“Danny Kaye: Renaissance Man?”
The Rock Hill Herald – Nov. 4, 1970
By: Roger Doughty
BOSTON (NEA) – It’s a cold fall morning in Boston, the clocks sprinkled around the Common are a few seconds away from striking 11 and a lean guy with moppy hair is getting ready to drag himself out of bed in room 403 of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. He’s thinking how he’d rather be cooking Chinese food at has house in California or piloting his jet through the unpolluted air of the upper atmosphere.
So begins another day in the life of Danny Kaye, comic, actor, singer and all-
Clad in an off-
“I don’t like to do interviews before 1 o’clock,” he confesses, “and I don’t like to have lunch with people and it scares the hell out of me that you’ve got a cold and you’re breathing germs all over my suite. You sit on one side of the room and I’ll sit on the other.
“From now on I’m going to demand a complete medical report on everybody who comes through that door.”
“I’m a health nut,” he admits, fishing a couple of vitamin pills out of one of the
many jars of capsules clustered on a table, “and I have a very large interest in
medicine. In fact, I used some of my medical knowledge when I was trying to work
out how to play a 600-
“There aren’t too many of them around to pattern yourself after. Anyway, if you notice the way most actors play old people you’ll see that they bend over,” he says, leaning forward, “but age has a tendency to set you lower, not bend you over, so I bend my knees instead of leaning over. That’s a small thing but it works and I’m very proud of it, even if nobody notices that I’m doing it.”
The people who will go to see “Two by Two” will do so for two reasons – Kaye and Richard Rogers.
“Even if we get bad notices,” Danny says, “the show won’t close in three months. The advance sale has been good and people are going to come see it, even if the critics don’t like it.”
On a cold Monday night, the theatergoers of Boston turned out in force to get an advance look at what the theatergoers of New York will have to wait awhile to see.
What they saw was Danny, decked out in long-
It’s supposed to be Noah’s 600th birthday (“And so far not even a card,” he complains) and before the evening is over – three hours later – the audience is privy to Noah’s conversations with God, 40 days and 40 nights of rain and a slight rewrite of the Old Testament.
“This isn’t the kind of show everybody is going to like,” Kaye admits. “People who have come to like me over the years may not like me in this because I play the role straight – there are very few of the Danny Kaye bits here. I’m Noah, not Danny.
“Other people are going to dislike it because it isn’t enough of a musical. The songs are there, but this is really a play with music. Some people are going to think I’m 600 too long, others are going to think I get to be 90 too soon. I admit that I’m taking a chance.”
The question is “Why?” and Danny doesn’t seem to have the answer.
“I could tour the country with my one-
“Maybe I like the idea of being in one place for a year – I haven’t done anything like that in 30 years. Maybe while I’m on Broadway I’ll do a cooking show on TV, or a kiddies show, or maybe I’ll open a restaurant.
“I don’t like making plans, which is one reason why they used to call me Joe Improviser. Once I get the germ of an idea, you better get out of my way.”