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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Many of you know that although my parents were not theatrical people, beginning in 1944, I began going to the musical theatre. My first two shows were The Red Mill and Up In Central Park.

By age10, I could travel from South Orange into New York by myself, and see any show I wanted multiple times. I saw most major cast changes. My Father had a ticket agent Midtown. I would call, ask for Willie or Phil, say I was Allan Miller’s son and would like one or two tickets, if I brought a friend, and see Victor Borge or Can Can or King and I. or whatever I wanted . From about 1949 to 1955 when I went away to prep school, I probably saw, at least once, every musical show that lasted a week.

I saw every play my parents deemed suitable. They started taking me to the opera at about aged I0 and to cabaret, generally the Copacabana or the Waldorf, at about the same age. I loved the old-timers Jolson, Cantor, Durante, and Sophie Tucker. I was one of only a handful of kids who adored Fanny Brice as a vaudeville star. I listened to all the Ziegfeld shows dozens of times.

I loved the show Funny Girl, based on the life of Fanny Brice, but I loved Brice’s original material even more. I could listen to “Second Hand Rose” and “My Man” every day and not be bored. Brice also did some great comic songs. She was a Ziegfeld Superstar.

I have always been fascinated by great talent. I particularly give extra points to those who can perform live and even more points to those who can perform what Sophie Tucker described as “on the floor”. That means there is nothing between the performer and the patrons at ringside than maybe a foot. To do that takes a really special talent ..

That is why I went to see Bobby Short, Blossom Deerie, Steve Ross and others every possible time I could.

The talent in New York has always been and still is the best in the world. Most of you are not familiar with names like Billie Stritch, Martin Silvestri, Eric Comstock, Alex Rybeck, or Tedd Firth, to just name a few that come quickly to mind, but these are world class talents.

I have met and know many of these people and they know me. The main catalysts for this luck are threefold.

1. My close friendship, virtually a family member, with Daryl Sherman, herself a great performer.

2. My close personal and professional relationship with Will Friedwald, I think the best author and critic of the Great American Songbook ever.

3. My unbelievably deep appreciation for the talent these people have whom I go to see perform . It is obvious to the performer. I almost always sit up front where the performer(s) can see me and, often, Barbara, and can see how involved we become in what they are doing. Often, they begin focusing on us and often they make it a point to meet us after their show because they see how much their efforts and talents are appreciated.

This brings me to a lady only some you may know—-Marilyn Michaels. She is not as famous as many, but she is more talented than many who are much more familiar to the public. I only began to know her through communications on Facebook, but I saw her perform many times and loved her talent. I am not sure how we became Facebook friends, but we did, and she started making very intelligent comments on things I was writing.

Marilyn did play Fanny Brice both in the National tour of Funny Girl and later in New York at Westbury. That is an extremely demanding role on multiple levels, and it is a difficult role to cast. The star must not only sing well, but also have great acting talents, comic and serious, and even be able to roller skate. Marilyn is a great mimic, which was one of Brice’s great talents.

I loved the long-time single girl who told her parents she was finally getting married in December. They asked her how she knew the wedding would be in December. She replied “Because it will be a cold day in hell before I marry him”.

Some of her comments were thoughtful enough that I began responding. It was clear Madam Michael’s was not just another pretty face who could entertain with the best of them.

What prompted these remarks was that yesterday Marilyn posted some comments that really got me thinking. In essence her point, which I already shared separately, asks why really important stories last maybe two weeks and are then forgotten?

It is true except for inane subjects like the Depp trial or some wedding that no thinking person should give two shits about what goes on between two people whose marriage may last five years. There is not a one sentence answer, but if I had to boil it down, I would say (1) because the media cares more about money, large audiences and selling more whatever: and (2) average American has the span of attention just greater than that of an amoeba.

Most want to be entertained not educated. If they care at all about the story, they do not care enough about the outcome to really want to know what happened.

How many of you care as much now about the war between Russia and Ukraine as you did six weeks ago? Marilyn’s observation is right on, and there oughta be a law that once the media reports a story, it has a duty to follow it and follow it in depth. As the Andrew Sisters sang, “I Can Dream Can’t I ?“.


At long last I finished my extensive dental work. I have three new teeth and had very little pain. As I mentioned many times, I believe our dentists here in Florence are really outstanding.

Both Brothers Bindi did extensive and very difficult work over many months and many visits. I was never asked to pay until the end, unlike in the United States I did not ask the amount of the fees nor was I told. When we finished yesterday, I received a bill, gave them my credit card to pay and went home relieved it was over. Oh, and I cancelled the new Toyota I ordered. (Just joking).

Thank you Riccardo and Giovanni for everything. Rarely does one find such a high level of professional competence with such kindness and caring for the patient. Moreover, these qualities permeate through the entire staff.


It is almost impossible to believe the Republicans are doubling down on their position on no control laws. If some wacko did not pick a school to massacre people and picked an NRA meeting or a meeting conducted by Governor Abbott, that might bring some action. Until a Republican Senator experiences first hand the tragedy of losing a child or a loved one, all we will get from them is empty rhetoric and one inane comment after another such as “this is not a political issue”. Really?


Another legal loss for Trump. His lawsuit against New York’s Attorney General has been dismissed.


Intend to stay home all day today and hope total inactivity will get my leg in better shape for the long trip back to Florida on Wednesday. That just cannot be fun.


We cannot allow Turkey to block Finland and Sweden from entering NATO. The Biden Administration cannot dawdle on this issue. My crystal ball is broken, but some cases are cheapest to settle the day they walk in the door. Turkey’s terms today may not be great, but, as time goes by, will those terms increase or decrease? As pressure mounts, a good argument can be made, the price goes up.

Turkey may have made a strategic error screwing with not just us but many other countries. Their President made a choice that, in the long run, Turkey could live to regret. The brunch at the Four Seasons in Istanbul is great, but we will live without it.


Go Ukraine

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