Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ray Bolger (1904-1987)...he wasn't JUST the Scarecrow!

                            As Charley's aunt in Where's Charley? 1948
                        In the recording studio, for All-American, 1962
When asked if he ever received any residuals from "The Wizard of Oz," Ray said, "No, just immortality.  I'll settle for that."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Frank Loesser, 1910-1969

 With 1st wife, Lynn Garland...their song was Baby It's Cold Outside...which Frank wrote.  They sang it at all their parties, til it hit the charts!

Playlist for Sunday, May 4, 2014: A Frank Loesser Festa

 Frank Loesser has to be my favorite Broadway composer/lyricist, so this "festa" was a pleasure to create.  Frank wrote only 5 musicals (that were produced), but what gems!  From "Where's Charley?" to "Guys and Dolls" to "The Most Happy Fella" to...well, I'll stop now, but with the exception of "Greenwillow"(which no one seemed to understand), they were blockbusters. And literally hundreds of Tin Pan Alley lyrics, movie music, and an Academy award-winning song, "Baby It's Cold Outside."  There's no way an hour-long show can do him justice, of course, but I had fun smushing as many Loesser favorites as possible into my allotted time. 

It was only one show that seemed to make Frank hesitate. It was "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."  It would be a team effort...with Abe Burrows doing the book...and here Frank was, fresh from "The Most Happy Fella" and "Greenwillow" where he called all the shots.  Well, he did it anyway and packed it with lyrics like “the slam-bang tang reminiscent of gin and vermouth.”

A great quote about the way Frank wrote his songs: "Remember, a song is like a freight train moving across a stage. Every boxcar has a word on it. Those people have to hear everything and understand it - fast, because in a minute the car will be gone and they'll never see it again. Make them listen and then lay it in their laps."  Perfect...for Broadway at its Best!

Fugue for Tinhorns (Stubby Kaye, Douglas Deane, Johnny Silver, Guys and Dolls)
A Bushel and a Peck (Vivian Blaine, Ensemble, Guys and Dolls)
Guys and Dolls (Stubby Kaye, Johnny Silver, Guys and Dolls)
The Oldest Established (Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, The Man and
                                 His Music)
Once in Love with Amy (Ray Bolger, Where's Charley?)
Pernambuco (Ensemble, Where's Charley?)
Could've Been a Ring (Pert Kelton, Lee Cass, Greenwillow)
Never Will I Marry (Anthony Perkins, Greenwillow)
Spring Will Be a Little Late this Year (Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Vaughn in Hi-Fi)
Let's Get Lost (Chet Baker, Chet Baker Sings and Plays)
The Most Happy Fella (Robert Weede, Ensemble, The Most Happy Fella)
Standing on the Corner (Shorty Long, The Most Happy Fella)
Sposalizio (Company, The Most Happy Fella)
How To (Robert Morse, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying)
Been a Long Day (Claudette Sutherland, Bonnie Scott, Robert Morse, How to
I Believe in You (Robert Morse, Ensemble, How to Succeed)
Big D (Susan Johnson, Shorty Long, The Most Happy Fella)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Stubby Kaye, 1918-1997

AKA Bernard Katzin!  From the top, recording with Peter Palmer for the L'il Abner cast album. Middle shot, as Nicely Nicely Johnson with Johnny Silver and Frankie Boy.  Bottom, in Shenanigans, which was Stubby's Saturday morning TV show for kids, 1964.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The all her glory!

                                   That Gloria Swanson lighting...
                           With Bing, in the movie version of Anything Goes!

                             With George Saunders, in the movie version of
                                                  Call Me Madam.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nancy Walker, 1922 - 1992

                 The prerequisite glamour shot.  Yup, Nancy could do Glamour! 
              Best Foot Forward, 1943...with June Allyson and Gloria DeHaven.
                                A comedy album, 1959...I get the imagery!

Playlist for Sunday, April 27, 2014: She Could Cook, Too!

 Variety is the spice of ...well, you know.  And that's what WE GOT this coming Sunday.  From the iconic Call Me Madam, and Ethel's "Hostess with the Mostes'  on the Ball," to those also-rans like the unopened (still waiting there on the pantry shelf, like an old can of tuna) Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Whew, whatta range!  We'll also have time for a mini-tribute to Nancy Walker, that incredible character actress who did radio, Broadway, movies, television AND commercials.  Remember those Bounty paper towel ads?  Well, Nancy was a multi-faceted musical comedienne , and we'll feature three songs that prove it!

In addition we have a tale to tell about "Call Me Savage" and "Witches Brew"...2 different shows, 2 different sets of lyrics, and 1 melody.  I guess if Jules Styne can't get away with this sort of recycling, who can?

And enjoy "Lunching at the Automat" (remember those?) and "Sara Lee," an ode to coffee cake.  Til Sunday!

We Can Do It (Nathan Lane, Mathew Broderick, The Producers)
Jubilation T. Cornpone (Stubby Kaye, Li'l Abner)
The Hostess with Mostes' on the Ball (Ethel Merman, Call Me Madam)
How Are Things in Glocca Morra (Ella Logan, Finian's Rainbow)
A Lovely Night (Lea Salonga, Cinderella)
All Through the Night (Hal Linden, Barbara Lang, Anything Goes)
Call Me Savage (Carol Burnett, Dick Patterson, Fade Out - Fade In)
Witches Brew (Marilyn Cooper, Leslie Uggams, Barbara Sharma, Hallelujah,
All For You (Anna Francolini, Saturday Night)
Ciao Compare (Ron Raines, Breakfast at Tiffany's)
I Can Cook, Too (Nancy Walker, On the Town)
Come Up to My Place (Nancy Walker, On the Town)
Adventure (Nancy Walker, Phil Silvers, Do Re Mi)
Lunching at the Automat (Ensemble, Face the Music)
Sara Lee (Jim Walton, And the World Goes Round)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Well, we KNOW what the King is doing tonight!

         Richard Burton and Julie Andrews, post opening night of Camelot, 1960
               Sybil Burton, Richard, Alan Jay Lerner, Julie, and T.H. White
                                   (on whose book the show was based)
                    Richard looks a bit trapped here, but for some reason,
                                                      I'm not worried.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Burnett, as in Carol!

                                                 Just starting off.....
                                              Fade - Out, Fade - In
                 That great Gone with the Wind send-up, with Harvey Korman

Dick Van Dyke!

 Recording the Original Broadway Production of Bye Bye Birdie...

and a still from Mary Poppins!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Miss Julie!

I Have Confidence...The Sound of Music...and she does know how to simultaneously sing, dance and toss about a guitar case.  Yup, confidence. 

Playlist for April 20, 2014: Join Us, Leave Your Cheese to Sour!

Yes, Pippin opens 2 on the Aisle this the opening number, Magic to Do!  This is from the original production from 1972, which included Ben Vereen and Irene Ryan and Jill Clayburgh.  And Bob Fosse to show them what to do and where to go...while they were singing Stephen Schwartz's music.

We've also got a royal flush, four songs about a Princess, a Prince, a King and a Queen...a juxtaposition you won't often see, musically!  From "Mattress" to "Miss Spectacular" to "Camelot" to Charlie Brown...why not?  I also have something for my youngest fan, who is 3 years old.  She requested "Under the Sea," so how could I refuse?

We'll round things out with Carol Burnett's rendition of "I'm Still Here," which I always associate with Elaine Stritch...but Carol does a great job with this Sondheim number, recorded as part of a Lincoln Center concert version of Follies.  And we've also got a couple of numbers from Working, which tho it reeks of the 70s, I love! Let's have some fun....

Magic to Do (Company, Pippin)
An Opening for a Princess (Ensemble, Once Upon a Mattress)
Where in the World is My Prince? (Faith Prince, Miss Spectacular)
I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight (Richard Burton, Camelot)
Queen Lucy (Reva Rose, Bob Balaban, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown)
Under the Sea (Samuel E. Wright, The Little Mermaid)
I Have Confidence (Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music)
Everybody Says Don't (Ensemble, Side by Side by Sondheim/Anyone Can
Not a Day Goes By (Jim Walton, Merrily We Roll Along)
I'm Still Here (Carol Burnett, Follies)
Neat to be a Newsboy (John Rushton, Working)
It's an Art (Delores Dante, Ensemble, Working)
Put on a Happy Face (Dick VanDyke, Bye Bye Birdie)
Be Like the Bluebird (Mickey Deems, Anything Goes)
Tap Your Troubles Away (Lisa Kirk, Mack & Mabel)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sweet Smell of Success...2002

Dirt, from the 2013 NYU production of this show...based on that wonderful 1957 movie, with Burt and Tony.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Juanita Hall...(1901-1968)

 Recording her songs for Broadway's South Bloody Mary, 1954. She was the first African American to win a Tony for Best Supporting Actress, for her work in that show.
A great blues singer, Juanita recorded Juanita Hall Sings the Blues in 1957 with Claude Hopkins, Coleman Hawkins, Buster Bailey, Doc Cheatham, and George Duvivier backing her up.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 her prime!

Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me...Ms. Clooney in 1954, in White Christmas.

Playlist for April 13, 2014: Dancing, Newbies...and Happy Talk!

 After the best opener EVER ("Good Morning, Baltimore!"...though a musical friend of mine has sung it as Good Morning, Rochester...), we have some newbies to hear: "Wick" from The Secret Garden and "When I Grow Up" from Matilda. They definitely have a new, poppy sound, not that old razz-ma-tazz Broadway style, but I think they're fresh and open and for me to tolerate anything past Comden and Green, know they've gotta have something! 

Then we have a couple of dance-y numbers, one from a true flop, Nick & Nora, with Barry Bostwick and Joanna Gleason, and the other from that Danny Kaye class-act, from White Christmas: "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing."  Interesting side note, Vera-Ellen who played Rosemary Clooney's younger sister in the movie, was actually 7 years older than Rosemary, annnnnd had to have an oxygen tank on hand, for use between those dance numbers. 

Speaking of Rosemary, we get to hear "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me," one luscious tune from that romantic Mr. Berlin, and "A Stud and a Babe," such a great character song that if I COULD sing and if I COULD act, I would do in a New York nano-second. 

Thanks for joining me in this obsession called Broadway! 

Good Morning, Baltimore (Marissa Jaret Winokur, Hairspray)
Wick (Daisy Eagan, John Cameron Mitchell, The Secret Garden)
When I Grow Up (Adrianna Bertola, Ensemble, Matilda)
Is There Anything Better Than Dancing? (Barry Bostwick, Joanna Gleason,
                                  Nick & Nora)
The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing (Danny Kaye, White Christmas)
Smash (Megan Hilty, Bombshell)
Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me (Rosemary Clooney, White Christmas)
Happy Talk (Juanita Hall, South Pacific)
Bill (Anita Darian, Show Boat)
Is That Remarkable? (Ensemble, Floyd Collins)
Dirt (Ensemble, Sweet Smell of Success)
A Stud and a Babe (Jennifer Simard, Robert Roznowski, I Love You, You're
                                   Perfect, Now Change)
The Real Me (Eileen Herlie, All-American)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Jimmy Thompson, We Hardly Knew Ye

 Jimmy, who sang Beautiful Girl in Singin' in the Rain, 1952...
...later appeared as Charles Dalrymple, in the movie version of Brigadoon, with Gene Kelly and Van Johnson, in 1954.  Then he sort of disappeared. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bonnie Franklin,

Nominated for a Tony, an Emmy and a Golden Globe...but never received any!
From a "special" called NBC: On the Air, left to right...Richard Crenna, Bonnie, Jim Nabors, Linda Lavin, Bert Convy, and Eve Arden, 1978.  Whatta gang!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Plain and Fancy, 1955

I can pretty much tell which is Plain (Barbara Cook) and which is Fancy (Shirl Conway)...great shot from a not-so-great show.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Robert Preston (1918-1987)

Back when Robert Preston played bad guys in westerns... like "Best of the Bad Men," and "Reap the Wild Wind."

A publicity shot from the movie version of The Music Man, 1962.
Robert as Prof. Harold Hill, and Shirley Jones as Marion (a hell of a librarian). 

I Do! I Do!, a Tom Jones/Harvey Schmidt musical (they'd just written The Fantasticks together).
Robert and Mary Martin, 1966.

With Julie Andrews, in Victor/Victoria, Carroll "Toddy" Todd.

Playlist for April 6, 2014: Some Plain, Some Fancy!

A little something for everyone this week, from 70s classics like A Chorus Line and Applause, to our Movie Musical Corner with silk lingerie and Moses "supposing" all over the place, to a Robert Preston Festa!  Loved him in Victor/Victoria especially, and it was unfortunate that he passed away before that movie-turned-stage show could open on Broadway. He would have been incredible (sorry, Tony Roberts...there is no comparison). 

We'll also hear from a little known show called Plain and Fancy, the first Amish-based musical comedy.  Hmmmm...well, I like one of the songs at least, sung by the second banana girlfriend (played by Shirl Conway), a dame from the city, plunked down in the little town of "Bird in Hand"...It's a Helluva Way to Run a Love Affair.

I also tossed in a gavotte and the frug!  Strange bedfellows, but it all works!  

Applause (Bonnie Franklin, Ensemble, Applause)
I Can Do That (Wayne Cilento, A Chorus Line)
Sing! (Don Percasse, Renee Baughman, A Chorus Line)
Nothing (Priscilla Lopez, A Chorus Line)
Ascot Gavotte (Ensemble, My Fair Lady)
Rich Man's Frug (Instrumental, Sweet Charity)
The Sadder But Wiser Girl (Robert Preston, The Music Man)
A Well Known Fact (Robert Preston, I Do! I Do!)
Gay Paree (Robert Preston, Victor/Victoria)
I Promise You a Happy Ending (Robert Preston, Mack & Mabel)
It's a Helluva Way to Run a Love Affair (Shirl Conway, Plain and Fancy)
Reviewing the Situation (Clive Revill, Oliver!)
Beautiful Girl (Jimmy Thompson, Singin' in the Rain)
Satin and Silk (Janis Paige, Silk Stockings)
Moses Supposes (Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Singin' in the Rain)
Everything Old is New Again (Hugh Jackman, The Boy from Oz)