Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sunday Soupcon!

 It was 1967 and Hello, Dolly! had been running for 3 plus years.
Betty Grable's stint as Dolly Levy was ending, and
King David (Merrick) wanted to give the show a "shot in the arm".
Was it HIS idea to do an all-Black cast,
starring Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway?
Bam! as Emeril used to ran for 3,000 more performances.

 Lena Horne and Eddie Anderson...
in the 1943 film version of Cabin In The Sky.
Originally on Broadway in 1940, 
with Ethel Waters (who made it into the movie, as well).
We'll hear "Honey In the Honeycomb," with Miss Lena,
and "Taking A Chance On Love," with Ethel.

 Tony Award Winner Nell Carter,
one of the stars of Ain't Misbehavin',
which hit Broadway in 1978.
Fats Waller's (and friends') music proved a huge success,
with Tonys and Drama Desk Awards to prove it!
Accolades also went to Richard Maltby, Jr.,
director, for allowing the music to hold center stage.
Also starring: Ken Page, Armelia McQueen, Andre DeShields, and Irene Cara.

 Harry Belafonte and Miss Lena 
collaborated on an album of Porgy and Bess selections,
done in 1959...
Loving that caftan, LH!

 Leslie Uggams was 24 when she captured the lead in
Hallelujah, Baby!
Lena Horne had been slated for the role,
but she deemed the material racist.
She needn't have worried; despite a bubbly score by
co-star Robert Hook helped keep the material on track,
if less edgy than originally hoped.
Best Musical of 1967.
Hello, Dolly! and Funny Girl were playing just down the street,
but over at the Majestic, Golden Boy was pushing the envelope.
Sammy Davis, Jr. was singing along to a jazzy, urban score
(Charles Strouse/Lee Adams)
about black life on "127th Street".
Based (loosely) on a Clifford Odets' story...
we'll hear "Colorful."

Friday, February 26, 2016

Audra and Brian...Delights for the Ears and Eyes!

Born in West Berlin in 1970,
Audra McDonald was raised in Fresno, California
a Juilliard Grad (1993) in Voice...and then an explosion!

Above from Ragtime, with Brian Stokes-Mitchell, 1998.
Audra has won more Tonys than ANY OTHER ARTIST:
for Carousel, Master Work, Ragtime, Porgy and Bess, A Raisin In The Sun...

...and most recently for 
Lady Day at the Emerson Grill.
A veteran of stage, film, television, the concert stage, and recordings,
she seems to be a prize winner at it all. 

Brian Stokes-Mitchell, another Californian (!),
was born in 1957,
and since 1988 (when he starred in an all-black revival of Oh Kay!),
he's been Broadway's go-to leading man, starring in
Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Kiss Me Kate,
Jelly's Last Jam, Do Re Mi, Carnival, Sweeney Todd, et. al.

Above as Petruchio to Marin Mazzie's Kate,
for which he received a Tony (1999).

And then in Man Of La Mancha (2002)
a Tony nomination for Brian,
whose career includes TV appearances,
a gazillion voice overs and concert appearances. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ron Taylor, 1952-2002

 Ron Taylor:
Singer, Actor, Creator.
 He started off as the Cowardly Lion in The Wiz (1977)
and followed that up as
 the voice of Audrey II in the Off Broadway production
of Little Shop of Horrors,
a role he would play for 5 years.
 Ron's musical tastes were rooted in the blues,
forming his own blues band, The Nervis Brothers,
and helping create (and star in)
Ain't Nothin' But The Blues (1999).
Ron suffered a mini-stroke during the course of the show,
but was back at it five weeks later.
A heart attack would fell him in 2002.
Above, Ron with Gretha Boston in that show.

 When you're asked to do a Star Trek cameo,
you know you've made it...
Ron played a Klingon chef in a second season episode
of Deep Space 9.

 Group shot (including Audrey at her largest!)
of Little Shop of Horrors, 1982.
Ron is left of "The Plant"
with the Feed Me shirt on.

And while we're "Little Shopping",
the doo-wop singers who kept that show exciting...
Melodee Savage, Leilani Jones, and Jennifer Leigh Warren.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, February 28, 2016: Cuz Black Broadway.

I listen to Jazz 90.1 a lot. I sleep-walk to the radio in the am's, and "Push De Button" for Joelle, mosey to the shops with Linda around lunch time, work to the afternoon dulcet tones of Phil. I leave it on thru Petrie's wacky fusion and Rob's Big Band, Jann on Friday, Otto on Sundays (AND Tuesdays. Hell, I know that show by heart!). For some reason, I feel the need to invite the Sound Byte guys for lunch, and Jann for a drink, that's how close this relationship has gotten. And this month, because of that connection, I learned a heck of a lot about African American Jazz Artists, because February is Black History Month, and Jazz 90.1 does a super job enlightening you about the musicians you hear everyday on this station.

And the thing that hit me was...Black Broadway. There's a ton of black performers, composers and lyricists there to celebrate, much more than my meager 2 hour capabilities will be able to represent, but we will try!  Performers like Ethel, Nell, Harry, Lena, Audra, Leslie...historical shows like Porgy and Bess, Cabin in the Sky...juke box shows that spotlighted black composers like Fats, Duke, the Count shows that championed or featured black characters and their condition, like Golden Boy, Hallelujah, Baby!, Ragtime, The Civil War. There's a lot. We may have to do a few sequels.

So that's Sunday, when the Kim show will be hot, cool, angry, sweet, and sassy.  Cuz Black Broadway.

I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling (Nell Carter, Ain't Misbehavin')
Azure Te (Jerry Dixon, Doug Eskew, Ensemble, Five Guys Named Moe_
Lounging At The Waldorf (Ken Page, Ensemble, Ain't Misbehavin')
Sophisticated Lady (Chip Garnett, Bubbling Brown Sugar)
Three Little Maids (Paulette Ivory, Alison Jiear, Veronica Hart, The Hot
Choo Choo Ch'Boogie (Milton Craig Nealy, Jeffrey Sams, Glen Turner,
         Five Guys Named Moe)
It Ain't Necessarily So (Lena Horn, Porgy And Bess)
A Woman Is A Sometime Thing (Harry Belafonte, Porgy And Bess)
I Wants To Stay Here (Lena Horn, Porgy And Bess)
One Man (Pearl Bailey, House Of Flowers)
So Long Dearie (Pearl Bailey, Hello Dolly!)
Taking A Chance On Love (Ethel Waters, Cabin In The Sky)
Honey In The Honey Comb (Lena Horn, Cabin In The Sky)
Monotonous (Eartha Kitt, New Faces of 1952)
Skid Row (Downtown) (Leilani Jones, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Sheila Kay
          Davis, Ron Taylor, Ensemble, Little Shop Of Horrors)
Feed Me! (Ron Taylor, Lee Wilkof, Little Shop Of Horrors)
Sarah Brown Eyes (Brian Stokes-Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Ragtime)
Dulcinea (Brian Stokes-Mitchell, Man Of La Mancha)
The Microphone (Brian Stokes-Mitchell, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous
Run And Tell That! (Corey Reynolds, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Kerry Butler,
Sex Is In The Heel (Billy Porter, Ensemble, Kinky Boots)
Guns And Ships (Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Lin-Manuel
         Miranda, Hamilton)
Smile, Smile (Leslie Uggams, Robert Hooke, Hallelujah Baby!)
My Own Morning (Leslie Uggams, Hallelujah Baby!)
Colorful (Sammy Davis, Jr., Golden Boy)
On The Right Track (Ben Vereen, John Rubenstein, Pippin)
First You Dream (Audra McDonald, Steel Pier)
Sarah (Carl Anderson, The Civil War)
And I Am Telling You (Jennifer Holliday, Dream Girls)
We Had A Dream (Pamela Isaacs, The Life)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

More Sunday Lonely, Yearning Misery...

 Lonesome Polecat,
all those brothers without their brides...
Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Rall, Jacques D'Amboise,
a passle more, and some really well painted scenery.
Music Saul Chaplin and Gene DePaul, Lyrics Johnny Mercer.
They tried several years later to turn it into a staged musical
on Broadway.
Didn't work out.

 I'm All Alone...
But King Arthur is never without his Patsy.
Tim Curry and Michael McGrath, in Spamalot.

 Oil City Symphony,
the off-Broadway creation of Mike Craver,
Mark Hardwick (standing), 
Mary Murfitt (at the piano with guest, Neil Sedaka) 
and Debra Monk.
 Sort of a sequel to Pump Boys, Oil City was a tribute 
to an old favorite music teacher.
We'll hear "My Ol' Kentucky Rock And Roll Home."
Carol Burnett missing her "Swamps Of Home"
from Once Upon A Mattress.
Don't you think of YOUR hometown when she sings this?

John, Norbert, Bryan, James...and a Doll.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 2005:
Norbert Leo Butz, John Lithgow, Sherie Rene Scott.
Nominated for tons of Tonys,
but only Norbert (as Freddie) minced away with one.
Music was by David Yazbek, who would go on to write the
craziness that is Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown.
Which Sherie Rene Scott would star in!

Sweet Smell Of Success...2002
Brian D'Arcy James (above center) and with John Lithgow.
The musical writing team was 
Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line,The Goodbye Girl)
and Craig Carnelia (Working).
The two main stars were heralded as the glue that
held together an otherwise weak show,
with Bryan bringing it to life whenever he was onstage.
The Tony went to John.

City Of Angels, 1990,
with Randy Graff and James Naughton.
Cy Coleman's L.A.-of-Chandler inspired music, and
David Zippel's acerbic/innuendo-laden lyrics made a combo and a half.
Reviewers said the book was hard to follow
(maybe Larry Gelbart was just following Raymond Chandler's lead here),
but both Graff and Naughton walked away with Tonys
(as well as the one for Best Musical).

Above, Randy in her other role as Donna
and Gregg Edelman and James Naughton,
as writer Ben Stein and his fictional detective Stone,
performing at a tribute to Cy Coleman...
"You're Nothing Without Me."
(Of course, in reprise it's "I'm Nothing Without You."
See what they did there?)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Anna Maria Alberghetti Who? (A Ted Baxter Knock Knock)

 Anna Maria Alberghetti,
born in Pesaro, Italy in 1936, to a musical family
(concertmaster father, pianist mother).
At the age of 6, Anna was already singing with symphony orchestras.
As WWII approached, the family came to America,
where Anna had her Carnegie Hall debut at age 14.
(The above shot looks like it was taken at the Trevi Fountain;
let's pretend it was.)

 When David Merrick set out to cast Carnival,
he initially hoped that Leslie Caron would star,
repeating her "turn" in Lili, (upon which the show was based).
He saw it as a dancing role.
Well, forget that, David.
Anna Maria was signed once he heard her cabaret act;
she was 24 (above with strange Carnival puppets).
 She shared the stage with Jerry Orbach,
also making his Broadway debut.
Gower Champion directed,
Bob Merrill wrote the words and music...
an instant hit,
with Anna winning a Tony (1961).
(*Actually it was a "shared" Tony: 
Anna supposedly tied with Diahann Carroll in No Strings)

Anna starred with Jerry Lewis in "Cinderfella,"
Dean Martin and Dewey Martin in "Ten Thousand Bedrooms,"
and on Broadway...Kismet, Fanny, The Fantasticks.

 She became the "queen" of the Ed Sullivan Show
with 53 appearances. 
A ton of TV shows, western films,
and her cabaret act...which she returned to later in life.

 Had to include this photo...
with Ethel and David Merrick.
David became his usual tyrannical self
when Anna had to be hospitalized during Carnival's run;
he made her take a lie detector test to "verify her illness."
So this photo is NOT from that time.
 Still gorgeous at the age of 79,
Anna now lives in California
(because she can!).

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, February 21, 2016: Buck Up, Bub!

Alone. Homesick. Depressed. Cranky.  A bit rough 'round the edges. Sleazy horns, heartfelt harmonicas, dark, dank, and just plain rotten....Broadway can be that way sometimes. Hey, it's all about the Human Condition, right? An echo of all we go thru, albeit with tap shoes. And what else is Februarararay good for? Certainly not spelling. Once you get passed Valentines Day (or perhaps you CAN'T get passed Valentines Day), what else is there? If you can't get depressed in this PLUS it's frickin' Leap Year, so we must sulk thru an extra day!? 

But Broadway's therapeutic. Maybe listening to someone else's musical gloom is just what we need to help us pick up that baton again, pretend we have a waist, and parade down Long Pond Rd.  So we'll hear some noir (City Of Angels), some lonesome "brothers" (Seven Brides), some dirty backstabbing columnists (Sweet Smell Of Success) and "Bounce" back! The count to April 1st is now less than 45 days, so nurse those mood swings and buck up.  This is Broadway, bub! 

Prologue - Theme From The City Of Angels (James Naughton, Ensemble,
             City Of Angels)
Ev'rybody's Gotta Be Somewhere (James Naughton, Ensemble, City Of
You Can Always Count On Me (Randy Graff, City Of Angels)
Double Talk Walk (Instrumental, City Of Angels)
You're Nothing Without Me (Gregg Edelman, James Naughton, City Of
Dirt (Ensemble, Sweet Smell Of Success)
Through A Keyhole (Howard McGillan, Judy Kuhn, Ensemble,
            As Thousands Cheer)
Dirty Rotten Number (John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, Dirty Rotten
A Summer In Ohio (Sherie Rene Scott, The Last 5 Years)
Bounce (Richard Kind, Howard McGillan, Bounce)
The Cake I Had (Mary Louise Wilson, Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens)
Stuck With Each Other (Margery Gray, Byron Mitchell, Tovarich)
Stuck Together (Strange But True) (Norbert Leo Butz, Aaron Tveit,
           Catch Me If You Can)
Lonesome Polecat (Male Ensemble, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers)
Alone At A Drive-In Movie (Barry Bostwick, Grease)
I'm All Alone (Tim Curry, Michael McGrath, Spamalot)
I Can't Do It Alone (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago)
Mira (Anna Maria Alberghetti, Carnival)
The Swamps Of Home (Carol Burnett, Once Upon A Mattress)
I Want To Go Home (Daniel H. Jenkins, Big)
My Ol' Kentucky Rock and Roll Home (Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Mike
          Craver, Mary Murfitt, Oil City Symphony)
The Man I Used To Be (Scott Wise, Ensemble, State Fair/Pipe Dream)
It's Me (Joan McCracken, Isabel Bigley, Me & Juliet)
The Gentleman Is A Dope (Lisa Kirk, Allegro)
Song On The Sand (Gene Barry, La Cage Aux Folles)
Miss What's Her Name (Deborah Gravitte, Miss Spectacular)
Bosom Buddies (Angela Lansbury, Bea Arthur, Mame)
Put On Your Sunday Clothes (Charles Nelson Reilly, Jerry Dodge, Carol
         Channing, Hello, Dolly!)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

ahhhh, love!

 George Guetary, Gene Kelly, and Oscar Levant
proclaiming "S'Wonderful" all over a Parisian cafe.
THEY could get away with it!
An American In Paris

 What a triumvirate!
Burton, Andrews and Goulet
in Camelot...
In keeping with our first lovey-dovey hour's theme,
they'll "...Love You Once In Silence."

 That strangely named musical...
absolutely nothing to do with Goldilocks!
Don Ameche and Elaine Stritch
starred, Agnes de Mille choreographed,
and Broadway theatre critic Walter Kerr (and his wife Jean)
wrote the book and the lyrics.
It fizzled.

Frances Langford, Buddy Ibsen, Eleanor Powell,
Jimmy Stewart, Una Merkel and Sid Silver
in MGM's Born To Dance...1936.
Jimmy got to sing and dance, but they dubbed Eleanor
with Marjorie Lane's singing voice
in "Easy To Love."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sunday Love Birds

 Rudy Vallee will do 170 choruses
of Cole Porter's "Let's Do It."

 Doris Day in Romance On The High Seas
at the age of 25...
Even then she knew how to "Put 'Em In A Box."

 Fred being his jaunty self,
filming Funny Face.
We'll here "He Loves and She Loves."

 Sid Caesar and Virginia Martin
recording the original cast album of Little Me.
"I Love You"

Guess who?
The Brothers 4 (well, 3 actually)
sing "Everyone Says I Love You"
from Horse Feathers, 1932.
(BTW, I agree with the crop marks.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Some prefer it very, very warm...

 An iconic cast in a classic comedy,
Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot."

 Billy wanted Tony Curtis for the part of Joe from the very start.
He wanted someone handsome enough to 
play millionaire "Shell Oil" (and realistically entice Sugar).
The role of Jerry
was first offered to Frank Sinatra; 
after he didn't show up to the audition,
Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye, and Anthony Perkins were briefly considered.
When Billy saw Jack in Operation Mad Ball, Jack was IN.
 No one thought Marilyn Monroe would want the part,
so the first to be considered for the role of Sugar Kowalczyk
was Mitzi Gaynor.
But whatever Marilyn wanted, she got.
  "Look how she moves. Like Jell-O on springs."

 Sweet Sue
and her Society Syncopators.
At the right, Sweet Sue herself,
played by Joan Shawlee, who would later
take on the role of Pickles (Buddy's wife)
on The Dick Van Dyke Show.

 Jack with Joe E. Brown
(the secondary romance!).
"What are you going to do on your honeymoon?"
"He wants to go to the Riviera, but I kinda lean toward Niagara Falls."
George Raft taught them to tango.
Oh, and that last line of the movie...
a throw away line of Joe E.'s which was to be changed
"when something better came along."
It didn't.

 Wilder hired Barbette,
a female impersonator,
to help Tony and Jack with their roles as 
Josephine and Daphne.
They were deemed "female enough"
after a test drive to a ladies room on the lot...
no one complained!
 Tony's female voice was dubbed by Paul Frees.

And the title of the first...
 "Not Tonight, Josephine." :)