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Thalia Book Club Camp offers up-close interaction with renowned children's book authors and illustrators, book discussions, and book-related field trips around the city. This blog follows the camp's activities.

Happy Holidays!

Published on December 6, 2007

Hi there, Blog Readers, and Happy Holidays!

I haven’t blogged in a bit because I’ve been over my head in the details of planning the January 10th Symphony Space 30th Anniversary Star-Studded Birthday Bash.  This theatre, as many of you may know, was born as an aftermath of a singular all-day concert on January 7th, 1978, the first WALL TO WALL BACH.

Well, we said, this 30th Anniversary Season (where HAVE the years gone?) must include a Birthday Party. And, since we’re a performing arts organization, why of course it has to be a performing birthday party.

But what?  What to do and who to cast in it?  It occurred to me that perhaps the wisest thing would be to see who we could get to be here on Thursday, January 10th, thirty years and three days after our creation, and then make up something for them to do!

So, working with our Project Coordinator, Allegra Vecchio and my assistant, Mac Barrett, we put together names and addresses and numbers of about one hundred and thirty stars of literary, musical, dance, and other programs offered here over the past three decades.  We sent them a letter asking if they would like to come celebrate with us on January 10 and promised that if they said yes, we would soon tell them what they would sing, or read, or act, or do that night.

I thought, well, if twenty stars say they can be here, we’ll put together some kind of glittery night and have some fun.  Well, as of yesterday, more than EIGHTY  stars, on an alphabetical list that runs from David Amram  and Rene Auberjonois to Eugenia Zukerman and William Zukof of The Western Wind have said yes, we’ll be there with bells on, tell us what to do!

So a historic program is taking shape that is NOT a Wall to Wall 12 hour marathon, but a regular 8pm show (with regular low Symph ticket prices) that will end before 11.  The singers are singing SHORT songs!  The story readers are reading microfictions.  Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara have promised not to ad lib beyond their assigned 3-minute comedy sketch about the Symph telephone receptionist.  Fritz Weaver and Fionnula Flanagan are condensing James Joyce’s Ulysses into 2 minutes, no more, for The Shortest Bloomsday ever.  Donna Murphy assures me that her Sondheim song runs UNDER 3 minutes, and Theo Bikel will not sing the extra stanzas of his guitar number.  Alec Baldwin’s baseball haiku poems take about a minute and a half.  You get the idea.

The logistics of the day, rehearsals, sound checks, videotaping, etcetera are all being planned now, including getting Andrea Marcovicci out of here right after her Gershwin song and into a car headed downtown in time for her show at The Algonquin.  Tony Roberts is zooming uptown AFTER his Broadway performance that night to be in one of the final segments of the Birthday Bash.

Counting accompanists, dancers, and musicians, it looks now like 95 performers will be on stage on 95th Street that night.  Hope you can make it.

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