Awed by the high school troupe’s March performance of “A Chorus Line,” Terre Blair — the widow of Marvin Hamlisch — invited them to perform at an American Cancer Society benefit.
The event was held yesterday — the day after what would have been the composer’s 69th birthday — at New York’s Hudson Theater. They shared the stage — and were applauded by — legends like Bernadette Peters, Joel Grey and Robert Klein.
Staples Players can point to many memorable moments in their 55-year history. Last night’s stands at the top of any list.
Photographer Kerry Long captured a few of the many highlights:
Staples Players receive instructions from the stage manager.
Reacting to Broadway stars’ sound check.
Donna McKechnie — who earned a Tony for “Cassie” in “A Chorus Line” — reprises her role, backed by Players.
Players director David Roth (left) with Joel Grey. The Broadway star is known for his role as the MC in “Cabaret” — also played by Roth, in the 1st Players production of that show.
Staples Players perform “One” on the Hudson Theatre stage.
A key “Chorus Line” moment.
“Jersey Boy” John Lloyd Young performs “What I Did For Love” with Staples Player Michelle Pauker.
Staples choral director Luke Rosenberg (left), Bernadette Peters (red hair) and Broadway’s “Annie” (Lilla Crawford, front) pose with some of the Players cast. Will Smith (far right) was the evening’s announcer, as the “Voice of God.”
Joel Gray (3rd row, 4th from left) poses with the Staples Players cast and directors.
Click below (or here) to watch Michelle Pauker, “Jersey Boy” John Lloyd Young, Staples Player and Broadway stars perform “What I Did For Love.”
Posted onMay 26, 2013|Comments Off on “One” More Honor For Staples Players
On the final night of Staples Players’ production of “A Chorus Line” in March, Marvin Hamlisch’s widow came onstage.
Terre Blair Hamlisch thanked the high school troupe for their magnificent staging of her husband’s show. Then she made a surprise announcement: She invited Players to perform at a benefit concert, celebrating his life and work.
The event is 8 p.m. Monday, June 3 — the day after what would have been the legendary composer’s 69th birthday.
Players are in good company. The all-star cast includes Joel Grey, Robert Klein and Bernadette Peters.
But the Staples students won’t be the only area representatives at the Hudson Theatre. Also appearing: Weston’s Lucie Arnaz, and former Westporter Michael Douglas.
Staples Players: one singular sensation. (Photo by Kerry Long)
Staples Players has a 55-year tradition of wowing audiences with professional-style productions.
But it was Players’ turn to be stunned tonight.
At the end of the final performance of “A Chorus Line” — after thunderous applause for the cast, crew, pit orchestra, choreographers and directors — Marvin Hamlisch’s widow came on stage.
She saw the matinee earlier today, then stayed for the 2nd show. She praised everyone profusely, then mentioned that her late husband — who wrote the music to the show — will be honored on his birthday this June with a gala performance in New York.
Dozens of Broadway stars will be there — and now, thanks to her invitation, so will Staples Players.
You can’t ask for a more dramatic finish — or a more well-deserved encore — than that.
The death of popular composer Marvin Hamlisch yesterday resonated with many fans.
Bradley Jones — a 1975 Staples graduate, who played Gregory Gardner in “A Chorus Line” from 1981-89 — recalls:
By the time I got into the Broadway company, we would only see Marvin Hamlisch for brush-up rehearsals when the show was hitting a milestone performance.
I remember him coming in when we became the longest running show (performance 3389), the 5000th performance, and when one of the original cast would come in for a limited run.
Marvin was a stickler for tight, crisp, and elegant articulation of the lyrics of “One,” and he wanted “What I Did For Love” deeply legato and full of our deepest longings. We would happily meet his demands, because we knew these songs were his signature. After having Marvin at a rehearsal, the tempos were also increased and we would dance the opening combinations fast.
It was thrilling to have time with him, and a real antidote to any “long run-itis” the company might have suffered.
Bradley Jones will keep “A Chorus Line” alive — in Westport. This spring, he returns to Staples Players (his former troupe) as choreographer for the beloved show.
Three years ago, Bradley Jones (center) reprised his “Chorus Line” role at Staples Players’ 50th anniversary celebration. This spring, they’ll stage the entire show. (Photo/Kerry Long)
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