Thursday, January 19, 2017

Iconic Icons. Does that work?

Dick Gautier,
of Culver City, CA,
was working at The Blue Angel in New York,
doing his comedy/singing act
when Destiny sat down in the front row.
Dick didn't want to audition for the role of Conrad Birdie,
which he found intimidating.
He wasn't fond of rock and roll OR Elvis.
Needless to say (so why am I saying it?),
he eventually accepted the part.
Brooks Atkinson called his portrayal in Bye Bye Birdie
 “a good, unsubtle cartoon of hideous reality."

Above, Dick with Paul Lynde (Mr. MacAfee)
and Michael J. Pollard, Jr. (Hugo).
Dick would go on to do several television appearances,
a few movies (like Divorce American Style),
voice overs, and cartooning.

The original set for "The Telephone Hour"
opening, designed by Robert Randolph.
Below, the creators:
Lee Adams (lyrics), Charles Strouse (music)
Goddard Lieberson (musical recording engineer)
and Elliot Lawrence (assistant).

Robert Alda and Isabel Bigley
as Sky Masterson and Sister Sarah
in the original Guys And Dolls.
Both won Tonys for their portrayals...
althought composer Frank Loesser had his problems with Isabel.
At one point, he slapped her!
Flowers and myriad phone calls later,
she agreed to continue with the show.

Vivian Blaine as Adelaide.
Originally Viv was cast as Sister Sarah.
When that didn't fit, Frank L. wrote her a tailored-made part.
Above with The Hot Box Girls...and "Take Back Your Mink."

Stubby Kaye got to "own" the part of Nicely-Nicely Johnson,
with 2 show stoppers:
"Fugue For Tin Horns" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat"
He and Viv were the only ones to repeat their roles in the movie version.

Frank Loesser,
composer/lyricist of Guys And Dolls.
Despite his volatility (or perhaps because of it),
Frank's music was called,
"so right for the show and so completely lacking in banality, 
that it amounts to an artistic triumph."

After Jo Swerling took a shot at adapting 
Damon Runyon's short stories into a script, 
it was Abe Burrows' turn.
Abe was a script doctor, director and radio performer
of the early 1940s.
He helped the mugs of Guys and Dolls stay loyal to Runyon's style.
Great Abe quote:
"The libretto is not the most important part of the musical show…
but it is."

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