Comments from jluzaich

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jluzaich commented about City Cinemas Village East on May 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm

There are some good comments on this post and a lot of information that is not correct. I was the manager of the venue when it was a legit theatre called The Entermedia Theatre. We were there from 1977 through 1984. There were actually as many film shoots and TV commercials shot there as there was legit live performance theatre. The movie “The Fan” shot there for 6 weeks with Lauren Bacall, James Garner and Michael Biehn. Early music videos were shot there, as well as numerous commercials that included an AT & T commercial with Raul Julia and several Dr. Pepper spots with Mickey Rooney. The ghost light was set on stage each night for Bert Lahr. Yes, he passed away during the filming of “The Night They Raided the Minskies” in the building in ‘68. The venue had numerous stars perform live on stage in various shows over the years. When it was The Phoenix Theatre '53 – '61, Marcel Marceau performed for the first time in the United States in 1955. Montgomery Clift appeared in “The Sea Gull” in 1956 and Carol Burnnett in “Once Upon A Mattress” in 1959. “Grease” ran for 12 weeks in 1971 and almost closed in trying to outrun mixed reviews before moving to Broadway and running for more than 8 years. Don Murray (the movie “Bus Stop” with Marilyn Monroe) starred in the ill-fated musical “Smith” also at the Eden Theatre (late 60’s early 70’s). Don’s son, Chris, is an actor friend of mine on LA.

During our time at the Entermedia we had many stage plays with performers that had ties to TV & movies. Kurt Vonnegut’s “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater” with music by Alan Menken (multiple award winner including great work on Disney films), “El Bravo” (choreographer – Patty Birch – “grease” fame), Milton Berle in the show “Goodnight Grandpa” (not successful show, but Milty was gracious, had a million one liners, and very funny off stage), “Taking My Turn” – the musical about aging – with Tiger Haynes (original Tin Man in “The Wiz”) singer Margaret Whiting, singer Marni Nixon (the female lead singing voice of Natalie Wood in “West Side Story”, Deborah Kerr in “The King & I”, Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady”). Then, of course we had Joes Coat (“Joseph and the …..”)in which Margaret Hamilton (wicked witch of the west) was in ill-health and came to see the show and went back stage to talk with the cast and had them in tears – including female narrator Laurie Beechman who passed away in ‘98. That building and venue is full of such a rich history and so many great stories……

Music too, lots of music. We had the great Wilson Pickett come back concert in 1980… incredible. And the concert called Solid Gold which was groups or bands from New York that only had 1 or 2 hits. So we had Vito and the Salutations, Johnny Meistro and the Brooklyn Bridge, the Angels (“My Boyfiend’s Back”) and a ton of others.