The show must go on
I am manager of Entertainment Operations at Resorts International Hotel-Casino in Atlantic City. Orllyene is VIP coordinator. It is her task to meet and transport entertainers from Philadelphia and New York to Atlantic City.
Superstars are often sensitive, occasionally capricious, and invariably talented. It is their task to stand eye-to-eye with an audience of 1,500 people and entertain them. From Dolly Parton to Cher, Frank Sinatra to Tom Jones, they are an interesting bunch.
As soon as Tom Jones settles himself in the backseat of the limo, he asks Orllyene, “What city am I in?” “You’re in Atlantic City, and you are here for a week” she tells him.
The Osmonds have it in their contract that a bowl of M&Ms be kept full in their dressing room. On the road just outside Philadelphia, Robert Goulet weasels a stop at a pub. He needs a bracer for the 60-mile trip to Atlantic City. The waitress is so overcome when she sees him, she throws her arms around his neck. Orllyene has to pry her off, and they are on the road again.
When the phone rings at our house, it’s invariably a change in arrival plans, in which case Orllyene calls Alex’s Limo Service in the hotel with the change. Alex has told his drivers to look out for Orllyene in case a star gets frisky while in the limo. Alex escaped from Russia by folding his clothes neatly on a riverbank and swimming to freedom.
On the ride from Philadelphia with Gene Kelly, Orllyene confesses how much she admires him for the work he has done. That night he announces, from the stage, that his daughter and “Aunt Orllyene” are watching the show from the center booth. Then he “brings the house down,” the best show I have ever seen in the Superstar Theatre.
Orllyene is always the epitome of professionalism, except once. It happened in the baggage claim area in Philadelphia. A group of Sinatra’s key musicians have just arrived. One very portly gentleman becomes highly indignant.
“My tuxedo hasn’t arrived, and Frank will not go on tonight unless it gets here.”
Orllyene pauses for a moment and replies, “No need to worry. I think we have a ‘Rent-A-Tent’ in Atlantic City.”
An unearthly silence settles on the gathering. Finally, the big guy sees the humor in the situation and they all have a big laugh.
Johnny Mathis wants to play golf, but doesn’t want to go in a limo, so Orllyene drives him in our car. She makes a wrong turn and they get lost. Johnny reassures her. When they arrive at the country club, a postman is making a delivery.
The postman asks, “Are you Johnny Mathis?”
“Yes,” he answers. “Would you mind if I called my wife to tell her I just met you?” Johnny complies. His wife doesn’t believe him and the postman asks Mr. Mathis to say “hello.” Not only does he say hello, he sings a few bars of “Misty.”
That’s show business.
Ron Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.