Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Playlist for Sunday, September 29, 2013: Another week, another Broadway saga!

This week we uncover another Charles Strouse/Lee Adams goodie.  Last week, Golden Boy (by the same writers)...this week All-American, from 1962.  What a country!  And yes, that is one of the numbers! Strouse and Adams were fresh off their success from Bye Bye Birdie, but on Broadway, one HIT doesn't necessarily follow another.  Ray Bolger was picked to star, though there were a lot of other contenders, Zero Mostel for one.  Although Bolger hadn't done anything on stage for over 10 years, Director Josh Logan thought he was more handsome and romantic (!) than Zero...But Ray was passed his prime and didn't pull the audiences they hoped.  Mel Brooks wrote the book, his first big-time musical endeavor, and his humor clashed with Logan's.  Shake well (don't stir), and you get one big flop. But a couple of musical gems...listen for Physical Fitness and The Real Me, both are big favorites of mine!

Of course, we'll add in some other gems...Embraceable You, If He Walked Into My Life and a couple from Pump Boys and Dinettes.  Those always work!  I can't ALWAYS play quirky! 

Thanks for tuning in...:)

Chapter 54, Number 1909 (Tommy Tune, Ken Howard, Michele Lee, Seesaw)
Don't Forget 127th Street (Johnny Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Golden Boy)
Timing (Sharon Murray, Grind)
Embraceable You (Jodi Benson, Harry Groener, Crazy For You)
Once Upon a Time (Ray Bolger, Eileen Herlie, All American)
Vacation (Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, Pump Boys and Dinettes)
Mona (John Foley, Pump Boys and Dinettes)
I Wanna Go Home (Daniel H. Jenkins, Big)
Willing to Ride (Karen Ziemba, Steel Pier)
Talking to Yourself (Leslie Uggams, Robert Hooks and Allen Case, Hallelujah,
If He Walked Into My Life (Angela Lansbury, Mame)
Physical Fitness (Ensemble, All American)
The Real Me (Eileen Herlie, All American)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Playlist for Sunday, September 22, 2013: Not a Sondheim in the Bunch!

Okay, I'm passed my Sondheim-jonesing, so on to new musicals! And this week, a lot of quirky, cult-y favorites, and a couple of actual flops.

Dear World, with Angela Lansbury was one of the latter...a Jerry Herman creation that endured scathing reviews.  Angela was the only bright spot amidst an otherwise dismal show, according to the reviews...based on "The Mad Woman of Chaillot" which Katherine Hepburn conquered in film version....Then there's a little something from Big and Legally Blonde, two musicals based on movies, that had some catchy tunes, but were generally ignored by the award givers. Breakfast at Tiffany's makes a showing as well, that doomed production that never even opened, disappointing Mary Tyler Moore and Richard Chamberlain who were to be the leads (and all those fans of theirs who bought TICKETS!).  Nice little trivia note: Truman Capote's title?  Well, seems that at the time he wrote "Breakfast," Tiffany's was the only store he knew in New York. True, Tru? (Wrong!  An unknowing New York tourist, when asked which sophisticated restaurant he wanted to eat at, evidently asked "Why don't we have breakfast at Tiffany's?")

Golden Boy, 1964, with Sammy Davis Jr., had a little more success: An amazing jazzy interracial kiss...and some topics that audiences of the early 60s weren't that comfortable with.  BUT it survived on Broadway for over a year, and garnered 5 Tony nominations.

So hope you enjoy these quirky near-classics!

Night Song (Sammy Davis, Jr., Golden Boy)
While the City Sleeps (Billy Daniels, Golden Boy)
Nothing is New in New York (Ensemble, Breakfast at Tiffany's)
N.Y.C. (Andrea McArdle, Reid Shelton, Annie)
Very Soft Shoes (Matt Mattox, Once Upon a Mattress)
Shipoopi (Iggy Wolfington, The Music Man)
I Do Not Know (Walter Willison, Two by Two)
Something Good (Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music)
Coffee, Black! (Daniel H. Jenkins, Jon Cypher, Big)
There! Right There! (Laura Bell Bundy, Christian Borle, Legally Blonde)
Late Bloomer (Russ Thacker, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?)
Each Tomorrow Morning (Angela Lansbury, Dear World)
Sailor of My Dreams (Bernadette Peters, Dames at Sea)
Dimples (Virginia Martin, Little Me)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Playlist for Sunday, September 15, 2013: Sondheim 2.0

My Sondheim obsession continues this Sunday!  One thing I've realized about these musicals is that you can't just listen to them once...some shows are easily accessed, they're hummmmm-able from the first time you hear them.  But not so with Sondheim.  You have to invest some time and energy into his shows and I've found almost all of them to be worth it.  And every Sondheim show seems to have a unique style of music, appropriate to the plot, characters and settings.  Spare and minimal for some, bombastic and gothic for others, catty/neurotic/angst-ridden at times, and innocence itself when it suits.

In no particular order, we'll be sampling from Pacific Overtures, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods...even Merrily We Roll Along, that flop that lasted, what? 16 performances?  Sondheim and Hal Prince (director of so many successes) broke up over it, it was that horribly received.  And the reviews seemed almost personal in their criticisms. Lucky for Sondheim that James Lapine showed up and inspired him with George Seurat, and they were soon off and "painting" another show. 

Of course, I have to end with that one song that turned into a popular, oft-covered icon...Send in the Clowns.  Sondheim wrote it specifically for Glynis Johns, who was more an actress than a singer, so he wrote it in short, concise phrases, with clipped one-syllable words, so it would be easy to sing and effective to hear.  Later, when the likes of Sinatra, et. al., recorded it, Sondheim didn't care for the long-held notes that those 6-pack of air singers impressed on you. So enjoy Glynis and "Clowns"...the way Sondheim envisioned it. 

Ahhh, well....thanks for your patience.  Next week, something BESIDES Sondheim, I promise!

Our Time (Ensemble, Merrily We Roll Along)
Four Black Dragons (Ensemble, Pacific Overtures)
Bowler Hat (Isao Sato, Pacific Overtures)
Sunday in the Park with George (Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Sunday in
                    the Park with George)
Finishing the Hat (Mandy Patinkin, Sunday in the Park with George)
There Won't Be Trumpets (Suzanne Henry, Anyone Can Whistle)
Anyone Can Whistle (Lee Remick, Anyone Can Whistle)
Old Friends (Lonny Price, Jim Walton, Anne Morrison, Merrily We Roll Along)
Not a Day Goes By (Jim Walton, Merrily We Roll Along)
Hello Little Girl (Robert Westenberg, Into the Woods)
Agony (Robert Westenberg, Into the Woods)
Every Day a Little Death (Patricia Elliot, Victoria Mallory, A Little Night Music)
Send in the Clowns (Glynis Johns, A Little Night Music)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Playlist for Sunday, September 8, 2013: Sondheim, Chapter 1

An ALL SONDHEIM show this week, folks!  Something that I've wanted to do for...oh, about a year now.  We'll be picking something from (almost) every one of his major Broadway musicals, plus a couple of extras here and there, and that's why we'll need two shows to do it.  Well, we could use about 7 shows, but I won't test your patience and loyalty! 

We'll begin with the shows that Sondheim wrote just the lyrics for:  West Side Story and Gypsy.  He also wrote the lyrics for Do I Hear A Waltz? (with his "partner" of the moment, Richard Rodgers), but I'm choosing to ignore that one for the time being, and skip breezily to Forum, Company, Sweeney, and more.  If you miss this Sunday, tune in on Sept. 15th, for Chapter 2, when we'll dive into Pacific Overtures, Sunday in the Park with George, and MORE SONDHEIM!

Thanks for allowing me to obsess...

Company (Dean Jones, Ensemble, Company)
The Jet Song (Ensemble, West Side Story)
Officer Krupke (Ensemble, West Side Story)
Together Wherever We Go (Ethel Merman, Sandra Church, Jack Klugman,
Rose's Turn (Ethel Merman, Gypsy)
Free (Zero Mostel, Michael Crawford, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way
                          to the Forum)
Everybody Ought to Have a Maid (Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, Phil Silvers,
                          Michael Hordern, Forum)
Losing My Mind (Barbara Cook, Follies)
Broadway Baby (Elaine Stritch, Follies)
The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Len Cariou and company, Sweeney Todd)
Johanna (Victor Garber, Sweeney Todd)
Another Hundred People (Pamela Myers, Company)
The Ladies Who Lunch (Elaine Stritch, Company)