As I mentioned in my first posting here , for those that might not know it, I work part time at the Stranahan Theater as a bartender in what is called “East Patron” , this is a corporate sponsored section consisting of 9 rows of 4 seats each. A variety of business’ from the Toledo area, banks, Pepsi, the Anderson’s,etc, purchase this patron package to the tune of around $12,000 to $14,000 a year I believe, and in turn they receive this row of 4 seats for every event in the theater for that season. The Broadway series, all concerts and the Toledo Symphony concert series which this last Saturday welcomed Marvin Hamlisch as its guest. Since this section of seats I serve is located in the theater ( the extending part of the loge to the left if your looking at the stage) I get to see most of the first acts, anyway, of all the shows.. for free too yes!
Well the concert Saturday was wonderful, here’s the review from the Toledo blade…
but from my vantage point high above the orchestra seating over looking Mr Hamlisch’s right shoulder it was very special, of course every number was played brilliantly and brought back many memories of several Broadway shows and movies, but the high point for me had to be his performance of The Way We Were. The opening of it was fully orchestrated and lush, then …quietly… in unison all the musicians on stage put their instruments down and sat watching the master and his piano, solo, dazzle the crowd with a true to form and yet inspired contemporary version of the classic film theme.
I catch the looks on several of the players faces, I can read them even at distance.” Wow, this is awesome, I’m sitting here just a few mere feet from THE Marvin Hamlisch as he plays, how cool!”
As I watched his fingers dance across the keys, I am mesmerized, I let my mind wander and I pictured him so many years ago, sitting at an all white grand piano adorned with sterling silver framed photos and a huge vase of freshly picked garden roses. He is playing this tune that the world wouldn’t be able to recognize yet and standing along side of him going over the roughly penciled sheet music is a curly haired woman with perfectly manicured nails wearing a long flowing silk ensemble humming through a very predominant nose, get the picture? its BARBRA!!! It was like I was there, stuffed in the corner behind a large potted palm watching this young legend play for her for the first time what would eventually become the song that brings him home an academy award and one of her trademark signature songs.
I watch quietly, from behind the palm,surrounded by her fine antiques, the bouquet of the chardonnay in her glass is wafting around the elegant room, she stands and sways as Marvin plays. When he is done, she glows and exclaims “that’s just perfect, dahling!” she encourages him to play the chorus again, this time only a bit slower. As he does she at first quietly starts singing the now famous.. memories.. like the corners of my mind..misty water colored memories .. of the way we were!
then suddenly 2 giant security guards race through the french doors from the terrace, grab me out from behind the palm and shout “WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU CRAZY BALD BARTENDER? GET OUT OF MS. STREISANDS HOUSE AND LEAVE MR. HAMLISCH ALONE TOO!”……well… that’s when I snapped out of my day dream and realized I had some wine to go stock.
ok, sorry, got off topic for a minute there, back to me actually meeting Marvin Hamlisch. After the concert, the symphony sponsors “Sippin’ with the Stars” a champagne reception where VIPs and the guest artists and other featured musicians mingle and relax after a show, kind of like our version of a night at the 818!
so immediately following the extended ovations I find myself filling glasses with champagne when Mr. Hamlisch is the first to be escorted to the bar, where he asks for a glass of ice water, I pour him one and hand it to him and add ” I enjoyed the concert tonight very much Mr. Hamlisch, thank you!” he relies “No, thank you!”
well, yep, that was about it, this weeks brush with a star!!! I never said it was going to be exciting did I? He actually did then stand around the bar for some time, chatting, and doing some pictures, and seemed like a very genuinely nice guy. An early flight out of Toledo had him leave the reception shortly but none the less, he seemed to like Toledo as much as we liked him and his great music!
You know I hear many people say that there’s not much to do around here, I say hog wash! get out and see some other community theatre shows, every weekend the choices are plenty or check out the symphony and see what kind of good stuff they have waiting for you to enjoy, their web site is
…and now, On With the Show !