Last night, when Barbra walked onto the stage and looked up at Marvin's picture - before heading to the microphone - the audience could already sense that they were in for something very special. After Terre Hamlisch's (Marvin's widow) opening speech, and a number of performances of music from Marvin's career, Barbra was there to bring it all home... Back to Manhattan, where she and Marvin started their careers, but more specifically, at The Juilliard School, where Marvin had trained and where a scholarship fund has been set up in his honor. Attendees last night were urged to contribute to the fund.
(For those of you who would like to contribute to the fund, the address is: Juilliard School Development Office. Attention: Riccardo Salmona. 60 Lincoln Center Plaza New York, ny 10023)
Barbra proceeded to talk about her friend Marvin and elicited both laughter and tears. When she unexpectedly put the iconic favorite "The Way We Were" together with the theme from Ice Castles "Looking Through The Eyes Of Love" - with special lyrics - there wasn't a dry eye in the house, whether you were in the audience, or backstage. The way Barbra felt about Marvin was visibly apparent. Joe Torre, the former manager of the Yankees, who was in attendance last night, was surely thinking "She knocked it out of the ballpark!"
Richard Jay-Alexander, who was there, told me, exclusively, "It was just one of those nights. You had to be there ... because whether it was the stars who were performing, or the fresh young faces from the upcoming musical "The Nutty Professor" ... you could just feel the love and admiration in the room.... and, of course, the loss. Mike Nichols put together a beautiful evening and everyone on both sides of the footlights were happy to be there and remember the "singular sensation." Special thanks to Richard Jay-Alexander.