Wednesday - November 16, 2005
AUTUMN IN NEW YORK ... The Big Apple ... or deli-heaven - where the white fish smokes ...The pastrami is okie-doke ... The corned beef is delish ... And, so is a knish ... The Stage Deli fills your belly ... An egg cream is a dream ... Barney Greengrass (deli) is a gas ... Lox and a bagel plus a shmere is dear ... On arrival at the airport, my wife was blown away when we were greeted by John Walker and his limo. A special surprise from Al Masini, the retired TV exec now a Honolulu citizen. John was Al’s driver in Manhattan for years. He showed us a number of landmarks - Chinatown, Little Italy, Wall St., Greenwich Village, along the East River and ground zero of 9/11 ... Lites, camera, action: Invited by Cindy Balfour (script supervisor on Law & Order) to watch filming at their Chelsea Piers HQs on the New York waterfront. Cindy’s dad, Dr. John Balfour, is a surgeon at Straub. (Operated on me a couple times).
It was a simple office scene with Law star Sam Waterston. He seemed uptight for some reason. Kept flubbing his lines. To get the scene right, a half dozen takes were required ... Sid Bernstein, who presented some of the greatest rockers of his era, also managed dozens of major stars. Semi-retired now, this Hawaii afficianado will always be known as the man who first presented the Beatles to America (at Shea Stadium). We spent a few pleasant hours one sunny afternoon in Central Park while he reminisced about his exciting career. He showed us the Strawberry Fields area in the park (dedicated to John Lennon), right across the street from the Dakota apartment complex where John Lennon lived and was fatally gunned down. Stopping at a small park lake to rest, I was given a seat on a crowded bench by a young lady sitting with three girlfriends munching hot dogs. We all got into a brief conversation. “Do you know who this man is? “I asked pointing to Sid. “He brought The Beatles to America.” They all became very animated, plying Sid with Beatles questions. Then Sid asked the wahines where they were from. “Hawaii,” they exclaimed. “Pointing to me he smiled, “Do you know who this man is?” Recognized, it suddenly became a reunion of old friends. What an unexpected fun time in Central Park with Nancy Dela Cruz (works for Tel Com), Emelie Corpuz (nurse at Kuakini), Cynthia Guray (Kamehameha counselor) and Geraldine Galanto (Kuakini nurse). It was their first trip to N.Y. and loving it. Small world ... There’s no business like show business - in New York: Saw five major Broadway productions in one week. Spamalot, Wicked, Avenue Q, Lion King and The Producers. Average ticket price - $100. And lucky if you can get ‘em ... The Hawaii connection: Peter Lawrence has come a long way since his days attending the UH (‘71-‘72) and being a local drama critic.
Today Peter is a successful stage manager (Spamalot) and will be directing the next three Spam shows - in London, Las Vegas and U.S. tour. Assisting him in the show is Hawaii-born Mahlon Krusie, UH alumnus ... Vignette: When my son was about 10, he often played with pal Kevin McCollom (same age) at the Kahala Hilton beach. Kevin’s mom Sue was a single lady who loved theatre and participated in many local productions - as did Kevin. After she died, Kevin left Hawaii to live with Mainland family members. Fade out, fade in: Today, Kevin McCollum is one of the biggest producers on Broadway. His Rent (Tony for Best Musical in 1996) debuted 10 years ago and is still running. Kevin’s current B’way smash Avenue Q (Tony for Best Musical in 2004) is also a major attraction at the new multizillion-dollar Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. His production of La Boheme also won a Tony. Kevin says, “My mother, Sue, was a big part of my accomplishments. She was ahead of her time and would have been more successful if she had been born in my time. I am an extension of her”
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