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Carol Channing Wows ‘Em at Gypsy of the Year

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She’s still got it.

Ninety-year-old Carol Channing was a wow at yesterday’s Gypsy of the Year benefit, an all-star, multi-show revue which raises massive funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS.

The event started with no fewer than 16 chorus boys dancing up a storm while singing a tribute to Carol (“You’re the best Dolly…You were swell on The Love Boat…You should have played Yentl…”)

She emerged in white pants and a shimmery jacket — all eyes, cheekbones, hair, and smiling teeth, the Carol we’ve always loved and lip-synched to — and soaked up the spotlight like a grand, glittery sponge.

I led the standing ovation, and everyone else followed suit (I’m such a trendsetter).

And Carol started singing her signature tunes, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Hello, Dolly!,” getting through them via sheer will and an innate love of performing, the kind that makes her synonymous with old-style Broadway showmanship.

The crowd went insane.

After a gigantic cake was wheeled out to celebrate 90 years of Carol, our star gave the audience some survival advice:

“Don’t ever let anyone give you cortisone,” she rasped. “You’ll lose all your bone structure. Don’t do it. Stagger on out there!”

As the crowd went into a whole other orgasm of screaming and cheering, Carol glowed and kept saying, “Thank you…thank you….thank you…thank you…thank you…”

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 8, 2010

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