BY ROB LESTER **** What?!? Lane Bradbury??!? The person who was in the 1959 original Broadway cast of Gypsy? Doing a cabaret show in NYC? Well, it’s terrific. And she’s still a “bundle of dynamite” with tales to tell of the Actors Studio, movies, TV, dramatic roles, and very long sabbatical. She tells of getting started in acting, the boy (“Eddie, My Love”) she carried the torch form her audition for Gypsy and how she finally got the role of the older June, singing to Caroline the Cow and the Farmboys Chorus and the less than warm relations with Ethel Merman and taskmaster Jerome Robbins, etc. She delightful, vulnerable, charming, complicated, accessible, yet ethereal. For a review and interview , see the related piece from one of our staff members, Bart Greenberg below. Along with another NiteLife scribe, Larry Myers, we were captivated with Miss Bradbury’s debut performance at Manhattan’s cabaret venue on Restaurant Row, Don’t Tell Mama.
And, speaking of “Mama,” I never could have imagined back in the day when I grew up listening over and over to Merman, Bradbury and others on one of our family’s handful of Broadway cast recordings, with my siblings, singing “If Mama Was Married” to our own Mama who was dating the man who’d become our stepfather, that one day I’d get to meet and see perform the long-retired (til now) person who played Merman’s daughter. Life is funny. I also got to interview a Dainty June who followed in her toe shoes as Dainty June— Anita Gillette. It makes one grateful to live in New York City and its surprisingly small world of world. “Small World”– another song from Gypsy, but not one Lane does in this show. Because there’s no time. This highly recommended act is about a whole lot more than the iconic musical that gave her a first big break. She sings in French, she takes theatre songs from the two Stephens— Sondheim and Schwartz — and is being shepherded by another Stephen familiar to cabaret-goers: Mr. Hanks.
I see lots of cabaret shows I enjoy— lucky me— but not all that many I’ll cancel other plans to see again in the same month. But I knew I needed to go back to see Lane Bradbury again this Thursday, June 29. And not just to make sure it wasn’t all a dream inspired by my childhood memories of singing to Mama. Before that, the closest I’d come was directing a production of Gypsy in Canada when I was theatre director at a sleep-away camp and hired to do the show about the real-life gal who grew up to be stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, the sister of June, but to rewrite the script to to not mention the words “striptease” or “stripper” because my cast would be comprised of 12-year-olds!! I highly recommend this comeback show by a uniquely charismatic lady who is living, walking history.
Go to this link for online reservations: http://donttellmamanyc.com/shows/main/lane-bradbury-6-29
or call 212-757-0788 after 4 pm. Don’t Tell Mama is at 343 West 46 Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues in Manhattan.
The show is titled after the most reprised song in Gypsy, with an appropriate word added at the end: Let Me Entertain You, Again
Musical Direction by Joe Goodrich….Written by Doug Devita…..Directed by Elkin Antoniou
$20.00 cover charge and a 2-drink minimum per person (Cash only)