Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Playlist for Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018: I'm Buttoned Up, Buddy!

Happy birthday, Buddy! I'm talkin' Buddy (aka B.G. aka George Gard) DeSylva...lyricist of the Flapper and Depression eras, part of that triumvirate of Ray Henderson and Lew Brown, who created all those "Sunny Side Up" odes to positivity. Damn, they cheered you. Just "button up" and remember that the "best things in life are free"...doncha just want to shake Buddy's hand and, I sorta wanna slap him silly and tell him to get real. It certainly was a time of pick yourself up and start all over-ness. Man, I'm somewhere between impressed and sneery.

But Broadway is like that in spades. I mean, it celebrates Heat (Steam AND Waves), Cold, Olive sees Bluebirds where they ain't, lights in piazzas (now THERE'S a push!), even melody in a cave in. Sort of like effervescent Buddy and his gang, blowing bubbles at fate. Nay, Kismet!

So listen in. We'll have mini tributes to Audra M. , Joel G. and a set of Adam Guettel goodies. Ethel will yodel at us, Helen will squeak, and a ton o' tangos (bring your own rose) will delight us. We'll get all sunny (if only slightly tempered by cold, acerbic January reality) and smile. For a while. :)

Wilkommen (Joel Grey, Cabaret)
Heat Wave (Ethel Merman, Alexander's Ragtime Band)
Too Darn Hot (Lorenzo Fuller, Ensemble, Kiss Me, Kate)
Some Like It Hot (Instrumental, Some Like It Hot)
Steam Heat (Carol Haney, The Box Boys, The Pajama Game)
Button Up Your Overcoat (Helen Kane)
The Best Things In Life Are Free (Catherine Bartomeo, Mathew
      Elliott, Good News)
You're The Cream In My Coffee (Ruth Etting)
Keep Your Sunny Side Up (Craig Richardson, Ensemble, Good News)
Daybreak (Christopher Innvar, Jason Danieley, Floyd Collins)
Is That Remarkable? (Ensemble, Floyd Collins)
The Light In The Piazza (Kelli O'Hara, The Light In The Piazza)
Love To Me (Matthew Morrison, The Light In The Piazza)
Night Of My Nights (Richard Kiley, Kismet)
The Olive Tree (Alfred Drake, Kismet)
Stranger In Paradise (Richard Kiley, Doretta Morrow, Kismet)
Be Like The Blue Bird (Joel Grey, Anything Goes)
My Town (Joel Grey, George M!)
If You Could See Her (Joel Grey, Cabaret)
Wonderful (Joel Grey, Idina Menzel, Wicked)
Wonderful You (Audra McDonald, Build A Bridge
Stars And The Moon (Audra McDonald, Way Back To Paradise)
My Stupid Mouth (Audra McDonald, Build A Bridge)
First You Dream (Audra McDonald, Go Back Home)
Natasha (David Garrison, Peggy Hewett, A Day In Hollywood/A Night
      In The Ukraine)
The Great Lover Tango (Monte Markham, Carmen Alvarez, Janie Sel, Irene)
Pick-Pocket Tango (Instrumental, Redhead)
Expose (Karen Murphy, Richard Muenz, Zombie Prom)
Temptation (Instrumental, Singin' In The Rain)
The Beguine (Tamara Long, Steve Elmore, Dames At Sea)

Friday, January 12, 2018

LIfe On A Train looks swell...

 Twentieth Century 
actually started life as a play in 1932,
written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur.
By 1934, the movie version was released,
starring John Barrymore and Carole Lombard,
below with director Howard Hawks. 
BUT before all that, 
at its roots was ANOTHER play called
Napoleon Of Broadway, by Charles Bruce Millholland,
all about Broadway producer David Belasco
(So BIG they named a theatre after him!).

 Come 1973, it became a Broadway musical,
with tunes by Cy Coleman, lyrics Betty Comden and Adolph Greene.
Cy, at first, turned down the offer to compose, thinking it would be 
"a dreaded 20s pastiche, and there are just too many of those around."
But then the characters' personalities went over the top,
and he realized he could make a comic opera out of it.
In rehearsal above,
John Cullum, Madeline Kahn, Kevin Kline.

 And Imogene Coca (on right)
joined the cast as Mrs. Letitia Primrose
("She's A Nut!").
Below, "Five Zeros" with Dean Dittman,
George Coe (who will also hear Sunday in the Company!),
 John, and Imogene.
 Tonys for Best Score, Best Book (Comden and Green!),
one for John and another for Kevin.


 Madeline stayed in the cast for only 9 weeks,
and was replaced by Judy Kaye (above with Kevin).
The critics returned and loved her!

A revival done in 2015
featured Kristin Chenoweth as Lily,
Peter Gallagher, Mary Louise Wilson, Andy Karl, and Mark Linn-Baker.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sondheim, Shuffled.

 Like this Sunday's 2 On The Aisle,
here's a random "Sondheim Shuffle" of photos,
to go along with our selections.
Born almost 83 years ago in NYC,
Stephen is the winner of 8 Tony Awards, 1 Oscar, 
a Pulitzer Prize for Drama,
8 Grammy Awards, a Laurence Olivier Award,
and the 2015 Presidential Medal Of Freedom.
And...his town house in Turtle Bay shared outer walls with that 
of Katherine Hepburn's.
(She had a problem with his piano playing.)
 George Furth (book writer on Company 
and Merrily We Roll Aong...and an actor!
Recognize him from MASH? ),
Stephen and Hal Prince (producer/director of several Sondheim endeavors). 

 Stephen with Goddard Lieberson,
president of Columbia records,
and producer of MANY original cast albums.

 The cast of Company.
The Number? Side By Side By Side/What Would We Do Without You.

 Working on the cast recording of Sweeney
with Angela and Len. 

 Above and below,
the cast and creative team of Merrily We Roll Along:
Lonny Price, Jim Walton, Ann Morrison,
George Furth (book), Hal Prince and Sondheim.

 With Madeline Kahn and Bernadette Peters.

 Sondheim celebrating with Bernadette and James Lapine
(book writer for Sunday in the Park).
They had just won the Drama Critics Circle Award, in 1984.

 With Elaine Stritch, who has said of him,
 "He probably has very few people in his life that he relaxes with, 
and I'm certainly not one of them. 
He's an extraordinary talent. 
And problems are part and parcel of that talent. 
But you don't expect to have an easygoing visit with him. It's impossible."

 In the studio again with Goddard,
this time to record the cast album of A Little Night Music.
At left seated, Glynis Johns and Hermoine Gingold,
out of costume...

 ...and IN costume!

Stephen's 80th birthday celebration..
a star-studded event with Laura Benanti,
Chip Zien, Johanna Gleason, Jason Danieley, Marin Mazzie,
Mandy Patinkin, and Bernadette Peters.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Playlist For Sunday, Jan. 14th, 2018: That Woman Is Me

Whenever skies look gray to me, and trouble begins to brew, whenever the winter winds become too strong, I concentrate on...Sondheim. Zactly! Amidst shoveling, salting, then RAINING, and slushing, I find the existence of "A Bowler Hat" and "The Glamorous Life" frickin' uplifting. I like the complications, the nervous energy, the yes/but/no-ness of his melodies and  lyrics. Even though, he "loves to write in dark colors about gut feelings," Sondheim doesn't let those emotions go too sweet, or too sour. Like life (and winter's) grayness, it ain't one way or the other. It's usually both.

''You've got a lot of wrong notes in there.'' That's a Leonard Bernstein quote, his assessment of Stephen's score for A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, which seems odd NOW, with all the stuff that came later. How 'bout the "wrong notes" in Sunday in the Park, in Sweeney? And how can Leonard call this pot black?

As a fan, these Sondheim editions of 2 on the Aisle are easy. They write themselves. Which is good, because while it's off writing itself,  I can make another pot of coffee, take down a Christmas tree, order a new printer, plan a hip replacement and torment my cat. Life's tough in January; we need Stephen to tell us it's gonna be alright.

Oh, and P.S.: For all those not-so-crazy about SS Broadway fans, I've tossed in a Bock and Harnick bone, and a Cy Coleman cookie. :)

Side By Side By Side/What Would We Do Without You (Dean Jones, Ensemble,
A Comedy Tonight (Zero Mostel, Company, A Funny Thing Happened On
      The Way To The Forum)
The Little Things You Do Together (Couple Ensemble, Company)
Sorry - Grateful (George Coe, Charles Kimbrough, Charles Braswell,
Everybody Loves Louie (Bernadette Peters, Sunday In The Park With
It Would Have Been Wonderful (Len Cariou, Laurence Guittard, A Little
      Night Music) 
I Remember (Charmian Carr, Evening Primrose)
We're Gonna Be All Right (Millicent Martin, David Kernan, Side By Side
      By Sondheim/Do I Hear A Waltz?)
A Bowler Hat (Isao Sato, Pacific Overtures)
Beautiful (Barbara Cook, Euan Morton, Sondheim On Sondheim/Sunday
      In The Park With George)
Good Thing Going (Lonny Price, Jim Walton, Merrily We Roll Along)
I've Got It All (Madeline Kahn, John Cullum, On The Twentieth Century)
Five Zeros (George Coe, Imogene Coca, John Cullum, On The
      Twentieth Century)
The Legacy (John Cullum, On The Twentieth Century)
The Ballad Of Sweeney Todd (Len Cariou, Company, Sweeney Todd)
Pirelli's Miracle Elixir (Ken Jennings, Company, Sweeney Todd)
Wait (Len Cariou, Angela Lansbury, Sweeney Todd)
Days Gone By (Ludwig Donath, Daniel Massey, She Loves Me)
I Resolve (Barbara Baxley, She Loves Me)
Grand Knowing You (Jack Cassidy, Ensemble, She Loves Me)
The Glamorous Life (Audra McDonald, Go Back Home)
Johanna (Bernadette Peters, Sondheim Etc.)
There Is No Other Way (Ricardo Tobia, Alvin Ing, Pacific Overtures)
Who's That Woman? (Phyllis Newman, Elaine Stretch, Betty Comden,
      Yvonne DeCarlo, Lee Remick, Barbara Cook, Follies)
Old Friends (Lonny Price, Ann Morrison, Jim Walton, Merrily We Roll Along)
Being Alive (Dean Jones, Company)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Games and girlfriends...

 While it seems to be as cold here as Siberia
or Mars (take your pick),
 I figured a Soviet/American match up might warm things up a bit.
Chess was birthed as a "concept album" in 1984 to 
help raise funds for a full-blown production in the West End.
London loved played successfully there for 3 years,
but it tanked on Broadway, gone in 2 months.
The music was by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (of ABBA)
and the lyrics, Tim Rice.
A quote from Tim, following the poor reception by New York critics:
  "It may sound arrogant, 
but Chess is as good as anything I've ever done. 
And maybe it costs too much brainpower for the average person to follow it".
 I'll try not to take that personally.

 In our "Rock" theme,
Dewey Finn of School of Rock
(played by Alex Brightman, above)
sings "In The End Of Time"...
the one of the few songs kept from the movie version
(where it is sometimes referred to as "The Legend Of The Rent").
Some people really liked this musical,
but then some people really liked Cats.

 In our "Nobody" set,
Nick Cordero and the cast of 
Bullets Over Broadway
put over "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do".
Above, Karen Ziemba, Helene Yorke, Brooks Ashmanskas,
Zach Braff, Nick Cordero and Betsy Wolfe
at the recording session for the cast album.

 Nick (the tall one, at 6ft. 5in., with Zach Braff at left)
played Cheech in this production.
He hails from Hamilton, Ontario, he's 39 at present,
and has played in A Bronx Tale, Waitress, and Rock Of Ages.

 My Sunday galfriends:
Angela Lansbury (above) in Jerry Herman's Dear World.
(An aside: My father used to shoot pheasants and I can tell you
those feathers are definitely the real thing.)

 Elaine Stritch...
above, some shots of her as Melba, the reporter,
in Pal Joey, 1952.
This revival proved more successful than the original 1940 production,
with Harold Lang and Vivienne Segal playing the leads.
Prior to the 50s, several of Pal Joey's songs were banned
from radio play,
but once that ban was rescinded, 
those Bewitched and Bothered eye-brow-raisers finally
hit the airwaves, 
and the revival's success was a shoe-in. 
(BTW, understudy for Harold: Bob Fosse!)

 ...and Julie Andrews.
The above shot MUST be from Star
(she looks to have more confidence than
 Millie Dillmount could ever muster!),
but include it, I did. :)
Below, the Thoroughly Modern cast:
Beatrice Lilley, James Fox, Carol Channing, Julie,
 John Gavin, and Mary Tyler Moore. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Nobody Rolls, Then Rocks

 Betsy Booth and Andy Hardy,
aka Judy and Mickey,
in 1940's Andy Hardy Meets Debutante,
the 4th movie in the Andy Hardy series (16 in all)!
Judy came along for 3 of those rides.
Other actresses who appeared with "Andy":
Kathryn Grayson, Lana Turner and
 Esther Williams (in her screen debut).
 We'll hear "I'm Nobody's Baby", with Judy, below.

Fred Astaire's final moments in the movie musical genre...
the often embarrassing "Ritz Roll And Rock"
from Silk Stockings (added to the movie,
and I believe written by Conrad Salinger, who "embellished"
and orchestrated Cole Porter's original score for this production) .
Below, Fred symbolically crushes his top hat at the end of the number,
"retiring" just after the movie's release.
He was 58.
 Fred would go on to do several television specials, 
and acting roles in movies
(Finian's Rainbow, Towering Inferno) and voice over roles.

 The original Pins And Needles
began life in 1937,
a revue of original songs and skits
brought to you by the International Ladies Garments Workers Union,  
an amateur cast of actual cutters, basters and sewing machine operators.
It would go on to become a Broadway hit,
and run for 3 years:
"the only hit ever produced by a labor union, 
and the only time when a group of unknown non-professionals 
brought a successful musical to Broadway."

 Millie Weitz was part of the cast...
the first to sing "Nobody Makes A Pass At Me",
music and lyrics, Harold Rome.
Below Barbra Streisand, who was part of 
a 25th Anniversary tribute to the show 
(a studio recording, album cover above).
Next time, I'll play Millie's version. Promise! 

 Can never get enough of Carol Channing!
Carol was 28 when she appeared in 
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,
and from that smash hit, we'll hear
"I'm Just A Little Girl From Little Rock".
Below, with huge hat and tiny Anita Loos,
who "wrote the book",
which began as "The Lorelei Stories" in Harper's Bazaar.
An Anita quote:
"I've enjoyed my happiest moments when trailing 
a Mainbocher evening gown 
across the sawdust-covered floor of a saloon."
For interesting reads, Anita's memoirs:
A Girl I Like, Twice Over Lightly: New York Then And Now,
and Kiss Hollywood Good-by.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Playlist For Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018: Onward into the brink, with long underwear.

So the New Year's Eve 2 On The Aisle was a bust, and my apologies all around for that. The weather (along with a Comedy Of Errors snow plowing job that didn't, then DID, come off!) precluded me from getting to the station. That show is now neatly tucked away in a drawer til NEXT New Year's Eve, though I admit to stealing a couple of gems from it for this week's show. (If you steal from yourself, is that still a crime?)

A few white-knuckled driving experiences have cowed me into becoming a stay at home, hunkered-down DJ these last couple of days, hence the ON TIME playlist and the ON TIME blog entry. Don't get used to it. When the mercury spurts to 55, I will be on my bike and unavailable for great lengths of time, with Broadway neatly tucked away in a drawer. (As you can tell, I have thousands. Of drawers. BTW, how do YOU pronounce "drawer"?)

But in-keeping with January back-at-it-ness fortitude, this Sunday we've got the perennials, the Christmas cacti that thrive on complacency, the wacko themes (ROCKS?? Really? Sorry in advance for The Ritz Roll And Rock), and my girlfriends (Elaine, Julie and Angela) to help me thaw out errant appendages in this polar zip code of mine. A little Chess by Le Jazz Hot fire will also help. We'll even Feed The Birds, cuz how do they keep toasty in this froze-zone if not with internal nutrient-fed boilers??? Just don't make me sit on the steps of St. Paul's to do it!!!

Think warm Broadway thoughts.

It's Today (Angela Lansbury, Mame)
I Hope I Get It (Company, A Chorus Line)
Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love (Company, A Chorus Line)
Sing! (Renee Baughman, Don Percassi, A Chorus Line)
Le Jazz Hot (Julie Andrews, Victor/Victoria)
Crazy World (Julie Andrews, Victor/Victoria)
Jimmy (Julie Andrews, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Feed The Birds (Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins)
Zip (Jo Hurt, Pal Joey)
Zip (Elaine Stritch, Elaine Stritch At Liberty)
Rock Island (Ensemble, The Music Man)
A Little Girl From little Rock (Carol Channing, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
I Want To Be A Rockette (Debbie Gravitte, Kicks: The Show Girl Musical)
The Ritz Roll And Rock (Fred Astaire, Silk Stockings)
My Man Rocks Me ( Ain't Nothin' But The Blues)
My Ol' Kentucky Rock And Roll Home (Mark Hardwicke, Debra Monk,
      Oil City Symphony)
In The End Of Time (Alex Brightman, School Of Rock)
Merano (Ensemble, Chess)
A Model Of Decorum And Tranquility (Harry Goz, Judy Kuhn, Paul Harman,
      David Carroll, Chess)
Where I Want To Be (David Carroll, Chess)
The Worst Pies In London (Angela Lansbury, Sweeney Todd)
If He Walked Into My Life (Angela Lansbury, Mame)
And I Was Beautiful (Angela Lansbury, Dear World)
Nobody Does It Like Me (Michele Lee, Seesaw)
I'm Nobody's Baby (Judy Garland, Andy Hardy Meets Debutante)
Nobody Makes A Pass At Me (Barbra Streisand, Pins And Needles)
Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens (Ensemble, Five Guys Named Moe)
'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do (Nick Cordero, Ensemble, Bullets
      Over  Broadway)