Who's Who in Musicals: P
Paige won raves in Piaf (1993), and again when she stepped into the London production of Sunset Boulevard (1995) playing Norma Desmond. The American union finally acknowledged her star status, and she took over the same role on Broadway to rave reviews in 1996. She has appeared in television and film, made numerous concert tours, and was honored with the OBE in 1995. Paige won fresh raves as Anna in a long-running London revival of The King and I, and is returning to Broadway as Carlotta Campion in a revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies (2011).
After the decline of the studio system, Pan worked on such big-budget screen projects as Can-Can (1960), Flower Drum Song (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), Finian's Rainbow (1968) and Darling Lili (1969). He worked with Astaire on several acclaimed TV specials in the 1960s, and staged the intricate Roman parade sequence in Cleopatra. After the disastrous screen musical version of Lost Horizon (1973), Pan retired with more than 50 feature films to his credit.
Pasternak moved on to MGM, where he headed a unit that produced more than 40 musicals between 1942 and 1966. Although less well remembered than fellow producer Arthur Freed, Pasternack's dedication to providing clean, lighthearted entertainment resulted in a number of top-grossing films. He continued to showcase operatic talents -- soprano Kathryn Grayson starred in Anchors Aweigh (1945) with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, and teen soprano Jane Powell starred in Pasternak's Three Daring Daughters (1948) and A Date With Judy (1948). Pasternack produced a series of films that made tenor Mario Lanza a top rank star, including The Toast of New Orleans (1950) and The Great Caruso (1951). Pasternak's other hits included In the Good Old Summertime with Judy Garland and Van Johnson, and the Doris Day vehicles Love Me or Leave Me (1955) and Jumbo (1962). As one of Hollywood's elder statesmen, Pasternak produced the Academy Awards broadcast from 1965 to 1967, and completed his final feature film the following year. He suffered from Parkinson's disease before his death at age 89.
Patinkin portrayed the sexually confused Marvin in the national tour of Falsettoes, and made a series of acclaimed solo concert tours. A powerful dramatic actor, his one musical film (in which he did not sing) was Yentl (1983). Many know him as a doctor on TV's Chicago Hope (1994-2000). He returned to Broadway in the Public Theater's short-lived musical Wild Party (2000), and had a starring role in the cable-TV series Dead Like Me (2003).
Peters enjoyed success in television and film, winning a Golden Globe for her performance in the musical spoof Pennies From Heaven (1981). She returned to Broadway, winning raves as Dot in Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With George (1984) before her Tony-winning performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance (1985). After her scene-stealing Witch in Sondheim's Into the Woods (1987) and her affecting Paula in The Goodbye Girl (1993), Peters won a second Tony starring in a revival of Annie Get Your Gun (1999). Along with many concerts and TV appearances on such series as Ally McBeal and Frasier, she returned to Broadway as Mama Rose in a revival of Gypsy (2003), and will star in a revival of Follies (2011).
Porter, Cole Albert
Porter's Anything Goes (1934) was the definitive 1930s musical comedy. He dominated the art form for the next decade with such hits as Red, Hot and Blue (1936), DuBarry Was a Lady (1939) and Something for the Boys (1943). Each of these starred Ethel Merman, whose powerhouse voice Porter reveled in. He was not sure that he could handle the integrated post-Oklahoma! sort of musical play until Kiss Me Kate (1948) became the longest-running hit of his career. It became the first show to win the Tony for Best Musical, in large part due to Porter's brilliant score.
After the disappointment of the mythical Out of This World (1950), Porter had more success with Can-Can (1953) and Silk Stockings (1955). He composed several new songs for MGM's High Society (1956) and Les Girls (1957), as well as an all-star television version of Aladdin (1958). But the death of his wife and the loss of a long battle to save his injured legs from amputation broke Porter's spirit, and he spent his remaining years in seclusion. Long after his death, his songs were featured in the unsuccessful stage musicals Happy New Year (1980) and High Society (1998), and both New York and London saw hit revivals of Anything Goes and Kiss Me Kate. For more, see William McBrien's dellightful Cole Porter: A Biography (Knopf: New York, 1998).
Powell's introduced "By a Waterfall" in Footlight Parade (1933), "I Only Have Eyes for You" and the title tune in Dames (1934), "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" in On the Avenue (1937) and "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" in Hard to Get (1938). In the 1940s, Powell began an equally successful career in detective films, and eventually went on to produce and direct in the early years of television. After a nine year marriage to actress Joan Blondell (1936-1944), he was married to MGM musical star June Allyson from 1945 on. Powell died at age 59 due to cancer of the lymph glands.
A non-singer, Powell was serenaded by Jimmy Stewart ("Easy to Love") in Born to Dance (1937) and by Nelson Eddy ("In the Still of the Night") in Rosalie (1937). In Broadway Melody of 1940, she danced "Begin the Beguine" with Fred Astaire, arguably the greatest tap duet ever filmed. After marrying actor Glenn Ford in 1944, Powell retired from films, making her final appearances in Thousands Cheer (1944) and Sensations (1944). She made a cameo appearance in Duchess of Idaho (1950), and after her divorce from Ford in 1959 made appearances in nightclubs and on television. The tremendous success of That's Entertainment (1974) re-affirmed Powell's position as Hollywood's all-time greatest female dancer. She died of cancer at age 69.
Powell's television appearances included Ruggles of Red Gap (1957), singing "Ride on a Rainbow." She played the lead in a stellar small-screen adaptation of Meet Me in St. Louis (1959). She remained active on TV and in nightclubs, making a critically acclaimed Broadway debut in 1974 when she took over the title role in Irene from fellow MGM alumni Debbie Reynolds. After touring extensively in that show, Powell hosted a series of musical movies on PBS. Still an audience favorite, she won fresh raves playing the bewildered Catholic mother of an openly gay man in the Off-Broadway comedy Avow (2000), and appeared in a concert version of 70 Girls, 70. Powell was featured in the regional premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Bounce (2003), and has made guest appearances on such TV series as Law and Order: SVU (2002). The mother of three, she is currently married to her fifth husband, actor Dickie Moore.
Preston played Pancho Villa in We Take the Town (1962) which did not make it to New York before taking on the title role in the short lived Ben Franklin in Paris (1964). He won a second Tony for creating the role of Michael in I Do! I Do! (1966) a two character triumph he shared with Mary Martin. He co-starred with Bernadette Peters in the ill fated Mack and Mabel (1974), and later toured in The Prince of Grand Street (1978) which closed on the road.
Preston's non-musical Broadway roles included King Henry in The Lion in Winter (1966) and taking over the lead in the long-running comedy Sly Fox (1976). He was a dashing Beauregard in the screen version of Mame (1974), and received an Academy Award nomination for his performance as the delightful Toddy in Victor/Victoria (1984). His death was marked by a unique tribute during that year's Tony broadcast, with former leading ladies Peters, Cook and Martin joining in song. His wife from 1946 on was Kay Feltus -- who acted in films under the name "Catherine Craig."
His landmark productions as director/producer include A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (1962), She Loves Me (1963), Fiddler on the Roof (1964), Cabaret (1966), the hit revival of Candide (1974), and On The 20th Century (1978). Prince's collaboration with composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim kept the Broadway musical alive in the 1970s. Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), and Sweeney Todd (1979) were followed by the disastrous Merrily We Roll Along (1981). After that, Price worked solely as director for Phantom of the Opera (1988), Kiss of the Spiderwoman (1993), a hit revival of Showboat (1994) and the short-lived Parade (1998). He also directed several films, including the screen version of A Little Night Music (1978). As both a director and a producer, Prince has received more than twenty Tony Awards, and is a Kennedy Center honoree.
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