A new musical! Well, that needs qualifying. New to 2! Written in 1934, revived in 2010 for a lovely recording. I'm salivating, it's THAT lovely. Life Begins at 8:40, born in the midst of the Depression, and it still succeeded, so there...take that, Big D! And a history, and trivia, and cultness abound. Just my type.
It takes its name from that best seller of 1932 (surely you have a copy, Shirley?), Life Begins At 40, written by Walter B. Pitkin. People so infrequently lived to the ripe old age of 60 back then (yup, that was the average life expectancy...I'd be waaaay dead), that 40 was practically stultifying, but Walt's prosey pep pill exhorted his readers not to give up or in, get out there and LIVE! So there's that. Then theatrical curtains evidently rose at 8:40 (-ish) back then, so put it all together and there's the show's first joke.
It starred Ray Bolger and Bert Lahr, and yes, it was a revue, so popular in those days. On the writing side, Harold Arlen tunes, and the wordsmithing of Yip Harburg and Ira Gershwin. Yip knew Ira from high school days ("Yo, wanna grab a knish after French class?"), and asked him to co-write lyrics for the show, as brother George was busy with Porgy. And Bess, too. What was Ira supposed to do? Smoke cigars in his undershirt at the kitchen table?
Put this altogether, gently stir and you got a "light-hearted romp", a couple of great standards, and a few patter-y novelty numbers (that Kim holds so dear). We'll hear three of them this week, and hold a few up our leg o' mutton sleeve for Valentine's Day! I'll stopping waxing now.
Plus...a song that got Jason Robert Brown sued, 2 sets of Broadway Goes Russian (by request!), Barbara Hutton AND Audra corners, Ethel, Robert, Zero, Danny...you know the last names, right? All waiting for you, come Sunday. At 3:00...not 3:40.
Let Me Entertain You (Sandra Church, Gypsy)
Ya Got Trouble (Robert Preston, The Music Man)
Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little (Adnia Rice, Martha Flynn, Peggy Mondo,
Elaine Swann, The Music Man)
Til There Was You (Barbara Cook, Robert Preston, The Music Man)
The Wells Fargo Wagon (Eddie Hodges, Ensemble, The Music Man)
Can't Stop Talkin' About Him (Audra McDonald)
I Won't Mind (Audra McDonald)
Down With Love (Audra McDonald)
Siberia (Jules Munshin, Joseph Buloff, Peter Lorre, Silk Stockings)
Paris Loves Lovers (Don Ameche, Hildegard Knef, Silk Stockings)
Tschaikowsky (Danny Kaye, Lady In The Dark)
Too Bad (Fred Astaire, Ensemble, Silk Stockings)
I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You (Jason Robert Brown)
Shiksa Goddess (Norbert Leo Butz, The Last Five Years)
Still Hurting (Jessica Molaskey)
Land Of Yesterday (Caroline O'Connor, Anastasia)
It Used To Be (Michael Kermoyan, Gene Varrone, Louise Troy, Paul
The Red Blues (Ensemble, Silk Stockings)
Nitchevo (Jean Pierre Aumont, Michael Kermoyan, Gene Varrone,
Rita Metzger, Tovarich)
Far From The Home I Love (Zero Mostel, Julia Migenes, Fiddler On The Roof)
Anatevka (Zero Mostel, Company, Fiddler On The Roof)
You're A Builder-Upper (Christopher Fitzgerald, Jessica Stone, Life Begins
Quartet Erotica (Brad Oscar, Graham Rowat, Philip Chaffin, Christopher
Fitzgerald, Life Begins At 8:40)
Things! (Faith Prince, Brad Oscar, Life Begins At 8:40)
Can't Stop Talkin' About Him (Betty Hutton, Fred Astaire, Let's Dance)
It Had To Be You (Betty Hutton)
Murder, He Says (Betty Hutton)
Anything You Can Do (Betty Hutton, Howard Keel, Annie Get Your Gun)
Let Me Entertain (Lane Bradbury, Ensemble, Gypsy)
You Gotta Get A Gimmick (Maria Karnilova, Faith Dane, Chotzi Foley, Gypsy)
If Mamma Was Married (Sandra Church, Lane Bradbury, Gypsy)
Everything's Coming Up Roses (Ethel Merman, Gypsy)