Saturday, January 30, 2016

Towns, et. al.

 The 1949 film version
of On The Town sported a few new songs...
this one for example:
Count On Me, which replaced Ya Got Me.
Leonard Bernstein's score was generally demolished
by Roger Edens who thought LB's music too complicated.
Lenny boycotted the film.
Above: Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Gene Kelly, Jules Munshin,
Frank Sinatra, and Alice Pearce.

 Nancy Walker, who played Hildy
in the original production of On The Town, 1944,
was replaced in the film by Betty Garrett.
I like Betty, sure...but I LOVE Nancy!!!

In fact, Alice Pearce was the only cast member
to play in both the original Broadway production
and the movie.
Lucy Schmeeler...unforgettable.

And a great image of the Wonderful Town "crew"...
At the piano, Betty Comden, Rosalind Russell, Adolph Green,
somebody, somebody else,
and Lenny at the piano.
Edie Adams, on the right below, was still going 
by the name Edith at the time!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Stop The World, for Leslie B!

 Leslie Bricusse was born in London in 1931,
and after a Cambridge education,
formed a partnership of sorts with Anthony Newley...
"Brickman and Newburg",
and together they wrote the music and lyrics for 
Stop The World - I Want To Get Off, and
The Roar Of The Greasepaint, The Smell Of the Crowd.

 Backstage on opening night of "Roar"...
with Joan Collins (Anthony's wife), Anthony, Sammy, Carol and Cyril.

 Along with composing/lyric writing for staged musicals,
Leslie wrote movie themes and scores.
Above, Shirley Bassey and a promotional photo from
Goldfinger, which Leslie wrote with John Barry.

 Another collaboration with Anthony
yielded the score of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Above, Peter Ostrum and Gene Wilder.

With Henry Mancini,
Leslie wrote the score for Victor/Victoria...

 And with John Williams, the score for
Hook, which starred Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams
(with a great Smee, thanks to Bob Hoskins, below on the left).
Above, Amber Scott who sang "When You're Alone."

Leslie wrote both the music and lyrics
for Doctor Doolittle, Goodbye Mr. Chips, and Scrooge,
and several hit singles, including 
"You Only Live Twice," "Can You Read My Mind,"
and "When I Look In Your Eyes".
Above with his wife, Yvonne Romain, a British actress
best known perhaps for her role in
The Curse Of The Werewolf! :)
Leslie just celebrated his 85th year.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jerome Kern, 1885 - 1945

 One of the Broadway Biggies: Jerome Kern.
Born on Sutton Place (when it was the brewery district)
in 1885, Jerome showed an early talent for music making.
High school shows, rehearsal pianist,
Tin Pan Alley song plugger...

 700 songs (and over 100 musicals) later...
Shows like The Red Petticoat, The Girl From Utah, and Sally
from the early 1900s, though no longer mounted,
hold the standards that we know today.
His partners "in writing crime"
read like a Who's Who of librettists:
Guy Bolton, Otto Harbach, P.G. Wodehouse, Dorothy Fields...
and above with Oscar Hammerstein II (on left)
and theatrical producer Flo Ziegfeld. 

 Show Boat...done in 1927, with Oscar,
and produced by Ziegfeld.
The only Kern musical still revived,
and arguably his masterpiece.
 Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel
in the 1951 movie version of Show Boat...
"Make Believe"
 Judy Garland, in the movie Till The Clouds Roll By,
singing "Look For The Silver Lining,"
a song originally written for Zip Goes A Million,
by Kern and B.G. DeSylva,
and reused in Sally.
Kern wrote music for silent pictures as early as 1912,
and returned to Hollywood in the 1930s
for Swing Time, You Were Never Lovelier, and Cover Girl.
 Who DIDN'T record Kern?
Jeanette MacDonald did...we'll hear her rendition of
"They Didn't Believe Me", with lyrics by Herbert Reynolds.
But how do you pick from Jerome's wonderful melodies?
 All The Things You Are,
Long Ago And Far Away, The Last Time I Saw Paris...

 Couldn't resist a digression to a Jeanette movie poster,
with Nelson Eddy...
"I'm No Prude!"

Marilyn...and A Fine Romance,
a Kern melody, with lyrics by Dorothy Fields.
(BTW, how do you choose just one photo of MM?)
Jerome evidently hated jazz arrangements of his songs,
but today so many of his songs live on
because of those very jazz interpretations,
he should be pleased. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016: Time And Mittens Heal Everything

Late January, with long underware, hot soup, and Ryan's Irish Cream at the ready. We have (as of TODAY) 65 days til April 1st. Yup, every winter I do a count down, because frankly these 3 months? You can have 'em on a stick. So I slash away at the calendar, day by day, waiting for April Fool's Day, cuz winter ENDS then, right? On April 1st, no more snow, no more winter coats or mufflers or rock salt (except on the errant Margarita).

So to keep the doldrums at bay, we celebrate Broadway composer Jerome Kern, whose birthday is Wednesday, the 27th, and lyricist Leslie Bricusse, whose natal day is the 29th. Little sets which can in no way show the accomplishments of these talents, but's a radio show, not a biopic with Alan Rickman (RIP) and Judi Dench. 

We'll counter with some rather introspective Jerry Herman tunes (that's correct, he wasn't JUST about baubles, bangles, bows and kicklines), a couple of late 1950s/early 60s shows like Birdie, Seesaw and Subway...anything to ease the January pall. Maybe if we keep the Broadway blasting, we can see past the white outs, the de-icing, and that detractive layered look, til spring comes again.

Overture (Instrumental, Subways Are For Sleeping)
The Telephone Hour (Ensemble, Bye Bye Birdie)
Put On A Happy Face (Dick Van Dyke, Bye Bye Birdie)
Hymn For A Sunday Evening (Paul Lynde, Ensemble, Bye Bye Birdie)
Make Believe (Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson, Show Boat)
Look For The Silver Lining (Judy Garland, Till The Clouds Roll By)
The Last Time I Saw Paris (Noel Coward)
They Didn't Believe Me (Jeanette MacDonald)
A Fine Romance (Marilyn Monroe)
Ohio (Edie Adams, Rosalind Russell, Wonderful Town)
What A Waste (George Gaynes, Wonderful Town)
Ballet At The Village Vortex (Instrumental, Wonderful Town)
Ya Got Me (Nancy Walker, On The Town)
Count On Me (Ensemble, On The Town)
The Joker (Anthony Newley, The Roar Of The Grease Paint, The Smell Of
         The Crowd)
Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey, Goldfinger)
Le Jazz Hot (Julie Andrews, Victor/Victoria)
When You're Alone (Amber Scott, Hook)
Pure Imagination (Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory)
Who Can I Turn To? (Anthony Newley, The Roar Of The Grease Paint, The
         Smell Of The Crowd)
Seesaw (Ensemble, Seesaw)
I'm Just Taking My Time (Sydney Chaplin, Subways Are For Sleeping)
Strange Duet (Phyllis Newman, Orson Bean, Subways Are For Sleeping)
Girls Like Me (Carol Lawrence, Subways Are For Sleeping)
Chapter 54, Number 1909 (Tommy Tune, Ken Howard, Seesaw)
Time Heals Everything (Bernadette Peters, Mack & Mabel)
It Only Takes A Moment (Jack Crowder, Emily Yancy, Hello Dolly)
Each Tomorrow Morning (Angela Lansbury, Dear World)
Dear Mr. Gershwin (Klea Blackhurst, Radio Gals)
Baltimore (Audra McDonald, Go Back Home)
Just One Step (Jessica Molaskey, Songs For A New World)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Little French Cabaret...with your Sunday Times.

considered France's National Chanteuse back in her day.
She began as a street acrobat/singer with her father,
"Piaf" (which means Sparrow) was appropriately given to her
as a stage name by club owner Louis Leplee (Edith was only 4' 8" tall).
Once she attained fame, she helped launch the singing careers of
Yves Montand and Charles Aznavour.
We'll hear "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien".

...and with Yves.
Yves (born Ivo Livi in Italy) spent his early years in Marseille.
He was "discovered" when Piaf heard him in his music hall act,
and quickly made him part of HER act.
Yves went on to become an internationally known actor
(complete with infamous affairs!).

Armenian by birth...and a professional dancer
who turned singer under Edith's tutelage and influence.
Called the "Frank Sinatra of France,"
Charles now lives in Switzerland, and serves as
Ambassador of Armenia age 91!
We'll hear "Et Pourtant" and "Hier Encore",
both of which he wrote.

Lucienne Boyer...
called a French "diseuse" which means "teller".
A concert in 1927 in Paris
brought her to the attention of Broadway's Lee Shubert,
and soon Lucienne was singing
"Parlez Moi D'Amour" (her signature song)
on the Great White Way.

...and Frehel.
The stage name of Marguerite Boulc 'h,
another French street singer,
who later performed in nightclubs and music halls.
She warred with alchohol and drug additions most of her life,
but her 1930's comeback brought her French film roles
and more recordings. 
We'll hear "Si Tu N'Etais Pas Las"
(If You Weren't Here).

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bad Guy Songs...

 Mae Barnes,
a singer and dancer on the Broadway stage,
later became a nightclub legend in NYC,
performing so many times at the Bon Soir in Greenwich Village
(where Barbra Streisand later sang)
that it was nicknamed "The Barnes Soir."

 First known as a tap dancer,
Mae turned to singing after a car accident in 1938.
Her last appearance on Broadway was in 
By The Beautiful Sea with Shirley Booth.
We'll hear her rendition of ("If the Devil Answers...") Hang Up!

 Ray Walston appeared as Mr. Applegate in
the original staged production AND the film of 
Damn Yankees.
We'll heard The Good Old Days from that one!
He went on to play more bad guys and cranky old dudes, one on Mars,
another at Ridgemont High.

 Wonderful Cyril Ritchard!
The first to play Captain Hook...with Mary Martin, on stage and screen.
By all accounts, a thoroughly decent man who answered his own fan mail
(and on nice stationery)...
And one of the few actors to have one heart attack on stage (in Sugar)
and one in the wings (Side By Side By Sondheim).
The latter one felled him.

Leon Greene insisting that Zero bring him his bride.
Leon starred as Captain Miles Gloriosus in both 
the first West End production of Forum
and the movie.
Leon was an opera singer, but after his success in Forum,
acting in film became his cup of "sweat."

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, Jan. 24th, 2016: Red or White, Monsieur?

So it's finally decided to be winter out there. I had to actually touch a shovel this morning. And I now remember why I kept this unfashionable parka and that unattractive set of snowpants. Fought my way home in a scuffle with Mother Nature last night, and she almost won. Now I know why I blocked all these memories...last winter? What winter?

So I've decided to be French. Yup, for 2 whole sets. Slipping off (well, THAT'S EASY TODAY!) the Broadway Band Wagon, into the world of baguettes, with Yves, Edith, Charles, and Frehel...old songs, new songs, with accordians and striped shirts. We'll bookend it with plenty of Broadway, so as to cloak it with good ole musicals, but hey, it's COPE time. And I spell cope...P A R I S.

Waiting in the wings for their entrances, will be Judy, Audra, Doris....The Fantasticks, St. Louis Woman, a bad guy set(!), and of course Murder most foul as our finale.  Meanwhile, get out your beret and choose a wine. I'll let you know when to uncork. 

Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home (Vanessa Williams, St. Louis Woman)
Legalize My Name (Pearl Bailey, St. Louis Woman)
I Feel My Luck Comin' Down (Stanley Wayne Mathis, St. Louis Woman)
Come Rain Or Come Shine (Vanessa Williams, Stanley Wayne Mathis,
         St. Louis Woman)
Overture (Instrumental, The Fantasticks)
This Plum Is Too Ripe (Rita Gardner, Kenneth Nelson, Ensemble,
         The Fantasticks)
Never Say No (William Larson, Hugh Thomas, The Fantasticks)
Mr. Monotony (Judy Garland, The Easter Parade)
Why Can't I? (Doris Day, Martha Ray, Jumbo)
I Remember (Charmian Carr, Evening Primrose)
Make Someone Happy (Audra McDonald, Do Re Mi)
Si Tu N'etais Pas La (Frehel, Amelie)
La Valse D'Amelie (Instrumental, Amelie)
Que C'est Triste Venise (Charles Aznavour)
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Edith Piaf)
Someone To Watch Over Me (Dawn Upshaw, Oh, Kay!)
The More You Ruv Someone (Anna Harada, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Avenue Q)
Someone Is Here (Andrea Marcovicci, Nefertiti)
Hang Up (Mae Barnes, Ensemble, By The Beautiful Sea)
Those Were The Good Old Days (Ray Walston, Damn Yankees)
Captain Hook's Waltz (Cyril Ritchard, Peter Pan)
Bring Me My Bride (Leon Greene, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To
         The Forum)
Et Pourtant (Charles Aznavour)
Parlez-Moi D'Amour (Lucienne Boyer, The Moderns)
Dada Je Suis (Charlelie Couture, The Moderns)
C'est Si Bon (Yves Montand)
Hier Encore (Charles Aznavour)
Second Chance (Karen Ziemba, Daniel McDonald, Steel Pier)
The Shag (Instrumental, Steel Pier)
Everybody's Girl (Debra Monk, Steel Pier)
Protocol Says (Brett Ryback, Murder For Two)
It Was Her (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Murder For Two)
A Lot Woise (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Brett Ryback, Murder For Two)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Meanwhile, in the warmer climes...

 House of Flowers, 1954,
with Pearl Bailey as Madame Fleur, with her flowers:
Josephine Premice (Tulip), Enid Mosier (Pansy) and Enid Moore (Gladiola)
We'll hear "Two Ladies In De Shade Of De Banana Tree".

 Lena Horne in Jamaica, 1957,
which was originally written for Harry Bellafonte.
When Harry couldn't do it, the show was entirely re-written
for the female star.
Ricardo Montalban (pre-Corinthian leather fame)
and Ossie Davis helped out. 
"Push De Button!"

Elaine Stritch in Angels In The Wings,
her first Broadway show, 1947.
She was given a Bob Hilliard/Carl Sigman song to sing...
Elaine was 22. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Mr. Holloway, I presume.

 Actor, Comic, Singer...Stanley Augustus Holloway was born
in Essex in 1890.
After quitting school at age 14,
Stanley's big break came when he starred in
"Master Stanley Holloway - The Wonderful Boy Soprano", in 1904.

 After serving in WWI, musical revues, radio shows,
and British film opportunities followed.
Here he is in Brief Encounter, 1945.

 1956 began Stanley's association with My Fair Lady.
He was Alan Jay Lerner's first choice to play Alfred P. Doolittle.
Lerner was supposedly hesitant, however, noting
that Stanley had been away from musical theatre for awhile;
did he still have a voice for it?
Well, in the middle of lunch at Claridges with Lerner,
Stanley let loose with an over-powering baritone,
and the rest (as usual) is history.
(Note a young Julie Andrews above, in the original Broadway show.)

 Alistair Cooke, in the Manchester Guardian, 
noted of his My Fair Lady performance,
"Stanley Holloway distills into the body of Doolittle 
the taste and smell of every pub in England."

 A recording of sure fire English music hall hits.
I'd love to hear Stanley's version of "Good Old Yorkshire Pudden".
A 70 year career span...ending with his death in 1982.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sunday "Newbies!"

 The 2008 revival of Gypsy
with Patti Lupone as Rose...
rave reviews and Tonys for several of the cast,
but it closed prematurely due to decreased ticket sales.
This was the production in which Patti stopped in the middle of a number
to yell at an audience member who was taking photos with his phone.
Go Patti.
 Young Louise (at left) was played by Emma Rowley,
and Young June (center) was Sami Gayle.

 This Gypsy's 3 Tony winners...
Laura Benanti, Patti, and Boyd Gaines.

 Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane
looking pretty comfortable as Morticia and Gomez Addams,
in The Addams Family.
With music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa
whose most recent creation is Big Fish, 2013. 

 Reviewers weren't exactly kind.
Ben Brantley of The New York Times:
"A tepid goulash of vaudeville song-and-dance routines, Borscht Belt jokes, stingless sitcom zingers and homey romantic plotlines".
But Nathan and Bebe were both praised,
and who cares anyway?
It's fun!

Jackie Hoffman as Grandma
and Adam Riegler as Pugsley...
When the creators were brainstorming about what
an Addams Family musical should be like,
they supposedly turned to Uncle Fester,
as in "What Would Fester Do?"
Turns out 19th Century Gothic...with just a soupcon of Tango.  :) 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, January 17, 2015: Back and Budget-Conscious!

Back from break...and ready for classic Broadway!  This coming Sunday, we've got kissing Kates (one real, one faux), some ladies (one Fair, two Under de Shade of De Banana Tree), a fella (Most Happy), a man (of Music!), a gypsy, an angel, a wizard, cats, and a weird semi-dead family. Ahh, classic Broadway!

My vaca was long and wonderful and I yearn for another one, but without any cash left, you can be sure I'll be locked to my zip code, putting in several LIVE 2 On The Aisles for a good many months.  Requests? Send 'em.  I'll be eating up these musicals from now until June... I certainly can't afford to spirit myself away to exotic climes, to toss strange money willy nilly at caravan bazaars, or to eat escargot, brulees and things on FIRE for awhile. Bring on the ice cube and toothpick austerity diet; if music be the food of love....whatever. 

See ya back on the Broadway Grind!  :)

Broadway Baby (Bernadette Peters, Follies)
Baby June And Her Newsboys/Let Me Entertain You (Sami Gayle, Emma
         Rowley, Gypsy)
Some People (Patti Lupone, Gypsy)
Nice She Ain't (Boyd Gaines, Gypsy)
Small World/Momma's Talkin' Soft (Patti Lupone, Boyd Gaines, Emma Rowley,
         Sami Gayle)
Tom Dick Or Harry (Lisa Kirk, Harold Lang, Edwin Clay, Charles Wood,
         Kiss Me Kate)
Why Can't You Behave? (Lisa Kirk, Harold Lang, Kiss Me Kate)
Bianca (Harold Lang, Kiss Me Kate)
Cinderella Darling (Claudette Sutherland, Ensemble, How To Succeed)
The Company Way (Robert Morse, Sammy Smith, How To Succeed)
Finale (Company, How To Succeed)
Standing On The Corner (Shorty Long, Ensemble, The Most Happy Fella)
Ooh! My Feet! (Susan Johnson, The Most Happy Fella)
Big D (Shorty Long, Susan Johnson, The Most Happy Fella)
Two Ladies In De Shade Of De Banana Tree (Ada Moore, Enid Mosier,
         Ensemble, House Of Flowers)
Push De Button (Lena Horne, Jamaica)
Civilization (Elaine Stritch, Angel In the Wings)
Get Me To The Church On Time (Stanley Holloway, My Fair Lady)
Show Me (Julie Andrews, My Fair Lady)
Ascot Gavotte (Ensemble, My Fair Lady)
I'm An Ordinary Man (Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady)
Iowa Stubborn (Ensemble, The Music Man)
Till There Was You (Barbara Cook, Robert Preston, The Music Man)
Shipoopi (Iggie Wolfington, The Music Man)
When You're An Addams (Company, The Addams Family)
Morticia (Nathan Lane, The Addams Family)
Let's Not Talk About Anything Else But Love (Terrence Mann, Kevin
         Chamberlain, Nathan Lane, The Addams Family)
Ease On Down The Road (Shanice Williams, The Wiz Live)
Home (Shanice Williams, The Wiz Live)
Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News (Mary J. Blige, The Wiz Live)
Hey Bob Fosse (Roxie Lucas, Michael McGrath, Forbidden Broadway)
Kiss Me Kate (Bryan Batt, Christine Pedi, Forbidden Broadway)
Stop Cats! A Chorus Cat (Company, Forbidden Broadway)