Hal Linden made his name on TV as the wise title squad leader of ABC's cop comedy "Barney Miller." (The complete series just came out on DVD.) Already a stage veteran, he'd won a musical Tony for "The Rothschilds" (1970), and would later return to Broadway in shows like "Cabaret" (2002). But most of America still knows Linden only as the NYPD detective captain with a heart of gold.
Many are surprised to find Linden singing, as he did on Broadway, and playing clarinet, as he's done since his 1930s youth with bandleader Goodman as his role model. Now 80, Linden is back where he started, performing to live audiences, in his musical memoir, "I'm Old Fashioned."
So how much do you touch on "Barney Miller" in the live show?
Not at all. It's not about Barney Miller. It's about me. I refer to it once or twice, but that's it. It has to do quite honestly with my stage career.
I've been doing this kind of show for 40 years now, ever since "The Rothschilds," basically. And you would think by now, somebody would know I had a musical background. I'm the best-kept secret in show business.
You go all the way back to working with Broadway golden-age greats like Judy Holliday, when you understudied in her 1957 show, "Bells Are Ringing."
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That was my Broadway debut. In the lead. I didn't even have an agent when I got that job. I happened to be dating a girl who was a dancer in the show, and she spoke to the stage manager when the understudy role] was coming available. Next thing I know, I'm rehearsing, and after one week, the first Asian flu hit and I made my Broadway debut in the leading role.
I sure hope you thanked that girl.
I married her.
When I started, Broadway singers didn't make records. By the time I got "Barney Miller," and I had some celebrity, we were total dinosaurs. Then I started doing my show. we made some sides. But there was zero interest. I gave up, until last year, when someone said, "Will you finish that damn thing so we could have something to sell?"
WHO Hal Linden
WHAT "I'm Old Fashioned" musical memoir
WHEN | WHERE Saturday at 8 p.m., Adelphi Concert Hall, 1 South Ave., Garden City
TICKETS $35, $45
INFO 516-877-4000, aupac.adelphi.edu