CDA: Marcello Giordani and Rip Taylor
A double header - - high art and low art! Marcello Giordani was an extraordinary Italian tenor, I heard him at the Met a number of times. I was just wondering what ever happened to him. Now I know. He was only 56!
He was a rock solid singer, full of wonderful, old fashioned Italian style. Here he is singing the love duet from *Madama Butterfly* with Patricia Racette:
And Rip Taylor! The one and only! The best way I can make a tribute to him is to share what I wrote when my dear friend Scott and I had an interaction with him in 2005. We were going to see *La Cage Aux Folles.*
We had a little time to waste, so we went to a little store that sells lots of Broadway tchotchkes. We walked through the door just as someone was walking out, and Scott said, “Is that Rip Taylor who just walked out of the store?” It was! We went back outside and talked with him, laughing riotously, for the next twenty minutes. You might know Rip Taylor, even if you don’t recognize the name.
He was at his peak in the 70s, making frequent appearances on *The Gong Show* and hosting *The $1.98 Beauty Contest*, throwing confetti everywhere, wailing like a gay banshee.
SCOTT: What show are you going to see?
RIP: I’m not going to a show, I’m not feeling well…
ME: Hence the scarf?
RIP: My dear, I never go anywhere without a scarf. I’m going back to the hotel, I’m going to curl up in front of the television. What show are you going to?
SCOTT: We’re seeing *La Cage*.
RIP: Fabulous. Have you seen it?
ME: I have, I’m excited to see it again.
RIP: So you saw it earlier in the run?
RIP: With Daniel Davis?
RIP: [leaning forward, in a conspiratorial tone] I hear Robert Goulet is having trouble remembering his lines.
SCOTT and ME: [laugh heartily]
RIP: But I’m sure the rest of the cast is very helpful.
A cute guy walked by, saw us talking with Rip, and interrupted us.
HIM: Excuse me - - my brother and I saw you in Las Vegas in 1967.
RIP: You need to go back there.
It was unclear whether he meant back to Las Vegas, back to 1967, or both. We enlisted the guy to take pictures of Rip with Scott, Rip with me, and Rip with Scott and me. Scott says Rip grabbed his ass when the photo was being taken, which explains the surprised, amused, and frightened expression on his face. Rip cuddled up to me in a very affectionate and cozy manner, which made me laugh my head off. We also took a photo of Rip with the cute guy (Rip is sticking out his tongue at him, due to that Las Vegas ’67 remark) and a photo of Rip with two women walking by.
On the train home that night, Scott said, “What was Rip doing out in that neighborhood at 7:30 PM on a show night, when he was feeling sick and just wanted to go back to the hotel? He was walking around wanting to be recognized, that’s what he was doing.”