Sunday, August 14, 2016

So, if you're wondering...

To quote Pump Boys And Dinettes (and Debra Monk in particular), "I need a vacation!" For the next 2 weeks, 2 on the Aisle will be taking that advice. Going on a mega bike ride, from which I will hopefully survive, brain intact, to return LIVE on the airways of Jazz 90.1 on Sunday, August 28.

The station will be playing 2 pre-recorded shows (which have no doubt been played before), but so be it. It's summer, and let's face should be out enjoying a beach or a pool or a game of golf or a forest glen. Broadway will be there in the fall, when it's crisp and crunchy.  I'm better crisp, too.  Right now, soggy.

Have a great few weeks! Enjoy your remaining "dog days". 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sunday Pastiche...Judy, Sammy, Baseball and Me

 From Judy's variety show,
26 episodes of which aired on CBS in 1963-64 season, 
"Maybe I'll Come Back"
became her closing number.
Changing producers like underware,
bad reviews and a bad timeslot (opposite Bonanza?),
it lasted just one 1 season.

 Outtake Supreme (above)...
The Jitterbug from The Wizard of Oz.
For the dope on this crazy number,
listen on Sunday!
I'm not spilling the beans on it yet...
(And yes, it was good that they cut it.)

 Click on the above "string" of photos for a read of the captions...
but the top shows Adler and Ross with Eddie Fisher,
who knew them from their days of writing in the Brill Building,
here singing songs from Damn Yankees.
In the middle, "Heart" with those Washington Senators:
Albert Linville, Nathaniel Frey, Jimmy Komack and Russ Brown.
At the bottom, Adler and Ross at right, rehearsing those same 
"ball players".

 Above and below...Little Me.
Some of the dancing Doughboys above,
and below, Swen Swenson, singer and dancer in the show,
recording "I've Got Your Number".
Swen also starred in Wildcat (another Coleman/Leigh musical)
with Lucille Ball, Annie, No No Nanette, and Can Can.

 A rehearsal still from Golden Boy,
with Sammy and Paula Wayne,
and a promotional shot below.
If they sold popcorn in theatres in 1964,
several boxes of it would have dropped
when Sammy and Paula shared the first interracial kiss
on a Broadway stage.
Charles Strouse (his favorite musical) and Lee Adams provided
the jazzy urban score.
 Also featured in Golden Boy
was Billy Daniels, above,
(we'll hear his "While The City Sleeps"),
a nightclub singer and recording star 
("That Old Black Magic") of the 50s.
I couldn't resist the photo below of Billy and 
a lot of people you may already have heard of...
from the back left:
Harry Belafonte, Sugar Ray, Billy Daniels, Billy Eckstine, and Nat King Cole.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Broadway Birthdays...Got a lot of celebratin' to do!

 Born August 3, 1918,
in Lawrence, Mass as...Louis Bernstein,
whose parents at first discouraged his musical aspirations.
Classically trained in piano, conducting, and composition
(Harvard, The Curtis Institute, Tanglewood),
Leonard did it all.

 And one of his first musical accomplishments
was with The Revuers (a Greenwich Village act)
which consisted of Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Judy Holliday.
This led to the creation of On the Town
(above, the trio with Jerome Robbins, in black tie)
and Wonderful Town.

 West Side Story and Candide followed,
but of course Leonard's "other brain"brought him back to 
a classical career with the New York Philharmonic,
composing operas and other large works, and lecturing.
He was hailed as "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."
He died at the age of 72, in 1990. 

 Richard Adler (in the vest) was born in New York City
on August 3, 1921, to musical parents
(his father was a concert pianist and teacher of the likes of Aaron Copland).
He teamed up with Jerry Ross to write songs in the early 1950s
in the Brill Building, and 
their first success was "Rags To Riches" 
recorded by Tony Bennett in 1953.
Frank Loesser became their mentor. 

 The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees followed in rapid succession,
both shows winning Best Musical and Best Composer/Lyricist Tonys.
But Jerry passed away at the age of 29
(having written more than 200 songs)
and Adler (above, and at the keys with Ross below)
was devastated.
He wrote little for Broadway after that,
but lived to the age of 90.

 Carolyn Leigh (with pearls) and Cy Coleman.
Together they wrote
Little Me, Wildcat, and pop standards a'plenty.
Born Aug. 21, 1926...died of a heart attack at 57.
Cy called her a poet with a great feeling for the music.

 With Elmer Bernstein, who Carolyn partnered with 
for How Now, Dow Jones, which had a 6 month run in 1967-68.
It starred Brenda Vaccaro and Tony Roberts.
One song survived: "Step To The Rear".
It became Hubert Humphrey's campaign song,
and a Lincoln Mercury ad.
I'm rejecting it in favor of a outtake of
"Rich Is Better".
(Elmer and Leonard Bernstein were not related:
Elmer was called "Bernstein West" noting his Hollywood film connections,
and Leonard "Bernstein East".)

 Working with Moose Charlap (real name, Mark)
on Peter Pan, her Broadway debut in 1954.
Jerome Robbins came up with the idea;
he initially wanted just a few songs, but then it blew up into
a full musical.
Jule Styne, Comden, and Green were brought on to "help".
Carolyn looks like she just got the news.
(Interesting side note: Moose, who died at age 45,
had one son, Jazz pianist Bill Charlap.)

 Lee Adams (standing at left)
was born in Mansfield, Ohio, on Aug.14th, 1924.
He met Charles Strouse (seated at the piano)
and together made Bye Bye Birdie sing!

 Above the creative team for Birdie: Gower Champion, Choreography,
Charles, Music, Ed Padula, Producer, Michael Stewart, Book,
and Lee on lyrics. 
Best Musical of 1961.
The team of Strouse and Lee went on to create
All American, Applause, It's A Bird...It's A Plane...It's Superman,
and Golden Boy (below with Sammy Davis, Jr.).

Lee (on the right) turns 91 years old this Sunday.
Charles (left) is 88.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, August 14, 2016: Pin The Tail On Lenny?

Cake, ice cream, streamers, hats...? Nah, with this tribe, more likely ice-cold martinis, a jazz trio in the corner by the bar, and shrimp cocktails all around (remember those?). It's happy birthday to our August greats: Lenny, Lee, Carolyn, and Richard. Some wrote the words, some the music (one wrote both!), to some of Broadway's Best. I mean there won't be trumpets, or other "noise makers", but we will roundly salute them all, and wish they were all still here to play party games with us.

So for Leonard, I Feel Pretty meets The Village Vortex. For Lee Adams, we smash Sammy Davis, Jr. up against Ray Bolger. Richard Adler's Steam Heat (written thanks to an inspiring bathroom radiator) and his Rags To Riches success. And finally Carolyn Leigh (always with that string of pearls), from Little Me to How Now (Brown Cow?) to Witchcraft. They sorta did it all.

And an esoteric find, having to do with Judy and her Over The Rainbow pals. Yum.  Love me some Esoteric. With cocktail sauce.  

Overture from Candide (Instrumental, Candide)
New York, New York (John Battles, Cris Alexander, Adolph Green, On The
A Little Bit In Love (Edie Adams, Wonderful Town)
Some Other Time (Betty Comden, Nancy Walker, Ensemble, On The Town)
I Can Cook, Too (Nancy Walker, On The Town)
Ballet At The Village Vortex (Instrumental, Wonderful Town)
Something's Coming (Jimmy Bryant, West Side Story)
I Feel Pretty (Carol Lawrence, West Side Story)
Quintet (Ensemble, West Side Story)
Steam Heat (Carol Haney, The Box Boys, The Pajama Game)
Hey There/If You Win You Lose (Kellie O'Hara, Harry Connick, Jr., The Pajama
Think Of The Time I Save (Eddie Foy Jr., The Pajama Game)
Heart (Russ Brown, Jimmy Komack, Nathaniel Frey, Albert Linville, Damn
A Man Doesn't Know (Sharon Bolin, Stephen Douglass, Damn Yankees)
Rags To Riches (Tony Bennett)
The Jitterbug (Judy Garland, Ensemble, The Wizard Of Oz)
Maybe I'll Come Back (Judy Garland)
Friendship (Ann Hampton Calloway, Liz Calloway, Sibling Revelry)
Real Live Girl (The Dough Boys, Little Me)
I've Got Your Number (Swen Swenson, Little Me)
I Won't Grow Up (Mary Martin, Ensemble, Peter Pan)
Rich Is Better/Just For The Moment (Ensemble, How Now, Dow Jones)
Witchcraft (Frank Sinatra)
The Best Is Yet To Come (Tony Bennett)
A Lot Of Livin' To Do (Dick Gautier, Susan Watson, Ensemble, Bye Bye Birdie)
Once Upon A Time (Ray Bolger, Eileen Herlie, All-American)
But Alive (Lauren Bacall, Ensemble, Applause)
While The City Sleeps (Billy Daniels, Golden Boy)
Night Song (Sammy Davis, Jr., Golden Boy)
Make Our Garden Grow (Barbara Cook, Ensemble, Candide)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hey, I can sing a rainbow....

 Kelli O'Hara and Harry Connick, Jr.
in the 2006 revival of The Pajama Game.
Our "BLUE" for the day!
("A New Town is a Blue Town")
Harry was (BTW) a child prodigy,
playing concertos with the New Orleans Symphony at age 9.
He looks pretty good, too.

 Offering the color GOLD
is Virginia Martin and Rudy Vallee
from How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying...
"Love From A Heart Of Gold."
When Rudy was first ask to join the cast,
he asked if he could bring out his megaphone and do a few of his old hits
during the course of the show.
Frank Loesser said no way.
Ellen Greene
(hey, GREEN!)
in Little Shop Of Horrors,
and "Somewhere That's Green".

"Green Finch and Linnet Bird"
with Sarah Rice, a bird cage to sing to,
and a young, mutton-chopped Victor Garber.
Sweeney, 1979.

 Fred Astaire,
center above, and cavorting below,
does WHITE,
as in "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails"
from Top Hat, 1938.

And Shirley Bassey brings yet more GOLD
with her quintessential rendition of "Goldfinger"
written by John Barry, Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.
The song gave Shirley her only time on 
Billboard's Top 40, peaking at Number 10,
in 1964.

Friday, August 5, 2016

It's On Random!

 Spring Awakening, 2006,
starring Jonathan Groff as Melchior,
above center,
with John Gallagher, Jr. and Lea Michele.
The creators below...Duncan Sheik
(whose American Psycho opened this spring on Broadway)
and Steven Sater...
all based on a German play (written in 1891)
which was so controversial in its day
that it had to wait 15 years to be produced.
The Times called the musical
"brave, haunting, and electrifying".

On a lighter note,
we'll hear Stephen Bogardus and 
"Blue Skies"
from a Broadway production of White Christmas.
Reviewers called it " old Necco Wafers stale."
Okay, I'm paraphrasing, but yeah, really!
Still... Irving Berlin and all. :)

And even lighter...
Buddy Love (aka Jerry Lewis)
from The Nutty Professor, 1963,
in his slick rendition of "That Old Black Magic".
Below with Stella Stevens, wrapped in his spell.
Some thought that Buddy was a parody of Dean Martin,
though Lewis denied this.
Buddy was very successful in his own right,
garnering more fan mail than Jerry for awhile.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, August 7, 2016: All The Pretty Colors!

A 5 year old got into my brain and concocted a playlist. Colors! Happy!  It must be all the popsicles, sand in my shoes, and lake water in my ears. Ahh well, even cheesey themes can make for interesting juxtapositions. Blue, next to Green. That kind of thing. No, really, it'll be a LOT more fun than that. I mean, it's Broadway, right? Fred Astaire meets Liza meets Goldfinger meets Rudy Vallee meets Marilyn. What a party that would be!

New to 2 On The Aisle: Spring Awakening. A 19th Century play, musicalized with rock music...But don't drop your Pimm's. We'll surround it with classics, so you won't miss a "beat" or a swig or a hammock swing. Just keep one foot on the ground.  :)

That Terrific Rainbow (June Havoc, Ensemble, Pal Joey)
Blue Skies (Stephen Bogardus, Ensemble, White Christmas)
The Red Blues (Henry Lascoe, Leon Belascoe, David Opatoshu, Silk
A New Town Is A Blue Town (Harry Connick, Jr., The Pajama Game)
Blues Man (Ron Taylor, It Ain't Nothing But The Blues)
Top Hat, White Tie And Tails (Fred Astaire, Top Hat)
That Old Black Magic (Jerry Lewis, The Nutty Professor)
Bye Bye Blackbird (Liza Minelli, Liza With A "Z")
Mama Who Bore Me (Lea Michele, Spring Awakening)
My Junk (Girl and Boy Ensemble, Spring Awakening)
The Mirror-Blue Night (Jonathon Groff, Ensemble, Spring Awakening)
The Song Of Purple Summer (Lauren Pritchard, Company, Spring Awakening)
I Used To Be Color Blind (Fred Astaire, Carefree)
Somewhere That's Green (Ellen Green, Little Shop Of Horrors)
Green Finch And Linnet Bird (Sarah Rice, Sweeney Todd)
Colored Lights (Karen Mason, And The World Goes 'Round)
Get Happy (Judy Garland, Summer Stock)
Sing Happy (Liza Minelli, Flora The Red Menace)
I Wanna Be Happy (Jack Gilford, No No Nanette)
Happy Birthday Mr. President (Marilyn Monroe)
Look For The Silver Lining (Leslie Odom Jr.)
Theme From Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey, Goldfinger)
Golden Boy (Paula Wayne, Golden Boy)
Love From A Heart Of Gold (Rudy Vallee, Virginia Martin, How To Succeed In 
       Business Without Really Trying)
Theme From The Pink Panther (Instrumental, The Pink Panther)
The Happy Time (Robert Goulet, The Happy Time)
Happy Talk (Juanita Hall, South Pacific)
I Promise You A Happy Ending (Robert Preston, Mack & Mabel)
Live Before We Die (Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth, The Addams
Tango De Amor (Instrumental, The Addams Family)
When You're An Addams (Nathan Lane, Company, The Addams Family)
The Colors Of My Life (Jim Dale, Barnum)