STEVE & EYDIE's Legacy Is Celebrated at Carnegie Hall

A press prelude to the March 18 concert with Debbie Gravitte and Steve and Eydie's son David Lawrence

By: Feb. 23, 2024
STEVE & EYDIE's Legacy Is Celebrated at Carnegie Hall
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Upstairs in the Carnegie Hall building at 12 pm, it was Valentine’s Day with some decorations on the refreshments table indicating the date, but it was Steve & Eydie Day, too.  A generous financial endowment has been made to the venue by the foundation named after the entertainers Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, whose performing career included a run of eight nights at Carnegie in the 1980s.  This year, March 18th will bring a special concert to the building, recreating the repertoire of the pair, married in the final week of 1957, singing stars who were each other’s valentines. Their appropriately titled separate solo albums, released a few months after their wedding were All About Love (his) and Eydie in Love (hers). (She recorded “My Funny Valentine” the next year on an LP while one of his included “So in Love” and so on….)  There was much more to come, of course: Broadway, TV appearances, touring, Emmy and Grammy Awards.  The concert tribute that’s had bookings in the past  – with David Lawrence following in his dad’s footsteps and DNA, perfectly partnered with vivacious Debbie Gravitte channeling and championing Eydie– is something to look forward to, so mark your calendars.  Carnegie’s in-house “cousin” stage, Zankel Hall, will host them and a big orchestra playing the original arrangements. The dynamic D&D duo of David and Debbie appeared in the roles of Steve and Eydie almost 25 years ago in the movie Isn’t She Great starring Bette Midler as writer Jacqueline Susann.  

STEVE & EYDIE's Legacy Is Celebrated at Carnegie Hall
Photo credit: Genevieve Rafter-Keddy

Friends, fans, photographers, and family gathered for the event that included anecdotes and perspectives and official presentation of the Foundation check that will support young artists delving into the Great American Songbook that Steve and Eydie embraced throughout their careers, including TV specials devoted to the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, and Cole Porter.  Souvenirs of their legacy recently came to our television screens with the footage of their performances and interviews in a special shown on public television specials. 

It was great to hear David Lawrence’s thoughts on screen, sharing Memories of My Mom and Dad, and even more touching to get more of them in person at the event from this classy gentleman who is also a songwriter.  He spoke of a childhood memory:  seeing his parents perform at Carnegie Hall, sitting among their applauding devotees, being drawn into the admiration society and starting to think of himself as “their greatest fan,” wanting their autographs, forgetting for a moment that he was their kid. Also speaking fondly of Steve and Eydie – their professionalism, personal generosity of spirit, kindness, humor, and a relaxed backstage atmosphere for their concerts – were Carnegie Hall's Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillonson and Gino Francesconi, Founding Archivist and former Backstage Attendant. One tidbit that stood out in the remarks was that one night, something from the stage ceiling noticeably crumbled to the stage floor and Steve Lawrence had quipped that their performance “really brought the house down.”  Another memorable moment came when it was mentioned in passing that Steve and Eydie had chosen to name their sons David and Michael because Carnegie Hall’s great champion, violinist Isaaac Stern, had chosen those names for his sons.  Hearing this, David Lawrence blurted out, “I never knew that!”  (You learn something new every day; both Stern sons became conductors, by the way.)

To borrow the the title of the theme song of Bob Hope, a guest on a Steve and Eydie TV special “Thanks for the Memory.” <3

A Toast to Steve & Eydie is directed by Lonny Price and Matt Cowart, with musical direction by Tedd Firth, written by Robert L. Freedman and Faye Greenberg, who is also a songwriter, producer, and David Lawrence’s wife. For tickets, ranging from $59 - $129, visit carnegieHall.org, call CarnegieCharge 212-247-7800 or visit the Carnegie Hall Box Office (at West 57th Street and Seventh Ave).

For the cornucopia of BroadwayWorld’s color photos of the afternoon event, taken by Genevieve Rafter-Keddy, click here.




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