Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Broadway veteran Tammy Grimes -- the original Molly Brown -- previewed her new show yesterday at our final Dutch Treat Club luncheon for this season at the National Arts Club. In her four decades of performing, Tammy became the first actress to win Tonys for her work in a musical (The Unsinkable Molly Brown, 1961) and a straight play (Private Lives, 1970). A member of the Theatre Hall of Fame (and the Dutch Treat Club!), her new show opens at The Metropolitan Room June 22.
She started off with “Melancholy Baby,” the song she sang to audition for Molly Brown, which she also sang for President Lyndon Johnson at the White House because it was his favorite. She followed with “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby” and “The Rose.” Fellow DTC-er and jazz pianist Jon Weber accompanied her.
At 76 her deep, gravely voice isn't’ as strong as it used to be, but as my friend and cabaret critic Gerardo Ramirez-Miller said, “She still knows how to put over a song.”
And for me, she will always be Molly as I continue to listen to the original cast recording, the cover of which is now yellow with age. “I Aint Down Yet” has been one of my favorites since I was a child. Those lyrics were a fighting song for me and I really took them to heart: “I'm goan' to learn to read and write,/ I'm goan' to see what there is to see,/ So if you go from nowhere/ On the road to somewhere/ And you meet anyone/ You know it's me.”
It was a good DTC year and I look forward to staying in touch with member friends as we shift our base to Sardi’s for the summer. We don’t have the entertainment there, but our members -- and Sardi’s -- are entertainment enough!