Monday, 29 April 2013

It's not where you start - it's where you finish

As the inimitable Barbara Cook sings so well in the song “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish” (interestingly the last song written by Dorothy Fields the famed American librettist and lyricist) I take comfort from the words as I post my first musings from the terrace. I was fortunate a few years ago to see the now 86 year old – and still going strong – Barbara Cook, doing a Masterclass of up-and-coming singers right here in Melbourne. She brought all her talent, wisdom and compassion to the session. It was extraordinary to see and hear the changes that she was able to make to the up-and-comers choice of song, their diction and most importantly helping each to find the ‘essence’ of the song. It was one of the most memorable theatre experiences I have had. There were many tears shed that day – and many from the audience. And then to see her live in concert. Uplifting!
barbara cook
Barbara Cook (from her official website - by Mike Martin London)

There must be something about these remarkable ‘oldies’ as I have just seen Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones in the charming live production of ‘Driving Miss Daisy‘. What a joy it was to see two truly professional actors wrap us in the palm of their hands for 90 consecutive minutes. Now that’s never an easy thing to do but when you are 87 and 82 it’s pretty amazing! And when you do 8 performances in a week (no Sundays) it is even more extraordinary. They were just wonderful on stage together – I guess that’s what happens when two people respect and admire each others talent. Of course we knew Angela from the television series Murder, She Wrote but that is just the tip of the iceberg of her acting life. She has been nominated on three occasions for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress amongst other numerous industry awards. And then of course we knew James from so many movies and his voice as Darth Vader in Star Wars. And what a voice. In 2011 he won an Honorary Academy Award.
lansbury and jones
Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones (The Age)
I love that there seems to be a resurgence of ‘oldies’ talent in so many areas of showbiz. How lucky we are that these two fine actors have come ‘Downunder’ to play to an audience who for the most part looked as though ‘play-going’ was not their usual entertainment. What an introduction to the theatre! 

So as I begin this new blog I thank Barbara, Angela and James for reminding me that even as a ‘youngster’ ‘It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish‘. Until next time……

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