Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An Evening With Miss Carol Channing

I'm so excited to share this post with you today. Last night I had the pleasure of attending an intimate dinner party with the Broadway legend Miss Carol Channing. She and her husband live right here in our desert, but this evening was a special opportunity to spend an evening with Miss Channing. It was part of the speaker series at Melvyn's restaurant, my favorite hot spot in Palm Springs. Before dinner, Carol socialized with dinner guests, making small talk and cracking jokes with us individually. She has such a great personality and is very down to earth. You may be surprised to learn that she appeared in 5,000 Broadway stage performances in her career. Carol Channing has earned three Tony Awards, a Lifetime Achievement award, a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination too. Miss Channing is probably best known for originating the Broadway the musical productions of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, as the ditsy bombshell Lorelei Lee, and in Hello Dolly as the matchmaking widow Dolly Gallagher Levi. She has also received an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts by California State University and works tirelessly today to raise money for schools to provide arts programs to children. On January 31st she turns 89 years old, yet she is full of life and spry as can be.

above: a publicity photo from her last book: "Just Lucky I Guess, a biography of Sorts"

above: Miss Channing stands next to her husband Harry Kulijian, as he speaks about her work to help increase Arts programs at schools in California.

above: I asked Carol to perform her famous comedy sketch of "Cecilia Sisson" a hilarious routine for which she is famous. She had the room in stitches and fits of laughter. Carol still speaks with her signature style, raspy-voiced silly, at times dithering routine where she searches for words, stammers and pokes fun at herself. It's been a classic part of her persona and still holds true today. She is truly one of a kind.

above: Carol sang a few songs, but it was her rendition of "Hello Dolly" that had the room thrilled and singing along. I last saw Carol in concert here in Palm Springs nearly three years ago at the McCallum Theatre, with Debbie Reynolds (Carol stole the show that night).

above: this is one of my favorite acts she performs- the Cecilia Sisson bit I mentioned earlier. Her comedy and timing is spot-on.

above: It was really great to have the opportunity to spend time with Carol and chat directly with her for so long. She is a true living legend in the entertainment industry, and I'm honored to have shared a meal with her. Oh by the way, Carol will be receiving a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in a few months. I'll be sure to report on that right here.
-Rick Rockhill


Anonymous said...

I can't believe you met the original Broadway Mame! WOW!

grace said...

that's terrific! I have always liked Carol Channing, she appears to me that she would be absultely charming to meet.

kenju said...

I loved the video!!

Mags said...

How wonderful! She just exudes such energy. It must have rocked being in the same room as her, let alone speaking to her!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

that is wonderful rick!!! she is really something special and i am so happy you got to go.

smiles, bee

Rhodester said...

RICK! I saw her downtown a few times when I was there. I had no idea who she was, but I recognize her from your pics.


KathyA said...

Priceless! Look at her face when people start to laugh -- Cecelia is appalled but doesn't quite know what to do.
Has anyone ever refused you a photo?

Odat said...

I love her! So nice for you to meet her! I hope I live that long and am in that great shape!

C said...

Ohhh! Cool post, Rick!

WAT said...

Bravo to Carol for still kicking ass at her age!


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