Sunday 6th April 2014



SO NERVOUSCITED - Ronnie Scott’s 6th April 2014 to celebrate        Doris Day’s 90th birthday

It’s the morning after and I awake to sad news that Mickey Rooney has died, aged 93. He was another true screen legend, very much of the golden era of Hollywood (more about him at the end of my blog). Doris never starred in a film with Mickey Rooney but one of his sons did. Teddy Rooney played Doris’ son in the film It Happened to Jane – one of the nine children that Mickey had (a child of his third of eight marriages).

Other news: James Garner is 86 today. He was of course Doris’ co-star in The Thrill of it all and Move Over Darling. In an interview with Michael Ball she said they are still great friends...and still alive, unlike most of her other co-stars.

Other sad news just in: Wayne Henderson, one of jazz’s great trombone players and the original member of Jazz Crusaders has died aged 74 (Saturday 5th April). Wayne last performed in Ronnie Scott’s in October 2013 so performed right up until the end, like so many others before him. A loss to music and a loss to Ronnie Scott’s.


Back to yesterday. There was a last minute change to the line-up of the Mad Men. Ross Stanley had double booked himself (Gareth Lochrane's BIg Band at the 606) but put in fabulous dep. Malcolm Edmonstone, a fine jazz pianist whose playing was perfectly fitting for each song (“truly an astonishing musician” The Daily Telegraph). The show had sold out a month ahead so it was exciting to see the queue waiting outside at 12 o’clock.

In preparation for such a great occasion I decided to do a few new numbers:

Let’s Fly Away from Doris’ 1959 album Cuttin’ (Canadian) Capers. It’s an under recorded and under played Cole Porter song from his 1930s musical The New Yorkers. The big hit from the musical was unfortunately the cause of the show’s demise as it was banned from radio – Love for Sale. Let’s Fly Away is a song about getting away from everything and in 1959 it would have been an appropriate feeling at a time when America went to war with Vietnam, Cuba was in the Midst of a revolution and although people might have been momentarily put off flying as Buddy Holly and Richie Valens had just been killed in a plane crash, it is a beautiful rendition and was a real joy to sing as the opening number.

I find the song Sentimental Journey such a sad song, as it was the homecoming song for WW2 and didn’t want to end on it, although it is such an important song of Doris’ and probably her biggest seller by a mile so I discovered another buried treasure. From the album Latin for Lovers is Doris’ slow bossa version of Our Day Will Come. It’s a song of young love; willing to wait and knowing love will always be constant. What I find so wonderful about this song is that Doris sang this on her last recorded album, she was 41 at the time and her voice sounds so fresh, so youthful (of course 41 isn’t an old voice by any means) but her version is so beautiful and I have fallen in love with it and it seemed fitting to end the show with it.

Calamity Jane (the finest musical of all time) is now over 60 years old. It’s hard to believe. People have such a fondness for the film so in celebration we decided to do a medley. Simon Golding does all the arrangements and does such a great job each time. Our version started with Windy City, Black Hills of Dakota, Secret Love, I Can Do Without You, A Woman’s Touch, It’s Harry I’m Planning to Marry, The Deadwood Stage and a Windy City reprise and we finished our first set with it.

I baked three huge cakes for the proceedings and even had a change of clothes to cut the cake. As I have said before I enjoy this part of the day as I get to meet the guests and hear their stories. There had been a few anniversaries and birthdays in the room. My favourite was Beryl and David Frost. They hadn’t been to Ronnie Scott’s since the eve of their engagement 47 years ago. When I spoke to Beryl afterwards she told me that when they were here (1967) they were watching Blossom Dearie perform and Judy Garland had been in the audience and they partied until 4am. I felt honoured to be the artist they saw 47 years later celebrating their anniversary and 75th birthdays. Another gentleman told me he was also celebrating his 75th birthday and a golden wedding anniversary. It was (our friends) Tim and Lucy’s friend Sandra’s birthday and Anna Louise was not only celebrating her 9th birthday but her first time at Ronnie Scott’s. Brenda Holliday (great name) was celebrating her 70th birthday and they all came up to choose between a strawberry Victoria sponge, lemon buttermilk or banana, walnut and chocolate loaf cake – there wasn’t much left by the end especially as my children were in attendance! One lady gave me a lovely compliment saying my voice was like ‘butter’. What a generous thing to say. I was thanked by another attendee, an English actress who I recognised instantly but I have been racking my brain all day to work out the last thing I saw her in. It will come to me then I can name drop!

My costumes for the day were:

A black and cream fitted 50s dress with beautiful lace (1st set);
My 50s yellow wedding dress, so beautiful and a dress I hope I will always be able to fit into (2nd set);
A 60s fuchsia pink dress and sleeveless matching coat, encrusted with many beads that I have had for many years. A joy to bring it out the archives for a bit of cake cutting!
One guest said she had just been to the V&A to see a display of Italian couture and she said I would have fitted right in!

If you know me then you will have heard or seen my love of Tupperware. My mother’s side of the family were Tuppers so I am convinced of a genealogical link! I thought it was time to introduce it into the show. 1944 was the date of conception and invention, and the date of Sentimental Journey and other historical dates I talk about. In preparation I had primed my son and we had rehearsed him calling out. I said, “Also in 1944 a new small plastic container was invented. Does anyone know what it was called?” and right on cue he shouted out, “Tupperware” and got the biggest laugh of the day! He kept saying he was so nervouscited (© My Little Pony) – what a great expression and it truly describes how I feel about every gig I do.

How did the show go? I got home last night at 5.30pm exhausted; I had given everything I had and was happy. It had been such a wonderful audience and they were with me from the start.

It was funny to see during my ride into London that The Pajama Game is coming to The Shaftesbury Theatre on 1st May for a six month run starring two-time Olivier winner Joanna Riding and Olivier nominee Michael Xavier

Set List:

Let's Fly Away
It's Magic
With a Song in My Heart
I Know That You Know
The One I love (Belongs to Somebody Else)
Calamity Jane Medley
Ready, Willing and Able
April in Paris
Love Me or Leave Me
Que Sera Sera
Hernando's Hideaway
Teacher's Pet
Close Your Eyes
Pillow Talk
Move Over Darlin'
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
Sentimental Journey
Our Day Will Come


Thanks again to Paul Pace, Ben Amure for coming down to photograph, Gareth for his superb engineering skills, my friends who constantly support me and my fabulous band, my solid rocks standing behind me, playing beautifully and adding their wonderful skills and so much of themselves into the performance: Simon Golding (guitar), Gabriel Garrick (trumpet and flugel), Malcolm Edmonstone (piano), Spencer Brown (bass) and dear friend Simon Pearson (drums).

I want to give special thanks to David Snyder who interviewed me (and promoted my show) for his national US radio show (see opening page) on the eve of Doris’ birthday – an honour.

Lastly, I want to give a special mention to the great lady herself, Doris Day. May there be many more happy birthdays for you to enjoy.


© Coleman-Rayner


"Oh, I have my little aches and pains now and then, like everyone," Day revealed in a special interview with Closer celebrating her big 9-0. "But I've truly been blessed with good health." These days, the Calamity Jane actress says she likes spending her time reading the hordes of fan mail she still gets. "I'm still floored by all the beautiful, heart-warming letters from people all over the world, telling me that my work somehow touched their lives," she said. "I love to be outside, walking along the beach or working in my garden," she added. "Those things are all quite enjoyable for me. I have everything I could ever want right here in Carmel!"
As for how she's going celebrate her big 90th birthday, Day will host a dog fashion show tonight to "showcase local rescues that need a home." The event will also raise money for her Doris Day Animal Foundation.
"I've never been a fan of celebrating my own birthdays," Day admitted to the mag.
"All I ever wanted in my life was to get married, have kids, keep house and cook, and even though I did all these things, I still ended up in Hollywood," Day said while looking back on her life. "It was a great trip. I've had an amazing life and wonderful times. And I'm happy!"


Mickey Rooney's obituary and a piece from the Guardian newspaper this morning:

Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and Deanna Durbin, MGM