Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The five-timers club

Long before getting the "Tonight Show" gig, the great Conan O'Brien worked as a doorman at a little-known New York City social organization called the Five-Timers Club:

There are other five-timers around us. Roger Federer, a winner of five straight Wimbledon titles, won the French Open on Sunday. Seated in the front row was another guy who'd won five straight Wimbledons, Bjorn Borg. Federer is also a member of the U.S. Open champions five-timers club along with Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors.

Speaking of New York five-timers, Broadway legend Angela Lansbury won her fifth Tony Award on Sunday evening, this time for her supporting role in Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit." I was happy for Ms. Lansbury and for FOBB&B Steve Traxler, who's a producer of the play.

Come to think of it, Steve's getting close to a five-timers club himself, the one for Tony-winning productions. He's won Tonys for "Monty Python's Spamalot" (best musical) and "Glengarry Glen Ross" (best revival of a play), and two of his actors that I can think of offhand have earned Tonys, Jim Norton in "The Seafarer" and now Angela Lansbury.

If Will Ferrell's Broadway debut, "You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush," hadn't been robbed by "Liza at the Palace" for the special theatrical event Tony, Steve would already have five Tony winners. Or maybe he's already a five-timer with all the hit shows he's produced.

Either way, congratulations to all newly minted and soon-to-be five-timers.

EDIT: Steve is a producer of "Hair," which just won a Tony for best revival of a musical, so he's officially a five-timer. "One, two, three, four, five. You're great!"

EDIT 2: Even under the stricter definition "producer of Tony-winning shows" (as opposed to merely "producer of shows with Tony-winning actors"), Steve is a five-timer. He also produced "The History Boys" and "August: Osage County."

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