Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Rant #134: What Do You Call the Westbury Music Fair?
I think that most people on the East Coast of the United States have heard of the Westbury Music Fair.
This venue, which has operated since the late 1960s in this town in Nassau County, Long Island, has hosted just about every musical act under the sun, including the likes of Judy Garland, Tom Jones, the Monkees, Jay Black, Ringo Starr, Cheap Trick, the Doors, the Temptations ... it virtually reads like a who's who of pop music during the past 40 years.
It has also had hundreds of the top comics of the day, including Steven Wright, George Carlin, Jackie Mason ... again, a who's who of comedy over the past four decades.
It has hosted many, many other events, such as boxing and wrestling matches, and even numerous high school graduations.
But it is perhaps best known as the venue with the revolving stage. Yes, it moves like a record player turntable while the performers do their thing. I have been to the theater many times, and I have seen many, many performers lose their bearings and not know where they are as the thing moves. Some performers have in their contracts that they will not perform with a revolving stage, such as Aretha Franklin. Others learn the hard way; I once saw the Monkees' Davy Jones fall off the stage, break his arm, but continue to sing!
The show must go on, even when you are in a daze and hurting!
Although it still operates--and continues to be called by performers as their favorite place to perform--what it doesn't have now is a name.
After going under the Westbury Music Fair monicker, it has been under corporate sponsorship for the past four or five years or so. I believe its last name was the Capitol One Theater at Westbury, or something like that, but it had several names before that.
But Capitol One has not renewed its sponsorship agreement, so the venue is now called The Theater at Westbury or something like that.
Funny, through all the name changes, performers still refer to the venue as the Westbury Music Fair.
While the venue searches for a corporate sponsor, my question is this: if they find one, why can't they keep the name Westbury Music Fair?
I think the reason is that if they do that, their name will get buried, no one will use it, and they will be out several thousand dollars without any benefit from their investment.
For instance, if the place ends up being called "Joe Shmoe Westbury Music Fair," do you think anyone will care about Joe Shmoe? They will just call it the Westbury Music Fair ...
Just like everyone still calls it, even with all the name changes.
I saw my first real concert there, in 1969. It was a Motown Revue with Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Temptations, and Willie Tyler and Lester(!). "Cloud Nine" was just released, and the place was absolutely wild!
I have seen hundreds of productions since then; I even saw Robert Goulet in "Camelot" there.
I have always loved the theater, but to me, no matter what its name is, it will always be to me--and just about everyone else--
The Westbury Music Fair ... and I hope it stays that way, in some form, when they finally find a corporate sponsor.
Posted by Larry at 4:29 AM