Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bye Bye Baby!

I'm off til September 10th!
Recorded 2 On The Aisle til then...
so it's Bye Bye Baby for now.
Above Tommy Noonan and Marilyn,
in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953,
with songs by 
Jule Styne, Leo Robin, Hoagy Carmichael and Harold Adamson.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Like the charms on a bracelet...

 "Bosum Buddies"
even after several years away from their original performance
in Mame.
Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury,
dripping sequins.

 Rosalind Russell
at a cast party for Wonderful Town.
Let's pretend she's singing "Swing!",
a little known Leonard Bernstein gem from that show.

 Ruth Kobart, as Domina and Jack Gilford, as Hysterium
in rather unflattering "Roman" costumes,
by Tony Walton (yup, Julie Andrew's first husband).
We'll hear Ruth and "That Dirty Old Man".
(She's speaking of her husband, of course.)

 Donald O'Connor, Ethel Merman, George Sanders,
and Vera-Ellen
in the movie version of Call Me Madam.
Ethel sang "The Best Thing For You (Would Be Me)"
in both the Broadway (1950) AND movie version (1953);
she always WAS sure of herself!
The NY Post called The Merm's performance
"indescribably soul-satisfying".

Gene Barry and George Hearn (and a great pair of gams!)
in La Cage Aux Folles.
Up until 2 weeks before opening,
the producing/directing team did not want to keep Gene
in the role of Georges,
yet he would go on to win a Tony nomination.
His co-star ended up taking that award home,
but still...
We'll hear this duo perform
"With You On My Arm".

Heidi Blickenstaff, center...with Brian d'Arcy James
in Something Rotten!,
plus (from left) Kate Reinders,  John Cariani and Brad Oscar.
Ben Brantley of The Times was not amused with this musical:
"This production wallows in the puerile puns, 
giggly double-entendres, lip-smacking bad taste and goofy pastiche numbers often found in college revues."
I guess that's why I liked it! :)
"Right Hand Man"
with Heidi and Brian (and a bit of John) will tickle
our ear drums on Sunday.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

...and Snazzy! (Don't forget him!)

with music by Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor,
and starring Laura Osnes (of Grease, South Pacific,
Anything Goes, and Cinderella fame)
and Corey Cott (Newsies, Gigi).
It opened in April of this year (2017),
with Andy Blankenbuehler as director/choreographer.

 It's rousing, for sure.
Some critics gave it a thumbs up;
others, like The NY Times,called it
"undercooked" and "indecisive"...
swing and be-bop, along side post-traumatic effects
of WWII.
The production was also criticized for its lack of 
diversity in the cast,
which is surprising, especially when you look
at Blankenbuehler's earlier work with In The Heights and Hamilton.

 As a cast recording, however,
it rocks!
We'll hear 4 selections from this show,
like "You Deserve It", our opener.

 City Of Angels
proffers some L.A. Sleaze for our Sunday.
Above, the Paper Mill Playhouse production.
Cy Coleman's saxes, David Zippel's wordsmithing...
nice match up! 
 The definitive "Jet Set" photo
from Catch Me If You Can, 
with Aaron Tveit, front and center.
A Scott Wittman/Marc Shaiman 60s pastiche,
that didn't pastiche hard enough.
Closed in 5 months.
But it lives on Sunday, on 2 on the Aisle!
 The Sweet Smell Of Success (above)
and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (below)
both starred John Lithgow and a sassy-city style.
Success was criticized for being "too sweet",
(not "Dirt"-y enough?)...
Scoundrels' Norbert Leo Butz got high praise for his star turn.
Great line from that show:
"Her people are in oil." "Crude?" "Well, she is a little pushy."

 And then because I need a "fix",
we'll hear from Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway...
hey it's been a year since my last "Hot Dog"!
Vincent Pastore, Nick Cordero, Karen Ziemba, Marin Mazzie, 
Brooks Ashmanskas, Zach Braff and Helene Yorke starred.
It fizzled over the summer of 2014.
But classic songs of the 20s make it fizz again, on the cast album at least!
(Below Helene, with John Borstelmann, Vendor Du Jour)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Playlist for Sunday, August 6, 2017: Brassy. Sassy. Sleazy.

No, they're not the 3 unknown dwarfs of Snow White fame. Though Sleazy sounds like a not too distant cousin of Sneezy. (Disney was actually toying with the following names for those small seven: Jumpy, Deafy, Dizzy, Hickey, Wheezy, Baldy, Gabby, Nifty, Sniffy, Swift, Lazy, Puffy, Stuffy, Tubby, Shorty, and Burpy. He saw the light and I'm glad.) No, it's our 2 on the Aisle theme for the day. My fave Broadway style...blaring horns, sexy saxes, brushes on the snare, smoke rings, little tables circling the dance floor, low lights, martoonis...I mean, martinis.  Broadway's equivalent of that.

Which means the sounds of Cy Coleman, Dirt, Donny Novitski (yup, the new Bandstand musical), Cool, Tiger Rag, even Roz Russell will get in on the act (Lenny's Swing swings!). A few breathers, of course...intermissions with Audra and Jessica and the Callaway Siblings...but then we'll be right back to hyperventilating with Bullets (Over Broadway, not Cheboygan) for a couple of perennial favorites.

And then I'm off. On vaca. For 4 weeks (an uber-long bike trip. I may not survive. Scatter my ashes in the gutter that fronts the Broadhurst.) Yes, you may miss the scintillating hours of LIVE 2 on the Aisle, but canned 2 on the Aisle (from the Broadway pantry) ain't too shabby. Just add water and stir, or mayo and fold, or... shake up a martooni. You Deserve It. 

Happy August.

You Deserve It (Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, Ensemble, Bandstand)
Prologue - Theme From The City Of Angels (James Naughton, Ensemble,
       City Of Angels)
They Just Keep Moving The Line (Megan Hilty, Bombshell)
Jet Set (Aaron Tveit, Company, Catch Me If You Can)
Cool (Michael Callan, Ensemble, West Side Story)
I Understand (Robert Chisholm, On The Town)
Three Dance Episodes (Instrumental, On The Town)
Swing! (Rosalind Russell, Wonderful Town)
Dance At The Gym (Instrumental, West Side Story)
Dirt (Ensemble, The Sweet Smell Of Success)
That Dirty Old Man (Ruth Kobart, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way
       To The Forum)
Dirty Rotten Number (John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, Dirty Rotten  
We Deserve Each Other (Joan McCracken, Bob Fortier, Me and Juliet)
The Best Thing For You (Ethel Merman, Call Me Madam)
Could You Use Me? (Eddie Chappell, Louise Carlyle, Girl Crazy)
Right Hand Man (Heidi Blickenstaff, Something Rotten!)
Donny Novitski (Corey Cott, Bandstand)
Love Will Come And Find Me Again (Laura Osnes, Bandstand)
Nobody (Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, Ensemble, Bandstand)
Bosom Buddies (Angela Lansbury, Bea Arthur, Mame)
Secondary Characters (Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff, [title of show])
Friendship (Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Sibling Revelry)
With You On My Arm (Gene Barry, George Hearn, La Cage Aux Folles)
Wonderful You (Audra McDonald, Build A Bridge)
Stars And The Moon (Jessica Molaskey, Songs For A New World)
Baltimore (Audra McDonald, Go Back Home)
Can't Take You Nowhere (Jessica Molaskey, Dave Frishberg,
       At The Algonquin)
Tiger Rag (Nick Cordera, Vincent Pastore, Helene Yorke, Ensemble,
       Bullets Over Broadway)
Tain't A Fit Night Out For Man Or Beast (Gangster Ensemble, Flappers,
       Bullets Over Broadway)
The Hot Dog Song (Helene Yorke, John Borstelmann, Bullets Over Broadway)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Tribute to Lorenzo Fuller

 Born into a show biz family,
Lorenzo Fuller (born March 22, 1919, in Stockton, Kansas)
began by playing the harp in his family's act.
He went on to study voice at Juillard;
he could also play several different instruments
and sing in a ton of languages.

 Radio and television shows
(he had his own prior to Nat King Cole's),
voice coaching...and a star turn
in Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate,
as the Dance Captain, singing "Too Darn Hot".
A big step up from his previous show a year before that,
Finian's Rainbow,
where he was in the "Passion Pilgrim" ensemble!

Fred Davis, Lorenzo, and Eddie Sledge
(father of the Sisters Sledge!)
at the recording of Kiss Me Kate.
He toured with Porgy & Bess as Sportin' Life,
and also worked as the company's assistant musical director.
Writer, arranger, entertainer, coach...
Lorenzo passed away in 2011 in New York City. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Dreams, Cake, Alternative Medicine, and Helpful Mice

 Although Amelie (the Musical)
lasted only 56 performances,
reviews of the cast album were good.
Above Phillipa Soo and Adam Chanler-Berat
who we'll hear sing
"Where Do We Go From Here?"
Below, Phillipa and Savvy Crawford 
who plays the young Amelie. 

 Opening night curtain call of
Groundhog Day, The Musical,
with Andy Karl (center above and below) as Phil Connors.
Note tacky B&B. Note clock.
Andy was a favorite to win a Tony for 
Best Actor in a Musical
(having scooped the Drama Desk and Outer Circle Critics Awards),
but the Tony went to Ben Platt
of Dear Evan Hansen.

 Alice Ripley, of Next To Normal,
a Pulitzer Prize winning musical back in 2010.
Below with Aaron Tveit
in "I Dreamed A Dance".
Music, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey.

 "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes"
from Cinderella 
was sung by Ilene Woods (below).
Thanks to the success of this project, 
Disney's 12th animated movie,
the company was saved from bankruptcy
(Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Bambi had NOT made money,
and wouldn't for years to come). 
Ilene was selected from over 400 candidates.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Dream. Of. Summer.

 Well, if it isn't Ethel Barrymore!
Debbie Reynolds knows how to enter a room
in Singin' In The Rain,
from which we'll hear 
"All I Do Is Dream Of You".
Just like the scene in Some Like It Hot,
but without the machine gun. :)

 Maria Karnilova and Zero Mostel
don't rest easy in "Tevye's Dream"
from Fiddler On The Roof.
Doesn't that look like "John Boy" on the upper right?

 Had to include this shot of 
Leonard Nimoy
who toured as Tevye!

 An 18 year old Bernadette Peters
with "The Sailor Of 'Her' Dreams",
David Christmas.
Dames at Sea began off off off off Broadway in

 Jonathan Lucas as Paris,
abducting Kaye Ballard who played Helen (of Troy?)
in The Golden Apple,
which was based on the Illiad and the Odyssey.
Bibi Osterwald played Lovey Mars.

 Kaye got to sing the only song that survived
to be almost a jazz standard,
"Lazy Afternoon".
Below, Stephen Douglass as Ulysses
returning home to find everyone playing parlor games??
Did they even realize he was gone?
 Despite supposedly "rave" reviews,
audiences were ho-hum, and it closed in 4 months.

 Sammy Davis, Jr.
in Golden Boy, done in 1964,
with music by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams
(Bye Bye Birdie, Applause, All American, etc.).
With Sammy jetting off to nightclub engagements,
and calling a lot of the musical's "shots",
Strouse and Adams had a difficult writing time.
And the subject matter was a far cry from
Hello Dolly and Funny Girl,
playing right down the block.
We'll hear "Night Song".

 The quintessential summer song 
straight from Rydell High,
"Summer Nights",
sung by the original Broadway cast of Grease.
Barry Bostwick (with hubcaps!),
Adrienne Barbeau (on the hood)
and Carole Demas (who seems to be off studying in the library).
Which Pink Lady are YOU?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Playlist For Sunday, July 30, 2017: Damp Dreams

I can't seem to get revved this morning. Part of me just wants to crawl back under the covers, rearrange my 17 pillows atop my head, and go back to Dreamland. A sodden summer, a smashed bike trip, and I'm losing my tan. Poor Little Me. When reality crowds, nit-picks, adds calories and moss (on my north side), I dream.

So let's try to slay this damp dragon with 2 themes (well, it IS 2 on the Aisle, right?):  Dreams (the nice kind, not the type you have to analyze with your therapist, however alternative) and Summer (as in the REAL summer, 92 degrees in the shade, in need of an iced "something", sand in your shoes, everyone-in-the-pool, we-all-scream-for-ice-cream, Noxema SUMMER!). We'll have to pretend, esp. on that last one, but what is Broadway, if not the inspirational uplifter that it is? When I spin "Too Darn Hot", the sweat will magically appear on my brow and I will reach for a cold one. THERE!  Solved.

Yeah, I'm mopey. But I'll get in the mood. Just need another pillow.

All I Do Is Dream Of You (Debbie Reynolds, Ensemble, Singin' In The Rain)
Baby, Dream Your Dream (Helen Gallagher, Thelma Oliver, Sweet Charity)
The Sailor Of My Dreams (Bernadette Peters, Dames At Sea)
I Dreamed A Dance (Alice Ripley, Next To Normal)
Tevye's Dream (Zero Mostel, Maria Karnilova, Carol Sawyer, Fiddler On
       The Roof)
Times Are Hard For Dreamers (Savvy Crawford, Amelie)
Dream Variations (Audra McDonald, Way Back To Paradise)
First You Dream (Karen Ziemba, Steel Pier)
I Have Dreamed (Julie Andrews)
If I Could Tell Her (Ben Platt, Laura Dreyfuss, Dear Evan Hansen)
What Baking Can Do (Jessie Mueller, Waitress)
Where Do We Go From Here (Phillipa Soo, Adam Chanler-Berat, Amelie)
Stuck (Andy Karl, "Healers", Groundhog Day)
Do You Ever Dream Of Vienna? (Elizabeth Parrish, Mario Siletti,
       Little Mary Sunshine)
A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes (Ilene Woods, Cinderella)
Dulcinea/The Impossible Dream (Joan Diener, Richard Kiley,
       Man Of La Mancha)
Lazy Afternoon (Kaye Ballard, The Golden Apple)
Summertime (Lena Horne, Porgy And Bess)
Blame It On The Summer Night (Julie Migenes, Rags)
Summer Nights (Barry Bostwick, Carol Demas, Ensemble, Grease)
Night Song (Sammy Davis, Jr., Golden Boy)
Too Darn Hot (Lorenzo Fuller, Ensemble, Kiss Me, Kate)
A Summer In Ohio (Sherie Rene Scott, The Last Five Years)
The Girls Of Summer (Suzanne Henry, Marry Me A Little)
The Song Of A Purple Summer (Lauren Pritchard, Company,
       Spring Awakening)
Smoke Dreams (Jo Stafford and The Starlighters)
I Could Use A Dream (Alice Faye, Tony Martin, Sally, Irene And Mary)
I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls (Jacqueline Wells, Bohemian Girl)
I'll Never Have To Dream Again (Connee Boswell)
All I Do Is Dream Of You (Gene Kelly, Singin' In The Rain)

Friday, July 21, 2017

From Hoy Polloi to Haute Monde

 "All I Owe Ioway!"
or something like that.
State Fair was the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical
written specifically for film, 
the 1945 version which starred Jeanne Craine and Dana Andrews.
A staged version was done in 1969 with Tommy Tune (in St. Louis),
but the one in 1996 made it to Broadway,
with songs from other R&H shows
(Pipe Dream, Me & Juliet) added in.
Above, John Davidson, Ben Wright, Kathryn Crosby, and Andrea McArdle. 
State Fair was the last show that David Merrick produced.

Irving Berlin's music and Moss Hart's book 
brought Face the Music to the stage in 1932,
smack dab in the middle of the Depression,
when times were so tough that the Astors
are hanging out at the Automat.
The Encores! revival of 2007
brought Walter Bobbie (below), Judy Kaye (below that!), 
Lee Wilkof (not below!),
Jeffry Denman (above),and Meredith Patterson (also above!)
together for a rematch. 
Much fun evidently ensued.
 We'll hear Jeffry and "Manhattan Madness!"

From Babes In Arms,
the 1990 studio cast recording,
we'll hear Judy Kaye with "Way Out West".
Judy is a Broadway perennial,
having debuted in Grease in 1970,
"overnight star"-ing when she replaced Madeline Kahn in
On The Twentieth Century.
From opera to acting to belting to award-winning...
she's done it all successfully.
 And if you're going with the Hoe-Down genre,
gotta have Nanette Fabray
with "Louisiana Hayride" from The Bandwagon.
Arthur Schwartz/Howard Dietz were the musical perpetrators. 

 [title of show] was
written by Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell
in about 3 weeks for a New York musical theatre festival,
and there they are above with Susan Blackwell and 
Heidi Blickenstaff.
It succeeded well enough to transfer to off and finally 
ON Broadway. 
The set is 4 different kinds of chairs,
and Larry who plays the keyboard back in the corner.
Below, Heidi and Hunter...with "Monkeys And Playbills".

From the 2011 revival of Anything Goes
with Colin Donnell and Sutton Foster,
we'll hear "You're The Top",
"Bon Voyage" and the finale.
Below, cutting capers with Joel Grey!

Above, the 1962 revival,
that starred Eileen Rodgers, Hal Linden, and
Kenneth Mars.
We'll hear Eileen (below)
with "Take Me Back To Manhattan"
originally from The New Yorkers,
but added to this revival.
Eileen debuted in Fiorello!,
and went on to do Tenderloin, 
played Reno Sweeney in Anything,
Kelly (an infamous flop, 1 performance?
I'm going to have to find THAT ONE!)
and made several television appearances in the 1960s.

Had to put this one in!
Ethel M and Frank S in a live 1954 television performance
of Anything Goes!
No love was lost between these two "divas"!