The Partridge Family mom took center stage at the Café Carlyle this week, singing classics from the American musical theater, and recounting anecdotes from a life well lived. At nearly 80, yes, she does reveal her age exaggerating upward, Shirley Jones sounds and looks great. In Oscar week, with a stunning June Squibb nominated for her role in Nebraska (at age 84), the '80's are maybe not so fearsome. Shirley, named after Shirley Temple, won a Best Supporting Oscar in 1960 for playing a prostitute in Elmer Gantry. She credits the movie's star, Burt Lancaster, for launching her career into acting on top of the singing career she already had performing in Oklahoma, Carousel, and many other musicals. And guess what, of all the stunning leading men she's loved on stage and screen, Burt was the best kisser.
Among the many pleasures of Jones' evening at the Carlyle, backed by a first class band with director John McDaniel at the piano, are her numerous insights into Hollywood, how Robert Preston became The Music Man over the producers' first choice, Frank Sinatra. And then there's her voice on the tunes you know and love, among them: "If I Loved You," "Oklahoma," "Where or When," "Bring in the Clowns," "76 Trombones," "This Can't Be Love," and "You Made Me Love You," a sentiment summing up a splendid night at this legendary supper club
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.