PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Scandalous; Saint Carolee

By Harry Haun
16 Nov 2012

George Hearn
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Director Armstrong boarded the show when it played Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theatre where he's artistic director and rode it to Broadway. "I would love to come back," he admitted. "We're making plans to do that, as we speak. A couple of things that we're developing out in Seattle , I think, will make their way here if all goes well."

He found Gifford a delight to work with. "I've spent many hours with Kathie, and the amazing thing is, what you see is exactly who she is every moment of the day. In my living room, in her living room, in the basement of the theatre — that's who she is."

The two music-making Davids — Friedman and Pomeranz — are both on Broadway for the first time in a composing capacity. Friedman authored the AIDS anthem, "Help Is On the Way" ("I always say, 'Writing comes to me, not from me,' so if you think I think 'Help Is On the Way,' you're out of your mind."); he has also conducted on Broadway on numerous occasions. Both have composed for Off-Broadway before, and for their debut they each contributed about nine songs apiece. "We both wrote different parts of the score," Pomeranz explained, "and Kathie Lee wrote the lyrics, all the lyrics. She even wrote one song — lyrics and music — all by herself: 'That Sweet Lassie From Cork.' It's the dance number that is done on the ship."

Lyricist David Zippel was a mite miffed to be the only David around not involved in the show, but he has written with Pomeranz before and for Gifford. "Right now, I'm working with The Lord," he said, meaning Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. "We're giving another look to The Woman in White to see if it will work as a chamber piece."

Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire were on the opening-night guest-list, having composed songs for a Mother's Day show for Gifford once. Right now, they're readying a one-night-only performance of their hit Off-Broadway musical revue, Starting Here, Starting Now, Dec. 2 at The York Theatre at Saint Peter's. It will star the original stars — Loni Ackerman, Margery Cohen and George Lee Andrews — and, added Maltby with a certain assurance, "this won't be happening again!"

Regis Philbin, along with wife Joy, joined Gifford's NBC co-host Hoda Kotb and other cohorts like Barbara Walters, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist and Sara Haines.

Also in attendance: Liza Minnelli; Our Boy from Birdland, Jim Caruso; Dead Accounts author Theresa Rebeck; the sublimely caustic comedienne Jackie Hoffman (revving up to reprise her "Jewbilant" holiday treat, A Chanukah Carol, Fridays and Saturdays in December at New World Stages, starting Dec. 8); Kris Jenner, the glamorous matriarch of the Kardashian kids; Eve Plumb; producer-actor Tom Hulce; Tony winner Lillias White, and a frankly relieved Frank Gifford.