Review: THE ALGONQUIN KID Michael Colby Brings Celebrity Musical Theatre 'Round Table' Full Circle!

By: Dec. 14, 2015
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Marina Kamen with The Cast and Creator of "The Algonquin Kid" (L-R) - Robert Creighton, Bill Zeffiro, John C. Introcaso, Natalie Douglas, Martin Vidnovic, Michael Colby, Leah Hocking

The Entertainment Industry became a "who's who" round table musical experience for many of us who watched transfixed to "The Algonquin Kid" written by Michael Colby performed here in NYC.

Michael Colby "The Algonquin Kid"

The Algonquin Kid is based on Michael's experience as child being raised at the opulent and historic landmark building in NYC of The Algonquin Hotel. Located in the heart of NYC, this palatial haven to talent Icons from Ella Fitzgerald to the most unknown up and comers, The Algonquin Hotel's history has housed more talent in NYC than any other structure still in existence. Beautifully woven together by Mr. Colby, The Algonquin Kid -The Musical combines both his personal journey as a child with original material by Mr. Colby in addition to a slew of musical favorites from the American Songbook. This weave helps tell the story of his life growing up in the glory days at this incredible Hotel. The Algonquin Hotel was owned by Mr. Colby's Grandparents, Ben & Mary Bodne from 1946-1987.

Everything comes back around - I first met Michael Colby 35 years ago auditioning for one of his Musicals called "Charlotte Sweet." It was 1980 and I was 21 years old. He generously reminds me that I fought it out till the end. This was directly before I took a right hand turn more into the world of recording studio,TV, Radio Production, Casting, vocalization, VO and Commercial Composition opening Kamen Entertainment Group, Inc. here in NYC together with my husband Roy Kamen. Our Company has received over 140 Entertainment Industry Awards since opening here in NYC in 1987.

Mr. Colby discusses that so many theatrical Broadway and respected performers made money from TV & Radio Commercial opportunities popping up in NYC during the "Mad Men" time period era of the 60s an, 70s and 80s. As a young song & dance Broadway Baby myself in the 70s and 80s studying at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music on the upper west side of Manhattan, I participated in many musical and theatrical opportunities that were held at The Algonquin Hotel. Spending my days with picture and resume in hand as I flowed seamlessly between locations including The Algonquin Hotel and Actor's Equity in the West 40s, Luigi's Jazz Center located in the west 60s and The Ansonia Hotel in the west 70s, I watched "The Algonquin Kid" with my mind swirling in circles as I heard stories of how Mr. Colby described the "round table" meetings of celebrity entertainers that graced both The Iconic Oak Room in addition to those of us that roamed the hallways auditioning and training alongside of theatrical musical celebrities. As Michael voices the memory of Steve Ross at the piano, this also filled my mind of personal memories with my parents as a kid, as I sat watching and singing gently along at my own family round table at The Algonquin Hotel. Blessed to have been able to experience this.

Mr. Colby and I were reunited recently at a musical event Produced by Tony Nominated Educator Corinna Adler Sower's "Music at The Mansion" and her husband Nicholas Adler ( Performance Manager Jazz @Lincoln Center).

My husband Roy Kamen ( Executive Producer of our Company Kamen Entertainment Group, Inc.) and myself attended this particular "Music at the Mansion" performance after accompanying friend and associate Randie Levine Miller. Previously the Producer at The Friar's Club, Ms. Miller is now best known these days for holding Entertainment Industry "Round Table" lunches & dinners at some of NYC's swankiest theatrical hot spots including Sardies located in the heart of the theatre district. Most of us that attend these "round table" meals are filled with years of NYC entertainment stories where many are reunited with people that have appeared somewhere in their entertainment timeline which is what makes these "round table" gatherings so special.

In the script beautifully written, guided and narrated by Mr. Colby The Algonquin Kid himself, he speaks about the circle of life within the entertainment business and how his personal marathon of composition and life experience helped to launch the idea to tell his story of being the "Plaza Hotel-Eloise" counterpart himself of The Algonquin Hotel. The Cast was beautifully supported and Musically Directed by Bill Zeffiro who I first met in the 1970s when I was a teenager as he attended Oberlin College with my brother. This made this "round table full circle" production even more of a thrill for me to take in.

Marina Kamen with Musical Director Bill Zeffiro

Cast members included Broadway Star Robert Creighton (Anything Goes). Mr. Creighton and I have worked within a recording studio environment@ Kamen Entertainment Group, Inc. after I Cast him in a Commercial Production as well as having him appear on one of our Musical Health Talk Broadcasts. Mr. Creighton was in full pro mode as he performed his delicate and experienced vocals with ease. Additional Cast Member and Multiple Mac Award Winner Natalie Douglas tore the house down with her vocalizations of different selections from The American Songbook. Broadway Vets Leah Hocking ( Billy Elliot, Mama Mia) & Martin Vidnovic ( Tony Nominee Brigadoon ) were also both outstanding and took us to musical heights with an experienced grace.

Also in attendance was John C. Introcaso who has collaborated with Mr. Michael Colby on a New Production slated for 2016.

Marina Kamen with John C. Introcaso

Mr. Colby gave thanks to Peter Napolitano who helped to meticulously stage this spectacular Musical Staged Reading of The Algonquin Kid presented by Urban Stages in NYC as part of their Winter Rhythms Production series.

"The Algonquin Kid" by Michael Colby is a fabulous and heartfelt reminder about the circle of life and the humbling journey in the ever weaving "round table" world of the Entertainment Industry. Much respect to Mr. Colby, Cast Members and all that helped to bring this wonderful production to life!

Cast of "The Algonquin Kid" by Michael Colby

Photo Credit: Kamen Entertainment Group, Inc. NYC