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I've just seen this show on DVD and it's really a joy. Or otherwise, it's a sympathetic tribute to one of the greatest entertainers in show business and movie history. But this show wasn't performed in 1959 but in 1978, with Gene fresh from "That's Entertainment Part II" and still in good shape. He dances softly with Cyd Charisse (splendorous, as usual) and performs two other good tap dance numbers, one with a dozen of kids (his pupils, as he declares) with the music of "Anchors Aweigh", and the other with two old friends (one of them is his life-time assistant Alex Romero)in the mood and time of three great dancers enjoying themselves. And all the show, dialogue, humor, jokes (Kelly and Frank Sinatra remembering their old friendship with the Rodgers and Hart's song "I Could Write a Book") and mood shares the complicity of the audience of Pasadena and the man on the stage: love, admiration, devotion, great fun. Kelly meets Liza Minnelli and both remember a number they made for an old TV show circa 1958, when she was a little girl, just the daughter of Judy and Vincent, with the immortal song "For Me and My Gal". Later, he meets his own daughter Bridget (age 13) and friend and admirer Cindy Williams, but the real joy of it all is the reunion on stage of Kelly with his leading ladies of the past: Lucille Ball, Cyd Charisse, Kathryn Grayson, Betty Garrett, Gloria De Haven and Janet Leigh (whatever happened to Leslie Caron and Debbie Reynolds?). For the admirers of Gene Kelly and the Hollywood Musical this is a must. But remember that he was 66 at that time and don't expect to see him dancing like in "Singin' in the Rain" or "An American in Paris". He's just a veteran who thanks people and collaborators for making him who he is, with great modesty and charm. And that's how we remember him: a song and dance man, who always tried to make our lives better. We'll never forget that, Gene. God bless you!
I worked on this show and Kelly was a wonderful guy. He was was a down to earth hard working good guy. Sinatra was a pro., no fuss just showed up and sing with Kelly, then right out the door and back to the parking lot. All of the former leading ladies were easy to work with. Lucy worked hard on her dance number, and was more serious than you might imagine. Nice memories of a simpler time. The show shot in the late '70's and today's stars don't hold a candle to these entertainers. I had to meet Sinatra and his driver (Sarge)in the parking lot and bring him backstage. It was in Dec., he wished me a Merry Christmas, and smiled as he passed the dressing rooms of Kelly's leading ladies. Maybe he was thinking of the good times he had working with them also. He was in and out of the auditorium within 45 minutes. Most of the leading ladies were still beautiful, especially Cyd. Natalie Wood was my favorite but she had to cancel at the last minute. I think any Kelly fan will enjoy the show, which was directed by Marty Pasetta.
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