Daily News from New York, New York on October 23, 1980 · 608
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Daily News from New York, New York · 608

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Thursday, October 23, 1980
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6 By BRUCE SMITH Bronze was unveiled at Town Hall Monday evening, in the form of a plaque designating the 59-year-old auditorium in the theater district as a national historic landmark. It will require silver and gold, however, in the form of some $800,000 in private donations, to restore the 1,500-seat theater to its former glory. The placement of Town Hall on the National Register of Historic Places last spring, and its earlier designation by the City Landmarks Preservation Commission two years ago, safeguard the building on W. 43d St between Sixth and Seventh Aves. against demolition or any significant alteration of its interior or exterior f eatures.The ravages of time, compounded by the wear and tear over the years, provide a different kind of challenge one in which good intentions will be less effective than cold cash. " ' ACCORDING TO Marvin Leffler, president of the Town Hall Foundation, $1.2 million will have to be raised to restore the aging hall's seats, carpeting, draperies, lighting and sound systems, and backstage facilities and mechanisms. The Friends of Town Hall, a fund-raising group, has begun a campaign to raise two-thirds of the sum through donations from private citizens, corpora--tions and foundations. If they are successful, the National Endowment for the Arts will provide the balance of $400,000 for the physical improvements. Another $1 million, Leffler said, will then be needed "to invest in the kind of programming that will make it the first-class concert hall that it should be." A series of cocktail parties and benefits is planned over the next few months, and a 60th anniversary gala is envisioned for sometime next year, he said. - Lawrence Zucker, administrative director of Town Hall, said a number of pledges were made during Monday's one-hour ceremony. Donations of between $1,000 and $2,500 will result in the donor's name inscribed on a plaque and attached to one of the seats in the hall. Similar plaques will be mounted in the boxes for donations between $20,000 and $30,000. TOWN HALL was put up in 1921 by members , of the League for Political Action, who wanted to "create a place for the exchange of political and social viewpoints. Speeches and debates by Wood-row' Wilson, Winston Churchill, Wendell Willkie, Margaret Sanger, Eleanor Roosevelt, Will Rogers, Amy Lowell, and others more than fulfilled the founders' hopes. The hall, designed by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, is something of a marvel of acoustics. That was quickly seized upon by musicians and Town Hall has throughout its history been a major concert venue. Lately, musical programs have been varied and irregular, but they have served the important purpose of keeping the hall in operation while plans for its resurrection were mapped. "It's more important that we do it than that we do it by a certain date," Leffler said of the refurbishment "Town Hall has been saved that's the important thing." 4'"' 'JVC" Town Hall as it looked on opening night in 1921 There's more than one pony in Simon's stable By GAIL S. TAGASHIRA KnlsM-Rlddar Ntwtpapcrt 'AN FRANCISCO Switching from songs and music to scripts and movies took Paul Simon almost five years, but he thinks it was worth the time. He couldn't be more pleased with his movie, "One-Trick Pony," which opened in New York at the beginning ,of the month. Film critics were considerably less than pleased with it Kathleen Carroll of the Daily News described it as a "vanity production," and found it to be "one of those movies which plays better as an album than it does on the screen." The film, its soundtrack and Simon's return to the concert stage culminate a project that began in the fall of 1975, shortly after the release of his album, "Still Crazy After All These Years." "I ACTUALLY WANTED to write a musical after the 'Still Crazy' album and looked around for a collaborator, but I never found one, so I started jotting down ideas," Simon said. "Roughly, I began to write about the times I'd been through the '60s." "One-Trick Pony" is not autobiographical, he emphasized, but its central character, Jonah Levin, is a rock musician whose career flourished in the '60s. The notion of romance and marriage from that period, as seen through Simon's fictional rock n roller, include the strain a family goes through when its members pursue musical "It's not about me, although it has elements of my life," Simon said. "It's not factually autobiographical. But naturally, the script I wrote involves characters and events that are relatively close: What it's like to be a musician; to be playing rock 'n rolL reaching a Paul Simon: yearning to write certain age; the strains on a marriage. Sometimes I let the music tell the story in the script Instead of dialogue, I used the lyrics in songs to express the emotions, thoughts and opinions of the That's the main reason for releasing the soundtrack long before the movie, he said. If audiences had a chance to become familiar with words in the songs, it might be easier to digest the whole storyline of "One-Trick Pony." Simon, who was in the Bay Area during a recent concert tour, talked freely about the movie, amusingly about music and cautiously about his future plans. - ... He hesitates to say he "stars" in "One-Trick-Pony," preferring the term "featured player" instead. "My five-year hiatus was really not a hiatus, it was time spent trying to learn how to write a. screenplay," he said. "The album soundtrack was finished 18 months ago and it was a frustrating wait It took me about a year just to get the script into shape. But once I ac quired the skills of. writing it, I really enjoyed myself." SIMON HAD NO TROUBLE finding a studio interested in his film, despite the dismal screenplay efforts of both Bob Dylan ("Renaldo and Clara") and Neil Young ("Journey Through the Past"). He chose Warner Brothers not because he records for the same corporation, but because of the offer. While the script was getting whipped into shape, Simon wrote the songs. Then "One-Trick Pony" spent a year in the pre-production corral and another in filming. "At first, it was difficult to discipline myself to write 10 or 12 songs to fit a storyline. Before, I'd always wrote whatever songs came to my mind, thinking in terms of three and four minytes in length," he said. "Now I had to specifically serve the function of the movie." About six songs initially written for the movie didn't quite fit in. But there were other musically memorable moments. The original Lovin' Spoonful reunited to sing "Do You Believe In Magic?" and Sam and Dave do their version of "Soul Man" in a concert to salute the '60s. "Compared to (Mike Nichols") 'The Graduate,' the lyrics aren't used in the same way," he said. "First of all, there were far fewer songs in 'The Graduate' and second, they weren't used to express a character's thoughts, opinions or emotions. Songs like 'Mrs. Robinson' and 'Sounds of Silence' were used as a comment from the directors, or the screenwriter's. They weren't always the thoughts of Benjamin Braddock, Dus-tin Hoffman's character. But in "One- Trick Pony,' all the songs are used that way." In the movie, Simon plays electric guitar, and that has carried over to his concerts. "I used to play electric guitar many years ago, back when I was a kid, until I became a folkie," he said. "The Jonah Levin character changed me ground because he's just a straight rock 'n' roller. The more I played electric, the more I began to feel comfortable with it." THE NUCLEUS of the band now touring with Simon appears as his band in the movie. There's Richard Tee on piano, Eric Gale on guitar, Steve Gadd on drums and Tony Levin on bass. Simon deliberately borrowed Levin's last name for his character. Tintypes. New musical, opening night. Golden, 6:45 p.m. Period of Adjustment. Play revived, opening night. Colonnades, 7 p.m. Tha Connection. Play revived, opening night. Harry DeJur Playhouse, 750 p.m. Fred Waring. Farewell benefit concert. Carnegie Hall, 8 p.m. New York Philharmonic. Avery Fisher Hall, 8 p.m. City Opera. "Merry Wives of Windsor." State Theater, 8 p.m. j i ' - - J S j a --, h -

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