Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

I haven’t had the time to ‘research’ Adam Lambert’s performances, so I have no updates on that front.
I am however, not at all surprised that the eliminations went the way they did last night. Even though Anoop and Lil’ are being sent home, they certainly have nothing to be ashamed of….getting as far as they did is definitely a great accomplishment. Just think of the BAZZILLION people who never got remotely close to being on TV!!!!
There, they can thank me for being encouraging.

Some sad news…..I heard this morning that the Tony Award winning actress Marilyn Cooper passed away last night.
All you show tune fans will surely remember her Tony Award winning performance as Jan Donovan (‘The Grass is Always Greener’) in ‘Woman of the Year’ with Lauren Bacall, or as Rosalia in the ORIGINAL Broadway Cast of ‘West Side Story’ (“Puerto Rico, you lovely island….island of tropical breezes….”) in addition to the 16 other Broadway shows on her resume. CRAZY! Non-musical theatre fans may remember her as Lillith’s mother on Cheers, Grandma Nettie on The Nanny, or singing a duet with Linda Lavin back in 1982 on an episode of Alice.
I had the pleasure of working with her back in 1994/1995 when I was working at the North Shore Music Theatre. I was one of the people that used to cart all the actors around and I was unofficially ‘assigned’ to Marilyn whenever she was working there during those years. She always reminded me of my Nana (even though she was considerably younger than my Nana) and was one of the funniest and kindest people I had the pleasure of working with.
She had so many great stories to share and would often stay and chat with me in the van before I dropped her off for the night.
One night, she didn’t feel like going home, so she asked if I would mind driving her and one of the other actors to a local restaurant after the show, insisting that I join them for a post-show meal.
Did I mind?!?!? Seriously? For me (at that time, a 22 year old musical theatre freak) it was a dream come true.
I remember sitting there in amazement listening to stories about her in rehearsal for the original ‘West Side Story’ – her crush on Stephen Sondheim – her experience working with Lauren Bacall (who once sent her limo to drive Marilyn to the theatre because Marilyn wasn’t feeling well and was going to ‘call in’) – and too many more stories to mention.
She wasn’t a big fan of opening night parties, so instead of attending them – we had a ‘plan’. At her request, I’d grab her “a few light beers” and have the company van ready to go at the stage door. Once the opening night performance was over, I’d be waiting for her in the van, she’d come shuffling out the stage door, and we’d hightail it to her hotel. That way, I could get back in time to work the opening night party and she’d spend opening night back in her room, having her own private party.

I hadn’t heard from her in a while, and I had a feeling she wasn’t doing well, but I wasn’t aware that she was ill.
Anyway….in spite of all that, I’m grateful to have all these memories to reflect on and help me remember the short time we spent with one another.

I think I’ll come home from softball practice tonight, put on the OBCR of ‘West Side Story’ and have a light beer in honor of Marilyn.

Raquel Welch with Marilyn Cooper in 'Woman of the Year'


Jim said...

What a great memory! Thanks for sharing!

Julie said...

Such a great story. Just think how many lives she must have touched, as she did yours. Her memory lives on...

Brettcajun said...

I have never heard of Marilyn Cooper... so I'll have to google and youtube her and hope to find out more about this amazing lady. What a great honor to have seen her in person!

Richard said...


Brian and I would like to know what shows you did with Marilyn Cooper at North Shore. What a sad week!
First a Gooch and now the original Vera!!

Uncle Richard

Wendie said...

Great story! Also, back in the early nineties, my boyfriend at the time worked for NSMC...I forgot about that place! I saw Rita Moreno do 'Gypsy' there. Is it still open?