Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Broadway Babes to Warm Your Cockles

 A mini tribute this Sunday
to Carol Burnett,
born in San Antonio, Texas in 1933, and
raised by her grandmother in Hollywood.
Her "big break" came in 1959 with Once Upon A Mattress,
as Princess Winifred (below).
And that was the beginning of a career that would
include television, film, Broadway, and concert performances.
Carol will turn 85 this coming April. 
 We'll hear
"The Swamps of Home"
from Mattress...

 From Fade Out - Fade In,
"You Mustn't Be Discouraged"
And above, I believe, is the Warner Brother's Seal of Approval.

 From the film version of Annie,
Carol as Miss Hannigan...brilliant casting! 

 And I couldn't resist including this pic
from one of the many times Carol teamed up with Julie Andrews
for live concerts and television appearances.

 Tom Wopat 
(yup, Luke Duke of the Hazzard duo)
has been theatre-ing and singing ever since he went into re-runs.
He hit Broadway in 2011 with Catch Me If You Can,
in which he played Frank Abagnale Sr.
(below with Aaron Tveit).
We'll hear an outtake from that show,
"Fifty Checks"
which Tom later recorded on his solo album
Consider It Swung.

 We'll also sample "The Last Night of the Year"
and "Finishing The Hat" from the revue
Sondheim On Sondheim.
Below, the Dukes: Tom and John Schneider,
back in the day.

 Kelli O'Hara's Babe (above) with The Factory Girls
 is "Not At All In Love"
in the revival of The Pajama Game, 2006,
which received the Best Revival Tony award that year.

 And in our honeymoon set,
Mary Martin and Robert Preston 
in I Do! I Do!
which was the story of a marriage over the span of 45 years,
1895 - 1945.
Mary and Robert starred in the national tour as well
(it began in Rochester, NY!),
but there were several interesting "replacements," 
like Carol Burnett and Rock Hudson,
and Carol Lawrence and Gordon McCrea.
 We'll hear "The Honeymoon Is Over"!

The NYTimes called Mary's voice
"like red wine at room temperature"...
and Robert won the Tony! :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Playlist For Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017: Riding the (no)(don't)(not yet) Christmas Express!

This is difficult. Every neuron in my brain is firing: Christmas. Now. Do it. Resistance is...

Well, FEUDAL in this instance. Renaissance-ian, even closer to the mark! While we maintain our "Brakes On Xmas" stance, we release them to speed blithely down Broadway boulevards, shuffling off to Buffalo, riding the Choo-Choo express to Vegas/Hawaii/insert honeymoon spot of choice here, lingering momentarily to instagram a Swamp or two, over the Bridges (of Madison County? So soon? We just had cheese!), thru the land of Al Menken's Disney, Carol Burnett's Tarzan, and Tom (cleared of all assault charges) Wopat 's Hazzards. Oh, and something ROTTEN at the end!

So you see, there is STILL plenty of Broadway living on the periphery of Christmas to enjoy. We WILL do Christmas Broadway, I promise, in just a week...December 24th, Christmas Eve-Afternoon! Be there for cookies and nog. But meanwhile, I'm still saving you a seat. :)

Welcome To The Renaissance (Michael James Scott, Ensemble,
      Something Rotten!)
Shuffle Off To Buffalo (Joseph Bova, Carole Cook, Ensemble, 42nd Street)
Aba Daba Honeymoon (Debbie Reynolds, Carleton Carpenter, Two Weeks
      With Love)
Choo-Choo Honeymoon (Sally Stark, Joseph R. Sicari, Dames At Sea)
The Honeymoon Is Over (Mary Martin, Robert Preston, I Do! I Do!)
I'm Not At All In Love (Kelli O'Hara, The Pajama Game)
I Won't Say I'm In Love (Susan Egan, Hercules)
Out Of Your Head (Bobby Conte Thornton, Ariana DeBose, A Bronx Tale)
Fifty Checks (Tom Wopat, Catch Me If You Can)
Finishing The Hat (Tom Wopat, Sondheim On Sondheim)
The Last Night Of The Year (Tom Wopat, Consider It Swung)
A Part Of That (Sherie Rene Scott, The Last Five Years)
Wondering (Steven Pasquale, The Bridges Of Madison County)
Shiksa Goddess (Norbert Leo Butz, The Last Five Years)
The Factory Girls (Brooke Sunny Moriber, Emily Klein, Abbi Hutcherson,
      Brent Carver, Parade)
Love Betsy (Rob McClure, Honeymoon in Vegas)
Come To An Arrangement (Tony Danza, Rob McClure, Honeymoon In Vegas)
Hawaii/Waiting For You (Brynne O'Malley, Rob McClure, Honeymoon In Vegas)
If I Could Tell Her (Ben Platt, Laura Dreyfus, Dear Evan Hansen)
Me And The Sky (Jenn Colella, Come From Away)
Stuck (Andy Karl, Ensemble, Groundhog Day)
The Swamps Of Home (Carol Burnett, Once Upon A Mattress)
Little Girls (Carol Burnett, Annie)
Adelaide's Lament (Carol Burnett, Let Me Entertain You)
You Mustn't Be Discouraged (Carol Burnett, Fade Out-Fade In)
Bottom's Gonna Be On Top (Bryan d'Arcy James, Christian Borle,
      Something Rotten!)
Right Hand Man (Heidi Blickenstaff, Something Rotten!)
Make An Omelette (Bryan d'Arcy, Company, Something Rotten!)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Funny, Shorty, and a little Lucy!

 Funny Face...
Fred Astaire in one of his last movie musicals,
above with Kay Thompson and Audrey Hepburn. 
Originally a 1927 staged musical,
also starring Fred (along with sis Adele),
Funny Face, the movie, kept only 4 of those Gershwin tunes,
and actually used the plot of another musical entirely,
Wedding Day.
Fred was 58, Audrey, 28...go figure!
The box office was disappointing:
Said the NY Times,
"This, in fact, is the American "musical" at its worst; 
not even the presence of Mr Fred Astaire, 
who was in the original stage production, 
nor that of Miss Audrey Hepburn can save the day."
After the successful release of My Fair Lady (1964),
however, MGM re-released FF and then the crowds came!

 Above Kay and Audrey,
possibly waiting to rehearse their duet
"On How To Be Lovely".
Audrey got to sing in this film;
just a few years later, she'd be dubbed in the movie version
of My Fair Lady.
Below Ms. Thompson with her alter-ego,
(whose exploits fill four books...including "Eloise Takes A Bawth", 
published posthumously).

 And then we'll hear 3 versions of the "same" song:
Above, Lee Remick in the 1985 concert version of Follies
got to sing "The Story Of Lucy And Jessie",
but by the time the show hit the West End (1987),
Diana Rigg got its if-temporary replacement,
"Ah, But Underneath!" 

 But the first (rejected) version of the song was 
"Uptown, Downtown",
 later used for the revue (of other Sondheim rejects)
Marry Me A Little.
Below, a Sondheim sandwich...with that revue's 2 cast members,
Suzanne Henry and Craig Lucas. 

 Susan Johnson and Shorty Long
at the recording session for the cast album
of The Most Happy Fella...
we'll hear Shorty lead his "pardners" in 
"Standing On The Corner"
and Susan and Shorty with "Big D". 
Shorty was a country singer and song writer,
with a band called the Sante Fe Rangers.
Most Happy was his first and only Broadway show,
tho his stardom (and good reviews!) got him appearances on 
the Ed Sullivan and Tonight shows.
Susan, on the other, was a Broadway denizen,
having performed in Brigadoon, Oh! Captain,
Donnybrook, and Whoop It Up!,
and later did film and television.

 And 2 pics from not-quite-Broadway productions:
 Above "Abbondanza", and "Big D", below. 
Nominated for Best Musical in 1957 
(along with Candide and Bells Are Ringing), 
but My Fair Lady carried away the award that year.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Just cuz!

This pic has only 1/3 to do with Broadway, 
but I could NOT resist this Happy Birthday Star-Lit gathering!
From the left,
Joan Fontaine, Sally Ann Howe, Eva Gabor, Radie Harris, Ethel Merman, Rosalind Russell, Angela Lansbury, Patrice Munsel and Nancy Kelly.
Whose birthday? Who cares?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lovely, Russian Spies, Strings, and !

 2 On The Aisle's theme o' the day is Lovely,
which demands we play both versions of 
from A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum:
Above, Version 1 with Preshy Marker, Zero Mostel, and Brian Davies
(Preshy was the original Philia, Brian played Hero)
and below, Version 2...
Zero with a dolled up Jack Gilford.
(Jewelry and flowers do = Lovely!)

 From the 1962 revival of Anything Goes,
we'll hear Barbara Lang, who played Hope Harcourt (above),
and Hal Linden, as Billy Crocker (below),
duet to Cole Porter's "It's De-Lovely"...
15 years-ish later, Hal would turn detective (Barney Miller),
but in the beginning, he was a musical leading man. 
These shots are from Masterwork's cast recording library.

 Russian spies crop up in Sunday's show as well!
Above, "Siberia" in the movie version of Silk Stockings, 1957,
with Joseph Buloff, Jules Munshin, and Peter Lorre
as Ivanov, Brankov, and Bibinski.
Looks like Peter had a flair for Russian folk dance!

 Above, an Al Hirshfeld take on the Broadway version (1955)
that starred Hildegaard Neff and Don Ameche,
and there our trio of spies was played by
Leon Belasco, Henry Lasco, and David Opatoshu.
We'll hear their version of "Too Bad."
Both the film AND staged versions of Stockings
did ROTTEN at the box office
despite the Cole Porter tunes.
 Richard Rodgers wrote No Strings on his own,
his first and only solo Broadway go 'round. 
It starred Diahann Carroll (above)
and Richard Kiley. 
The triumvirate on opening night, below.
 The casting was deemed progressive for its time.
Rodgers said he chose Diahann for the lead
after seeing her appear on The Tonight Show, and that
"Rather than shrinking from the issue of race, 
such an approach would demonstrate our respect for the audience's ability to accept our theme free from rhetoric or sermons."
 Replacements in the cast continued the bi-racial theme.
Go Richard! :)
 Diahann won a Tony Award for her work,
but shared the award that year with a 24 year old 
Italian lyric soprano named...

 Anna Maria Alberghetti!
Carnival (which at first had a ! at the end of it)
had the music and lyrics of Bob Merrill.
Gower Champion directed and he was the one to remove the !.
("It's a not a block buster, it's a gentle show.")
Anna was cast as Lili
(tho producer David Merrick first wanted Leslie Caron),
and she got to sing the break-out song of the show, 
"Love Makes The World Go Round".
In the shadows above, Jerry Orbach, looking ominous if fuzzy.
Kaye Ballard played The Incomparable Rosalie (below)...

 and more Rosalie below (with STRINGS!)
and James Mitchell, as Marco The Magnificent.
The "gentle" non-! show lasted almost 2 years on Broadway.
Both Carnival and No Strings were nominated for
Best Musical,
but the award that year (1962) went to How To Succeed! 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Playlist For Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017: It ain't Christmas til the fat man...

As I type this, the west wind (and its witch) are raging outside. Whatever leaves were staple-gunned to their trees will surely be off by the morning. My cousin has just bought a snow blower, the ugly sweaters are sold out at TJMaxx, and Bing/Nat/Frank and Rosemary are warbling old carols on every station...except for Jazz 90.1 of course, which offers (IMHO) much more sophisticated holiday fare. But for sure, tis the season, no matter if your eggnog is low-fat or premium or on the rocks.

But no Christmas songs on 2 on the Aisle! Not yet anyway. Surprise, surprise, surprise (tip of the hat to Jim Nabors!), there are NOT hundreds of Broadway holiday songs. And those that do exist will be heard on my December 24th show, all herded into 2 fabulous hours, you can be sure! So grit your teeth and listen to "other" music this Sunday, like Bernadette and Audra...Julie and Zero...a lovely theme...and one most happy fella.

Cuz back "in the day", we got our Christmas tree on the 22nd. We put up decorations on the 22nd. We let Thanksgiving's aura slowly dissipate (that's turkey and dressing and Uncle Bill's cigar fumes to you) and only started Christmas-ing when school closed. Then. THEN. And anyway, if you put up a real tree (as I do) on December 1st, there won't be a needle left by brunch on the 25th. Buy me a silver (or pink!) aluminum, then we'll talk. :)

Carousel (La Valse a Mille Temps)(Elly Stone, Shawn Elliot, Alice Whitfield,
      Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris)
Wouldn't It Be Lovely (Julie Andrews, Ensemble, My Fair Lady)
It's A Lovely Day Today (Russell Nype, Galina Talya, Call Me Madam)
Isn't This A Lovely Day (To Be Caught In The Rain) (Fred Astaire, Top Hat)
A Lovely Day To Be Out Of Jail (Patricia Isaacs, Lilias White, The Life)
Lovely (Brian Davies, Preshy Marker, A Funny Thing Happened On The
      Way To The Forum)
On How To Be Lovely (Audrey Hepburn, Kay Thompson, Silk Stockings)
Lovely (Reprise)(Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, A Funny Thing Happened On
      The Way To The Forum)
It's De-Lovely (Hal Linden, Barbara Lang, Anything Goes)
A Lovely Night (Julie Andrews, Cinderella)
In Izzenschnooken On The Lovely Essenzook Zee (Elizabeth Parrish, Little
      Mary Sunshine)
A Perfectly Lovely Surprise (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Murder For Two)
Love Makes The World Go 'Round (Anna Maria Alberghetti, Carnival)
Always, Always You (Kaye Ballard, James Mitchell, Carnival)
Grand Imperial Cirque De Paris (Ensemble, Carnival)
Uptown, Downtown (Craig Lucas, Marry Me A Little)
The Story Of Lucy And Jessie (Lee Remick, Follies)
Ah But Underneath (Diana Rigg, Follies)
Just In Time (Judy Garland, A Musical Anthology)
I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone (Audra McDonald, Lady Day at
      Emerson's Bar And Grill)
Not A Day Goes By (Bernadette Peters, Sondheim, Etc.)
Make Someone Happy (Audra McDonald, Go Back Home)
Siberia (Peter Lorre, Jules Munshin, Joseph Buloff, Silk Stockings)
Nitchevo (Jean Pierre Aumont, Ensemble, Tovarich)
Too Bad (Peter Lorre, Jules Munshin, Joseph Buloff, Silk Stockings)
The Sweetest Sounds (Diahann Carroll, Richard Kiley, No Strings)
La La La (Noelle Adams, Alvin Epstein, No Strings)
Do I Hear A Waltz? (Elizabeth Allen, Do I Hear A Waltz?)
Something Good (Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, The Sound Of Music)
The Most Happy Fella (Robert Weede, Company, The Most Happy Fella)
Standing On The Corner (Shorty Long, Ensemble, The Most Happy Fella)
Abbondanza (Arthur Rubin, Rico Froehlich, John Hensen, The Most
      Happy Fella)
Big "D" (Susan Johnson, Shorty Long, The Most Happy Fella)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Playlist for Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017: One More Once!

This coming Sunday, I have to be in a parade. A DJ, I'm kidding. No, for this "parade" I wear a different hat. I am a Lawn Chair Lady, part of a phalanx of ladies of a certain age, who cavort down the street with boas and bling and "dance" their way into your heart! And Sunday is a (no doubt) chilly winter event that we will participate in. Hence my absence from Jazz 90.1, and hence a recorded show.

This one's from September 24th (2017) with a couple of tweaks, but know that I'll be back live on December 10th, with "bells on"! Vive la Broadway!

Deep Beneath The City (Company, In Transit)
Nobody (Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, Company, Bandstand)
I Know A Guy (Corey Cott, Bandstand)
A Band In New York City (Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, Brandon J. Ellis,
      Alex Bender, Ensemble, Bandstand)
Back On Top (Patti Lupone, War Paint)
Dinosaurs (John Dossett, Douglas Sills, War Paint)
Beauty In The World (Patti Lupone, Christine Ebersole, War Paint)
Bidin' My Time (Mary Martin, Girl Crazy)
My Ship (Maria Friedman, Lady In The Dark)
This is All Very New To Me (Barbara Cook, Plain And Fancy)
Civilization (Danny Kaye, The Andrew Sisters, Angel In The Wings)
Nothing (Priscilla Lopez, A Chorus Line)
Something (Douglas Bernstein, Upstairs At O'Neals)
What'd I Miss? (Daveed Diggs, Ensemble, Hamilton)
What Did You Miss? (Nicholas Edwards, Chris Anthony Giles, Spamilton)
Not For The Life Of Me/NYC/Astonishing (Sutton Foster, Live At The
      Cafe Carlyle)
Air Conditioner (Sutton Foster, Live At The Cafe Carlyle)
My Heart Was Set On You (Sutton Foster, Live At The Cafe Carlyle)
Finishing The Hat (Mandy Patinkin, Sunday In The Park With George)
Poems (Sab Shimono, Isao Sato, Pacific Overtures)
Ladies In Their Sensitivities (Edmund Lyndeck, Jake Eric Williams,
      Victor Garber, Sarah Rice, Sweeney Todd)
Have You Ever Been On Stage (Evalyn Baron, Hermoine, Scrambled Feet)
Funny/The Duck Joke (Andrea Martin, Lannyl Stephens, My Favorite Year)
Saturday Night Obsession (Erin Mackey, In Transit)
But, Ya Know (James Snyder, Margo Seibert, In Transit)
A Little Friendly Advice (Moya Angela, Company, In Transit)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Broadway side dishes!

 Our More or Less corner,
above with Rae Allen and ShoeLESS Joe From Hannibal Mo.
Damn Yankees hit Broadway in 1955,
and along with its star, Gwen Verdon,
featured, from left, Russ Brown, Rae, Ray Walston,
and Steven Douglass (the shoeLESS one).

 The many faces of Jackie Hoffman,
Broadway's present-day answer to Carol Burnett,
who started off as a member of the Second City comedy troupe.
We'll hear her as Prudy Pendleton
(she also played the Gym Teacher and The Matron)
 in Hairspray.
"The Legend Of Miss BaltiMORE Crabs"

 Tony Roberts and Robert Morse
in Sugar!
PenniLESS Bums
(penniMORE in this shot, I guess!,
with the music of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill.
 And then we'll celebrate Arthur Schwartz's birthday!
Couldn't resist this pic of two Broadway darlings,
Ethel and Mary...
and Mary below with Jack De Lon,
at the recording session of Jennie,
an Arthur Schwartz/Howard Dietz creation.
 Arthur's birthday is Nov. 25th (1900).

The "plot" of Jennie:
 Married acting couple tours the states, with
many costume changes, and unlinked musical numbers.
There. Done. And so was the show.

 Shirley Booth and Ronnie Jensen
in By The Beautiful Sea,
a Schwartz/Dorothy Fields collaboration.
"Lottie Gibson Specialty"

So here's the big story about the song "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan": Arthur got a job as a summer camp counselor 
(Brandt Lake Camp for Boys in the Adirondacks),
knowing that Lorenz Hart 
who, in his 20s, already had a lyric-writing rep, worked there.
Anyway, the two got together, writing shows for the campers,
and overwork is probably the best excuse for the Hart lyric,
"I Love To Lie Awake In Bed",
and basically never get up! 
Arthur wrote the melody, which turned out 
WORTH IT 10 years later, 
when it was  reincarnated with a Howard Dietz lyric.
The story of the song continues, with Clifton Webb,
star of The Little Show (1929)
asking (last minute, of course) for another number
that he could perform in a suit, 
and debonairly frustrate-over his lost romance with.
Voila..."I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan" 
was ferreted from Schwartz's trunk of tunes, 
with Howard providing the needed lyric make-over. 
 Of course in the Hollywood tradition,
where MORE is MORE,
it was resuscitated for use in The Band Wagon (above)
for debonair Jack Buchanan and Fred Astaire.

Arthur would go on to do 11 musicals with Howard.
He also wrote with lyricists Leo Robin, Frank Loesser,
Ira Gershwin, Yip Harburg, Johnny Mercer and Oscar Hammerstein.
He was inducted into the Song Writers Hall of Fame in 1981,
and passed away in the fall of 1984.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Vintage Thanksgiving Parade Pics

 Macy's began their Thanksgiving Day Parade
back in 1924, 
to celebrate their New York store's expansion
(one entire city block).
Although it was held on Thanksgiving morning,
it was called The Christmas Parade,
in hopes that it would bring throngs of parade goers
to shop the next day. 
Enjoy the pics of a long ago, less crowded paraded route,
and some weird balloons!

 The very first Santa float
from that first parade in 1924.