Wednesday night I went to see an old friend perform in concert in the Palm Springs area. Broadway and film legend Miss Carol Channing performed in 'A Carol Channing Christmas', at the Agua Caliente Resort & Casino. The evening starred Carol Channing, Rich Little and the American Glee Club. The show was a benefit for Carol's charitable organization for schools. I've long been a fan of Miss Channing. Earlier this year, in January I had dinner with Miss Channing at Melyvn's restaurant. The last time I saw her perform on stage, however was back in 2007 at the McCallum Theatre. Time has marched on, but at 90, Miss Channing continues to have the drive and ambition to perform her signature songs, albeit in a much weaker voice.
Toward the end of the show, her husband, Harry shared with the audience that Carol had been in the hospital. She checked out to perform this show, and would be returning to the hospital again after the show. No idea what she had been in for, but somehow she pulled it together to perform. Without question, she has slowed and can't belt them out like she used to, but she is a national treasure, and I consider it an honor and a treat to be able to see her perform again.
It had been ages since I last saw impersonator Rich Little-- he was actually quite entertaining. Comedian/writer Bruce Vilanch made a brief and amusing appearance in a Santa Claus costume, and told a PG rated joke or two.
She and her husband continue their focus on arts programs in schools, through the 'Dr. Carol Channing & Harry Kullijian Foundation for the Arts', a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to bringing arts and music into schools to help kids. You can learn more about their charity here. It was an enjoyable night for a good cause, but mostly it was swell to see Carol on stage again.