SHOWTIME! Shouted "Master" of Ceremonies, Carroll Wallace, followed by the shrill blast of his police whistle. It's a few minutes before 9 PM and the showroom is filled to capacity. In front of the Club a column of people, 2 wide and a block long, wait patiently in the cool night fog for the next show over an hour from now. Upstairs at the cash register you find María Filippis, Mrs. Finocchio's sister. On stage the three musicians sort music charts and check their instruments. Shep Sheperd dusts off his drums while Ed Gorman runs a short scale on his tenor sax. Bill Bullard, the pianist and conductor, watches the wings for a signal from Carroll to start the overture. A half a dozen waiters scurry around taking orders for drinks before the house lights are dimmed.
The chorus line opens the show. As they leave the stage Carroll announces, "Let's have a big hand for the Finocchio Eve-ettes!". The "Eve-ettes", 4 to 6 dancers, were named after Eve, the wife of Mr. Joe Finocchio. They open the show, have a production number near the middle of the program, and participate in the grand finale with the entire cast. Some of the more talented in the chorus line, like René De Carlo, doubled as "acts" in the show. The cast included an emcee, singers, dancers, strippers, comedians, and specialty acts such as a puppeteer, ventriloquist, or a celebrity impersonator. There were 4 shows a night starting at 9 p.m. and ending at 2 a.m., 6 days a week. Quite often there were movie stars and other celebrities in the audience.
My primary act was my own character creation BoyChic, where I sang in Spanish, French, and English. For my novelty acts I did tributes to Judy Garland and Edith Piaf, a lively impression of Liza Minnelli, and of course my Pièrrot, Happy Clown, and Judy's Hobo. My signature song was "I'm Gonna Live Until I Die". One of the audience favorites was the classical Spanish version of "La Macarena". I was also known for a mambo rock version of "La Tómbola", "Arrivederci Roma", "Hello Bluebird", and "By Myself". Backstage my nickname was "Tómbola". I also got to emcee the show a few times and was honored to introduce the legendary Lavern Cummings before he retired from the show.
We will never be able to perform together on that stage again, but as long as I have my memories, I can still hear Carroll's whistle, and it's SHOWTIME again.Place mouse pointer on pictures for titles.