Thursday, January 30, 2014

Samuel E. Sebastian the Crab

Howard Ashman, the lyricist for The Little Mermaid, suggested that Sebastian's character be changed...from an English-butler crab, to a Jamaican Rastafarian crab.  Bringing about an incredible shift in music, so noticeable in "Kiss the Girl" and "Under the Sea."

The Genie...and his inspiration: Al Hirschfeld

The Disney version on the left.

       Hirschfeld's version on the right.  The animators "drew" their style for the movie, Aladdin, from the caricaturist's work.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The whole gang of Little Shop of Horrors

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are front and center...Ron Taylor is to the left of that man-eating Audrey II, and Ellen Greene just to the right, dangerously close even, to that crazy thing! Click on the photo for an enlarged version.

Alan Menken, Music...Howard Ashman, Words.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Playlist for Sunday, February 2, 2013: The Land of Disney

A departure from our regular Broadway fare this week!  The musicals of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken take center stage:  Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid...along with other Disney animated movie musicals.  Some really gorgeous stuff, suitable for (if not already ON) Broadway.  So I decided to get off my musical "high horse" and play everything from Hercules to The Lion King!  Forgive me, Frank Loesser...

This period of the 80s and 90s represent a Golden Age for Disney musicals, mostly thanks to that Ashman/Menken creative team.  They also did Little Shop of Horrors together, before the Disney-mobile was set in motion, so we'll sample a bit of that, too, which is easy cuz I adore that production.

We'll be back to un-animated Broadway next week, but meanwhile enjoy the Disney-ness!!!

Circle of Life (Tsidii Le Loka, Ensemble, The Lion King)
I Won't Say (Susan Egan, Hercules)
One Last Hope (Danny DeVito, Hercules)
Be Our Guest (Jerry Orbach, Ensemble, Beauty and the Beast)
Gaston (Richard White, Beauty and the Beast)
Under the Sea (Samuel E. Wright, Ensemble, The Little Mermaid)
Friend Like Me (Robin Williams, Aladdin)
Honor to Us All (Marni Nexon, Freda Fon Chen, Lea Salonga, Mulan)
A Girl Worth Fighting For (Harvey Fierstein, Jerry Tondo, Gedde Watanabe,
Somewhere That's Green (Ellen Greene, Little Shop of Horrors)
Feed Me (Ron Taylor, Little Shop of Horrors)
Just Around the River Bend (Judy Kuhn, Pocahontas)
I See the Light (Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Tangled)
Colors of the Wind (Judy Kuhn, Pocahontas)
Les Poissons (Rene Auberjonois, The Little Mermaid)
A Whole New World (Scott Weinger, Linda Larkin, Aladdin)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Anything Goes...the 1962 revival.

Hard to make out, but there's Kenneth Mars on the far left as Sir Evelyn, and Eileen Rodgers in the middle, as Reno Sweeney.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Elaine Stritch...still going strong!

Elaine, 88, left NYC this past year...for her hometown in Michigan.  Said 71 years in Manhattan was plenty.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When Little Me Hit Broadway...

Sid Caesar on the cover of Life Magazine, showing some of the 7 characters he played in the show.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

And then there's...Bea!

Bea Arthur...1922-2009. 

Playlist for Sunday, January 29, 2014: You're Never Fully Dressed...without Broadway!

This Sunday will have its share of Flops, and please note the capital F!  I love those little doomed musicals that lasted 7 or 8 performances...and back in the day, they STILL made a recording of almost everyone of them!  So we can sit back, relax, and enjoy the likes of The Happiest Girl in the World...and Nick & Nora.  The former was a musical version of Lysistrata, with Cyril Ritchard both starring and directing.  Doomed!  The latter, Nick & Nora...of course based on  Nick and Nora Charles, those canny detectives from The Thin Man series. Doomed, again!  It didn't help that both of those shows had well-reputed composers and lyricists. I mean, Nick & Nora had Charles Strouse, who brought us Annie, for lord's sake.

Another goodie is Saturday Night, a musical written by a 23 year old Stephen Sondheim.  If you screw your ears around, you can almost hear that Sondheim "flavor" in some of the songs, but it's definitely his infancy stage...It went unproduced til 1997.

I also get to play two of my favorite ballads: Elaine Stritch singing I Never Know When (boozy, smoky, and alone, what a trifecta!) from Goldilocks, and Bea Arthur doing Where Do You Start?, from her one-woman show.

Hope you can join me!

You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile (Donald Craig and ensemble,
Let's Misbehave (Eileen Rodgers, Kenneth Mars, Anything Goes)
Wall Street (Tamara Long, Dames at Sea)
Real Live Girl (Ensemble of Doughboys!, Little Me)
That'll Be the Day (Ensemble, The Happiest Girl in the World)
I Remember That (Mark Haddigan, Tracie Bennett, Saturday Night)
Isn't It? (Anna Francolini, Saturday Night)
Don't Look Now (John Lithgow, The Sweet Smell of Success)
Dirty Rotten Number (John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)
You Took Advantage of Me (Elaine Stritch, On Your Toes)
I Never Know When (Elaine Stritch, Goldilocks)
Where Do You Start? (Bea Arthur, Just Between Friends)
That Terrific Rainbow (Barbara Ashley, Pal Joey)
Zip! (Jo Hurt, Pal Joey)
Boom Chicka Boom (Faith Prince, Nick & Nora)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jerry Herman and Charles Nelson Reilly

Circa 1964...Hello, Dolly! time.  Charles was one of Jerry's favorite actors, and fortunately for us, added him to the cast of Parade and Hello, Dolly!

Rich Man's Frug, from Sweet Charity...a Bob Fosse Miracle!

Love this!  I added this song to the line up last Sunday, last minute.  But radio misses all these great moves. Cy Coleman's music, of course.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jerry, burning that midnight oil...

College days for Jerry Herman, at the University of Miami, circa 1953.


Jane Connell (Agnes Gooch), Bea Arthur, and Angela Lansbury...helping themselves to the banquet of life!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Playlist for Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014: Herman, as in Jerry!

A special edition of 2 On The Aisle awaits us this coming Sunday: A Jerry Herman Tribute.  He's the Hello Dolly, Mame, La Cage Aux Folles Guy...who's furnished us with so many big, brassy, bittersweet, and very Broadway songs, that you hum as walk out of the theatre, down the street, and all through your dreams.  We'll sample some of those iconic tunes, like With You On My Arm (La Cage) and Each Tomorrow Morning (Dear World), plus we'll add in some of the more eccentric Herman goodies, from Mack & Mabel, Miss Spectacular and Parade.

Jerry's bio says that he was first bitten by the Broadway Bug when he spent his summers with his entertainer-type parents in the Catskill and Berkshire Mountains' summer camps and hotels.  Another story says that it was when, as a teenager, he first saw Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun, and got "inspired!"  One thing is for sure, Frank Loesser came down from his Guys and Dolls "throne," heard some of young Herman's songs and said "Go for it!" Or words to that effect.  Aren't we glad he did?

My favorite has to be Charles Nelson Reilly (a Jerry Herman favorite!), singing "Confession to a Park Avenue Mother."  This was part of a very early off-Broadway revue that Jerry did, called Parade (1960).  Dody Goodman also starred.  It didn't last long, but indeed provided the fuel to skyrocket this composer/lyricist into the Broadway stratosphere from then on.  

One big YUM!

Each Tomorrow Morning (Angela Lansbury, Dear World)
Look What Happened to Mabel (Bernadette Peters, Mack & Mabel)
I Won't Send Roses (Robert Preston, Mack & Mabel)
Elegance (Charles Nelson Reilly and Ensemble, Hello Dolly!)
So Long Dearie (Carol Channing, Hello Dolly!)
And I Was Beautiful (Angela Lansbury, Dear World)
Dear World (Angela Lansbury, Dear World)
A Little More Mascara (George Hearn, La Cage Aux Folles)
With You On My Arm (George Hearn, Gene Barry, La Cage Aux Folles)
Miss What's Her Name (Deborah Gravitte, Miss Spectacular)
Where in the World is My Prince? (Faith Prince, Miss Spectacular)
The Man in the Moon (Bea Arthur, Mame)
Gooch's Song (Jane Connell, Mame)
Confession to a Park Avenue Mother (Charles Nelson Reilly, Parade)
The Best of Times is Now (Gene Barry, George Hearn, Ensemble, La Cage Aux

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Robert Morse and Tony Roberts, as Daphne and Josephine (Jerry and Joe), in Sugar, the musical version of Some Like It Hot.  Love the earrings, Josephine!

Suddenly Seymour!

Lee Wilkof and Ellen Greene, as Seymour and Audrey (I!), in the original off-Broadway production of "Little Shop of Horrors."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Playlist for Sunday, Jan. 12, 2013: Well, of All the Rotten Shows!

While my fingers remain (for the moment) unfrozen, and chilblains nibble at my toes, let us get to this coming Sunday's show!  My favorites this week have to be a.) "You Should See Yourself," from Sweet Charity, a song I have only recently discovered.  It seems even better knowing that this song was sung to Charlie, Charity's "boyfriend" JUST before he steals her wallet and pushes her into Central Park Lake. Annnnnnd b.) two selections from Little Shop of Horrors, because Ellen Greene just slays me, and I also love the 50s doo-wop sound that this show throws at ya.

I've recently discovered "The Secret Garden" which ran on Broadway in the early 1990s...and we'll hear "If I Had a Fine White Horse" this week.  The show has a poppy sort of sound and a cast with excellent voices, so we'll be playing more of this goodie in the future! 

I just finished reading "Fosse," the new biography by Sam Wasson, and now I want to see/listen to all the shows and movies that Bob Fosse ever did.  An excellent read if you are a Broadway-phile. 

"See" you Sunday! 

Hang Up (Mae Barnes, By the Beautiful Sea)
Skid Row/Downtown (Ensemble, Little Shop of Horrors)
Suddenly Seymour (Ellen Greene, Lee Wilkof, Little Shop of Horrors)
No Man Left for Me (Dee Hoty, The Will Rogers Follies)
Gimme Gimme (Sutton Foster, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
A House is Not a Home (Christin Chenoweth, Promises Promises)
The Music and the Mirror (Donna McKechnie, A Chorus Line)
He Tossed a Coin (Hal Linden, The Rothschilds)
Baubles, Bangles and Beads (Doretta Morrow, Kismet)
You Would if You Could (Jane Summerhays, Robert Lindsay, Me and My Girl)
If I Had a Fine White Horse (Alison Fraser, Daisy Eagan, The Secret Garden)
You Should See Yourself (Gwen Verdon, Sweet Charity)
The Beauty that Drives Men Mad (Tony Roberts, Robert Morse, Sugar)
Well, of All the Rotten Shows! (Ensemble, Face the Music)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Obrien to Ryan to Goldberg...

Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin and Gene Kelly, in Take Me Out to the Ball Game, a Busby Berkley extravaganza from 1949.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bob Fosse...PJ job!

Fosse's first Broadway choreography gig...The Pajama Game, 1954.  He was just one of many new faces on board.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014