Interview: GLENN ROSENBLUM (appearing in Broadway Showstoppers at CVRep)

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by Jason Mannino on June 13, 2023

in Interviews,Theater-Palm Springs (Coachella Valley)


GLENN ROSENBLUM is a man with an obsession he gladly acknowledges and is eager to share: Broadway and the glorious world of American Musical Theatre. On Thursday, June 15, 2023 at 7pm, he brings his BROADWAY SHOWSTOPPERS WITH GLENN ROSENBLUM to Coachella Valley Repertory’s 2023 Summer Cabaret Series, exploring Broadway musicals of the year he was born: 1959. (Get tix here.) There will be private video clips, backstage gossip, and songs during the course of the fascinating and entertaining evening. Rosenblum has been tagged as a cross between Nathan Lane and Ethel Merman, and he possesses an encyclopedic collection of stories, anecdotes and musical theatre history. Joining him in songs and stories are JACKIE JOSEPH, who starred in The Billy Barnes Revue on Broadway in 1959, and ALIX KOREY, who originated the role of Madelaine Tourey in Off-Broadway’s The Wild Party.

Jason Mannino had an opportunity to chat with Mr. Rosenblum for Stage and Cinema about his career and this show. He tells us that his passion for theater and his undying desire to share it with Broadway enthusiasts old and new.

Alix Korey

Jason Mannino: How did you get into cabaret?

Glen Rosenblum: My passion for all things musical theater began growing up on Long Island, which is only an hour from New York City. I began playing the piano by ear when I was three and half years old. My parents would take me to see musicals at Westbury Music Fai on Long Island during the 1950s – ’70s when they were presenting musicals in the round (now it is strictly a concert venue owned by Live Nation). I would come home from them and play the entire scores on piano by ear. There was always music in the house growing up which included original cast albums. I went on to study theater at UCLA, graduated, and went to NY. I was largely cast in shows out of town and Off-Broadway. I eventually returned to So Cal where I opened my own company, Celebrity Access, which books celebrities for product endorsements, media tours, and personal appearances. In LA, I was approached by someone who handled entertainment together for Crystal Cruises. He dared me to put together a lecture on musical theater, incorporating clips, videos, piano, cabaret to be presented on cruises. I put together a successful cabaret/lecture show and quickly realized that not only is this something about which I am passionate and joyful about but that Broadway audiences old and new love it. It is particularly rewarding when the material comes alive for people who were formerly uninterested.

JM: How did the iteration at CVRep come to be?

GR: Ron Celona, CVRep’s former Founding Artistic Director, approached me during the early days of the pandemic and asked if I would create a zoom version of this show for a free Thursday night series he was launching as a fundraiser. While challenging to transition from stage to zoom the series was very successful and raised a lot of money for the company. Ron was able to bring the likes of Chita Rivera and Donna McKechnie into the fundraising series. Subsequently, David Green, who heads the incredible Musical Theater University here in the desert (which is free musical theater training for teens in the Palm Springs Unified School District) asked if I would put together a lecture series for the university. I love teaching in that environment.

Jackie Joseph

JM: What do you want us to know about this upcoming show?

GR: What is amazing about 1959 is that only 14 shows opened that year and only 3 still get produced regularly (Gypsy, Sound of Music, and Once Upon a Mattress). However, in that year Broadway was still very much the source for pop music and many of the shows introduced hits to the American Song Book. For instance, the Billy Barnes Revue, where Jackie Joseph introduced the song “Too Long at the Fair.”

JM: What is next after Thursday’s show?

GR: On Thursday August 3, I will be presenting a show at CVRep that celebrates LGBTQ-themed music. Some are obvious like Rent, Falsettos, La Cage Aux Folles. Others are not so obvious: West Side Story (with characters like Anybody’s and Baby John) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (with characters like Bud Frump). My guests in that show will be David Engel, one of the original Cagelles in La Cage, Leslie Stevens, who originated the role of Anne in La Cage, and Alix Korey.

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