NEW YORK POST November 6, 1997=====================================================
NEAL TRAVIS' NEW YORK
Ballet Gala just tutu much
THE American Ballet Theatre's gala opening for its fall season at City Center the other night was one of those glamour events when the arts crowd and the society people come together and realize how much they have in common.
In the audience were stars like glorious soprano Cecilia Bartoli, who is slaying them at the Met in "La Cenerentola;" Jerome Robbins with Twyla Tharp; choreographer Mark Morris; and Paula Heil Fisher and Eric Fraad, who are presenting Igor Stravinsky's "Pulcinella" at the Salon tomorrow and Saturday.
Roddy McDowall, there with photographer Michael Childers, went backstage to see the evening's star, Angel Corella, before they all went over to supper at the Essex House. The gorgeous Christy Turlington got to dance with Corella at the party, where ABT board member Peter Duchin provided the music.
Blaine Trump, who may be coming back to the ABT board after devoting all her energies to "God's Love We Deliver," partied late, along with Julia and David Koch, Judy and Sam Peabody, Ivana Trump, and Bill Rollnick and Nancy Ellison.
By now, I'm certain some of you have begun to wonder if I really exist at all... or whether I'm dead or alive. As you've all, no doubt, noticed ... the list hasn't been running on exactly a daily basis for quite some time now. I've a long list of excuses I could throw out at you, the most of recent of which being the fact that I am once again in the middle of moving (have to have all of my stuff out of the old place by Thanksgiving) and unpacking, and, better yet, I have a new job.
It's been two years since I had to work a "real" job on a timeclock, and I've never worked retail before, so the employment transition has been a bit of a rocky one. I'm finally settling in now..., in fact, despite my first shuddering thoughts about retail, I'm actually enjoying my new job *very* much. It's fun! And I seem to be making a *very* good impression on all the right people, and haven't really screwed up yet (at least, not to my knowledge!). The only thing that still worries me is the thought of working during the Christmas rush. I figure if I can live through the day after Thanksgiving (the busiest shopping day of the year), I can make it through anything. The only "problem" with my new job is the hours... they aren't regular. I get a new schedule every week (each Wednesday). Sometimes I work only 15 hours a week, sometimes I work a full 40. Sometimes I start work at 5:00 in the A.M. (!!) and sometimes I start work at 5:00 in the evening. All of which, I hope, serves to explain my negligent behavior regarding the list lately.
Now that I am starting to get settled into my job, I hope to resume more regular list maintaining. I should be checking and forwarding messages every other day from now on... returning to daily as soon as possible.
I hope that the recent decrease in list activity (that is, messages sent to RMGROUP@juno.com) has not been because of me... If so, I apologize profusely and eagerly encourage you all to start writing in again.
Speaking of writing in, we've gotten two new members recently! For those of you who don't make a habit of checking the who's-who page (http://www.smithway.org/clan/whozzat.html) our two newest members are:
______ _ / _____) | | ( (____ _____ | |__ ____ _ _ ____ _____ \____ \ (____ || _ \ / ___)| | | || _ \ (____ | _____) )/ ___ || |_) )| | | |_| || | | |/ ___ | (______/ \_____||____/ |_| \__ ||_| |_|\_____| (____/and
_______ _______ _ (____ __) ( _____) _ _ ____ ___ (_) ____ _____ _ | | | | | | | | / ___)/___)| || _ \ | ___ | | |_| | _ | |_____ | |_| || | |___ || || | | || ____| \___/ (_) \______)|____/ |_| (___/ |_||_| |_||_____)
both of whom I would like to welcome to our little group... I hope you enjoy your stay and the company you find yourselves in.... ehhehehehehehe!
That's about it right now, don't want to bore you all with non-RM details you're not really interested in..., so....
See ya later!
Subject: RM telling BD stories
Got this from Deja News:
Subject: Re: Some old Bette Davis gossip=====================================================
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Parboiler)
>Here's a great Bette Davis anecdote, from the Datalounge:
>Hollywood legend Roddy McDowell, in New York rehearsing for his
> role as the Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol,"
> was anything but miserly with tales told over a watercress salad and
> grilled chicken breast in the company of our very own TV writer Jake
> Tyler. At what I'm sure was only gentle prodding, Roddy graciously
> shared a couple of his favorites.
> On Bette Davis, Roddy remembered the night she arrived to a charity
> fundraiser having had one too many drinks. Glen Ford was also there,
> an actor she hated with a passion. The room was very hot and Miss
> Davis (overcome by the heat, naturally) passed out face down into her
> plate. She was quickly lifted off the table and dragged over to the edge
> of the room where friends worked to revive her.
> Ford, displaying some of the characteristics Bette so despised, pushed
> his way to the front of the crowd, grabbed Bette's hand and repeated,
> "Bette, please don't die. Please, don't die." It took her a few moments to
> come to, but as her eyes focused on Ford, she moaned, imitated
> flawlessly by McDowell, "Oh my God. I have died and gone to HELL."
>What happened between Davis and Ford to make her hate him so much, anybody
As a matter of fact, I do. Bette gave Ford one of his first big roles in A Stolen Life (1947 - Bette's one and only producing job). I think they also had a short affair at the time. Then in 1961, she starred in Pocketful of Miracles with Glenn. A complete and total disaster!! (the pairing, not the movie) Glenn gave out interviews saying he had gotten Bette the job - implying that she was an old broad in need of work and he was trying to help her out. Also, he made sure his then girlfriend and co-star, Miss Hope Lange, got a better dressing room than Bette. Bette never forgave him and stated later that she did not even consider Pocketful a part of her body of work. Bette could hold a grudge like no other. What a dame. I miss her.
Hi, Lisa. You'll find good company here among us! I, too, have periodically written to Roddy over the last 20 years or so - he's always responded when the letter required a response.
Subject: A Christmas Carol
The following review came from http://www.mostnewyork.com/most/now/112697/THEATER/THEATER.HTM. The photos in the website are of RM and Hal Linden.
A Very Scary 'Christmas' . . .=====================================================
. . .but that's what makes 'Carol' worth revisiting
A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Based on the story by Charles Dickens. Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Book by Mike Ockrent and Lynn Ahrens. With Hal Linden and Roddy McDowall (alternating), Ken Page, Joel Blum, Christine Dunham, Todd Gross, Paul Jackel, Paul Kandel, others. Sets by Tony Walton. Directed by Mike Ockrent. Theater at Madison Square Garden.
How come, in a city devoted to the dollar, a fierce denunciation of the single-minded pursuit of riches has become an annual ritual?
Charles Dickens' fable of the wages of greed should by rights have folded its tent a long time ago. To judge by the frantic merchandising that greets a visitor to "A Christmas Carol" at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, its message is a long-lost cause.
Yet, "A Christmas Carol" survives. And it does so for the odd reason that it goes against the grain of what now passes for the Christmas spirit. This fantastic tale of ghosts and visions still contains a truth that is hidden by the cheery innocence of so much of the season's hard sell. It reminds us that Christmas really does come just once a year, and that good will toward all men is a temporary aberration.
[PHOTO] The key to the endurance of "A Christmas Carol" is not just that it offers some seasonal uplift. It is that it is also genuinely terrifying. Instead of a winter wonderland, it gives us images of human misery. The ghosts that haunt the miser Ebenezer Scrooge are, indeed, those of Christmases past, present and yet to come. But they are also the specters of loneliness, poverty, disease and death. When it lifts us up, it hauls us out of great depths of gloom and despair.
A Haunting Classic
If it hadn't been written long enough ago to be sanctified as a classic, can you imagine anyone deciding to make it fun for all the family?
There's this miserable old guy, see, and this kid -- let's call him Tiny Tim -- who's crippled by poverty and about to die. And this tormented spirit visits the old guy and tells him he's going to be haunted by three more ghastly ghouls, okay?
And these ghosts conjure up visions of horror -- blighted love, the kid dead, the old guy's own funeral with these crones robbing the sheets off his deathbed, the specters of Ignorance and Want. And we'll wrap it all up with nice songs and dances, and all the folks will bring their kids and have a good time. Yeah, sure.
And yet, we do bring our kids and we do have a good time, because Dickens' story is so strong, so perfectly poised between horror and joy, that it has an indestructible truth.
[PHOTO] You can smother it with bouncy songs, as Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens' musical version does. You can have a Scrooge who was obviously so cheap that he skimped on the singing lessons, as Roddy McDowall's did. (Hal Linden, who has been a Broadway singing star, plays the role in alternate performances.) You can have a Tiny Tim who looks like an advertisement for good diet, clean air and a healthy lifestyle. You can put all your energies into lavish staging and none into thinking about the characters, as director Mike Ockrent does.
Barbs Are Polished, But Sharp
But it doesn't really matter. Expecting innovation in "A Christmas Carol" is probably like expecting Santa Claus to say something more original than "Ho, ho, ho."
Ockrent's production is what it is. It skates smoothly across the surface of the fable. It does a fine job of filling the vast spaces of the theater. It makes brilliant use of Tony Walton's impressively flexible sets.
The ghostly set pieces are vivid and even, now and then, genuinely scary. McDowall's Scrooge even allows the occasional shadow of real pain to cross his face.
And such is the power of Dickens' moral tale that, by the end, his plea for justice and compassion comes through with some of its original force. Ironic as the anti-materialistic message may be, there are worse things to be telling our children.
I'm just curious. Did we ever get any response from Roddy about the birthday card we sent? I haven't seen anything in our e-mail to indicate that, or have I missed something? Just wanted to know if he had ever acknowledged it.
Subject: Writing to Roddy
Yes, it's really me... long silent and out-of-touch but slowly trying to get back into the normal swing of things.
In the last batch of list mail I received, there were three messages with a common question -- messages which I did not forward to the list for reasons I am about to explain. First, here's the text of those messages:
In <RE: New Member>
Sabryna136 <Sabryna136@aol.com> wrote:
> where is the best address to write to roddy?
In <New Member- Reply>
> Please supply me with a note of Roddy McDowall's
> Love Mo x
In <New Member- Reply>
> Please could you let me have Roddy McDowall's address
> so that I can write to him.
> Many thanks.
> Mo x
Of course, we would all *love* to have Roddy McDowall's personal home address. We would love to write to him, to send him birthday cards and Christmas cards and all sorts of other wonderful things. We would all love to be able to just drop by for a visit and chat some Saturday afternoon...
As it happens, quite a few members of this mailing list do, in fact, have RMs home address. Some folks got this address from assorted public lists... there are, after all, *many* web pages that claim to list celebrity home addresses. Most of us, however, wrote to some third party who forwarded our letter to RM... and we got his personal address when he responded to our messages.
I know when I got my first letter from RM, and saw that he'd put his street address on the envelope... I assumed it was a mistake. Force of habit and all. Then again, as our newest member, Lisa, put it "maybe he liked hearing from a big fan, and had put the return address on the letter intentionally".
I hope I'm not sounding like an old mother or a nag here, and I certainly don't mean to be condescending, but I think it's important to point out that just because someone gives you a piece of information that does not mean you are free to share that information with the rest of the world.
Personally, I have refused to give out RMs address on quite a number of occasions -- refusing both strangers and very close friends. Luckily, the close friends understood why I was doing it. It has nothing to do with whether or not someone can be trusted with the information... and everything to do with privacy and priviledge. It is not my place and not my right to give away someone elses address or phone number.
I cannot, of course, stop anyone from exchanging such information privately... but I have to tell you all that if any e-mail comes in to the list with RMs address in it that message will *not* be forwarded. You probably wouldn't want *your* home address handed out to strangers...
Please understand... I am *NOT* trying to scold anyone. I spent *years* searching and hoping to find RMs address or phone number, and if I met someone whom I thought even *might* have the information I would grovel and beg and plead and whine and promise anything -- so I know how some of you feel, and truly sympathize.
Honest. I'm not a mean person, really.
Lastly, of course, there's McDowall's own wishes. He has specifically asked that we not distribute his address. My guess is that he does, indeed, make distinctions amongst the mail he replies to. The majority of people probably get form letters signed with a rubber stamped and mailed with no return address (or the address of his agent), and the people that RM takes a liking to get the personal letters with the unspoken offer of continued correspondence evidenced by the residential return address.
Thanks, everyone, very much for putting up with this little lecture. Once again, I don't mean to insult anyone or hurt anyone's feelings. I'm just trying to practice common descency and respect the wishes of our much-admired namesake.
Subject: RE: Writing to Roddy
I also refuse to give out Roddy's address - for the same reasons you mentioned. I don't think I'm one of the chosen few - more like one of the tolerated ones! But, at any rate, I won't give out his address to anyone. I have offered to forward letters on many occasions, and several people have taken me up on it.
Subject: RE: Writing to Roddy
not necessary to supply RM's home address, any fan mail address where a letter would reach him would do me just fine, i would just like to send him something, to let him know how much his acting and personality have affected me over the years, he was my very first crush, the first movie i ever saw was, the poseidon adventure, i have been in love ever since. if you have a fan mail address where you think the mail actually reaches roddy, i would really appreciate it, thanks
Subject: A Christmas Carol
The URL of the play's website is http://www.xmascarol.com/njs/a_christmas_carol.html. There's a couple of photos of RM.