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Third Annual Tony Awards Film Series This Saturday at the Paley Center for Media

The Tony Awards are June 9, with a three-hour CBS live telecast from Radio City Music Hall, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, but you don’t have to wait that long for a taste of past Tonys and a classic color telecast of a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. The Third Annual Tony Awards Film Series is May 18 at the Paley Center for Media.

Screening at 12:30pm in the Goodson Theatre will be a rarely seen tape of the 1971 Tony Awards, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Awards which are named in honor of actress/producer/director Antoinette Perry. It was the year of Sondheim’s Company, but was a sparse season for musicals with only two others nominated: The Me Nobody Knows and The Rothchilds.

Stars recreating their original roles sang songs from 24 previous Tony-winning Best Musicals: Yul Brynner, The King and I; Carol Channing, Hello, Dolly!; Robert Morse, How to Succeed...; Zero Mostel, Fiddler on the Roof and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Robert Preston, The Music Man; John Raitt, The Pajama Game; and, among others, Gwen Verdon, Damn Yankees and Redhead.

For the finale, hosts Lauren Bacall, Angela Lansbury, Anthony Quayle, and Anthony Quinn, joined by the company, rendered Irving Berlin’s “There’s No Business Like Show Business” to thunderous applause.

At 3pm in the Bennack Theatre, another rarity will be screened: Armstrong Circle Theatre’s adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, broadcast on ABC in 1967. Presented collaboration with Opera Index, it was headlined by Robert Goulet as Billy Bigelow and Mary Grover, with veteran character actor Charlie Ruggles as the Starkeeper.

Following the screening, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Ted Chapin will moderate a panel with Ms. Grover, who went into TV (becoming a regular on Love, American Style), film, records, and stage roles such as co-starring in the West Coast premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. She then launched a successful career as a voice instructor (speech training, vocal technique and therapy) to the stars. Joining her will be dancers who had a long association with Carousel's choreographer, the legendary Agnes de Mille. 

The Tony screening is free for Paley Center members, and free with general admission to the public (a donation of $10 for adults is suggested; $8 for students/senior citizens; and $5 for children under 14). Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are required for the Carousel event. They are $10 for members and $15 to the public. To RSVP for either, contact: FilmSeries@TonyAwards.com.

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