Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Playlist for Sunday, April 5, 2015: Straighten That Bonnet, Judy!

Happy Easter, to all those who celebrate it! A tip of the Easter bonnet to you, with some Judy and Fred promenading on 5th Avenue (Easter Parade!), and a few other gems from that movie. My new favorite from that film is an outtake of "Mr. Monotony," which was deemed much too risque to include in the original picture. Seems that Judy was wearing only the top half of a tuxedo, and lots O' leg on the other half...and they axed the whole number because of it.  Just a few movies later, Miss Garland adopted the outfit as her signature, and then it was just fine.  Go figure.  Anyway, we get to hear this great "shocking" song...just visualize!

We'll also start a new tradition: A Flop Corner. Yes, some real turkeys that spent maybe an hour and a half on the Great White Way...and they weren't all horrid. Like First Impressions, with Farley Granger, who could "sing!" (Note quotes.) And "She Hadda Go Back," from Here's Love, that will remind you of all those Robert Preston patter songs from The Music Man, because guess who wrote it?  Yup, the same dude...Meredith Willson. These are fun little diamonds in the rough, and you'll get to say to all your friends, "yes, of course...Breakfast at Tiffany's...what a debacle!"  You know, stuff like that.

And I can happily announce that Nefertiti (the musical) has been resurrected and WILL PLAY (Akhnaton decrees it!) this coming Sunday. So there's that.

Wishing you a plethora of Peeps, and a cadre of Cadburies. :)

Easter Parade (Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Easter Parade)
Dainty June And Her Farm Boys (Lane Bradbury, Ensemble, Gypsy)
Small World (Ethel Merman, Gypsy)
All I Need Is The Girl (Paul Wallace, Sandra Church, Gypsy)
Little Lamb (Sandra Church, Gypsy)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (Julie Andrews, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Jimmy (Julie Andrews, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
I'm A Jazz Baby (Carol Channing, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Poor Butterfly (John Gavin, Julie Andrews, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Whatever Happened to Me? (Michael Nouri, Nefertiti)
Take Off The Sandal (Andrea Marcovicci, Nefertiti)
Someone Is Here (Andrea Marcovicci, Company, Nefertiti)
A Sleepin' Bee (Barbra Streisand, The Barbra Streisand Album)
There'll Be Some Changes Made (The Boswell Sisters)
Deductible (Betty Grable, Dan Dailey, My Blue Heaven)
Naughty Baby (Jodi Benson, Crazy For You)
Bidin' My Time (The Manhattan Rhythm Kings, Crazy For You)
What Causes That? (Harry Groener, Bruce Adler, Crazy For You)
Shall We Dance? (Harry Groener, Crazy For You)
She Hadda Go Back (Craig Stevens, Here's Love)
So Long, Big Guy (Jack Cassidy, It's A Bird...It's A Plane...It's Superman)
Step To The Rear (Tony Roberts, Company, How Now Dow Jones)
The Heart Has Won The Game (Farley Granger, First Impressions)
Lament For Ten Men (Ensemble, Breakfast At Tiffany's)
A Beat Behind (Bernadette Peters, Ensemble, The Goodbye Girl)
Good News, Bad News (Martin Short, Bernadette Peters, The Goodbye Girl)
Two Good To Be Bad (Bernadette Peters, Carol Woods, Ensemble, The Goodbye Girl)
Mr. Monotony (Judy Garland, Easter Parade)
I Want To Go Back To Michigan (Judy Garland, Easter Parade)
It Only Happens When I Dance With You (Fred Astaire, Easter Parade)
Shakin' The Blues Away (Ann Miller, Easter Parade)
We're A Couple Of Swells (Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Easter Parade)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Forum: Funny! (Oh, and Lovely, Absolutely Lovely!)

Jack Gilford as Hysterium and Zero Mostel as Pseudolus.

 Michael Crawford as Master Hero and Annette Andre as Philia
(the Virgin from Crete).

 Jack Gilford, Michael Hordern, Zero and Phil Silvers
wanting a maid.

 Buster Keaton as Erronius, briefly pausing in his 
sojourn of the seven hills of Rome.
Forum was his last film...but even at the age of 70
(and plagued by cancer),
he did all his own stunts in the movie.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim,
and a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, 
the movie was filmed in and around Madrid, Spain...
and due to the fly infestation on the set 
(created by all the rotting fruit decorating several scenes),
animated flies "crawled about" the movie's credits.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Your Sondheim Quota For The Week!

 Anthony Perkins and Charmian Carr,
in Evening Primrose, a televised Sondheim musical
from 1966...if Charmian looks familiar, you may be remembering
her as Liesl, from The Sound of Music!
We'll hear "Take Me To The World."

 George Hearn, Ruthie Henshall, and John Barrowman,
in Putting It Together, a review of Sondheim songs.
We'll hear two from this review:
George's version of "Good Thing Going,"
and John singing "Live Alone and Like it."
 From Sondheim's very early (1955) Saturday Night...
which had to wait til 2000 for its Off-Broadway debut.
That's Lauren Ward on the right, 
and we'll hear her sing "All For You."
Lauren would go on to star in Mathilda.

 Phyllis Newman...who starred in the 1985 concert version
of Follies...leads a gutsy group of dames in 
"Who's That Woman?"

 Glynis Johns in the original production of
A Little Night Music, 1973...
the definitive "Send in the Clowns" singer.

The perpetrator...Stephen Sondheim.
"I prefer neurotic people. I like to hear rumblings beneath the surface."

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Well, The CD Fairy Godmother Has Not Been Kind...

Because of a snafu with my computer and the wackiness of that Nefertiti recording I was drooling over, I won't be playing samples of that cult musical this week.  I will have to re-do, re-search, and re-burn for another time in hopefully the near future.  So my apologies for all those who are ever wistful for new/quirky/rare!

I'll be playing another musical in Nefertiti's stead...but promise to air it as soon as possible.  Thanks for your patience! 

Cinderella, R & H Style!

 Originally broadcast on March 31, 1957,
Cinderella was written specifically for television by
Rodgers and Hammerstein.
The team was evidently excited to work with young Julie Andrews,
who was still performing in My Fair Lady on Broadway.
Jon Cypher co-starred as The Prince.

 Look at the size of that camera!
Alice Ghostley and Kaye Ballard (on the left)played the Stepsisters, 
and mom (on the right) was Ilka Chase.

And here's what that huge camera saw...
a 90 minute program, with 6 commercial breaks,
so Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote it in 6 acts.
It purportedly took Oscar 7 months to write the book and lyrics.


 A pensive Julie... she was 22!

 Watching the live performance from the green room...
over 100 costumes, large set pieces,
56 actors, 33 musicians (who played in another room!),
and 80 stagehands...in a tiny studio at CBS.

Over 100 million viewers watched that live performance back in 1957.
Additional productions for television (1965), film (1997),
and numerous staged creations continue on apace!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Playlist for Sunday, March 29, 2015: But it's weird! You can't hum along! KIMMMMM!!!

I think this playlist is all about ME!  Sorry to be indulgent, but I've had a few weeks of blockbusters, and they're sort of making my teeth ache.  Now I'm back to my old tricks with those rare, weird, cultish gems...the shows no one knows, the songs you can't hum...Oh, and some Sondheim, too!

Biggest find: Nefertiti...which played on Broadway for 44 performances and POOF! It was gone, and I MEAN GONE.  You couldn't find it!  They did make a cast album,
but try to find that, in its LP format even! (They never made it into a CD, nor can you find much research...the liner notes on the album are IT.)  So it has been discovered (on ebay!), and we will suffer...I mean, ENJOY 4 numbers from this thing.  Andrea Marcovicci played the Egyptian queen, Robert Lupone (yup, Patti's brother) was Akhnaton, and Michael Nouri played the mean Pharoah, who knocks everybody off at the end.  Spoiler Alert, but hey, that's history. 

We'll take that edge off with Seesaw...and Camelot....and Cinderella, the original (televised live!) production of 1957 with Dame Julie...and then go right back at it with a sample of a French musical, Romeo & Juliette, which was tremendously popular in Europe in the early 2000's, but we were never hip enough to get it on this side of the pond, I guess.

And a new favorite...Take Me To The World, from Evening Primrose.  Listen for a young Anthony Perkins.  :))) Thanks for indulging me! 

It's Not Where You Start, It's Where You Finish (Tommy Tune, Seesaw)
Louisiana Purchase (Deborah Gravitte, Ensemble, Louisiana Purchase)
You Can't Brush Me Off (James Ludwig, Alet Oury, Louisiana Purchase)
Sex Marches On (Michael McGrath, John Wylie, Ensemble, Louisiana Purchase)
Dance With Me (The New York Voices, Louisiana Purchase)
Camelot (Richard Burton, Camelot)
The Lusty Month Of May (Julie Andrews, Camelot)
The Seven Deadly Virtues (Roddy McDowall, Camelot)
C'est Moi (Robert Goulet, Camelot)
Merano (Ensemble, Chess)
Quartet (A Model Of Decorum And Tranquility) (Ensemble, Chess)
Les Rois Du Monde (Company, Romeo et Juliette)
Who's That Woman? (Phyllis Newman, Barbara Cook, Lee Remick, Elaine Stritch,
You Could Drive A Person Crazy (Bernadette Peters, Sondheim, Etc./Company)
Live Alone And Like It (John Barrowman, Putting It Together/Dick Tracy)
All For You (Lauren Ward, Saturday Night)
Take Me To The World (Charmian Carr, Anthony Perkins, Evening Primrose)
Good Thing Going (George Hearn, Putting It Together/Merrily We Roll Along)
Send In The Clowns (Glynis Johns, A Little Night Music)
A Lovely Night (Julie Andrews, Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, Cinderella)
Stepsisters' Lament (Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, Cinderella)
Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful (Julie Andrews, Jon Cypher, Cinderella)
Impossible; It's Possible (Edie Adams, Julie Andrews, Cinderella)
Whatever Happened To Me (Michael Nouri, Nefertiti)
Pardon Me A Minute (Andrea Marcovicci, Nefertiti)
Beautiful Has Come (Robert Lupone, Nefertiti)
Someone Is Here (Andrea Marcovicci, Ensemble, Nefertiti)
Seesaw (Company, Seesaw)
Welcome To Holiday Inn (Michele Lee, Seesaw)
We've Got It (Ken Howard, Seesaw)
Chapter 54, Number 1909 (Tommy Tune, Ken Howard, Michele Lee, Seesaw)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

There's this New Girl In Town!

 Fresh from her success in Damn Yankees,
Gwen Verdon had another great role on her hands
with New Girl in Town, 1957.

 It was based on Eugene O'Neill's play, "Anna Christie,"
about a prostitute who returns home to New York,
and attempts to "live down" her past.  
George Abbott wrote the book (a lighter, less gloomy version of O'Neill's)
and Bob Fosse choreographed.

 Geroge Wallace, Gwen, and Edgar Daniels...

 Cameron Prud'homme, Thelma Ritter, and Gwen
on a break during the recording of the original cast album.
Thelma and Gwen shared a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical that year.

 Composer/Lyricist Bob Merrill 
(New Girl was his first attempt at a Broadway musical)
with Thelma Ritter, who played Marthy.

Love this shot of Bob Fosse,
choreographer incredible!
One of his numbers in New Girl, "The Cathouse Ballet", got the
show closed by police in New Haven try-outs,
and by the time they hit Boston, it was out!
But Bob restored the number to its gutsy self
after the show opened on Broadway. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

2 on the Aisle Meets Two on the Aisle!

 Two on the Aisle, which opened on Broadway in 1951,
marked the return of Betty Comden and Adolph Green to Broadway.
(They'd been sucked up by the MGM Hollywood "Machine",
writing for movies like Singin' in the Rain and The Bandwagon)
It was also the first time they wrote lyrics with Jule Styne.
The concept of the show was a combo of comedy skits and dance routines...
a revue to showcase the talents of Bert Lahr.

 Bert and his co-star Dolores Gray
didn't exactly adore each other,
and the show became known for the two's efforts
to upstage each other.

 In the song,"The Clown", Bert impersonated Queen Victoria...

 and other primates.

 Dolores Gray had a career in film 
(It's Always Fair Weather, Designing Women, and Kismet) 
and on stage (Annie Get Your Gun, Destry Rides Again, 42nd Street).
She also provided the singing voice for Marilyn Monroe in 
There's No Business Like Show Business.
Theatre critic Michael Phillips once said her voice sounded like
"a freight-train slathered in honey".

 Actor/Comedian Bert Lahr worked Burlesque, Vaudeville,
Broadway, film and television, 
from 1910 to 1967!

His first success in a musical on Broadway was
Hold Everything (1927), and in film...Flying High (1931).
"Laughter is never too far away from tears."

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hello, Pearl!

 Pearl Mae Bailey was born in Virginia,
and after several "socko" talent shows (one at the Apollo), 
she sang in nightclubs acts,
in which she was paired with Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington.
Pearl made her Broadway debut in 1946,
in St. Louis Woman.

 In 1950, Pearl starred with Nanette Fabray (above)
and Georges Guetary in Arms and the Girl...a flop of 
enormous proportions.
(It featured the infamously bad song, 
"A Plough, A Cow, And A Frau..")
But the show was kind to Pearl, giving her two major show stoppers,
"Nothin' is Nothin'" and "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than Love."

 The plot? A "revolutionary" love story of a 
Hessian soldier and an American colonist...
Pearl played a supporting role as a former slave.

 In 1952, Pearl married jazz drummer
Louis Bellson,
and remained married to him until her death in 1990.

 Just being classy!

 In 1967, Pearl and Cab headlined an all-black version
of Hello Dolly...perfect casting!

Pearl's success as Dolly prompted David Merrick to produce a 
second original cast album.
Looks like one hell of a session!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Playlist for Sunday March 22, 2015: We're (almost) in the Money!

 Week Two of Jazz 90.1's Spring Pledge Drive is underway, and I'm hoping these 2 On The Aisle selections will "transport" you to the phone or Jazz901.org to contribute! The station really needs your support, because without it, all the programs you enjoy (like maybe THIS ONE?) will be history.  REALLY!!!

So while I'm playing "Mame" and "Maybe This Time" and some of Angela and some of Babs, please give me a call with donation...and a request.  You pay, I play, for sure!  We'll have a little Ethel, a little Gwen, a little Pearl...even a little Groucho, to take that pledge "sting" away.  And if that ain't enough, I don't know what is.

 Mame (Charles Braswell, Company, Mame)
We're In The Money (Wanda Richert, Karen Prunczik, Ginny King, 42nd Street)
Money, Money (Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Cabaret)
Can You Use Any Money Today? (Ethel Merman, Call Me Madam)
Roll Your Socks Up (Company, New Girl In Town)
Flings (Lulu Bates, Thelma Ritter, Mara Landi, New Girl In Town)
At The Check Apron Ball (Ensemble, New Girl In Town)
Bless Your Beautiful Hide (Howard Keel, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
Lament/Lonesome Polecat (Ensemble, Seven Brides)
Sobbin' Women (Howard Keel, Ensemble, Seven Brides)
Miss Marmelstein (Barbra Streisand, I Can Get It For You Wholesale)
I'm The Greatest Star (Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl)
What Did I Have That I Don't Have Now (Barbra Streisand, On A Clear Day You Can
                   See Forever)
Outside Of That, I Love You (Summer Strallen, Tom Chambers, Top Hat)
There Must Be Something Better Than Love (Pearl Bailey, Arms And The Girl)
I Don't Think I'll Fall In Love Today (Nancy Walker, David Craig, Treasure Girl)
But Not For Me (Bobby Short, Bobby Short is K-Ra-Zy for Gershwin)
Maybe This Time (Liza Minnelli, Cabaret)
Vaudeville Ain't Dead; Catch Our Act At The Met (Bert Lahr, Dolores Grey, Two On
                   The Aisle)
The Laws Of My Administration (Groucho Marx, Duck Soup)
The Clown (Bert Lahr, Two On The Aisle)
All The Live Long Day (Company, Working)
Millwork (Robin Lamont, Working)
Something To Point To (Company, Working)
It's Today (Angela Lansbury, Mame)
Each Tomorrow Morning (Angela Lansbury, Dear World)
The Worst Pies In London (Angela Lansbury, Sweeney Todd)
Bells Are Ringing (Ensemble, Bells Are Ringing)
Long Before I Knew You (Sydney Chaplin, Judy Holliday, Bells Are Ringing)
The Party's Over (Judy Holliday, Bells Are Ringing)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Big Swoon!

 Al Bowlly (1898 - 1941), a South African dance band singer,
is said to have been the inventor of crooning.
(His nickname was "The Big Swoon!")
He sang plenty of hits in the 1930s, like "Blue Moon" and 
"Easy to Love," had his own NBC radio show...
and we'll hear his version of "Guilty" on the show this Sunday.

 Al, with the banjo,
carvorting with Edgar Adeler's band,
on tour through Rhodesia, India and Indonesia
in the mid 1920s.

 Dolly Dawn (1916 - 2002) started her singing career
(at the age of 16!) with George Hall's Orchestra (below), 
with performances broadcast
six days a week on CBS radio, from the Taft Hotel.
Later she formed "Dolly Dawn and Her Dawn Patrol,"
a group of 7 musicians, led by Dolly,
the "first woman band leader."

 Dolly's hits?  "Moon Over Miami," "Got a Brand New Suit,"
and "It's a Sin To Tell a Lie" (that last one we'll hear, for sure!)

 The Revelers were a close-harmony quintet
and toured the U.S. and Europe in the 1920s and 30s.
Their stint on Ring Lardner's radio show,
The Palmolive Hour, cemented their success.
We'll sample "Blue Room," one of their hits.

And can't forget those Boswells!
"You're the Cream in My Coffee"  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Damn, Gwen!

 Gwen Verdon in her signature role,
Lola ("the ugliest girl in Providence, Rhode Island,"
if not for her deal with the Devil!)...
in Damn Yankees, 1955.

 "Who's Got the Pain?"...
Gwen and hubby Bob Fosse, who choreographed it.
The movie was produced in 1958.

 Gwen receiving instructions (no doubt) from 
Ray Walston, the original Mr. Applegate,
in what must be the BEST smoking jacket ever.

 The Broadway show won 7 of the 9 Tonys
it was nominated for,
including a Best Performance one for Gwen,
and Best Musical.

Gwen recording the original cast album.
Both Mitzi Gaynor and Zizi Jeanmarie
turned down the role...
before Gwen (fresh from her role in Can-Can)
was offered it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Edies, Big and Little

 Christine Ebersole as Little Edie...
Gray Gardens opened Off Broadway in 2006,
and quickly transferred to Broadway...
based on the 1975 documentary of Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale 
and her daughter, Edith Bouvier Beale.

  Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote that the show,
"with music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie, 
sustains a level of refined language and psychological detail as elevated as Stephen Sondheim's. The score is a meticulously fashioned piece of musical theater that gains in depth the more you listen to it."
Above, Christine as Little Edie, and Mary Louise Wilson as Big Edie.

Both Christine and Mary won Tonys for their performances,
and the show garnered a total of 11 nominations.

The real Little Edie...with her Gray Gardens,
in the Maysles Brothers' documentary of 1975.