Speaker Could you tell me the circumstances under which you met Jerry Roberts?

Speaker I have to go back to 1939.

Speaker It was Easter week and I arrived from California Saturday morning at eight o'clock and I looked up the one friend I knew from California, Paul Godkin, and he said, Oh, I'm going to show and I'll give you a ticket. You come to the matinee, see the matinee, and after the matinee, I'll take you to dinner and try to help. So I met him. He showed me he gave me the ticket, showed me where the stage door was. And the show was Stars in Your Eyes with Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante. So after the matinee there, I'm standing. And he said, Oh, I want you to meet some of my friends. And here came Jerome Robbins looking.

Speaker I thought he was Spanish. He looks so dark. And then two girls came out. One was Norick, the other was Maria Candelabra. Then a couple came out Spanish looking and it was Alicia and Fernando Alonso. They were all in the chorus of stars in your eyes. And that's when they asked me to do Jeri's memorial. Decades later, I asked if we could do it at the at the Majestic Theater because I said to Gerald Schoenfeld, I said, you know, Jerry started and the chorus there and I think it's nice if he goes back where he was. So that was but it was 1939 and like three or four months after that, we'd all be in ballet theatre. So they were friends. I met the very first day in New York.

Speaker Sounds like a television script or something, but it's true. So it was the first day.

Speaker That's lovely. Tell me your impression of Jerry, like in those days.

Speaker Well, Ballet Theatre started in the fall of 39, and all of those people that I mentioned before were also in it. Jerry didn't audition. We had a season in 1940 at the Center Theater. And then that was in January the 11th. After that, we there was another audition in June and Jerry Robbins auditioned at that time with a few other dancers. So he wasn't really a founding member, but he was very close to the first season anyway and. I still thought it was Spanish, and he he was very dark and intense, but also a fabulous sense of humor, which we could make each other laugh very easily. And a lot of you had some contact with his family.

Speaker Yes, it was during that ballet theatre days. We would rehearse during the week and on Sundays we had off. And once in a while, Jerry would say, would you like to come over to Weehawken and have Sunday dinner with my family with Christmas?

Speaker So we would take the ferry boat across and his family, he had, like, I think, three aunts and a grandmother and his mother and father. So it was a large dinner table. And I remember the aunts all told rather raucous stories. And so I thought, that's where Jerry gets it from. They all laugh at anything, but we did. And then we take the the ferry boat back. But it you know, we kind of starved during the week and those dinners were so great that we had to Rabinowitz's our house.

Speaker Could you tell me what you were able to detect about the relationship between Jerry and his parents and tell me what their names were?

Speaker I don't recall ever being with Harry and Lena.

Speaker Yeah, Lena and Harry Rabinowitz. Always at the Sunday dinners. The father was very quiet at the head of the table.

Speaker Well, with with three aunts and two daughters, a daughter and a wife, there wasn't much chance for talking.

Speaker But he was a very sweet man and he didn't as I say, he was always quiet, his mother.

Speaker It always seemed like just before we leaving to go back to New York, she would say something to her that would make him very angry. What I was I don't know, but then he would stop all the way to the ferry boat, but after that, he would get over it. But I thought that was very strange, that they would have this love. And but he did. She always managed to say something and he would get furious.

Speaker Do you remember any of what?

Speaker I wasn't. I wasn't. I'm standing at the door and are down there, the stairs or something. But I just knew the way he came down those stairs that he was angry.

Speaker It was a Jewish family. And I understand that Jerry had some conflicted feelings about being Jewish. Do you ever talk to you about that? And what did he say?

Speaker He never talked much about being Jewish. I think he had a certain pride in in his heritage that he knew he came from very intelligent people and cultured.

Speaker And don't forget, he was in the the big Jewish musical at that time, and he was about 14 or 15 then, but he was early in the theater. I always envied him because he was in New York and saw all the shows and knew everybody in the theater who they were. And and so he was. And I, coming from California, had never really seen a musical until the one he was in. So, uh, but I did think, oh, what a wonderful way to start. If you're going to be in the theater to have seen everything and working with you and seeing the brothers, Ashkenazi and all those wonderful plays from the Yiddish theater at Second Avenue at that time, was it its.

Speaker Zenda thinking he was actually in a play Yiddish theater. Did he talk to you about that at all? No. OK, I imagine the family's theater in those days was very different to be in as a dancer than it is now. Can you give me a picture of what it was like to be in ballet theatre then?

Speaker What of being in the early years of the first season or and the first three years of ballet theatre? We were the fortunate ones because don't forget, we we had the the great people from the geoglyph period. We had Michael Fokine, Leonid Marzin, Adolph Bowen, Adolph and Anton Dolen. So we were right there with the history making people and we knew that we were fortunate. I think we sense that I met a few, went into a rehearsal with Mr. Fokine. We all had to wear uniform clothing.

Speaker And you knew you were in the hands of a master. The same with the blended Messine and the Gentzkow madam. Gentzkow was also but and we knew that we were chosen. We just did. At least I did, because I came from a teacher, Karmelita Maroochy, who taught us all those things. And also I worked at the public library and I read all about the Diaghilev period before I even got to New York.

Speaker So I had a reverence for the people that we were working with.

Speaker And as I say, Jerry came in the six months later and we all knew that we were and working with Masters, we weren't always so Revoyr at something as young dancers do. They do make fun of people. And if a choreographer didn't come into the studio, we would start acting up and sometimes Jerry's or get to the piano and I would improvise a dance or something.

Speaker Maria Canela would do her imitations and we all were really I think we developed our sense of comedy and those periods because we just stimulated each other and we laughed constantly.

Speaker I think we did a lot of touring in those years, too. Did you? And it was wartime. So wartime that was like touring with Jerry during that time.

Speaker We were on trains many times where the soldiers there were soldiers and they had preferences for the dining room, and if there was anything left, then we were allowed to go and work. So we experienced that quite a bit. And but I think we were all aware that the war times and the impending tragic things that would happen.

Speaker And I think Jerry was we all respected those who were already in the service. I later went into the service for two and a half years.

Speaker But we.

Speaker It was made us very aware without actually being involved with the war, being aware of and I think Jerry was very sensitive to what was going on and and what could happen in Europe and the places we knew.

Speaker Tell me about Jerry as a dancer. What were your strengths? What was what was weaknesses? What was he like?

Speaker He had studied with the Kaniva, someone who was in New York. She'd been in in a company and we all knew her. But by that time, we were I had gone to Kozlovsky and other places. But they here, I think is only really training was with her name was voiceover in real life.

Speaker And Takanawa was changed in it.

Speaker I didn't know her that well, but he had very clean technique, very clean all the footwork. And the porter was clean. So he was prepared for ballet theaters. We all were, I think because we all came from good teachers and I know he respected her a great deal.

Speaker And what were his strengths as a dancer?

Speaker Um.

Speaker Characterization, but we were all taught to act. That's why we were lucky, because you don't forget. And one evening we would be Coachmen and Petrouchka and then in Lala Garden, we would be Edwardian people. And then Swan Lake at the end would be hunters. So we had whatever the costume went on, we we became part of that. And I think that was the great value we had.

Speaker We all and Jerry had this gift for comedy and he did what we would, Gorgias, because we were Spanish.

Speaker And then I was trying to think of something.

Speaker Well, tell me a little bit about let's go back a little bit before you, because I want to ask you later about Tudor. You mentioned Petrouchka. What was Petrouchka like?

Speaker I was a coachmen. One of the coachmen, Jerry was a. There were so many characters in it, he and forget Lisowski, they did, they were like a drunken sailor, drunken, but eventually he does Petrouchka. Oh yes, yes.

Speaker That was a long time later when we went to a comedy garden that was in 46. Don't forget.

Speaker That was six years from the beginning, but, you know, he had seen it study at Fokine had supervised. He had seen.

Speaker Several pachucos, Hugh Lang did it so but he was always preparing for the kind of roles that he wanted to do and he eventually got to do them.

Speaker You saw him, I'm sure, in Three Virgins, a devil. What was that like?

Speaker That was his first little you can incorporate the question in in his first really hit, shall we say, as a comedian was in three verses in the devil with and against. A male did it and he it was about three virgins. And he was this young man who just strutted across stage waving arrows. But he did it so deliciously. I meant no one has ever since done it like that. And but he took this little moment and made it into a really delicious solo, and it was just a crossover.

Speaker Then he crossed back again at the end. But he was it was just brilliant. And I think that started him doing more and more character.

Speaker I met the choreographers that came and seen him do that. So you were cast by how you acted in class and also in the different Paola's.

Speaker What did he not like to do?

Speaker Well, he didn't like to wear wigs like in Bluebeard, we all had to wear wigs and they were.

Speaker He perspired a lot and he used to joke a lot because his wig would it got shorter and shorter rounder because they perspired so much. And and I remember but we all had to wear these wigs. I had one that made me look like Paulette Goddard. So that gives you an idea that nobody knows who Paula Goddard was. But she was quite a movie star. But I was trying to think of some other.

Speaker Well, how do you feel about dancing classical roles, for example? I know, for example, he was called upon to dance the Cavaliers of the Cavaliers and Beauty, I guess it was called a rose wedding then.

Speaker Yeah, I was a cavalier must it might have been when I was away. That's terrible. But to be I he felt uncomfortable wearing a wig state and moving like an Louis coteries period. I mean, he felt that that once he did it, that was enough. But he he he could satirize it wonderfully. And of course, as I say, we never stopped.

Speaker Doing shtick, as they say, and comedy bits and. It was the dancers today are no different, I'm sure they make a lot of fun of of some of the parts they have to do, but when the curtain went up, we did it.

Speaker Can you give me an example?

Speaker Well, like in Bluebeard, he he played he and Yawk Lisowski were lovers of the queen.

Speaker And they came in and they struggled with the guitar and each one tried to get her attention. And of course, the queen was Lucia Chase. And they tried to get her attention and they stomped around and but it was also breeches and stockings and shoes with bows on them. And he never really felt comfortable. But as I say, he could take it and change it into something comedic, which was wonderful.

Speaker It was.

Speaker He didn't he found resistance to travel. So I can all I can imagine before we get off Petrouchka completely.

Speaker Do you think that Fokine had an influence on him? And if so, what do you think it was?

Speaker Michael Forkin had an influence on all of us, but I.

Speaker I feel that with Jerry because of the valet's like Petrouchka, he respected that a great deal. And and we did Lieutenant Kiguchi after that, they were period storage ballets. But Jerry, really, we knew we were in the hands of Masters and whatever he gave us to do, he could do better himself. And we all respected him for that. But we learned so much about characterization. And Jerry particularly and he would encourage you if you he gave you a comedic bit to do and you took it and started moving. He would encourage you and all of us, Fokine and particularly with Jerry. And in the comedic parts, he really I think Jerry felt that he was somebody who recognized his talent and he knew who was a master.

Speaker Now, we talked about because I wonder if you can tell me who the cast was that you just showed me.

Speaker And with with that group of people, there has to be some sort of a juicy story in there, a ballet called Gorgias, because it was done by Jose Fernandez first for the very first season. And they had actually Spanish dancers in it, Matilda Macklowe Club.

Speaker I can't think of a name anyway.

Speaker Then that went out and the costumes had been done by next MOLAS and they were stunning, made by Kerensa.

Speaker And so I guess they decided the Tudors should do it. So Tudor took just a I think six of us cachaça, gave a Hugh Lang Norick, Maria over Jerome Robbins and myself, and we did wonderful. They were like pictures of of Goya, of the upper class Goya. And it was truly we all enjoyed it because we could be Spanish, it could be Spanish, Jerry could be Spanish. And I was trained in Spanish dancing. So I loved that. And Dora went along with it.

Speaker Why was Jerry so great at being Spanish? This wasn't his only Spanish.

Speaker I think he felt I think Jerry felt that he was Latin, a look the Latin and responded to Latin rhythms and.

Speaker He had an affinity for Spanish, well, even in fancy free, his solo is very you know, he is right off of Havana.

Speaker It's a rumba or. No, um. So let's talk a little bit about Tudor.

Speaker Tell me about what his relationship was like with Jerry and what do you think Jerry learned from Julia Tudor made a and an artistic impact on all of us and with Jerry, when I saw as the years went by and I saw Jerry's some of the ballets he did, I felt he, like all of us, were influenced by the simplicity of gesture or taking a gesture and making it so meaningful. It was it was a dance.

Speaker And I think Jerry would be the first to say the tutor had made it a mark on us because we I see later and Jerry's ballets, the simplicity of of just walking, turning and looking, doing one's gesture was Tudor esque.

Speaker I'm not saying you stole it. I meant he that to learn the the importance of just doing less and with a look say what was worth four pirouettes so I can explain it to us.

Speaker That's great. Um how were they similar in the way that they worked during.

Speaker Tutera, don't forget, I we worked with Tutor first, and I never was in a ballet of cherries. I can only go by what I see of his ballets of. Twitter, we didn't go with counts, he would sing the music to us and show us the gesture and are the movement. And we didn't even that sometimes didn't even know when we started ballet. We didn't know who we were. We just did what he thought. He sang to us and showed us. And I think and Jerry, I wasn't around him that much later in the year. But I know that that made an impression on all of us that the music has to tell you what to do. Almost if you know what you have to say, the music will tell you how to say it. It's all I can and and Cherry responded that way at.

Speaker And we all did. Did you see him in Pillar of Fire? What was that like?

Speaker I was in it and I there was a house on the side and pillar of fire, which was supposed to be like a brothel and or the house of sin. And the lights went up and there was a man nude from the waist up standing there. And Hagar comes up and we just do a gesture together. And that was my part that I stepped aside and sono NATO came out and Jerry followed her and they had a whole very. Torrid, played it short, but and then later we all came out of the house, but that's my impression. I remember that I stepped aside and Cherry went out the door and Sono went out also, and then the lights came down or they came down before they just saw me. The lights came down. And then out of the house came Jerry and Sonia. And it was. Very, very sexy for that period.

Speaker What did Jerry what did you understand at that time about Jerry's ambitions? Did he make them clear?

Speaker Yes, I think we all always knew. We never discussed. We just were gathering up as much knowledge as we could. And but I remember. Before Jerry joined the company, he'd been up at the summer theater Tamiment, and he did a ballet with Anita Alvarez and it was called it was to the music, strange, strange fruit. And he said, oh, come, I'm going to do it at the YMCA, come in and see it. Well, it was so moving and said so succinctly what that song was about. And yet they didn't move a lot, but it was just beautiful. And so you just always you just assume he's got to keep doing these things. Know, we just always knew.

Speaker Now, you went away to the Army around that time, and while you were gone, Jerry made his first ballet for ballet theatre. Right. And then you came home and you saw it. And what did you see?

Speaker When I was in the service. Jerry wrote me about three or four letters and the company was on tour and he said, I'm doing I finally got a chance to do a ballet and it's going to be called fancy free. And it's about three sailors. And he said then another letter would say, found a great composer, a young composer, Leonard Lenny Bernstein, and then someone who did the costumes, Oliver Smith. And he understands me or something like that. I remember the letter and then another letter would be we're on tour in Kokomo and I'm rehearsing the ballet. And he describes Chinese dance and Harold's dance in his dance. And then he would draw he drew the the set on top. And then that's where they made the first entrance and the the lamplight. And so I sort of I was not there, but I went through the process, through his letters, and they were just treasures and I still have them. And when he did a revival of Honor of Fancy Three for New York City Ballet for the first time, I found the letter and I thought. He should have this, so I sent him the letter and said, you should have this, Jerry, because, you know, and this is how many years this would have been in 43 that he wrote 45, 45. And he was writing the letters.

Speaker And I write about forty three because the premier was forty four forty four right then.

Speaker And I left in 42 for the service anyway. So he wrote me back and said what a wonderful thing I do. Thank you for sending me this letter. That's very dear of you and thank you so much Jerry. And he said P.S. I still have your letters, which was very nice. And this is I think that was done in the early 70s or 60s, late 60s maybe at New York City Ballet. But those are the nice things that happen in your life.

Speaker So I'm home and you got to see the ballet that you had had the letters about.

Speaker And I knew what it was going to be like. And what was interesting about it when I saw it, the the entrance of Muriel Bentley and the entrance of the three sailors later on when they can get into a dance thing, what was interesting about it, it was the basic jitterbug step. And that's what was so right, because it was that period so indigenous. That's the way we all thought. And I believe that that was just in our inner beat because we all did jitterbug and swing dancing. And if you were, you know, he goes, da da da da da da da da ba dum bum bum bum bum, bum, bum.

Speaker That's one, two, one, two, three, one, two, one.

Speaker And that's what was so brilliant about it to have that so right for those three American sailors on the town. And I thought it was brilliant. Of course it was, but it was thrilling. Later on when we went to London and 46, Cherry was going to go for the first four weeks, I think. And he said, Don, would you do me a favor? And I said, of course, he said, would you be the the barman and fancy free at configured? And I said, I would love to. That was because he was dancing, Johnnie was dancing. And Michael Kidd I think was the third one.

Speaker The first parallel was the original one. Yes. By that time. Johnnie Chris Harrow. Lagon, what was Gerry like in that part.

Speaker Mischievous as and when he started to his solo, it was really a satiric dance about the Roomba and he he caught all the nuances of the Roomba. If you're going to make if you're going to point it out or make it satirised, it's all in that's in that solo.

Speaker It was. Tell me about the reception to fancy for I mean. Well, you weren't there. I wasn't. But it was a it was a huge hit. You know that. Why do you think it's still so popular today?

Speaker I think why it lives, why fancy free continues, it's so.

Speaker A part of our.

Speaker Being I met, I don't know what for the younger people, I think they think, oh, that's how they were in during the war times, you know, the sailors and and they they they love that because it shows them what life was like.

Speaker And even if you were in a military or something like that and then don't forget, the music is just so brilliant and gets to you every every note is never over choreographed, but it's so supportive of what Jerry was doing, what was new about it.

Speaker Uh.

Speaker Because it was wartime, every those three sailors up on the stage and the three girls where what was happening in Times Square. So and everybody thought, oh, it's so after seeing Swan Lake and Jazelle, I mean, it was like a breath of, I'm sure, fresh air and it always is, no matter where it comes in the program.

Speaker And it was just the first time real use was put on the stage and showed how delightful life is or can be and but cherry sense those things brilliantly.

Speaker So you went into the army but Jerry didn't. Why not?

Speaker I have no idea why Jerry didn't go into this service or anybody else in the company.

Speaker For one thing, he was not very strong physically and he was tall and he wasn't strong. And I think he might have been afraid he would be rejected. I don't know.

Speaker He what he was called he went to the draft. What? You can tell you what happened. OK, I'm thinking about his ballets. They have certain although the themes are different, they tend to have similar qualities. Do you know what I mean? Could you talk about that?

Speaker And I'm thinking, for example, of theatricality, use of the vernacular you were just talking about, I think of because of being in the ballet and doing story ballets, I think he he already knew the form of telling a story.

Speaker And he was he wanted to.

Speaker Say things about the human condition or human being and that interested him to just put out there in simple words are as simple gestures, what he wanted to say about those characters.

Speaker Want to take a moment, just a minute, I'll ask you again if you want.

Speaker OK, yeah, just there are certain qualities that Jeri's valet's, even though they may be a different subject matter, the sort of qualities that they can, could you comment on that?

Speaker In every one of his ballets, Jeri's, it was the relationship that sort of formed the movement, the of the the it it's everything about if you know him, his relationships with people were, I think, always not easy.

Speaker And the ballets, the relationships strange here are not easy relationships.

Speaker And I think when I see his ballets, I see that as as a dominant key to.

Speaker Where he was always searching and trying to find an answer, many times he did within the ballet when he started something like an age of anxiety, that was a very personal ballet. When I saw it, I thought he finally has put into dance form how he feels about certain relations and things.

Speaker And I don't know if that explains it, but it was not easy.

Speaker It was never easy relationships and finding how you relate to other people and.

Speaker Well, speaking of relationships, tell me about Nora, what was she like as a dancer and what was her relationship to Jerry?

Speaker Uh, Norrick, don't forget, they were in the chorus together. It's in your eyes. And they knew each other and. I think Jerry and don't forget, after she had made been made a really a principal dancer through tutors works, Jerry also felt that she could express how he felt about a ballet or a story.

Speaker And she, Nora, was very malleable, hurt. Her technique was.

Speaker She was very strong, but she also did everything in a strong way, so you had to use that quality about her to put her in pillar of fire. He once had a lecture. He said, I think it was in Chicago. He gave a lecture and he said that the part Noriko's part and pillar of fire had been built around her, her limitations, whatever that meant. But she could even do in classical work. There was a certain kind of stamp about it that only she could do or that seemed to work on her.

Speaker She wasn't as as.

Speaker I would have to demonstrate or I'm sorry I didn't explain that well.

Speaker What was their personal relationship like?

Speaker I think they had a wonderful on and off relationship of that can happen in ballet companies. You know, you you're so close together and you have crushes and you have dreams about people.

Speaker Oh, I could do a ballet about her, but I've got to find the right ballet or something like that.

Speaker But I think they're they're New Yorkers.

Speaker Their backgrounds were similar and they understood each other probably better than other people could understand them.

Speaker So they were friends. But if you could just make this, you know, incorporate the question, they were friends, but did they have an intimate romantic relationship?

Speaker Supposedly, they did have intimate relationships, a relationship.

Speaker And I think Nora knew that he had this certain genius about him and and that was stimulating. And she could help him as a friend or as a cowardice and.

Speaker Don't forget, we're often thrown together in very intimate places on tour that through loneliness. Who knows? I can't speak because I was not there, but I, I know they had tremendous respect and love for each other.

Speaker Did you see her in the cage? Yes. Can you tell me your impressions of Nora in the cage again and Cage?

Speaker Only Knaus body could have created that kind of.

Speaker Not gauche, but the kind of angular thing she could do that very well, and that's when I mean when Jerry used the way she moved and.

Speaker Shit, I don't think she ever thought herself. Well, she had a great classical technique, but that was not her forte.

Speaker Hers was taking a movement and not being afraid to make it grotesque. And she was valuable in that way because a lot of wonderful dancers, they don't want to do something that's awkward or it makes them look, but their technique isn't perfect. She was very perfect choice for doing something. That was not classical and that bizarre or.

Speaker And tell me I'm going to switch gears completely now, let's move ahead to call me madam. What was Gerri's role? What was your role? Tell me a little bit about the show.

Speaker Call me madam.

Speaker I mean, I don't know what I was doing, but I must not have been much because Jerry called me and he said, would you like to go to Boston? He said, Julie Graham, who assisted me, is leaving. She can't go to Boston. And he said, the show's finished, but maybe you'd like to go and we'll have fun because the show's mostly finished.

Speaker And so I said, well, that sounds great.

Speaker But he needed an assistant. And so there was only once did he say they've decided to put in a song. It's a lovely day to day. So whatever you've got to do and it was just a chorus. He said, don't you stage it because I now work with something with Merman. But so that's the only thing I really did. But. And on matinees, we would go to antique shops and all over Boston and get back just in time when the matter was over. But it was fun time and I forget why I was free. But I was and but I remember call me madam. I joined the company in New Haven. And so the jury said tomorrow, meet me in the in the theater at 11, I have to do a number for Merman.

Speaker And so now their relationship Merman had been the star of Stars in Your Eyes, and she always remember Gerry as being in the chorus. But she had great admiration because he had done so much since then. And she called him Jerre. And I remember they started to do that song they were putting in the song and the hostess with the most is on the ball.

Speaker And so he said, Oh, well, Ethel will maybe a gesture like this. And he showed her something and she she tried it because she's right there. And she said, no, Jerry doesn't feel good. What else you got? Yeah. And I thought that was so funny because by this time Jerry was very important, everything. But she just thought of him as somebody she knew. But she was a great lady and I was happy that I got to work with him anyway. But that's the only thing about Call me madam that I have that it was a wonderful excursion, I guess. What was a show back call me, Madam, was the story of the famous hostess who was sent to this small country. It looked like Luxembourg and she gave a party. And by the way, in that then she had the peasants of the country come and do a little dance.

Speaker And in it, Jerry had put a number called, was about a girl and two men. It got thrown out of so many shows like Mr. Monogamy, you know, monotony.

Speaker And he had had it in a show and it didn't work or didn't eat it or whatever. So he put it in that. And the Royal Bentley, Tommy Rawle, I forget who the other dancer was. And it was very sophisticated and it just didn't work in this foreign country and looks and break. So it went out again. And I think later it was it was in something else, a later show, but.

Speaker It was interesting to see that was the only time I really worked with Jerry and we laughed a lot.

Speaker I learned from watching him stage and choreographed well, it just seemed the natural thing to do.

Speaker Don't forget, we we all came from the same kind of background, Bob, all the staging of jackhole choreography of the period.

Speaker So we you know, we kind of knew what what they did with how you staged a number. Don't forget, Bob Walton was the first to really stage a song. Other than that, I think they just came out and sang the song a couple little dance steps or something, but he really gave it the number, out a look and staged it with gestures and exit entrances and exit. And that made a big influence on all of us.

Speaker Was it your impression that Jerry was the kind of guy who sort of winged it or did he do a careful preparation and home?

Speaker I think he thought about it. I can't I can't speak of how long he prepared for something. As I say, I was not initially in the very beginning with a call me madam.

Speaker OK, do you know the story about how the the number of something to dance about came about his conversation with Berlin?

Speaker No. OK, I'll tell you about it later.

Speaker What were Jerry's rehearsals like in general? What was the atmosphere like?

Speaker Did he talk a lot, did he demonstrate, as I say, I was not in privy to working with him in and a company. I have one talks. I can imagine what it was like from all answers that I knew, like Muriel Bentley. And that's who I got. I got the picture of what it was like. He was very intense and mostly. He supposedly, if something didn't work out well and he didn't get the solution, he got very tense with it. It's natural when you can't get that answer to how to end. No, it's pretty torture. I can tell you.

Speaker But a good example is.

Speaker Years later, Jerry had the company, Ballet USA, and it was in Spoleto and I was doing a musical in Rome and I thought, Oh, my day off, I'm going to drive down and say hello to Jerry and Bentley and all the people I know.

Speaker So I arrive and because I didn't know what theater they were in and I ran into John or Cerrone and Jerry's secretary and they said, What are you doing here? And I said, Why? I came down to see. He said, Come come to rehearsal. I said, Oh, no, you better ask Jerry if I could come to rehearsal because, you know, he might be working and not want any distractions.

Speaker So he said, oh, it's in the Opera House, will put you in a booth and he'll never know you're there. So it they were rehearsing moves and Jerry's sitting there and the company is making the entrance upstage. And I heard him say, no, go back. They went back and they came back on again and he said, I forgot her name, one of the dancers he started on and he said, You're not doing it right. Go back.

Speaker And they came again. Finally, I heard her say, Jerry, if you just tell me what I'm doing wrong, that maybe I can find it. Well, you're doing it wrong. Go back. It was he was very tense anyway. So they I saw the stage manager come up and so he's ten. He said, all right. I heard him say, we're we're going to take ten and we're going up into the front of the theater and the the big hall there. And we're going to rehearse there. And I saw Muriel Bentley go up and whisper something to him and he said, where? Where? And he came up. You came down there off the stage, down the aisle.

Speaker And we embraced and everything he said, oh, he said, you've got to come. Have you got time to come and watch rehearsal? I want you to see the room we're working on. And it was all marble. And in each corner were gargoyles. Looking down like this he thought was wonderful. And of course, we laughed a lot about that. So when the company come skulking back in and putting their things down, he said he called Johnny Jones. He said, Johnny, come over here. The the step the twenty step you're doing in the ballet. Mr. Sadler here, my friend, invented that step. And I thought that was very nice. Anyway, he said, I'm going to show you how far we've gone in the new ballet. So he said, All right, everybody. Well, let's we'll take the ballet expert Jazz, I think it was, and work on that. And so we sang and is talking and we're like that. And they ran through it. And I said, well, chariot's I wish I could see the finish of it. Won't be able to, but it's just going to be fabulous. So he was very pleased. Anyway, I said I have to go back to he said, catch it, stay. And I said, no, I've got to get back to Rome tomorrow morning. I have to rehearse anyway. So as I was leaving and going out the door and your Bentley came up and she whispered to me, she said, the dancers want to thank you for putting Jerry in such a good mood. So that was nice. But that's an example. He could be.

Speaker I saw both sides and you talked before about his relationship with Merman. And he he had a history of directing performers in signature roles. He did Brynner and King and I. He directed Mary Martin and Peter Pan Mostel and Fiddler Streisand and Funny Girl. Do you think that was a coincidence or was it something he did that brought these the best out in people? And why?

Speaker I think working with principals, if they had any sense of comedy, he could really make them brilliant. If they and most of all, he could give them movements and gestures that reveal the character, who they were and why they were on stage, as we all do. That's what you do. But he was. He could really help I'm I wasn't around, but I can see where someone like Streisand, he understood that character and he understood where she should go and how to build her character and gave her all the nuances and the the. The characters that gave her body language, which would express what she had to do on that moment, and he was brilliant at that.

Speaker Thank you to, I think, were briefly involved in doctoring a musical called Wish You Were Here. Remember that one?

Speaker I think Jerry came in in the very beginning.

Speaker Josh Logan maybe brought him in, Josh Morgan brought him in to redo a number that sounds familiar.

Speaker No, I thought I was the last, but.

Speaker I'm quite sure it wasn't before I came in, I don't think so, but that's OK. I kept about 1930. Yeah, OK. Nineteen fifty three, whatever. Yeah.

Speaker But in any event, he was Jerry was the show doctor of choice for a lot of years. Why?

Speaker Well in those days everybody seemed to help each other. They for sure was out of town. They would bring a lot of people to ask them friends and ask, you know, what do you think? And you went and you just gave your opinion. It was if you were asked to stay and fix something, then you enter into another thing.

Speaker But that was just the general rule in the theatre. You help people came in and suggest things and it was not. And as I say, if you actually rehearse, then you got paid for it. But that I think of a show that went out of town. I was invited just up in Boston just to see something. And you give your honest theatrical expertise that you can, and that's it.

Speaker You were working on Wonderful Town and Jerry came to help write to my dad.

Speaker Yes, we were in Boston. We were in New Haven. We didn't have an opening. We didn't have a last number. And so they had the meeting and Jerry suggested something. And then he said to me suddenly said we had a meeting.

Speaker And he said they like the idea that I had four interesting people. And he said, if I explain to you what I have to do, it'll take longer, I can do it. And it's got to get into the show as soon as possible. And he said, But I won't do it if you don't want me to. That was and I said, Jerry, we need all the help we can get. And I said, you know, you already know the story and and Lenny's doing the song for it. And Betty and Adolph were doing the lyrics. So I said and it was done in two days and of the village cortex, the song at the end of the village vortex.

Speaker And that I can't think of the title of it, but we just threw it on the two of us.

Speaker He'd say, You got to step. I'd say, How about this? It's like he will take that. So we had a good time doing that.

Speaker OK, he's not credited for it in any way.

Speaker You know it. As I say, in those days you didn't.

Speaker And he.

Speaker But you just did that, you went out and you helped take credit for it, didn't even get paid, sometimes I have a feeling Gerri always got paid, but that's a different subject, if I'm not mistaken.

Speaker It was during a wonderful town that he left because he had been subpoenaed by the House un-American Activities Committee. Did he ever talk to you about that?

Speaker You know, I never, ever once discussed his being called up for the. And the committee, we never discussed it and I read it now in my own world, I guess I just wasn't aware of it because I was.

Speaker I guess working, um, you're both choreographers, so compare Jeri's I did you have a good eye, wonderful line.

Speaker I met your I trained, you know, to say either of that group coming in here, where are they going? And and what what can what's it saying?

Speaker Is it part of that as has. Are you prepared for the kind of number they're going to do? And is the exit the right exit? But that's just form. We kind of just learn to, I think, just from being in the ballet.

Speaker OK, don't forget, Szell, those peasants come on and they do we do our dancing. We go off again.

Speaker Um, what kind of if you could describe Jerry's personality to somebody who didn't know him?

Speaker Um, was he, um, more of a perfectionist or realist? And can you give me an example?

Speaker When when Jerry was in a wonderful mood and.

Speaker You know, you introduce him to someone that he could be so beguiling and on the other hand, if he didn't like the person that you had introduced to or the group or something like that, he was another person.

Speaker But that's his prerogative. And if, you know, we're all that way, we we respond to the moment and how.

Speaker And Jerry, as I say, could be so beguiling and on the other hand, he could be very cold and very distant many times in the past, sometimes he hadn't seen him for a long, long time.

Speaker You had to be prepared that you might get a really warm embrace and how are you like that? And another time, just how are you? So you had to, but. You know, you respect other people's and.

Speaker That doesn't change your mind about him.

Speaker Did you have a sense that he was secure or not secure as an artist?

Speaker I think he was secure as an artist more than he was as a as a person.

Speaker That's. Was one of his.

Speaker Things that made him sad, I think. He knew under certain cities he was secure, as we all are, on certain circumstances, we all are. And as I think most choreographers and people in the theater, when they're in the studio or on the stage, they're secure. I know I am. I know who I am then. Other than that, I'm not that secure. And Jerry didn't like the fact that he was secure in certain areas and that bothered him. I think I can't speak for him. But that's just from observation, thinking, why did he act like that? I mean, he didn't have to.

Speaker But then you had to realize he was.

Speaker Not comfortable being who he was at that moment.

Speaker So in a way, I can explain it. Can you give me an example? There's so many periods to go through and so many years.

Speaker I can't think of anything right now. Who do you think were the big influences on him creatively?

Speaker I think Mr. Balanchine was a big influence on him and I think he really wanted to be around Balanchine because don't forget, there weren't that many masters left in the world to to study and to to learn from. And I think that's why he went with New York City Ballet.

Speaker I always wanted to just see the magic, just as any of us would want to the magic of Balanchine working. And I think. I think he learned a great deal and it changed his way of rehearsing, I think a lot when he went into the theater, it was a different form of rehearsing and he was under different, I guess.

Speaker More tension or but in the ballet, you know, you have more leisurely time and the atmosphere is different. It's not that competitive as not you're not under the monetary pressures of any kind, which in a Broadway show you are.

Speaker What do you mean? He changed his way of Balanchine. Changed his way of rehearsing?

Speaker No, I meant that, Jerry.

Speaker And from all I know from his ballet with New York City Ballet was much more relaxed and loved what he was doing. And I loved the dancers and everything like that. And and Broadway was there was so much pressure. Don't forget, on Broadway, he had the pressure of his of his own successes. He was so successful that to do another show and not be as brilliant as he always was, must have been some great deal of pressure, don't you think?

Speaker I wouldn't know. But I can imagine you knew him.

Speaker Before I get on to that, I want to ask you this. Do you think that Astaire influenced him? And if so, how?

Speaker I don't know. He was the reason I started Fred Astaire was the reason I started to dance. Now, whether Jerry was influenced, I think Jerry was influenced by. The kind of numbers that Stare did more than wanting to dance like that, I wanted to dance like a stereotype, of course, being in California. That's the first thing I ever saw. And that's why I wanted to dance like Fred Astaire. But I think the startling idea, numbers and pictures was a big influence on. You know, he'd be a sailor and he would be. Doing some comedic thing down the street or something like that, I think it freed us all that you can do anything as long as it's good.

Speaker You knew him for so many years, how did you see him change over the years from the young man you first met?

Speaker I didn't know.

Speaker As I say, met Jerry the first day and then I didn't see him until he joined ballet theater and we were young and very impressionable and after.

Speaker After 46, our paths went so many diverse ways that I didn't seem that much, even socially.

Speaker Because it was a period of of a lot of work for certainly for me and Jerry seemed to always do one thing after another.

Speaker Was it your impression when you knew him in the early years, we spoke about him having an intimate relationship with Norah.

Speaker Was it your impression that he was a heterosexual person or a homosexual person or what was he, you know, speaking of any sexual preferences? I don't think we never you never discussed it. You would just and and we weren't that curious about each other.

Speaker I know I was I couldn't have cared less what other people do, but what he cared about, what I did. But I couldn't care less. And I think we looked at everything in a very hilarious way. And I think that was a great saving grace that we we didn't they just didn't get around to talking about it. We were more interested in making each other laugh than we were anything else.

Speaker How would you describe Jerry's lasting contribution to musical theater?

Speaker That's a it's a very big question to say what his greatest contribution to the theater was.

Speaker I think understanding what it takes to create a musical with a story and making sure that each number, that dance number or musical number is so integrated into the story and takes you from there to the next thing, I think that he was a master of that. And it's like, of course, we have to give great credit to George Abbott. He not only gave every choreographer of that period a chance, and if something could be said and dance, he would rather do that than do a whole another book saying crossovers, if you could do a crossover that took you from one place to another and that never, never let the story down or the character, what's happening to that character going across stage? He would always say, we need a scene change here. Can you really do something that that doesn't stop the show that takes the the story line onward?

Speaker And if you did something, you'd say that works or it doesn't tell me who George Abbott was and Jerry learned from him.

Speaker George Abbott was one man that Jerry once said is the only man that scared him to death. Mr Abbott was he he loved dancing. He respected choreographers. And he discovered more choreographers than any other director in the musical theatre, beginning with O with Jerry myself, Bob Fosse, a Pete Gennaro, you name them. He gave them their Carol Hainey, all of them. He he respected dancers and well, he would give them an idea and letting go, let you go and made you feel like you're there because you can do it. And I think he never talked much. But what he said was so to the point that you never question Mr Abbott about anything. You knew that he was only thinking of the show. And if he said, you know, it's a great number, but it doesn't work in the show, you didn't you didn't have hard feelings. And I know Jerry didn't either, because he respected. We all did.

Speaker What, because he was such a great theatre man.

Speaker Great. In the sense that he could dissect a show and make it work, pull it together, recast it as he always said, casting's everything. And he he we were all fortunate to work with him.

Speaker Is there anything that you'd like to tell me about Jerry that I didn't ask you?

Speaker I think a lot of people didn't know about Jerry because they thought of them as being so great and so brilliant and what a lot of them didn't know what kind of man he was, because if he there was a gentleness and kindness, which sometimes made him angry that he couldn't reveal or he did reveal it, he could get that could make him very angry, isn't it? It's I wish I were a psychiatrist who could analyze it and I never understood it. He never told me that he went four years to a psychiatrist.

Speaker Well, that was something never ended any of our minds. I don't think I think he was the only one that I know of that went to a psychiatrist. And it's just as well he didn't tell us because we would have made fun of it or said it's not helping Jerry or something, you know, whatever it was. But he was very private about that. But there was a gentleness and kindness that it did to me always eclipsed anything that was not pleasant or his actions, or because I knew there was that kindness and that very gentle soul, delicate.

Speaker Where would you play? Yes, listen, um.

Speaker OK, um, where would you place him in the pantheon of ballet choreographers?

Speaker Are you talking to when you're thinking about all the choreographers I've worked with, they were things people like Fokine and Marsing were from another period, the Diaghilev period, the story ballets, the character ballets, the symphonic ballets. So that was that influenced us, but never was a part of us. And and I I don't mean that to sound egotistical. I just know that we were fortunate and learned our craft through those kind of ballets. But it never spoke for it's not the way we wanted to speak. And Jerry was that was the one who really spoke of. Our period, our times, our relationships, and brought that, that's where but when you when you say those those people from the geoglyph period I met, there were no peers there. And in America, we already had Balanchine and Jerry.

Speaker A lot of other modern choreographers and Twyla Tharp and people like that, but they don't come from the same source as Jerry and Balanchine.

Speaker OK, um, before when you were talking about you were saying that there was a quality injury that a lot of people weren't familiar with, we had a little bit of peripheral noise going on here. And I wonder if you could just talk about that a little bit more to make sure that we have it.

Speaker Say that again, we're talking about how kind Jerry was and could be. Could be. OK, so tell me a little bit more about that and maybe you can give me an example.

Speaker About kindness, Jerry. I think being kind and revealing a certain sweetness within him was not easy for him. I only have one example that means something to me. I came back from the service Jerry had written to me and said, you know, there's still hotels are hard to come by now. And he said, and I have a big new apartment. Come and stay with me during the rehearsals before we go to London.

Speaker And so I arrive and having left, seeing what he lived in before, when I left the service, I met, I came in and the expression on my face, he had to burst into laughter because he said, this is it's kind of different, isn't it? And I said, I couldn't get over it. It was George Platt lines his former apartment. So you can know how rather posh it was at 55 and Park anyway.

Speaker So we plunge into rehearsing. And for me, it was it was emotional because I was coming back and I was working hard, learning new ballets and getting put back into the other parts that I'd done getting ready for London. Now, when we went to London, Jerry was going to be there only for four weeks. And so he said, Don, who are you going to stay with? And I said, well, I want to get somewhere near the theater so I can spend more time. He said, let's stay at the Charing Cross Roads Hotel. So I one day at rehearsal we had finished. I was and I suddenly was sitting in my dressing room. Jerry had gone and Johnny Chris had gone. And I'm sitting there here in the garden and I say to myself, I'm back and I I'm lucky.

Speaker And I start to burst and I start to cry. So much so that the director of Comic-Con came by and said, Is something wrong?

Speaker I said, no, no. I said that anyway, I was all right because it was just suddenly a reaction. Everybody had it after the war.

Speaker Anyway, that night we were in the hotel and.

Speaker I think I was Cherry was was home and I came in and we were talking and talking about something like that, and I started to cry again and I said, Jerry, I said, I don't know why. They are just so glad that I'm back. And he put his arms around me. Sit down, just cry. It's all right. And I always thought that was the first time he ever showed up. But to me, it meant a great deal because I really I could have had a nervous breakdown if I hadn't had the right thing. And it's very personal. And I, I didn't mean that to be spoken about, but it's true.

Speaker And those were his examples. He he could that I it was personal but showed that how dear he was and and General could have, you know, said stop crying or or been embarrassed and left, you know, you never know. But I do.

Speaker It's only you can tell her I'm sorry that it's been that, but it's and there were moments when he would talk about some dancer in a show or something like that, and he'd say, you know, they're not doing well and they're very unhappy.

Speaker And I could see that he was really concerned about their being, their well-being. And yet, you know, in rehearsal, you would never know it, or ten minutes later you would never know it. But that's how it is.

Speaker OK, so if you are not really I just think that, you know, of all the people in ballet theatre, how what a wonderful group it was when you have the Alonso's RioCan Deliver was one of my dearest friends and.

Speaker I would say Rio Canela and Jerry and Johnny Kreis, Muriel Bently, they were truly what I regarded as very dear friends. Others were people in the company and which you got along with and enjoyed dancing with. And many, many stories about that. But, you know, it's I'm trying to trace 64 years or something like that. So I don't know how much, you know, you're.

Speaker You become more articulate about what happened yesterday sometimes, but the things that you might talk a little bit more about is if you could give me a sort of a picture of what touring with Ballet Theatre was like because it was so different than I'm, for example, the idea that the company didn't book hotel rooms for the dancers, that you would get off a train and you'd have to figure out where you were going to stay. It's just shocking to people now because you know nobody. Oh, you like that anymore.

Speaker The fact that, you know, the crowd didn't have system, that they did everything themselves, if you could just kind of give me a picture of what is touring in those days, early ballet theatre days, you know, would get off and we'd be given a list of hotels and what the prices were and you would dash to the cheapest hotel. And of course, if you didn't race there fast enough, there'd be others there before you. And many times we would be five in a room.

Speaker But we if was only one night and there were two huge beds, why we could get we could get five people in there like that, and then only two people would go up with our luggage and then we would eat and then go later. And they are.

Speaker I don't think we even got per diem, I can't remember we only made like 41 fifty a week. And so, you know, but what was interesting about it, we could not get off the train if we didn't have a shirt and tie on and a hat and a coat. We were not allowed and the girls were not allowed to get off the train unless they had hats or Snod, which was popular at that time, and gloves.

Speaker They we had to get off as though we came right out of a good family.

Speaker But that was the rule. And no one everybody was once in a while we were allowed turtleneck and a jacket as long as we had a hat and a scarf and a jacket to get off. But you couldn't you couldn't get off. You could get off and stand and, you know, at a stop. But if you're going to get off to go on tour, you had to have that. It was. But we didn't think anything about it. You wore the same clothes all the time. We had a trunk, which we could keep. And that was only we only got that on long runs, runs. And then we had our suitcase. So we took a suitcase. And I like that, but. And I always had a typewriter because I was always. I was assistant register, which gave us all a lot of laughs, but it was, you know, if you don't know any better, and that's and that's the the precedents are there is no precedent. You just think, well, this is where we're ballet theatre, you know, where somebody which we were I mean, when I look back.

Speaker You're talking before about a lot about Jerry, a sense of humor. What was the source of it? Was it self deprecating or was it kind of an ethnic sense of humor? What was it like, Jerry?

Speaker A sense of humor? I think we was out of funny situations, funny people.

Speaker The ridiculous situations we were in, there was no need to get angry about it, just you just found the humor in it and.

Speaker He also had, which is. I think a.

Speaker Inherited sense of the ridiculous and. There were funny things that happened that could make him very angry, but most of the time, as I say, we could make each other laugh by saying something funny or doing something funny and erasing the attention of of what might be unpleasant.

Speaker But you learned that. But as I say, we can always make each other laugh or. Make up the whole company laugh, but that was. I think our nervousness, our.

Speaker The strain of being young and trying to learn so much in the ballet, you know, you had to have a, as I say, waiting in the hall to go into rehearsal could be very hilarious because that's when the ridiculous came to the fore.

Speaker Can you give me an example?

Speaker It's really not for television.

Speaker I won't use it if it's a.

Speaker I remember and Fifty Street, we we were in a wonderful mansion for a period, and they had that staircase that went up and down and then the studio here, which had been the ballroom and over here was a library and everything. And and we had to wait outside sometimes like that. And I remember. A famous designer lady, she came in, she sat on on this three, four steps up, and she did not close her legs. So he said something like blitzkrieg or something like that. And we all knew what you you said or Chris, I might have said it, but it was when I look back now, it was not very respectful, but.

Speaker That's the kind of things that happen.

Speaker At only that age and, you know, you get so tired that we would get punch drunk, as I say, laugh, but it's it's saved us, we could face going out and not only having a dollar and a half for dinner. But as I say, thank goodness for those Sunday lunches, Sunday dinners at and Weehawken at Jerry's house.

Speaker What was the atmosphere like there in the house?

Speaker Well, I think, as I said might have said earlier at the dinner table was three adults, his mother, his father, his grandmother and Jerry and I was the guest. And this the aunts always told us I might have said raucous stories. And you screamed with laughter because they were old fashioned jokes, but. I can't remember what, but I remember falling out of my chair with laughter and think, and Jerry would spurn them all and always and say, oh, and add a whatever name was what we remember that story about so-and-so and that we'd get it. So he was like a straight man for sometimes.

Speaker What was it like being on stage with him?

Speaker Oh, I was in Sarah Ballis into Labeller. I was a high priestess, and he was.

Speaker A character that had he was like Mercury had wings on his back and he just commented on things and he came on once on stage, right. And was knitting a sweater. The next time he would come on. And these things he brought himself. Next time you come on, he would bring in a big book, put it down and live and read and the ballet would be going on. But that was part of it for like that. And and we had a it together. And I was a high priest with long robes and a beard and a hat. And we did like a classical we met and we did like Arauz Wedding, the promenade and I he promenades me around and then I balance by myself for a long time. And he replied that I'm a we made it up. But Fokine said this was machine. Originally it had been done by Mr. Forkin. He didn't live long enough to finish it. So David Flashin did and he just let us go, tell us what characters we were and when we should be on stage and not. And that's all he needed to tell us because we could make entrances. But those things in the sea, other ballets are what we use in Peter and the Wolf, I was the first hunter and I was supposed to come on shaking and I go like this and the other countries are supposed to come down and look back and they're not there. And I run back and then we all come together, but.

Speaker The makeup and the things we would do. But it was creative, but I would like to tell you how I got to Broadway.

Speaker I'm sure I had returned from the service World War Two. I went to London and with ballet theatre, rejoined the company and went on tour for a year. And after a year, I thought, I've done it. And at that time, if you were a veteran, you could stay at the American Theatre Wing, study anything that you wanted. So I thought and a small stipend to live on, I thought, I'm just going to go and do that and study all the things I wanted to do.

Speaker I said her voice and diction, acting, studied with Dunham.

Speaker I studied with her on your home. I filled the days and I was one day after about maybe four or five months, Jerry call me. And he said Tony said, I'm coming in to New York with the show High Button Shoes. And the leading dancer, the principal dancer, is giving his notice opening night. And I thought maybe you might be interested in doing it. And I said, Jerry, if you think I could, I he said, yes, you could. I said, well, I don't want to get it because we're old friends in the ballet. I'll come in. I want to come in and audition formally. He said, well, that's great, because some of the fellows know and the chorus know that the principal dancers leaving and they want to try for for the part. So I went and they they showed me parts of the Mack Senate ballet because it had the most dancing in it and.

Speaker So there's a part where we where we come bursting through the doors with the tambourine. Well, they didn't have to show me what to do. I was doing all the things like this and carrying on with that tambourine. And I heard this laughter. I knew it was Jerry laughing. And Mr Abbott happened to be there, too. So he so I got the part. It was the younger brother of Nanette Fabray in the show.

Speaker And I danced the tango with Helen Gallagher, which stopped the show every night, which was just a story that Jerry out of town, Alan Gallagher, told me this out of town. Mr Abbott said, Jerry, I need this this little pat to do it in here because I need the time for Nannette to change costumes. So he gave them the idea now with that. And time went on and Jerry was busy doing, you know, the Mac said it. And every night that finally Abbott said, Jerry, if you don't do that tango, I'm going to do it. So Helen said that it was after the matinee. He kind of just threw it together. And Paul Godkin, who was brilliant and wonderful comedian, also, they patched together this thing and it stopped the show. What Jerry was furious because he had spent so little time on it and it stopped the show and it did I.

Speaker And it was a great show. But that's how I got into Broadway musicals, because you see our old friends.

Speaker Tell me about the Senate ballet. What was that about?

Speaker Was it like it was based on the old Mack Senate movies and it started with Bathing Beauties. And then there was a plot where there were three crooks, Mama, Papa and the baby crook. And they were trying to get this bag, which had gold in it or something from Phil Silvers. And they were trying to steal it. And it was all and everybody got involved. And eventually we all were searching and trying to get the bag. And every time people would go into these series of bathing houses and then we'd come out and go into another one, it was very complicated and very funny.

Speaker And then at the moment burst come out and everybody comes out with the tambourines and dancing.

Speaker But I love doing it because it was lots of fun.

Donald Saddler
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-xw47p8v90q, cpb-aacip-504-rb6vx06s6t, cpb-aacip-504-9g5gb1z218
"Donald Saddler, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 03 Feb. 2006,
(2006, February 03). Donald Saddler, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Donald Saddler, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). February 03, 2006. Accessed June 26, 2022


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