Pure Imagination times 3,
on this Sunday's 2 On The Aisle,
a song written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse
for Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, 1971.
Gene Wilder's version
(Gene above with Peter Ostrum as Charlie)
starts us off.
The role of Willy was hotly contested;
each member of the Monty Python clan hoped to be cast.
Also considered were Fred Astaire, Joel Grey, and Peter Sellers.
Jean Stapleton turned down the chance to play Mrs. Teevee,
but Sammy Davis Jr. REALLY wanted the role of Bill,
the candy store owner
who got to sing "The Candy Man"...
Well, he made up for it with his hit recording of the song
one year later.
Christian Borle's turn at Willy
came in 2017
when it came to Broadway as a musical,
and used the original story's title,
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
(Actually it was first staged in London in 2013,
and played pretty successfully there for 3 years!)
Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman provided the music,
but "Pure Imagination" and "The Candy Man" were kept.
Reviews for the Broadway version?
Thumbs down! But Christian came out unscathed!
Barbra Streisand's imaginative version, done with Seth MacFarlane,
was included in her "Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway"
release of 2016.
(above and below with co-star Steven Pasquale)
sings "Rosamund's Dream" in
The Robber Bridegroom,
a show from 1975,
the music of Robert Waldman and Alfred Uhry.
We'll hear from this off-Broadway revival of 2016.
Yup, I adore Audra,
and I find every opportunity to include her in the playlist!
On tomorrow's show it'll be "Dream Variations",
a Langston Hughes poem set to the music
of Ricky Ian Gordon.
Ms. McDonald sang this in concert back in 1998,
when she was 28.
Couldn't resist adding this pic
of a very young Audra...rockin' a school uniform,
already in a chorus line!
The original production of Dreamgirls, 1981,
with a book and lyrics by Tom Eyen and music, Henry Krieger.
It starred Jennifer Holliday and Ben Harney
Sheryl Lee Ralph (below), Loretta Devine, and Cleavant Derricks.
Directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett,
it won 6 Tony Awards
(including wins for Jennifer, Ben, and Cleavant),
and Best Book of a Musical Award for Tom.
Playwright Eyen had an experimental theatre background before this show,
with off-Broadway hits like "The Dirtiest Show In Town"
(a revue with nudity!)
and a campy parody, "Women Behind Bars".
He died just 9 years after his success with Dreamgirls,
at the age of 50.
Below, Tom with Andy Warhol "muse", Candy Darling.