Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beverley Randolph, Broadway Stage Manager, passes away at 59

I was very sad to learn today that Beverley Randolph, Broadway Stage Manager for over 30 years, passed away today.

Beverley stage managed more than 20 Broadway productions over the course of a 30-plus year career. At the time of her death and since 2009, she was production supervisor for the musical The Addams Family. Her credits include the Kander & Ebb musical Curtains, the musical Little Women, the 2002 revival of Into the Woods, the 1998 revival of The Sound of Music, Stephen Sondheim’s Passion, Kander & Ebb’s The Kiss of the Spider Woman, William Finn’s Falsettos, the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, plus Follies in Concert at Avery Fisher Hall, the 1987 revival of Cabaret and Neil Simon’s Chapter Two.

I was lucky to get to know Beverley. She was kind, strong and very good at her job.

As I read testaments to her today, I'm reminded of my own friendship with Beverley.

I was - and this is the truth - supposed to be an original cast member of "Jerome Robbins Broadway". Beverley Randolph was the Production Stage Manager of the show. At the time we all auditioned, it was being called "The Robbins Project." Spring/Summer of 1988. I flew in from "the road" while performing in the national company of CATS several times to audition for Jerry Robbins. Somehow, in the craziness of the business AND a very very bad phone service at the time, I didn't get the call that I was cast. When I finally got the message and called in, the casting director said "we wondered what happened to you" but it was gone. They'd gone with the next guy. I ended up being called in about 13 times for replacements spots. Twice I was hired, but the person I was supposed to replace rescinded their notices.

Anyway, at the same time, I was trying to earn a living in NYC. While many of my friends went from one Broadway show to the next, I did odd job after odd job. One job that I did was to clean apartments. Among those was Beverley Randolph's. She was always gracious and kind, knowing that I had been seen for Jerome Robbins Broadway many, many times.

One day, I got a kind of feverish call from Beverley saying "please call me as soon as possible." Of course, I called as soon as I could. I was an unemployed actor dying to be in her show.

I so very clearly remember dialing her number and listening to the phone ring. Finally, a voice answered and said "this is Beverley". I said "this is Randy Slovacek" and she quickly said "can you clean my apartment this Friday? I have to have it clean for some guests…"

Not quite what I was expecting. :(

But it wasn't her fault. Kind of crushing, but we laughed about this later.

I never went into JRB. Many opportunities came up but it just never happened.

But I always remember how classy and wonderful Beverley was. And all my peers spoke glowingly of her work on every production she did.

I remember seeing her backstage at "Kiss Of The Spiderwoman" and "Into The Woods" - she was always kind, warm and wonderful to me.  Even though we never "really" worked together.

True, great, professionals are rare. Great professionals who are kind and polite to the 'struggling' are of an even rarer class.

Beverley was in that class.

She will be missed.

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