Robin Field—entertainer, singer, actor, composer, lyricist—has performed in virtually every form of show business, from the New York stage, to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, to Carnegie Hall. He recorded for RCA Victor; appeared on the ABC, CBS, and NBC television networks; and worked for Disney Studios and with such show business icons as Sammy Davis Jr. and Jerry Lewis. In 1972, Dom DeLuise presented Field as his “discovery” on The Merv Griffin Show. In the 1980s and 1990s, Field toured in his own philosophical one-man show, Reason in Rhyme. He wrote, directed, and starred in seven editions of Broadway: A Hundred Years Ago. For five years, he served as creator and host of the New York radio series Broadway Time Capsule. And he was editor and publisher of Revival, a magazine devoted to theatrical history.
Field and his singing partner, Bill Daugherty, won rave reviews throughout the United States as well as in London and Amsterdam. They won four MAC Awards (Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs) for “Best Musical-Comedy Team”; and their show Daugherty & Field Off-Broadway was nominated for a New York Outer Critics Circle award as “Best Musical Review.” In 1992, they headlined at Carnegie Hall, where their show sold out and received a standing ovation.
If you’ve never heard Robin Field perform, don’t delay—watch Reason in Rhyme: A Philosophic Oratorio, a one-hour video that you can find on TOS’s website by searching “Robin Field.” There, you’ll see why the New York Times called him “brilliant,” why the Los Angeles Times called him “a superb entertainer,” why Backstage called him “extraordinarily gifted,” why Merv Griffin called him “a multitalented performer,” and Tony- and Oscar-winning actor Jose Ferrer called him “a Renaissance man.”
I could go on recounting Field’s many talents and achievements; but instead, let’s hear from the Renaissance man himself. —Craig Biddle
Craig Biddle: Thank you for taking time to chat with me, Robin. I know many of our readers are eager to hear what you’ve been up to. And some of our readers, those who are not yet familiar with you or your work, are, well, in for an awakening.
Let’s begin at the beginning: How did you first become interested in the performing arts?
Robin Field: That’s easy. My whole family was wildly musical. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a vaudevillian—a singer, songwriter, comedian—and I learned and performed most of his songs and routines when I was in grade school. My mother’s sister sang with the big bands during the Second World War. My father played a little jazz piano and clarinet nonprofessionally, and my three sisters and I would fall asleep on Tuesday nights to his Dixieland jam sessions at the house. This was in Newport Beach, California. My mother sang and played the piano beautifully, also nonprofessionally. So I grew up with all of these influences.
Biddle: And how did you get started in this area?
Field: That’s harder to pinpoint. . . .