Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cinder. Ella. Times 17.

 The date was March 31, 1957,
a Sunday night on CBS.
Ed Sullivan had to move aside for the night,
(and he even promoted the show,
having Rodgers and Hammerstein "on" the previous Sunday).
Cinderella took R&H seven months to write,
done specifically for live television.
Above Julie Andrews celebrates with a glass slipper full of 
champagne? gin? Kool-aid?
With Edie Adams (who played the Fairy Godmother on left)
and Kaye Ballard (a Stepsister on right). 

 Over 50 performers,
100 costumes, 80 stagehands, half a dozen set pieces,
and 4 TV cameras were crammed into a CBS studio.
(The orchestra had to go in another room entirely).
Above Kaye, Ilka Chase as the Stepmother,
and Alice Ghostly (the other Stepsister, see below!)
singing to a broom.
 Richard, Julie, and Oscar.
Julie was still performing in My Fair Lady at the time.

 The 1965 version starred
Leslie Ann Warren, above...
and Ginger Rodgers, Walter Pigeon,
Celeste Holme, Jo Van Fleet, Pat Carroll,
Stuart Damon (as the Prince!)
and Barbara Ruick (below).

 Pat, Jo, and Barbara (above).
I totally remember this scene and I think
Jo and her tribe had just gotten "told off" by the prince.

 Another televised version with Brandy Norwood
(above in blue) followed in 1997,
and of course Broadway had to stage one,
with Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana
(far right).

 And then the 2015 movie
with Cate Blanchett (above center)
as the Stepmother,
and Sophie McShera (on the left...Daisy from Downton Abbey!!)
and Holliday Grainger.
 Below is our most recent Cinderella reincarnation:
Lily James (also from Downton!)
in what must be Cinderella's favorite color.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, Octobert 2, 2016: I Told You There'd Be A Quiz

Multiple Choice:
Please choose the best answer to fill the blanks below.

1.) Once upon a time, there was a  _____________ who ruled over a large kingdom.

a.) Green Ogre
b.) Hot Shot Station Manager
c.) Queen Lucy

2.) The kingdom was in ________________.

a.) the hands of assorted dwarfs
b.) Agony, as there was NO COFFEE, only frickin' tea
c.)  Danger, as there was an election coming up, and even tho Queen Lucy wasn't THAT popular, the Green Ogre would be a lot worse. A lot.

3.) To make things worse, _________, who lived in a high tower with long, long hair (the girl, not the tower) was tired of waiting to be rescued and had taken to singing (loudly) (well, some would call it screaming) at odd intervals of the night, waking everybody up, including Queen Lucy, ruining her beauty sleep and fading her looks, which could have been a lot better to start with. A lot.

a.) Charles Nelson Reilly (BEFORE Hollywood Squares, when he had hair and
      better glasses).
b.) Alice Ghostley and Kaye Ballard (they took turns)
c.)  Rapunzel (one ticked off lady)

4.) ______________ my prince will come, sang the long-haired goose in the tower.

a.) So what if.....
b.) Who the hell cares when...
c.) I'm getting out of here quick before...
d.) all of the above, cuz they're sort of the same.

5.) She finally escaped on her own, down a ladder that she paid the minstrel to get for her (way too much, she should have checked Home Depot, NOT Lowe's, waaaaay too expensive at Lowe's), and ran off to _____________ to star in a Broadway show about self-sufficient fairy tale heroines, but met a nice stage manager after a couple of years and is now content to do community theatre and teaches voice on the side.

a.) Another castle, but down on 42nd Street
b.) Big "D"
c.) The Streets of Miami
d.) (Intentionally left blank)

Thank you for your best effort! Quiz scores will (not) be relayed with (any) speed (whatsover), and extra credit possibilities (DEFINITELY) exist if/when you listen to 2 On The Aisle! Please live happily ever after. The End.

Story Of My Life (John Tartaglia, Ensemble, Shrek The Musical)
Standing On The Corner (Shorty Long, Ensemble, The Most Happy Fella)
Coffee Break (Charles Nelson Reilly, Claudette Sutherland, Ensemble,
        How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying)
The Oldest Established (Sam Levene, Stubby Kaye, Johnny Silver, Ensemble,
        Guys And Dolls)
Big "D" (Susan Johnson, Shorty Long, Ensemble, The Most Happy Fella)
Once Upon A Dream (Chorus, Sleeping Beauty)
An Opening For A Princess (Joseph Bova, Ensemble, Once Upon A Mattress)
Some Day My Prince Will Come (Adriana Caselotti, Assorted Dwarfs,
        Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs)
Is That My Prince? (Shirley Booth, Albert Linville, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn)
42nd Street (Wanda Richert, Lee Roy Reams, Company, 42nd Street)
Easy Street (Robert Fitch, Dorothy Loudon, Barbara Erwin, Annie)
Easy Street (Elaine Stritch, Stritch)
The Streets Of Miami (Allan Sherman, My Son The Folk Singer)
The Prince Is Giving A Ball (Ensemble, Cinderella)
Two Fairy Tales (Suzanne Henry, Craig Lucas, Marry Me A Little)
Stepsister's Lament (Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, Cinderella)
A Lovely Night (Julie Andrews, Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, Ilka Chase,  
With One Look (Patti Lupone, Sunset Boulevard)
Let's Have Lunch (Kevin Anderson, Ensemble, Sunset Boulevard)
The Perfect Year (Patti Lupone, Sunset Boulevard)
Many Moons Ago (Harry Snow, Once Upon A Mattress)
I'm Wishing (Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Snow White & The Seven
Where In The World Is My Prince? (Faith Prince, Miss Spectacular)
Queen Lucy (Reva Rose, Bob Balaban, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown)
A Very Nice Prince/First Midnight/Giants In The Sky (Joanna Gleason, Kim
       Crosby, Ensemble, Into The Woods)
Hello, Little Girl (Robert Westenberg, Danielle Ferland, Into The Woods)
Agony (Robert Westenberg, Chuck Wagner, Into The Woods)
No One Is Alone (Ensemble, Into The Woods)
I Think I Got You Beat (Sutton Foster, Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek The Musical)
I Know It's Today (Sutton Foster, Shrek The Musical)
Travel Song (Daniel Breaker, Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek The Musical)
Who I'd Be (Brian d'Arcy James, Sutton Foster, Ensemble, Shrek The Musical)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Birthday Boy, George G!

 George Gershwin,
born Jacob Gershwine in Brooklyn, New York in 1889.
Absolutely no musical interests til the age of 10,
when he went to a friend's violin recital.
After that, he took over the piano at home
(a relief to older brother, Ira...he was the one they bought it for!).
Song plugger, vaudeville accompanist, song writer...
Al Jolson heard him playing his creation, "Swanee",
at a party in 1919, and voila! 
 Geroge with long time love,
Kay Swift,
who is the Kay in "Oh, Kay!"
 They never married.

...and with Ginger on the set of
"Shall We Dance?"

 George Guetary,
in a memorable scene with 2 foot tall headresses
and light up stairs (to Paradise!):
An American In Paris. 
Below, George is ready for his closeup! 

 Crazy For You, 1992
loosely based on Girl Crazy, 1930,
incorporated Gershwin goodies from many of his shows.
It starred Harry Groener (a top a bevy of pink)...

 ...Bruce Adler,
who played Bela Zangler... 

 ...and Jodi Benson,
here in a low dip with Harry.

 RKO Producer, Pan Berman, performed a miracle 
and lured the Gershwin Brothers to Hollywood to write the score for
"Shall We Dance",
their 2nd (and what would be their last) movie musical.
They had scored the movie "Delishious" back in 1931,
but most of their work was rejected.
 Gershwin (at right) was denied music lessons from 
Maurice Ravel (seated at the piano):
Ravel said, "Why become a second-rate Ravel,
when you're already a first-rate Gershwin?"
 This photo was supposedly taken on March 8, 1928,
at a Ravel birthday party.
(Behind Ravel is composer/conductor,
Manoah Leide-Tedesco.)

With brother Ira (Israel) Gershwin,
the lyricist sublime for so many of George's works.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Spotlight on Norbert!

 Norbert Leo Butz,
from St. Louis, Missouri...7th of 11 children!
Man, did HE need attention!
He landed on Broadway to be an understudy/swing in Rent, 1996,
and then it was on to the likes of 
Catch Me If You Can, in 2011 (above and the two below)
where he played FBI Agent Carl Hanratty
(and won a Tony doing it).

 Reviews were mixed ("dangerously close to lounge and elevator music"???)
and it closed after 170 performances.
Elevator music (???) brought to you by the same lads who did
Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

 Norbert in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 2005
(above, in the "Great Big Stuff" number
and below with co-stars John Lithgow and Sherie Rene Scott).
Another Tony win for Norbert!

 In between those wins,
NLB played Fiyero in Wicked,
above with Kristen Chenoweth and Carole Shelley
(Remember Carole from "The Odd Couple"?
She was one of the Pigeon Sisters in the original movie!)
And Jamie in The Last Five Years (below)
again with Sherie Rene Scott. 

Like a lot of talented guys,
Norbert has also suceeded in straight plays,
film, and television.
And he's only 49... a long meaty career ahead!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Playlist For Sunday, September 25, 2016: Gershwin, Smershwin

Well, it's that time of year again. Time to raise a glass to George. Every frickin' year. Birthdays are like that, they just keep on coming, and in George Gershwin's case, they don't seem to end when you do. Mine's coming up, and I've been practicing! Yup, 6 months out I start saying I'm 807 years old, not 806, just so when the "blow" comes, I'm theoretically ready.

Birthdays are not all cake and ice cream, you know. If you sit back and start thinking about all those years spent shaving your legs, cleaning out the drain in the sink, tossing back the errant shots of tequila, and laughing at jokes you don't understand, it's depressing as hell. Dorothy Parker had it (almost) right. And when you're my age, you don't need any "fresh hell".

I DO need some more (stronger, blacker, Turkish-ier) coffee this morning. Either that or some Norbert Leo Butz to rattle my cage, some Jack Cassidy oiling his way into my heart, George Guetary suavely climbing MY stairs to paradise.... or maybe Jessica Molaskey, reminding me to touch base with my attorney. (Which I don't have. I DO have a Bernie-esque accountant, tho. Does that count? Count, get it!!! Ugh.)

So tune in for Gershwin toasts (lightly buttered/jammed), Norbert, Jess, lots and lots of WOMEN, and a posthumous shout out to Charmian Carr, who after she did The Sound of Music and Evening Primrose, retired to marry a dentist, wrote 2 books about being "Liesl" and never sang again. Would that she had never gone in for that root canal.

Slap That Bass (Harry Groener, Ensemble, Crazy For You)
(I've Got) Beginner's Luck (Fred Astaire, Shall We Dance?)
S'Wonderful (Brandon Urbanowitz, Max Von Essen, An American In Paris)
Delishious (Bobby Short, KR-A-ZY For Gershwin)
I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise (George Guetary, An American In Paris)
You Are Woman (Sydney Chaplin, Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl)
It Takes A Woman (David Burns, Ensemble, Hello Dolly!)
She's Not Enough Woman For Me (Richard Kiley, Leonard Stone, Redhead)
Kind Of Woman (Jill Clayburgh, Pippin)
My Attorney Bernie (Jessica Molaskey, At The Algonquin)
Will You Die? (Jessica Molaskey, Dave Frishberg, At The Algonquin)
Do You Miss New York? (Dave Frishberg, At The Algonquin)
Shiksa Goddess (Norbert Leo Butz, The Last Five Years)
The Man Inside The Clues (Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can)
Great Big Stuff (Norbert Leo Butz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)
Don't Break The Rules (Norbert Leo Butz, Aaron Tveit, Catch Me If You Can)
Pretty Woman (Len Cariou, Edmund Lyndeck, Sweeney Todd)
What You Don't Know About Woman (Kay McClelland, Randy Graff,
       City Of Angels)
It's A Woman's Prerogative (Yvette Casin, St. Louis Woman)
That Horrible Woman (Lisa O'Hare, Lauren Warsham, A Gentleman's   
       Guide To Love And Murder)
Someone To Watch Over You (Jodi Benson, Crazy For You)
Ain't It Romantic? (Adam Arkin, Dawn Upshaw, Kurt Olmann, Oh, Kay!)
Who Cares? (Judy Garland, Judy Live At Carnegie Hall)
What Causes That? (Harry Groener, Bruce Adler, Crazy For You)
Do It Again (Marilyn Monroe, The Very Best Of Marilyn Monroe)
Who's That Woman? (Mary McCarty, Ensemble, Follies)
How To Handle A Woman (Richard Burton, Camelot)
A Woman Is A Sometime Thing (Harry Belafonte, Porgy & Bess)
The Woman For The Man (Jack Cassidy, Patricia Marand, It's A Bird...It's A
        Plane...It's Superman)
Woman Of The Year (Lauren Bacall, Ensemble, Woman Of The Year)
I Remember (Charmian Carr, Evening Primrose)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Joseph Yule, Jr....My Favorite Mickey

Mickey Rooney got around to Broadway,
after 50 plus years in film,
at the age of 59!
Sugar Babies was perfect for him,
a tribute to Burlesque, co-starring Ann Miller.
It played from 1979 to 1982, 
with Mickey and Ann returning for the 2nd national tour
in 1984.

Ann on the left, and OF COURSE Mickey on the right.
Below, with Carol Channing and Robert Morse
who took over the reins for a tour.

  After his belated, successful triumph on Broadway in Sugar Babies
(in which he and Ann performed over 1200 times!),
Rooney went on to tour as Pseudolus in 
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum,
came back to Broadway with The Will Rodgers Follies,
and played Madison Square Garden in The Wizard of Oz, with Eartha Kitt.

 Couldn't resist putting up some additional photos of 
Mickey, who was born Joseph Yule, Jr. in 1920.
Born to vaudevillians Joe and Nellie Yule,
the story goes that at 17 months of age, 
Junior joined the act in a specially tailored tuxedo.
By age 6, he made his film debut
in a few of Hal Roach's Our Gang episodes.

An early shot of Judy Garland, Mickey and Jane Withers...
Before the Andy Hardy series,
Mickey's movie high point,
he starred in the "Mickey McGuire" series
from 1927 to 1934,
where he got his "name".
That's him below!

 With Elizabeth Taylor in 1944's
National Velvet. 

"Babes On Broadway"...
from 1941: Mickey as Carmen!

With lifelong pal, Judy Garland,
on the set of her TV show.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,
with Buddy Hackett.

A Twilight Zone episode written by Rod Serling
just for him:
The Last Night Of A Jockey,
a one character screenplay, aired in October of 1963.

 From The Black Stallion, released in 1979.
Mickey's career spanned 9 decades,
with over 300 films to his name.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

From soup to nuts, or in this case, Eggs, Mounties, Montys, and Madams!

 A song called 
"Make An Omelette"
requires egg costumes...I believe when I saw it
I saw bacon as well.
From Something Rotten!, it'll open our show this Sunday.

 "Bottom's Gonna Be On Top"
(another "Rotten" selection)
with Bryan d'Arcy James and Christian Borle
in a tap-dancing duel.
Both of these actors have left the production at this point;
glad I gotta chance to see the real thing!

 1959's off Broadway production of 
Little Mary Sunshine,
with Eileen Brennan a'swing as Mary.
Below, Elizabeth Parrish and the Forest Rangers
singing "In Izzenschnooken On The Lovely Essenzook Zee"
(listen in on Sunday and see how I pronounce THAT ONE!).

 Ethel Merman
and some overshadowed actors
in the original production of 
Call Me Madam.
Note Alp-ish scenery representing fictional Lichtenburg
(like Fredonia, without the Brothers Marx).
The concert version got to forego that part...
below, Tyne Daly playing Ambassador Sally Adams.

One of my favorites, "Poison In My Pocket",  from
A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder,
a show that closed before I could get my hands on it. 
Lauren Worsham, Bryce Pinkham (with saw)
and Jefferson Mays.
Below, Bryce and Jefferson recording the cast album.