By Don Grigware
April 7, 2010
Prolific musical stage director David Galligan helms another S.T.A.G.E. benefit this year for one night only on Saturday, May 1 at the Luckman Theatre entitled Original Cast, featuring stars who originated their roles on Broadway or in LA. S.T.A.G.E. has been one of the biggest and grandest benefits for AIDS in Los Angeles over the past twenty years. Galligan has been interviewed many times over during the past several years, so I was hard put to think of a question that has not been asked of him. Therefore, we got right to the bottom line of what makes this year's different from all the other S.T.A.G.E. shows.
How did Original Cast come about?
We were starting to repeat composers. To frankly put it, I was down to like the only ones who would be...oh, what a terrible thing to say... box office. I would love to do Harold Rome but I don't think anyone would know who that is. I repeated Gershwin last year. I don't want to go back and do Cole Porter...I mean I love Cole Porter, but...so I thought I could do Schmidt (Harvey) and Jones (Tom) or Meredith Willson, but I decided to move on and do a show with people who orginated Broadway or Los Angeles roles.
Had that idea emerged before?
Not really. It popped into my head and I thought I would be interested in that, and I'm hoping people...and by the look at ticket sales... they are interested.
Wonderful! Anything new as to the format of the show?
No, except it will be different songs. I think I'm going to put in bows this year; I used to always wait until the very end.
What is the point of putting in the bows after each number?
Well, because then it makes it one complete number. Before they were all under the same composer's banner; now, they're performing numbers from different shows and different composers, so I thought I'd put a button on each of the numbers.
Are performers still signing up at this juncture?
I'm pretty much done. I added Davis Gaines and Ron Dennis. Ron is doing a number with Donna McKechnie. He was talking about a duet he had with Baayork Lee from A Chorus Line, a song called "Confidence" and it was in and out and never even made it to public performnce. He started humming it and said he had the music and lyrics. I called Baayork and she said she was not available, and so I decided to do it sort of schizophrenic with Ron doing both roles.
Tyne Daly is doing songs from Gypsy?
She and Jonathan Hadary are doing "Small World" and "You'll Never Get Away from Me" and then she's performing "Rose's Turn".
Great! What about Michele Lee?
She's doing the finale from Seesaw.
I saw her do that show on Broadway. She's sensational with that. Who else is on board?
Dale Kristien is doing "Think Of Me' from Phantom of the Opera. Carole Cook is doing "Before the Parade Passes By" from Hello Dolly. She's the original Australian Dolly Levi.
I have to compliment you on the Burt Bacharach tribute two years ago. I loved that the whole first Act was a condensed version of Promises, Promises.
Thank you. We worked so hard on that. With all the cuts, it had to get an OK from Neil Simon, who wrote the book, and he said he loved it. Now he owns it. But that was the deal. In order to get permission, he would own the abridged version...and that's fine.
Everyone did such an amazing job. Do you normally rehearse one full week or more than that?
More. I started rehearsals last Saturday (March 27). I'm rehearsing this week, because I'm leaving town. I have a show opening off-Broadway.
Tell me about that!
That's My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, Leslie Jordan's show. That's opening April 19th at the Midtown Theatre.
He's a hoot! You're a really busy director, Mr. Galligan. Who else can we talk about for S.T.A.G.E.?
John Lloyd Young is doing a medley from the second act of Jersey Boys.
Is Betty Garrett performing?
Betty fell in November and broke her hip, and when she was in the hospital recovering, her voice changed. Now she talks way up here, in a very high range. And so she can't really sing and I don't want to do the show without Betty. She's performed in it every year. So, what I'm going to do is to take her album and overdub it and put four backup voices - they're all her voices - have her pantomime to it and put four dancing boys with Betty Garret masks on, and since she's on a cane, I'll put a cane dance in the middle, and that'll be her number. It'll be fun!
Betty is 90 and Patricia Morrison is 95 now. She'll sing "So In Love". Charlotte Rae is doing something from Pins and Needles. Bill Hutton is doing a big production number of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Karen Morrow is singing "I Had a Ball". Nancy Dussault is doing "Make Someone Happy" from Do Re Mi.
Sounds like a terrific show! Any possibility of doing another show in the future like Bacharach, where Act I is devoted to just one show?
It always interests me and I've always wanted to do Funny Girl with Vicki Lewis, so...
Julie Styne with Funny Girl as all of Act I! I'd be there with bells on!
In Original Cast, John McDaniel will serve as Music Director with Mary Ekler as Associate Music Director and choreography by Lee Martino and Dan Mojica. Jon Maher will do sign language interpretation.
Original Cast is set for Saturday, May 1 at 7:30PM at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90032. A VIP reception for Premium and Most Preferred ticket holders will precede the performance at 6:00PM at which time the silent auction will also open.
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