Cheese, Egg and Poultry: A few memories of Ann Miller by Glen Roven
When I was 19 I was the Musical Director of Sugar Babies on Broadway for the entire run. This was a pretty heavy job for a kid and when I asked Mickey Rooney if he minded that I was so young, he looked me straight in the eye (we were the same height) and said, "Kid, when I was 16 I was the biggest box office star in the world!"
During the difficult out of town try-outs the choreographer and producer were at odds with Mickey's co-star, Ann Miller, and they were also constantly trying to fire me, so Annie and I had an immediate bond: misery. Plus, she liked my conducting because I always followed her, no matter what she did. So every night after the show we would have a dinner of commiseration.
Babies made it into
We would wait for the fans to leave and then Annie and I would hop into her waiting limo and head to a restaurant. Sometimes Ethel Merman came with us, sometimes Patti LuPone (she was Evita next door,) but every restaurant gladly stayed open for Annie because she was the toast of the town.
These were the days before VCRs and way before DVDs so the only way to see an old movie was to wait for it to appear on TV at 4 AM. But that wasn't good enough for Ann. She kept renting the original prints and projectors and screening all the classic MGM movies for me in her hotel suite. She claimed, "they're for your education, Glen," but I know she wanted to see them. And why not? She was amazing and gorgeous and hysterically funny.
the famous ones of course, but I urge anyone who wants to pay tribute to this
great lady to go out and rent Reverly for
Mickey was out for a show and the understudy was on. The show was dying. Ann came running to me before the show and said, "Glen, it's awful. We have cheese all over our face." "Annie, it's egg." She said, "Cheese, egg, it's all poultry."
One day she came back from getting fitted for a new dress for the Tony's by Halston. Breathlessly, she said, "Glen, the dress is gorgeous. And you know what? Halston's name is spelled the same backwards as it is forward." I paused and said, "No, it's not." "Yes, it is." "No, it's not," I said more forcibly. "Yes it is Wait a minute. It's not. Why'd he tell me that?!"
summer the show was in
You gotta love her.