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Million Dollar Theater Comes Alive for Cancer

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, December 16, 2009, at 10:26AM
Fran Drescher Ed Fuentes

Fran Drescher, who helped spearhead the Million Dollar Revival Rock and Comedy variety show.

Saturday's Million Dollar Revival variety show gave a historic Broadway stage a chance to be used what it was built for: live performances.

Fran Drescher was the Mistress of Ceremony for the night of music, comedy that saw the theater's floor level at near capacity. Backstage, vaudeville style dancers on stilts tittered next to whimsical post-angst folk singers. “Okay, everyone. If there’s a mistake, just go with it,” said Fran in her engaging tone. “Just have fun.”

The performers did, and so did the receptive house that had many dressed in westsider semi-formal-causal black.

The audience took to Charlyne Yi, the multi-cultural romantic folk singer comedienne who commanded the stage with low-keyed timing. She shuffled through her act ––ending with a love song to an audience member brought on stage.

In contrast, comedy headliner Rosie O’Donnell used her more brash method and, as they say in comedy, killed. She nailed self-deprecating humor, including bits on not-so-great films she's appeared in and the challenges of motherhood.

Before Jackson Brown appeared for a four-song set that switched off between piano and guitar, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Oliva Newton-John kept the evening's graciousness rolling forward with acoustical sets, mixed with thanks to the audience for joining in cause to raise awareness for Drescher's Cancer Schmancer Movement.

The variety show also offered the audience in the Million Dollar Theater some intervention. After hostess Fran ended the show, the curtain went down and Petula Clark’s "Downtown" was the audience's exit music.

That left more than a few westsiders in their semi-formal black humming along with “Downtown” as they reached the street.

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