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Actor Tom Bosley’s Wedding in New Haven while at the Shubert!

June 16th, 2015 by admin

In celebration of our 100th Anniversary this season, we are sharing stories from Edith Goodmaster. Edith worked at the Shubert for 25 years, as the private secretary of Maurice Bailey. Mr. Bailey operated the theatre during its Golden Era, and is credited with coining the phrase “Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits”. Edith_NEW2

As you can imagine, Edith has wonderful memories that she has been generous to share with us.

Please enjoy this series of stories, excerpted from a presentation Edith gave at the Annual Meeting of the Jewish Historical Society of New Haven.





In 1959, we had the premiere of FIORELLO starring Tom Bosley who, in case you don’t know, is also Jewish, and may be best known as the father on the hit television show Happy Days. Some years later Dick Rodgers wrote and produced a show called NO STRINGS. It seems that Tom Bosley was engaged to marry a young lady in the chorus of this show and the press agent thought it 20101019_tom-bosley_33would be a great idea to have the man who portrayed Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia married by the mayor of New Haven, Richard C. Lee.

Tom Bosley image 1Unfortunately, Dick Lee did not have marrying powers but Attorney Herman Levy, who represented the motion picture association, was a Justice of the Peace, agreed to perform the ceremony, and Dick Lee agreed to have it take place in his office. The details for a reception, refreshments, etc. fell to Dick’s secretary and me so I had the honor of arranging for Tom Bosley’s wedding and was, of course, one of the few non-cast members in attendance.




New Haven Register archives: JOHNNY CASH COMES FULL CIRCLE: Yale Whiffenpoofs flock to singer’s side for Toad’s show

June 8th, 2015 by admin

As the Shubert gets ready to rock out this week with Million Dollar Quartet (June 11-14)  — a show inspired by the famed 1956 recording session with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash & Carl Perkins, we thought we’d share this great article by columnist Fran Fried from an interview he did with Johnny Cash


New Haven Register archives: JOHNNY CASH COMES FULL CIRCLE: Yale Whiffenpoofs flock to singer’s side for Toad’s show

Johnny Cash played two sold-out shows at Toad’s Place on York Street in July of 1990.

(This story ran on Page 15, in the Living section, of the New Haven Register Tuesday, Nov. 3, 1992. It was the preview to a scheduled show that Thursday at Toad’s Place in New Haven by Johnny Cash. He was to have performed a couple of songs with Yale’s famed Whiffenpoofs, whose longtime home, the supper club Mory’s, stands next to Toad’s. Unfortunately, the shows were canceled, but I did get to see him that Saturday, sans Whiffs, at the Garde Arts Center in New London.johnny Cash

This tour came at the low point of his recording career. His late-’80s albums for Mercury went nowhere and he seemed to have fizzled out, and was trying to figure his next move. A year and a half later, he shocked us with the stark simplicity of the first of his Rick Rubin albums, which re-established him for good and sustained him the rest of his life.

Johnny called me one morning a few days before, just before he left for the funeral of his longtime agent, who died the same day as Johnny’s good buddy Roger Miller. I did apologize right off and tell him I felt badly that he called me at such a trying time. His response, in that voice: “Well, you got me.” I was eternally grateful that he took time to talk to a stranger, especially given the circumstances.)

By Fran Fried, Register Entertainment Editor

This is the type of trivia question that starts bar arguments: What was the first song Johnny Cash ever sang in public?

“Hey Porter”? “I Walk the Line”? Some Hank Williams number? A hymn? Don’t knock yourself out. You will never guess; I guarantee it. So let the man tell you himself:

“The first song I ever sang in public, in front of a large audience, was at commencement exercises at my high school when I was in 11th grade. It was ‘The Whiffenpoof Song,’“ he said last week.

Of all the songs.

Thus, Cash, on his return visit to Toad’s Thursday night — he played there in July 1990 — will open his new tour by singing at least that song on stage with another American musical institution — Yale’s Whiffenpoofs.

They’ll sing “The Whiffenpoof Song” and Cash’s timeless “Ring of Fire” at the second show, scheduled to start at 10:30. Whether they perform more depends on how quickly Cash can make it up to New Haven from Nashville after Wednesday’s memorial service for old friend Roger Miller.


Cash said Country Music magazine editor Russ Bernard, a Yale alumnus, was the one who lined up this seemingly unlikeliest of musical pairings.

“He called me up and said ‘You’re playing Toad’s, at Yale. Mory’s … (is next door),’ “ Cash said from Los Angeles, where he was preparing for the funeral of his agent, Marty Klein. “I said ‘You mean as in “From the tables at Mory’s to the place where Louie dwells?”‘

“He sent me a brochure on (the Whiffenpoofs). They began in 1909 and sang at some of the greatest occasions in history. I realized what a class act they are. To sing with them would be the ultimate kick for me.”

One of the Whiffs, Jody Gold, said the feeling is mutual.

“It’s incredible,” he said. “It’s really funny in a way. I don’t think I know too many people who listen to his music, but he’s a legend. Combining our kind of music with his is incredible.”

Whiffenpoofs aside, this is a period of returning to roots for Cash. He’s about to re-enter the recording studio, and save for a duet with wife June Carter Cash on Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life,” he plans to turn the clock back musically to 1955 – to the pre-country rockabilly days with the Tennessee Two, when he recorded for Sam Phillips at Sun Records.

This is a man whose multi-million-selling albums pre-date the much-hyped Garth Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus by over two decades; in 1969 — at the heyday of the smash hit “A Boy Named Sue” and the “Live at San Quentin” album, Variety magazine estimated he was bringing in a quarter of the revenues at Columbia Records, the world’s largest label.

Yet Cash isn’t sure where he belongs in the scheme of present-day country music, with much of it sounding like adult top 40 with pedal steel. But he said he does like the idea of this latest country resurgence.

“I don’t know where I fit in,” he said. “But I’m gonna do the things I always have. I’m not gonna sound like anybody else.”

As if anyone will mistake one of the most recognizable voices in the English-speaking world for anyone else.

Back when he started this 37-year circle, Cash had a decidedly narrower view of fame: “Back then, my idea of stardom was to get to sing on the radio. I never thought past the range of the broadcasting stations in Memphis. Then one day I was turning the knob on my radio and heard my record (his first, “Hey Porter”/”Cry Cry Cry”) on a station in Shreveport, La. I couldn’t believe it.”

He’s a much smarter man than the first time around, having survived the pratfalls of drinking and drugs, finding the Lord, and becoming a beloved public figure.

And if the circle needed to close any tighter, the deaths of Miller and Klein, both on Oct. 25, have made Cash, who turned 60 Feb. 26, reflect a little more deeply about his own mortality.

“I get up every morning thinking just for today, because (life’s) so fleeting,” he said. “Everyone knew Roger’s time was coming (he had throat cancer), but my agent died suddenly of a massive heart attack. He was only 51 years old. It gave me reason for deep thought.”


Tickets for Million Dollar Quartet (June 11-14) may be purchased via or by contacting the Box Office at 203.562.5666.


“Fans Wild Over Elvis In Show At Coliseum” by Dick Conrad, New Haven Courier-Journal July 17, 1975

June 4th, 2015 by admin

Our upcoming show Million Dollar Quartet is inspired by the famed 1956 Memphis recording session that brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time.   In honor of Elvis, we share with you this concert review from his 1975 performance at the New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Elvis in new haven 1975


“Elvis: I Love You,” said the sign hanging from the railing in back of the stage at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum Wednesday night.


The signature of Debbie Persano, and the appropriate XOX, were at the bottom of the love note, but it became obvious later that many of the 10,000 plus in attendance would have been glad to add their names.


Gurgling in to the microphone, swaying like the Elvis of old and singing at least as well, Presley more than satisfied the faithful who paid $10, $7.50 and $5 to get in.

The crowd was a mixture of “teens and persons in the 20 to 35 age range. Everyone brought a camera.


Presley came on only after the audience endured a mel singing group and a comedian and enjoyed “Sweet Inspiration,” a female group.


The master of ceremonies patiently asked everyone to take his or her seat, and then, to the strains of the famous opening of the movie “Space Odyssey,” Elvis charged onto the stage.


So much for staying in the seats. The flash bulbs popped and thousands screamed. About a hundred charged the stage as Elvis went into “See See Rider.”


For many of the others who risked their ribs, there was a good supply of spare articles of clothing, which Presley distributed after a cursory wrap around the neck.


He accepted several bouquets of roses, but rejected a bottle of champagne.

“Amen” came next, and then some assorted gurgling that sent shock waves through the crowd.


“Play rock and roll” and “I love you , Elvis” came from everywhere in the house. But next was the popular “If You Love Me Let Me Know” before a lot of the old favorites.


Presley finally asked the throngs to sit down, just before a few persons almost managed to get on the stage.


The show was a success. Police reported little trouble despite the frenzy inside.

Courtesy of Scott


To purchase tickets for Million Dollar Quartet June 11th – 14th

visit or call the Shubert Box Office at 203.562.5666


Three times the charm! – A Shubert Summer Theater & Arts Camper says his experience just keeps getting better each year!

April 27th, 2015 by admin

There are many things that I consider fun and memorable about the Shubert Co-Op camp. There are many great things I can say, but there is not enough time or space.  My first summer at the Shubert Co-Op Camp was fantastic!  I was always made to feel very welcome. Faculty and my fellow campers were always very positive and encouraged me to pursue various roles and characters. I made many friends. The teachers were very supportive. The teachers were very funny and clever and never Aladdin 1boring. I enjoyed the early morning exercises and fun gimmicks that woke me up. I remember very vividly a teacher’s assistant named David that led student activities. I really liked him. He was funny and smart and full of life and humor.

I was much more comfortable my second year at the camp and I loved how a lot of people from the year before came back.  This included teachers, assistants, and campers. I always felt that the camp went out of its way to make sure that no student felt unhappy or unwelcome. In some ways the camp was like one big family and everybody was adopted into it. I enjoyed each brief period after lunch time when the camp would split into groups and do different activities. These would be activities such as dodgeball or watching a movie. This provided campers the opportunity to make friends among the other campers and meet new people.

pb&jI enjoyed the field trips and the independence of attending camp in the city of New Haven. I never felt that I was treated like a baby. I like feeling like a big kid. I really look forward to returning this summer for another fun and action packed experience!

                         Matthew L.


100th Gala “Confessions” from a member of Rex Smith’s Fan Club

April 20th, 2015 by admin

Please enjoy this wonderful recollection from the Shubert 100th Gala, held on Saturday, March 21st, by one of the members of Rex Smith’s Fan Club.  Rex was one of our Honorees that evening, along with Betty Buckley and Barbara Cook. Lucille traveled from New York to see her favorite performer…enjoy her story…71xolE4I-rL__SL290_


The Gala was wonderful, all the men were in tuxes and ladies were in gowns … Rex and Brandon(Rex’s son) were in tuxes – Tracy (Rex’s wife) and Lailina (Rex’s daughter-in-law) were in floor length gowns. Rex looked terrific in his tux – and I believe there is nothing as sexy as a man in a tux. Brandon had on tails – Lailina told me the tux Brandon had on was the one Rex wore in Sunset Blvd. When Brandon tried it on it fit him perfectly – not an inch of tailoring was needed.

Rex was his animated, happy, normal self – working the room (as I say). The dinner was on the Shubert stage – very nicely done – food was good and there were tons of wait staff to take care of everything from drinks to wine to dinner to coffee and dessert. When the time came for the awards, Betty Buckley told some funny stories of what took place on the Shubert stage in shows she performed in – it was great to hear how back in the day she did her own stage make up which actually turned out to be a fiasco … after that the Shubert’s hired a professional makeup artist ….you had to be there to get the full joke. There was a video on a large screen from other stars that performed at the theatre wishing the Shubert another 100 years … Barbara Cook was not able to attend due to illness. Then it was Rex’s turn …Rex talked about the shows he did at the Shubert Theatre and talked a little about his “Confessions” show and he told me later he wants to bring “Confessions” to New Haven, CT and perform it at Shubert Theatre. I thought hmm, maybe the gang can campaign to make that happen – more to be continued on that one….

Rex with fellow Honoree Tony Award winner Betty Buckley

Rex with fellow Honoree Tony Award winner Betty Buckley

Rex sang “This Is The Moment” (from the musical Jekyl & Hyde) as some of his videos from Confessions were being shown on the big over head screen behind him. He sang great with such enthusiasm and his BIG voice – he was perfect. A guy sitting at my table said “I didn’t know how well Rex Smith could sing” : I said “OH THE MAN CAN SING ALRIGHT!” Rex actually got a standing ovation ( by me of course) and another guy at my table – along with some others in the room, but the applause went on for what seemed a very long time – after Rex sang the MC concluded the evening and thanked everyone for coming andhoped everyone enjoyed the evening. Then there was no way for me to get to Rex he was mobbed (politely) with tons of people wanting to talk to him and take pictures with him. Rex was such a gentleman – he spoke to everyone, signed autographs, and continued to take pictures for a long time. Music was playing and people started to dance. Then the crowd started to dwindle out and I saw Rex and Brandon leave the stage and run up the aisle and looked like they were leaving and said they would be right back . That’s when I was able to talk to Lailina and next thing I saw, about 20 minutes later in the back of the Stage, was Rex at the bar talking to more people who had formed a new long line to talk to him and take more pictures with him – that was basically when I waited to talk to him and said good night and he thanked me for coming and to “Keep Showing up” – I said “OK my friend, No Problem”.

Lucille G.

Member of Rex Smith Fan Club

A cute little story about meeting Danny Kaye at the Shubert

April 7th, 2015 by admin

As we celebrate our 100th Anniversary this season, we are sharing stories from Edith Goodmaster. Edith worked at the Shubert for 25 years, as the private secretary of Maurice Bailey. Mr. Bailey operated the theatre during its Golden Era, and is credited with coining the phrase “Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits”.Edith_NEW2

As you can imagine, Edith has wonderful memories that she has been generous to share with us.

Please enjoy this series of stories, excerpted from a presentation Edith gave at the Annual Meeting of the Jewish Historical Society of New Haven.


There was another nice Jewish boy – David Daniel Kaminsky, better known as Danny Kaye, who was playing the part of Noah in TWO BY TWO. My husband and I were sitting behind him during a rehearsal and kibitzing with him. He got a kick out of discovering that they not only shared the exact same birthday but both had fathers who were tailors. I had been trying for a couple of days to get him to sign his autograph. Someone had just handed him a cup of coffee as I held out the pen. He took it and used it to stir the coffee. I said ‘hey that was a good pen.” He wiped it off, said “it still is” and signed.


Sharing Lyrics With Sammy Cahn

March 19th, 2015 by admin

As we celebrate our 100th Anniversary, we are sharing stories from Edith Goodmaster. Edith worked at the Shubert for 25 years, as the private secretary of Maurice Bailey. Mr. Bailey operated the theatre during its Golden Era, and is credited with coining the phrase “Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits”. Edith_NEW2

As you can imagine, Edith has wonderful memories that she has been generous to share with us.

Please enjoy this series of stories, excerpted from a presentation Edith gave at the Annual Meeting of the Jewish Historical Society of New Haven.


Sammy Cahn, one of the most prolific lyricists in the history of stage and screen was one of the last shows we had at the Shubert. While not well attended, it was a delight and consisted of a presentation of his vast inventory of songs including such memorable creations as BEI MIR BIST DU SHOEN, I’LL WALK ALONE., LET IT SNOW, I BELIEVE, 3 COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN, THE SECOND TIME AROUND, CALL ME IRRESPONSIBLE and on and on.   Sammy spoke often and lovingly of his mother Elke and Mr. Bailey asked him if he would be willing to entertain the residents of the Jewish Home For The Aged. He immediately agreed and when Mr. Bailey expressed concern about getting him there, I quickly volunteered. We made the necessary arrangements, I picked up Sammy, his pianist, and the other two singers and off we went. It was a smash performance and the following day I left a thank-you note, written in verse, at the theatre. I immediately received a response, also written in verse, both of which I have and cherish. I would like to share them with you:


Dear Mr. Cahn:


I really must speak,

This has been an unbelievable week.

You’re presenting a show that is sheer delight,

I wish I could see it every night.


Martha and Sydnee, their beauty is rare,

With voices to match, a remarkable pair


Paul Eichel is handsome, no question or doubt,

When he opens his mouth – the sounds that come out!

When he hit those high notes, he made the lights jingle,

As for me, I’m still all a-tingle.


Richard Leonard is not only charming,

What he does to a piano is simply alarming.

He plays with such style, such flair, and such ease,

And as you say, he plays in all keys.


Now as for you, you incredible man,

You have acquired a life-long fan.

You’re brilliant, witty, successful, and yet,

The nicest person I’ve ever met.

If “Elka” was watching, she must be proud

At the way you handled that alte crowd.

The songs you have written will ever be young,

And in years to come, will always be sung.

For beautiful words can never grow old

But in each generation wil be retold.

So I say for myself and my husband too,

We’re “irresponsibly mad for you.”


In return, I received from Mr. Cahn:


My Dear Edie,


Merely to indicate what it meant to me

To receive the lovely rhymes you sent to me

You turned your phrases ever so nicely

And all the rhymes were “pure” and metered precisely

The cast adored your flattering criticism

And always applied with charm and witticism

Your thoughts and rhymes for me from wherever ferret-ed

Were I have the hutzpah to say totally merited

And the surprise that surprised all of New Haven

Is that it has such a great rhyming “maven”

And if I come on charming, loving and sweet a lot

It’s because I reflect people like you that I meet a lot

And you can interpret it any way that you wish

But “Elka” taught me young to respect age and all things Jewish

Tho the empty seats are a memory sweetly-bitter

Relay my regrets and thanks to the Shubert Theatre

I depart these precincts humbled but gayley

With apologies to Witken and also to Bailey

The cast and I hope we left a lyrical sound

And hope we’ll get them, “The Second Time Around!”


The Shubert, The Stagehands and Me!

February 26th, 2015 by admin

So…10 years ago, in 2005, when I was just a wee lass…

I walked onto the stage of the Shubert Theatre. I was a member of The Nebraska Theater Caravan’s A Christmas Carol.   I was the second Electrician and Follow Spot Operator, a year out of college and touring the states for the first time. Though not originally from New Haven, I had visited friends who worked at Long Wharf and Yale Repertory in previous years and learned about the Shubert Theater – its legendary shows and artists. Then the realization hit me: I was walking into one of my first Theatrical Union operated houses – The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, specifically Local 74, which has been associated with the Shubert Theatre since it’s inception in 1914.   At the end of my 3-day visit, I was lucky enough to be able to sign the basement halls of the Shubert, where many touring companies have signed their names before me. I traveled on home to Iowa, but quickly found myself back in New Haven working for Regional Theaters around Connecticut and found some familiar faces along my journey, those of the Members of Local 74.

Fast forward to 2015, when A Broken Umbrella Theater is scheduled to perform an original work onstage at the Shubert. I quickly jumped at the opportunity to design scenery for this world premiere production. Though various creation workshops and rehearsals a show quickly formed. We wanted to share the inner workings of what happens in the life of theater artists and technicians. And, it occurred to me that theater-goers never get the chance to see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into each production. When the audience walks into the Shubert, or any other theater in the world, they are treated to a well-oiled and polished spectacle; actors flit in and out of light while scenery magically shifts from one location to another. There is a form of magic produced in front of their very eyes. The Shubert walls disappear and the audience is transported into the world of the show onstage. This magic performed at the Shubert is produced and perfected by the men and women backstage, the Stagehands of Local 74. I have had the pleasure to witness the endless talent of these folks backstage and my goal was to figure out a way to share what I see with the audiences of SEEN CHANGE!. I want to share the feeling I had when I first walked onto the stage at the Shubert. To see the walls of the Shubert Theater as it waits for the start of a performance. To share how the stage transforms into what audiences expects to see – a finished production filled with magic. To see the stage at the end of the night – put to sleep, waiting for it’s next group of weary travelers.

Through this production we have been able to pay homage to the work that goes into all aspects of the theatrical world. To share the lives of the Stagehands who have worked tirelessly to perfect their art along side the actors who perform nightly. I am lucky to have learned from them and look forward to learning more. I am amazed to be onstage at the Shubert, where so many great artists have come before me. I would like to say thank you to the Stagehands of Local 74 – without you we could not have performed our magic.


Janie Alexander, A Broken Umbrella Theatre


A Confession from the lyricist of “Seen Change”

February 17th, 2015 by admin

I have a confession: I’ve never seen a show at the Shubert Theatre! In fact, I hadn’t been inside until a few weeks ago for a rehearsal.I am, however, reminded on a daily basis of the importance of the Shubert and the role it has played in the history of musical theater. You see, I’m a musical theatre writer, and also work for Rodgers & Hammerstein, the licensing and publishing company founded by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. And, on my way to the copy machine shubertseatsatR&Hthroughout the day, I pass four red-cushioned seats from the original Shubert Theatre, on display in our office. So, when I had the opportunity to write lyrics for A Broken Umbrella Theatre’s Scene Change! – a show inspired by and staged at the Shubert – well…”I cain’t say no.”

Scene Change! is a love letter to the Shubert Theatre and the history of musical theatre. The back-stage story involves a creative team in 2015 putting on a forgotten musical that was written in 1944. One of the fun challenges for me was to create lyrics that might have been written in the 1940s as well as present day. Since we also wanted to celebrate the Shubert, the majority of songs were designed to harken back to composers and lyricists who premiered shows in New Haven.

Songs by Rodgers and Hart, who made their Shubert debut in 1925 with Poor Little Rich Girl, inspired lyrics for our tap dance number. The structure of our ballad was based on a Rodgers and Hammerstein song from South Pacific, which had its world premiere at the Shubert in 1949. Other lyrics take inspiration from Cole Porter, Jerry Herman, Lerner and Loewe and Irving Berlin, to name a few. Will Aronson then composed the music, crafting his own blend of pastiche and modern musical styles. Hailing from Guilford, Will has had the good fortune to see many shows at the Shubert.

It is wonderfully strange to think that the first show I see at the Shubert will be my own. I hope that Scene Change! pays tribute to this theater’s brilliant legacy and honors all the artists who inspired me to become one.

Blog Post: Rob Shapiro

Lyricist, SEEN CHANGE!

Rob Shapiro Head Shot




A Night to Remember (It Was All About The Beige)

February 9th, 2015 by admin

One of the most memorable and hilarious evenings I have ever spent was with “Dame Edna” at the famous Shubert Theatre in New Haven. Dame Edna, a cross-dresser coming out of Great Britain, is a fabulous comic. I call the experience “All About the Beige!”

“She” picked me from the audience, asking me questions about my home – inside and outside – walls, furnishings, my entire lifestyle. She cleverly turned everything into the color Beige. She was hilarious, and so clever. Halfway through the performance she called me, and two or three others up on stage (the thrill of a life-time!). I was “center stage” as she continued to poke fun at me. She dressed us up with hats; but I can’t remember what else. It was so much fun and I loved every minute. She gave me lotion with a purple flower on top. I have not used it. I enjoy looking at it and remembering the funniest evening I have ever spent. I was cleverly made fun of, and loved it.

I have enjoyed all my evenings at the beautiful Shubert Theatre; but this was truly a night to remember, and I always shall.

Bonnie Heidler, Shubert patron and supporter