On Monday, April 19, Ilene Graff made her Broadway at Birdland debut with her concert, "First You Dream." Accompanied by her Musical Director-husband Ben Lanzarone and singing a duet with daughter Nikka Lanzarone, Graff performed songs ranging from Harold Arlen to the Beatles, the Bergmans to Sondheim, all with unique interpretations and arrangements. Family, friends and fans packed the music room, including Ilene's cousin Randy Graff, Joanna Gleason, Steve Marzullo, Mark Sendroff, Nick Adams, Lori Tan Chinn and New York fire chief Dan Daly. Daly called Ilene, "The quintessential sweetheart!"
Ilene Graff is best known to audiences as Marsha Owens, the mom on the long running ABC comedy "Mr. Belvedere." She made her professional Broadway debut years earlier on the musical stage in Promises Promises, the Neil Simon, Bacharach/David hit, where she understudied the leading lady and sang backups from the orchestra pit. She performed the role of Fran Kubelik in New York before starring in the National Tour. One of her biggest Broadway triumphs was creating the role of Cleo in the Cy Coleman, Michael Stewart musical comedy hit I Love My Wife, directed by Tony Award winner Gene Saks.
Photo Credit: Stephen Sorokoff