Saturday, February 17, 2018

Clean Your Glasses, See Funny Faces

 The musical makers/shakers...
Alan Jay Lerner, Barbara Harris, John Cullum and Burton Lane,
in prep for 
On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, 1965.
The critics loved the melodies, if not the book
(reincarnation, ESP...???);
nonetheless, both John and Barbara were nominated for their work,
as was the Lerner & Lane score.

Above, John and Barbara recording the cast album,
and below, Barbara with William Daniels,
who would soon star in 1776!
(I remember him in The Graduate, St. Elsewhere,
and I'm positive he used to be on a soap opera...
The Edge of Night?...but I can't find "evidence!") 

 Judy Garland
in a the MOVIE, A Star Is Born, 1954.
"Lose That Long Face"
was contributed by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin;
the film also used Rodgers and Hart songs, 
Roger Eden's "Born In A Trunk"
and oldies like "The Peanut Vendor",
"Swanee", and "My Melancholy Baby". 
Judy was nominated for an Academy Award,
but come the night of the presentation,
she was about to give birth to her son Joey...
of course the cameras were ready, hospital-bed-side,
for the moment...
(which moment? the baby or the Oscar? the lady or the tiger?),
but she lost to Grace Kelly in the Country Girl.

 "Were Thine That Special Face"
from Kiss Me, Kate.
Above, Petruchio, as portrayed by Alfred Drake,
and a very suspicious, if not terrified,
Patricia Morison as Kate.
I guess it all works out in the end,
but some of the songs now rankle in a sexist sorta way.
Damn, Cole.

 Oh, to have a Funny Face like that!
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in the 1957 movie version
of Funny Face.
Music by the Gershwin Boys, of course...
done originally on Broadway in 1927
with Fred and his sis, Adele.
The movie just changed the entire plot,
and dropped all but 4 of the original songs.
But hey...Funny Face! :)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Look at that face. Just LOOK at it.

 A bevy of ballads awaits us on Sunday,
starting off with Betty Buckley
and selections from her recent Story Songs album.
Below, Betty in her Broadway debut in 1969
with William Daniels and Howard DaSilva
in 1776.
She got the job as Martha Washington on her 
very first day in NYC.
  Betty has been called "The Voice of Broadway",
with Cats, Pippin, Sunset Boulevard, Promises, Promises and Drood
 and many more under her belt.
But she's also done a ton of television 
(remember "Eight Is Enough"?
Cagney & Lacey? L.A.Law?), and
films (Another Woman, Tender Mercies, Carrie).
Below, in character for Grey Gardens...
Betty played Big Edie with 
Rachel Yorke as the little variety.

Faith Prince, born in Georgia, raised in Virginia,
made her Broadway debut in 1989
in Jerome Robbin's Broadway.
She followed that up as Miss Adelaide in the 1992 revival
of Guys and Dolls (for which Faith won a Tony),
and below, in the revival of Bells Are Ringing.

She's played Ursula, below,
in The Little Mermaid...

and Miss Hannigan in Annie! 


 And then 3 faces from our
THAT FACE! theme...
above Jack Cassidy in Fade Out - Fade In
(above with Carol Burnett) 
and "My Fortune Is My Face"...
below Cyril Ritchard (here with a young Joel Grey
who replaced Anthony Newley in The Roar Of The Greasepaint,
The Smell Of The Crowd),
with "Look At That Face."

Dick Van Dyke in an early "silly walk" above.
He won a Tony for his performance in Bye Bye Birdie,
in only is second show on The Great White Way.
He had debuted on Broadway just one year before that,
in The Girls Against The Boys.
The next year he auditioned for a small part in Birdie,
threw in a quasi soft shoe at the end of his song,
prompting Gower Champion to give him the lead of Albert.
Dick: "But I can't really dance!"
Gower: "We'll teach you!"
Prior to Broadway, Dick was part of a 2 person act
called "The Merry Mutes" with Phil Erickson, 
doing mime and lip-synching to 78s.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Playlist For Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018: To Scoop or Not To Scoop...or Why Is My Shelf Only 3 Feet High?

A Trivial Week...I mean a week full of trivia! That sounds better, right? While searching/researching this Broadway stuff of dreams, I found the following goodies:

1.) Betty Buckley was Runner Up Miss Texas, back in 1966 (steps away from a Miss America title, and I'm sure her talent wasn't fire baton. Or maybe it was!). And on her very first day in NYC, she scooped the part of Martha Jefferson in 1776. Hate her yet? 

2.) Faith Prince was part of the cast of Scrambled Feet, down at the Village Gate, in 1983. Well, not the original cast, but why split hairs?...and she got to sing the Duck Song. And was chased by the Duck. Seems she couldn't scoop said duck (which she was supposed to do as she exited the stage every night) before it would turn on her. And, appropriately using the same verb, FP also failed to scoop the part of Audrey (I, not II) in the original production (well, maybe she played it later, in like dinner theatre, but why split hairs?) of Little Shop of Horrors. The part went to Ellen Green. I believe the whole disappointing episode comes up in her therapy sessions. I mean, it sounds like it.

3.) Did you ever READ the plot of On A Clear Day? ESP, hypnotism,  reincarnation (Ouija boards? Blithe spirits?), doctors who fall in love with their patients, shipwrecks, plane crashes, and gee I wish I could give up smoking. Wait, this sounds like a Broadway musical! Wish I'd thought of it.

4.) The lyrics of Life of Begins at 8:40 is so crammed with prehistoric references that the liner notes include a "dictionary"...This comes in handy when listening to "I Couldn't Hold My Man", which I'll be playing come Sunday. Here are a few nuggets to help the Unknowing (younger than 75) to understand:

The Five Foot Shelf...."An anthology of classic literature, now known as
       The Harvard Classics" (hey, that will DEFINITELY impress the guys now!)
Lydia Pinkham's....a tonic for ladies' ills.
Hay's Reducing Plan...the fad diet of 1911 (never eat your starches WITH
       your proteins, dahling!) (As Norma Shearer pointed out in
       The Women, "No starch, dear! It's gluten!" Oh, okay, Norma. I'll eat up! ).
Carnegie Clothes...Hattie Carnegie, who was THEE fashion guru of the 20s.
Spud...the first menthol cigarette, which came out in 1925. Kissing sweet?

(BTW, that song seems to have inspired "Nobody Makes A Pass At Me", from Pins And Needles, written just 3 years later in 1937. Hmmmm.....)

Just thought you'd wanna know. Or not. I mean, you could just kick back in your Barcalounger and listen. With or without back story, it's Broadway. Be blithe!

Sun On My Face (Robert Morse, Tony Roberts, Elaine Joyce, Ensemble,
On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (John Cullum, On A Clear Day You Can
      See Forever)
Wait Till We're Sixty-Five (William Daniels, On A Clear Day You Can See
What Did I Have That I Don't Have Now (Barbara Harris, On A Clear Day
      You Can See Forever)
Put On A Happy Face (Dick Van Dyke, Bye Bye Birdie)
My Fortune Is My Face (Jack Cassidy, Fade Out - Fade In)
Look At That Face (Cyril Ritchard, The Roar Of The Grease Paint, The Smell
      Of The Crowd)
Cassandra (Betty Buckley, Story Songs)
Heart's Desire (Jessica Molaskey, At The Algonquin)
Someone Else's Clothes (Jason Robert Brown, Wearing Someone Else's
Old Flame (Betty Buckley, Story Songs)
Lose That Long Face (Judy Garland, A Star Is Born)
Were Thine That Special Face (Alfred Drake, Kiss Me Kate)
Let's Face The Music And Dance (Fred Astaire, Follow The Fleet)
Funny Face (Fred Astaire, Funny Face)
How Can You Describe A Face? (Sydney Chaplin, Subways Are For Sleeping)
I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face (Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady)
How Are Things In Glocca Morra (Ella Logan, Finian's Rainbow)
Necessity (Dolores Martin, Maude Simmons, Ensemble, Finian's Rainbow)
Something Sort Of Grandish (Ella Logan, David Wayne, Finian's Rainbow)
Old Devil Moon (Ella Logan, Donald Richards, Finian's Rainbow)
Crossword Puzzle (Faith Prince, Total Faith)
Suddenly Seymour (Faith Prince, Total Faith)
I Couldn't Hold My Man (Faith Prince, Life Begins At 8:40)
The Beauty That Drives Men Mad (Robert Morse, Tony Roberts, Sugar)
We Could Be Close (Elaine Joyce, Robert Morse, Sugar)
When You Meet A Man From Chicago (Company, Sugar)

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Side of Love, Please...hold the dressing!

 Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in
the film version of 
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
A book by Anita Loos,
originally starring Carol Channing as Lorelei Lee.
Below, 2 dames we're supposed to feel sorry for,
"When Love Goes Wrong."
I should be so unhappy.

 Mid this one!

 Shirley Booth in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (based on the book
by Betty Smith)
as Aunt Sissy, a part that was substantially "beefed up"
to allow for Shirley's popularity at the time.
In fact, the musical tilted so much in Shirley's favor
that the real story was marginalized
and reviews were disappointing.
We'll hear "Love Is The Reason." 
(And BTW, look at those STOCKINGS!)

 Recording the cast album...
from left, songwriter Arthur Schwartz, David Oppenheim,
Shirley, Goddard Lieberson.
Missing: lyricist Dorothy Fields.

 And 3 connections that Shirley had with Katherine Hepburn:
Above, Shirley in the Broadway production of 
Desk Set,
which Katherine would do with Spencer Tracey, 
Hollywood style.
Below, the staged version of The Philadelphia Story, 1939,
with Katherine at center, and Shirley at right,
in the part of the photographer, Miss Imbrie,
later played by Ruth Hussey.
Note Joseph Cotten to the left of Katherine!

 And one more connection:
Above, Shirley in The Time of the Cuckoo, 1952,
for which she was awarded a Tony...
and which would be made into the movie ( just 3 years later),
starring (of course) Katherine Hepburn. 

 Ah, to be in Scotland. Or not.
Above Gene and Cyd on the MGM sound lot,
a major disappointment for Gene who wanted to move the whole
kit n' caboodle
to film in the Highlands.
The budget (and Dore Schary) said no. 
So the back lot got a paint job.
Below, the Broadway version...and one scary piece of scenery!
We'll here Mr. Kelly's breathy 
"Almost Like Being In Love".

 And a musical that has yet to reach our "sunny shores":
Top Hat,
starring Tom Chamberlain (above) 
and Summer Strallen (below, right).
It debuted in the West End in 2012,
and has had great success touring in the UK.
So perhaps, if we're lucky...
The music is a collection of Irving Berlin goodies from various shows.
Below in purple is Vivien Parry who we'll hear
(with Martin Ball)
perform "Outside Of That, I Love You".

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Cupid: Bow? Needle? Shuffle?

 Back in 1981, Pennies From Heaven, starring
Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters, was released.
The actors lip-synched several standards from the 1920s and 30s,
and allowed me to hear (for the first time)
Ida Sue McCune singing
"Love Is Good For Anything That Ails You",
which was "sung" by Bernadette in Pennies,
Can't find an image of we'll go with BP!

 Marlene Dietrich
in Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel), 1930,
in which she sang "Falling In Love Again"
written by Friedrich Hollaender.
The original German title of the song:
"I am, from head to toe, ready for love".
"You Made Me Love You"
was written back in 1913 by James Monaco and Joseph McCarthy.
Judy Garland sang it to Clark Gable 
at an MGM birthday party, below,
with additional "personalized" lyrics by Roger Edens.
It proved a hit,
and MGM included the song (and Judy) in
The Broadway Melody of 1938,

Edith Adams,
later known as Edie,
in Wonderful Town, 1953...
in which she was "A Little Bit In Love." 
Below is how I remember her,
doing commercials for Muriel Cigars
  ("Why don't you pick one up and smoke it sometime?")
and, of course, on hubby Ernie Kovac's TV show.

 Grover Dale and Elaine Stritch
in Noel Coward's Sail Away.
We'll hear the "Beatnik Love Affair"
(I think this must be only song EVER to include Sputnik in its lyrics).
Below Grover with George Chakiris in
The Young Ladies of Rochefort, 1967...

 ...and here's a (not much) younger George
cavorting with The Clooney,
in "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me,"
with Irving Berlin writing sexy
for White Christmas. :)

 A duet by Ethel Merman and a be-spectacled Donald O'Connor,
in the movie version of Call Me Madam, 1953.
You're not sick, Donald..."you're just in love"
was theeee hit song of that Broadway show
with Ethel originating the role of Sally Adams,
and Dick Haymes in the O'Connor role. 
Also starring Billy DeWolfe, George Sanders, and Vera-Ellen.

 Gotta Sing Sing!
"Prisoners Of Love"
written by Mel Brooks for his Broadway version
of The Producers, 2001.
Nathan, Mathew, and lots of horizontal stripes
(dangerous for some)!

 And I had to include a little Shirley,
from Stowaway, released in 1936,
co-starring Robert Young (above), Alice Faye,
and lower on the bill, Arthur Treacher,
one of the best Hollywood butlers ever
(prior to The Merv Griffin Show,
and launching his Fish N' Chip empire, of course)!
We'll hear "Goodnight, My Love,"
written by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Playlist for Feb. 11, 2018: Hearts And Flowers And....somebody stuff that dove!

So it's that hearts and flowers time again: The Valentines Edition of 2 On The Aisle. My, how the winter is passing by! Not. But tis the season to speak (and choose playlists) of Love.

To prevent toooooo much tooth decay, I have, in the past, laced said Broadway At Its Best VD editions with plenty of arsenic to go along with the chocolate truffles.  Hard centers disguised in creamy surrounds. But I have been known to go too far. DJ Jeff Harris once came into the studio, readying for his show, and said "who broke YOUR heart into a million pieces?" So to prevent toppling into "I Hate Men"-ness, I've attempted an nice balance between the ooey-gooey and the acerbic. A plethora of love in the titles of these babies, at least, so if you can judge a song by its cover...there'll be plenty of love on the air (waves).

So that means everything from Lovesick to You're Not Sick, You're Just In Love. I'm In The Mood for it, but I Can't Be IN it. It Didn't Do Right, but It's The Reason.  It's Done Me Wrong, I'm Through With It, but it's Fit, Good For Anything That Ails You, and I'm A Prisoner of it. There Must Be Something Better! There Ain't! Whew.

Join me Sunday, Feb. 11th (AND a re-broadcast come Friday, Feb 16th, at 4pm on Swing & Blues Radio) for this many-faceted take on Broadway's Number One Emotion. You bring the candy.

P.S. I like YELLOW roses. :)

Love Is Good For Anything That Ails You (Ida McCune, Artie Shaw, The Hit
      Parade Of 1937)
She Loves Me (Zachary Levi, She Loves Me)
What Is This Thing Called Love (Mary Martin, Wake Up And Dream)
Fit As A Fiddle And Ready For Love (Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Singin'
      In The Rain)
Almost Like Being In Love (Gene Kelly, Brigadoon)
Love You Didn't Do Right By Me (Rosemary Clooney, White Christmas)
There Must Be Something Better Than Love (Pearl Bailey, Arms And The Girl)
I'm Through With Love (Marilyn Monroe, Some Like It Hot)
Down With Love (Sutton Foster, Sutton Foster Live At The Algonquin)
Dear Mr. Gable/You Made Me Love You (Judy Garland, Broadway Melody
      Of 1938)
Everyone Says I Love You (The Marx Brothers, Horsefeathers)
I'm In The Mood For Love (Darla Hood, The Pinch Singer))
Falling In Love Again (Marlene Dietrich, The Blue Angel)
It's De-Lovely (Hal Linden, Barbara Lang, Anything Goes)
A Little Bit In Love (Edith Adams, Wonderful Town)
Love Is The Reason (Shirley Booth, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn)
Ain't There Anyone Here For Love? (Jane Russell, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
When I'm Not Near The Girl I Love (David Wayne, Finian's Rainbow)
Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful? (Peter Saide, Cinderella)
Freddy, My Love (Katie Hanley, Grease)
Beatnik Love Affair (Grover Dale, Sail Away)
Love Is A Many Splendored Thing (Jason Graae, David Engel, Guy Stroman,
      Stan Chandler, Forever Plaid)
Lovesick (Sherie Rene Scott, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown)
I Love You Like A Table (Christopher Fitzgerald, Kimiko Glenn, Waitress)
This Can't Be Love (Jack Cassidy, Holly Harris, The Boys From Syracuse)
You Made Me Love You (George S. Irving, Patsy Kelly, Irene)
You're Just In Love (Donald O'Connor, Ethel Merman, Call Me Madame)
I Can't Be In Love (Don Ameche, Goldilocks)
Outside of That, I Love You (Martin Ball, Vivien Parry, Top Hat)
Forbidden Love In Gaul (Alan Alda, Barbara Harris, The Apple Tree)
I Won't Say I'm In Love (Susan Egan, Hercules)
Put 'Em In A Box, Tie 'Em With A Ribbon, And Throw 'Em In The Deep
      Blue Sea (Doris Day, Romance On The High Seas)
When Love Goes Wrong (Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Gentlemen Prefer
Love From A Heart Of Gold (Rudy Vallee, Virginia Martin, How To Succeed
      In Business Without Really Trying)
Let's Not Talk About Anything Else But Love (Nathan Lane, Terence Mann,
      The Addams Family)
Goodnight, My Love (Shirley Temple, Stowaway)
Prisoners Of Love (Nathan Lane, Mathew Broderick, The Producers)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Russsssians and other dudes...

 Yup, that's Danny Kaye on a rather chimerical-looking horse (above)
and tweaking a costume (for later wear in The Court Jester?, below)
in Lady In The Dark, 1941,
with music by Kurt Weill, lyrics Ira Gershwin.
Along with stars Gertrude Lawrence,
Victor Mature, and MacDonald Carey,
Danny played Russell Paxton, a fashion photographer,
and "stopped the show" every night with the song,
"Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians)":
50 Russian composers in 39 seconds.
It made him a star. :)

 More "Russians":
Above, Don Ameche and Hildegard (never had a voice lesson) Knef
lounge in their Silk Stockings (the Broadway 1955 version)
while a Soviet trio judges:
Ivanov, Brankoff and Bibinski
as played by David Opatoshu, Henry Lascoe and Leon Belasco.
Below, same trio but Hollywood style:
Joseph Buloff, Jules Munshin, and Peter Lorre

 Above and below,
Caroline O'Connor as Countess Lily
in Anastasia, still running on Broadway
as I type 
(and simultaneously eat a breakfast blintz).
We'll hear "The Land Of Yesterday"!

 Having nothing whatsoever to do with Russia
(well, nothing's been proven. YET!),
is Jessica Molaskey,
performing a Jason Robert Brown tune
WITH Jason Robert Brown:
"Still Hurting" 
Jessica is a HUGE JRB fan,
having starred in one of his early shows,
Songs For A New World.

 In our Betty Hutton corner,
a goodie from Let's Dance, released in 1950
by Paramount.
It teamed Betty with Fred Astaire,
and tho the film did pretty well financially,
it was totally overshadowed by Betty's OTHER 1950 release,
Annie, Get Your Gun.
 Above, "Can't Stop Talkin' About Him"
and below, "Oh Them Dudes".