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PART TWO: BEHIND THE SCENES BEHIND THE SCENES ON CONCERTS AND NIGHTCLUB ACTS: Kay Thompson’s Various Concert and Nightclub Appearances. For all the configurations of Kay’s own concert and nightclub gigs, from the early 1930s up through the 1970s, she always created her own vocal arrangements and, when applicable, the choral arrangements as well. Quite often, she composed much of her own material, either by herself, or collaborating with other composers. In some instances, she also played piano on stage. Whenever there was movement, Kay designed the choreography, either by herself, or in collaboration with other choreographers (most frequently with Bob Alton who helped her mastermind the groundbreaking Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers routines). Additionally, the clothes that Kay wore on stage were quite often her own designs. (For a detailed rundown of her own gigs, refer to “Kayographies, Part One: Headlining; Concerts and Nightclubs.” Paramount Theater Revue featuring Frank Sinatra and the Four Teens (Paramount Theater, New York, 1/27/1943-2/20/1943) Kay Thompson was the manager, vocal coach and vocal arranger for the Four Teens who were performing on a vaudeville-style revue with Frank Sinatra (his breakthrough solo gig), accompanied by Johnny Long and his Orchestra. The live revue was performed several times daily between showings of the all-star movie Star-Spangled Rhythm (Paramount Pictures, 1942). Frank Sinatra at the Hollywood Bowl (Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, 8/14/1943) Frank Sinatra’s vocal coach and rehearsal accompanist: Kay Thompson. When Sinatra came to Los Angeles to do this live concert and to film Higher and Higher (RKO, 1943), he stayed at the Garden of Allah in a bungalow right next door to Kay Thompson so she could coach him for his numbers in both projects. Julie Wilson at the Mocambo (Mocambo, Hollywood, 8/2/1948-8/23/1948) Creative consultant: Kay Thompson. Jimmi Garland at Slapsy Maxie’s (Slapsy Maxie’s Café, Hollywood, 10/11/1948-10/18/1948) Kay Thompson, Ralph Blane and Bob Alton collaborated on creating this nightclub routine for Dorothy Virginia Gumm (Judy Garland’s older sister), billed for this gig as “Jimmi Garland.” (Her stage name was most often spelled “Jimmie,” but for this particular gig, she was billed as “Jimmi” without the “e”). Judy threw an opening night party for her sister. Critics generally agreed that Jimmi was mimicking Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers by having four boys as backups (the Jack Baker dancers). Andy Williams at the Blue Angel (Blue Angel, New York, opened early 11/1949 for approximately two weeks) Director, creator, writer, vocal coach, vocal arranger: Kay Thompson. After the hugely successful nightclub tour of Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers (1947-49), Andy Williams performed his very first solo nightclub gig at the Blue Angel, with an act created for him by Kay Thompson. Kay also composed one of the songs Andy performed: “The Birds Are Talkin’ (’Bout You ‘n’ Me)”—a thinly veiled wink to the onslaught of gossip column reports that Kay and Andy were romantically involved. (Kay and Andy denied it at the time, but Andy later came clean that they were indeed secret lovers for many years.) Kay also recorded this song for her own album Kay Thompson Sings (MGM Records, 1954). Andy Williams at the Blackstone (Mayfair Room, Blackstone Hotel, Chicago, 3/31/1950-4/13/1950) Director, creator, writer, vocal coach, vocal arranger: Kay Thompson. Kay also composed one of the songs in Andy’s repertoire: “The Birds Are Talkin’ (’Bout You ‘n’ Me).” After his debut gig at the New York’s Blue Angel (11/1949), this Chicago engagement was Andy’s second solo outing. The two engagements paved the way for his television debut on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town (CBS-TV, 8/20/1950), for which he was groomed and coached by Kay Thompson. Judy Garland at the Palladium (and subsequent U.K. Tour) (Palladium, London, 4/9/1951-5/5/1951; followed by gigs in various other towns throughout the U.K.) Creative consultant, vocal coach, vocal arranger, choreographer: Kay Thompson. Produced by Sid Luft. Program conceived by Roger Edens, Oscar Levant, and Kay Thompson. (Simultaneously, Kay Thompson opened her own gig at the Cafe de Paris in London, on 4/8/1951, with midnight performances that did not conflict with Garland’s earlier show times.) Andy Williams at the Blue Angel (Blue Angel, New York, opened early 5/1951 for approximately two weeks) Creative consultant, vocal coach, vocal arranger: Kay Thompson. Although Kay was in the U.K. when Andy’s encore gig at New York’s Blue Angel opened in early May 1951, she was again responsible for creating his act and developing the vocal arrangements. Andy’s first regular gig on a TV series, The College Bowl (ABC-TV, 10/2/1950-approximately 4/1951) starring Chico Marx, had just ended. Judy Garland at the Palace (Palace Theatre, New York, 10/16/1951-2/24/1952) Creative consultant, vocal coach: Kay Thompson. Produced by Sid Luft. Staged by Charles Walters. Special lyrics and arrangements: Roger Edens. Accompanist: Hugh Martin. Record-breaking nineteen week run. The concert won a special Tony Award for “the important contribution to the revival of vaudeville.” Noël Coward at Café de Paris (Café de Paris, London, 10/29/1951-11/11/1951) Creative consultant: Kay Thompson. Judy Garland at the Philharmonic (Los Angeles, 4/21/1952-5/18/1952) Creative consultant, vocal coach: Kay Thompson. Produced by Sid Luft. Staged by Charles Walters. Special lyrics and arrangements: Roger Edens. Accompanist: Hugh Martin. Noël Coward at Café de Paris (Café de Paris, London, 6/16/1952-6/29/1952) Creative consultant: Kay Thompson. Van Johnson at the Sands (Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, 4/16/1953-4/29/1953) Kay Thompson directed, choreographed, and vocally arranged Johnson’s show. With Roger Edens, she co-composed the opening number “It’s Good to Be Home Again.” Musical director: Peter Matz. Proposed Judy Holliday-Peter Lawford Nightclub Act (9/1953) In September 1953, Kay Thompson and Roger Edens created an act teaming Judy Holliday and Peter Lawford, the stars of It Should Happen to You (Columbia, 1954) which had just wrapped shooting in July 1953. Despite Holliday’s marriage to musician Dave Oppenheim, a set romance had developed with her leading man Peter Lawford. Roger and Kay co-wrote an opening number called “What is Entertainment?” and, with Kay cracking her whip, Holliday and Lawford rehearsed off-and-on between pictures throughout the fall and winter, but ultimately the teaming was only good as long as the romance lasted—which wasn’t long. Peter’s April 1954 marriage to Pat Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy, put the kibosh on the whole affair. As for Holliday’s marriage, the damage was done; she separated from Oppenheim in 1955 and the divorce was finalized in 1957. A year after Holliday started working with Thompson and Edens, she was still trying to find a partner for her act. Holliday told a columnist, “It’s not because I’m afraid to face audiences alone. It’s a lot easier to get good material for two people than for a single. I’ll use the material that was written for Peter Lawford and me, but I doubt that I will try to get a name actor to team with. I’m afraid it won’t work out. I’ll just get a funny straight man.” Unfortunately, nothing ever came of it and the Thompson-Edens song “What is Entertainment?” has never surfaced. As for Lawford, his subsequent nightclub appearances—most notably with the Rat Pack—certainly benefitted from Thompson’s coaching, which dated back to his days at MGM when Thompson put him through his paces for Good News (MGM, 1947) and other projects. Marlene Dietrich at the Sahara (Conga Room, Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas, 12/15/1953-1/4/1954 Creative Consultant: Kay Thompson. Musical Director: Peter Matz. Zsa Zsa, Eva & Magda Gabor at the Last Frontier (Ramona Room, Last Frontier Hotel, Las Vegas, 12/28/1953-1/10/1954) Staged and directed by Kay Thompson. Noël Coward at Café de Paris (Café de Paris, London, 10/18/1954) Creative consultant: Kay Thompson. Judy Garland 1955 Summer Tour (Russ Auditorium, San Diego, California, 7/8/1955-7/9/1955; Municipal Auditorium, Long Beach, California, 7/11/1955) Creative consultants: Roger Edens, Leonard Gershe, and Kay Thompson. Three new numbers were composed for this show by Roger Edens and Leonard Gershe (during the same period Edens and Gershe co-wrote “Think Pink” for Kay to perform in Funny Face). Several members of the Holmby Hills Rat Pack came to see the Long Beach show, including Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. After the Long Beach gig, the subsequent tour was canceled when Garland signed to do her first TV special The Ford Star Jubilee: “The Judy Garland Show” (CBS-TV, 9/24/1955) for which Edens, Gershe, and Thompson again served as a creative consultants. Patrice Munsel at the New Frontier (New Frontier Hotel, Las Vegas, 10/3/1955-10/16/1955) Creative consultant, vocal coach, and vocal arranger: Kay Thompson. Staged by Herbert Ross. Musical director: Peter Matz. Noël Coward at the Desert Inn (Desert Inn, Las Vegas, 6/7/1955-7/4/1955) Creative consultant, vocal coach and vocal arranger: Kay Thompson. Accompanist and orchestrations: Peter Matz. A live album, “Noël Coward at Las Vegas,” was released by Columbia Records. A 15-minute promotional featurette entitled Wilbur Clark’s Desert Inn Presents Las Vegas: Recreation Unlimited (MacDonald Film Productions, 1955) includes a candid shot by the swimming pool of Kay Thompson and Noël Coward discussing his show. Pepper Davis & Tony Reese Various Nightclub Acts (Various gigs, mid-to-late 1950s, including Copacabana, New York; Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas; Chez Paree, Chicago; and the Fountainbleau, Miami) From April 1955 to early 1962, Kay Thompson coached and managed Pepper & Reese, a comedy team modeled after Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis. When the Martin & Lewis act broke up in July 1956, Pepper & Reese were well-positioned to fill the void, and, for a time, they got bookings in major supper clubs and television variety shows. When Thompson moved to Rome in 1962, Sammy Davis Jr. took over as manager of the duo. Judy Garland at the New Frontier (New Frontier Hotel, Las Vegas, 7/16/1956-8/19/1956) Staged by Bob Alton. Vocal coach and vocal arranger: Kay Thompson. It was also reported that Kay composed a new song for Garland to perform in this show, but it apparently did not make it into the final rundown. Garland performed in this show with eight backup singer-dancers called “Judy’s Boyfriends”—the staging of which was modeled after Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers (though double the number of boys). Many of the routines devised for this engagement were used and/or adapted for Garland’s gig at the Palace Theatre in New York that opened 9/26/1956. Andy Williams 1956 European Tour (various European cities, early 8/1956 for three weeks) Creative consultant, vocal arranger and vocal coach: Kay Thompson. In support of his recordings for Cadence Records (including his first Top Ten hit “Canadian Sunset”), Andy embarked on a three-week concert tour of European cities that also featured other Cadence Records recording artists on the same bill. The tour helped set the stage for Andy’s single “Butterfly” to hit No. 1 in the U.K. in early 1957. Lisa Kirk Nightclub Tour (Persian Room, Plaza Hotel, New York, opened 9/13/1956; El Rancho Hotel, Las Vegas, opened 11/28/56; Cocoanut Grove, Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, opened 1/1957) Act written and conceived by Kay Thompson and Bob Wells (Kirk’s husband). Directed by Nick Castle. Vocal coach and vocal arranger: Kay Thompson. As a songwriter, Wells had previously collaborated with Mel Tomé on the classic standard “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and with Kay Thompson on the Top 40 hit “Eloise” (Cadence Records). The act made headlines when Kirk opened the show taking a shower on stage. The Hollywood Reporter noted: “The audience is struck by the ornate and lavishly beautiful prop, which is a deluxe shower. Our first view of the new Lisa Kirk comes when she peers over a shoulder-high screen, revealing the pretty head and tresses of the singing star…A sensational version of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’…brings cheers.” Judy Garland at the Palace (Palace Theatre, New York, 9/26/1956-1/8/1957) Official credits in the program: “Special Lyrics and Musical Arrangements by Roger Edens (Courtesy of MGM). Special Lyrics by Kay Thompson. Staged and Directed by Robert Alton. Production Supervised by Sid Luft.” Additionally, Thompson provided vocal coaching and vocal arranging. The New York Times reported that Garland’s dance routines were “devised by Kay Thompson and Robert Alton” and that “a special number created by Kay Thompson” was performed by Garland. Garland performed in this show with eight backup singer-dancers called “Judy’s Boyfriends”—the staging of which was modeled after Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers (though double the number of boys). This was Garland’s second record-breaking engagement at the Palace, this time running for seventeen weeks. It would have run longer but Garland was contractually obligated to do her next television special. June Havoc in A Salute to Cole Porter (New Frontier, Las Vegas, 1/20/1957-2/27/1957) On December 18, 1956, columnist Erskine Johnson announced, “June Havoc paging Kay Thompson to stage her nightclub act. An eyebrow-lifter because Kay was once married to Bill Spier, June’s present hubby.”  Havoc was scheduled to open at the Mocambo in Hollywood on January 8, 1957, but instead opted to succeed Dolores Gray in A Salute to Cole Porter in Las Vegas on January 20, 1957. Havoc’s numbers were tailored to her strengths by Kay Thompson in collaboration with the show’s creator Bob Alton (Kay’s longtime collaborator on her own nightclub acts). The Vegas revue began as a television special Ford Star Jubilee: “You’re The Top: Cole Porter Revue” (CBS-TV, 10/6/1956), staged by Bob Alton, starring Dolores Gray, Peter Lind Hayes, Mary Healy, George Sanders, Louis Armstrong, Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Dorothy Dandridge, and Bing Crosby. Alton had wanted Thompson to collaborate with him on creating the Cole Porter TV special but she was too busy with her own Playhouse 90 production of “Eloise” that aired in November 1956. Sadly, this TV event and its Las Vegas stage spinoff was one of the last hurrahs of Alton who died June 12, 1957. Judy Garland 1957-58 Tour (Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas, 5/1/1957-5/21/1957; Riviera Theatre, Detroit, Michigan, 5/30/1957-6/5/1957; Dallas State Fair, Dallas, Texas, 6/10/1957-6/23/1957; Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, 6/25/1957-7/7/1957; Loew’s Capital Theatre, Washington, D.C., 9/16/1957- 9/21/1957; Mastbaum Theatre, Philadelphia, 9/26/1957-10/1/1957; Dominion Theatre, London, 10/16/1957-11/16/1957; Royal Command Performance Variety Show, Palladium, London, 11/18/1957; Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas, 12/26/1957 & 12/31/1957—engagement cut short due to illness and dispute with management; Town and Country Club, Brooklyn, New York, 3/20/1958-3/30/1958—cut short due to severe colitis and dispute with management; Minnesota State Centennial Celebration, 5/11/1958.) Vocal coach, vocal arranger, and choreographer: Kay Thompson. Much of the act was adapted from Garland’s 1956-57 engagement at the Palace in New York (Special Lyrics and Musical Arrangements by Roger Edens. Special Lyrics by Kay Thompson. Staged and Directed by Robert Alton). Eleven-year-old Liza Minnelli frequently joined her mother on stage to perform “Swanee River” and/or “In Between.” Four-and-a-half-year-old Lorna Luft frequently joined her mother on stage to perform “Jingle Bells.” On 6/15/1957, Garland received word that Bob Alton had died; she was so distraught, she canceled the night’s show after four songs. Ginger Rogers Nightclub Act (Havana Riviera Hotel & Casino, Havana, Cuba, 12/10/1957- 12/23/1957) Director, choreographer, vocal arranger, and coach: Kay Thompson. Accompanist and orchestrations: Peter Matz. Kay also hired Stephen Sondheim to compose a new song for the show entitled “Night Is the Best Part of the Day.” Judy Garland 1958-59 Tour (Cocoanut Grove, Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, 7/23/1958-8/5/1958; Orchestra Hall, Chicago, 9/4/1958-9/9/1958; The Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, 10/1/1958-10/14/1958; The Fountainbleu Hotel, Miami, 2/17/1959-3/1/1959; Stanley Opera House, Baltimore, Maryland, 4/27/1959-5/3/1959; Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 5/11/1959-5/17/1959; Chicago Opera House, 6/1/1959-6/7/1959; San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, 7/1/1959- 7/10/1959; The Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, 7/11/1959-7/18/1959; Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas, 10/18/1959-10/24/1959) Staged by Charles Walters. Vocal arrangements by Roger Edens and Kay Thompson. Vocal coach: Kay Thompson. Much of the act was adapted from Garland’s 1956-57 engagement at the Palace in New York, though stripped down to a brisk sixty-minute, one-act routine. Twelve-year-old Liza Minnelli frequently joined her mother on stage to perform a song-and-dance routine of “Swanee River.” The last night of the Cocoanut Grove engagement was recorded for a live album, Garland at the Grove, released by Columbia Records in 1959. Andy Williams 1959 European Tour (various European cities, early 1/1959 for several weeks) Creative consultant, vocal arranger and vocal coach: Kay Thompson. In support of his recordings for Cadence Records (including his international 1957 No.1 hit “Butterfly”), Andy embarked on a concert tour of European cities that also featured other Cadence Records recording artists on the same bill. While in Sweden, a thirty-minute television special was produced, entitled The Archie Bleyer Show  (broadcast in Sweden on 2/9/1959) featuring Archie Bleyer (owner of Cadence Records), and performances by the label’s recording artists Andy Williams, the Everly Brothers, and the Chordettes. Andy Williams at the Copacabana (Copacabana, New York, 6/15/1959-6/28/1959) Creative consultant, vocal arranger and vocal coach: Kay Thompson. To wow audiences and critics, Kay brought in ten additional musicians to augment the eight band members who regularly played at the Copacabana. The added expense paid off. The unusual lush sound garnered rave reviews, helping to set the stage for Andy to become a top nightclub attraction. Andy Williams at the Flamingo (Flamingo Hotel, opening 8/1960 for two weeks) Creative consultant, vocal arranger and vocal coach: Kay Thompson. Andy’s first solo gig in Las Vegas. Business was so brisk, the Flamingo signed him to a three-year deal to perform several weeks each year, exclusively for the hotel. (Simultaneously, seventeen-year-old Claudine Longet was performing as an ensemble showgirl in Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana; Andy and Claudine met, fell in love, and were married the following year on 12/15/1961 in Bel Air (thusly officially ending any lingering romantic ties between Andy and Kay Thompson). Andy Williams at Harrah’s (South Shore Room, Harrah’s Stateline Lounge, Lake Tahoe, 9/5/1960- 9/18/1960) Creative consultant, vocal arranger and vocal coach: Kay Thompson. Andy was on a double-bill with Benny Goodman and His Orchestra. Business was so brisk, Harrah’s signed Andy to a three year deal to perform several weeks each year, exclusively for its hotels in Lake Tahoe and Reno. Judy Garland 1960 European Tour (London Palladium, London, 8/28/1960 & 9/4/1960; Le Palais de Chaillot, Paris, 10/5/1960 & 10/7/1960; Leeds Odeon Theatre, London, 10/16/1960; Birmingham Odeon Theatre, Birmingham, England, 10/23/1960; “Concert for John F. Kennedy,” Wiesbaden, Germany, 10/26/1960; Olympia Theatre, Paris, 10/28/1960 & 10/29/1960; two concerts in Frankfurt, Germany, circa 11/1960; De Montford Hall, Leister, England, 11/15/1960; Royal Command Variety Show, Palladium, London, 12/1/1960; Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England, 12/4/1960; Tuschinski Theatre, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 12/10/1960) Much of this act was adapted from Garland’s 1958-59 United States tour. Staged by Charles Walters. Vocal arrangements by Roger Edens and Kay Thompson. Vocal coach: Kay Thompson. Judy Garland 1961 Tour, Part 1 (Deauville Hotel, Miami, 1/9/1961; Concord Hotel, Catskills, New York, 2/12/1961; State Fair Auditorium, Dallas, Texas, 2/21/1961; City Auditorium, Houston, Texas, 2/23/1961; tour break to film Judgment at Nuremburg; Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, New York, 4/6/1961; Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., 4/8/1961; Municipal Auditorium, Birmingham, Alabama, 4/11/1961; Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia, 4/13/1961; Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina, 4/15/1961; Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina, 4/17/1961) Creative consultant, vocal coach, vocal arrangements, and choreographer: Kay Thompson. This “warm-up” tour honed the penultimate act that Garland would perform at Carnegie Hall (4/23/1961). The John F. Kennedy Inaugural Gala (National Guard Armory, Washington, D.C., 1/19/1961) Director, coach, choreographer, vocal arranger, choral director: Kay Thompson. Producer: Roger Edens. Head writer: Leonard Gershe. Executive Producers: Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford. Starring Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Ethel Merman, Ella Fitzgerald, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nat King Cole, Tony Curtis & Janet Leigh, Gene Kelly, Sidney Poitier, Jimmy Durante, Milton Berle, Bette Davis, Mahalia Jackson, Fredric March, Harry Belafonte and the Belafonte Singers, Kay Thompson, Helen Traubel, Alan King, Bill Dana (in character as José Jiménez), Pat Suzuki, Louis Prima & Keely Smith, Juliet Prowse, Sam Butera and the Witnesses, the Tom Hanson Dancers, the Hugh Lambert Dancers, plus a 75-piece orchestra alternately conducted by Nelson Riddle and Leonard Bernstein, augmented by a 300-member super chorus from Catholic University, Trinity College and Howard University. For the opening and closing of the show, Thompson led the cast in an all-star parade singing “Walking Down to Washington.”   Andy Williams at the Copacabana (Copacabana, New York, 4/15/1961-4/28/1961) Creative consultant, vocal arranger and vocal coach: Kay Thompson. Andy’s second engagement at the famed New York nightclub, again with an augmented orchestra at Kay’s behest. Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall (Carnegie Hall, New York, 4/23/1961 & 5/21/1961) Creative consultant, vocal coach, vocal arranger, choreographer: Kay Thompson. Widely considered to be Garland’s penultimate concert, this April 23, 1961, Carnegie Hall concert spawned a live double LP, Judy at Carnegie Hall (Capitol Records), which spent thirteen weeks at No. 1 and collected five Grammy Awards including Album of the Year. “Kay not only advised Judy on the songs,” recalled Mort Lindsey, music director for Judy at Carnegie Hall, “but she did her choreography, too. When Judy did ‘Chicago,’ for instance, she had a routine all worked out, where her feet were going to go, exactly when her feet were going to stamp. She did it each time identically, and this was what Kay had worked out with her very specifically.” By popular demand, an encore concert at Carnegie Hall was performed the following month, on May 21, 1961. Judy Garland 1961 Tour, Part 2 (Academy of Music, Philadelphia, 4/29/1961; Mosque Theatre, Newark, NJ, 5/2/1961; Civic Opera House, Chicago, 5/6/1961; Music Hall, Dallas, 5/8/1961; San Houston Coliseum, Houston, 5/10/1961; Masonic Auditorium, Detroit, 5/12/1961; Music Hall, Cleveland, 5/14/1961; Carnegie Hall—encore concert, 5/21/1961; Forest Hills Stadium, Forest Hills, Queens, NY, 7/1/1961; Newport Jazz Festival, Rhode Island, 7/3/1961; Forest Hills Stadium, Forest Hills, Queens, NY, 7/30/1961; Convention Hall Ballroom, Atlantic City, NJ, 8/4/1961 & 9/3/1961; Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, 9/13/1961; Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, 9/16/1961; Coliseum, Denver, Colorado, 9/20/1961; Westchester Country Club, White Plains, NY, 9/29/1961; Bushnell Auditorium, Hartford, Connecticut, 10/1/1961; Mosque Theatre, Newark, NJ, 10/7/1961; War Memorial, Rochester, NY, 10/17/1961; Civic Auditorium, Pittsburgh, 10/19/1961; Arena, Haddonfield, NJ, 10/21/1961; Garden, Boston, 10/27/1961; Forum, Montreal, Canada, 10/29/1961; break to record songs and voice for animated film Gay Purr-ee which Kay vocal coached; Beverly Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles, 11/20/1961; Exhibition Hall, Miami, 11/25/1961; Stanley Theatre, Jersey City, NJ, 11/28/1961; O’Keefe Center, Toronto, Canada, 12/3/1961 & 12/5/1961; and, the National Guard Amory, Washington, D.C., 12/9/1961) Creative consultant, vocal coach, vocal arrangements, and choreographer: Kay Thompson. The penultimate act that Garland performed at Carnegie Hall (4/23/1961) was the basis for the rest of this 1961 tour (including an encore concert at Carnegie Hall, 5/21/1961).   Robert & Ethel Kennedy’s Eleventh Anniversary Dinner Dance (On the lawn of Robert Kennedy’s Virginia Estate, June 17, 1961) Accompanied by Lester Lanin and His Orchestra, Kay Thompson, Judy Garland and Ethel Merman sang “The Trolley Song” from Meet Me in St. Louis. Vocal coach and vocal arranger: Kay Thompson. Andy Williams at the Palmer House (Empire Room, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, 8/3/1961- 8/16/1961) Creative consultant, vocal arranger and vocal coach: Kay Thompson. Judy Garland & Liza Minnelli at the London Palladium (Palladium, London, 11/8/1964 & 11/15/1964) Creative consultant, vocal arranger and vocal coach: Kay Thompson. These concerts were recorded for the album Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli “Live” at the London Palladium (Capitol Records, 1965). Liza: Liza Minnelli Live at the Winter Garden (Winter Garden Theatre, New York, 1/06/1974- 1/26/1974) Vocal coach and advisor to Liza Minnelli: Kay Thompson. Miscellaneous: In the 1970s, Kay coached and advised Liza Minnelli in everything she did. She also helped create nightclub acts for Baroness Nina Van Pallandt and Neile Adams (Steve McQueen’s ex- wife). She preached style and method acting to Peter Allen. She even taught Prince Albert of Monaco how to sing. After a shaky audition, Kay told the prince to imagine himself on the balcony of the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo, overlooking the curve during the Grand Prix. “You’re wearing a white tuxedo and a scarf,” she said suggestively. “A silver Jag pulls up and out comes the most beautiful woman you have ever seen in a multicolored chiffon gown with a gardenia in her hair. Now sing it again.” He did—and his vocals improved. Liza’s at the Palace (Palace Theatre, New York, 12/3/2008-1/4/2009) Liza Minnelli’s triumphant engagement at the Palace devoted its entire second act to a tribute / recreation of the nightclub act of Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers, with Liza portraying Kay Thompson, and, Cortez Alexander, Jim Caruso, Tiger Martina, and Johnny Rodgers portraying the four Williams Brothers. Kay’s compositions (“Hello, Hello,” “Jubilee Time,” “I Love a Violin”), vocal arrangements [“Basin Street Blues,” “Liza (All The Clouds'll Roll Away)” (cut from Ziegfeld Follies), “Clap Yo’ Hands” (from Funny Face)], and choreography were lovingly recreated with precision, with the help of accompanist- conductor Billy Stritch and director-choreographer Ron Lewis. Sam Irvin, author of Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise, served as the historical consultant. (For two years leading up to this Broadway engagement, Liza and company toured the world workshopping and refining this tribute to Kay Thompson.) Liza’s at the Palace received rave reviews and, on June 7, 2009, from the stage of Radio City Music Hall, broadcast to millions around the world, the Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event was awarded to Liza’s at the Palace. Everything had come full circle and Minnelli’s emotional acceptance speech said it all: “I just wanted to thank my parents for the greatest gift they ever gave me: my godmother, Kay Thompson.” Liza’s at the Palace was later videotaped at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for a PBS television special (broadcast in 11/2009 and 12/2009) and a release on DVD (MPI Home Video, 2/2010), directed by Matthew Diamond and produced by Craig Zadan & Neil Meron. A cast album of Liza’s at the Palace was released on CD (Hybrid / Sire Records, 2009), produced by Phil Ramone.
Kayographies
Think Pink! Think Pink! Think Pink! Part One: Headlining Part Two: Behind the Scenes Part Three: The Music Part Four: The Books
Kay Thompson and Judy Garland, London, 1951
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