Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Sundae for Sunday!

 Anastasia opened on Broadway in April!
Composer/lyricist team
Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens
wrote some of the music (6 songs)
20 years ago for the animated movie version...
and have now added 16 more for the staged production.
Above, Nicole Scimeca as the young Anastasia 
and Mary Beth Peil as the Dowager Empress.

 A book by Terrence McNally, 
lush orchestrations by Doug Besterman 
and great design elements by Aaron Rhyne, Alexander Dodge, and 
Donald Holder.
Above and center, Christy Altomare in her Broadway debut
as Anya,
and scary Russian ghosts.

Above, Caroline O'Connor and John Bolton,
with "The Countess And The Common Man".

 Derek Klena and Christy, above and below.
Reviews have been a mixed bag:
Ben Brantley wrote that like Anastasia, the character,
..."the show has its own troubling case of multiple personality disorder"
with death squads murdering royals in one scene,
and comic relief "do overs" (as in My Fair lady "do overs")
in the next. 

 Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
is another blast from the past. 
This go-round it has Christian Borle
(late of Something Rotten! and Falsettos)
as the Wonk-meister.
In its previous West End version, 
the children were played by children,
the Oompah Loompahs by Oompah Loompahs...
but on Broadway we have wee and not so wee 
(Augustus, above, in the sweater) adults.
We'll hear two of their selfish (shell-fish) solos,
"Veruca Says" and "The Queen Of Pop".

 According to some critics,
it's got "Sugar, But Not Enough Spice",
Christian was not found wanting, however...
playing Willie closer to Gene Wilder's take
than Johnny Depp's (thank the chocolate gods!).
The show uses music from the movie
by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley
("The Candy Man", "Pure Imagination", etc.)
and new stuff by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman
(yes, those Hairspray dudes).

 The part of Charlie is alternated between 3 actors;
above is Ryan Foust,
below, Ryan Sell.
Both seem pretty excited to be wearing the same sweater.
(Oh, and then there's that ticket.)

 As Grandpa Joe is 
John Rubenstein
who, among other roles, played the original Pippin. 
Emily Padgett plays Charlie Bucket's mom.

Ryan Sell, Jack Ryan Flynn, and Ryan Foust...
3 mini Willies! 
(Change your name to Ryan pre-audition, okay kids?)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Playlist For Sunday, July 2, 2017: C'est Moi!

Back live and full of spunk. Full of beans. Full of myself.  And that's the theme for this week's 2 On The Aisle: My Huge Ego. Me. C'est Moi. Although we may not have time for all of them, because (Surprise!) Broadway has a ton of ego-driven songs. It's Me, You're Gonna Hear From Me, Little Me, You'll Never Get Away From Me, You And Me (But Mostly Me)...the cannon of "Me" numbers into the hundreds! Maybe next week we'll do YOU, but for now, Me.

And we'll also spotlight (after ME!) two new Broadway shows: Anastasia and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Both of these musicals sprang from their movie versions (a la from the head of Zeus), with some of their original music still intact (and new stuff added in). Neither have acquired stellar reviews, but music-wise, I find them lilting, or at least evanescently FUN. Sort of like pop corn. Good for watching movies. Done.

I just didn't want to overwhelm you with too much Me. :)

Journey To The Past (Christy Altomare, Anastasia)
C'est Moi (Robert Goulet, Camelot)
Little Me (Nancy Andrews, Virginia Martin, Little Me)
It's Me (Joan McCracken, Isabel Bigley, Me And Juliet)
Lucky To Be Me (John Battles, On The Town)
Me And My Girl (Robert Lindsay, Emma Thompson, Me And My Girl)
If Only You Had Cared For Me (Ursula Smith, Frank Thornton, Me And My
Thinking Of No One But Me (Nick Ullett, Jane Summerhays, Me And My Girl)
You'll Never Get Away From Me (Ethel Merman, Jack Klugman, Gypsy)
Where Would You Be Without Me (Cyril Ritchard, The Roar Of The
      Greasepaint, The Smell Of The Crowd)
You And Me (Julie Andrews, Robert Preston, Victor/Victoria)
You And Me (But Mostly Me)(Andrew Rannells, Josh Gad, The Book
      Of Mormon)
The Candy Man (Christian Borle, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory)
When Veruca Says (Ben Crawford, Emma Pfaelle, Charlie And The
      Chocolate Factory)
Pure Imagination (Christian Borle, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory)
The Queen Of Pop (Alan H. Green, Trista Dollison, Charlie And The
      Chocolate Factory)
You Were Meant For Me (Gene Kelly, Singin' In The Rain)
You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me (Tammy Grimes, 42nd Street)
She Loves Me (Zachary Levi, She Loves Me)
What Makes Me Love Him? (Barbara Harris, The Apple Tree)
When You Want Me (Grover Dale, Patricia Harty, Sail Away)
You're Gonna Hear From Me (Bea Arthur, Just Between Friends)
Call Me Savage (Carol Burnett, Fade Out - Fade In)
The Real Me (Eileen Herlie, All-American)
Don't Blame Me (Ann Miller, Sugar Babies)
Love Me Or Leave Me (Doris Day, Love Me Or Leave Me)
She Is Not Thinking Of Me (Daniel Massey, Gigi)
The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me-Blues (Gene Nelson, Follies)
Lie To Me (Sherie Rene Scott, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Women On The Verge
      Of A Nervous Breakdown)
No Man Left For Me (Dee Hoty, The Will Rogers Follies)
Paris Holds The Key (To Your Heart)(John Bolton, Derek Klena, Christy
      Altomare, Anastasia)         
Once Upon A December (Christy Altomare, Anastasia)
Land Of Yesterday (Caroline O'Connor, Anastasia)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Playlist for Sunday, June 25, 2017: Just toss another waffle on the Weber!

I'm playing hooky today, recovering from a hiatus in Memphis, that toddlin' bluesy town. Hooked NOW on chicken and waffles, Sun and Stax, lavender martinis and ducks on parade. Wanna go back. Like. Now.

So you'll be hearing a 2 On The Aisle from January 2017 (I've recopied the playlist below, tho there will be some tailoring. Pay attention). While I put my feet up, write an entry or 7 in my memoir, listen to Mavis, and Respect Myself. See you next Sunday, with a more or less LIVE show.

Hugs and Kisses.

Overture (Instrumental, Bye Bye Birdie)
The Telephone Hour (Ensemble, Bye Bye Birdie)
Spanish Rose (Chita Rivera, Bye Bye Birdie)
A Lot Of Livin' To Do (Dick Gautier, Bye Bye Birdie)
The Oldest Established (Sam Levene, Johnny Silver, Stubby Kaye, 
      Guys And Dolls)
Take Back Your Mink (Vivian Blaine, The Hot Box Girls, Guys And Dolls)
If I Were A Bell (Isabel Bigley, Guys And Dolls)
Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat (Stubby Kaye, Guys And Dolls)
Raining In My Heart (Bernadette Peters, Dames At Sea)
Rain On The Roof (Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Follies)
Little Drops Of Rain (Judy Garland, Gay Purree)
Soon It's Gonna Rain (Rita Gardner, Kenneth Nelson, The Fantasticks)
The Rain In Spain (Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison, Robert Coote, My Fair Lady)
Now You Know (Leslie Kritzer, Vanessa Williams, Erin Mackay, Barbara Cook,
      Merrily We Roll Along)
Every Day A Little Death (Patricia Elliot, Victoria Mallory, A Little Night
Barcelona (Dean Jones, Susan Browning, Company)
Buddy's Blues (Mandy Patinkin, Follies)
The Column (John Lithgow, The Sweet Smell Of Success)
One Track Mind (Bryan d'Arcy James, The Sweet Smell Of Success)
Everything's Great (Kevin Tobey, Paula Wayne, Golden Boy)
While The City Sleeps (Billy Daniels, Golden Boy)
If You Hadn't, But You Did (Dolores Gray, Two On The Aisle)
Wherever He Ain't (Bernadette Peters, Mack & Mabel)
Never (Madeline Kahn, George Coe, Dean Dittman, On The Twentieth 
After You've Gone (Leland Palmer, All That Jazz)
Still Hurting (Sherie Rene Scott, The Last Five Years)
Happily Ever After (Carol Burnett, Once Upon A Mattress)
Dahlia Whitney/A Perfectly Lovely Surprise (Murder For Two)
He Did It (Karen Ziemba, Ensemble, Curtains)
Long As I'm Here With You (Sheryl Lee Ralph, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
They Don't Know (Harriet Sansom Harris, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Not For The Life Of Me/Thoroughly Modern Millie (Sutton Foster, Thoroughly
      Modern Millie)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Working Stiffs...and Stiffettes!

 Gwen Verdon, Helen Gallagers and Thelma Oliver
in the original Sweet Charity.
"There's Got To Be Something Better Than This."

 Fred Astaire in Damsel In Distress, 1937,
doing some "Nice Work If You Can Get It".

 Robert Morse (with 60s hair)
atop the rest of the cast of 
How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
I spot Ruth Kobart, Sammy Smith (seated center),
and Rudy Vallee,
but the rest all look like Love Boat castaways to me.

 Charles Nelson Reilly (the original Bud Frump)
 and Claudette Sutherland
in caffeine withdrawal.
"Coffee Break"
in How to...Without Really Trying!

 Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz
in They're Playing Our Song,
which was the Neil Simon rendition of
songwriting duo Marvin Hamlisch and Carol Bayer Sager's
real life relationship.
I guess I know who played who.
Robert looks pretty good for being 100 years old!!! 

 9 To 5,
the staged version,
with Stephanie Block, Megan Hilty, and Allison Janney.
Called a "gaudy, empty musical" that "piles on the flashy accessories like a pre-recession hedge funder run amok at Barney’s",
it managed to run for 6 months. 

Debra Monk as the producer 
in Curtains,
with music by John Kander and Fred Ebb.
"It's A Business", Bambi...
("I put on The Iceman Cometh, and nobody cameth!")

Ohio University's pretty incredible
set for Working.
Despite only 2 months on Broadway,
Working has been produced by high schools, colleges and community groups
for over 40 years.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Cafe de 2 Amelies...

 Based on Amelie (the movie released in 2001), 
Amelie (the musical) had music by Daniel Messe,
lyrics by Messe and Nathan Tysen, and a book by Craig Lucas.
Phillipa Soo played Amelie (above on the left)
and Savvy Crawford, the younger version. 
It opened in March of this year,
and closed 2 months later.

 Adam Chanler-Beret
as Nino.
Below, "Tour De France"...

 Ben Brantley of the NYTimes wrote:
"Although the lyrics have an agreeable flow, 
the score proceeds in a smooth pastel stream that suggests 
pink Champagne gone a bit flat."
There is also a real live gnome,
puppets and an actor in a fish hat,
as young Amelie's best friend 
(she names him Fluffy).
This all worked successfully (tho VERY differently)
in the movie; on the stage, not so much.
 Despite a few references to it being set in Paris
(note menu du jour below),
the music is decidedly NOT French,
in fact it seems to have no nationality at all. 

Audrey Tautou, as Amelie Poulain in the movie...
which made her a star.
Music was by Yann Tiersen,
a composer unafraid to use a toy piano, bicycle wheel, or
when he needs to. 

Flora Guiet played the young Amelie,
and below at the kitchen table 
with Lorella Cravotta who played her mother,

A normal garden gnome who sings not,
about to go on an around the world tour.
With Rufus, who played Amelie's house-bound father.

Amelie on the job
at Cafe de 2 Moulins,
and the real cafe below
in Montmartre.

Mathieu Kassovitz as Nino Quincampoix.
In the movie, it's a motor bike!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Playlist for Sunday, June 18, 2017: That's my stapler!

No, it's not Labor Day. No, I haven't gotten a new job. But while the rest of the world is contemplating summer vacations, running as far away from "employment" as possible, 2 On The Aisle still has its nose to the grindstone and should maybe talk to a therapist about this obsession with work. Hammocks (a-swing), lemonade (a-spiked) and all things a-summer will just have to wait til the following Sunday and beyond, because I've got a few things to file.

We've got 9 To 5, How To Succeed, Working (natch!), and Waitress. We've got Fred, Debra, Gwen...even Snow White buckles down to the Winsockie and whistles that job away (okay, so she had help...practically a regiment!). And out of that work zone (yes, I'll give you a quick "coffee break" to hear...), Amelie (the musical), a show that managed to open and close before I could actually get my hands on the music. Then Amelie (the film) with its French-ier music (yes, one version made me long for the other!). Then 2 songs from Dear Evan, just to lighten your work-a-day load (actually they won't, they're both sorta sad. Sorry.)

And then, back at it, bub. These files ain't gonna...file themselves!

All The Live Long Day (Company, Working)
9 To 5 (Megan Hilty, Stephanie Block, Allison Janney, 9 To 5)
Opening Up (Jessie Mueller, Kimiko Glenn, Keala Settle, Waitress)
Around Here (Allison Janney, Ensemble, 9 To 5)
Coffee, Black (Daniel H. Jenkins, John Cypher, Ensemble, Big)
How To (Robert Morse, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying)
Coffee Break (Charles Nelson Reilly, Claudette Sutherland, How To
        Succeed In Business Without Really Trying)
The Company Way (Robert Morse, Sammy Smith, How To Succeed In    
        Without Really Trying)
Halfway (Savvy Crawford, Phillipa Soo, Amelie)
There's No Place Like Gnome (Manoel Felciano, David Andino, Amelie)
Tour De France (Phillipa Soo, David Andino, Amelie)
The Pajama Game/Racing With The Clock (Eddie Foy, Jr., Ensemble,
        The Pajama Game)
It Isn't Working (Roderick Cooke, Daren Kelly, Grace Keagy, Woman Of
        The Year)
It Needs Work (Kay McClelland, City Of Angels)
Workin' It Out (Robert Klein, Lucie Arnaz, They're Playing Our Song)
There's No Business Like Show Business (Ensemble, Annie, Get Your Gun)
It's A Business (Debra Monk, Ensemble, Curtains)
Nice Work If You Can Get It (Fred Astaire, Damsel In Distress)
Whistle While You Work (Adriana Caselotti, Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs)
La Valse D'Amelie (Instrumental, Amelie)
Guilty (Al Bowly, Amelie)
Les Jours Tristes (Instrumental, Amelie)
Millwork (Robin Lamont, Working)
Neat To Be A Newsboy (Mathew McGrath, Working)
Something To Point To (Company, Working)
So Big / So Small (Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen)
Words Fail (Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen)
There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This (Gwen Verdon, Helen
       Gallagher, Thelma Oliver, Sweet Charity)
If I Could've Been (Company, Working)
Closing Time (Company, Pump Boys And Dinettes)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Place Your Bets!

 Dear Evan Hansen...
Music: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
Starring Ben Platt, Mike Faist, (above)
Rachel Bay Jones and 
Jennifer Laura Thompson (below with Ben).

 Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet Of 1812...
with 12 Tony nominations.
Music: Dave Malloy.
Starring Denee Benton (below), Josh Groban,
and Lucas Steele.

Groundhog Day...
 Music: Tim Minchin
Starring Andy Karl, who is the favorite to win Best Actor,
Barrett Doss as Rita,
and as Ned Ryerson, John Sanders.

  Come From Away...
Music: Irene Sankoff and David Hein.
Though it is a real ensemble piece,
Jenn Colella "stars" as a pilot (above).

 And then 2 "shouldda been nominated" shows:
The Band's Visit (above),
with music by David Yazbek
 (Women On The Verge, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty)
moving to Broadway in October,
starring Katrina Lenk and Tony Shaloub...
and War Paint (below), with music by 
Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (of Grey Gardens fame),
starring Christine Ebersole and Patti Lupone.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tony Sampler (back in the day...)

 Kiss Me Kate,
winner of the first Best Musical Tony,
awarded in 1949.
The musical was inspired by the real-life marriage woes
of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne,
who had similar "Kate" backstage battles
during their performances in The Taming of the Shrew.
Above, Patricia Morison, Alfred Drake, Lisa Kirk, and Harold Lang.

 The 1951 Tony winner (and Pulitzer Prize winner, as well) 
was Guys And Dolls,
with Stubby Kaye, Douglas Deane, and Johnny Silver placing bets, above.
Leading players Robert Alda and Isabel Bigley
also scooped awards,
along with choreographer Michael Kidd and director George S. Kaufman.
 Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner
in The King And I,
"Shall We Dance"-ing!
and why shouldn't they? 
The production won Best Musical of 1952,
Gertrude won for leading actress in a musical,
and Yul got one for featured performer.
(Winning in the leading actor category was
Phil Silvers in Top Banana!)

 Robert Preston (and Eddie Hodges) helped The Music Man
scoop the 1958 award,
beating out West Side Story.
Americana trumped (if you'll excuse the expression)
Leonard's urban gangs, I guess.
We'll hear the over-played but always-rousing
"Seventy-Six Trombones".

 A photo from the movie Damn Yankees (1956)
(tho we'll hear from the staged musical),
with Gwen Verdon (above with hubby Bob Fosse).
Adler and Ross's 2nd (and last) Tony winner,
done just a year after their 1st winner,
The Pajama Game (1955).
Jerry Ross would die just six months after Yankees opened,
at the age of 29.

 Nine, with music by Maury Yeston,
won in 1982,
based on Fellini's 8.5 (okay, 1/2!).
Raul Julia, Karen Akers, and Anita Morris starred,
and it explored the roles of women in 
movie director Guido Contini's life.
Note the black socks (so Italian!).

 A Chorus Line scarfed 9 Tonys in 1976,
and a Pulitzer, too...
the work of Michael Bennett, Marvin Hamlisch, Edward Kleban,
and some pretty incredible dancers
who lent their stories for the telling (if not the monetary compensation).
Below, Priscilla Lopez, who got to sing "Nothing"
and "What I Did For Love",
nominated for a Tony, but...

 Two Norma Desmonds
from Sunset Boulevard, which won in 1995.
Patti Lupone, below,
started out in the London production,
but by the time it sailed to Broadway,
it was Glenn Close's turn for a close up (above)!
Music, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Glynis Johns in Stephen Sondheim's 
A Little Night Music, winner in 1973...
The signature song, "Send In The Clowns" was written 
specifically for Glynis' vocal abilities.
According to Sondheim, she couldn't sustain a phrase,
so he intentionally wrote the song in short phrases,
to "be acted more than sung".
The song went on to win a Grammy,
and Glynis, a Tony.
 Well, THAT worked! :)