Friday, November 21, 2008

Some Variety

When I was at Disney World a couple of weekends ago, I had access in the hotel to cable television. I don't bother to pay for cable at home because I don't watch that much television and, usually, when I do have access to it I'm struck by the fact that there's nothing on that I want to watch. But that Saturday night, after a full day of Disney walking, I was ready to put my feet up and watch anything. Fortunately there was a special on about Carol Burnett with a lot of clips from her old variety show.

I loved The Carol Burnett show and watched it every week when I was a kid. I still laugh at scenes from that show. Maybe there have been variety shows on television since then, but they never made it. It seemed that variety was dead.

So imagine my surprise when I came home and saw a commercial on NBC for a new varety show special starring Rosie O'Donnell.

Searching for details, I discovered that, yes, it will be live!
The news recently broke that's been rumored for months, that Rosie O'Donnell is returning to television in an attempt to revive the variety genre with "Rosie's Variety Show".

A special will air live from New York on the night before Thanksgiving on November 26 at 8pm and is believed to be the kickoff for a 2009 regular launch.

The show, which is said to be modeled after traditional variety shows like Carol Burnett, Ed Sullivan and Sonny and Cher will include "celebrity guests, musical acts, comedy skits and a contest both for in-studio and at-home auds."
Now, it's not like I've ever been a huge Rosie O'Donnell fan. I enjoy her schtick, but I was always at work when she had her daytime show and I've never seen her on stage. But when I saw that commercial I started to get a bit excited because I suspected that someone I used to know a long time ago would be involved in the show. And yes the article (and Rosie's blog) confirmed that suspicion.
Details are coming out fast and furious about "Rosie's Variety Show" as production ramps up. On Rosie's blog, she notes that John McDaniel will be coming aboard as Music Director along with a full orchestra.

John McDaniel's credits include "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" (two Emmy Awards, Music Producer; five Emmy nominations, Music Direction/Composition); Comedy Central's "Friar's Roasts" ‘99, ‘00, ‘01, ‘02 (Arranger/Conductor); "A Rosie Christmas" (Arranger/Conductor); Tony Awards ‘97, ‘98, ‘00 (Arranger). Broadway: Grease! (Music Director/Arranger); Chicago (Conductor); Patti LuPone on Broadway (Arranger); Annie Get Your Gun (Music Supervisor/Arranger); Taboo (Music Supervisor/Arranger). Recordings: Patti LuPone Live! (Conductor/Arranger); Annie Get Your Gun cast recording (Producer/Grammy Award); three solo CDs: John McDaniel at the Piano: Broadway, Christmas and Compositions; John McDaniel Live at Joe's Pub; The Maury Yeston Songbook (Producer); Taboo cast recording (Producer/Arranger). Guest pops conductor throughout the country, including San Francisco and St. Louis symphonies. BFA in drama from Carnegie Mellon.
Quite a list of credits for John McD. But I and certain lurkers (you know who you are) know John from back when he was just getting his start - in high school musicals. And we've followed his career with enjoyment ever since. Let's face it - not many people announce in high school that they are going to grow up to be a musical director on Broadway and actually make it. And you know what? Success couldn't have happened to a nicer person.

It's not as if I know John these days. The last time I ran into him was about 5 years ago when he was in St. Louis visiting family and we were both at an Opera Theatre production. He was the same delightful person he always was - very excited about all of his new projects.

So I will be tuning in to watch (or recording) Rosie's Variety Show to support variety and to support John McD - who will hopefully help bring New York based live variety back to television. Because we could all use a little variety in our lives.