’ Along,” and George Marcy presented “The Ballad of Georgie Porgie,” a one-man musical comedy/drama. As Angela Lansbury said in Something for Everyone: “Anyone who is Anyone was there!” Celebs like Carol Lawrence, Chita Rivera, Eileen Fulton, Julie Wilson and DO40 members Gene Foote, Dick Korthaze, Ken Urmston (pictured below), as well as Margery Beddow, Gene Gavin, Larry Merritt, DO40 prexy John Sefakis, Gene Bayliss, and Ron Stratton were all there for support – and had a fabulous time at each event.
Chita, Georgie Porgie and Carol Lawrence
Dancers Over 40 is extremely proud of these mature artists, still working and growing, and in their own way, giving back to the new generation of artists out there. It’s very important that we as a group support these talented individuals, and that we get the word out to our younger members – and non-members -- about these very special people. We are extremely proud to be associated with such a wonderful family of artists. DO40 members: PLEASE LET US KNOW WHENEVER or WHEREVER YOU ARE PERFORMING! We’re here to promote you and your work!
Julie Wilson and George Marcy
Dancers Over 40 invites you to become a
Due to the overwhelming response to our panels, we’ve received many requests from non-dancers for our newsletters, to get e-blasts about upcoming programs, discounts for admission to our events – almost everything that a DO40 member gets when joining. So, we said, why not? You are supporting us by coming to our events, let’s bring you into our family! You’ll receive all of the above benefits, plus access to the Actors’ Federal Credit Union – and again, that ever-popular entry fee discount for our socials, panels and performances.
So, if you’d like to join us on our creative journeys, please print out the pdf form here fill it out and mail it to Dancers Over 40, P.O. Box 237098, New York, NY 10023. You can also join by using your credit card or Paypal account.. Our website has all the information and forms you need to join by mail or online..
WHAT? You’re a dancer…you’re over 40…and you haven’t joined yet? Get those fingers tappin’ on that computer keyboard and JOIN!
Please check off the correct box, DO40 or FODO 40, and support all these wonderful dancers you’ve seen perform, educate and entertain you at our panels. Remember, other organizations can provide dancers with social, health and employment services, but DO40 first and foremost nurtures their souls. It’s a very difficult thing to quantify – and there is no appropriate check-off box when applying for a grant! So please take time to fill out our membership form and support these wonderful people who have given their lives to entertain you. It’s our History, our Legacy, our Lives.
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