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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Menzel and Hamlisch Defy Gravity

I've regaled the talents and accessibility of Marvin Hamlisch on these pages before. So when I saw that he was leading the NSO with guest artist Idina Menzel I jumped on it. And he would be speaking to us after. It lived up to its billing on Thursday night. Menzel gives you two shows - one as an incredible singer of ballads from Rent, Wicked (the show-stopping "Defying Gravity"), Annie and ones that she wrote herself ("Gorgeous" is gorgeous); and one as a standup comedian (what a funny and lovely person!). If you ever get a chance to see her, please take it. Hamlisch has to be the nicest big talent around. So he saunters out on the stage after the show to talk to about 100 of us. "Can you play The Way We Were?" came quickly. "Can you sing happy birthday to my friend?" "Can you make up a song like you usually do?" His answers: "Ok, at the end." After he answered about 20 questions, not one of them involving The Sting music he wrote or soundtrack from Informant (movie is worth it just for that), he went to the piano. And there came a beautiful Way We Were, followed by a song he just invented called "Oh Boy" (suggested by Idina Menzel's young son who was offstage), and then, sure enough he asked if the woman had her recorder on and then led everyone in "Happy Birthday" to Veronica. Oh, he also apologized for being late on stage afterward. Joe Torre came backstage and Hamlisch is a huge Yankees fan.

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