June 19, 2008


A new coffee table book features highlights from many years of the annual AIDS benefit, which features Broadway's brightest stripping. (Yikes! Is Nathan Lane in it? That's Mr. March and Lypsinka below representing February/Valentines' Day.

Pick up a copy if you like to jerk off to muscled-up show tune queens. Now all the male chorus dancers are so buff. I used to like it (pre-Chelsea clone era) when the guys were swishier than their female counterparts. Remember Ann-Margret's ancient back-up dancers RAW SATIN?

An excerpt from the NY Times review of her NYC Broadway revue in 1991:

Gaudy her show certainly was, but it had no sizzle. Once the star had reached the final stair and launched into "Steppin' Out With My Baby" in a pinched, kittenish voice with a wobbly vibrato whose seams were magnified by metallic amplification, it was evident that Ann-Margret is no longer the brassy siren one remembers from 1960's television shows. Like so many other stars who have become fixtures in the Las Vegas entertainment firmament, she presents herself as a living legend that an audience is supposed to revere simply for showing up, acting chipper and looking good.

At one point, the 50-year-old star instructed that a laser beam be directed to a diamond ring she was wearing, while a robot voice intoned, "May the force be with you." A monologue followed in which she told the history of the ring with its "magical healing powers," which cured her pain when her husband and producer Roger Smith presented it to her in the hospital after a stage accident. The story ended with the show's one half-funny remark: "Diamonds are better than Darvon."

The exhibition of jewelry and the boasting of one's wealth (the star excused herself at another point "to slip into something expensive") may be time-honored Las Vegas shtick, but on the Radio City Music Hall's splendid stage, they seemed merely gauche.