Monday, August 20, 2018

Summatime! and the vacation is breezy...

Yup, 2 on the Aisle is now 2 in the Hammock! Vacation time.  And I gotta tell ya, when I woke up last Monday and DIDN'T have a playlist to "carve", I was at 6's and 7's. Plus the Lawn Chair Ladies have folded up for the season (and so has my hip!), so it really felt like The Twilight Zone, minus that pompadoured cutie, Rod S.

So relax, Kim. Try NOT to be Kim. Try being Kim 0.5! Tiny trips. Long dinners. And more time to smell the roses (or weeds in my garden's case), clean out a drawer (you're THAT bored?), and plan THE NEXT TRIP (or trips). Always good to think ahead...Broadway, Philly, Memphis, Paris! That puts me back in a positive mood. That and a new musical or two, which I'll be back with LIVE on September 2. So until then, get in that last set of badminton, that last German potato salad, that last cool G&T; it's still Summatime!

 Desperate Measures!
coming at you live on Sept. 2...

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Red dresses, gold pants...and Lotte!

 Okay, so there aren't that many songs
in the Broadway (or Hollywood)"book"
about DOORS.
So I'm sort of forced to play "Not The Boy Next Door"
from The Boy from Oz.
Publicity for this show
 (and the image of Hugh Jackman in leopard prints!!!)
ran on the sides of every NYC bus back in 2003.
That, and Liz Smith (then of the NY Post)
who crushed out loud (and in ink) on Hugh's "potential",
did much for keeping the show alive and 
maraca-ing on Broadway.

Stephen Sondheim's Follies
sparked the careers of its "aging" cast members.
Alexis Smith got a Tony for this, 
her Broadway debut at the age of 51,
the cover of Time Magazine,
AND lots more leading lady roles because of it.
Also in the cast, and receiving that same "shot in the arm",
Gene Nelson, Yvonne De Carlo, Dorothy Collins,
John McMartin...and in revival/replacement casts,
Kaye Ballard, Carol Burnett, Barbara Cook, Lee Remmick,
Phyllis al.!

 Original cast members:
Gene Nelson, Alexis, Dorothy Collins, John, and Yvonne De Carlo.

The wonderful Lotte Lenya, 
 above in Three Penny Opera
(her breakthrough role of Jenny, back in 1928
and a Tony award for her when she repeated the
performance Off Broadway in 1956)...
She was born in Vienna, moved to Zurich and Berlin 
for work, finally settling in America in the mid 1930s.
Below with composer Kurt Weill,
whom she married, divorced and married again.
Lotte began as a soprano,
but as she aged she turned more to a style of spoken singing,
called Sprechstimme, a combo of speech and song.
 In the 1960s,
Lotte turned to movies, including
To Russia With Love and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.
She also founded the Kurt Weill Foundation For Music,
to spread appreciation for Kurt's music.
She is buried next to him in Haverstraw, New York. 

 With Jack Gilford in the original production of 
Cabaret, 1966,
the music of Kander and Ebb,
who were evidently inspired in turn by Weill's.
Lotte portrayed Fraulein Schneider to Jack's
Herr Schultz.
Both characters and their songs were unifortunately dropped 
from Bob Fosse's movie version.
We'll hear "What Would You Do?"

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Some Of Our Sunday Shenanigans!

 Glynis Johns and Len Cariou
as Fredrik and Desiree in
A Little Night Music...1973/
So many wonderful songs,
by The Sondheim.
On Sunday, we'll hear "You Must Meet My Wife".
 The dress...let's talk about The Dress,
designed by Florence Klotz!

 Glynis is the veteran of over 60 movies,
stage roles, and television (Batman? Mrs. Penelope Peasoup!).
She has survived 4 marriages and will be 95 come October 2018!

 Glynis, Laurence Guitard, and Len above...
and below at the recording session for the cast album,
Glynis, Patricia Elliot, Hermoine Gingold, Stephen Sondheim,
and Goddard Lieberson.

 Same session, with Len Cariou.

 The original cast of Company,
when Larry Kert (center) took over as Bobby
after Dean Jones.
Elaine Stritch, George Coe, Steve Elmore, Beth Howland, 
Larry, Susan Browning, Charles Kimbrough, Barbara Barrie,
Merle Louise (who would someday be part of 
the Sweeney Todd production),
and Charles Braswell.

 Elaine as Joanne...above.
Below, the intense recording session of Company ,
immortalized by D.A. Pennebaker's 1970 documentary. 

 Jessica Molaskey 
was part of the cast of the off-Broadway production of
 Songs For A New World,
by Jason Robert Brown (above).
She has been a fan (and avid supporter) of
his music ever since.
We'll hear his classic, "Stars and the Moon",
one of Jessica's favorites,
come Sunday.

 Shirley Ross,
above with Gene Krupa and Bob Hope,
in Some Like It Hot (1938),
later changed to Rhythm Romance
(to avoid confusion with that other "Hot" flick).
Shirley had early success in Hollywood with
Clark Gable (Manhattan Melodrama)
Bob Hope (Thanks for the Memories)
and Bing Crosby (Waikiki Wedding).

 She introduced
"Thanks for the Memories",
"Two Sleepy People",
and "It Never Entered My Mind",
that last one on Broadway 
in Higher and Higher, a Rodgers and Hart show,
 from 1940.

 She retired early to care for her sick husband,
Ken Dolan,
and passed away in 1975, at the age of 62.
Her co-stars of the past,
Bing and Bob,
did not forget her.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Playlist for Sunday, August 12, 2018: This, Not That!

Vacation time! It's here at last...tho I have to admit, said vacation is not what I had planned. I was going to circumnavigate another large body of water, as I did last summer, and the summer before that, BUT the Fates said "nahhhhh, not this year, baby!" But don't cry for me, Argentina: Take time off, I will, starting next week.

And who's The Man, the go-to composer around here, for those one-more-time, win one for the Gipper shows? Yuppers, old Stevie. So a Sondheim Sampler (like a Russell Stover's sampler gift box, some soft and gooey, some molar-chipping hard) it is!

Also the theme of Indecision seemed appropos, so we'll be vacillating away with Lotte, Forever Plaid, and Company, Losing it with Barbara, Lucy and Jessie-ing with Alexis, and like Jennie, never making up our minds.

So after this Sunday (8/12/18), there'll be 2 weeks of recorded 2 On The Aisles, but by Labor Day, I'll be refreshed, recharged, and ready with new playlists, new obscurities, and new cheesy themes, rest assured!

Think of me. With a lemon fizz, corn on the cob, a hammock, and sand between my toes. XO

Gotta Be This Or That (Stan Chandler, David Engel, Jason Graae,
      Guy Stroman, Forever Plaid)
The Saga Of Jennie (Maria Freedman, Lady In The Dark)
The Road You Didn't Take (John McMartin, Follies)
Sorry - Grateful (Charles Kimbrough, George Coe, Charles Braswell,
What Would You Do? (Lotte Lenya, Cabaret)
The Advantages Of Floating In The Middle Of The Sea (Mako, Pacific
There Is No Other Way (Isao Sato, Soon Tek-Oh, Pacific Overtures)
Four Black Dragons (Jae Woo Lee, Mark Hsu Syers, Mako, Pacific Overtures)
A Part Of That (Sherie Rene Scott, The Last Five Years)
Stars And The Moon (Jessica Molaskey, Songs For A New World)
Someone Else's Clothes (Jason Robert Brown, Wearing Someone Else's
It Never Entered My Mind (Shirley Ross, Higher And Higher)
Harlem On My Mind (Paula Newsome, As Thousands Cheer)
Losing My Mind (Barbara Cook, Follies)
Opening Doors (Jim Walton, Lonny Price, Ann Morrison, Jason Alexander,
      The Last Five Years)
Not A Day Goes By (Jim Walton, Merrily We Roll Along)
Now You Know (Ann Morrison, Ensemble, Merrily We Roll Along)
Doors (Lynn Wintersteller, Ensemble, Closer Than Ever)
The Boy Next Door (Judy Garland, Meet Me In St. Louis)
Not The Boy Next Door (Hugh Jackman, The Boy From Oz)
Agony (Robert Westenberg, Chuck Wagner, Into The Woods)
The Story Of Lucy And Jessie (Alexis Smith, Follies)
You Must Meet My Wife (Len Cariou, Glynis Johns, A Little Night Music)
Joanna (Bernadette Peters)
The Pinstripes Are All That They See (Tom Wopat, Catch Me If You Can)
Butter Outta Cream (Aaron Tveit, Tom Wopat, Catch Me If You Can)
Jet Set (Aaron Tveit, Ensemble, Catch Me If You Can)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

A Flocculation of Favorites. That's a real word. Look it up.

 Yes, I overplay this.
Cuz, yes, I love the original cast and music of 
Something Rotten!
Christian Borle, Peter Bartlett,
John Cariani, Brooks Ashmanskas, 
(Jon Hamm...That Mad Man! who was visiting),
Bryan D'Arcy James, and Brad Oscar.

Music by the Brothers Kirkpatrick,
the show earned the following description from the New York Times:
"This production wallows in
 puerile puns, giggly double-entendres, lip-smacking bad taste 
and goofy pastiche numbers often found in college revues."
Works for me! :)
Below, Brooks (looking much like a pilgrim)
and John with Kate Reinders as Portia.

 In 1993, Patti LuPone and Kevin Anderson
 opened in Sunset Boulevard,
in London's West End.
Much to Patti's chagrin,
Glenn Close, who played the lead in the LA company,
was granted the opportunity to open it on
I'm playing Patti's version...
"Let's Have Lunch",
which features Kevin. 
Music, Andrew Lloyd Webber (hisssssss),
lyrics, Don Black.

 Nice Work If You Can Get It,
cuz why not do ANOTHER Gershwin compilation,
with maribou, beads, illegal hooch (is there a legal kind?)
and Mathew Broderick
(who supposedly possesses 
"sleepy-faced cunning naiveté and low-watt skills")?
(I didn't make that up, that was the New York Post.)
Kelli O'Hara and (for a while) Estelle Parsons
also graced the stage.
"Let's Call The Whole Thing Off"

 Christopher Walken
got to show off his dancing skills 
with "Let's Misbehave" in 
Pennies From Heaven,
a flick from 1981 which used music of the 20s and 30s.
He actually began his career dancing in nightclubs,
dropping out of Hofstra University after his freshman year
to star in the off-Broadway revival of 
Best Foot Forward with a young Liza Minnelli.  
Well, they were both pretty young...
Chris (then billed as Ronnie) was 20
and Liza, 17.
You'll just have to imagine his "Misbehaving" dance
(this IS radio!),
but check out youtube or the movie for the full effect.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Let's Get Drowsy!

 After a super performance
of The Drowsy Chaperone,
at The Bristol Valley Theatre
(still running, btw...til Sunday!), 
I felt compelled to enjoy the Broadway version
with Edward (look at those BOOTS!) Hibbert as Underling,
and Georgia Engle (Ukelele Lil) as Mrs. Tottendale.
Georgia is 70 years old
and very recently did Half Time 
with Andre DeShields and Donna McKechnie!
Check out the youtube vid:

 Sutton Foster as Janet Van Der Graff
and Georgia below with NOT Edward,
in the LA production.

 Weren't those pants called "plus fours"? 
Gangsters turned pastry chefs turned musical comedy stars,
Garth and Jason Kravits
"beat it up"
in "Toledo Surprise".

 Bob Martin (The Man In The Chair)
and Beth Leavel as theeee Drowsy Chaperone.
The show won Tonys for Best Original Score
and Book.
P.S. Bob helped collaborated on that book with
Don McKellar.
 As part of our "Let's Do It" theme,
Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees
perform that classic
and "Let's Put Out The Lights And Go To Bed."

 Brooks Ashmanskas and Helene Yorke
teamed up in
Bullets Over Broadway,
and we'll hear their duet,
"Let's Misbehave"...
Cole Porter, clam chowder, and a very fun rendition.
Above, posed!
Below, in rehearsal!

 Miss Liberty was done in 1949,
with tunes by Irving Berlin (above with Allyn McLerie and Eddie Albert).
The critics called it
"something of a clinker,"
but even so, several songs became momentary hits.
We'll hear "Let's Take An Old Fashioned Walk".

 Fred Astaire proves to be a big part of our
"Let's Do It" theme:
Above with Ginger in
and "Let's Face the Music and Dance" 
from Follow The Fleet.
Below, a similar "move" he did with 
Sister Adele.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Playlist for Sunday, August 5, 2018: Let's!

Let's have another cup of coffee, kiss and make up, step out, misbehave, face the music, have lunch, call it off and/or just do it. (Lithuanians and Letts do it! Why not 2 on the Aisle?) Yes, this Sunday's show is LET'S-full. Not Let Us. No, that doesn't work. Too formal, too "bow our heads"...For Cole and Ira and Irving, it was always LET'S. Apostrophes, like clipboards, can be powerful in the right hands.

Plus The Drowsy and The Rotten: two parody-full musicals (like parrots, but with larger beaks and fewer feathers), packed with Georgia Engels and Brad Oscars and bards and show offs and lushy chaperones.  Then the Jets and Sharks will dance in and go all "Cool" on us, bringing the temp in that gym way up (my high school proms in a gym were never THAT hot!).

Such is the range of B'way.

Lines to listen for:
No more money in the bank, no cute baby we can spank. (???)
You must love chocolate, everybody loves chocolate, say you do, say it.
I'm in training for the priesthood.
Keep your eyeball on the highball in your hand.
Gimme 10 minutes, I wanna finish my clam chowdah.

See what I mean? Let's do it. Let's go Broadway. :)

Let's Misbehave (Eileen Rodgers, Kenneth Mars, Anything Goes)
A Musical (Brad Oscar, Bryan d'Arcy James, Something Rotten!)
Hard To Be The Bard (Christian Borle, Something Rotten!)
We See The Light (John Cariani, Kate Reinders, Brooks Ashmanskas,
      Something Rotten!)
Let's Misbehave (Helene Yorke, Brooks Ashmanskas, Bullets Over Broadway)
Let's Misbehave (Irving Aaronson & His Commanders)
Let's Step Out (Kim Criswell, Fifty Million Frenchmen)
Let's Face The Music And Dance (Fred Astaire, Follow The Fleet)
Let's Call The Whole Thing Off (Mathew Broderick, Kelli O'Hara, Nice Work
      If You Can Get It)
Let's Have Another Cup Of Coffee (Judy Kuhn, Howard McGillin, Kevin
      Chamberlin, Face The Music)
Let's Put Out The Lights And Go To Bed (Rudy Vallee and The Connecticut
Let's Call The Whole Thing Off (Fred Astaire, Shall We Dance?)
America (Chita Rivera, Ken LeRoy, Ensemble, West Side Story)
Cool (Tucker Smith, Ensemble, West Side Story)
Dance At The Gym (Instrumental, West Side Story)
A Boy Like That/I Have A Love (Patti LuPone, Don't Monkey With
Hello (Bob Martin, The Drowsy Chaperone)
As We Stumble Along (Beth Leavel, The Drowsy Chaperone)
Toledo Surprise (Jason Kravitz, Garth Kravitz, Ensemble, The Drowsy
Show Off (Sutton Foster, The Drowsy Chaperone)
I Remember Love (Georgia Engel, Edward Hibbert, The Drowsy Chaperone)
As We Stumble Along, Reprise (Company, The Drowsy Chaperone)
Let's Do It (Rudy Vallee)
Let's Go Fly A Kite (David Tomlinson, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Poppins)
Let's Kiss And Make Up (Fred Astaire, Funny Face)
Let's Go Home (Joanna Gleason, Barry Bostwick, Nick & Nora)
Let's Take An Old-Fashioned Walk (Eddie Albert, Miss Liberty)
Let's Do It (Mary Martin)
Let's Have Lunch (Kevin Anderson, Ensemble, Sunset Boulevard)
Let's Not Talk About Anything Else But Love (Terence Mann, Nathan
      Lane, Keven Chamberlin, The Addams Family)
Let's Twist Again (Chubby Checker)
Trip-Lets (Ensemble, Forbidden Broadway)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Look Sharp, Feel Sharp, Be Sharp: The Other Gillette

Anita Gillette
was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1936,
and attended the Peabody Conservatory.
After that, it was Broadway this and Broadway that!
Gypsy, All American, Carnival, Don't Drink The Water,
They're Playing Our Song, Chapter Two...
the 1960s were a busy Broadway time for her. 
She is quoted as saying,
"At that point, it was either Susan Watson, Nancy Dussault,
or me...we could all play the 
and we could all sing."

 Two pics from All American,
in which Anita played the coed
who pines for a "Nightlife"
(above center and below with her understudy, Lori Rogers).

 In 1962, Anita had the chance to work with Irving Berlin,
in what would be his last musical,
Mr. President.
Above, recording the cast album:
Irving, Nanette Fabray, Anita, Robert Ryan and
ubiquitous producer...Goddard Lieberson.

 If you were a Broadway star
(like Anita and Alan Alda)
in the 60s,
you were game show fodder...
above, Anita with Jim Backus and Arlene Dahl on
What's My Line?

 Along with game shows
(below, on the Match Game),
Anita became Johnny Carson's go to guest,
appearing on the Tonight Show over 50 times,
and tons of television appearances,
including soap opera roles
on The Edge Of Night and Search For Tomorrow.

 Two television series in the 1970s...
Me & The Chimp (with Ted Bessel)
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
(with Robert Urich, below)
didn't last long.
(And no, that's not Ted Bessel she's holding! :)

 Loved Anita in Moonstruck,
playing the mistress of Vincent Gardenia's character.
And there's Cher, being Cher. 
She also played Tina Fey's mother on 30 Rock,
(a passel of mothers, actually)
and Jack Klugman's wife on Quincy.

Anita is still performing in her own one-woman show:
"Me & Mr. B",
a tribute to Irving Berlin.
She'll be at Birdland
on October 3, 2018.