Celebrate your day in style
Tonight I want to see you smile
Your whole life is in front of you, you’ve only just begun
So Happy Birthday
The best is yet to come
Happy Birthday to you
The good things I could say about you are infinite
But I will only take a minute
To say the world is a better place with you in it
With you in it
You know just how to be
I’m glad you’re you with me
To know you is to love you, to love you is to be blessed
So Happy Birthday
You deserve the best
Every time I ever reach out for you
You never let me down
Any time you’re ever in need of a friend
I will always be around
You are everything that’s good
You are everything that matters
I would give you the world if I could
You will always be a part of me and all that I go through
So Happy Birthday, dear friend
May all your dreams come true
Happy birthday to you
The Broadway star who turned Stephen Sondheim’s song of survival “I’m Still Here” into a personal anthem of triumph over booze, diabetes, unfaithful lovers, indifferent producers, demanding directors, fawning fans, and long stretches of unemployment before achieving the status of Living Legend in her later decades, died last week. She passed away in Birmingham, MI, the Detroit suburb to which she decamped a year ago after living the fabulous life for years at Madison Avenue’s Hotel Carlyle. She was 89. Broadway dimmed its lights for one minute on Friday at 7:45 PM in tribute. Host Robert Hammond as he paid tribute to Elaine Stritch during Stage Notes July 26, 2014. Full program below.
Follow Stage Notes on Twitter @stagenotes. Now, on with the show…
Is The Great White Way Gay?
A good friend of mine was in a lead role in a blockbuster musical on Broadway. After the Saturday evening performance, it was customary for the cast and crew to chill out at what they called “their place.” Since I was a frequent attendee, I became an honoree part of the group. On one such night, I asked my friend “is —- gay.” He responded: “Robert, on Broadway you don’t ask if a person is gay, you ask if they’re straight.”
For certain, I knew about the stereotypes and flamboyancy that often surrounds theatre people, but I had not developed such a hard core syllogism: If you’re in theatre you must be gay. I don’t believe that. However, I do believe that the theatre is a safe haven for many LGBT people, especially gay men.
I was thrilled that Dr. Allan O’Grady Cuseo joined me on this important edition of Stage Notes. Broadcast date June 21, 2014. Take time to read his impressive bio:
Dr. Allan O’GradyCuseo earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1988. He also holds a Masters in Library Science from SUNY/Geneseo and a BS in Education from SUNY/GENESEO. He holds a Master of Theology from St. Bernard’s College of Theology and Ministry plus a certificate in Scriptural Studies from Education for Ministry from Sewanee. He holds a certificate in Irish Theatre from the University College, Galway Ireland.
Dr. Cuseo was Building Leader for Library Services at Greece Arcadia High School and was instrumental in establishing the Project Pride, a student teaching, program there. He was on the adjunct faculty of Nazareth College of Rochester for over 25 years and 10 years for the School of Library Science at UB/SUNY’s School of Information and Library Science. He was on the adjunct faculty of the now closed Graduate School of Information and Library Science, SUNY/GENESEO. Allan resigned as Director of Library Services for Bishop Kearney High School in June 2009. He is currently General Manager of the Rochester Association of Performing Arts/Main Street (RAPA).
As a member of the American Library Association he has served as chairperson for the Outstanding Books for College Bound (Fine Arts) Revision Committee and has been a member of the Outstanding Books for College Bound (Fiction) Committee and the School Library Journal/Young Adult Services Division Committee to choose the Young Adult Author of the Year Award. He was awarded a position on the Best Books for Young Adults, one of 15 librarians nationwide so honored. He was the Chair of the Religion Committee for the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Committee of the Young Adult Services Association of the American Library Association. He also was Chair of Books That Don’t Make you Blush for the same committee. He recently resigned as a major book reviewer for Catholic Library World magazine.
For his volunteer work with the City of Rochester PAC-TAC program he has been awarded merit honors for his service as Security chairperson for the Corn Hill Neighbors Association (CHNA). He served on the Board of Directors of CHNA and on the Corn Hill Arts Festival Executive Board. He has been the Chairperson of Security for the famous Corn Hill Arts Festival for 26 years.
He was President of Blackfriars Theatre of Rochester, New York, having served as President of the Board of Directors for over 40 years. For 7 years he was President of the Rochester City Ballet, the city’s only professional ballet company. He has served on the Planning Committee for the Right-On Summer School for the Church of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene, Chairperson of the Evangelism Committee, Co-chairperson of the Ambassadors ministry, and a member of the Christian Education Committee. He was on the church’s vestry and serves as a delegate for the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester. He was a member of the planning committee for the Lay School of Theology (Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Wellspring.
Dr. Cuseo has lectured and offered over 200 workshops nationwide for the New York Library Association and the American Library Association. Allan O’Grady Cuseo, PhD has a Doctorate in Literary Analysis from Columbia University. Formerly a librarian for the Greece Central School District, Dr. Cuseo retired June 2009 as Director of Library Services for Bishop Kearney High School.
He began his theatre career as a young teen with the Rochester Community Players and Catholic Theatre of Rochester (later renamed Blackfriars Theatre). He was the co-founder of the Rochester Repertory Company and starred in over 200 children and adult productions. The company specialized in children’s shows and performances for shut-ins in the community.
He is currently Managing Director of the Greater Rochester Repertories Companies (GRRC) and has directed Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap twice for them for which the Theatre Association of New York (TANYS) awarded him an Outstanding Director designation. For GRRC’s production of Love Letters he received an award from TANYS for Excellence in Acting.
Professionally in New York City he was a member of the Jewish Theatre for Children and also performed in Macy’s Christmas shows. He did summer stock at the famous Theatre-by-the-Sea in Matunuk, Rhode Island. He has worked on tour, both on-stage and technically, with Debbie Reynolds, Imogene Coca, Judy Garland, Kim Hunter, Patrice Munsel, Patty Duke, John Astin, Godfrey Cambridge, Hans Conried, Lou Jacobi, and Jane Connell.
It has been estimated that he has been in over 400 theatre productions. In a review in Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle it was said of Allan that “he has the most perfect comedy timing of anyone in Rochester Theatre.” Another review stated, “he walks on stage and the audience immediately loves him. He is pure magic on stage.”
Allan is a vowed religious brother of the Mercy of God Community, known as Br. Allan. In 2011 he was ordained by Open Ministry.