Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday Divas!

 Jessica Molaskey,
torchy, nightclubby, as well as Broadway bon vivant!
Below with hubby John Pizzarelli,
doing their weekly Radio Deluxe broadcast.

 Below, Judy Garland in a 1968 appearance on
The Tonight Show,
performing "All For You."
Six months later, she passed away.
That red dress! Judy sings "I Don't Care"...
In The Good Old Summertime, 1949.
 (If you really want to see a wacky version,
try Mitzi Gaynor's The I Don't Care Girl:

 Bye Bye, Baby!
Jane Russell (more red) and 
Marilyn (in grey? Well, I guess Marilyn NEEDED toning down!)
sailing for Europe, France
in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, with music by Jule Styne and Leo Robin.

 Karen Ziemba in Steel Pier,
a John Kander/Fred Ebb show from 1997.
It also starred Debra Monk (lumber jack cook),
Daniel McDonald (dead stunt pilot)
and Kristin Chenowith (as Precious).
Nominated for absolutely everything--
won absolutely nothing.

But Karen rocks.
From starting off as a ballerina with the Ohio Ballet (1977)
to winning a Tony for Contact,
and everything in between:
42nd Street, A Chorus Line, Curtains, Chicago,
The New York City Opera
(The Most Happy Fella and 110 In The Shade).
I have to stop now, but as I said...She rocks.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

To Elizabeth

Runaways debuted in New York in 1978,
with a score that used reggae, hip-hop, soul music 
and spoken-word poetry. 
Elizabeth Swados (age 27!) gathered runaways from community
centers in NYC and New Jersey,
and a la A Chorus Line,
wove their stories together.
Long before Hamilton,
Elizabeth chose a multi-racial cast, 
with most making their Broadway debuts,
and produced it under the auspices of Joseph Papp 
and the Public Theatre. 
Elizabeth, above on the left,
wrote the music, lyrics, and book,
basing it on all the interviews she did with her "runaways."
It opened at the Public in 1978,
moved to Broadway 3 months later...
Elizabeth received 4 Tony nominations,
(Score, Book, Direction, Choreography)
but received none. 

After this breakout musical,
Elizabeth turned to writing novels and children's books
and satirical, often political musical theatre,
including Doonesbury and Rap Master Ronnie.
In 1991 she was quoted:
“Broadway is a museum that’s not moving forward,
 and musical theater should reflect what and how we are now 
— our pop culture, our political situation.”
She died just this past January.

A revival produced by Encores! played earlier this month
(July 2016) at City Center.
Theatre God, Ben Brantley loved it...
"They’re tearing up the air at New York City Center, where a pulsing reincarnation of Elizabeth Swados’ Runaways is guaranteed to leave you... ready to race through the most torpid summer night.”
But gotta say, these "kids" look too pretty
to be runaways. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Capeman

 Paul Simon's Broadway creation,
The Capeman.
Based on the life of 16 year old Salvador Agron,
on left below, with Tony Hernandez, "The Umbrella Man."
The two were convicted of killing two 16 yr. olds
from a rival gang, in Hells Kitchen, in 1959.

Ben Brantley of The New York Times
called the show a "sad, benumbed spectacle,"
and found that the historical footage of the murderer
overshadowed the show, that nothing in the 
musical could compare with its intensity.
 Rueben Blades was cast as the adult Salvador,
Marc Anthony as the young version.
Paul Simon's songs were praised, 
but his tight-reined control over every aspect of the production
sunk the show in 68 performances.

In 2008, a concert version was mounted at
the Brooklyn Academy Of Music...
and a shortened version of the musical 
(only 90 minutes, compared to the original 3 hours!)
was produced in at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park
in 2010,
with more choreography, more music, and less "book."
Ben Brantley LIKED that one!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, July 31, 2016: In France, they'd call it "Fourchette."

Deep Summer. Temps are cookin', and so is my brain. While concocting this week's playlist, in between eating ice and taking cold showers, I found an interesting theme coming to light: If you come to a fork in the road, take it. People you thought did one thing, do another, sometimes at the SAME TIME they're doing the first thing. I'm sure you got that in one read.

Take for instance Zero Mostel, whose first chosen "career" was that of Artist. While marking time in his acting career (specifically when he was denied work due to blacklisting), he painted, calling it one of the best times in his life. His turned his first job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as a guide,  into a comic routine. And then there's Trouble: Robert Preston, Harold Hill incarnate, right? Nope. He played bad guys in westerns and crime movies first. Wouldn't THAT have chilled the parents of River City's youth to the marrow!

John Cariani, late of Something Rotten! (where he played Nigel Bottom, playwright) is in fact a playwright (!) who created Almost, Maine (which is probably playing right down at the end of your block, no matter where you live).  Jessica Molaskey, torch singer YES, Broadway star YES, but also a radio personality of some note, broadcasting Radio Deluxe with hubby John Pizarelli (from "the most deluxe living room from high atop Lexington Avenue"). Needless to say, I'd like that "living room."

And last but certainly not least of these fork-takers, Paul Simon, who back in the 90s insisted on creating and producing his own Broadway show. Pop star, right? Know ANYTHING about Broadway, producing, writing musicals, Paul? His control-freaky mindset did much to tank the show...but again, he took the fork, and decided to do 2 things. One rather badly: Capeman.

I think I need another cold shower. I'm beginning to talk like Yogi. 

Comedy Tonight (Zero Mostel, Company, A Funny Thing Happened On The
        Way To The Forum)
Rock Island (Paul Reed, Ensemble, The Music Man)
Sadder But Wiser (Robert Preston, The Music Man)
Gary, Indiana (Eddie Hodges, The Music Man)
Ya Got Trouble (Robert Preston, Ensemble, The Music Man)
Running In Place (Karen Ziemba, Steel Pier)
Everybody's Girl (Debra Monk, Steel Pier)
Steel Pier (Gregory Harrison, Karen Ziemba, Steel Pier)
Stars And The Moon (Jessica Molaskey, Songs For A New World)
Still Hurting (Jessica Molaskey, The Last Five Years)
Surabaya Santa (Jessica Molaskey, Songs For A New World)
Just One Step (Jessica Molaskey, Songs For A New World)
I Don't Care (Judy Garland, A Musical Anthology)
Bye Bye Baby (Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
Make The Man Love Me (Barbara Cook, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn)
Losing My Mind (Barbara Cook, Follies)
It's All For You (Judy Garland, A Musical Anthology)
Welcome To The Renaissance (Michael James Scott, Ensemble, Something
I Love The Way (Kate Reinders, John Cariani, Something Rotten!)
We See The Light (Brooks Ashmanskas, Company, Something Rotten!)
Born In Puerto Rico (Paul Simon, Songs From The Capeman)
No Lullabies For Luis (Ensemble, Runaways)
In The Heights (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ensemble, In The Heights)
I'm Calm (Jack Gilford, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum)
Pretty Little Picture (Zero Mostel, Preshy Marker, Brian Davies,  A Funny
Bring Me My Bride (Ronald Holgate, Zero Mostel, Ensemble, A Funny
Finale (Zero Mostel, A Funny Thing...)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Little Cabaret Cool...

 The Calloway gals...Ann and Liz.
One smoky, one OH SO Broadway,
together smashing! 
We'll hear "The Sweetest Sounds/I Can See It"
and "Our Time"
from their Sibling Revelry album.

 "Do What You Do", Bobby...
Mr. Short (but long on talent. Sorry. Had to.)
renders a Gershwin Goodie.

 Nancy Walker (with a help from David Craig)
sings another Gershwin tune,
"I Don't Think I'll Fall In Love Today."

 Leslie Odom, Jr...
can sing AND look like a GQ ad at the same time!
"The Party's Over"

And John Barrowman,
looking a little too rapt and sensitive,
but we still love him...
"Live Alone And Like It."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

In the Mood for Ice Cream: Barbara Cook

Barbara Cook, born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1927,
moved to New York in 1948
to try her hand at acting and singing.
She worked for a time singing at the Blue Angel Club,
but by 1951 she was debuting on Broadway
in Flahooley (16 performances, but who's counting?).
Above, Barbara as Amalia in Bock and Harnick's She Loves Me, 1962.

As Marion in The Music Man,
a Tony Award for BC in 1957.

Barbara played in several revivals,
including The King And I with Farley Granger (above),
Oklahoma, Carousel, 
and new works like Candide, Plain and Fancy...
as well as television appearances.

By the 1970s, health problems kept her from participating
in musicals,
but she began a new career as a cabaret singer
and solo concert performer.
Above with George Hearn, Lee Remick, Stephen Sondheim,
and Mandy Patinkin in the concert version of Follies.
Below, her Carnegie Hall Concert of 2011.

Barbara turns 89 this year...
Huzzah, and please keep singing!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Waitress: Flakey, Crusty, Sweet

 Waitress opened in April of 2016,
just in time to be considered for this year's Tony Awards.
It stars Jessie Mueller (center) as Jenna,
Keala Settle (left) as Becky, and Kimiko Glenn (right) as Dawn.

 It's based on the 2007 movie of the same name,
written and directed by Adrienne Shelly,
(murdered before the film's release).
Above Drew Gehling as the gynecologist/affair(!!),
with Jessie.

Before this production,
Jessie Mueller starred in the Carole King musical, Beautiful.
Her performance in Waitress and the Bareilles score 
"scored" high with the critics...
tho the direction and dance were deemed
"borderline cheesy." 

Composer/lyricist Sara Bareilles, Jessie and Director Diane Paulus.
The production made history
in that all top four creative spots were filled by women:
Music, Book, Direction, and Choreography.
The last musical to make that claim was Runaways,
back in 1978!?!?!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, July 24, 2016: Back on the street where I LIVE!

 Back from London, where I visited the queen. Note lower case. A bloody good (if quick/condensed/HOT) time, guv'ner. I would break into Cockney, but I'm lousy at it. My share of Pimm's pitchers, fish and chips, black pudding, and Earl Grey were consumed, souvenirs acquired, tubes taken, and British heat wave sweated thru. A fantastic show, as well...The Play That Goes Wrong (a must see). But it's back to live Broadway At Its Best this week, heavy on the English musicals, as the UK lingers in my blood stream and frontal cortex.

We also have to try out Waitress! It was up for a Best Musical Tony this spring, when it went toe-to-white bucks-toe to Hamilton (we know what happened there), but despite that disappointment, it has some nifty (if poppy) songs for us to sample. Also I have another new-to-2 On the Aisle CD, Sibling Revelry, which is a duet/solo mash up of the Calloway Sisters (Ann Hampton and Liz)...along with their standards and quirky cabaret, they invade the Broadway genre, quite nicely. Quite. Hmmm...back to South Kensington, I see.

Anyway, lots to have fun with. Have a cuppa on Sunday with me, or between  scones and breakfast martinis (yes, this is a real thing!!!), we'll do brilliant Broadway. :)

 What's Inside (Jessie Mueller, Waitress)
Opening Up (Jessie Mueller, Keala Settle, Kimiko Glenn, Ensemble, Waitress)
Food, Glorious Food (Ensemble, Oliver!)
Who Will Buy? (Bruce Prochnik, Ensemble, Oliver!)
Consider Yourself (Michael Goodman, Ensemble, Oliver!)
On The Street Where You Live (John Michael King, My Fair Lady)
Just You Wait (Julie Andrews, My Fair Lady)
I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face (Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady)
Naughty (Adrianna Bertola, Ensemble, Matilda)
Loud (Josie Walker, Paul Kaye, Matilda)
The Sweetest Sound/I Can See It (Ann Hampton Calloway, Liz Calloway,
       Sibling Revelry)
Live Alone And Like It (John Barrowman, Song And Dance)
Do What You Do (Bobby Short, K-RA-ZY About Gershwin)
I Don't Think I'll Fall In Love Today (Nancy Walker, David Craig, Treasure Girl)
Our Time (Ann Hampton Calloway, Liz Calloway, Sibling Revelry)
It Only Takes A Taste (Drew Gehling, Jessie Mueller, Waitress)
When He Sees Me (Kimiko Glenn, Ensemble, Waitress)
She Used To Be Mine (Jessie Mueller, Waitress)
I Can See It (Jerry Orbach, Kenneth Nelson, The Fantasticks)
Much More (Rita Gardner, The Fantasticks)
They Were You (Kenneth Nelson, Rita Gardner, The Fantasticks)
Ice Cream (Barbara Cook, She Loves Me)
Goodnight My Someone (Barbara Cook, The Music Man)
Opening Doors (Jim Walton, Ann Morrison, Lonny Price, Jason Alexander,
       Sally Klein, Merrily We Roll Along)
Not A Day Goes By (Jim Walton, Ann Morrison, Merrily We Roll Along)
Our Time (Company, Merrily We Roll Along)
The Party's Over (Leslie Odom, Jr.)
The Party's Over (Judy Holliday, Bells Are Ringing)
The Party's Over (Elaine Stritch, Elaine Stritch At Liberty)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, July 17, 2016: Broadway By The Numbers, Rewind!

Vacation calls! Yes, I'm flying away across the pond for all of 4 days, going to London to visit "The Queen," so I've brought out a 2 On The Aisle from last fall to entertain you. A slightly tweaked version of my Broadway By The Numbers show...I'll be back with souvenirs, and a couple of new-to-2-On-The-Aisle shows on July 24, so sip that iced tea, ignore the brown grass, and WAIT FOR IT.

Back from Merry Ol' soon!  :)

Johnny One-Note (Judy Blazer, Babes In Arms)
Just One Of Those Things (Maurice Chevalier, Can-Can)
One Of A Kind (Len Cariou, Lauren Bacall, Applause)
One Boy (Susan Watson, Ensemble, Bye Bye Birdie)
One Hippopotami (Alan Sherman, My Son The Nut)
Two Ladies (Joel Grey, Ensemble, Cabaret)
Two Lost Souls (Gwen Verdon, Stephen Douglass, Damn Yankees)
It Takes Two (Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Into The Woods)
Two By Two (Andrew Rannells, Josh Gad, The Book Of Mormon)
Cocktails For Two (Spike Jones And His City Slickers)
Three Coins In The Fountain (Ensemble, Forever Plaid)
Three Little Maids from School (The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company,
        The Mikado)
Three Little Maids from School (Ensemble, Hot Mikado)
The Three Of Us (Michael McKean, The Pajama Game)
The Three B's (Nancy Walker, Gloria DeHaven, June Allyson, Best Foot
Four Black Dragons (Pacific Overtures)
Five Guys Named Moe (Jerry Dixon, Doug Eskew, Milton Craig Nealy,
        Keven Ramsey, Jeffrey D. Sams, Glenn Turner, Five Guys Named Moe)
Five Zeros (George Coe, Dean Dittman, Imogene Coca, On The Twentieth
The Five Pennies (Danny Kaye, The Five Pennies)
Six Months Out Of Every Year (Shannon Bolin, Robert Shafer, Damn Yankees)
I Speak Six Languages (Deborah S. Craig,The 25th Annual Putnam County
        Spelling Bee)
The Seven Deadly Virtues (Roddy McDowell, Camelot)
Seven And A Half Cents (Janis Paige, Stanley Prager, Ensemble, The Pajama
Tonight At Eight (Daniel Massey, She Loves Me)
About A Quarter To Nine (Tammy Grimes, 42nd Street)
Ten Minutes Ago (Jon Cypher, Julie Andrews, Cinderella)
Sixteen Going On Seventeen (Brian Davies, Lauri Peters, The Sound of
Fifty Checks (Tom Wopat, Catch Me If You Can)
Wait Til We're Sixty-Five (William Daniels, Barbara Harris, On A Clear Day
        You Can See Forever)
70, Girls, 70 (Mildred Natwick, Ensemble, 70, Girls, 70)
One Hundred Easy Ways (Rosalind Russell, Wonderful Town)
Another Hundred People (Pamela Myers, Company)
A Million Windows And I (Ann Hampton Calloway, Shoe String Revue)

Saturday, July 9, 2016


 Lerner and Loewe's Camelot (1960),
with Robert Goulet (in his Broadway debut, age 27)
Julie Andrews and Richard Burton.
Richard was evidently "the one" who held the cast and crew together,
during preview obstacles like heart attacks and bad reviews.
Noel Coward called the first performances
 "longer than the 'Götterdämmerung'...and not nearly as funny!"

 Alan Jay Lerner (lyricist and book writer) 
conferring with Moss Hart (director, bottom left)
about the chain mail on Robert's costume?
It would be Hart's last directorial project;
he died one year later. 

 Last minute changes to songs and book
irritated the cast, 
as they scurried to fix problems during out-of-town previews.
Guenevere's song "Before I Gaze at You Again" 
was given to Andrews at the last minute before the first New York preview, which provoked her famous quote,
 "Of course, darling, but do try to get it to me the night before."

The hair brushing scene: Great quote from Julie Andrews...
 "It wasn't until the first dress rehearsal 
that I discovered that he had a great pair of legs!
Even better I got to enjoy them every single performance for 18 months. 
I sat on stage, misty eyed, while he sang "If Ever I Would Leave You" 
and, to this day, I never told anyone which turned me on more, 
the voice or the legs!" 
In subsequent productions, Robert would have the chance to
play King Arthur (below).
And speaking of King Arthurs, I had to include this photo
of Leonard Nimoy
who got to play Arthur in a 1973 production of Camelot.
But did he have the legs for it?

Sunday Sampler, with Lin, John, Bryan, and ....I Can't Remember who else!

 Before there was Hamilton,
there was In The Heights, which hit Broadway in 2008.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's first stab at musicals,
the first draft of which was done when he was a sophmore in college.
Like Hamilton,
it won Best Musical, a Grammy for the cast recording,
and a Pultizer. 
Is this Miranda "Best" thing getting old?
(That's him in the center, above and below.)
Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler did his "thing" for 
both musicals.

  Howard McGillin and Victoria Clark
in the 2015 revival of Lerner and Loewe's Gigi.
The musical version of the hit movie (1953)
was first mounted in 1973 and tanked.
This revival didn't last long either...
we'll hear "I Remember It Well".

 Bryan d'Arcy James and John Lithgow,
in The Sweet Smell Of Success (2002),
with music by Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia.
Despite potential, a great movie to base it on, and VIP creators,
it ran for only 109 performances 
and lost its entire investment of some $10 million. 
 John got the best of it with a Tony win for Best Actor in a Musical.

Brian d'Arcy James as Sidney (above and below center),
is currently starring in Something Rotten!,
with lots of Tony nominations in his resume,
as well as films like Spotlight, Shrek The Musical,
Hamilton (in its off-Broadway version), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, July 10, 2016: Up and in a chilled glass...

I've played Dirt before. Oh yeah...dirt, sleaze, smoky dives, dames who cheat, joes who cheat on cheating dames...this is total Rewind. But it's one of those weeks. Vacation looms, but not fast looming enough. It's 90 degrees, the grass has thrown in the towel, and there are no breezes wafting MY hammock (I make NO assumptions about your's). It's enough to stop you from using exclamation points. Sheesh.

So I turn to saxophones. And blare-y horns. And nightclub settings (you know, the ones from The Thin Man, with the little lamps on the tables and dance floors with stars above them and martinis?): City of Angels, The Sweet Smell Of Success, Elaine (yeah, she can smoke when she's not a siren), Cy Coleman, Tom Wopat...I mean, the whole show isn't done with a fedora cocked over my left eye; we will have NICE Broadway songs, and PRETTY Julie Andrews (and handsome Robert Goulet), but too much nice is like too much ice in the chai. As our brains melt into lumpy gray matter poolside, we need as much musical caffeine as possible. So bring on Snide. Hold the ice. And don't bruise it.

Smash! (Megan Hilty, Katherine McPhee, Bombshell)
Welcome To The Night (John Lithgow, Bryan d'Arcy James, Ensemble, The
         Sweet Smell Of Success)
Rita's Tune (Stacey Logan, The Sweet Smell Of Success)
Dirt (Ensemble, The Sweet Smell Of Success)
Prologue (James Naughton, Ensemble, City Of Angels)
With Every Breath I Take (Kay McClelland, City Of Angels)
Double Talk Walk (Instrumental, City Of Angels)
I'm Nothing Without You (Gregg Edelman, James Naughton, Kay McClelland,
         City Of Angels)
Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out (Leslie Odom, Jr.)
Some Other Time (Barbra Streisand, Love Is The Answer)
I Remember It Well (Howard McGillin, Victoria Clark, Gigi)
As Long As He Needs Me (Georgia Brown, Oliver!)
Are You Having Any Fun? (Elaine Stritch, Stritch)
You Took Advantage Of Me (Elaine Stritch, On Your Toes)
There's No Business Like Show Business (Elaine Stritch, Elaine Stritch At
Camelot (Richard Burton, Camelot)
The Lusty Month Of May (Julie Andrews, Camelot)
C'est Moi (Robert Goulet, Camelot)
The Revolutionary Costume For The Day (Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens)
Drift Away (Bob Stillman, Grey Gardens)
Will You? (Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens)
Use What You Got (Sam Harris, Ensemble, The Life)
A Lovely Day To Be Out Of Jail (Pamela Isaacs, Lillias White, The Life)
Mr. Greed (Sam Harris, Rudy Roberson, Ensemble, The Life)
Sunrise (Christopher Jackson, Mandy Gonzalez, In The Heights)
Hundreds Of Stories (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Olga Merediz, In The Heights)
The Pinstripes Are All That They See (Tom Wopat, Catch Me If You Can)
They Just Keep Moving The Line (Megan Hilty, Bombshell)
Jet Set (Aaron Tveit, Company, Catch Me If You Can)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Serious stuff, that Broadway.

 Nicky and Rod sing "I You Were Gay,"
from Avenue Q.
 Real life actors, puppets, monsters, talking animals
and Best Musical of 2004.

 "I Am Aldolpho"
Danny Burstein and Beth Leavel
in The Drowsy Chaperone,
a parody of the musicals of the 1920s,
which began life at the Toronto Fringe Festival of 1998.
I need an Aldolpho.

 In The End Of Time
(akaThe Legend of the Rent),
from School Of Rock...
Alex Brightman as Dewey Finn.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glen Slater did the music,
but "End" was original to the movie.
Someone please tell me Jack Black wrote it!!!

 Jeff McCarthy as Officer Lockstock (sans Officer Barrel) in
another parody musical, this one from 2001.
Writer Greg Kotis got the idea for the show from the "pay-per-use"
toilets of Europe that he encountered during his student travels.
We'll hear "Cop Song."