Carol Channing at Town Hall Monday night!

Phantom487
Broadway Star
joined:7/24/04
Who's going??!
dtzumbrunnen
Leading Actor
joined:6/30/08
I am - it was my birthday present!
TheaterBoy7777
Broadway Star
joined:1/28/06
I'll be there, I cannot wait!! It was my birthday present as well!
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tmbyru
Stand-by
joined:12/4/11
I'll be there with bells on!
hushpuppy
Broadway Star
joined:11/13/04
What a glorious evening this was! Although her memory is a little shaky and her hearing doesn't seem to be so good (Justin Vivian Bond had to help her by repeating some questions and prod her through some stories), Carol Channing can still captivate an audience like nobody else.

After an hour of stories and conversation, she closed the evening by reciting the speech from HELLO, DOLLY! to her dead husband Ephraim, and it was letter-perfect. I find it hard to believe I was the only one there who had tears running down my face listening to what might quite possibly be the last time she speaks those words on a New York stage. When she finished, the audience rose to their feet in a long, heartfelt ovation. This was followed by the audience singing 'Hello, Dolly!', to her, with Miss Channing promising 'Dolly will never go away', which of course brought down the house one more time.

Throughout it all, Miss Channing remained cool and composed, but when the audience sang a lusty version of 'Happy Birthday to You', she appeared to be visibly emotional. I was sitting stage-left and she exited stage-right, so I couldn't see for sure, but she really seemed to be overcome with emotion as she took one last final bow.

'Our whole family shouts. It comes from us livin' so close to the railroad tracks'
Updated On: 1/21/14 at 11:54 PM
Jay Lerner-Z
Broadway Legend
joined:4/4/11
^ Wonderful!
AKA McDreamy
HorseTears
Broadway Legend
joined:3/25/05
Aw. That just fills my heart. Thanks for the lovely recap, hushpuppy.
dtzumbrunnen
Leading Actor
joined:6/30/08
Hushpuppy, you summed up the night brilliantly. I was sitting stage right, so I can confirm to you that she certainly did seem moved by the love she was getting from the audience last night.

Her charisma and charm seems everlasting. This was a priceless evening that will stick with everyone who saw it for a very long time. Happy early birthday, Carol!
ghostlight4
Swing
joined:11/7/11
Fantastic evening!


Updated On: 1/21/14 at 08:01 AM
followspot
Broadway Star
joined:12/27/11
Hushpuppy, you weren't the only one with tears streaming down your face. I lost it completely (and totally unexpectantly) during Channing's note-perfect, from-memory recitation of her Ephraim speech from DOLLY -- 50 years later, at 93, she still spun it into theatrical magic, and indeed, one had the sense that we were not only witness to something incredibly special, but also something that may never happen again. When she welled up during the audience's "Happy Birthday" serenade, it seemed that she genuinely felt the same.

And, as always, what comic timing! Incomparable!

An inspiring, unforgettable evening, well-hosted by Justin Vivian Bond (no stranger to great comic timing).

In the audience: Alan Cumming, Ian McKellen, Liliane Montevecchi, John Cameron Mitchell, Sandra Bernhard, among others. (Frankly, it being a Monday night, every performer on Broadway should have been there, not only paying tribute — but also taking a lesson.)


(Dolly's Ephraim speech [to her late husband]: “Ephraim, let me go! It's been long enough, Ephraim! Every evening for all these years I've put out the cat, I've locked the door, I've made myself a little rum toddy, and before I went to bed I said a prayer thanking God that I was independent, that no-one else's life was mixed up with mine. Then one night an oak leaf fell out of my Bible. I placed it there when you asked me to marry you, Ephraim. A perfectly good oak leaf, but without color, and without life. And I suddenly realized that I was like that leaf. For years I had not shed one tear, nor had I been filled with the wonderful hope that something or other would turn out well. And so I've decided to rejoin the human race -- and Ephraim, I want you to give me away!” [cue: “Before The Parade Passes By”])

"Tracy... Hold Mama's waffles."
Updated On: 1/21/14 at 08:11 AM
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Carol is a national treasure. So glad to hear it was such a special evening.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
Reading about it brought tears to my eyes. I can only imagine I would have "lost it" as well if I had been there. Thanks for sharing the stories. Sounds like it was a wonderful night.
Dollypop
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
Not to be fussy, but Miss Channing interposed the lines about putting out the cat and locking the door. Just sayin'.

It was still a glorious moment.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Then why say it?
Buscee
Featured Actor
joined:7/9/05
It was a wonderful night! She was so much fun! I wish she could have told more stories. She said her wish is to be buried between the Curran Theatre in San Fransico and the Geary Theatre in a small Alley. Her monologue was actually more heartfelt than I remember when she did it in the show. I only hope they finally give her a Kennedy Award before we loose her. She truly is a Broadway Legend! I only hope I am that lucid at her age!
round2
Stand-by
joined:4/11/08
Attending this event felt like a leap in to the unknown, for me, but I was left as touched and thrilled as others have described being.

I have enjoyed Justin Vivian Bond in Kiki and Herb, and earlier in plays and various performances in SF. I've loved Carol Channing since I was 8, and got the Broadway musical bug seeing her on tour in Dolly. I had to wonder if Carol was up to her old level of magic, and how JVB would be in this atypical context.

The audience assembled ready to celebrate and that they did. JVB was tart, funny and entertaining, and Carol charmed the entire audience to levels under cynicism I'd wager many of us thought were unreachable. I was more than glad to jump to my feet and add my voice to the cheers.

Updated On: 1/21/14 at 02:16 PM
lovebwy
Broadway Star
joined:4/22/12
Thanks to all those who shared their experience of going. I was moved to read them. Reading those is the next best thing to being there.
followspot
Broadway Star
joined:12/27/11

"Tracy... Hold Mama's waffles."
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
Having been a Carol Channing devotee for the better part of 60 years, I was there and yes, both I and my spouse were bawling like babies.

On a lighter note, one of the questions asked was why Legends had never made it to Broadway. Here her answer was simple and direct: "It wasn't a good play," after which she had great things to say about Mary Martin.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Carol, hoping you truly will never go away!

BroadwayEd
lovebwy
Broadway Star
joined:4/22/12
Having seen Linda Evans and Joan Collins in Legends I can attest to what Miss Channing said. As much as Jimmy Kirkwood may have wanted to blame his leading ladies, the play kinda stinks.
Dollypop
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
reading the play LEGENDS is a tough chore...even the "revised" version is terrible.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
dtzumbrunnen
Leading Actor
joined:6/30/08
Deena Jones
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/03
I'm sorry, but why on earth was Justin Vivian Bind co hosting with Carol?! She is so overrated