Daily News from New York, New York on November 7, 1975 · 64
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Daily News from New York, New York · 64

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, November 7, 1975
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A couple C5 Va ! ti a v : ;VV. f'K C3 Billy Daniels and Pearl Bailey Boll y! 'marks Pearl's swan song By DOUGLAS WATT At the end of the evening-long .love - affair between Pearl Bailey and an enraptured audience last night at the Minskoff, where "Hello, Dolly!" returned for eight weeks, the inimitable Pearlie Mae and her co-star, Billy Daniels, kicked around a few extra songs and then the star announced her retirement, except for an occasional benefit, from the musical stage with this engagement. What a loss, just when I thought that New York had suddenly struck gold and she was the new mayor! When Miss Bailey, a bit more portly than in 1968 but not a whit less ebullient or musical, appears at the head of the stairs leading down into the Harmonia Gardens restaurant and the title song erupts, happiness pervades the theater. And for the next 15 minutes, as the star and the 16 waiters and chefs who dance and sing her attendance go through the whole business not just once but twice, with soma new Pearlie Mae variations, the Minskoff is a joyous place to be. Last night, from the far reaches of the balcony to the very front row, they were standing and applauding the show - stopping centerpiece. And at the finish, working with piano-and-rhythm accompaniment the two stars did "Easy to Love," Daniels did "That Old Black Magic" and then Miss Bailey sang "Manhattan." "Hello, Dolly!" is a musical number surrounded by a show. Everything else leads up to and away from it. This is not a classic musical, but the song has become a kind of classic and of course Gower Champion's staging of the number, along with its preparatory Waiter's Galop is a classic example of musical staging. Not that there's anything wrong with the rest of the show. Besides containing Jerry Herman's most engaging collection of songs, it has a serviceable book by Michael Stewart (derived from Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker"). Also, this production, which has been playing Its way across the country, is an attractive one in all respects. A white-haired Billy Daniels, as slick a performer as ever in the past, is the most suave of . the Horace Vandergelders this "Dolly" watcher has observed. Mary Louise (that's her full name) is a sparkling Irene Molloy with a lovely singing voice. And Terrence Emanuel's Cornelius Hackl and the others in this mixed cast (there are a few white singers and dancers in the company) are all nice to have around. Gower Champion's original staging, so vital to the success of the show's long Broadway history, is here recreated by Lucia Victor, in charge of the book direction, and Jack Craig, who has recreated the dances. The original Oliver , Smith set designs have also been followed. But the show Is mainly an excuse to bring back to us Pearl Bailey, who could probably twist "Medea" around her little finger. Almost any excuse would do, and I must confess that I was half hoping she'd turn the Harmonia Gardens into her personal supper club, as she practically did, and the heck with everything else. Anyway, like the song says, she's back where she belongs, so grab her while you can. of shining hours By KATHLEEN CARROLL THE SUNSHINE BOYS " Rated PG. At Radio City Music Hall Neil Simon's polished comedies, with their sour jokes about the Big Apple and life in general, have long been the recommended cure for whatever ails Broadway. But the Doc's medicine has had almost the opposite effect when his plays have been made Into movies, offering little but a few therapeutic laughs. At least until now. "The Sunshine Boys" is the first Simon play that actually works as a movie. There are several reason for this. Simon's characters, in this instance, seem somehow more human and complete, where so often they were little more than mouthpieces for his clever gags. The one-liners are as brilliantly acerbic as ever, but there is also an underlying poignancy, a warmth of feeling that floods the film and saves it from the brittleness George Burns and- "N alter Matthau as 'The Sunshine Boys': the picture is more human and complete of previous Simon comedies. Best of all, Walter Matthau and George Burns give the performances of their lives. Whatever misgivings one might bar about the movie itself (its plot is so slight it would seem to be more suited for television) are forgotten as one simply enjoys their personal triumphs. Matthau, especially, undergoes a remarkable transformation at the cantankerous Willy Clark, the 73-year-old ex-vaudevillian for whom life is a continuous comedy sketch. With drooping shoulders, thining hair and a face aged almost beyond recognition, Matthau is caus-( cally funny and touchingly stubborn as this born crank who refuses to accept the defeats of old age. As Al Lewis, Willy's long- sworn enemy, Burns removes time comedy partner and his toupee for one scene and discards his favorite cigar and familiar string of tired jokes. Instead, he proves to be a fine, sensitive actor who, for all of his forgetfulness, i full of dignity and heart. Lewis and Clark are brought together by Willy's frantic nephew (Richard Benjamin, who, too, has never been more appealing) in order to recreate one of their famous sketches for a TV variety show. Their old feud is revived, but in the end, they both head for the Actors Home realizing how much they need each other. "The Sunshine Boys" views the afflictions of old age with compassion and understanding and makes these two characters as endearing as they are comical. Anthony Newley stops the world once again with songs and laughter... it's something to shout about, and fall in love with too! AM -YW- J V-., I 1- 3 j' a Reader's Digest film of Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop Anthony Newley 'Mr. Quilp'.David Hemmings David Warner Michael Hordem Paul Rogers Jill Bennett Mona WaahboUTM Sarah Jane Variey.x. Sarah Webb. Peter Duncan -mth tt Louis x Irene Kamp . di. Michael Tuchner u . u k, Anthony Newley - . mi, Gillian Lynne mii, Helen M. Strauss -in color Avco Embassy Pictures Release i md to Elmer Bernstein WORLD PREMIERE TODAY GllfldtZOtA i 1 FOR SPECIAL GROUP ARRANGEMENTS Cfttt (?I2 58l-l?64t, 50th St. - Rockefeller Plaa -2406-7 FOR THE BIG PREMIUM DISCOUNT OFFER TO SEE MR. QUILP, PICK UP A COPY OF THE OECEMBER OR JANUARY ISSUES OF READER'S DIGEST. 11, 1, 3:10. 5:20, 7:30, 9:40

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