Sunday, April 29, 2018


 Not a ton of shots from
70, Girls, 70...
but these are from the Masterworks vault,
taken at the cast recording.
Mildred Natwick featured above. 

 Dorothea Freitag and 
Karen Gustafson (the associate music director, on left).

 Hans Conreid who took on David Burn's role
when he became ill. 
(Uncle Tanous??)
Below, Lillian Roth. 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Warming up for Patti!

With Patti LuPone performing Sunday (4/2918)
at Eastman,
a mini-pictorial tribute seems appropriate!
Patti was born in Northport, Long Island in 1949,
She graduated from Juilliard
(the school's first Drama division to graduate, 1972),  
and then continued her acting work with John Houseman
as part of The Acting Company (1972-76).

 Pics from just SOME of her signature musicals,
(tho she's done as many straight plays, 
if not more!):
Above, the ill-fated Baker's Wife (1976),
with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz...
Patti got to play Genevieve
and sing the marvelous "Meadowlark" song.
It never made it to Broadway (well, not yet!).
That was followed by her participation in 
Studs Terkel's Working,
which closed after 24 performances. 
 (Just try and find a photo of THAT original production!)

 Evita, the creation of Andrew Lloyd Webber (below)
and Tim Rice, 1979.
Despite the fact that the production was
stressful for Patti,
she won her first Tony Award for her portrayal of Eva Peron.
 (The second would come for Gypsy, 29 years later.)

 As Reno Sweeney 
in a Lincoln Center Theatre revival of Anything Goes (1987).

 Patti originated the role
 of Norma Desmond 
in the original West End production 
of Sunset Boulevard, 1993,
and was promised that she would open the show
on Broadway, as well.
But Andrew Lloyd Webber fired her, and replaced her with
Glenn Close.
As you'd expect,
Patti discusses this chapter of her life in detail
in MORE than one chapter of her memoir.
 (Pick it up. No holds barred.)

 In the revival of Sweeney Todd, above,
with Michael Cerveris...2005.
Patti played tuba and bells in this production,
and still had time to make
Mrs. Lovett's meat pies!

 Another production from 2005, done regionally:
Anyone Can Whistle,
with Patti as Mayoress Cora Hoover Hooper.

From War Paint, 2017
Patti as Helene Rubenstein, and another Tony nomination...
This production was forced to close 1 month early
when it became clear that Patti required immediate
hip-replacement surgery.
(Hey, I have something in common with Patti LuPone! :)))

Patti as Joanne in a Ravinia Festival production 
of Company...
"The Ladies Who Lunch".
She is set to reprise this role in the 
Fall 2018 West End production.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A Tribute To Tresses!

Streamin', Flaxen, and Waxin'...
our first theme on Sunday's 2 on the Aisle. 
The original Hair hit Broadway in 1968,
and was NOT an instant success.
Nudity, controversial topics,
and though nominated for Best Musical,
it lost out to 1776.
However, it ran for four years!
Original Off- and On- Broadway cast members included
Diane Keaton, Melba Moore, Ben Vereen,
and Heather MacRae.
Scott Miller wrote in 2001:
"Not only did many of the lyrics not rhyme, 
but many of the songs didn't really have endings,
 just a slowing down and stopping, 
so the audience didn't know when to applaud. ... 
The show rejected every convention of Broadway, 
of traditional theatre in general,
and of the American musical in specific.
And it was brilliant."

 In 2009,
it was revived with Gavin Creel (above) 
and Will Swenson (below, center)
as the leads, Claude and Berger.
It won for Best Revival.

 Below, James Rado and Gerome Ragni, 
who did the book and lyrics,
and Galt McDermot, the man with the music.
James and Gerome conceived of the musical.
They were inspired by "some characters we met in the streets, 
people we knew and our own imaginations. 
We knew this group of kids in the East Village who were dropping out 
and dodging the draft, 
being kicked out of school for growing their hair. 
There was so much excitement in the streets and the parks 
and the hippie areas, 
and we thought if we could transmit this excitement to the stage 
it would be wonderful."
Galt was living another lifestyle entirely
when he was introduced to the pair;
he lived in Staten Island with a wife and kids.
(Note tie. Note white shirt. Note...Hair!)

 A couple more "Hair" entrees:
Above, from the original Grease, we'll hear
Marya Small (at lower right) who played Frenchy,
with "Beauty School Drop Out".
Below, from Hairspray,
Clark Thorell as Corny Collins
and Marissa Jaret Winokur as Tracey
with "(It's) Hairspray!"

 Above, a West End performance of
Hot Mikado...
from which we'll hear 
"Braid The Raven Hair."
I think neither Gilbert NOR Sullivan envisioned a color scheme
like this for their original!
Below, 2 more pics from other "Hot" productions 
hither and thither...

 Included in our tribute to tresses,
Mary Martin lathering her locks
8 times a week for 2 years of a Broadway run
of South Pacific. 
Below, more shampooing about to commence with
Richard and Oscar
doing the honors for 
Mary and her replacements in the show:
Janet Blair and Martha Wright (1954).

 And in another country entirely,
Lena Horne and Ricardo Montalban
in Jamaica, 
a Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg musical from 1957.
The show was written specifically for
Harry Belafonte,
but when he fell ill,
the lead was shifted to Lena.
Super choreography by Jack Cole,
produced by David Merrick,
and it lasted 1.5 years on Broadway.

 Above, Lena with Josephine Premice and Ossie Davis.
Everybody got nominated,
but all came home empty-handed.
Below, a pic from the recording of the cast album.
 We'll hear "Push De Button,"
"Little Biscuit",
and "Cocoanut Sweet."

Monday, April 23, 2018

Playlist For Sunday, April 29, 2018: Pencils Down!

In preparation for our June final, I would like everyone to take a few moments  to review some of the information we will be assessing on the coming exam. This will include everything from last semester, as well as this one, so don't think you're going to get away with stuff JUST from January on! Like geometry, Jazzercise, and old epis of Downton Abbey, Broadway musicals build on that which came before; they effing evolve, revolve and tumble dry, bub, so to know the NEW, you must know the OLD. So sayeth a bunch of very...knowledgeable people.

And don't expect those damn multiple choice cake-y questions! This is gonna be an essay test, baby. You will need to write full sentences, and at least one should include a semi-colon. There just aren't enough semi-colons around these days. PLUS, you will need to connect. You know, like R&H with Guettel, and roller skates with Gene, and Comden with Greene (no, they weren't married, but did they ever have a fling?), Jessica M. with John P., and who was really supposed to star in that little bagel, Jamaica? If you've been taking notes, and listening in class, then you should have no trouble at all with the final. Hands of those who've taken notes. Anybody? ANYBODY???

Me neither. I mean, half this stuff I'm still discovering. Everybody gets an A in my book. If you can stand to listen to my Broadway drivel and the weird shows I put on display, you get extra credit...double if you know my favorite Broadway composer! Or my favorite color. That counts, too. ;;; !

Old Folks (Mildred Natwick, Hans Conried, Lillian Roth, Gil Lamb, Lillian
      Hayman, Goldye Shaw, Lucie Lancaster, 70, Girls, 70)
(It's) Hairpray (Clark Thorell, Hairspray)
Beauty School Dropout (Marya Small, Alan Paul, Grease)
I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair (Mary Martin, South Pacific)
Braid The Raven Hair (Neil Copperthwaite, Hot Mikado)
Hair (Gavin Creel, Will Swenson, Hair)
You're A Builder Upper (Jessica Molaskey, Make Believe)
Stepsister's Lament (Jessica Molaskey, Make Believe)
So Many People (Jessica Molaskey, Make Believe)
Push De Button (Lena Horne, Jamaica)
Little Biscuit (Josephine Premice, Ossie Davis, Jamaica)
Coconut Sweet (Lena Horne, Adelaide hall, Jamaica)
Delishious (Bobby Short, Bobby Short Is K-RA-ZY For Gershwin)
Mad About The Boy (Christine Ebersole, Christine Ebersole Sings Noel
I Like Myself (Seth McFarland, In Full Swing)
The Beauty Is (Kelli O'Hara, The Light In The Piazza)
Let's Walk (Victoria Clark, Michael Berresse, The Light In The Piazza)
American Dancing (Instrumental, The Light In The Piazza)
The Light In The Piazza (Kelli O'Hara, The Light In The Piazza)
I'm An Old Cowhand (Harry Connick, Jr., 25)
Take It From An Old Man (Dakin Mathews, Waitress)
Goodbye, Old Girl (Robert Shafer, Stephen Douglass, Damn Yankees)
The Old Man (Stephan Bogardus, Jeffry Denman, Ensemble, White
70, Girls, 70 (Mildred Natwick, Ensemble, 70, Girls, 70)
When You Are Old And Gray (Tom Lehrer, Revisited)
Times Are Hard For Dreamers (Savvy Crawford, Amelie)
There's No Place Like Gnome (David Andino, Amelie)
Halfway (Savvy Crawford, Phillipa Soo, Amelie)
Where Do We Go From Here(Phillipa Soo, Adam Chanler-Berat, Amelie)
Meadowlark (Patti LuPone, Don't Monkey With Broadway)
Millworker (Patti LuPone, Don't Monkey With Broadway)
Don't Cry For Me, Argentina (Patti LuPone, Don't Monkey With Broadway)

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" 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".