Meeting Marvin Hamlisch

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 !


So? Did you miss me? I know I have several faithful readers already, ha ha ha, who must have been logging on repeatedly to see what foolishness I was up to next and then had to suffer through the disappointment of no new entries! AAAAHHH, don’t worry, I was just off line for a few days and then super busy, so I couldn’t post but I’m baaaaack!
Like I said I’ve been very busy this week with the boss’s birthday party, I was in charge of the cake of course! and I worked several nights at the Stranahan, which reminds me I’ll give you a hint that my next post will be about me meeting Marvin Hamlisch, but before that as promised in my initial entry, theatre happenings! after all isn’t that why we are all here?!!
Saturday afternoon appeared to be a pretty busy place around FCT. Tim, Hank, Pete, Denise and Cheryl worked on prep for Grease, some general clean up backstage was done as the last remains of a few pieces of Guys and Dolls disappeared then some set construction work got underway. Sue was there working on costumes, her and I also ventured up into the never-never land of the loft and started the overwhelming task of organizing, cleaning and sorting through the misc. costumes and props that have been taking over the loft, and at the request of the fire marshall, we have begun the process of finding a wider path through the maze, we still have a loong way to go but it’s a start and with just a few more sessions it soul be in pretty good shape!
Sue also filled me in on the details of the recent acquisition we made of approximate. 18 bolts of wedding fabrics. She says they are just beautiful, assorted colors and fabrics and there are some pieces that she will be able to make some Grease prom dresses out of. We have Sarah Seilheimer of Sarah’s Sew Shop for the generous donation! Many thanks to her!
Then there is still more donation news! When Tim returned the stone-like fountain that was used for Guys and Dolls, (and I’m sorry at this moment I can’t remember to where or who the company is but I will find out) they generously donated back to the theatre another one just like the one that we had borrowed for us to have and use as we wish, I understand they are getting out of the fountain business and were cleaning house, good news for us! This could be used onstage, sometime, although the need for a babbling brook waterfall feature aren’t written in to to many plays, or we can incorporate into the landscaping in the front of the building. For the time being Tim hauled it off to storage until a plan can be decided upon, either way, a nice addition to the FCT arsenal of stuff!
Due to the holiday no rehearsals or much else is going on for a few days, but that is a reminder that that won’t be the case on the 4th of July weekend, tech Sunday is the 6th, so Saturday the 5th will likely be a busy time, if you don’t have anything to do, keep in mind the dedicated crew that will be giving up part of their holiday weekend for the betterment of the show and stop on out and lend a hand, just like you can do nearly every Saturday morning at 10 AM!
…and now, On With the Show !


Thanks to eagle eye OCTA delegate Ginny, she was reading yesterdays entry and noticed I had the regional OCTAfest dates wrong so I have edited the post and they stand corrected, June 13 and 14 in Lima, that is fathers day weekend, but the festival runs Friday evening and more excerpts will be Saturday with a dinner and the presentations of awards Saturday night .

…and now, On With the Show !