Friday, December 16, 2016

More Holiday? Say When!

 The mash-up continues
with Angela Lansbury, Sab Shimono, Jane Connell, and Frankie Michaels.
"We Need A Little Christmas" from Mame. 

 Tom Lehrer, Harvard math professor
turned folk singer, back in the 1960s,
a precursor to Weird Al.
We'll hear "I'm Spending Hanukkah In Santa Monica."
 The lovely Miss Peters,
with a live rendition of 
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."
 Leslie Odom Jr.,
his Burr-ness!
"I'll Be Home For Christmas"
from his Simply Christmas album.
 Have to hear Allan Sherman,
and his "Twelve Gifts Of Christmas,"
from his For Swingin' Livers Only album.
Below, said Japanese transitor radio.

 From the Broadway version of White Christmas,
pronounced "as bland as old Necco Wafers"
when it debuted in 2008.
The number below looks fun! 
For some reason, I don't think these are the Haynes sisters! :) 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Mash-Up

 In no particular order,
our 2 On The Aisle Broadway Christmas Representatives:
The lovely Judy Garland
with "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
from Meet Me In St. Louis.

 "Sisters", of course...the female version,
from White Christmas.
Vera didn't sing this one
(or any in that movie, btw).
Rosemary had to do both parts,
which makes me wonder if she was paid double.

 Plaid Tidings,
the sequel to Forever Plaid.
Hey, everyone should make a Christmas album, right?
David Humphrey, David Engle, Jeff Scott Parsons and Stan Chandler.
(Stan and David E. were members of the original Plaids.)

 Two great shots of Pearl,
below with drummer Louie Bellson,
to whom she was married for 38 years.
By the look of that coat,
Pearl got more than a "Five Pound Box Of Money."

 The one, the only, "Turkey Lurkey Time."
From the left...Baayork Lee, Donna McKechnie 
(both Baayork and Donna danced together 
in A Chorus Line just 8 years later) 
and the lady on the right, Margo Sappington,
from the original Promises, Promises.

Tom "Duke" Wopat,
and "The Last Night Of The Year."
He's gone jazz (oh, and some Broadway),
my friends. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, December 18, 2016: Broadway Christmas On Ice

Okay, so there's no more putting this holiday thing off! It has invaded every mantle piece, oven rack and "change purse" in the land (does anyone still HAVE a change purse?)(why yes! The lady in front of me at Wegmans!). So there's nothing to do but acknowledge it, resign oneself to its existence and...jingle those bells!

Broadway can furnish us a with plethora of holiday tunes and so can a few of those old movie musicals...White Christmas, Here's Love, Holiday In Plaid, Promises, Charlie Brown...but there are a few "dirty snow" varieties out there, too, that like coal in your fishnets, don't exactly Fa La La in your ear. But that's okay. If we ate just the frosting off the top of life, what would we have? Rotten bicuspids, upset tummies, and Hallmarked perspectives.  So to balance the Christmas-ly cloying bits, we'll also nosh on a couple of speed- bump Xmas raisins, like "I Don't Remember Christmas" (don't carol angry!) and "Hard Candy Christmas" (don't carol bitter!).

Plus who can forget those timeless chestnuts (a'roasting) like "I'm Spending Hanukkah in Santa Monica" and "Turkey Lurkey" and "Surabaya Santa"? Let's all join in on the chorus!

Really, I'm lying. I love all this stuff. And I wait all year to patrol this Christmas beat. Iconic, crazy, lovey-dovey, sarcastic, or just plain Scrooge-y.  It's all Broadway.  Merry Christmas, you fanatic you.

Happy Holiday/Let Yourself Go (Brian d'Arcy James, Jeffrey Denman,
      Ensemble, Irving Berlin's White Christmas)
Overture To White Christmas (Instrumental, Irving Berlin's White Christmas)
We Need A Little Christmas (Angela Lansbury, Ensemble, Mame)
Be A Santa (Sydney Chaplin, Subways Are For Sleeping)
Turkey Lurkey Time (Ensemble, Promises, Promises)
Snow (Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, White Christmas)
Sisters (Rosemary Clooney, White Christmas)
The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing (Danny Kaye, White
Count Your Blessings (Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, White Christmas)
Love You Didn't Do Right By Me (Rosemary Clooney, White Christmas)
White Christmas (Company, White Christmas)
Twelve Days To Christmas (Ensemble, She Loves Me)
That Man Over There (Paul Reed, Here's Love)
Christmas Day (Ensemble, Promises, Promises)
Pine Cones And Holly Berries (Laurence Naismith, Here's Love)
Christmas Time Is Here (Ensemble, A Charlie Brown Christmas)
A Five Pound Box Of Money (Pearl Bailey)
Nothin' For Christmas (Eartha Kitt)
Surabaya Santa (Jessica Molaskey, Songs For A New World)
Ring Them Bells (Liza Minelli, Liza With A 'Z')
Hard Candy Christmas (Ensemble, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas)
I Don't Remember Christmas (George Lee Andrews, Starting Here,
      Starting Now)
Christmas Is My Favorite Time Of Year (Norbert Leo Butz, Aaron Tveit,
      Catch Me If You Can)
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Bernadette Peters)
I'll Be Home For Christmas (Leslie Odom, Jr., Simply Christmas)
Christmas Mem'ries (Barbra Streisand, Christmas Memories)
Three Wishes For Christmas (Tony Yazbek, Gypsy)
Talk Christmas, Cool Yule (David Engle, Paul Binotto, Larry Raben,
      Holiday In Plaid)
Lovers On Christmas Eve (Joanna Gleason, James Naughton, I Love My Wife)
(I'm Spending) Hanukkah In Santa Monica (Tom Lehrer, The Remains Of Tom
Catered Holiday Affair (David Engle, Ensemble, Holiday In Plaid)
The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas (Allan Sherman, For Swingin' Livers Only!)
Last Night Of The Year (Tom Wopat, Consider It Swung)
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Judy Garland, Meet Me In
      St. Louis)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Joke, Schmoke

 Gene and Judy 
in The Pirate,
an MGM biggie from 1948.
Judy and husband/director Vincent Minnelli
had plenty of on-set arguments,
several songs were jettisoned from the original Broadway musical
(one, "Voodoo" was declared too sexy, and replaced by
"Mack The Black"), plus a controversial number
("Be A Clown" by Cole Porter) 
in which Gene danced WITH The Nicholas Brothers
(deleted from the movie by some southern states!)
made for less than successful results at the box office.

 Danny Kaye, "The Maladjusted Jester"
from The Court Jester.
Below with wife, Sylvia Fine, who wrote the music for the film. 
It cost 4 mil to make (one of the most costly comedies of its day)
and proceeded to bomb at the box office.
Basil Rathbone, Glynis Johns, Angela Lansbury and Mildred Natwick
also starred,
along with Vessels and Pestles.

 Donald O'Connor
as Cosmo in Singin' In The Rain
got to sing (and throw himself up against a wall)
to "Make 'Em Laugh",
an "adaption" (no, an outright steal!) of  "Be A Clown".
Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown cloaked the Cole Porter goodie
from The Pirate with different lyrics,
but it's the same damn song.
Cole didn't sue, bless his heart.

 Had to include these great O'Connor pics:
above with Bing Crosby (and what song? what year? what show?),
and below, dapper with cufflinks.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Carol Corner, Gwen Niche, Eddie Cubby!

 Eddie Foy, Jr.
surrounded by "factory girls" in The Pajama Game.
Eddie was part of his family's Vaudeville act,
one of Seven Little Foys, led by his dad, Eddie, Sr.
Born in 1905,
Eddie debuting in Flo Ziegfeld's Show Girl,
with Jimmy Durante in 1929.

 With Reta Shaw at the recording of The Pajama Game.
Eddie portrayed his dad (whom he closely resembled)
in several movies, including Yankee Doodle Dandy, below,
with Jimmy Cagney.

Two versions of the Seven Little Foys:
On portrayed by Bob Hope (right) in the 1955 movie.
On the bottom...the real thing: From the right, 
 Irving, Richard, Madeline, Mary, Eddie Jr., Charles, Bryan,
and in the skirt (!) Eddie Sr.
They performed as a group between 1911 and 1913,
tho Eddie Sr. would perform until his death in 1971.
Several of the kids would go on to perform or produce,
but Eddie Jr. surpassed them all, 
with stage, screen and television credits.

 Carol Channing hails from Seattle
(yes, she's alive and well, at age 95!),
and her first Broadway success came at 19,
in Marc Blitzstein's No For An Answer. 
From there she step-stoned to Lend An Ear 
(when she understudied Eve Arden)...
finally to be "discovered" by Anita Loos 
(author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
A few strands/strains of "Diamonds" and New York fell in love!

 Hello Dolly!
made Carol a "household name"...
and an Tony award winner for Best Actress.
With her help, Dolly knocked Funny Girl (and Babs)
out of the running that year.
(And Eve Arden was one of the many babes who replaced her
in that Dolly Levi role.)

 Thoroughly Modern Millie
with Julie Andrews (1967).
Carol received an Academy Award nomination
for her role as Muzzy Van Hossmere,
which seemed tailor-fit!

 Over 25 stage credits to her name,
along with film, television, and (of course!) voice overs.

 Four Tony Award winner,
Gwen Verdon, 
above with John McCormack 
and below (with top hat)
in Sweet Charity.
Gwen was born in 1925 in Culver City, CA,
and after surviving rickets (!!!), took a passle of dance lessons,
and moved to work with Jack Cole.
Her big break came in 1953 in Can-Can,
when she stole the show from Lilo 
(sort of like Cher, with that one name thing).
 Damn Yankees (below as Lola),
Redhead, New Girl In Town, Sweet Charity, and Chicago followed.
 Although Gwen wasn't chosen 
to reprise her role as Charity Hope Valentine in the
film version of Charity,
she assisted in the choreography and helped 
Shirley McClaine tackle the part.

 Gwen gets a lift from two pretty impressive dancers:
Michel Barishnikov and Rudolf Nureyev. 

With husband Bob Fosse,
who Gwen married in 1960,
and assisted him in several projects, 
including All That Jazz and Dancin'....
and despite estrangments,
they never divorced.
She passed away in 2000, at the age of 75.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, December 11, 2016: Nope, not playin' it!!

So I can't play Broadway Holiday yet. I'm not emotionally prepared. It arrived yesterday, but I couldn't deal. So it's out in the shed. Under a tarp, snuggled between my lonely lawn mower and my lonelier bike.  I promise to marshal the effort and unwrap it by next Sunday, that's the 18th, but for now...oh my god, the pressure!  Allow me to fortify myself with eggnog (sugar) and fruitcake (sugar) (oh, and fat), before facing the singing/strobing tree lights (all colors, not white...white is not for me), baking, buying, wrapping MONSTER that is The Holiday (insert holiday of choice here: _____________).

So for one more "moment", let us feast on all things bright and Broadway, like Bloomer Girl...Hey, there's one that doesn't get revived! Guess why? You put in a scandal about wearing bloomers and hoop skirts, you date yourself. Big time. Damn! Anyway, we'll hear good old Joan McCracken sing "T'morra, T'morra" from that show, way before Andrea McArdle thought to do it; Joan, who danced in Oklahoma, in movies (Good News), and even did straight plays, but who never became a super star. Then a Carol Channing corner, a Gwen Verdon niche, even an Eddie Foy, Jr. cubbie...because the holiday can damn well wait!

And seesawing back (and forth) from last week's Oldie (but) Goldies, we'll finish off with brand spanking New. Waitress, The Color Purple revival, and Miranda goodies from In The Heights and Hamilton. Not the mixed tape (ugh), the real thing.

And then come back on December 18th, when I will put on my light up sparkle earrings and spin the holiday discs. You won't be able to see them sparkle on radio, but you'll hear it in my voice. :)

Opening/Mysterious Ways (Company, The Color Purple)
The Pajama Game/Racing With The Clock (Eddie Foy, Jr., The Pajama Game)
I'll Never Be Jealous Again (Eddie Foy, Jr., Reta Shaw, The Pajama Game)
Hernando's Hideaway (Ensemble, The Pajama Game)
A Little Girl From Little Rock (Carol Channing, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
I Put My Hand In (Carol Channing, Hello Dolly!)
Jazz Baby (Carol Channing, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Make 'Em Laugh (Donald O'Connor, Singin' In The Rain)
Crazy People (The Boswell Sisters)
Maladjusted Jester (Danny Kaye, The Court Jester)
Be A Clown (Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, The Pirate)
Funny/The Duck Joke (Andrea Martin, Lannyl Stephens, My Favorite Year)
The Hills Of Tomorrow (Company, Merrily We Roll Along)
Tomorrow Belongs To Me (Ensemble, Cabaret)
Each Tomorrow Morning (Angela Lansbury, Dear World)
Tomorrow (Andrea McArdle, Annie)
We'll Meet Tomorrow (Company, Titanic)
T'morra, T'morra (Joan McCracken, Bloomer Girl)
Yesterday, Tomorrow and Today (Brian Stokes-Mitchell, Women On The Verge
      Of A Nervous Breakdown)
A Little Brains, A Little Talent (Gwen Verdon, Damn Yankees)
Erbie Fitch's Twitch (Gwen Verdon, Redhead)
Charity's Soliloquy (Gwen Verdon, Sweet Charity)
If My Friends Could See Me Now (Gwen Verdon, Sweet Charity)
The Color Purple (Danielle Brooks, Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple)
What Baking Can Do (Jessie Mueller, Waitress)
What About Love? (Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Hudson, The Color Purple)
Everything Changes (Jessie Mueller, Keala Settle, Kimiko Glenn, Waitress)
Alabanza (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mandy Gonzalez, In The Heights)
Finale (Lin-Manuel, Company, In The Heights)
Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)(Lin Manuel Miranda,
       Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Christoper Jackson, Hamilton)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Snappy, Snazzy, and Class to the Eye Teeth

 Annette Hanshaw,
one of the most popular radio stars of the 1930s.
In a 1934 poll,
she was voted "Best Popular Female Singer"
(Kate Smith was only Number 4!).
 Not sure what kind of pizza that is on her head,
but thank goodness it's a "personal size".

 Annette was known as "The Personality Girl", 
and her trademark was saying
"That's all!"
 at the end of many of her records.
She could also do a damn good imitation of 
Helen Kane, The Boop Boop A Doop gal,
singing under the pseudonym of Patsy Young.
After Annette was sued for her imitation
(yup, it was THAT good),
Helen said,
"Annette sounds more like me than I do!"
 Supposedly Annette disliked show business,
despite her success and popularity.
"I loved singing," she said.
 "You know, jamming with the musicians 
when it isn't important to do, 
but somehow or another I was terribly nervous when I sang."
She retired from the business in the late 1930s.

 Above the REAL Helen Kane,
mit "overcoat!"

 Above and below,
Eddie Cantor and Ethel Merman
in Kid Millions,
a star-studded movie musical from 1934.
Get a load of the cast:
Eddie, Ethel, Ann Southern, George Murphy,
The Nicholas Brothers,
and in the Goldwyn Girls chorus line,
Lucille Ball, and Paulette Goddard.
We'll hear "Mandy"... an Irving Berlin addition.

 This Is The Army, 1942,
with music by Mr. Berlin,
and a cast and crew of American soldiers.
 Berlin based it on his WWI show, 
Yip Yip Yaphank
(at top, with Berlin in the center),
filling even the female roles with privates and
 the odd staff sergeant!

 Above the quartet that sang
"What The Well Dressed Man In Harlem Will Wear,"
including Cpl. James Cross and 
Pvts. William Wyckoff and Marion "Spoons" Brown.
At Berlin's insistence,
this show had African Americans and whites 
performing on stage simultaneously, 
a first EVER on Broadway.
Below, a pic from the movie version,
made in 1943 with Ronald Reagan.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Show Off!

 Bullet's Over Broadway,
Woody Allen's 4 month wonder,
starred Lenny Wolpe, Marin Mazzie, Zach Braff, Karin Ziemba,
Brooks Ashmanskas...
and below, Brooks with Helene Yorke.
 Based on Woody's film version,
work on the musical started in 2000,
with music by Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia.
But Woody was unenthused until his sister suggested
using music of 1920s.
THIS Woody liked.
It opened in April of 2015, and closed in August.
Ben Brantley called it "occasionally fun, but mostly just loud."
Below, Nick Cordero as Cheech with Brooks.

 Kitty's Kisses debuted in 1926,
with music by Con Conrad who would later write the tunes for
the Ziegfeld Follies, and The Gay Divorcee,
and lyrics by Gus Kahn,
of "Makin' Whoopee" and "It Had To Be You" fame.
When it opened on 48th Street,it was called a show 
"that moves with a swing and a smack and a smirk."
HOWEVER, when it hit London,
the producers married it to The Girl Friend,
the Rodgers & Hart show, where the couple was a hit!
And they didn't "divorce" til 60 years later,
when Kitty's Kisses would be detached 
and a studio recording finally created.
We'll hear Choo Choo Love.

 The Drowsy Chaperone,
a parody of the musicals of the 1920s
with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison,
opened on Broadway in 2006,
and scooped 5 Tonys, one for The Drowsy Chaperone herself,
Beth Leavel, and 7 Drama Desk Awards.
That's Beth below with Danny Burstein
in the "I Am Aldolpho" number.

 Sutton Foster as Janet, our heroine.
We'll hear her rendition of "Show Off",
as in she doesn't want to. No more. Hmmm....

 Bob Martin as The Man In The Chair,
an agoraphobic Broadway fan,
who narrates the show-within-a-show...
he plays the record (complete with skips!)
of "The Drowsy Chaperone" of 1928
and the show appears before him.

The rousing finale...
Center left, Georgia Engle who you may remember from
The Mary Tyler Moore Show!