Thursday, January 19, 2012
Carol Channing is such an endearing, sharp, funny personality that director Dori Berinstein could easily have just thrown her camera on a tripod, have the 90-year-old musical theater legend spin anecdotes for an hour and a half, and had a great documentary. Thankfully, what she made is even better. Sure, Channing still tells those stories about her life and stage career in her paradoxically inimitable-yet-oft-imitated style. But there are also heartfelt testimonies from fellow actors and personalities, most legends in their own right, about how talented and genuine she is.
From Hello, Dolly composer Jerry Herman to Debbie Reynolds to Chita Rivera to a professional Carol Channing impersonator, the film paints an affectionate portrait of a performer who so loves and embodies musical comedy, that if it hadn’t existed before she did, surely her elemental talent would have summoned and created it for her out of pixie dust, brass, feathers, plywood, and of course, diamonds.