Were you ever a fan of the TV sitcom “Cheers”? That was the bar where “Everybody knew your name.” It was a top-draw series and it was where you were introduced to a young Kelsey Grammer. He was such a hit that a spin-off was created for him. “Frasier” enjoyed a two decade run thanks to his portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane. The actor won many awards and I was a true fan. In fact, I continue to watch the repeats of “Frasier” and still enjoy the multi-talented actor. In addition to television, I applauded his work on the Broadway stage in “La Cage Aux Folles.” But now I have to temper my feelings and stick to simply enjoying his talents, not his true persona. As you would know if you watch “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” (confession – I do watch it once in a while even though I am appalled by it), Kelsey Grammer has been in the news because of his involvement with one of the housewives. Camille Grammer went public with her pending divorce on the Housewives program. Kelsey (and now I’m getting personal) is heading for a third trophy marriage after a very public divorce from the former Playboy model. It’s been made very public that he cheated on his first wife with Camille and now he cheated on Camille with a twenty-nine-year-old flight attendant, Kayte. In fact, the fifty-five-year-old Romeo publicly set his wedding date to Kayte even before his divorce was finalized (all three ladies look alike – each new version somewhat younger than the one before). The whole story is like a bad piece of fiction or an over-done soap opera. Perhaps I should quote Rhett Butler and say, “Frankly, I don’t give a damn.” However, I can’t help but wonder if Kelsey is inviting Camille to his upcoming wedding (ha!). One can’t predict this Casanova’s future actions. Oh, well, I know that I can’t attend his next nuptials because I’ll be at my grandson Josh’s wedding to his lovely Claire. That’s what I call a truly happy occasion and I do give a damn.
We know what the word “encore” means. Webster’s tells us that it’s a demand for repetition. But when the word is plural, starts with a capital E, and ends with an exclamation point (just like this column) its meaning is slightly altered. Since 1994 New York City Center’s Encores! has presented and celebrated the works of America’s most important composers and lyricists. It’s interesting and entertaining to see the great American musicals in concert. The acting cast takes to the stage carrying a script. Each production is a whirlwind – few rehearsals – and mixes established and new talent performing only five times for each show. Last November I was fortunate to see their version of “Bells Are Ringing” and on March 19 I’ll be part of the happy audience to enjoy “Where’s Charley?” I saw the original 1948 production starring Ray Bolger, who won a Tony Award for his performance. I can still envision him singing and dancing to “Once In Love With Amy.” “Encores!” attracts an overwhelming demand and, as a result, new subscriptions for the 2010-2011 season are closed. However, individual tickets can be purchased at the New York City Center box office (West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues). The prices range from $25 to $100. So-o, if you yearn to see your favorite old musical “one mo’ time” that might be the way to do it.
Hey, tea drinkers, good news! Perhaps you would like to know a café and restaurant where you can choose from some 50 teas, where you can dine or snack, and enjoy live jazz (the music is on Saturday nights only)? It’s the tea bar (not the tea bag – not a single string in sight). Included in the modern décor is a smelling wall (what?) where one can sniff the aroma before deciding on which looseleaf tea to order. Then your tea will be served in a lovely clear pot with a timer that indicates how long it has to steep. You simply rest the pot over the cup and press a lever that allows the tea to pour into the cup below. Frankly, it’s as enjoyable to watch the tea being prepared as drinking the beverage. There are several tea bars in New Jersey. The one I visited was on Palisade Avenue in Fort Lee. It was all intriguing to me even though I am a coffee drinker. So, Starbucks, watch out!
A couple of enthusiastic visitors from Colorado asked me how to get to Carnegie Hall and I was hard put to give the jokey stock answer: “Practice, practice.” I’m pleased to report that I controlled myself. At any rate, I’ll be at Carnegie Hall later this month, of course, simply in the audience. It was interesting to learn that Andrew Carnegie, who was a ridiculously rich industrialist, laid the cornerstone of what is now Carnegie Hall in the year 1890. He is quoted as saying, “It is probable that this hall will intertwine itself within the history of our country.” The man was a true visionary and happily he lived to hear his words come true. Within twenty-five years Carnegie Hall became the world’s most important stage – not only for great music but also for theatre, dance, and the exchange of ideas. The world-class venue in New York City (154 West 57th Street) is as pleasing to the ear as it is to the eye furnished with consummate luxury. Now this will amuse you as it did me to learn that on opening night in 1891 the cream of New York society paid – guess how much - $1 to $2! An older friend told me that he was at the 1938 concert by Benny Goodman. That program marked a turning point in the public acceptance of swing. I’ll be luxuriating at Carnegie Hall in a couple of weeks to applaud the singer-personality Michael Feinstein. But for sure, I’m not planning to have one of those gigantic corned beef sandwiches at Carnegie Deli. What’s in a name?
You can e-mail June Sturz at email@example.com.