Saturday, October 29, 2016

Movie Corner!

 Take Me Out To the Ball Game, 
released in 1949, directed by Busby Berkeley,
and starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin,
Esther Williams and Betty Garrett.
All was not peaches and cream on the set:
Esther said the experience was "pure misery",
with Gene cracking jokes at her expense and disallowing 
a big swim number she'd been promised
(though she did get to perform a mini version
in which she sang AND swam at the same time...only in Hollywood, right?).
 Judy Garland was Gene's first pic as a leading lady,
but "substance abuse" shelved her.

 For Me And My Gal,
released in 1942, was also directed by Berkeley and
starred Judy Garland, Gene, and George Murphy.
It began Gene's contract with MGM,
thanks in large part to Judy's advocacy.
George provided some on-set tension, angered that he had to 
play "the schnook who never gets the girl."
Busby was unhappy with Gene as the leading man;
even test audiences thought George SHOULD have gotten the girl.
But it all turned into a smashing success...
we'll hear "If You Wore A Tulip".

 Ziegfeld Follies, 1946,
had SEVEN directors, a gazillion stars
(see that list on the poster below???),
and was based on the huge Broadway extravaganzas
produced by Florence...
it brought together Fred and Gene
in the first and ONLY time they sang and danced together.
"The Babbitt and the Bromide" was written by the
Gershwin boys, and of course choreographed 
by two of the greatest dancers of the cinema.
Too bad they never worked together again.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Jason, Jefferson...and Revudeville!

 Jason Danieley with Jill Paice
and below with another cast member,
Karen Ziemba (who played his wife and songwriting partner,
in Curtains...we'll hear "I Miss The Music",
a song John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote specifically for Jason.

 Born in St. Louis in 1971,
Jason has been called "the most exquisite tenor on Broadway"
(Ben Brantley! So you KNOW it's true!),
and he's appeared in everything from Allegro, to Floyd Collins,
to The Full Monty and Next To Normal.
He's married to Broadway star Marin Mazzie, 
and together they have performed and recorded
(that's her with Jason below).

Also on the playlist,
Jefferson Mays, above AND below!
Jefferson began on Broadway with
I Am My Own Wife, for which he received a Tony
(among OTHER accolades),
then it was on to Pygmalion, Journey's End and finally
A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder.
That's him below as one of the eight characters he portrayed
in that show: Lady Hyacinth D'Ysquith.

 Above, the entire D'Ysquith Family,
everyone a Jefferson.
Below, Jefferson in red:
"Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun."

 Mrs. Henderson Presents (above)
opened on the London Stage in 2016
and lasted 4 months...
all based on the true story of 
Laura Henderson, who transformed the Windmill Theatre,
producing Revudeville shows (naked girls in tableaux).
 Reviews were mixed,
saying that something besides clothes was missing.

 Tracie Bennett, center,
as Mrs. Henderson
(Judi Dench played her in the movie,
done in 2005).

Emma Williams played Maureen...and
we'll hear her singing
"If Mountains Were Easy To Climb".
Music by George Fenton, and Simon Chamberlain, 
lyrics by Don Black.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, October 30: Square piece. Round hole.

Halloween and Broadway. Like candy corn and over-priced wine. A natural fit, right? Well, seeing how I dislike Phantom of the Opera (the musical kind) and Cats (the musical kind), I have to MAKE that fit happen. Mel Brooks, Nathan Lane, and Audrey II are ghoulish enough, right? A little spooky instrumentation and it's scary, right? This isn't Scooby Doo, okay?

And it's freezing! Do I really have to wear gloves and ear muffs to mow my lawn one last time? I came back from (arid, hot, sandaled) Austin, and the leaves had changed, the temps had plummeted, and all hell had broken loose. Well, not really. But I MISS the mild crunch of fall, or at least a milder introduction to FROST!  I have 17 beautiful fall blazers and there are usually about 4 days when I can wear them here in upstate NY. Well, not THIS fall.  THIS fall my fashion is out the window, while I reach for a frickin' parka. And I absolutely refuse to wear my new cowboy boots in the snow. Do you hear me???

So...missing. And trying to fit the puzzle pieces together for a new season and a new saga. Audra can help, so can Emma. And if we poke Fester, he'll sing a lovely poem to the moon. Let's try not to be too scared.

Puttin' On The Ritz (Roger Bart, Shuler Hensley, Young Frankenstein)
Da-Doo (Leilani Jones, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Sheila Kay Davis, Little Shop
     Of Horrors)
Feed Me (Lee Wilkof, Ron Taylor, Little Shop Of Horrors)
Sominex/Suppertime (Ellen Green, Ron Taylor, Little Shop Of Horrors)
Politics And Poker (Howard Da Silva, Ensemble, Fiorello!)
Gentleman Jimmy (Eileen Rodgers, Fiorello!)
The Name's LaGuardia (Tom Bosley, Fiorello!)
I Miss The Music (Jason Danieley, David Hyde Pierce, Curtains)
I Miss The Mountains (Alice Ripley, Next To Normal)
Miss Marmelstein (Barbra Streisand, I Can Get It For You Wholesale)
Miss What's Her Name (Debbie Gravitte, Miss Spectacular)
When You Wore A Tulip (Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, For Me And My Gal)
O'Brien To Ryan To Goldburg (Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munschin,
     Take Me Out To The Ball Game)
The Babbitt And The Bromide (Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Ziegfeld Follies)
What'd I Miss (Daveed Diggs, Leslie Odom, Jr., Lin-Manuel Miranda, 
Ah, Miss (Victor Garber, Sarah Rice, Sweeney Todd)
I Guess I'll Miss The Man (Jill Clayburgh, Pippin)
The Legend Of Miss Baltimore Crab (Linda Hart, Hairspray)
I'll Be Here (Audra McDonald, Ordinary Days)
If Mountains Were Easy To Climb (Emma Williams, Mrs. Henderson Presents)
Overture/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)
Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun (Jefferson Mays, Ensemble, A Gentle-
     man's Guide To Love And Murder)
Morticia (Nathan Lane, The Addams Family)
Overture (Instrumental, The Addams Family)
The Moon And Me (Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family)
Welcome To Transylvania (Transylvania Quartet, Young Frankenstein)
Alone (Megan Mulally, Young Frankenstein)
Together Again (Christopher Fitzgerald, Roger Bart, Young Frankenstein)
Transylvania Mania (Roger Bart, Fred Applegate, Company,
     Young Frankenstein)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Some Goodies From 2 On The Aisle 1.0

 What with this Sunday being 2 on the Aisle's 4th Anniversary,
we're spinning favorites...
and some of these gems are from the VERY FIRST SHOW, 
back in 2012.
For example, George Hearn as Zaza, 
in Jerry Herman's La Cage Aux Folles, above.
Below, Michel Serrault playing the part in the original French movie.

 Vivian Blaine, as Adelaide, above with Frank Sinatra...
in Frank Loesser's Guys And Dolls.
Below with June Haver and a very young Vera-Ellen in
Three Little Girls In Blue, 1946.
(Trivia: That's the movie that introduced 
"You Make Me Feel So Young".
Oh, and it was the film debut of Celeste Holm!)

 We'll hear Viv's rendition of 
"Take Back Your Mink"
from the Broadway production,
tho THIS photo is from the movie, 
done just 5 years later.
 Howard Keel, James Whitmore and Keenan Wynn
from the movie of Kiss Me Kate...
"Brush Up Your Shakespeare".
James couldn't dance a lick, but with Keenan's help,
they pulled off a very respectable soft-shoe,
and almost 17 verses of a memorable song.

 The one, the only, Groucho Marx,
in At The Circus, 1939...
and just GUESS who wrote 
"Lydia, The Tattooed Lady"?
Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg 
of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" fame. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Women On The Cusp Of Crazy

 Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
merged into the fast Broadway lane in 2011,
with music by David Yazbek, and based on the movie
by Pedro Almodovar.
It lasted for 69 performances, when it got the hook
(mixed reviews, crowds stayed away in droves).
48 hours with a group of women friends in Madrid,
complete with bomb scares, sexy Brian Stokes Mitchell
and his "microphone"
and a crazy animal-wrapped Patti Lupone.
Above, Laura Benanti amidst "Model Behavior."
Below, de'Adre Aziza, Nikki Graff Lanzarone, Patti, 
Sherie Rene Scott, Laura, and Mary Beth Peil.

Opening night, with creator Pedro Almodovar center...

And why do I always remember THIS group of Women,
the 1939 version.
Just as crazy, but in black and white:
 Phyllis Povah, Rosalind Russell, Norma Shearer, Joan Fontaine.
(And not to forget...Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard and Marjorie Main!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, October 23, 2016: Saving you a seat...and a slice!

Well, we have a lot to celebrate. Four years ago this week, 2 on the Aisle began...yup, just 4 years ago, terrified, hyperventilating, shaking in my "stilettos", I stood in front of that microphone and pushed a button. And the rest is far from history!  Anyway, there's that. Then it was my birthday (again!!! every year???) this week, and I am (again!!!) officially as old as dirt, so I've milked that into several parties/free dinners/toasts/toast...and if you put those 2 things together, you get a 2 on the Aisle full of memories and favorites and connections and hidden meanings...just don't go all psychoanalytic on me, okay? It's Birthday Broadway, pure and simple.

But that's not all...we are happily continuing our Jazz 90.1 pledge drive, which I actually like doing, to tell the truth. People call you up! You get to talk to people who actually listen and like! That's a buzz...and I would LOVE you to call this Sunday, which will make it sort of like a birthday present. Yes, call and donate (like $5, $27.50...whatever!) and I will feel personally gifted.

So on tap...42nd Street (which I tried out for back in 1981) (did I get in the show?) ( tell me!!!), Pacific Overtures (which I used to play on my WalkMan while running the East River), French stuff (I still dream of a garret on the Seine, croissants and better wine), Judy, Marilyn, Angela, Shirley, and of course Elaine. Tune in, call, and "cake" for everyone!

Lullaby Of Broadway (Jerry Orbach, Wanda Richert, 42nd Street)
Take Me Back To Manhattan (Eileen Rodgers and The Angels, Anything
Only In New York (Sheryl Lee Ralph, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
42nd Street (Company, 42nd Street)
Lydia The Tattooed Lady (Groucho Marx, At The Circus)
Brush Up Your Shakespeare (James Whitmore, Keenan Wynn, Kiss Me Kate)
River Of No Return (Marilyn Monroe, River Of No Return)
Lovesick (Sherie Rene Scott, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown)
Invisible (Patti Lupone, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown)
Model Behavior (Laura Benanti, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Break-
Anything Goes/I Get A Kick Out Of You (Forbidden Broadway)
Fugue For Scalpers (Forbidden Broadway)
Liza One Note (Forbidden Broadway)
Someone In A Tree (James Dybas, Mako, Telly Leung, Mark Hsu Syers,
      Pacific Overtures)
A Bowler Hat (Isao Sato, Pacific Overtures)
Four Black Dragons (Jae Woo Lee, Mark Hsu Syers, Mako, Pacific Overtures)
Parlez-Moi D'Amour (Lucienne Boyer, The Moderns)
La Valse D'Amelie (Instrumental, Amelie)
Hier Encore (Charles Aznavour)
Are You Having Any Fun? (Elaine Stritch, Stritch)
If (Elaine Stritch, Stritch)
The Little Things You Do Together (Elaine Stritch, Elaine Stritch At Liberty)
Take Back Your Mink (Vivian Blaine and The Hot Box Girls, Guys And Dolls)
A Little More Mascara (George Hearn, La Cage Aux Folles)
I'm Going Back (Judy Holiday, Bells Are Ringing)
Each Tomorrow Morning (Angela Lansbury, Dear World)
Goodnight, My Love (Shirley Temple, Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

To get you in the "Dial And Donate" mood...

 Jazz 90.1's Fall Pledge Drive needs you!
Gimme a call at the station on Sunday,
585 966 5299,
and contribute (and get great thank you gifts back),
if you like Julie...

 Cy, Dorothy and Bob...

 Steve and Edie...


and (in the future)
Christine and Patti
in the new "War Paint"
(this is just a photo to tease you...
no CD produced yet!).

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Vive La Merm!

Ethel Agnes Zimmermann, born in Queens in 1908
(though she disputed that and said 1912!),
went from the secretarial pool to nightclub torching,
literally almost every night...
(a little joint called Little Russia in Manhattan)
and caught the attention of columnists 
Walter Winchell and Mark Hellinger.
Soon enough she was auditioning for a role in
Gershwin's Girl Crazy,
and getting it (age 22!).

Above and below,
with Bing Crosby in the film version of
Anything Goes, 1936.
It was not a happy experience for Ethel,
whose role as Reno Sweeney was reworked to
place the focus on Crosby,
and several of her songs never made it to the screen.
(And yes, she originated the role on Broadway,
just 2 years earlier.)

As Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin's
Annie Get Your Gun, 1946.
One critic called Ethel "bright as a whip, sure as her shooting, 
and generously the foremost lady clown of her time."

As Sally Adams in Call Me Madam, 1950...
another Berlin creation.
Ethel also starred in the 1953 film version
with Donald O'Connor, Vera Ellen and George Sanders.
The story/character was based on Pearl Mesta,
party goer and Washington bon vivant.
Ethel had never heard of her. 

 Ethel as Mama Rose,
"one of the few truly complex characters in the American musical,"
according to Clive Barnes,
in Gypsy, 1959.
Jules Styne, music...and Stephen Sondheim (with arm twisting)
did the lyrics.
Jerome Robbins choreographed.
Despite this roster of talent,
the show failed to take home any Tonys.

In a revival of Hello, Dolly!

What Becomes A Legend Most?
The Merm: 1908 - 1984
"Always give them the old fire,
even when you feel like a squashed cake of ice."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Playlist for Sunday, October 16, 2016: Reach For The Sky

Fresh as a slab of brisket off the Salt Lick fire pit (yes, I was visiting Austin), I am back to take up the reins at the Jazz 90.1 Fall Pledge (sans Cattle) Drive. Yup, pardners, it is that time again, high noon and that means we need your bucks to keep on doing the thing we/you love: spinning the CDs, delving into the windmills of my mind, ferreting out those little known gems, and emblazoning them a 10 gallon hat of ON AIR!  Without your donation, that little station may just turn into road kill or worse -- 24/7 Country! Hmmmm...My string tie is set, my boots are on (yes, I bought a ridiculously expensive pair), and Old Paint saddled...for a blockbuster session of Random Broadway Hits, which will hopefully put you in a dial and donate mood. From Ethel to Audra, from Frug to Tango, from Lovely to Revolutionary, I gotcha covered. (Call me!) 

Good Morning, Baltimore (Marissa Jaret Winokur, Hairspray)
Big Spender (Helen Gallagher, Thelma Oliver, Ensemble, Sweet Charity)
Rich Man's Frug (Instrumental, Sweet Charity)
The Rhythm Of Life (Arnold Soboloff, Company, Sweet Charity)
I've Got The Sun In The Morning (Ethel Merman, Annie Get Your Gun)
Some People (Ethel Merman, Gypsy)
Everybody Ought To Have A Maid (David Burns, Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford,
      John Carradine, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum)
Lovely (Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To
      The Forum)
Will You? (Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens)
Revolutionary Costume Of The Day (Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens)
Ten Duel Commandments (Anthony Ramos, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie
       Odom, Jr., Company, Hamilton)
The Schuyler Sisters (Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Su, Jasmine
       Cephas Jones, Leslie Odom, Jr., Company, Hamilton)
Le Jazz Hot (Julie Andrews, Victor/Victoria)
Springtime For Hitler (Ensemble, The Producers)
Maybe This Time (Audra McDonald)
Send In The Clowns (Bernadette Peters)
The Ladies Who Lunch (Elaine Stritch, Elaine Stritch At Liberty)
Opening Up (Jessie Mueller, Keala Settle, Kimiko Glenn, Waitress)
Tips (Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, Pump Boys And Dinettes)
Sun Is Gonna Shine (Carmen Cusack, Dee Hoty, Stephen Bogardus, Bright
Money Money (Liza Minelli, Joel Gray, Cabaret)
Bye Bye Blackbird (Liza Minelli, Liza With A Z)
It's Today (Angela Lansbury, Mame)
Seasons Of Love (Ensemble, Rent)
Jet Set (Aaron Tveit, Ensemble, Catch Me If You Can)
When You're An Addams (Nathan Lane Bebe Neuwirth, The Addams Family)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Playlist For Sunday, October 9, 2016: Deja Vu, All Over Again.

Back about 6 months ago, I invented a playlist that was so dramatic, so compelling, so entertaining, and so je ne sais pas-ing, that it had to rise from the ashes to return as Son of Playlist! Or the Playlist That Ate Brooklyn. In other words, it has life enough to return for another outing, while I go on an outing. So if you think you've heard that song before, you have. Back in April.

I'll be back LIVE on October 16, just in time to begin the Jazz 90.1 Fall Pledge Campaign. Which means a 2 On The Aisle simply chocked full of blockbusters that will compel you to sing along/tap dance/feel compelled to call/call/donate/stuff large amounts of cash in an envelope and overnight to us/sleep well, knowing you are a wonderful gosh darn person.

Which means I will be there, spinning the Broadway smash-ettes, and kneeling on rice waiting for your call!  Meanwhile, enjoy the deja vu, all over again. :)

Twenty Million People (Evan Pappas, Company, My Favorite Year)
Oh, What A Beautiful Morning (Gordon MacRae, Oklahoma!)
All Er Nuthin' (Gene Nelson, Gloria Grahame, Oklahoma!)
People Will Say We're In Love (Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Oklahoma!)
The Farmer And The Cowman (Charlotte Greenwood, Company, Oklahoma!)
One Of The Boys (Lauren Bacall, Ensemble, Woman Of The Year)
So What Else Is New? (Harry Guardino, "Katz", Woman Of The Year)
It Isn't Working (Darren Kelly, Roderick Cook, Grace Keagy, Woman Of
         The Year)
Little Girls (Carol Burnett, Annie)
Call Me Savage (Carol Burnett, Fade Out-Fade In)
Shy (Carol Burnett, Ensemble, Once Upon A Mattress)
The Ladies Who Lunch (Carol Burnett, Putting It Together)
It's You (Bernadette Peters, David Christmas, Dames At Sea)
Wall Street (Tamara Long, Dames At Sea)
The Sailor Of My Dreams (Bernadette Peters, Dames At Sea)
God Bless The Human Elbow (Robert Preston, Ensemble, Ben Franklin in
Politics And Poker (Howard DaSilva, Ensemble, Fiorello!)
Physical Fitness (Men's Ensemble, All-American)
Lament For Ten Men (Ensemble, Breakfast At Tiffany's)
Backstage Babble (Len Cariou, Ensemble, Applause)
Fasten Your Seatbelts (Lauren Bacall, Ensemble, Applause)
But Alive (Lauren Bacall, Ensemble, Applause)
The Trolley Song (Judy Garland, Meet Me In St. Louis)
Waitin' For The Evening Train (Mary Martin, Jennie)
Subway Directions (Sydney Chaplin, Ensemble, Subways Are For Sleeping)
In The Same Boat (David Hyde Pierce, Karen Ziemba, Ensemble, Curtains)
On The Highway Of Love (Robert Roznowski, Jennifer Simard, I Love You,
         You're Perfect, Now Change)
The King Kaiser Comedy Calvacade (Ensemble, My Favorite Year)
The Gospel According To King (Tom Mardirosian, Ensemble, My Favorite
Welcome To Brooklyn (Evan Pappas, Tim Curry, Lainie Kazan, Ensemble,
         My Favorite Year)
Professional Showbizness Comedy (Andrea Martin, Tom Mardirosian,
         My Favorite Year)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Shrek. Not The Book. Not The Movie. THE MUSICAL.

 Shrek The Musical
(I love when they feel they gotta TELL you it's THE Musical)
opened in December of 2008.
Based on the William Stieg's children's book
(which was all of 12 pages),
the musical added back stories for several of the characters,
even that meanie Lord Farquaad.
Above, the "Story of My Life" line up...

 Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona.
Sutton won Tonys both in 2002 for her lead role in 
Thoroughly Modern Millie,
and in 2011, for Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes.
And she looks great in green. :) 

 John Tartaglia as Pinocchio,
a "real live boy".

 Brian d'Arcy James, Daniel Breaker (with the shades)
and Sutton.
As you may have guessed, a Tony win for costume designer 
Tim Hatley. 

Group shot with the creators:
Christopher Sieber 
(who originated the role of Sir Denis Galahad in Spamlot! 
In Shrek THE MUSICAL, he was Lord Farquaad),
Bryan d'Arcy James,
Jeanine Tesori (composer)
David Lindsay-Abaire (book and lyrics)
and Sutton Foster.
 A $25 million dollar show 
(considered one of the most expensive shows to mount
back in 2008), and despite decent reviews, 
it did not recoup its investment.