Friday, August 15, 2014
Summer Stock Memories
The Valley Forge Music Fair used to be like a circus tent with a fabric top and when it rained heavily, the noise was so loud you couldn't hear the show. That happened during part of Coco with Ginger Rogers. (It was later renovated as a permanent theater.) We did see Applause there, but not with Bacall. Eva Gabor was the star (if you can imagine Margo Channing with a Hungarian accent.) She had broken her ankle and we had to make do with the understudy. It was at the performance that we saw nuns change their seats and I said to my father, "If nuns can move closer, so can we." Frank Gorshin was headlining Promises, Promises the following week and he broke his ankle as well (He joked he was doing an Eva Gabor impersonation at a party.) But he was a real trooper and went on for the matinee which we attended. Also at Valley Forge, we saw Vivian Blaine, Robert Alda, Jane Kean and Selma Diamond in Follies, Angela Lansbury in Gypsy (before the production went to Broadway), Jan Peerce in Fiddler on the Roof, Theodore Bikel and Lanie Kazan in Jacques Brel. In the 1980s, musicals and plays became too expensive and they presented only solo star attractions like Robert Goulet, Jim Nabors, Eartha Kitt, Kenny Rogers, etc. In 1996, the Music Fair was torn down to make way for a shopping center.