Rich joined the cast of the original 'Sound of Music' on Broadway as Kurt Von Trapp in 1960 at the ripe old age of 8, replacing one of the original boys whose voice had changed. After one year with the show he was cast in the Noel Coward musical, 'Sail Away,'
which starred Elaine Stritch. When 'Sail Away' closed after 167 performances, Rich trotted off to the National Tour of 'Sound of Music' with Florence Henderson and Forrest Tucker where he took on the role of his older brother, Fredrick Von Trapp. Three years after stepping onto a Broadway stage, Rich returned to New York in the musical 'Oliver!' with Georgia Brown and Clive Revill. He initially filled the swing role of the Artful Dodger, backing up future Monkee Davy Jones. Rich remained with 'Oliver!' until the show closed after 770 performances.
Tougher Times on the Great White Way: Four Flops
With a star studded past, the lights dimmed for Rich White. His crowning jewel was the musical version of 'Breakfast at Tiffany’s' with Richard Chamberlain and Mary Tyler Moore. It was considered one of the biggest flops in the history of the Broadway theater – with four previews and no opening night. Next up was 'Henry, Sweet Henry' which took the fall after the musical Hair premiered. A comedy by Arthur Miller, 'The Creation of the World and Other Business,' offered an opportunity to make a break as an adult actor. Again, failure intervened – it barely got out of previews before closing. As the male understudy, Rich never saw the footlights. The final Broadway show attempted was 'Her First Roman' with Richard Kiley and Leslie Uggams. Whatever they were they doing in Egypt didn’t get them more than 17 performances in New York.
Moving on to Seedy Clubs and the Movies
As a lover of jazz and the Great American Songbook, Rich found success as the singing straight man of the comedy duo, Silcox and White. Their act opened for many of the great nightclub performers including Sammy Davis Jr., Buddy Greco, Buddy Hackett, Jimmy Durante, and Frankie Laine.
Rich left the music business for a while to develop a career in film and television. He worked as a stuntman on Once Upon A Time in the West (Sergio Leone), Smokey and the Bandit (Burt Reynolds), Cross of Iron (Sam Peckinpaugh)
Von Trapped at The Duplex on March 12
Returning to his musical roots, Rich performs this new cabaret show, Von Trapped – My 50-Year Love/Hate Relationship with The Sound Of Music, on March 12 at 7:00 p.m. in NYC at The Duplex. Alex Rybeck, 2011 MAC award winning Music Director, on piano. The audience is in for an evening of song and stories that provide a glimpse into growing up in front of the footlights.
Show Details: The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street, NYC. A $10.00 cover charge and two drink minimum buys a seat to relive some of Broadway’s favorites and flops. Reservations at www.theduplex.com or call (212) 255-5438.
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Rich White Music offers entertainment services for public and private functions. Music includes jazz, the Great American Songbook and new song titles by new artists. Vocalist with piano accompaniment or trio to provide that swing are available to book for performances. Private vocal and acting coaching available.