by Melissa Griegel
The Birdland Theater was filled with a star-studded audience at the sold-out performance of Linda Purl (Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners, Matlock, The Office)and Billy Stritch’s (Jim Caruso’s Cast Party, Minnelli On Minnelli, 42nd Street) show “In the Mood…two friends take on an evening of songs for jumping back into life!” on Sunday November 7th.
With Stritch at the piano, David Finck on bass, and Ray Marchica on drums, Linda Purl began the evening with“There’ll be Some Changes Made”, “A Lot of Livin’ To Do” and “This Happy Madness”. This set the mood for the evening as Purl, who exclaimed that she was so excited to be there that she felt like running through Central Park, particularly apropos that day, as the NYC Marathon was just completed an hour before show time. “I can’t believe we are all sitting in the same room together,” she exclaimed, “We all set the re-set button. Life feels to me now like a blank canvas.”
On March 12th 2019 when she says she was “ejected for the play” she was in due to Covid, Purl suddenly found herself without a schedule and time to kill at home alone with her dogs. She took to the road with them and learned how to zoom. Zooming paid off in a big way, as she reconnected with old friend Patrick Duffy (Dallas). The pair is now dating and her mood and outlook on life took a turn for the better. She celebrated with songs such as “I’m in the Mood for Love” and “Anyplace I Hang My Hat is Home”.
The evening was filled with classics from Johnny Mercer, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, with a nod to old-time musicals. “Everybody Says Don’t”, “Taking a Chance on Love”, “Something’s Coming”, “You Fascinate Me So”, and “Pure Imagination” gave a glimpse into the singer’s current outlook on life. Songs made famous by Billie Holiday such as “Blue Moon”, “I’ll be Seeing You”, and “Autumn in New York” were also in the mix.
Stritch joined Purl to sing “Cheerful Little Earful” and “Oh Me, Oh My”, which brought a resounding round of applause from an endearing audience that included stars, producers, and directors such as Douglas Denoff, Penny Fuller, Lorna Dallas, Lee Roy Reams. Jamie deRoy, Richard Skipper, Michael Urie, Patrick Duffy, Nicholas King, Ron Abel, Debra Grace Weiner, David Engel, and several others.
Purl reflected on the past 21 months, “We have all had losses, tragic moments, and low valleys. We had to work through them. One takeaway I have from this experience is that time has a whole new value. There is no longer time for hang-ups. There is so much to be done.” She wholeheartedly thanked everyone who came out to support her and gave a big shout-out to Birdland Restaurateur Gianni Valenti for making her feel at home, and to Billy Stritch for accompanying her on stage.
photos by Melissa Griegel