The Ovation Awards

Cinderella Goes to the Ball

On Sunday, I had a ticket to attend The Ovation Awards ceremony, LA's answer to the Tony's. The Last Session had been nominated for four awards: Best Musical, and three performing awards. I was able to get a ride with one of the backers of the show. We were meeting several other friends and fans at the La Mirada Theatre.

It was like the opening scene of A Star Is Born. Searchlights piercing the sky, the red carpet, the crowd of photographers. We entered the theatre and were told that "the party" was upstairs. As we headed up the stairs, I could hear Steve Schalchlin's voice. When we came around the corner and into the room, there was a table right at the door, and sitting at the table were Steve, his husband Jimmy, and Jimmy's long-time friend, Carol Channing.

Carol Channing and Jim Brochu arriving at the theatre

Carol was in conversation with Jerome Lawrence, the author of Inherit the Wind, who was being given a lifetime achievement award that evening. Jim promised to introduce me to Carol later.

I wandered around the reception, munching caviar, drinking wine, and noticing that for once I seemed to be "in style" in my new black velvet gown. Steve saw me standing by myself, looking somewhat out of place and uncomfortable and he motioned me over to the table. Jimmy saw me there and jumped up, brought me over and introduced me to Carol. Then he took a picture of the three of us...

Jimmy got up to go do something and offered his seat to me. There I sat, Cinderella at the ball, dressed up in my fancy ballgown, sipping wine and laughing with Carol Channing.

Of course, to be perfect, I would have to write that The Last Session swept the awards, and it did not. One performing award was given to Joel Traywick, who played "Buddy" in the show, but Best Musical went to Reefer Madness. Still, Carol, who presented the musical awards, called Jimmy to the stage and said that she had her own "diamond award" that she wanted to give to her good friends Jimmy Brochu and Steve Schalchlin for their wonderful musical, The Last Session and then she handed Jimmy two of her faux diamond rings. He later said that was almost more special than winning the award would have been.

Steve w/"diamond"

Steve shows off his Carol Channing
"diamond" ring
(photo by Roberta Zinman)

The next afternoon I flew back home and as the plane landed in Sacramento, I looked at my watch...was it only 24 hours before that I had been chatting with Carol Channing? I'll probably never again have such an experience, but it sure was special.


Back to Home Page