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Photo Coverage: Michael Rupert Celebrates 40 Years on Broadway!

Friends and stars of stage and screen gathered together for a surprise party at Sardi's Restaurant on January 18 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Michael Rupert's Broadway debut! Rupert, currently treading the boards as Professor Callahan in Legally Blonde, first appeared on The Great White Way in Kander and Ebb's The Happy Time (1968).

The following speech was read by Jerry Mitchell (director/choreographer of Legally Blonde) at the event:

"On January 18, 1968, 40 years ago, a young man named Michael Rupert made his Broadway debut in The Happy Time opposite the great Robert Goulet.  The Happy Time was written by Kander and Ebb with a book by Richard Nash and directed and choreographed by Gower Champion. And even though Mike was only 16 he received his first Tony nomination and was honored with a Theater World Award!

I know after the show closed on Broadway, Michael went home to LA to finish High School and become a dentist! But he was soon a neighbors kid on the ABC show the 'Jim Nabors Hour'!

He returned to Broadway in 1974 to play the lead role in Pippin for the director/choreographer Bob Fosse, replacing John Rubinstein on Broadway before touring in the show.

There was more film and TV working along side greats like Leonard Bernstein, but Michael came back to Broadway again in 1985 and took home his first Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, as Oscar in the revival of Sweet Charity, working again with Bob Fosse and starring opposite Debbie Allen.

I guess that was the first time I saw Michael on-stage and he was magnetic! And when I saw him in Falsettos on Broadway, he brought the entire audience and me to tears! And received a third Tony nod.

But I finally got my first chance to work with Michael on little off-Broadway musical called Putting It Together. I was the Assistant Choreographer and Michael was a star in my eyes. But so was Julie Andrews who made us little salmon sandwiches for the breaks!

I could go on, and on about Michael and his talent as not only an actor, a composer, Mail, 3 Guys Naked From the Waist Down and as a Director. But I am here tonight to celebrate Michael, because most of all he is a pro! Just an amazing pro! I wish him 40 more years at least of sharing his gifts with us. He'll always be my #1 Professor C! Thanks for being here and don't forget to Google and YouTube Michael Rupert tonight!"

Other Broadway credits include Don't Stop the Carnival and Ragtime; he also replaced Greg Edelmann in Cy Coleman's City of Angels.  Rupert's TV credits also include "The Waltons," "My 3 Sons," "Emergency!", "The Patridge Family" and some Disney movies.

Photos by Linda Lenzi

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