PERFORMING WARRIORS

The Newsletter of

www.menwhodanced.com

& Actorswhodance.com

"Athletic, physical performance

at an older age on stage or screen."

Editor: Rodford Barrat

Emailed to artists in: Argentina; Australia; Austria; Belgium; Canada; England; France; Germany; Holland; Indonesia; Israel; Japan; New Zealand; Norway; Mexico; Russia; South Africa; Spain; Switzerland and the U.S.A.

MenWhoDanced.com is a personal website that's evolved into a small international community of former and current professional performers: actors; choreographers; dancers; directors; musicians; singers; ice skaters and writers. Their names are listed at the foot of this page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extracts from some old editions:

 

30th December 2007

The Warrior Words of 2007

a last goodbye








"...Oh, God! Dirty Sally's! Boy, do I remember that place..."
Lesley Lever Cale, remembering a well known club on the Las Vegas Strip



"...back then it was so cool to smoke ... bitchin' babe ingredients!"
Cindy Goldenberg, on the '70s



"The Government has recently passed laws in the UK to try and suppress live music and dance."
Michael Neary, mustering support for a petition to Downing Street






"I was very surprised to see John Frayer as the "Stud Muffin" in it."
Larry Billman, on a video he sent in



"...they were after all, wearing breathing apparatus as they burst in - on girls of 6ft, tall, and more, all in different stages of undress - their breathing quickened to that of men running a marathon..."
Suzanne Lunn Raines, on the appearance of the fire crew, when the MGM Grand in Las Vegas caught fire






"Fluff le Coque originated the role of the drunken lady who wandered down into the bowels of the ship to be tormented, stripped of as many of her clothes as the law allowed and then raped. God, what a politically incorrect plot device."
Larry Billman, fondly recalling a Las Vegas show he was in



"...we were dressed for 'Samson and Delilah'..."
Eric Carpenter, gives a 'fashion comment' on escaping into the parking garage during a fire at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas



"...here, in France, it seems classical ballet is dying."
Guy-Paul Ruolt de St. Germain



"I contracted polio at nine, and was almost bedridden for two years."
Shea New, on the beginnings of her long dance career



"...I remember our publicity photos, with me and my opened fly gaping at the world. I'll never know if those pictures got published."
Randy Doney, on the first stage production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers



"As I was leaving during the lunch break Ann (Margret) asked me where I was going and I smartly said, 'I'm leaving you, kid, for Judy Garland'."
Jack Moore, on leaving the set of Viva Las Vegas for a Judy Garland TV show



"How the hell old is Jeffrey?"
Larry Billman, on reading the editor's line: ' Jeffrey Scott Adair's appearances include the American premiere of the musical, The Three Musketeers'. This turned out to be in 1921...



"I do feel old... But not that old..."
Jeffrey Scott Adair



"I can't remember what happened after that since we went to the lounge to see Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf in a white leather jockstrap..."
Jocelyn Cassia, valiantly trying to recall her past as a Bluebell Girl at The Stardust in Las Vegas



"Some nights we would be standing backstage and she would try and sing 'Happy Birthday'. Not one note was recognisable."
Bob Turk, on working with Sandy of the Bob Devoy Trio



"I believe they're all dead and gone now ... someone let me know, so I can tell stories without incurring anyone's wrath?"
Michele Hart, being sensible and protecting herself against the forthcoming libel case



"Tomatoes were thrown at us at a parade in town and I was refused service in restaurants for being one of 'those women'."
Shea New, on working for Barry Ashton



"I have five herniated discs and one slightly split with impacted disc in the pelvis... not too much wrong to-date."
Leon 'Killer' Draper, on the state of his health after rugby and ballet



"Shilling in the meter for gas ... and duck to miss the flame when you light the pilot light in the kitchenette!"
Lesley Anne Bandy, on living in London in the 1960s while attending the Royal Ballet School



"It's funny to hear 'younger' people talk about the 60s with such awe and there we were, right in the middle of 'Swinging London'."
Wendy Thornley Davies on working in the West End in the 1960s



"I remember the night when Fonteyn lost her top and left totally naked from the waist up..."
'Killer' on stage at Covent Garden, remembering artistic matters






"Lynn Seymour was wonderful and smoked a ciggie as she warmed up..."
Liz Elliott Liberman, backstage with Festival Ballet in London as an Arts Educational student



"I 'knew' Elvis had come to see me, and probably Ron (Alexander) thought the same thing."
Jocelyn Cassia, being indiscreet about her time at The Stardust in Las Vegas












"I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to say this, but I am strapping on the dancing shoes..."
Jonathan Nail, on a physical theatre production of The Count of Monte Cristo









"...you know when you're on top of the steps, when you can just bounce off a bed in the middle of the night..."
David Donegan, on advice from the choreographer, Molly Molloy at the Paradis Latin in Paris






"...on the first days rehearsal almost everyone told me, 'You know the Pope's boyfriend is in this show'?"
Rodford Barrat, on working with the Italian film actor, Paolo Carlini



"God Bless us all - our individuality and uniqueness - especially the nonconformist!"
Cindy Goldenberg, on the Pope's boyfriend



"Here is a link to Ruby le Peltier's debut performance, on film, as an actress, aged 95 and 7 months."
Adrian le Peltier, sending his mother out to work this winter












"He loved to chop wood outside my bedroom window at some ungodly hour, singing 'Lonesome Pole Cat', and yelling, 'Get up you lazy bitch!'."
Liz Elliott Lieberman, on the late John Klineline









"He barely spoke to me except to say, 'More rouge'."
Jocelyn Cassia, on working for Charlie Henchis



"The obituary section of this website seems to be getting much focus these days and I pray some joyful stories on the site will be coming out soon..."
Eric Brandt Nielsen, currently in Thailand on Prozac



"Film is forever and nobody who ever did a film dies."
Larry Billman, getting the last word





Thanks for writing in 2007
and
HAVE A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10th October 2007

"The Pope's Boyfriend and Me"

Rodford Barrat writes...

 

RECENTLY on viewing the website stats I noticed someone had clicked on from Google looking for information on the following: "Paolo Carlini + Pope Paul".

Now although I knew of a connection between these names, I was surprised that Google would have connected them with menwhodanced? Paolo Carlini's name is on the In Memoriam page. I put it there. But I knew that I had never put online any other reference to him.

I looked on the In Memoriam page and realised that in that curious way that search engines search for pertinent words, it  had found a connection: Paolo's name - and before the list of the deceased women, I'd quoted the poet, Alexander " Pope" !

The searcher was obviously looking for a more personal connection; so, I googled the words myself and found a narrow minded, bigoted little website, aimed at a certain section of the Roman Catholic faithful. It annoyed me with its references to the distinguished French writer, Roger Peyrefitte, only as "an avowed homosexual" (should we call Walt Disney, "an avowed heterosexual"?) and snide references to effeminate men in Roman society wearing make-up to disguise their beards... Where do these people live?

So, I wish to write a few kind and hopefully honest words:

Paolo Carlini was a well-known Italian actor (especially on film); amongst his credits, he co-starred with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. He was also the boyfriend, at one time, of the Pope (Pope Paul).

I worked with him for six months on a musical in Italy (as did **** ****** on this newsletter list) in the 1970s. I replaced someone who dropped out in the first weeks of rehearsal and on the first days rehearsal almost everyone told me, "You know the Pope's boyfriend is in this show?". It was a very open secret . In fact, one of the actresses, ***** *****, used to give Paolo a lift in her car to the Pope's apartment (if palaces can be so called), years earlier, when he was Archbishop of Milan.

After the show ended, I was working in Portugal (summer of 1975), and opened my copy of Newsweek one day to find the Fench author, Roger Peyrefitte, had exposed this affair without naming Paolo's name, but stating that it was a famous Italian movie actor, and was an open secret in certain circles. He had done this being infuriated by the statement the Pope had recently given, publicly condemning, masturbation, premarital sex and homosexuality. Which Peyrefitte obviously regarded as hypocritical of a high degree.

Paolo Carlini, was a talented and charismatic actor. The fact we found ourselves in Italy's biggest musical and well publicised flop at the time does not detract from this. He was also a gracious, friendly and charming man. I didn't know him when he met the Pope to be, but I'll take any bet he didn't wear make-up to disguise a beard! And he was far from effeminate.

Okay, I've stood on this soapbox long enough. I could only find two references to this love affair online and one of them on, as I've said, a bigoted little site, and wanted to add my own real experience's of working with the Pope's lover. Which was a pleasure. If I had any more salacious anecdotes, you can rest assured I'll wait for an advance and a signed contract before setting them down (smile)!

Enough!

Rodford Barrat

In Memoriam Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5th September 2007

"A Transylvanian Transvestite

and Monte Cristo on stage..."

Jonathan Nail writes

 

In Los Angeles:
JONATHAN NAIL

Rod,
I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to say this, but I am strapping on the dance shoes for the latest stage project I am working on, "The Count of Monte Cristo". This is an ensemble piece with 9 scribes and
Dumas telling the tale on stage. It also involves choreographed movement pieces; boats sailing in (made of groups of actors moving in sync, as if we were propelled by the waves), several lifts, drunken dances, actors becoming horses, actors becoming the walls of the prison, great swaths of cloth being manipulated... The choreographer came in for a couple of weeks from NY, Peter Schmitz.

It is quite the challenge, but so much fun. Absolutely brilliant, actually. The nice thing is that after the first night of exploration in movement (to get an idea of what everyone's strengths were) Peter remarked that I had dance training at some point. Nice to know the training I did in college stuck with me.

Anyway, proud to now be a "true" member of menwhodanced.com.

Cheers,
Jonathan

(ed: you were always a true member Jonathan, but now - I see from your blog, you're currently nursing your groin -  you'll hopefully learn to love your injuries - no pain, blood, or sweat: no gain. Er ... am I confusing this with the gym?)

Jonathan's blog: is here:

Daily Musings of a Trained Actor

and his website is:

www.jonathannail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd September 2007

"Everyone is injured, but some are..."

David Webb writes

 

In leafy Surrey, England:
DAVID WEBB

Hi Rodford,
We have just lost George Giles. His cremation took place on Friday. Lionel Blair said a piece for him; it was quite a big turn out with a lot of people there who we hadn't come across before. Never realised that George’s performances ran back as far as the revue “Button Up Shoes” now presumably lost in the mists of time since it doesn't come up in an Internet search.

Anyway, another for your ever increasing list.
Regards,

David Webb

(ed: George Giles has now sadly been added to the In Memoriam list. I worked with him, too, I can't remember on what; I think a TV show or two:

In Memoriam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31st August 2007

"The Findlay Floods"

 

RODFORD BARRAT:
Beth Richards, is the Editor of Findlay Living Magazine and has contributed a number of times to this newsletter. I am sure our thoughts, prayers, and kind wishes are with her and her family at this difficult time.


In Findlay, Ohio:
BETH RICHARDS
Hello all,
A quick note to everyone to let you know we are fine and thank you for the notes of concern. We were lucky to escape the flooding that has devastated thousands of our neighbors. We feel very fortunate and blessed. However, we have lost many things. Our library is closed indefinitely. The playhouse and theater groups have lost everything. The riding stable was ruined. School has been delayed for two weeks. None of that seems significant, though, as we hear more and more stories of loss that our friends and neighbors have endured. So please keep them in your prayers..
Best,
Beth

The Findlay Flood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17th August 2007

"Jocelyn and the King"

Jocelyn Cassia remembers Elvis Presley

 

In Newcastle, England:
JOCELYN CASSIA
All media are inviting us old people to remember where we were when Elvis died: personally I was in London staying with Ron Alexander and in the evenings going to see him, John Curry and the lovely Lorna Brown in Theatre of Skating (Ron & John then being an item).  Lee Remick visited the star dressing room I was in awe.

Ron and I looked at each other and said, there goes our youth. Ron and I were both working in the Stardust when Elvis who had just got married in Vegas came in to see the show.  Priscilla notwithstanding, I knew Elvis had come to see me, and probably Ron thought the same thing.  I expect  it is indiscreet to say there was at least one young lady in the cast who had far better reason to suppose he would be pleased to see her .  Ron and John are no longer with us but Lorna and I talk about them both lots.  Goodness I feel ancient. 
Love
Jocelyn

(ed: Jocelyn Cassia was a Bluebell Girl in the Lido de Paris show at the Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16th August 2007

"Kill the Tap Shoes!"

with Jack Moore

 

In Palm Springs:
JACK MOORE

Hi Rods,
How much fun are those clips. Thank you Jeffrey & Durk (sounds like a vaudeville team!)- they bring back wonderful memories. At this age it is pleasure to look at the Women In Film (which, by the way, is the name of an organization - there is a chapter here in Palm Springs.) and be able to say, "Well, I knew and/or worked with a few of them":

I knew Rita, Judy, Ginger and Janet and worked with but didn't get a chance to really know Audrey ("Fair Lady") and Natalie ("Inside DAisy Clover") Also worked with Judy and Janet (Bye, Bye Birdie"). And Mr. Astaire (as Ginger was wont to refer to him). Met him while rehearsing a TV show where I was supposed to be Jimmy Durante dancing as Fred Astaire. I have already recounted how I almost ran over him one damp Beverly Hills morning in a downtown alley. He suddenly stepped out right in front of me from behind a trash container as I was turning into my parking spot. He was jauntily dressed as usual - jacket, vest, hat, etc. He was evidently using the alley so as not to be stopped on the sidewalk by admirers. Didn't seem to notice me and went merrily on his way, stepping over pools of rainwater. Onna (White) did Ginger's nightclub act. Onna wanted her to wear tap shoes. "I NEVER wore tap shoes', declared Ginger. And her "baby talk" to which she reverted when she wanted something (not a glass of water but maybe a hamburger- or a steak!)

Reminiscingly yours,
Jack

(ed: Jack Moore also choreographed for Warner Bros, on the TV series' The Roaring 20s and Surfside Six.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14th August 2007

"Women in Film/Astaire Live!"

Durk Hartman Hoekstra

and Jeffrey Scott Adair

 

In Victoria Island, Canada:
DURK HARTMAN HOEKSTRA
This is pretty cool!:

80 Years of Women in Film





In Redwood City, California:
JEFFREY SCOTT ADAIR
Thought everyone would get a kick out of this youtube video of my old friend Clem Zeleski who danced with me at the Lido (in Las Vegas) in the 80's. He's amazing

Mr. Clem Zeleski as Fred Astaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6th August 2007

"Angie's Replies..."

Liz Elliott Lieberman

and Judi Cox Frazier

 

In Las Vegas:
LIZ ELLIOTT LIEBERMAN
Oh dear...I cannot imagine any company attempting to perform Sleeping Beauty on tour, on a small stage! 'Aurora's Wedding,' perhaps, but not the full-length, 3 act, including a Prologue, ballet! Angie doesn't mention which ballet company it was? ' Beauty' HAS to be performed on a large stage with grand sets and costumes to match the music!

Her letter brought back wonderful memories of being chosen to be in this beloved ballet at The Coliseum in London! I believe it was 1969-70 ish when I was at Arts Educational School. Festival Ballet, (now the English National Ballet) used to chose some students to be in the big ballets as courtiers and lady-in-waiting types etc...........Beryl Grey was Artistic Director at the time and she seemed to like me as a somewhat tallish student.

I was so honoured when I was handed the plastic roses to give to the 4 princes during the Rose Adagio!! I was besides myself with pride until Galina Samsova got annoyed with me when I didn't catch her properly after she pricked her finger, and fell to the ground after a series of turns. I was mortified. I remember the ghastly greasepaint she wore as she literally dripped it onto my beautiful velvet gown, as I cradled her sweaty head in my lap!!!

Now Lynn Seymour was wonderful and smoked a cigggie whilst she warmed up.......ah I also remember lovingly clutching Peter Martins leg warmers in the wings, whilst having a horrible school girl crush on him! It was a glorious summer of expectation, learning and excitement as I watched all kinds of wonderful people rehearse and perform....John Gilpin was lovely as was Harald Lander who used a few of us to light Etudes!!! I never got paid a penny of course but it was glorious.

The whole summer culminated with being allowed to give out programmes at a huge gala that Princess Margaret attended. My mother had to make me a long evening dress and it must have cost her a small fortune! I was allowed to sit and watch the triple bill performance of 'Witch Boy,' 'Polovtsian Dances' and 'Etude' with a group of other nonentities at the back of the theatre, but I did get a huge wink from my teacher Ben Stevenson, who I think had something to do with me being chosen to do this wonderful gala event!


Well, Angie you certainly stirred some memories in me that I had long forgotten and I am so sorry that your experience of "Beauty" was so disappointing.

Liz Lieberman

(ed: amongst her credits, Liz Elliott Liberman was principal dancer at London's Talk of the Town)





In Los Angeles:
JUDI COX FRAZIER
Responding to Angie's message: We've all had occasions where the facilities/conditions were not conducive to being able to carry out the work to the best of our abilities. I think this is less a failing of the dancers than it is of the administration of this company. There are always ways to resolve problems. In this case, it's easy: They could very well have reduced the number of corps dancers just for the shows at this theater, and all others where the stage isn't the size they need. A proper run-through prior to the perfomance would have revealed the problem and the solution. I know some nine-year olds who would have suggested this. Judgmental? You bet. I've earned it. I see no reason to let invisible faces off the hook when it's the dancers out there looking like fools because of the admin's lack of leadership. Shameful.

Your husband can probably understand this analogy: It's like pro sports. Athletes and dancers train extensively for years for a very short career. Dance is more disciplined as it's not a reactionary (offense/defense) activity, so it requires more training. Ballet is the foundation - begun at the court of Louis XIV, and is called 'classical dance' in French. It's the most difficult of the dance arts. The study of other forms of dance, if dancers choose to study them, usually follows. Imagine if David Beckham (like him or not, he's a top footballer) was also proficient at rugby, basketball, US baseball, and hockey. A lot of what he learned in his football training, he'd take to these other sports. This is what variety dancers do. Making it look easy is part of the job. It's not. Very few people in the world are able to do this.

Judi Frazier

(ed: amongst her credits, Judi Cox, as she was then, danced in Paris at the Paradis Latin.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th August 2007

"Sleeping Beauty?

...put her to sleep!"

featuring Angie Curtis

and Michele Hart

 

In Welwyn Garden City, England:
ANGIE CURTIS
Hi Rodford,

I've loved dance since I was tiny (which is now about 62 years ago) but my dear husband can't quite see the point,
particularly of ballet. As part of his education, I bought tickets for a touring ballet company which was coming to our town so that he could see what it was all about. I'm passionate about all forms of the arts which are live. It's wonderful that we can experience live music, live dance, live drama and it's wonderful that people work hard and care enough to bring all these things to us. I'm delighted that we have the chance to see hard-working dancers doing the rounds of the smaller towns and I feel that
they should have all the support they can get.

However, and this is really a little a bit sad, the performance we saw of Sleeping Beauty was - how shall I put it? - a bit disappointing. The dancers had quite a small stage to work on and they coped very well so one
can forgive the jostling that occurred now and then but when the Prince fell over and one of the corps de ballet turned the wrong way, thereby causing a bit of a tangle, I began to feel quite embarrassed for them. And the ishaps
didn't stop there. Needless to say, my husband was not impressed.

My question is, is this good enough? Is this the best way to bring ballet to the provinces? Perhaps I was expecting too much from a small touring company, I don't know. Perhaps the professionals who read this newsletter will explain to me what I should expect from a touring company. Please don't misunderstand me - I've no wish to belittle anyone and I do still admire all the dancers who came (and I told them so afterwards when I met them in the corridor as we were leaving) but I was disappointed. Am I being too fussy or should they do better next time?

This is written with affection,

Angie

(ed: Angie, was a fellow columnist on Running Review Magazine, and she is being far too discreet here, withholding the name of the company!)

-------------------





In Los Angeles:
MICHELE HART
No comment..... but after this, don't complain about how hard it is to balance on DEMI-pointe. Watch this video:

Chinese Circus Ballet of Guandong


Michele
(ed: Michele was principal dancer with Jean-Daniel Morency's Dancers Studio Ensemble in Los Angeles)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30th July 2007

"Margot Fonteyn: Naked!"

Wendy Thornley Davies

and Leon Killer Draper write...

 

In Ottawa:
WENDY THORNLEY DAVIES
Re: Mark Wynter singing, Love Hurts

on Ready Steady Go!


...that clip of Mark Wynter took me back as well! I guess we were really lucky to be working in the theatre in London at that time. It's funny to hear “younger” people talk about the 60s with such awe and there we were, right in the middle of “swinging London”! I think my kids are quite envious!

Lots of memories came flooding back, do you remember the TV shows, “Oh Boy” and “Top of the Pops” [in which I once made a brief appearance!] Also, you, me, Hal (Davis) and Janet (Gosling) in “Aladdin” at the Palladium - and all those cheap and not so cheerful bedsitters we all lived in! I can certainly identify with Lesley Anne Bandy’s experience. I think Janet and I lived on cheese and yogourt most of the time.

Thanks for bringing back 60s memories,
Wendy


(ed: during the 60s Wendy danced in the British TV series, Blackpool Night Out (which featured Sophie Tucker and The Beatles amongst its guests), and on the West End stage in a revival of Oscar Panizza's controversial play, The Council of Love. The latter, written originally at the end of the 19th century about the plague of syphilis, and still with the power to shock in the 1960s, presaged in its way, what was to come in the dying years of the 20th century: the devastation of AIDS.)

------------------






In Auckland, New Zealand:
LEON DRAPER
Re: the Royal Ballet School in the 1960s.

We lived with Royalty in those days at the RBS. With Harold Turner, Errol Addison as our Tutors and Lesley Edwards for classic mime One day Errol Addison said to Nureyev who came into our class.”Come on Fergus (Early) show this Russian how to do pirouettes” and away Fergus went (A little guy that could turn like a top) and pulled off ten turns which was good in those days.

Errol was England's first great turner and went into the theatre as it paid better. His message for all his teaching was to go that one step further….if you can do double then you can do triple and so on.

In those days to get to England it would take you six weeks of sea travel for us New Zealanders. Rent was £3.50. a week and I lived on 50.00 per month for shoes, food etc., but often I did extra roles at Covent Garden and could make an extra few bob (money).

Well I remember the night when Fonteyn lost her top and left totally naked from the waist up and on came Alexander Grant with a large black cape and saved the day, and the time Beriosova in her first spoken role, with a mike in her corset at bra level, caught fire! It seemed funny at the time but she suffered quite bad burns.

Well you guys (‘n Girls) love yah heaps
Leon (Killer) from New Zealand.


(ed: after school, Leon went onto to dance with Ballet Rambert and the Royal New Zealand Ballet among others.)
-----------

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26th July 2007

"The 1960s at Baron's Court"

Lesley Anne Bandy writes...

 

In Las Vegas:
LESLEY ANNE BANDY

Ah ..... the late 60s in London, I was at the Royal Ballet School, living with a friend from Canada in a one room basement flat in Baron's Court. We shared the bathroom with 2 boys (both Davids, if I remember correctly) across the hall - one of whom was at Arts Ed. Shilling in the meter for gas .... duck to miss the flame when you light the pilot light in the kitchenette! Local pub for a gin and tonic once a week (nobody bothered about your age, and who carried any identification in those days??).


Wearing no shoes (in London!!) or character shoes from school because of lack of funds to buy others (6 pairs pointe shoes per month ate up much of the  $26 per month I had to live on) . Soho club (free to Fiona and me) on Saturday nights. Hitch hiking to Brighton. The shortest skirts imaginable .......
great memories
Cheers
Lesley A. Bandy

(ed: Originally traveling to London from New Zealand, Lesley Anne Bandy went on to dance with the Royal Opera Ballet at Covent Garden and later became a leading Bluebell Girl at the Lido in Paris. Lesley is now directing and choreographing in Las Vegas.)

Lesley Anne Bandy's website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19th July 2007

"More About Claude"

with Larry Billman

 

 

In Tokyo, Japan:
LARRY BILLMAN

re: Claude Thompson's Memorial Service
Judi's words about the Tribute to Claude were well chosen. I "lost it" when she wrote that she did - "Seeing that chair and sweatshirt, a tangible sign of his presence, or lack thereof, prompted me to lose it." He is missed by many, but his artistry and humanity "live" in so many minds and hearts.

The "moment" is fleeting, so we need to pay "tribute" to those who made a difference in our lives every moment of every day.
Larry

(ed: Larry Billman, after a number of years in Japan for the Disney Corporation is about to return to the USA. He is the President in Los Angeles of

The Academy of Dance on Film)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18th July 2007

"Goodye, Claude..."

David Dongan

and Judi Cox Frazier

 

 

In London:
DAVID DONEGAN
I'm sure many of here will be familiar with The Drowsy Chaperone which came from New York to the West End this year. It's a wonderful show. Witty, intelligent & fun, plus great dancing. Sadly it's closing 4th August in London. So anybody reading this & visiting London soon...try & get to see it.
DD

(ed: David Dongan danced with the English National Opera amongst other companies. He recently produced "Shamlet" in London: www.shamlet.com)





In Los Angeles:
JUDI COX FRAZIER
re: Claude Thompson's Memorial Service

There were so many people - it was a wonderful tribute. His career spanned close to 60 years so there were many generations of the dance world present. Yes, it was long but still, I didn't want it to end. Joe T. was MC (good job!). Leah Bass, Billy Dobson, Darrell Wright, Yanco, Hama, Jaime Rogers, Donald McKayle, George Chakiris, Connie Stevens, Paula Kelly, Kenny Long, director Steve Binder, Ben Vereen... Joe - who am I forgetting? ...all spoke of their experiences with Claude and how he enriched their lives. They read letters from family, friends and colleagues whose lives he'd touched. They made us laugh and cry. They spoke of dancers who are no longer with us, like Miguel Godreau, Frances Morgan, Gary Chapman and Tony White. There were photos and videos of his career, songs and dance numbers that honoured Claude and that he'd choreographed.

(ed: view Sylvie Vartan singing, "Enough is Enough", that Cluade Thompson choreographed. Judi, is the dancer on Sylvie's right: Theatre)

One number depicted a rehearsal studio with a lone chair in the center, a red sweatshirt draped casually over its back, and a single beautiful dancer. Seeing that chair and sweatshirt, a tangible sign of his presence, or lack thereof, prompted me to lose it. The tribute had opened with Claude's close friends offering prayers before a Gohonzon and incense. He was Buddhist and lived the Path. The final number was his own; 10 (or 12?) men in dress suits dancing to Quincy J's arrangement of 'Killer Joe,' and of course included Claude's penultimate moves that we all knew - and we rejoiced. He always wanted to have a company solely of male dancers. He would have LOVED this.

I saw people I hadn't seen since my very early years taking class in L.A. It was awesome to talk with Chuck Moore who'd flown in from Sweden. In the mid-1960s, he'd alternate teaching Saturday classes at the Coronet Theater with Joe T., Joe Bennett and Roland DuPree. It was the best possible learning experience for this 12 yr old ballet dancer in plastic glasses at the back of the class. Also had the chance to spend time with Vicki Ally, Bob Romaniak, Truett Wright, Sandahl Bergman (whom I hadn't seen since auditions in the early 70s), Dave Rodriguez, Blaine Savage,... so many people.

Sylvie Vartan lost her mom on July 4th so I didn't expect her to attend. And there were others whom I missed speaking to, like Joe T., Yanco and Jaime... and where the heck was Johnny Almaraz?

Now? I'm still grieving hard and nowhere near the point of being able to think of Claude as being 'somewhere else.' I loved him dearly.

Judi

(ed: Judi Cox, made her professional debut, aged 12, with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Company)
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17th July, 2007

"Sunday in L. A."

The Claude Thompson Memorial Service Sterling Clark reports:

 


In Los Angeles:
STERLING CLARK
Just a note to say how wonderful the memorial was on Sunday for CLAUDE THOMPSON. All the Who's Who of the dance world were there to send him much "LOVE". What a turn out it was here in L. A. People came from over to sing, dance, speak, pray and spread more LOVE...

I will never forget it or him. I have known dear Claude since 1963.

Bless him!

STERLING CLARK...

(ed: Sterling Clark with Buddy Vest, were the first Americans to star at the Lido in Paris in the 1970s:

Bio on The Men

Claude Thompson's name is now on the In Memoriam page:

In Memoriam)

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13th July, 2007

"WILD PARTIES

AT CAESAR'S PALACE!"

with Shea New

and Jack Moore

 


In Palm Desert, California:
SHEA NEW

Hey Rodford
I wanted to share this Frankie Randall video tribute to Sinatra. It has some old footage of Vegas. I remember when I first started working in Vegas The Rat Pack was going strong. Sammy Davis was very open to the 'regular' performers on the strip. He had some fine (euphemism for wild) parties at Caesar's Palace that the gypsies were invited to.

View the video here:

Theatre

Shea New

(ed: during her career, Shea New was lead dancer in Las Vegas for producers, Barry Ashton, Alan Lee and Peter Jackson)

Shea's website

----------------------------------------------





In Palm Springs:
JACK MOORE

re: Billie-Jean King quote,

" I'll give up when my knees tell me to..."


MY knees ARE telling me! When I think of all of the kneeslides and hipslides we used to do - two and three times a night in Vegas! Those slide were, in the 50's, the latest thing in stage shows, Broadway, too - "Can Can". Thank God I didn't ever do THAT one! And Jerry Robbins with his knee pirouettes. I'd never even heard of one until the "Westside"audition for the movie. Oh my! And this is the 50th anniversary of the opening of "Westside". Another "Oh my!". I saw the original company on Broadway and then saw the 40th anniversary at the Pantages in Hollywood. Alan Johnson, with whom I just spoke the other day, had staged the latter.
Jack

(ed: Jack Moore was choreographer to Judy Garland and danced in a few iconic movies)

Bio on The Men
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8th July, 2007

"BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY"

with Adrian le Peltier

 

Black Book: the movie

In Ocee, Florida:
ADRIAN LE PELTIER
Agree with Durk.  "Black Book" was riveting. Knowing that the director, I believe he was the person who did "Showgirl" or was it "Showgirls"? I was a bit uneasy to go see the film. I was grabbed from frame 1! The story is a real tension maker. Forget the Hollywood glamour that the heroine maintains despite the various levels of hell she goes through. Man's inhumanity makes you cringe! Just the thought of what man can do to man and what really is the reason behind it all? Ignorance, hate, stupidity.. Why? It is what is happening world wide and always been in play from earliest times. Makes you want to be beamed up with Scotty! I'd have my druthers if I had to choose...But!

"Evening" had a cast list of brilliance but for me it did not let its players do what they could do brilliantly! It was over saturated with great performers but what they were given was not really well balanced. It is certainly a film most of the ladies would enjoy!

"The Namesake." was a marvelous film. Please try and see it. Very pertinent to eastern and western cultures and the clash thereof when both meet.

Thanks for this thought inducing news letter Rodford.
Adrian

(ed: amongst his credits, Adrian le Peltier, was formerly Director of Development and Concept, at Universal Studios, Florida, and early in his career was one of the few men ever to have appeared with British television's, Pan's People. Bio on: The Men)

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2nd July, 2007

"CLAUDE THOMPSON

MEMORIAL SERVICE"

Judi Cox Frazier writing...




In Los Angeles:

JUDI COX FRAZIER:

Hi Rodford:

I found the info I was looking for today published in the LA Times:

"A memorial celebrating Claude Thompson's life and career will be held on Sunday, July 15th at 4:00 pm in the Dance Theatre at Glendale Community College, 1500 N. Verdugo Rd., Glendale, CA 91208"

Judi

(ed: amongst her credits, Judi Cox Frazier, danced in the French singing star, Sylvie Vartan's, backing group for eight years)

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