Life is Beautiful!
The Girls are Beautiful!
The Audience was Beautiful!
The Show was Stunning!
DO40’s Biggest – and Best – Panel and Performance!

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Joel Grey, Sandy Duncan, Don Correia, Marge Champion, Donna McKecknie and Ben Vereen.

Monday, October 21st was a luminous night for DO40, panelists, performers – and especially the sold-out audience who attended Dancers Over 40’s latest panel and performance, this time honoring Director/Choreographer Ron Field.  Along with seven members from the original production, on hand were Marge Champion, Sandy Duncan & Don Correia, Joel Grey, Donna McKechnie, Lee Roy Reams and Ben Vereen.  A star-studded night, indeed for DO40! 

Video clips from Ron’s shows were interspersed with performance pieces by the CABARET cast, Donna McKechnie, and the “Dueling Duanes,” Lee Roy Reams, Harvey Evans and Lawrence Merritt, all of whom portrayed Duane in APPLAUSE.  

DO40 Ron Field Tribute

Cast members from the original Broadway version of CABARET: Marianne Selbert, Bert Michaels,
Patricia Michaels, Rita O’Connor, Carol Hanzel, Steve Boockvor and
Bonnie Walker – staged by Marianne Selbert – with their “original selves” shown in the background!

The panel segments whisked by – no one noticed 3 ½ hours passed!  The CABARET cast with the wonderfully honest, witty and direct Joel Grey, and moderators Harvey Evans and Lawrence Merritt; The Fabulous D’honau Sisters – Marilyn, Lillian and Dorothy, Lee Roy Reams – and that was just Act One!

DO40 Ron Field Tribute

L to R: Marianne Selbert, Patricia Michaels, Bert Michaels, Moderator Harvey Evans,
Joel Grey, Moderator Lawrence Merritt, Rita O'Connor, Steve Boockvor, Bonnie Walker and Carol Hanzel.

Act Two’s panels included segments with Marge Champion, Sandy Duncan and Don Correia, moderated by Harvey Evans and Marianne Selbert, and insightful discussions with Ben Vereen and Donna McKechnie.  Donna led the panelists and performers into a sing along that included songs from ON THE TOWN and CABARET. 

DO40 Ron Field Tribute

L to R: Marilyn D'honau, Lillian D'honau, Dorothy D'honau and Moderator Lawrence Merritt.

The audience was ablaze with the best of the best – DO40 members, Legacy Award honorees, new facebook fans and Friends of Dancers over 40 (FODO 40’s as they are known!).  Ben Vereen singled out his ballet teacher from the High School of Performing Arts, 2011 Legacy Award honoree Bella Malinka, and Gary Gendell, Carolyn Kirsch and Legacy honorees Ken Urmston and Nicole Barth were also in attendance, and spoke from the audience with reminiscences of Ron and his work.  Fosse biographer and DO40 member Kevin Winkler, Harry Haun, St. Luke’s producer Ed Gaynes, Virginia Seidel and a gaggle more of gypsies going back at least 45 years filled out the crowd.

DO40 Ron Field Tribute

Harvey Evans, Lee Roy Reams and Lawrence Merritt in front of their younger selves
performing on an Anne Bancroft Special in the 60s.

Special thanks to our new – and youngest -- members from Marymount Manhattan College and Broadway Dance Center, teachers and students, Roger Ellis, Bethany Elkin, Tim Allen, Kevin Breseley and BDC blogger Mary Callahan, none of them over 30 – but all of them involved in DO40 to learn about the History, Legacy and Lives of the performers, choreographers and artists who came before them. 

DO40 Ron Field Tribute

Act I Finale, APPLAUSE, with Harvey Evans, Lee Roy Reams
and Lawrence Merritt leading the cast members of Act I.

From DO40 member Karin Baker:  “It was a fabulous event!  It was a pleasure to help take tickets and just to hug so many older dancers!!! Thanks so much Harvey and Larry for making it a dream come true.  I felt very proud and happy to be counted as a dancer who has a legacy to offer along with all those talented people on stage. We were all a part of something special that doesn't happen today. I must have hugged over fifty people last night!!! I never had the pleasure of working with Ron, but I had worked with almost everyone who was up there. I auditioned for Ron when I was eighteen and almost got a job at the Latin Quarter. Now I wish I had actually gotten the job. But I do remember how much fun his audition was. It felt last night like he had the right and proper send off! Thanks DO40, for making it happen!!!”

DO40 Ron Field Tribute

Ben Vereen waxes nostalgic about Ron Field and his Emmy Winning TV Special,
with Harvey Evans and Marianne Selbert
.

From new DO40 member Barbara Wasson:  “I just wanted to tell you how wonderful the tribute to Ron Field was the other night! I'm still trying to take it all in because it was so incredible. To be in the company of so many talented people, people who have inspired and entertained me since I was a little girl; to spend an evening extolling the amazing art of dance and choreography; it was nourishment to my soul! Everyone was so friendly and delightful.  It's a privilege to be a part of this fun organization. If you ever need someone to stuff envelopes, lick stamps or run for coffee, I would be an enthusiastic volunteer.  Again, thank you so much.”

DO40 Ron Field Tribute

Don Correia and Sandy Duncan.

From DO40 Board Member James Dybas:  “What a terrific evening! Everyone was saying that it was the best ever. I have to say, Harvey Evans did a great job tonight, he really kept it moving and knew exactly when to stop a panel discussion and move on. He really does his homework!”

DO40 Ron Field Tribute

Act II Finale from ON THE TOWN and CABARET, led by Donna McKechnie.

From DO40 member Leni Anders:  “It really was a spectacular event – and worked well being at 7:00pm.  It was the best organized event we’ve had, and really ran smoothly….  Congratulations – they get better every time.”

DO40 Ron Field Tribute

Curtain Call with the Cast (Joel Grey and Ben Vereen absent).

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Photo By Jeff Eason, Wilsonmodels, Inc