The only thing missing from Sunday night’s tribute to Sammy Cahn at the Wilshire Theater was a screen with a bouncing ball for the applauding audience to join the singing stars on stage.
The program in the Temple of the Arts’ theater signaled the restoration progam in progress, creating the Beverly Hills Performing Arts Center, said Rabbi David Baron before Corky Hale uncorked her sensaysh musical treat — songs lyrically created by Sammy Cahn — with the top pop composers. To bring Sammy’s lyrics and the music to life, Corky assembled a superb cast of warblers: Freda Payne, Byron Motley, Judith Owen, Harry Shearer, Karen Morrow, Steve Tyrell and yes, Corky also chimed in on one. The romantic songs included “Call Me Irresponsible”, “Please Be Kind,” “I Should Care,” “All The Way,” to the upbeat, “Come Fly With Me,” and the offbeat “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.” I was particularly pleased to hear Freda Payne sing “It’s Been A Long, Long Time” (music by Jule Styne).
In 1993, Sammy wrote another set of “It’s Been A Long, Long Time” lyrics — it was for me and the 40th anniversary writing the column. Lenard Maltin, who warmly narrated, also intro’d a film clip showing Sammy at the piano, singing a few (of the hundreds!) of parodied songs he’d sung at celeb dinners over the years — decades…
Next tribute on the Wilshire Theater stage is the Oct. 1. “Thank Q: A World Music Tribute to the humanitarian works of Quincy Jones benefitting Malaria No More and Millennium Promise.
Corky Hale next heads to the Flanders Film Fest as a judge. She performs Nov.9-12 at N.Y.’s Metropolitan Room and is working on a rewrite of her show, “Lullabye Of Broadway”, the life of Al Dubin…Husband Mike Stoller, who was in the audience Sunday, is working on the B’way bow of “Laughing Matters” with Artie Butler and Iris Dart. Stoller and (Jerry) Leiber’s “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” bows at the El Portal, Dec.9 with three members of the original B’way cast as companies of the show continue to play internationally.