Wednesday, April 18, 2018

42nd Street: ...and you'll come back a star!

 42nd Street
started life as a 1933 pre-code Warner Brothers movie musical,
starring Ruby Keeler (her movie debut),
Dick Powell, Warner Baxter and bevy of other hopefuls.
Choreography was by Busby Berkeley. 
Below, Una Merkel, Ruby and Ginger Rodgers,
chorines...but for how long?
 


 Ruby as soon to be star, Peggy Sawyer
and Warner as Julian Marsh, the tough director (with the heart of gold).

 The 1980 Broadway version
starred Jerry Orbach,
Karen Ziemba, Wanda Richert, Tammy Grimes,
Lee Roy Reams, Joseph Bova and Carole Cook.
 Tony wins for Best Musical
and Best Choreography (Gower Champion)!





 And of course a plethora of revivals and tours...
from the UK to Australia to Maine State!
Below, with Christine Ebersole as Dorothy Brock.







The ultimate Busby tribute,
cleverly figured out to work on a stage...
brought to you by one gigantic mirror!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April is the Cruelest Month...

Call me a Weather Wimp.
Brewing another pot o' joe and staying out of the ice and wind,
so today's 2 On The Aisle will be a repeat performance
of an earlier recorded show. 
Apologies to my faithful listeners (all 17 of you!),
and I'll be back with another hot mess of 
Broadway at its Best
next Sunday.
Stay warm and safe out there 
(and drink more coffee...death before decaf!).

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Murder and Vice...and lest we forget, Snark!


 It Shoulda Been You,
directed by David Hyde Pierce,
started life in New Jersey back in 2011, 
skipped to Washington in 2012,
and landed at the Brooks Atkinson in 2015...
starring Tyne Daly, Chip Zien, Harriet Harris, et. al.
(Above, Sierra Boggess, Tyne, David Burtka, and Harriet).
135 performances...the critics called it "pleasant."
Below, Tyne and Harriet and "Nice." 





 A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder,
which is becoming a perennial on 2 On The Aisle...
Best Musical Tony back in 2014!
Above, "Why Are All The D'Ysquiths Dying?"
Based on a novel from 1907 called,
"Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal,"
by Roy Horniman. 

 Jefferson Mays (above)
in a tour de force performance
as ALLLLL of the members the D'Ysquith Family,
with the exception of Monty, 
who was played by Bryce Pinkham.



 Above, "Stop! Wait! What?"...
one murder that poor Monty did NOT commit!
 Music, Stephen Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman.


 Under the "vice" category is
Bells Are Ringing,
which starred Judy Holliday, Sydney Chaplin, and...
(below) Eddie Lawrence who played Otto Sandor.
Eddie had "A Simple Little System" 
for betting on the horses.

 Eddie was a monologist with a very popular hit,
"The Old Philosopher"...in 1956.
He cut his teeth working the Catskill hotel circuit,
and later did comic routines, cartoon voice overs,
some Broadway, and guested on Johnny Carson.
He lived to be almost 100 years old.


 In the movie version of Bells,
Eddie Foy, Jr. played Sandor (above),
and it was HIS "little system" (below).


 Had to include a photo from the great Frank Gorshin/Judy scene
from the movie...
and below, Guy Lomardo getting in on the Bell's Are Ringing "act".

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Playlist For Sunday, April 15, 2018: Slam! Smush! Crunch...Holy Broadway, Batman!

Hey, this is the life, right? That's what I was thinking as I drove out of the Jazz 90.1 plantation/estate/hole in the wall...this was last Sunday, folks, and I had just finished another over-the-top/successful/only tripped over my own tongue 17 (down from 50) times radio show, and I was on my way home. Slam. That's right. Slam, or smush, with crunching sound effects. Oh Fie On Thee, Right On Red! Oblivious me failed to see that dude making a very legal left turn, and fender benders ensued. My first ever accident which has led to a.) a new member of my "staff", Marty, The Collision Guy, b.) Brandon, the guy I hit, who is a contractor and may do some work on my house, and c.) a new car, cuz my Green Machine (aka 2011 Fiesta) ain't worth fixing. So today I pick up the new "machine", which will be an upgrade on this lime golf cart I've been driving. It is presently silver, so obnoxious decals, bumper stickers and eyelashes will, no doubt, soon be applied!

Thanks for letting me vent. So man, if this week's show seems a hot mess (Greed, Death, Grit vs Love, Nice, Sunny...Bambi!?!), that may be the reason. I must still be in post-traumatic shock and it is eeking into my playlist. Ergo Cy Coleman. And snarky Jewish wedding scenes.

I'll get over it. There's a sunny side to every...awww.


Use What You Got (Sam Harris, The Life)
Prologue/Warning To The Audience (Ensemble, A Gentleman's Guide To Love
      & Death)
Why Are All The D'ysquiths Dying? (Ensemble, A Gentleman's Guide To
      & Death)
Poison In My Pocket (Bryce Pinkham, Jefferson Mays, Catherine Walker,
      A Gentleman's Guide To Love & Death
Stop! Wait! What?! (Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide To Love & Death
Why Are All The D'ysquits Dying? (Reprise) (Jefferson Mays, Ensemble,
      A Gentleman's Guide To Love & Death
Me And My Girl (Robert Lindsay, Maryann Plunkett, Me And My Girl)
Take It On The Chin (Emma Thompson, Me And My Girl)
The Lambeth Walk (Eddie Cantor, Ambrose's Orchestra, Me And My Girl)
It Shoulda Been You (Chip Zien, Josh Grisetti, Tyne Daly, Anne L. Nathan,
      Adam Heller, It Shoulda Been Yo)
Where Did I Go Wrong (Harriet Harris, It Shoulda Been You
Nice (Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris, It Shoulda Been You
April Showers (Al Jolson, The Jolson Story)
Little April Showers (Ensemble, Bambi)
April Snow (Barbara Cook, Up In Central Park)
Lost And Found (Rachel York, City Of Angels)
It Needs Work (Kay McClelland, City Of Angels)
Double Talk Walk (Instrumental, City Of Angels)
Ev'rybody's Gotta Be Somewhere (Gregg Edelman, Ensemble, City Of Angels)
I'm Unlucky At Gambling (Kim Criswell, Fifty-Million Frenchmen)
Rita's Confession (Mary Testa, Jason Graae, Lucky Stiff)
Luck Be A Lady (Robert Alda, Guys And Dolls)
Politics And Poker (Howard Da Silva, Politicians, Fiorello!)
It's A Simple Little System (Eddie Lawrence, Ensemble, Bells Are Ringing)
People Will Say We're In Love (Alfred Drake, Joan Roberts, Oklahoma)
Yesterday I Loved You (Once Upon A Mattress)
Love To Me (Mathew Morrison, Light In The Piazza)
Mr. Greed (Sam Harris, Ensemble, The Life)
This Is The Life (Billy Daniels, Sammy Davis, Jr., Lola Falana, Golden
      Boy)
While The City Sleeps (Billy Daniels, Golden Boy)
The Hookers' Ball (Vernel Bagneris, The Life)
Sunny Side To Every Situation (Karen Prunczik, Chorus, 42nd Street)
You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me (Tammy Grimes, 42nd Street)
Lullaby Of Broadway (Wanda Richert, Jerry Orbach, 42nd Street)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Just a day (or beat) behind!

 The Goodbye Girl,
based on the Neil Simon movie of 1977,
launched on Broadway in 1993,
with the music of Marvin Hamlisch and David Zippel.
Above, Martin Short (in his Broadway debut)
with roommate Bernadette Peters;
below with more clothes, and
Tammy Minoff as daughter Lucy.
Reviews were disappointing and the show ran for half a year;
Time Magazine labeled it "big stars, boffo story, bad judgment."
We'll hear "A Beat Behind"
with Bernadette huffing and puffing in dance class.





 In Transit
lasted just about as long.
Touted as the first a-cappella musical on Broadway,
it was the work of 4 songwriters and
began its "underground" life in 2004,
when it was entitled "Along The Way".
 It "transported" itself to Broadway in 2016,
and despite its rather short existence there, 
won a Drama Desk Award for
Outstanding Ensemble.
We'll hear the opening number,
"Deep Beneath The City/Not There Yet"
(which imho is the best one of the show!)
and "But Ya Know."


 From [title of show],
a musical about writing a musical,
opened on Broadway in 2008,
a small 4-person show, with a book by Hunter Bell,
and music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen.
Hunter and Jeff also starred along with
Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell.
It has since been turned into a video blog.
An Obie award winner for its Off-Broadway self,
and a Tony nom for Hunter, Best Book!


Heidi and Hunter,
flop-dropping, in "Monkeys And Playbills."

 Curtains had the best run of all these shows...
a Kander and Ebb (with a little help from Rupert Holmes)
Murder Mystery Musical.
Karen Ziemba, David Hyde-Pierce, Debra Monk and
Jason Danieley starred,
along with Edward Hibbert, Jill Paice, and a great ensemble.
Below, Karen with "Thataway!"
Everyone involved was nominated for Tonys,
but only David walked away with one.


 And Bandstand...another 6 month wonder!
Corey Cott and Laura Osnes led the band,
with the music of Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor.
Andy Blankenbuehler (of Hamilton fame)
 won a Tony for Best Choreography.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Band's Visit: Up Close and Personal with John Cariani

 So happy to have John Cariani
as a guest on 2 On The Aisle this coming Sunday (4/8/18)!
John is an actor, singer and playwright,
currently appearing in The Band's Visit,
on Broadway.

 The music of David Yazbek
is hauntingly Middle Eastern in flavor...
and the ensemble includes (from left) 
John, Etai Benson, Katrina Lenk,
and Tony Shaloub.

 The Band in the title is played
by professional musicians, some of whom act as well.
Above Andrew Polk performs "The Beat Of Your Heart"
with violinist George Abud.
At left...Kristen Sieh, John Cariani, and Alok Tewari.


 John as Itzik
singing "Itzik's Lullaby".
 The musical is based on an Israeli movie of the same name
released in 2007.

 Tony Shalhoub as Tewfiq,
the conductor of the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra.
The orchestra has been  booked to play 
at an Arab cultural center in Petah Tikva, 
 but through a miscommunication, the band takes a bus to Bet Hatikva,
a back-water town in the middle of the desert. 
And there is no bus out til the next morning.
The townspeople respond (after their first wariness) 
with hospitality...sharing their homes and food and lives
(there is no hotel in said back-water).
The mixing of villagers and band members
bares emotions and brings old memories/new ideas to the surface.

 John with Andrew Polk, who plays Avrum.

 Tony and Katrina recording the cast album.




 John, Andrew Polk, Tony Shalhoub, Katrina Lenk, 
Ari'el Stachel, Etai Benson, Adam Kantor, and George Abud.
 Winner of an Obie when it began Off Broadway last year.
Now we await the Tony! :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Playlist for Sunday, April 8, 201: A Real Broadway Dude! Here! On 2 On The Aisle! (I'm gushing.)

A special edition of 2 on the Aisle come Sunday: I'll be having a guest, John Cariani of The Band's Visit, in a telephone interview. John is one of those quadruple threats, in that he is an actor of classical plays, television, and film, a performer of musicals (which means he can sing and dance or "dance") and he is a playwright (most notably of Almost, Maine). Wait, is that a quintuple threat? (Visions of the Dions.) In The Band's Visit, John plays Itzik, a villager of Bet Hativka ("with a B"), singing the wonderful Middle Eastern-flavored score composed by David Yazbek. Thanks in advance, John, for letting me pick your Broadway brain on Sunday!

Plus, that gives me an excuse to play more selections from that show, as well as my usual favorites like Bernadette, Bandstand, Curtains, In Transit, and (yes, again) Nancy Walker. Our spring pledge drive ends on Friday, so we should have plenty of time for music, now untethered to begging or kneeling on rice entreaties! Whew! Thanks BTW if you gave to Jazz 90.1 during this drive...you make all this Broadway foo-fah-rah possible.


Waiting (Etai Benson, Andrew Polk, John Cariani, Katrina Lenk,
      Ensemble, The Band's Visit)
What Kind Of Man (Debra Monk, Ensemble, Curtains)
I Miss The Music (David Hyde-Pierce, Jason Danieley, Edward Hibbert,
      Curtains)
Thataway! (Karen Ziemba, Noah Racey, Ensemble, Curtains)
I'm The First Girl In The Second Row (Nancy Walker, Look Ma, I'm Dancing)
Come Up To My Place (Nancy Walker, Cris Alexander, On The Town)
Ya Got Me (Nancy Walker, Ensemble, On The Town)
Adventure (Nancy Walker, Phil Silvers, Do Re Mi)
A Beat Behind (Bernadette Peters, The Goodbye Girl)
Look What Happened to Mabel (Bernadette Peters, Mack & Mabel)
Being Alive (Bernadette Peters, Sondheim Etc.)
Donny Novitski (Corey Cott, Bandstand)
Love Will Come And Find Me Again (Laura Osnes, Bandstand)
Proud Riff (Instrumental, Bandstand)
Nobody (Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, Esemble, Bandstand)
Itzik's Lullaby (John Cariani, George Abud, The Band's Visit)
Omar Sharif (Katrina Lenk, The Band's Visit)
Answer Me (Adam Cantor, Company, The Band's Visit)
Deep Beneath The City/Not There Yet (Company, In Transit)
But, Ya Know (James Snyder, Margo Seibert, In Transit)
Monkeys And Playbills (Ensemble,
      [title of show])
Waiting Trio (Robert Roznowski, Jennifer Simard, Melissa Weil,
      I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change)
Accident Waiting To Happen (Sutton Foster, Troy Britton Johnson,
      The Drowsy Chaperone
Waiting, Waiting (Nancy Walker, Do Re Mi)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

We Dance. Or Try!


Once On This Island,
with music by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens
opened on Broadway in 1990,
with LaChanze as Ti Moune (in red above).
It was based on the book
My Love, My Love, or The Peasant Girl
by Rosa Guy,
and it's set in the French Antilles. 


 Nominated for lots of Tonys, 
but they came home empty handed.
More success awaited the show in the West End,
with an Olivier Award for Best New Musical (1994).
The reviews called it
"half Romeo and Juliet, half Little Mermaid"...
and it's back on Broadway RIGHT NOW!
We'll hear "We Dance".

 And while we're dancing,
let's give Merry Old Finland an opportunity
with the Fisch Schappling Dance
from Monty Python's Spamalot,
Best Musical Tony winner of 2005.
Patti LuPone would have had a problem with 
Spamalot's pre-show announcement
to "let your cellphones and pagers ring willy-nilly"
throughout the evening!


 "Tough Act To Follow"
from Curtains (2007)
with Jill Paice and David Hyde-Pierce
offers a one-on-one dance lesson,
including a big staircase finish.
The music of Kander and Ebb...



 "Shaking The Blues Away",
that's what Ann Miller does in
Easter Parade.
Above with co-star Fred Astaire,
and below in yellow, then red.
Released in 1948, with the music of Irving Berlin,
Parade was both Judy and Fred's 
most financially successful flick.


 Cyd Charisse was slated for the role
of Nadine Hale,
but she had to bow out due to a knee injury.
Ann "took over!" :)
Costumes by Irene.


 We'll also hear Georgia Engel
and Edward Hibbert 
with "Love Is Always Lovely In The End"
from The Drowsy Chaperone (2006).
Yup, Georgette from The Mary Tyler Moore show.
And Edward played the director in
Curtains (small Brdway world!).
Music by the songwriting team of Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison.


Five Tony Awards for this show,
including one for Best Original Score.