CELEBRATED CABARET PERFORMERS REMEMBER A NEW YORK LANDMARK. VANTAGE PRESS CELEBRATES THE RELEASE OF THE PERSIAN ROOM PRESENTS by Patty Farmer. The first-ever oral history of the Persian Room-New York’s premiere cabaret for four decades. Since she was a little girl, Patty Farmer dreamed of living at the Plaza-just like that scamp Eloise, whose storybook adventures she relished. Decades later, that dream came true and she found herself permanently ensconced in an apartment on the eighth floor of the famed hotel-and more passionate than ever about exploring every nook of it and immersing herself in its history. The Persian Room Presents is the first book in a series she is planning about many aspects of her beloved landmark home.Call it the biography of a place, a collaborative memoir, a history-but whatever you call it, The Persian Room Presents will transport you to the most elegant and magical night spot New York has ever known. In this dishy, personal, and compulsively readable book, dozens of celebrities reminisce about their experiences performing and partying at the Plaza and they all agree on one thing: there’s never been anyplace like it. For more than forty years, from 1934 to 1975, the Persian Room was the place to be in New York City.
An unparalleled array of performers graced its stage. And, though more than three decades have passed since the final ovation, there are many from both sides of the footlights who remember its charms. Among the many stars who spoke for the record are Andy Williams, Marge Champion, Polly Bergen, Diahann Carroll, Connie Stevens, Lesley Gore, Patti Page, Carol Lawrence, Jack Jones, Michele Lee, Lainie Kazan, Julie Wilson, Tony Butala, Tony Sandler, Celeste Holm, Kaye Ballard, and Roslyn Kind. Don Dellair regaled the author with humorous tales of both Hildegarde and Liberace. Hilary Knight-the legendary illustrator who brought Eloise to life-spoke wistfully of Kay Thompson and Lisa Kirk.
OK, if you don’t believe me, here’s just a taste of the great stories Farmer collected once she got the celebrities talking, include: Carol Lawrence relives the chills she felt when Cary Grant marched up to the stage and gave her a kiss (during an act proclaimed by Ed Sullivan to be ”the best nightclub extravaganza he had ever seen”); Andy Williams talks about his time as a member of Kay Thompson’s quartet-before he became the suave, solo crooner we all know and love; Leslie Uggams reminisces about the rollicking New Year’s Eve party she threw after her show; Constance Towers reveals the time she accidentally insulted Joan Crawford (and the revenge Joan took-in front of a paying audience); Barbara Van Orden recalls how Frank Sinatra helped safeguard her virtue with the “word.”; Tony Butala of the Lettermen recounts the group’s groundbreaking use of a “camera song” and Diahann Carroll remembers taking one sleeping pill and a bottle of Champagne up to her suite to mount a half-hearted suicide attempt.
WHAT/WHO: Join author and host, Patty Farmer, as celebrity chef Todd English and famous Persian Room luminaries’ such as Marge Champion, Celeste Holm, Barbara Van Orden, Tony Butala, Lesley Gore, Betty Johnson, Hilary Knight, Julie Wilson, Leslie Uggams, Tony Sandler, Don Dellair and more as they gather to celebrate the release of “The Persian Room Presents.”
A portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to Childhelp for the treatment and prevention of child abuse.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 6, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
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Written By: Tommy Garrett
Follow us on Twitter @HighlightHwd or @LightfootinHwd Photographs are Courtesy: Persian Room Book Cover/By Vantage Press;
Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens in the Persian Room by Corbis; Dinah Shore in the Persian Room by Corbis; Jack Jones and his mother, Irene Hervey from Mr. Jack Jones’ Archives; Robert Goulet and Ms. Carol Lawrence by Credit Photofest; Ethel Merman, Gary Morton and Lucille Ball at the Persian Room by D’Arlene Studios and Liza Minnelli, Peter Allen and Lainie Kazan in the Persian Room by Corbis