Sunday, May 29, 2016

Salutations, Marvin

Priscilla Lopez,
the original Diana Morales in A Chorus Line...
she got 2 great songs (plus a weird 70s leotard):
"Nothing" and "What I Did For Love."
Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban's masterpiece.
A gajillion Tonys, Drama Desks, and a Pulitzer.
Rehearsal with "creator" Michael Bennett.

Three years later and it was....They're Playing Our Song:
Robert Klein, Lucie Arnaz,
and book writer Neil Simon.
Marvin wrote the music with Carole Bayer Sager,
and they used their real-life relationship as the basis for the show.
 I don't think it lasted...Either.

The Goodbye Girl flopped 
(6 months on Broadway, March to August of 1993).
Martin Short wearing the guitar
and Bernadette Peters.
David Zippel (who would go on to write lyrics 
for City of Angels and several Disney movies)
did the words.
Below, with scarf (what a wardrobe),
Bernadette and her 80s hair,
and a small child.

Above, Marvin at 17.
He was a prodigy: able to leap tall buildings 
(and play songs he heard on the radio) at age 5.
Juilliard (okay, PRE college division) at 6.

One of the eleven elite folks to achieve the EGOT!
An Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony...
plus like Richard Rodgers, he added a Pulitzer to that
award "charm bracelet."
Gone too early, when he was just 68.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Robert on Random

 Born on May 18th, 1931,
in Newton, Mass.
In and out of schools, til he found his calling,
thanks to a mentor Henry Lasker, a high school drama teacher.
He left for New York, where he joined his brother, Richard,
who was already studying acting.
 With Bonnie Scott, in the 1961 production 
of How To Succeed...
such a 60s set!
7 Tony awards (one for Best Musical
and one for Robert).

 With Tony Perkins,
in the movie The Matchmaker, 1958.
Robert played Barnaby Tucker,
a part later played in Michael Crawford in 
Hello Dolly!

 In the 1959 production of Take Me Along,
with Susan Luckey.
We'll hear "I Would Die."
Susan really knew how to carry off a bow! 

Robert made the cut for the movie version 
of How To Succeed...
as "Ponty" Finch.
Despite its Broadway success,
the movie did not receive any Academy Award nominations at all.

 1972 brought Sugar,
with music by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill...
top with Elaine Joyce, and above with Tony Roberts.
 Reviewers agreed it was 
" a textbook case of a musical born after its time."
Still would have loved to see these 2 cavort!
Robert's comeback role as Bertram Cooper
in Mad Men...2007 to2015.
Creator Mathew Weiner evidently was inspired
by the films A Guide for the Married Man,
and How to Succeed,
both of which Robert starred in.
Casting him was a no brainer.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Son, no SEAN...of Promises, Promises

 Jerry Orbach, Jill O'Hara and Edward Winter
 in the orginal production of Promises, Promises, 1968.
A book by Neil Simon (it was based on his screenplay for
The Apartment),
music Burt Bacharach, and lyrics Hal David.

 Also in the cast, Donna McKechnie (center)...
performing Turkey Lurkey Time,
a hard song to really LOVE, okay?
But the combo of Bacharach and David brought
soft 60s pop to Broadway, and for the most part it worked.
It lasted 4 years...and brought Jerry a Tony.

 A couple of posters from the original show.
Why do I keep thinking of James Bond?

 The 2010 revival,
with Sean Hayes and Kristen Chenowith
fared worse...less than 300 performances.
Maybe cuz Sean really can't sing.
Below with Katie Finneran who played Marge,
the only Tony winner this time at bat.

This poster... pizzazz.
Maybe it was the poster's fault.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Playlist for May 29, 2016: Just Call Me Cuspy.

We're standing on a CUSP, did you know that? The cusp of summer, the cusp of an election, the cusp of Gemini. "Cusp" is actually defined geometrically as a point of intersection between two curves. Or astrologically, as the early days of one sign and the late days of another, so that one born around that "cusp" will be influenced by both signs. Or tooth-wise, as in "that questionable bicuspid of yours needs a crown."

Hence we stand at a cusp. Me, waiting for the cast recordings of Waitress and Bright Star to be released. Me, waiting for SOMEONE ELSE to plant my damn garden. Me, hearing from my dentist. Me, gazing from my May calendar to my June calendar, trying to control my breathing before all hell breaks lose. And hoping that Gemini, the twins (duplicitous? two faced? 2 on the AISLE???) is kind, non-heat-wavey, and filled with blender drinks.

And then there's Broadway. While we pause on the brink of New, we'll cusp away on our own. We'll salute Robert Morse (from Matchmaker to Mad Men, he's had a long, toothsome (!!) career), Harold Rome (who I think really wanted to be a tailor), and Hal David (not just a pop lyricist, a BROADWAY pop lyricist!). We'll sail away with Elaine and Noel, treat ourselves to Fats and Louis, Nell and Armelia, 5 or 6 Moes, Babs and Betty. We'll even have Murder (for 2) on our hands.

So I say, be brave. Cusp on. (But I ain't scheduling that dentist.)

Come To Me (Elaine Stritch, Ensemble, Sail Away)
How To (Robert Morse, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying)
Rosemary (Robert Morse, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying)
I Would Die (Robert Morse, Susan Luckey, Take Me Along)
We Could Be Close (Robert Morse, Elaine Joyce, Sugar)
The Beauty That Drives Men Mad (Robert Morse, Tony Roberts, Sugar)
Look Out (Ensemble, Five Guys Named Moe)
Squeeze Me (Armelia McQueen, Ain't Misbehavin')
Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby (Ensemble, Five Guys Named Moe)
Nobody (Avon Long, Bubbling Brown Sugar)
I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling (Nell Carter, Ensemble, Ain't Misbehavin')
How Ya Baby (Andre DeShields, Ensemble, Ain't Misbehavin')
Knowing When To Leave (Jill O'Hara, Promises Promises)
Grapes Of Roth (Instrumental, Promises, Promises)
Promises, Promises (Jerry Orbach, Promises, Promises)
Whoever You Are (Jill O'Hara, Promises, Promises)
Call Me Mister (Bill Callaghan, Call Me Mister)
Little Surplus Me (Betty Garrett, Call Me Mister)
When Gemini Meets Capricorn (Elliot Gould, Marilyn Cooper, I Can Get It
          For You Wholesale)
What's In It For Me? (Harold Lang, Sheree North, I Can Get It For You  
Nobody Makes A Pass At Me (Barbra Streisand, Pins And Needles)
Protocol Says (Brett Ryback, Murder For Two)
He Needs A Partner (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Brett Ryback, Murder For Two)
Steppin' Out (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Brett Ryback, Murder For Two)
Sail Away (David Halliday, Sail Away)
Beatnik Love Affair (Grover Dale, Patricia Hardy, Sail Away)
The Passenger's Always Right (Charles Braswell and "The Stewards,"
           Sail Away)
Later Than Spring (Elaine Stritch, Sail Away)
Nothing (Priscilla Lopez, A Chorus Line)
Fallin' (Robert Klein, They're Playing Our Song)
What A Guy (Bernadette Peters, The Goodbye Girl)
What I Did For Love (Priscilla Lopez, A Chorus Line)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Creators of Pump Rock

 Mark Hardwick as L.M.,
one of the founders/creators/stars
of Pump Boys And Dinettes.
Mark and Jim Wann started off playing country songs
at the Cattleman Lounge near Grand Central.
They created an act, and like any living thing,
it grew in all directions to become Pump Boys and Dinettes.

 The original cast posing with ardent fans:
Debra Monk (in red on the left), John Foley in blue,
next to John Schimmel in cap, Mark on the right.
Center is Jim Wann with his thumb UP!, and Cass Morgan in red.

 Once they moved to Broadway,
they needed understudies!
A great photo of the original cast and their replacements.

Mark Hardwick went on to create
Oil City Symphony and Radio Gals with Mike Craver.
A consummate musician,
insane pianist, mugger extraordinaire...
who died at the age of 39 from AIDS.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Something Appealing, Nothing Appalling!

 Hugh Jackman in his Broadway debut
in The Boy From Oz...2003.
Liz Smith of the Daily News was agog:
"He can sing, he can dance, he can change clothes on stage with sizzle, 
he can flirt, he can fling, he can slide across pianos...
you'll never forgive yourself if you miss Hugh Jackman, superstar!" 
 I can hardly listen to some of the 80s style music
in this show, but I'll make an exception.
Cuz Hugh!
 Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz
(what's with the 3 names?)
in The Last Five Years.
Below, the fantastic set
(yes, those are chairs affixed to the circular background)
by Beowulf Borrit.

 We'll hear Ruth Kobart (above with Frank McHugh)
sing "Dirty Old Man" from 
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.
Ruth did everything from How To Succeed,
(below with the "office staff"), and Annie,
to movies (Dirty Harry, the bus driver! Sister Act I and II)
television sitcoms and opera.
Her Broadway debut was in the chorus of 
Rodgers and Hammerstein's Pipe Dream,
and understudied the lead.
She said of one of her first performances:
"I had a big voice and a big body ... I came out on stage and shouted my head off, and believe it or not, I found my way."

Me and My Girl,
first produced in the West End in 1937
(above photo from the original production)
starring Lupino Lane and Teddie St. Denis.
In the 1980s, Stephen Fry and Noel Gay's son
(Noel was the composer of the original)
updated it, and cast Robert Lindsay and Emma Thompson
as the stars.

Above, Robert and Frank Thornton
(of Are You Being Served?)
in rehearsal.

On Broadway, Maryann Plunkett took over the role of Sally,
and Robert stayed on.
Both won Tonys for their performances. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sunday Divas!

 Audra McDonald
of Fresno, CA,
first started her involvement with theatre
to "cure her hyperactivity."
Theatre beats Ritalin any day.

 At the recording session for
"Baltimore"...part of her Go Back Home album
done in 2003.

 As Billie Holiday,
in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar And Grill,
where Ms. McDonald earned her new "middle name."

 ...and as the title character
in Marie Christine, a Michael John LaChiusa musical.

 Carol Channing
and her "Diamonds" in
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1949.

 Snuggling up to Horace Vandergelder's cash register,
in Hello, Dolly!, her signature role.

 ...and as Muzzy Van Hossmere
in Thoroughly Modern Millie, 1967.

 And Bernadette...

 Conferring with Stephen Sondheim
during the production of Sunday in the Park with George,

In Song and Dance,
the creation of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Horrid, simply horrid reviews, except for BP,
who was called "an unimpeachable peach."

...and live in concert.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, May 22, 2016: What's YOUR middle name?

Let's focus, people. We got Broadway to Do. Get serious. Well...sorta.

We start with Hugh Jackman (drool), who though he periodically has 5 inch nails sprouting from his knuckles and deadlifts 350 lbs., can also sing a damn good baritone, tap dance, act, and in general "take the stage"...whatta hunk. He took that stage in 2003 with The Boy From Oz, and awed audiences from Liz Smith to...well, me. Today that music can feel 80s-esque, so I don't play it often, but in small doses, I can remember (fondly) his Peter Allen gyrations. I mean, performance. A-hem.

Dreamy Audra takes the stage, too: 2 sets of Stars and the Moon, Way Back To Paradise, Migratory V, and Baltimor-ian narcissistic alcoholic waiters (who think they're French, but they're not). Her middle name is now "6 time Tony Winner!" And then there's Carol, as in Channing...tho she ain't exactly dreamy. More LOUD. And Bernadette, always classy.

Then a cheesey theme or two, some Pump Boys, some Me and My Girl...and a new found favorite: The Last Five Years, with quirky/wordy songs about Shiksa Goddesses and Summers in Ohio with gay midgets playing Tevye and Porgy.

Non-sequitur is MY middle name. :)

Everything Old Is New Again (Hugh Jackman, The Boy From Oz)
A Summer In Ohio (Sherie Rene Scott, The Last Five Years)
Shiksa Goddess (Norbert Leo Butz, The Last Five Years)
Still Hurting (Sherie Rene Scott, The Last Five Years)
When A Woman Loves A Man (Audra McDonald, Lady Day At Emerson's Bar 
       And Grill)
Stars And The Moon (Audra McDonald, Songs For A New World)
Way Back To Paradise (Audra McDonald, Marie Christine)
A Little Girl From Little Rock (Carol Channing, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
I Put My Hand In (Carol Channing, Ensemble, Hello Dolly!)
Jazz Baby (Carol Channing, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Me And My Girl (Robert Lindsay, Ensemble, Me And My Girl)
Take It On The Chin (Maryann Plunkett, Me And My Girl)
The Lambeth Walk (Robert Lindsay, Ensemble, Me And My Girl)
Migratory V (Audra McDonald, Saturn Returns)
Baltimore (Audra McDonald, Go Back Home)
Make Someone Happy (Audra McDonald, Do Re Mi)
Necessity (Delores Martin, The Lyn Murray Singers, Finian's Rainbow)
Sensitivity (Jane White, Robert Weil, Once Upon A Mattress)
Opportunity (Herndon Lackey, Jane Powell, Bounce)
Masculinity (Gene Barry, Ensemble, La Cage Aux Folles)
Femininity (Hayley Mills, Deborah Walley, Summer Magic)
Old Folks (Ensemble, 70, Girls, 70)
Over The Hill (Penelope Milford, Shenandoah)
That Dirty Old Man (Ruth Kobart, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To
         To The Forum)
Only An Older Woman (Isabel Keating, Hugh Jackman, The Boy From Oz)
You Could Drive A Person Crazy (Bernadette Peters, Sondheim, Etc: Live At
         Carnegie Hall)
Unexpected Song (Bernadette Peters, Sondheim, Etc: Live At Carnegie Hall)
Time Heals Everything (Bernadette Peters, Mack & Mabel)
Pump Boys (Male Ensemble, Pump Boys And Dinettes)
Be Good Or Be Gone (Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, Pump Boys And Dinettes)
Farmer Tan (Mark Hardwick, Ensemble, Pump Boys And Dinettes)
Closing Time (Company, Pump Boys And Dinettes)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

And lest we forget, photos

Fred with sister Adele...the talented one!
I guess he finally grew up to be taller than she.

We all know who this is, right?
Two suave dudes,
Jack and Fred in The Band Wagon.

Two from Royal Wedding,
with Jane Powell.
Unbelievable color and PANTS!

Judy and Fred,
a couple of Easter Parade Swells.

More Band Wagon...
Nanette, Oscar and Fred
over/underwhelmed by Jack Buchanan's direction.

1899 - 1987