Two sad passings …

April 26, 2009

You always remember your first, and often your second.  Broadway shows that is.  And sadly, people associated with the first and second Broadway shows I ever saw just passed away.

Marilyn Cooper played the the acerbic Leah in Two By Two, and in a show featuring the antics of the aging Danny Kaye and arriving Madelaine Kahn, hers was the performance I remembered most.  More than a decade later she won the Tony for supporting actress in Woman of the Year.  Deservedly, for the 15 minutes she was onstage, playing a dumpy hausfrau married to Lauren Bacall’s ex-husband were the highlight of the show. 

Bea Arthur’s many esteemed credits included creating the role of Yenta the matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof.  It was the second show I ever saw (although well after she had left the cast).  Although best known for her television work, Arthur had notable appearances in New York musicals including Threepenny Opera, Mame, and the Shoestring Revue.