Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Liza and Judy... and those men.

 New York, New York,
directed by Martin Scorsese,
is deemed a "musical drama film" with original Kander and Ebb selections
and standards of the 1920s and 30s.
Scorsese did it right after Taxi Driver
with a budget of $14 million.

 It starred Liza as singer, Francine Evans,
and Robert DeNiro as Jimmy Doyle...saxophonist and band leader.
Some nice musical moments, but the reviewers tanked it 
and the audience didn't come.
Scorsese suffered depression (and drug problems)
after the rank reception.

 A Star Is Born, 1954, was called Judy's Comeback
(she hadn't made a movie in 4 years) and it was a stunner;
she was nominated for Best Actress, and everyone thought her a shoe-in.
A camera crew was sent to her hospital room
where she was recovering from the birth of her son, Joey,
to capture the moment (and her live acceptance speech) should she win.
But the award went to Grace Kelly for Country Girl...
a steal that Jimmy Durante would call
"the biggest robbery since Brink's."
Director George Cukor originally wanted Cary Grant to co-star,
but Cary was set on traveling with his wife
and didn't trust Garland to reliably hold up her end of the film.
Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, and Stewart Granger
were all considered for the role,
but James Mason was ultimately signed.
Cukor had to put up with a very unstable leading lady,
with chemical dependancies, weight gains, and mood swings.
And half way thru production, 
they decided to shoot the thing in Cinemascope,
which meant scrapping everything and starting from scratch.
The movie was considered a box-office disappointment:
It cost over $5 million to make, and did not recoup its cost.
But the critics and audiences loved it.
Time Magazine said that Garland
"gives what is just about the greatest one-woman show in modern movie history." 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Playlist for Sunday, October 4, 2015: That Man/Woman, Venus/Mars Thing

Ahh...Broadway stereotypes!

Man Vs Woman, that's the theme of this Sunday's 2 On The Aisle, and all the old gender myths raise their tangled, unwashed heads.

Primitive? Pretty? A Dope? An Angel? Find one...get one (evidently not with a gun!)...marry one... have one for tossing out your garbage...lose one...never get one back...what the hell IS one, and what can you do with one?  Broadway, in its infinite wisdom, asks and answers all of these questions and more...sort of.  And as you can predict, we have some dated short answers, some WRONG True and False, and the multiple choice....sheesh. Those Sometimes, Always, or Never are a bitch.

So don't yell at me if the lady songs sound unliberated, or if the men are all machismo this and judgmental that. Broadway's range is like our own: Cranky before that first cuppa joe, laissez faire at twilight with the third iced gin. It works.  LOTS of songs, cuz these oldies are short, 2 minute "affairs," so listen in, grit your teeth, and maybe find a new fav(e). :)

You Are Woman (Sydney Chaplin, Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl)
It Takes A Woman (David Burns, Ensemble, Hello Dolly!)
What You Don't Know About Women (Randy Graff, Kay McClelland, City Of
Pretty Women (Len Cariou, Edmund Lyndeck, Sweeney Todd)
How To Handle A Woman (Richard Burton, Camelot)
She Acts Like A Woman Should (Marilyn Monroe, The Very Best Of Marilyn
A Woman Is A Sometime Thing (Harry Belafonte, Porgy and Bess)
There's Always A Woman (Carol Burnett, Ruthie Henshall, Putting It
Who's That Woman? (Phyllis Newman, Ensemble, Follies)
She's Not Enough Woman For Me (Richard Kiley, Leonard Stone, Redhead)
Only An Older Woman (Isabel Keating, The Boy From Oz)
There Never Was A Woman (Don Ameche, Goldilocks)
The Woman For The Man (Jack Cassidy, It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman)
Kind Of Woman (Jill Clayburgh, Pippin)
Sobbin' Women (Howard Keel, Ensemble, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers)
One Last Hope (Danny DeVito, Hercules)
Be Our Guest (Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury, Ensemble, Beauty And The
Les Poissons (Rene Auberjonois, The Little Mermaid)
A Girl Worth Fighting For (Harvey Fierstein, Jerry Tondo, Gedde Watanbe,
             Lea Salonga, Mulan)
The Siamese Cat Song (Peggy Lee, Lady And The Tramp)
You Can't Get A Man With A Gun (Ethel Merman, Annie Get Your Gun)
Find Me A Primitive Man (May Devere, Ensemble, Fifty Million Frenchman)
Find Yourself A Man (Kay Medford, Jean Stapleton, Danny Meehan, Funny
Marry The Man Today (Isabel Bigley, Vivian Blaine, Guys And Dolls)
There Once Was A Man (John Raitt, Janis Paige, The Pajama Game)
The Man I Used To Be (William Johnson, Pipe Dream)
What Can You Do With A Man? (Bibi Osterwald, The Boys From Syracuse)
Dirty Old Man (Ruth Kobart, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The
Right Hand Man (Heidi Blickenstaff, Brian D'Arcy James, Something Rotten!)
The Gentleman Is A Dope (Lisa Kirk, Allegro)
What Is A Man? (Vivienne Seagal, Pal Joey)
Better With A Man (Jefferson Mays, Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide To
             Love And Murder)
The Man I Love (Liza Minelli, New York, New York)
The Man That Got Away (Judy Garland, A Star Is Born)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Frankenstein Producers....Mel's Extravaganzas

Roger Bart, Christopher Fitzgerald, and Sutton Foster...
in Young Frankenstein, 2007.
It had a book by Thomas Meehan and Mel Brooks,
and music/lyrics by Brooks
(with a great deal of help from Glen Kelly,
who is credited in both of Mel's shows as "Musical Supervisor").

Despite mixed reviews, it lasted over a year on Broadway...
Cloris Leachman threatened to reprise her role of Frau Blucher,
but she was sedated, I mean, unavailable after all!

The Producers, just 6 years earlier,
had more success...with a record-breaking 12 Tony awards,
and a run of 2,500 performances.
Above, the "I Wanna Be A Producer" number...
what a simple set!
Mathew Broderick as Leo,
whose voice is almost passable.

Partners in crime, Nathan and Mathew...
"Where Did We Go Right?"
Look, he's wearing a cardboard belt!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Guys and Viv

 Vivian Blaine was one of the few actors to participate in
both the stage and film versions of Guys And Dolls...
Stubby Kaye, B.S. Pully, and Johnny Silver
(gangsters all!) were the others.
Gene Kelly and Grace Kelly were Goldwyn's first choices
for the leads, 
and Marilyn Monroe wanted to play Adelaide.
Well, we got Brando, Jean (both of whom did their own singing),
Frank, and Viv.
Not too shabby!
 Take Back Your Mink...

 ...and Pet Me Poppa.
Frank Loesser created the character of Adelaide 
when he realized Viv would be miscast as Sister Sarah.
I'll say.

 Vivian with the prettiest medicine "chest" ever...
Adelaide's Lament.

The original Broadway production, 1950,
began with a book by Jo Swerling...
but the producers were unhappy with it,
so Frank Loesser suggested radio writer Abe Burrows
who captured Damon Runyon's language and characters
Above, Vivian in the "Bushel and a Peck" number,
which was jettisoned from the movie version.
(Note bushel...well, okay, it's a basket!)

And of course, those Hot Box "Dolls"...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Extra...extra...just look at the Newsies!

 Led by Kara Lindsay (above center), 
and Jeremy Jordan (below center, in blue)
Newsies landed on Broadway in 2012.
The Disney movie that superseded it was less than successful,
but the staged musical proved a hit, thanks to 
Harvey Fierstein's book and additional songs by the team of 
Alan Menken and Jack Feldman:
the fastest Disney musical on Broadway to turn a profit,
despite costing 5 mill to mount.

 Ben Brantley raved.
Tonys for Choreography (Christopher Gattelli)
and Score (Alan Menken and Jack Feldman),
but Once scooped the Best Musical award.

Capathia Jenkins wowed 'em as Medda Larkin.
Two years on to catch the national tour!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Playlist for Sunday, September 27, 2015: (Not) Raining Violets

Whattaya do when you write a show based on the weather, and the weather doesn't cooperate?  After last Saturday's deluge, and the weekend BEFORE that (two days of drip and drizzle), rainy weather seemed foremost in the forecast and uppermost in my mind. So here we are this week, with three sets of Soon It's Gonna, Singin' In The, Little Drops Of, On Prom Night, In Spain, and In My Heart, and there is NO RAIN in the forecast for the ENTIRE WEEK!  I will be thought of, when I'm thought of at all, as a witch doctor, shaking her carved stick at the sun and prompting the clouds to gather. I'm really sorry if that turns out happening. WOULD be nice to have power like that. Clout with the weather gods.

But it will probably stay sunny, and this playlist will just come off as ill-timed or asinine.  There are some goodies though!  Vivian Blaine as Adelaide, Carol Burnett as Princess Fred, Nathan and Mathew being two musicals that are "new" to 2 On The Aisle: Newsies and The Mystery Of Edwin Drood.  No rain there!  See???

So meanwhile, just to be safe, pack an umbrella...for Bernadette, Judy, Gene, Fred ...cuz it's Broadway. 

Carrying The Banner (Jeremy Jordan, Ensemble, Newsies)
A Bushel And A Peck (Vivian Blaine, Ensemble, Guys And Dolls)
Pet Me Poppa (Vivian Blaine, Ensemble, Guys And Dolls)
Adelaide's Lament (Vivian Blaine, Guys And Dolls)
Take Back Your Mink (Vivian Blaine, Ensemble, Guys And Dolls)
Soon It's Gonna Rain (Rita Gardner, Kenneth Nelson, The Fantasticks)
Rain On The Roof (Ensemble, Follies)
The Rain In Spain (Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison, Robert Coote, My Fair Lady)
It's Raining On Prom Night (Carole Demas, Grease)
Very Soft Shoes (Matt Mattox, Once Upon A Mattress)
Sensitivity (Jane White, Robert Weil, Once Upon A Mattress)
Normandy (Harry Snow, Matt Mattox, Anne Jones, Once Upon A Mattress)
The Swamps Of Home (Carol Burnett, Once Upon A Mattress)
Isn't This A Lovely Day (To Be Caught In The Rain)? (Fred Astaire, Top Hat)
Singin' In The Rain (Gene Kelly, Singin' In The Rain)
Little Drops Of Rain (Judy Garland, Gay Purr-ee)
Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Judy Garland, The Wizard Of Oz)
Welcome To Transylvania (Ensemble, Young Frankenstein)
Together Again (Roger Bart, Christopher Fitzgerald, Young Frankenstein)
I Wanna Be A Producer (Mathew Broderick, Ensemble, The Producers)
Haben Sie Gehort Das Deutsche Band? (Brad Oscar, The Producers)
Where Did We Go Right? (Nathan Lane, Mathew Broderick, The Producers)
There You Are (George Rose, Company, The Mystery Of Edwin Drood)
Off To The Races (George Rose, Jerome Dempsey, Stephen Glavin, The
             Mystery Of Edwin Drood)
Don't Quit While You're Ahead (Cleo Laine, Betty Buckley, Company,
             The Mystery Of Edwin Drood)
Raining In My Heart (Bernadette Peters, Dames At Sea)
Look To The Rainbow (Ella Logan, Finian's Rainbow)
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (Debbie Reynolds, Irene)
That Terrific Rainbow (June Havoc, Pal Joey)
Sante Fe (Jeremy Jordan, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Newsies)
Watch What Happens (Kara Lindsay, Newsies)
That's Rich (Capathia Jenkins, Ensemble, Newsies)

Sunday, September 20, 2015


 Always with a fabulous dress.
Peters at Carnegie...1997.

 And Elaine, always at Liberty with her 
signature shirt (and no pants).
One-womaning it at the Carlyle.

 And "How Would We Ever Get Through?"
without Stephen.

Sondheim's A Little Night Music...
with Elaine as Madame Armfeldt
and Bernadette as Desiree...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

More Sunday Faves!

 Shirley with Adolph Menjou in Little Miss Marker,
her first starring role in a major motion picture
(remember when they were called "motion pictures?"), 
in 1934, co-starring with Menjou and Dorothy Dell.
Menjou said of her.."She knows all the tricks. She frightens me."

 Lannyl Stephens and Andrea Martin,
in My Favorite Year.
We'll hear "Funny" ...cuz it is.

 Donald O'Connor...he "Make(s) 'Em Laugh"

Jessica Molaskey and "Surbaya Santa",
a parody of Marlene's Surbaya Johnny.
And YES, it will be repeated during the holiday season.
Ho Ho Ho. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Happy Birthday, Mr. Newley... September 24, 1931.

inducted into the 
Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989,
Anthony Newley was born in Hackney, England,
raised by his aunt and uncle,
and was one of the evacuated children sent to country homes
during the London Blitz, during WWII.
He hated school, and by the age of 14, was working as an 
office boy at an acting school.

 At age 15, Anthony was cast as 
The Artful Dodger in David Lean's Oliver Twist, 1948
(at left above, with John Howard Davies as Oliver).

With Cyril Ritchard in 
The Roar of The Greasepaint, The Smell Of The Crowd,
which Newley co-wrote with Leslie Bricusse.
Stop The World - I Want to Get Off, 
another Newley/Bricusse collaboration,
brought Anthony a Tony nomination for Best Actor.

 Here, in Dr. Doolitte...with Rex Harrison
(no, that's not Rex, that's a monkey)
and Samantha Eggar (right).

 The Strange World of Gurney Slade, a British TV series
that Anthony conceived of and starred in.
Along with movies, TV, and stage work,
he also wrote the theme for Goldfinger...pop hits for
Sammy, Shirley and Tony,
and received a Grammy in 1963 for his creation,
"What Kind of Fool Am I?"
 In 1971, he and Leslie received an Oscar nomination
for the musical score for Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.

 Anthony as The Mad Hatter, in the 1985 television special,
with an all-star cast.

1931 - 1999

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Playlist for Sunday, September 20, 2015: No, I Don't Want A Coke!

Ahhh...flops. Why doesn't Kim play more of them? Said nobody ever.

I've been accused, from time to time, of playing too many of Broadway's eccentrics, the also rans, the failures. Kim, play something we can hum! More South Pacific! More Sound of Music! More...pablum!

What's wrong with a flop? And what/who/wherefore determines a flop anyway? Why do some shows succeed and others lie in a heap at the curb? Do the masses, the lines around the block, determine a winner? Do the Addison Dewitts still wield the Vegamatic power to slice and dice like they used to...ruining runs and curdling careers? Just because something closes in 3.5 weeks, is it bad? The Rodgers and Hart shows of the 20s and 30s lasted less than a year each, yet all were crowned successes. Now a show of that length is deemed kaput, a niche-market, a lucky-if-you're-cult. $$$ plays a huge part, of course, and if it's only making $, your show will kindly take a back seat (or smaller theatre, please) to one making $$$$. And if I can't hum your closing theme easily enough on my way up the aisle to my waiting Uber, that's it. Youz history.

Karen Morrow, who'll be featured singing a song from Miss Spectacular this Sunday (An unproduced show! So bad it never happened?), has a history of them. A dozen or more musicals she was slated to star in failed in previews, shuttered after opening night, you were great but now it's over pack up get out here's your hat what's your hurry.

But I play 'em. For there is wonder to be found. Case in point: Songs For A New World. It was on Broadway for what? An hour? But it had Jessica Molaskey, it mixed jazz with gospel with pop, had a couple of good character songs and some heart-felt ballads.  Hey, it tried!  If we only listen to the Phantoms and the Oklahomas, we might just as well drink Coke and eat McDonalds for the rest of our days. Open wide, and experience...escargot! 

Rant over.  See ya Sunday! 

Cell Block Tango (Catherine Zeta Jones, Ensemble, Chicago)
The River Won't Flow (Brooks Ashmanskas, Ty Taylor, Songs For A New
I'm Not Afraid Of Anything (Andrea Burns, Songs For A New World)
Surabaya Santa (Jessica Molaskey, Songs For A New World)
Ev'ry Sunday Afternoon (Shirley Ross, Ray Sinatra, A Connecticut Yankee)
My Heart Stood Still (Dick Foran, Julie Warren, A Connecticut Yankee)
Where Or When (Gregg Edelman, Judy Blazer, Babes In Arms)
I Wish I Were In Love Again (Jason Graae, Donna Kane, Babes In Arms)
Broadway Baby (Bernadette Peters, Bernadette Peters Live At Carnegie Hall)
The Little Things You Do Together (Elaine Stritch, Elaine Stritch At Liberty)
Funny (Lannyl Stephens, Andrea Martin, My Favorite Year)
The Joker (Anthony Newley, The Roar Of The Greasepaint, The Smell Of The
Make 'Em Laugh (Donald O'Connor, Singin' In The Rain)
Laugh, You Son Of A Gun (Shirley Temple, Dorothy Dell, Little Miss Marker)
They Say It's Wonderful (Judy Garland, Howard Keel, Annie Get Your Gun)
Lose That Long Face (Judy Garland, A Star Is Born)
Mack The Black (Judy Garland, The Pirate)
The Sweetest Sound (Richard Kiley, Diahann Carroll, No Strings)
No Other Music (Karen Morrow, Miss Spectacular)
The Music That Makes Me Dance (Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl)
Agony (Chuck Wagner, Robert Westenberg, Into The Woods)
Happily Ever After (Craig Lucas, Marry Me A Little)
Isn't It? (Lauren Ward, Saturday Night)
The Boy From...(Millicent Martin, The Mad Show/Side By Side By Sondheim)
Natasha (David Garrison, Peggy Hewitt, A Day In Hollywood/A Night In The
Boston Beguine (Alice Ghostley, New Faces Of 1952)
Tango (Temptation) (Instrumental, Singin' In The Rain)
The Beguine (Tamara Long, Steve Elmore, Dames At Sea)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sunday Duets

 Sara Gettlefinger and Christine Ebersole,
singing "Peas In A Pod," from
Grey Gardens.
Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's music
reminded some critics of Sondheim's...

 Mark Linn-Baker as Toad, and Jay Goede as Frog
in A Year With Frog and Toad.
They'll be raking leaves with "He'll Never Know."

 Jill Paice and David Hyde Pierce
in "Tough Act To Follow"
from Curtains, 
with music brought to you by Kander, Ebb, and Rupert Holmes
(Rupert of "The Pina Colada Song" fame!).

James Naughton and Dee Hoty
do "The Tennis Song," from City Of Angels
(although I liked this non-tennis-y photo better!).
Cy Coleman's melodies, David Zippel's zippy lyrics.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jane "LIVED!!!"

 You may think you don't know Jane Connell,
who got her big break in 1966 when she clinched the role of
Agnes Gooch in Mame,
and here she is with Angela Lansbury,
singing "Gooch's Song."
But she was an often-seen TV show guest star in the 1970s.

 Jane reprised her role as Gooch
in the 1974 film version of Mame, starring Lucille Ball.
Jane took over the Gooch role when Lucy grew irritated
with Madeline Kahn and fired her.

 She starred again with Angela in Dear World,
another Jerry Herman musical, of 1969.
Other Broadway shows included
Me & My Girl, Lend Me A Tenor, Crazy for You, and Moon Over Buffalo.

 Most people know Jane from her appearances on Bewitched,
where she played Hepzibah (here with Cesar Romero)...

 and as Queen with Aunt Clara,
played by Marion Lord.

Other television appearances included
Green Acres, MASH, Maude, and Law & Order.
Jane was born in California in 1925, and 
passed away in 2013.
She was married to fellow actor, Gordon Connell
for 65 years.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

David Daniel Kaminsky, of Brooklyn, NY

 Danny recorded "Civilization" with the Andrews Sisters in 1947...
and they Binga-Bango-Bongoed to Number 3 on the charts with it.
This photo looks like two pics photo-shopped together,
but c'est la vie!

 That same year, Danny starred in 
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty...
and from that movie, we'll hear "The Professor." 
Sylvia Fine, who Danny married in 1940,
wrote and later produced much of his material.
By the time this movie was released, they were estranged,
yet they continued to work together professionally.

 "No Two People," from Hans Christian Andersen, 1952,
with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser.
Here Danny is pictured with Zizi Jeanmarie, in a fantasy segment.
The actual vocal part of Zizi was sung on the album
by Jane Wyman.

 A tap dancing Noah?
Well, if you've cast Danny Kaye, expect anything!
Two by Two, with music by Richard Rodgers,
lyrics, Martin Charnin, opened in 1970.
Danny "souped up" his part, going for the laughs.
He brought in the crowds, but the producers and writers were not happy.
That's Madeline Kahn on the left in green.

 And a couple additional photos I couldn't resist!
Danny's first vaudeville act, The Three Terpsichoreans...
with Cathleen Young and Dave Harvey.
They met at White Roe, a summer camp for adults in the Catskills,
where Danny worked as a tummler, someone who
keeps the folks entertained between acts
(and between courses!).
 With Bing on the set of White Christmas, 1954.
They wanted Fred, they almost got Donald...
but then there was Danny.

Danny worked for many years with UNICEF,
and this is one of the many photos of him with children around the globe.
Little known Kaye facts: Aviation Enthusiast!
Great Cook! Part Owner of the Seattle Mariners!

1911 - 1987