Thursday, March 31, 2016

Our Sunday Gals!

 Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday,
in Lady Day At Emerson's Bar And Grill.
The show started way back in 1986, when it played 
at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta,
so it was a long way to Broadway, 2014.
Audra won her sixth Tony with this show,
the only actress to win in all four categories.

 We'll hear Jane Russell's rendition of  "Do It Again,"
written by George Gershwin and Buddy DeSylva.
Marilyn's version nearly caused a riot at Camp Pendleton,
when she sang it for the troops there.
Jane's version is subtle by comparison.

 Mary Martin, above in Annie, Get Your Gun...
we'll hear her in a studio cast recording of 
Girl Crazy,
slingin' a slow "Bidin' My Time,"
another Gershwin classic, with lyrics by brother Ira.

 Helen Kane offers up a selection for our BAD set:
"I Wanna Be Bad,"
recorded in 1929, and written by 
Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson
for a little show called "Follow Thru" which included
soon-to-be classics like "Button Up Your Over Coat" and
"Lucky Star,"
and starred Eleanor Powell!

 From Bea Arthur's one-woman show,
Just Between Friends,
we'll sample "Who Cares?"
(another Gershwin collaboration...this one from
Of Thee I Sing, the first musical to win a Pultizer).

Yuppers, we'll end with Shirley.
Here she is with Jack Haley and Alice Faye
in Poor Little Rich Girl, 1936,
singing the song about that damn "Spinach."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, April 3, 2016: But I Want A LATTE!

You wanna know the truth? It's a treadmill...this whole thing.  Broadway Broadway Broadway!  You don't think I get tired of tap shoes and follow spots? You think I eat, breathe, and smoke this stuff? You think I'm a perky little Broadway cheerleader 24/7?  Heck, no. I have my moments.  Like this week. I mean, sometimes I just wanna go to the mall, have a latte, and whine about my life, like a normal person. Leave my bunny slippers on for an entire day, watch William Powell and Myrna Loy get "Thin" and pet my cat. Sniff.

But my musically-starved public awaits, and I must deliver. I am called to a higher obligation, weekly!  Gershwin! Nathan! Tarantellas! Audra! The Broadway grind calls, and you know what? You listen to enough of this stuff and the treadmill starts to dance. In spite of yourself, you start to does that happen? I guess it's my form of crack, or absinthe, or puff pastry...I'm a Broadway junkie. Someone should write a song about it. And put it in a show.

Slap That Bass (Harry Groener, Ensemble, Crazy For You)
I Got Rhythm (Max Von Essen, Brandon Uranowitz, Robert Fairchild,
        An American In Paris)
Cactus Time In Arizona (Louise Carlyle, Ensemble, Girl Crazy)
Delishious (Bobby Short, K-RA-ZY for Gershwin)
Crazy He Calls Me (Audra McDonald, Lady Day At Emerson's Bar And
How Ya Baby (Ensemble, Ain't Misbehavin')
What A Little Moonlight Can Do (Audra McDonald, Lady Day At Emerson's
        Bar And Grill)
Of Thee I Sing (Larry Kert, Maureen McGovern, Of Thee I Sing)
Bidin' My Time (Mary Martin, Girl Crazy)
Naughty Baby (Jodi Benson, Crazy For You)
The Boy From... (Millicent Martin, Side By Side By Sondheim)
I Remember That (Andrea Burns, Clarke Thorell, Saturday Night)
All Aboard (John Byner, The Frogs)
Tra La La (Gene Kelly, Oscar Levant, An American In Paris)
They Can't Take That Away From Me (Fred Astaire, Shall We Dance?)
Who Cares? (Bea Arthur, Just Between Friends)
Do It Again (Jane Russell)
One (Company, A Chorus Line)
Where Did We Go Right? (Nathan Lane, Mathew Broderick, The Producers)
I Love To Travel (Nathan Lane, Roger Bart, The Frogs)
When You're An Addams (Nathan Lane, Ensemble, The Addams Family)
Prologue: A Warning To The Audience (Ensemble, A Gentleman's Guide To
        Love And Murder)
You're A D'Ysquith (Jane Carr, Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide To
        Love And Murder)
Poison In My Pocket (Bryce Pinkham, Jefferson Mays, Catherine Walker,
        A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder)
I'm A Bad, Bad Man (Ray Middleton, Annie Get Your Gun)Bad Companions (Nathaniel Frey, Margaret Hamilton, Ensemble, Goldilocks)
I Wanna Be Bad (Helen Kane)
Too Bad (Jules Munshin, Peter Lorre, Joseph Buloff, Fred Astaire,
        Silk Stockings)
Hook's Tango (Cyril Ritchard, Peter Pan)
Tarentella (Cyril Ritchard, Peter Pan)
I Say It's Spinach And The Hell With It (Jeffry Denman, Meredith Patterson,  
        Face The Music)
You've Gotta Eat Your Spinach, Baby (Shirley Temple, Jack Haley, Alice Faye,
        Poor Little Rich Girl)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

And once more with feeling...

 Graduation from ??
No caption on this one,
but Sondheim attended the George School,
a private Quaker prep in Bucks County,
so shall we assume?
If so...1946.

 Coveting Bernstein's shiny suit, probably.
They worked together on West Side in 1956-57,
tho as the story goes, mentor Oscar Hammerstein had to talk
SS into doing just the lyrics.

 Huge fan (and collector) of games and puzzles...
"putting it together"!
 Sondheim contemplated a career in math at one point,
and mystery novel writing at another.

 With mentor and good friend,
Oscar Hammerstein.
At Oscar's urgings, Sondheim showed him an
early musical he wrote, which Oscar deemed lousy.
"Now, do you want to know why it's lousy?"
And thus began an education.
SS also worked with Milton Babbitt,
noted for his serial and electronic music
("a frustrated musical theatre composer").

 Collaborating with Richard Rodgers
on Do I Hear A Waltz?

after success with Sunday in the Park with George.
Sondheim with Bernadette Peters and James Lapine,
who wrote the books for several Sondheim musicals:
Sunday, Into the Woods, Merrily, and Passion.

John Weidman (librettist for Pacific Overtures,
Assasins and Bounce)
 Sondheim, and Frank Rich.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Sondheim Me A Little....

 From the concert version of Follies
done at Lincoln Center in 1985...
Lee Remick, Barbara Cook, Elaine Stritch, Carol Burnett,
Mandy Patinkin, George Hearn, Phyllis Newman,
Andre Gregory, Adolph Green,
Above, a backstage triple embrace:
Lee, Stephen, and Lauren Bacall.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pledge Drive,
I mean FORUM!
The first Broadway musical Sondheim
wrote both the music AND lyrics for.
It starred Zero, of course, and in line in the photo at the top:
John Carradine, Jack Gilford, David Burns, and Zero.
Below that: Preshy Marker, Zero and Brian Davies.
Phil Silvers was first asked to play starring role of Pseudolus,
but rejected it, saying he didn't want to take off his glasses.
Four years later, for the movie,
he didn't seem to mind. :)

 Marry Me A Little
was a revue of Sondheim songs that didn't quite make it
into their original musicals.
It was conceived of by Norman Rene and Craig Lucas
(below right, who also starred).
Suzanne Henry played the "other half",
below with Sondheim.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

My Obsession Continues...

 The original cast of Company, 1970,
starring Dean Jones.
Dean replaced Tony Perkins, while the show was still in rehearsal,
but he in turn left soon after the opening,
and was replaced by Larry Kert.
Jones DID, however, hang around long enough to do the cast recording.
(Photo: New York Public Library)

 Bernadette Peters as an aptly named Dot,
in Sunday In The Park With George, 1984,
Sondheim's Pultizer winner.
Despite that prestigious award,
it was snubbed at the Tonys, with most of the wins going
to Jerry Herman's La Cage Aux Folles.
Jerry sniped, "...simple, hummable tunes are still alive on Broadway."

 Pretty Women, from Pacific Overtures, 1976.
"...with music and lyrics as pretty and as well formed as a bonsai tree."

 The Sweeney Todd tribe...the original, 1979,
winner of 8 of the 9 Tonys it was nominated for,
including Best Musical. 

Lonny Price, Jim Walton, and Ann Morrison,
the trio of stars from Merrily We Roll Along, 1981.
Behind them, the still smiling creators
(they wouldn't be for long):
George Furth with a tie! (libretto), and seated
Hal Prince (producer) and Sondheim at the keyboard.

Elaine Stritch,
in Elaine Stritch At Liberty.
Great legs, and great Sondheim stories/renditions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, March 27, 2016: Another Hundred Sondheims

We have to wear 2 hats on 2 on the Aisle this coming Sunday...a celebration of all things Sondheim (cuz he turned 86 years young on Tuesday) AND one more session of fund raising. I don't think that's a odd combination at all. Stephen's stuff playing in the background should make all the begging go (like Julie's Poppin-y teaspoon) DOWN.  Sure, Sondheim isn't sweet like Rodgers and Hammerstein or over the footlights/grab you by the throat and force you to wear tap shoes Herman; it's acerbic and self-doubting and nervous and undecided. I like that in a song.

So I had to carve my way thru all 342 of my Sondheim favorites to come up with the essence for Sunday's show. I hope you agree with my choices...tho I'm sure there are gaping holes (only 1 from Into The Woods? Nothing from Assasins? And where's Tony Perkins in Evening Primrose?), but it's only 2 hours, plus we have to leave room for pledge driving around the block, weather, and all things station-y.  Bear/bare with me!

And make sure you're tuned in, because I've got a special CD gift for a lucky contributor that I'll be offering sometime during the show.  You'll be damned glad you "attended" THIS birthday she-bang!  And P.S. Give!  :)

I'm Still Here (Elaine Stritch, Elaine Stritch At Liberty)
The Worst Pies In London (Angela Lansbury, Sweeney Todd)
My Friends (Len Cariou, Angela Lansbury, Sweeney Todd)
Johanna (Victor Garber, Sweeney Todd)
Free (Zero Mostel, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum)
Impossible (David Burns, Brian Davies, A Funny Thing...)
Agony (Robert Westenberg, Chuck Wagner, Into The Woods)
Isn't It? (Lauren Ward, Saturday Night)
The Little Things You Do Together (Ensemble, Company)
Another Hundred People (Pamela Myers, Company)
The Ladies Who Lunch (Elaine Stritch, Elaine Stritch At Liberty)
Uptown, Downtown (Craig Lucas, Marry Me A Little)
The Story Of Lucy And Jessie (Lee Remick, Follies)
Happily Ever After (Craig Lucas, Marry Me A Little)
Being Alive (Dean Jones, Ensemble, Company)
The Glamorous Life (Audra McDonald, A Little Night Music)
Remember? (Ensemble, A Little Night Music)
A Bowler Hat (Isao Sato, Pacific Overtures)
Pretty Lady (Patrick Kinser-Lau, Ensemble, Pacific Overtures)
Sooner Or Later (Bernadette Peters, Dick Tracey)
There's Always A Woman (Carol Burnett, Ruthie Henshall, Putting It
Send In the Clowns (Bernadette Peters, A Little Night Music)
A Good Thing Going (Lonny Price, Jim Walton, Merrily We Roll Along)
Old Friends (Lonny Price, Jim Walton, Ann Morrison, Merrily We Roll Along)
Not A Day Goes By (Jim Walton, Merrily We Roll Along)
Finishing The Hat (Mandy Patinkin, Sunday In The Park With George)
We Do Not Belong Together (Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Sunday
       In The Park...)
Losing My Mind (Barbara Cook, Follies)
Side By Side By Side (Dean Jones, Ensemble, Company)

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Remember, on this 1st day of Spring,
that we are smack dab in the middle of the 
Jazz 90.1 Spring Pledge Drive!
Gimme a call or jump on that website (
to make a donation 
and keep the Broadway flowing 'ore the footlights.

Friday, March 18, 2016

West Side was almost "East Side"

 It all began in 1947, when Jerome Robbins wanted to do a modern day
remake of Romeo and Juliet, set in the Lower East Side of New York.
It would involve a recent Holocaust survivor and an Irish Catholic.
The gangs...the Catholic Jets and the Jewish Emeralds!
Leonard Bernstein was brought on board, as well as 
Arthur Laurents (to write the script),
but the idea was shelved when it compared too closely with
Abie's Irish Rose.
Almost ten years was taken off that shelf, 
and transplanted to Los Angeles
where the "new idea" of juvenile gangs had recently caught the media's eye.
But another shift eventually transplanted it to NYC where they could
integrate a Latin beat with Puerto Rican flavors.
Sondheim was talked into doing lyrics by mentor Hammerstein,
 so the creativity could begin.
Above, Chita Rivera (Anita), Jerome Robbins (Director/Choreographer),
Larry Kert (Tony), Carol Lawrence (Maria).

 Carol, still wearing her stripes, Sondheim (age 27) at the piano,
and Bernstein (whatta profile) in rehearsal.
Best Musical that year? Nope. The Music Man won it all.
Go figure.

 Sondheim "found" Chita Rivera and Larry Kert
for the roles of Anita and Tony.

 There was more dancing in West Side Story 
than any other musical to date.
Jerome Robbins almost quit, until producer Hal Prince
allowed him an 8 week dance rehearsal period
(twice the accepted Broadway length).
Above, Cool.

 First pick for the character of Tony was James Dean
(but then he had to go and die).
But much was required of the actors:
the demands of Robbins' dance routines,
 those Bernstein-angular melodies...
and then they had to act?
Triple threats, exponentially, needed.

 The movie version followed in 1961.
Rita Moreno replaced Chita...performing
Dance At The Gym with Bernardo, played by George Chakiris.
George would go on to play Bobby in the first national tour
of Sondheim's Company.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Broadway Pledge Power!

Instead of kneeling on rice to get some donations,
I'll be playing some real favorites this Sunday,
including "Make An Omelette"
from Something Rotten!

And then there's Christine Ebersole,
from Grey Gardens...
"The Revolutionary Costume for the Day."
They can get you in East Hampton for wearing red shoes on a Thursday...
did you know that?

"Fugue for Tin Horns"
from Guys and Dolls, the original Broadway production of 1951,
with Stubby Kaye, Douglas Deane, and Johnny Silver.
AND I'm throwing in the Forbidden Broadway version as well,
"Fugue for Scalpers."

A Chorus Line, of course!
"I Hope I Get It"...second the emotion!

And if I had my way,
I'd play "The Hot Dog Song" (above with Helene Yorke)
from Woody Allen's only Broadway show,
Bullets Over Broadway,
once a month!
 (Hmmmm...maybe I already do.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, March 20, 2016: $$$$

Yup, it's that time again...Pledge Drive!  Ya wanna keep on hearin' this crazy show, this crazy station? With all its eccentric DJs and esoteric music and stubborn streak of independence? If so, now is the time to give a buck or two, cough up some change, or write a big fat check to help support Jazz 90.1. I'll be there on Sunday, to take your calls of donation, to egg you on "in the nicest way possible" (Ah, I must remember to play Flora!!!) to become a member of this station, so I can keep foisting Broadway on you, on a weekly basis.  That's what you want, right?

So we're playing classics and future classics, as I like to call them. We'll run over to the West Side, sample Spring, join a floating crap game, stop by the Hot Dog Man and make brunch (Omelette, get it? Something Rotten?).  I'll try to keep the begging down to a low hum, underneath the tunes, but beg I will. Gimme a call, break out the credit card... love to talk to ya...

A Musical (Brian D'Arcy James, Something Rotten!)
Fugue For Tin Horns (Stubby Kaye, Johnny Silver, Douglas Deane,
         Guys And Dolls)
Fugue For Scalpers (Ensemble, Forbidden Broadway Vol. 2)
Luck Be A Lady (Robert Alda, Guys And Dolls)
Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat (Stubby Kaye, Ensemble, Guys And Dolls)
America (Chita Rivera, Marilyn Cooper, The Shark Girls, West Side Story)
Cool (Michael Callan, The Jets, West Side Story)
Dance At The Gym (Instrumental, West Side Story)
I Hope I Get It (Company, A Chorus Line)
Sing! (Don Percassi, Renee Baughman, A Chorus Line)
At The Ballet (Carole Bishop, Nancy Lane, Kay Cole, A Chorus Line)
Seasons Of Love (Ensemble, Rent)
The Revolutionary Costume For The Day (Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens)
Broadway Baby (Elaine Stritch, Follies)
It Might As Well Be Spring (Andrea McCardle, State Fair)
Spring, Spring, Spring (Johnny Mercer, Gene DePaul, Seven Brides For Seven
Springtime For Hitler (Ensemble, The Producers)
Take Me Back To Manhattan (Eileen Rodgers, Anything Goes)
Be Like The Blue Bird (Mickey Deems, Anything Goes)
Friendship (Hal Linden, Eileen Rodgers, Mickey Deems, Anything Goes)
The Schuyler Sisters (Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Jasmine
        Cephas Jones, Hamilton)
Make An Omelette (Brian D'Arcy James, Ensemble, Something Rotten!)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sunday Cameos...

 It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues (1999)
began as a 45 minute Off Broadway diversion,
but success jumped it to Broadway, a larger cast, and 
lots more songs.
The cast recording is souped up with B.B. King,
Buddy Guy, and Taj Mahal appearances.
They knew what they were doing. 

 Carter Calvert, who we'll hear singing "Fever"
and Ron Taylor ("Hoochie Coochie Man"),
co-creator of the show.

 Barbara Cook and Jack Cassidy,
stars of the original She Loves Me.
We'll hear 4 selections from that show
including "Ilona" sung by Jack.

Hello, Gorgeous.
 Funny Girl...
the Broadway musical opened in 1964,
and was blown out of the Tony water by Dolly.
The movie did better, with an Oscar going to Babs for 
Best Actress (which she had to share with Kate 
for A Lion In Winter).
We'll sample "I'm The Greatest Star."
(Photo, top:
Photo, bottom:

 Mark Blitzstein's Juno,
a 16 performance musical adaptation 
of Sean O'Casey's play, Juno and the Paycock.
Shirley Booth and Melvyn Douglas starred,
with Jack MacGowran as Joxer,
below second from the right, and producer Goddard Lieberson
at the music stand.
Back in the day, every musical (from the flops to blockbusters)
got a chance at a cast recording.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Smidge of Diz...

 Jimmy MacDonald who did voices and special audio effects
for several Disney movies...
including Jacques, Bruno and Gus from Cinderella,
Chip of Chip an' Dale
and Mickey.

 Mary Costa voiced the part of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, 1959,
and went on to perform in operas, 
television shows(with Frank and Dean)
and sang at JFK's memorial service.
(the art of sleeping

 Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke,
who wrote the score for Lady And The Tramp.
I wonder if she always composed with a hat on.

 Lea Salonga provided the singing voice for Fa Mulan
in Mulan, 1998.
Ming-Na Wen did the speaking part.

Danny Devito,
the voice AND inspiration for Philoctetes
in Hercules, 1997.
Definitely a resemblance, tho I've spared you the shirtless "take"!