Saturday, December 8, 2018

Let's take it nice and dreamy...

 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. 

 Ahna O'Reilly
(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
(above center),
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.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Dream A Little Dream...and save me a slice!

Best entrance ever.
Debbie Reynolds in Singin' In The Rain,
prior to "All I Do Is Dream Of You"
and cake in the face for Lina Lamont.
Below, another hummer of a scene below:
Gene K and Debbie R
on a "joy" ride.

"The Man In The Moon" (is a Miss!)
from Jerry Herman's Mame, 1966.
Above, from the original production with 
Angela Lansbury successfully perched, for the moment,
on that piece of cheese,
and Bea Arthur trodding the clouds
(with her cloud-trodding hat).
Below, an Al Hirschfeld depiction of the scene,
with Jane Connell's Miss Gooch, cornered and Nina-ed.
(Ninas? The sweater! The bracelets!)

Yup, I KNEW she'd fall off that thing.
Below, Bea in regalia (left) with Lucille Ball 
in the film version, 1974.
which was lambasted by the critics.
Lucy was deemed 
"too old, too stringy in the legs, too basso in the voice, 
and too creaky in the joints."
She countered with,
 "Mame stayed up all night and drank champagne! 
What did you expect her to sound like? Julie Andrews?"

Liza Minnelli released her album, "Gently" in 1996,
from which we'll sample
"You Stepped Out Of A Dream",
by Nacio Herb Brown and Gus Kahn.
Below, Liza at 14 with Mom Judy at 38.
So this photo must be from 1960...
which would make that a great hat.

A photo supposedly taken during the 
recording of "Gently."

Leslie "Hutch" Hutchinson,
originally from Grenada,
started his singing career in the US,
but had more success in England.
He arrived in London in 1927, 
performing in musicals and cabarets,
and entered "society"...
becoming a favorite of the Prince of Wales,
and a "regular" on BBC radio.

Above, Leslie with Spike Hughes and Al Bowlly.
Leslie had his share of scandalous "involvements" while in the UK:
Edwina Mountbatten, Cole Porter,
Merle Oberon...and in Hollywood, Tallulah Bankhead.

Despite great popularity,
with Mayfair posh gigs, connections with royalty, and a Rolls Royce,  
Leslie still had to use service entrances.
We'll hear his rendition of
"All I Do Is Dream Of You."

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Playlist For Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018: Do You Dream Of Broadway Sheep?

I sit here sleepless in Upstate New York. Doesn't have the same ring as Seattle, does it? Up since 3:30am, "woke" with Tree Trim Fever. And yes, that's a real thing. When your mind is abuzz with "what to give Aunt Sadie" and "where did I put the damn wrapping paper" and "why can't I eat a whole panettone for dinner if I want to" kind of buzz. My cat certainly doesn't get it. Me, traipsing about in my old ratty bathrobe, in the middle of the night, brewing, blogging, buzzing...and around 10am I need an effing nap!

All this to say I need a good dream. So if I can't get an actual noctornal novel playing out under my eye lids, I'll play one (or 17) on Sunday. I've done dream shows before (I guess I long for one, or 17), but hopefully there are enough newbies (or new juxtapositions) to keep you non-nappy. The trouble with all these dreamy songs is, however, you may actually be lulled to sleep! They aren't exactly peppy. Please try to stifle your yawns. I can hear them, you know.

We WILL get to Christmas Broadway eventually (Dec.23!), but perhaps to keep us less abuzz, breathe, Barcalounge, and bask in such stuff as dreams are made on. Broadway! 

Pure Imagination (Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory)
All I Do Is Dream Of You (Debbie Reynolds, Ensemble, Singin' In The Rain)
Baby Dream Your Dream (Helen Gallagher, Thelma Oliver, Sweet Charity)
The Sailor Of My Dreams (Bernadette Peters, Dames At Sea)
All I Do Is Dream Of You (Gene Kelly, Singin' In The Rain)
This Is How A Dream Comes True (Sutton Foster, Bryan d'Arcy James,
      Shrek The Musical)
You Stepped Out Of A Dream (Liza Minnelli, Gently)
Something From A Dream (Steven Pasquale, The Bridges Of Madison County)
First You Dream (Karen Ziemba, Daniel McDonald, Steel Pier)
I'll Never Have to Dream Again (Connie Boswell)
All I Do Is Dream Of You (Leslie 'Hutch' Hutchinson)
I'll See You In My Dreams (The Pied Pipers)
A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes (Ilene Woods, Cinderella)
Dream Variations (Audra McDonald, Way Back To Paradise)
Rosamund's Dream (Ahna O'Reilly, Steven Pasquale,The Robber Bridegroom)
Have A Dream (Ray Bolger, Fritz Weaver, All-American)
The Impossible Dream (Brian Stokes Mitchell, Man Of LaMancha)
Look For The Silver Lining (Judy Garland, Til The Clouds Roll By)
The Clouds Will Soon Roll By (Elsie Carlisle & The Ambrose Orchestra)
Clouds (David Garrison, Ensemble, Snoopy!)
Corner Of The Sky (John Rubinstein, Pippin)
The Man In The Moon (Bea Arthur, Mame)
When You Wish Upon A Star (Clifton Edwards, Pinocchio)
Dreamgirls (Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, Jennifer Holliday, Dreamgirls)
Cadillac Car (Ben Harney, Cleavant Derricks, Dreamgirls)
And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going (Jennifer Holliday, Dreamgirls)
Make Believe (Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson, Show Boat)
I Believe In You (Robert Morse, Ensemble, How To Succeed In Business
      Without Really Trying)
I Believe In Takin' A Chance (George Wallace, Jack De Lon, Jennie)
When Veruca Says (Ben Crawford, Emma Pfaeffle, Charlie And The
      Chocolate Factory)
Queen Of Pop (Alan Green, Trista Dollison, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory)
Pure Imagination (Christian Borle, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory)
Pure Imagination (Barbra Streisand, Seth MacFarlane, Encores: Movie Partners
      Sing Broadway)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Stop. Just. Stop.

 Desperate Measures
provides a song for our STOP! theme
today on 2 On The Aisle...
"Stop There"
sung by Peter Saide (above on the left)
as the long-tall-drink-of-sarsaparilla Sheriff.
The show premiered in Texas (really?)
back in May of 2004 
(really! That's a long trip to even OFF Broadway.)
It closed in October of this year.
Above, Peter, Emma Degerstedt, Ryan Conor, and Gary Marachek.
 Music, David Friedman and Peter Kellogg.

 In our "Hanukkah Corner" 
is Falstettos,
a William Finn/James Lapine marriage of 
2 of Mr. Finn's shows of the past.
The revival of 2016 starred Andrew Rannells (Mormon much?)
Christian Borle (Wonka! Rotten Shakespeare)
 Anthony Rosenthal, and 
Brandon Uranowitz (American in Paris, plus...).

 Damian's Big Tap Number,
from Mean Girls..."Stop!"
Grey Henson leads the corp de tap here,
and below, a mall set and a HALF from the same show.
Note pink mean girls descending! 
A ton of Tony noms this year,
but a total shut out
(although Tina Fey did win a Drama Desk for Outstanding Book). 

Close up on Damian (Grey)
and Karen (Kate Rockwell).
Are there taps on those sneaks?

 "Stop! Wait! What?"
Bryce Pinkham (as Monty Navarro) arrested for the
one death he DIDN'T cause?
A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder,
with Bryce above on the left (with saw, hatchet, gun and poison),
handing his tools of the trade over to his understudy,
Jeff Kready, who took over the role. 
Below, Jefferson victim(s) ever! 

"Can't Stop Talking About Him!"
was introduced in Let's Dance
by Betty Hutton and Fred Astaire...
a song written by Frank Loesser.
The film did OK, but Betty's other movie of the year (1950)
overshadowed this one completely:
Annie Get Your Gun!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

We're going to PROM!

 The Prom opened on Broadway just this month (November, 2018),
 with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics Chad Beguelin,
(this team wrote Elf The Musical, BTW)
and a book by Beguelin and Bob Martin
(Bob Martin? Drowsy Chaperone? You guessed it!).
It stars Brooks Ashmanskas (above) as Barry,
Christopher Seiber (below right) as Trent,
and Beth Leavel (below center) as Dee Dee.
Out-of-work, middle-aged actors look to 
"celebrity activism" to jump start their fading careers,
and find a midwest high school that's banned a prom
due to a certain 17-year-old lesbian.

 Jesse Green of the NYTimes:
"As in many of the greatest Golden Age musicals, 
they latch onto a subject of topical importance, 
using its gravity to anchor their satire and their satire to leaven its earnestness. In full “Hairspray” mode, they mostly succeed."

 Here's Beth from The Drowsy Chaperone,
with a favorite beverage,
and with her co-star in that show,
Sutton Foster.

 Two wonderful shows with Brooks:
Above as Brother Jeremiah in Something Rotten!
with Kate Reinders.
And below in Bullets Over Broadway,
with Helene Yorke.

 Bullets' curtain call,
with a much padded Brooks as Warner Purcell.

Brooks (age 49) hails from Salem, Oregon,
graduated from Bennington College,
and his first Off-Broadway success was in
Jason Robert Brown's Songs For A New World...
and Beth (63) is from Raleigh, North Carolina,
with a Broadway debut in 42nd Street (1985).
Since then, Crazy For You, Young Frankenstein,
Bandstand...and so many more!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Playlist for Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018: The Devil Wears Walmart

I feel like crawling into a bread pudding. My version of that dessert includes eggnog and amaretto and panettone, which makes for a warm (if sticky) blanket. Okay, now I don't want that. I just want those vulgar fleecy reindeer PJs. And Swiss Miss with tiny marshmallows. Screw Fashion/Gourmet. I want Cozy.

The wind seems to be whistling INSIDE my house. And it's November. I guess I need to put up my Black, Depressing, Thermal curtains. The funereal ones that keep my leaky old windows from snowing on me. Maybe if I line them with those reindeer PJs, I'll stand a chance at both warmth and better Fashion than off the rack Walmart. 

New tires that climb snowy embankments: Check.
Plowing staff: On speed dial.
Shovel/Rock Salt: Somewhere!
Hats/Mittens/Parkas/Mucklucks: Mismatched, but at the ready
Positive Attitude: Well, it was around here yesterday!!!

I'm just gonna play Broadway. And speaking of that street, I am twiddling- thumbs anxious to receive the cast album of The Prom. Brooks Ashmanskas, Christopher Sieber, Beth Leavel...those people can't allllll be wrong, right? It's gotta be at least decent. I lifted 2 songs off Youtube to sample this Sunday, and the rest will come ASAP, but fingers crossed. Jesse Green of the Times said: "With its kinetic dancing, broad mugging and belty anthems, it makes you believe in musical comedy again." Sounds like Something Rotten!, but you buried that one, Jess.

Otherwise it's themes and Jews and Spam and Babs and tooooo toooo! Survive the week, will ya? And then pounce on 2 On The Aisle, come Sunday. We'll cozy up; maybe the wind and white will cease and we can wear heels and cute jackets again. Think Vogue and Vanity Fair. And burn the Fleece. :)

This Plum Is Too Ripe (Rita Gardner, Kenneth Wilson, William Larsen,
      Hugh Thomas, The Fantasticks)
Barry Is Going To Prom (Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom)
The Lady's Improving (Beth Leavel, The Prom)
As We Stumble Along (Beth Leavel, The Drowsy Chaperone)
We See The Light (John Cariani, Kate Reinders, Brooks Ashmanskas,
      Something Rotten!)
Four Jews In A Room Bitching (Christian Borle, Andrew Rannells, Brandon
      Uranowitz, Anthony Rosenthal, Falsettos)
Miracle Of Judaism (Anthony Rosenthal, Falsettos)
Someone Like You (Jason Robert Brown, Wearing Someone Else's Clothes)
You Won't Succeed On Broadway (David Hyde Pierce, Tim Curry, Spamalot)
People (Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl)
Joey, Joey, Joey (Leslie Odom, Jr., Leslie Odom, Jr.)
Never Again/Sail Away (Christine Ebersole, Christine Ebersole Sings Noel
Stop! Wait! What?! (Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder)
Stop There (Peter Saide, Desperate Measures)
Can't Stop Talking About Him (Audra McDonald)
Stop (Grey Henson, Kate Rockwell, Mean Girls)
Can't Stop Talking About Him (Betty Hutton, Fred Astaire, Let's Dance)
You Can't Stop The Beat (Company, Hairspray)
Your Feet's Too Big (Ken Page, Ain't Misbehavin')
I'm An Indian, Too (Ethel Merman, Annie Get Your Gun)
Too Charming (Robert Preston, Ulla Sallert, Ben Franklin In Paris)
Too Many Mornings (David Kernan, Side By Side By Sondheim)
It's Never Too Late (Geoffrey Hibbert, Dilys Lay, The Boy Friend)
Too Much Expostion/Urinetown (Jeff McCarthy, Spencer Hayden, Urinetown)
Moving Too Fast (Norbert Leo Butz, The Last Five Years)
Too Good To Be Bad (Bernadette Peters, Carol Woods, The Goodbye Girl)
Too Bad (Fred Astaire, Jules Munshin, Joseph Buloff, Peter Lorre, Silk Stockings)
I Can Cook, Too (Nancy Walker, On The Town)
Too Darn Hot (Stanley Wayne Mathis, Ensemble, Kiss Me Kate)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Answer the's Birdie!

 Finish off your turkey leftovers 
to Bye Bye Birdie,
the opening number: The Telephone Song.
The original cast included Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera
(when Eydie Gorme and Carol Haney refused the Rosie role),
Charles Nelson Reilly, Susan Watson, Dick Gautier, Kay Medford,
Paul Lynde, and Michael J. Pollard.
Direction and Choreography was by at-the-time newbie,
Gower Champion.
This original set design: Robert Randolph...
and of course the great music of Charles Strouse
and lyrics by...

... Lee Adams, below with Patti Karr and Susan Watson
(Susan was the original Kim).
Audiences loved the show and it won Best Musical of 1961,
but the critics were more discerning.
Said Brooks Atkinson of the NYTimes:
"The audience was beside itself with pleasure,
but this department was able to contain itself.
 Bye Bye Birdie is neither fish, fowl, nor good musical comedy.
It needs work."

 We'll also hear Michael Feinstein
with "Long Ago And Far Away,"
a song originally from Cover Girl (1944),
with the music of Jerome Kern/Ira Gershwin...
this selection released by Michael on his
Romance on Film, Romance on Broadway album.
Another luscious Broadway ballad, "What'll I Do?" was written back
in 1923 by Irving Berlin for one of his many Music Box Revues,
and recorded by Judy Holliday
on her Trouble Is A Man recording of 1958.

 Christine Baranski played Tracey Gardner
in Nick & Nora, 1991, a flop of the first degree, unfortunately.
Music: Charles Strouse and Richard Maltby Jr.
As Nick and Nora Charles, Barry Bostwick and Joanna Gleason.
Reviews were brutal:
Cranky, arbitrary, tedious, ham-handed, and club-footed
were just some of the adjectives employed.
71 previews, 9 performances!
We'll hear "Everybody Wants To Do A Musical"(!?!?)

Another dreamy ballad:  "Goodnight My Someone"
from The Music Man,
performed by the marvelous
Jessica Molaskey on her Make Believe release of  2004.

 And adding classical Broadway panache to this week's show,
the My Fair Lady revival of 2018!
The starring foursome:
Norbert Leo Butz, Lauren Ambrose, Diana Rigg, and 
Harry Haden-Paton.

Lauren was dubbed by Jesse Green "a feral and then luminous Eliza,"
Harry is a "wiley", "baffled and petulant" professor,
and Norbert capable of "philosophical dancing!"

Above, Norbert "getting to the church on time",
a number with male can-can dancers,
and below, rehearsing that "Rain In Spain."
At center, Colonel Pickering as portrayed by Allan Corduner.