FANTASTICKS TO CLOSE ONCE AGAIN ON BROADWAY
THE GLORIOUS CORNER
Story By: G. H. HARDING
ROCK N’ ROLL PR GUY CALLING --- Ever see the 1957 movie The Sweet Smell Of Success with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis? It’s a pretty good tutorial on exactly what a PR-guy does and how he works. Plus, the film's a stone-cold classic for sure!
In the record business, the 70’s and 80’s were prime time for the PR-guys who really made the business what it was ... in addition to the brilliant music. Me, I’m old enough to remember guys like Norm Winter, Dick Gersh, Howard Bloom and Ren Grevatt … who handled many of the big names like Linda Ronstadt, Steve Martin, James Taylor, Jerry Garcia and Willie Nelson.
I remember when I was a young buck breaking into this business, meeting Ren (always wondered what his real name was!) and trying my best to worm my way (for lack of a better word) into his good graces.
The right relationship with the right PR-guy would reap much for an burgeoning in-stained wrench like myself. Though I remember Howard Bloom handling the bulk of the hits acts, from The Rolling Stones to Hall & Oates and Billy Joel, Ren always had some of the more classier clients for sure.
He’s just put out a book called Confessions of a Rock n' Roll PR Guy: Can I Get Back to You? … with an intro by Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, who our PR-pal David Salidor reminded me was his editor, along with Kurt Loder, at Long Island’s venerable Good Times rag.
Am reading in this weekend. Details to follow. Btw: His son, Jonathan Clarke, is one of the best voices on NYC’s Q104.3 … especially his continually outstanding Out Of The Box series each Sunday.
FOLLOW FOLLOW --- The Fantasticks is closing … again! The current producers of the show, at The Snapple/Jerry Orbach Theatre in Times Square, announced yesterday that the show will play its final performance on May 3; the 55th anniversary of its downtown opening date.
The show, a simple story of a boy, a girl and growing up, with dueling parents no less, will have played 20,672 performances. By way of contrast, Broadway’s longest-running show, The Phantom of the Opera, is at its 11,295 mark. In London, the play The Mousetrap has passed 26,000 performances.
In 2013, when the show reached 20,000 performances, lyricist and book writer Tom Jones, who created the show with composer Harvey Schmidt and original producer Lore Noto, said that he couldn’t believe it. “I didn’t think it would run 20.”
Both writers have done other shows, but none have resonated with audiences around the world like this one has.
Tony Noto, Lore’s son and one of the original producers as well, said it was a “Bittersweet time … again. I grew up with this show and here’s another milestone. The show will no doubt be back, it’s just that good. Always has and always will be.”
In 1960, when the show opened May 3 at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in Manhattan's West Village, critics were mixed. The show considered closing after a week, but decided to tough it out.
The original production there of The Fantasticks closed on Jan. 13, 2002, after 17,162 performances. The show was a casualty of decreasing audiences, rising operating costs and the sale of the building that housed the theater.
I well remember the closing night performance, when Lore Noto arrived to a packed media reception, including Pravda from Russia covering the event.
With a broad smile, he said “It wasn’t an opening … but a major closing.” A master showman, Noto's enthusiasm kept the show going along with the play’s authors for certain.
The original run helped launch the careers of Jerry Orbach, Elliot Gould, F. Murray Abraham and Kristin Chenoweth. A film version was released in 1995, to middling response.
The show was revived in 2006 at the Snapple Theatre.
The show’s most famous song — “Try to Remember” — is a wistful reminder of what’s gained and lost as we grow up. “Try to remember when life was so tender, that no one wept except the willow. So follow."
PEGG’S THREE TIMES --- Kill Me Three Times is a darkly comedic thriller from rising star director Kriv Stenders (Red Dog). The brilliant Simon Pegg (Star Trek; Mission Impossible) plays mercurial assassin, Charlie Wolfe, who discovers he isn't the only person trying to kill the siren of a sun-drenched surfing town (Alice Braga).
Charlie quickly finds himself at the center of three tales of murder, mayhem, blackmail and revenge. With an original screenplay by James McFarland, the film also stars Sullivan Stapleton (as a gambling addict who attempts to pay off his debts through a risky life insurance scam), Teresa Palmer (as a small town Lady Macbeth), Callan Mulvey (as a wealthy beach club owner simmering with jealousy), Luke Hemsworth (as a local surfer fighting for the woman he loves) and Bryan Brown (as a corrupt cop who demands the juiciest cut).
Juicy fun for sure; Pegg’s a winner.
CLOSING NOTES --- Tonight in Palm Springs is the first of a slew of new Monkee-shows with Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. They play in Toronto next month …
Actress Gloria Reuben, Emmy-nominated from TV’s ER and striking turns on The Blacklist this season and Spielberg’s Lincoln, releases her new album next week called Perchance To Dream on MCG Records. We're listening to it this weekend and will have our review next week …
Went to the new cavernous sushi-haunt Zuma last night on 38th and Madison in NYC, and though the food was simply exceptional, I felt like I was in the city's latest nightlife mecca with booming music and a crowd looking not much older than 30. We had a somewhat private spot, but I felt like I was at Studio 54 back in the day ... oy!