Friday, November 17, 2017

Sweet, Lonely, Caroline.

 Caroline, Or Change
opened on Broadway in 2004,
having been work-shopped at the Public Theatre for several years. 
Music was by Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Thoroughly Modern Millie),
a book and lyrics by Tony Kushner (Angels In America).
Although its run lasted only 4 months,
it was highly praised and received 6 Tony nominations.

 It starred Tonya Pinkins as Caroline (on the right)
and Chandra Wilson (left) as Dotty.

 Caroline is a maid in a Jewish household in 
New Orleans, circa the early 1960s.
The appliances (the washer, dryer, radio), 
the bus and the moon 
are all played by actors who comment and/or torment
from the side.

 Caroline's star, the wonderful Tonya Pinkins,
a Tony award winner for "Jelly's Last Jam",
has done television (soap operas got her a start!),
film and a helluva lot of stage work.

 A good find:
Blossom Dearie and Howard Keel
singing obsure Oscar Hammerstein...
"Lonely Feet",
originally from a show called Three Sisters,
and also used in the film, Sweet Adeline, 1934.
Above, Blossom; below, Howard...
both looking studious in matching glasses. 

 Mr. Astaire in The Bandwagon,
contemplating life "By Myself".
Nice matching luggage tho, Fred.

 From our "Sweet" corner,
"When Veruca Says" from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
Above Emma Pfaelle, as the current Broadway Veruca,
and below, Ben Crawford who plays her dad, Mr. Salt.

 Spoiler alert:
Veruca gets it, in the end.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ore Briny Foam, We Sail (And Pilfer)!

 Who knew pirates could sing,
and often dance?
Above, Tim Curry in
Muppets Treasure Island played 
"A Professional Pirate", Long John Silver,
chuckling no doubt as Kermit walks the plank. 

 A pirate theme must include
Cyril Ritchard (loving that beauty mark!),
as the original Captain Hook in Peter Pan. 
"Captain Hook's Waltz"

 Gene Kelly and Judy Garland in
The Pirate, 1948.
The song "Mack The Black"
replaced "Voodoo"
which was deemed WAAAY too sexy for movie audiences
(so much so that Louis B. Mayer had the negatives burned).
 Swimming from pirates to the briny deep,
Samuel E. Wright sang the part of Sebastian The Crab
in The Little Mermaid...
"Under The Sea,"
a song by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.

 Shirley Booth and Wilbur Evans had a tunnel of love
boat ride in By The Beautiful Sea,
with music by Arthur Schwartz and Dorothy Fields.

 And then a first: Kirk Douglas sings!
"Whale Of A Tale" from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, 1954.
Stripes shirts were popular with musical comedy pirates
(and Parisian artists, I guess).
Below, the rest of the "chorus":
James Mason, Peter Lorre, and Paul Lukas
Absent: The Giant Squid. (Perhaps a Squidward ancestor!)

 We'll hear 4 "takes" of "In The Same Boat"
from Kander and Ebb's Curtains
(well, they were trying to get it right!).
Above, Jill Paice, Karen Ziemba and Megan Sikora
with boat oars. :)

 "There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York"
from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess,
and originally sung by John Bubbles (above)
as Sportin' Life.
Below, the team of Buck and Bubbles,
the vaudeville act that started them off.

 The Apple Tree from 1966
was a Jerry Bock/Sheldon Harnick creation;
three separate plots...
Mark Twain's The Diary of Adam and Eve,
Frank R. Stockton's The Lady Or The Tiger,
and Jules Feiffer's Passionella.
 All three starred Barbara Harris, Alan Alda and Larry Blyden.
We'll hear "It's A Fish" from Act 1.
(A revival was attempted back in 2006 
with Kristin Chenowith, Bryan D'Arcy James and Marc Kudisch.
Kristen was praised, but the show proved 
"creaky" and closed after 3 months.) 

 Okay, so this is SpongeBob,
in previews on Broadway presently, 
and scheduled to open in early December.
We'll hear the 2 songs I can tolerate...
"Poor Pirate" and "I'm Not Loser"
which is seen below, with Gavin Lee as Squidward.
Note extra "legs". Nuff said.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Playlist For Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017: ARRRRR!

It's Poe weather...hard by the dank tarns, withering, crisped, and sere. That sort of thing. Ulalumes skulking about, looking Weir-y. It all makes me shudder and reach for something restorative (interpret this however you may).

But maybe that's why I was weak, when Jazz 90.1's music director, Derrick Lucas, shoved a brand new Broadway CD in my face...SpongeBob whatis Pants? Surely you jest, DL? On MY show? But in my palsied state, I listened. I listened again. And nothing. I felt nothing. But for two measly songs, the rest were immemorial. But again, my twisted, Auber-full brain ignited to a concept, an idea, nay...a theme! A theme so large, so all-encompassing as to have within its range, sub-themes. And so was borne another 2 On The Aisle.

Pirates! The foam! The roiling waves! The tiny boats who dare sail them...that's what we'll attack this Sunday, to tempt us out of the gloom (haunted woodland)... with the brave inclusion of 2 Spongey songs that are deamed worthy. Plus depressing, yet fitting, right? Plus Candy. Cuz, that helps. Yup, I've turned into a Theme Nut. There must be a medication for this sort of obsession, but talk to me later about that, after I finish my 17th cup of Joe.

So enjoy the variety (ride the waves!) and the juxtapositions (Blossom Dearie, Tim Curry, drive-in movies, Sugar Babies, and Kirk Douglas)(???) that a show like this foists on you. Only here on 2 On The Aisle, with an over-caffeinated host and too much music for her own good. :)

Poor Pirates (Jason Michael Snow, Pirates, SpongeBob SquarePants)
Pirate Song (Lost Boys, Pirates, Peter Pan)
Captain Hook's Waltz (Cyril Ritchard, Joe E. Marks, More Pirates, Peter Pan)
A Professional Pirate (Tim Curry, Ensemble, Muppet Treasure Island)
Mack The Black (Judy Garland, The Pirate)
The Advantages Of Floating In The Middle Of The Sea (Mako, Company,
      Pacific Overtures)
By The Sea (Angela Lansbury, Len Cariou, Sweeney Todd)
Under The Sea (Samuel E. Wright, The Little Mermaid)
Call Of The Sea (Bobby Van, Ensemble, No, No, Nanette)
The Sea Song (Shirley Booth, By The Beautiful Sea)
16 Feet Beneath The Sea/The Radio/Laundry Quintet (Tonya Pinkins,  
      Carpathia Jenkins, Tracy Nicole Chapman, Chuck Cooper, Caroline,
      Or Change)
Dotty And Caroline (Tonya Pinkins, Chandra Wilson, Caroline, Or Change)
I Got Four Kids (Tonya Pinkins, Chuck Cooper, Caroline, Or Change)
Whale Of A Tale (Kirk Douglas, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea)
Catfish (John Foley, Mark Hardwick, John Schimmel, Pump Boys And Dinettes)
It's A Fish (Alan Alda, The Apple Tree)
For Every Fish (Josephine Premice, Jamaica)
Saturday Night Fish Fry (Jerry Dixon, Doug Eskew, Milton Craig Nealey, 
      Kevin Ramsey, Jeffrey D. Sams, Five Guys Named Moe)
In The Same Boat (David Hyde Pierce, Karen Ziemba, Jill Paice,
      Edward Hibbert, Curtains)
Sit Down, You're Rocking The Boat (Stubby Kaye, Guys And Dolls)
There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York (John W. Bubbles, Porgy
      And Bess)
No More Candy (Laura Benanti, She Loves Me)
Let Me Be Your Sugar Baby (Ensemble, Sugar Babies)
When Veruca Says (Ben Crawford, Emma Pfaeffle, Charlie And The
      Chocolate Factory)
Sugar (Robert Morse, Tony Roberts, Sugar)
Hard Candy Christmas (Donna King, Lisa Brown, The Girls At Miss Mona's,
      The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas)
I Can't Do It Alone (Catherine Zeta Jones, Chicago)
Alone At A Drive-In Movie (Barry Bostwick, Grease)
Lonely Feet (Blossom Dearie, Alfred Drake, Oscar Hammerstein Revisited)
By Myself (Fred Astaire, The Bandwagon)
All Alone (Tim Curry, Michael McGrath, Spamalot)
I'm Not A Loser (Gavin Lee, Anemone Chorus, SpongeBob SquarePants)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sunday Warblebirds!

 One of our Sunday ballads this week:
Leslie Uggams
and "My Own Morning",
written by Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green
for Hallelujah, Baby!
It was Leslie's Broadway debut, at the age of 24,
and she scooped a Best Actress in a Musical Tony award for it.

Leslie's presently 74 and still working:
 She starred in Empire (2015) and Deadpool (2016), 
above as "Blind Al".
Over 6 decades in the "business"...
and it all started in a little film called
in which Leslie played Ethel Water's niece, 
at 8 years of age. 

 Gotta have some Nathan Lane,
above with Bebe Neuwirth in
The Addams Family,
and below in the film version
(Addams Family Values, done in 1993)
in which Nathan played a police desk sergeant.
"Cook 'em, Hook 'em, and Book 'em!"

 And below, of course,
a star turn in The Producers,
Best Musical Tony winner of 2001,
with Cady Huffman
and Mathew Broderick.

 Bryce Pinkham and Jane Carr:
"You're A D'Ysquith!"
in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.
Bryce sounds British to the core,
but he was born and raised in California,
and has trod the Broadway boards in
Ghost, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Heidi Chronicles, 
and more (of course!).
Jane, on the other hand, is straight from Essex,
and has done film, stage, Brit television, and voice overs a 'plenty.

 Bryce with Jefferson Mays,
who played the entire D'Ysquith family in the show.
Back in 2004, Jefferson garnered
for his performance in 
I Am My Own Wife.
So no stranger to success, he!

 The Callaway Gals!
We'll hear a mash up of 
"The Sweetest Sounds" from No Strings
(a Richard Rodgers' musical from 1962)
and "I Can See It"
(from The Fantasticks, 1960...til forever!).

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I Can See It! (Can't You?)

 Robert Lindsay and Emma Thompson in the 
1985 London production of Me And My Girl.
After an 8 year run in the West End,
it traveled to Broadway,
but Emma didn't travel with it.
She said if she had to do one more chorus of 
"The Lambeth Walk", she'd go crazy!
Below, a recent shot of Robert...
 and Emma!

 The original cast of
The Fantasticks, 1960,
with Jerry Orbach (25 years old at the time)
in the crazy hat, top center.
Rita Gardner played Luisa, Kenneth Nelson (to the right) was Matt.
 This show ran for over 42 years...
and as of 2010, it had supposedly earned its initial investors
240 times their original investments.
Something to be said for simple productions
(a cardboard moon on a string, and a 2 piece "orchestra",
with the harpist doubling on bongos).

 A couple more shots of Mr. Orbach: 
Above: the 1969 Tony Awards,
with James Earl Jones, who won for The Great White Hope,
Julie Harris for Forty Carats,
Angela Lansbury for Dear World,
and Jerry for Promises, Promises.

 Eileen Brennan in Hello, Dolly!
Above at the cast recording, with Charles Nelson Reilly,
and below as our first "musical" Miss Molloy with
"Ribbons Down My Back".

 Today's Miss Molloy,
Kate Baldwin, in her hat shop,
in the current Bette Midler production.
Below, Kate with Gavin Creel
no doubt dripping in "Elegance".

 Art Lund as Joey in The Most Happy Fella, 1956,
with Jo Sullivan who played Rosabella.
Art started out singing with bands,
like that of Benny Goodman and Harry James.
After a hit, "Mam'selle" (1947), 
he found parts on Broadway (Destry Rides Again, Fiorello!)
and in film (The Molly Maguires, Black Caesar).
Below, Art with Robert Weede at the recording of the cast album.
"Joey, Joey, Joey"

 And of course we'll hear 
Leslie Odom Jr.'s version of "Joey",
from his 2016 album,
a fantastic rendition (and more bongos!).
Below, Leslie as Aaron Burr 
in Hamilton.