Friday, May 18, 2018

Sexy and Warm, but Posh!

 Sylvia Dolores Finkelstein,
who, luckily for us, tweaked her name
to Dolores Gray...
Dolores made 6 movies,
including Designing Women (with Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall)
Kismet (with Howard Keel)
and It's Always Fair Weather
(with Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse and Michael Kidd).
Broadway shows included
Sherry!, Annie Get Your Gun, Destry Rides Again, 
and the London production of Follies.
She was even on an episode of Doctor Who.
So how come she wasn't a household name in MY household?
 Dolores' one solo album,
Warm Brandy was recorded in 1951,
and what a cover!
Her voice was called "a freight-train slathered in honey",
or so said one theatre critic.
Below with Bert Lahr in 
Two On The Aisle. 
Despite the matching hounds tooth,
there was no "match" (or love lost)  between these 2 titans.

 Somebody gave me a free ticket to see Nine
back in 1982, and Raul was wonderful.
Ditto all the ladies in his life.
Based on Fellini's 8 1/2, but Maury Yeston figured
his music added (.5) to the equation. 

Barbara Baxley and Barbara Cook
in the original production of 
She Loves Me,
and below, Ms. Baxley with Jack Cassidy (that cad)
in the same production.
Barbara's Broadway credits included
plays by Chekhov, Tennessee Williams, Neil Simon...
and film-wise, 
East of Eden, Nashville and Norma Rae.
We'll hear her more comical side,
with "A Trip To The Library".

 Billy Porter as the original Lola,
wearing his Kinky Boots,
a Cyndy Lauper musical from 2013.
Below, the cast with Cyndy at center,
and second from the left, 
Harvey Fierstein, who provided the book,
next to Stark Sands who played Charlie Price.
Best Musical award winner!
Ben Brantley said it had a  "love- and heat-seeking score",
and that the boots were "big red scene stealers", 
but he found the book to be 
sticky and sermonizing.
Well, it IS a Broadway Musical! 

  Pomping it up at the Ascot,
in the movie version of My Fair Lady...
Truth to tell, I am not a "get up at 4am to watch"
the Brit-Hitch sorta gal.
Nope, but I do enjoy perusing, post-mortem-like,
 all the fashions.
I can only hope that Meghan and her flock do it up like
the movie's art directors did:
Gene Allen, Cecil Beaton and George James Hopkins
won an Academy Award for Best Production Design.
Hats were by Paulette, a Parisian milliner.

 Robert Coote, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, and Julie Andrews,
the sublime cast.
Noel Coward was first sought for the role of Professor Higgins,
but rejected the offer, suggesting it would be perfect for Rex.
Mary Martin was similarly the first choice for Eliza,
but when she declined,
Julie was "discovered" playing (and scoring!)
 just down the block in The Boyfriend.

 Meeting Princess Margaret,
who seems to be wearing a bedsheet.
(Maybe it looks better from the front.)
Stanley in front of the Professor's painted library.
He played Alfred P. Doolittle on Broadway, in the West End,
 and in the movie (an Oscar for that!).
 This role, coming to him at the age of 66,
brought him international fame
(plus a lot more work and a lot more $$$).

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Playlist for Sunday, May 20, 2018: Pomp For Two

I like Pomp. I'm not too sure about Circumstance, but Pomp really gets me. And there is a helluva lot of Pomp about to happen across the pond. Carriages. Epaulets. Lace. Tiaras. Dangerously tilted chapeaux (to x or to s, that is the question). Gloves on guys. That sorta thing gets But it took a fan/mentor to remind me that all that filagreed fluff was happening THIS SATURDAY! Meghan and Harry's big Do only days away, and why wasn't I celebrating this Royal Wedding on air? Well, tear up that old fogey of a playlist and attempt to get with the times!

Duets! Weddings! Sex! Ascot Gavottes (that's where those dangerous hats come in)! Some distractions (Dolores Finkelstein, remember her?)! And of course me, souping it all up into some sort of deliberate package. Which is debatable, but hey! Throw some rice (not done anymore, right?), tie some shoes (what?) on the bumper (what?) of a car, dust off your epaulets and tiaras (no problem there!), toss down some champagne (always) and celebrate Pomp.

Let's Have A Simple Wedding (David Christmas, Bernadette Peters,
      Dames At Sea)
Guido's Song (Raul Julia, Nine)
I Want To Be Seen With You (Sydney Chaplin, Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl)
Barcelona (Dean Jones, Susan Browning, Company)
Sue Me (Sam Levene, Vivian Blaine, Guys And Dolls)
Strange Duet (Orson Bean, Phyllis Newman, Subways Are For Sleeping)
I Don't Need Anything But You (Andrea McArdle, Reid Shelton, Annie)
Bosum Buddies (Angela Lansbury, Bea Arthur, Mame)
I Am Here For You (Josh Gad, Andrew Rannells, The Book Of Mormon)
Hold Me, Hold Me, Hold Me Tight (Dolores Gray, Two On The Aisle)
Klenzrite/Thanks A Lot, But No Thanks (Dolores Gray, It's Always Fair
If You Hadn't, But You Did (Dolores Gray, Two On The Aisle)
Sex Marches On (Merwin Goldsmith, Michael McGrath, George S. Irving,
      Louisiana Purchase)
Quartet Erotica (Christopher Fitzgerald, Brad Oscar, Graham Rowat,
      Philip Chaffin, Life Begins At 8:40)
Sex Is In The Heel (Billy Porter, Stark Sands, Company, Kinky Boots)
The Tennis Song (Dee Hoty, James Naughton, City Of Angels)
Bounce (Howard McGillan, Richard Kind, Bounce)
It Takes Two (Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Into The Woods)
Not While I'm Around (Ken Jennings, Angela Lansbury, Sweeney Todd)
Marian The Librarian (Robert Preston, The Music Man)
I Wrote The Book (Lauren Bacall, Woman Of The Year)
A Trip To The Library (Barbara Baxley, She Loves Me)
Overture & Why Can't The English? (Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady)
Ascot Gavotte (Ensemble, My Fair Lady)
Get Me To The Church On Time (Stanley Holloway, My Fair Lady)
I Love To Cry At Weddings (John Wheeler, Michael Davis, Helen
      Gallagher, Thelma Oliver, Sweet Charity)
An Old-Fashioned Wedding (Ethel Merman, Ray Middleton, Annie Get Your
Cloudburst/Getting Married (Jessica Molaskey, John Pizzarelli, Make
We Should Be Together (Shirley Temple, George Murphy, Little Miss
Together Again (Roger Bart, Christopher Fitzgerald, Young Frankenstein)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A litte more string, a little!

 Some annoying kites to fly, drag, entangle
today on 2 on the Aisle.
Above (after they finish the baseball game),
Gary Burghoff on the right 
as (You're A Good Man) Charlie Brown
will attempt flight!
This show had mad success off-Broadway, back in 1967,
but it was a tough Broadway move, and it fell flat
after 32 performances.
Reva Rose standing at left was Lucy,
and completing the cast:
Skip Hinnant, Bob Balaban, and Karen Johnson.

 Another kite shows up in
A Year With Frog And Toad,
based on the Arnold Lobel childrens' books.
Above, Mark Linn-Baker and Jay Goede,
as the titular amphibians.
Once again, off-Broadway proved 
"just the ticket" 
for a musical of this scale,
not Broadway.
 A kite in a movie musical
(how about a balloon? Remember The Red Balloon???)
...specifically Mary Poppins!
Above, Dave Tomlinson and Glynis Johns with
"Let's Go Fly A Kite",
and adding his (cockney?) voice to the song,
Dick Van Dyke, below.
Music of course by the Sherman Brothers,
Richard and Robert.

 And then we had one listener ask for 
from the songbook of Leonard Bernstein.
Lenny was creating this show at the same time
as West Side Story,
and the "story" goes that some of the songs written 
for one show ended up in the other!
Barbara Cook starred with Robert Rounseville, below.

 It opened in 1956,
nobody liked it,
and it closed after 70 odd performances.
The music proved a hit,
with the cast album still in print,
but critics called Lillian Hellman's libretto
"too serious",
so it's now called an operetta, and done by music schools....
See? Life After (Broadway) Death! 

 Carol (Channing), Eileen (Brennan) and Sondra (Lee)
recording the cast album of 
Hello, Dolly!
We'll hear this trio's rendition of "Motherhood".

 "The Garden Of The Disappointed Mothers"
in Honeymoon In Vegas,
with Nancy Opel as the disappointed one
and Rob McClure as the one causing the disappointment.
This song should have a 2nd verse.
Or may A verse.

 Charles Nelson Reilly,
a favorite of Jerry Herman's
(below, with cat).
Jerry used him in Parade and Hello, Dolly...
we'll hear Charles with
"Confession To A Park Avenue Mother"
from that early Parade revue.

Friday, May 11, 2018

And every ONE of them had a MOM! :)

 A Chorus Line,
from 1975,
won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony for Best Musical.
It starred Donna McKechnie, Priscilla Lopez, Kelly Bishop,
Thomas J. Walsh, Wayne Cilento,
Robert LuPone (yup, Patti's older brother)
and below (with her new chassis),
Pamela Blair.

 "Dance: 10; Looks: 3",
with Pamela showing off her wares, above,
and all head-shotty, below.
Pamela would go on to dance in Promises Promises,
and Seesaw, 
star in The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, 
and act in several soap operas (Another World, Ryan's Hope)
and films (Annie, Mighty Aphrodite).

Tony Award-winning Donna McKechnie as Cassie
in A Chorus Line...
and below, a generation older,
but still fabulous in red!
Donna made her Broadway debut in 
How To Succeed, 1961.
Promises Promises, Forum, Company,
the infamous Gothic soap, Dark Shadows (!) 
are just a few shows from her lengthy resume.
And now she tours with her one-woman show,
"Inside The Music".

 Mother's Day on 2 On The Aisle
would not be complete without SOME version of 
"Rose's Turn"
from Gypsy.
This year, it's Patti LuPone's turn!
Above with Emma Rowley and Sami Gayle
("Tomorrow's Mother's Day)
and below, in that Mama Rose moment.

 In our Diva Corner
the wonderful Betty Buckley
and her Story Song album rendition of
from Stephen Schwartz's The Baker's Wife.

 And we also must fulfill a request for 
L'il Abner,
with (above) Peter Palmer in the title role,
Edie Adams,
and Stubby Kaye (below) as Marryin' Sam.
The music of Gene De Paul and Johnny Mercer,
and the choreography of Michael Kidd
(the same team that brought us Seven Brides For Seven Brothers). 

William Lanteau as Available Jones,
Edie (who gave up a role in Candide to play Daisie Mae)
and Charlotte Rae as Mammy Yokum.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Playlist For May 13, 2018: Ahhhhhh!

And we're off! We are officially in that wonderful cycle of the year that goes from May 1st to January 2nd! Like sliding down an icy slope, it goes FAST. Something every weekend. Something every Friday night. Something EVERY! The world spins faster this time of year, while we barbecue and firework and bike and baseball and mow and rake and swim and carve and feast and decorate and drink way too much lemonade or beer or gin or champagne (or all of that).  And that brings us to January 2nd, when the hang-overs linger and the tree must be tossed and there is nothing on the calendar...except for snow, unfashionable outerwear and an errant boring holiday.

So I say, GRAB IT and don't let go! Enjoy every mosquito bite, every humid degree, every cob of corn. Add some music (when you get tired of those bird serenades I'm hearing at the moment) and maybe that music will be Broadway.

This week, we fulfill requests for A Chorus Line, Lil Abner, Candide (I have esoteric listeners!), fly some kites, invite some darling divas over for a girls' night, and celebrate all you Mothers out there! I'll throw some shrimps on the barbie (or gluten-free veggie burgers, it's all good), get out the lawn chairs, and we'll go barefoot! :) 

Tomorrow's Mother's Day (Sami Gayle, Emma Rowley, Gypsy)
At The Ballet (Ensemble, A Chorus Line)
Dance: Ten; Looks; Three (Pamela Blair, A Chorus Line)
The Music And The Mirror (Donna McKechnie, A Chorus Line)
Jubilation T. Cornpone (Stubby Kaye, Ensemble, Lil Abner)
I'm Past My Prime (Edie Adams, Lil Abner)
The Matrimonial Stomp (Stubby Kaye, Company, Lil Abner)
Go Back Home (Audra McDonald, Go Back Home)
Growing Pains (Jessica Molaskey, Make Believe)
Chanson (Betty Buckley, Story Songs)
World Weary (Christine Ebersole, Christine Ebersole Sings Noel Coward)
Kite (Gary Burghoff, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown)
Let's Go Fly A Kite (Dave Tomlinson, Mary Poppins)
The Kite (Mark Linn-Baker, Jay Goede, A Year With Frog And Toad)
Overture (Instrumental, Candide)
Oh, Happy We (Barbara Cook, Robert Rounseville, Candide
Make Our Garden Grow (Company, Candide)
Company (Dean Jones, Ensemble, Company
Sorry - Grateful (George Coe, Charles Braswell, Charles Kimbrough,
The Ladies Who Lunch (Elaine Stritch, Company)
Motherhood (Carol Channing, Eileen Brennan, Hello, Dolly!)
My Mother Would Love You (Ethel Merman, Panama Hattie)
Mother's Day (Sherie Rene Scott, Women On The Verge Of A
      Nervous Breakdown)
If Momma Was Married (Laura Benanti, Leigh Ann Larkin, Gypsy)
The Garden Of Disappointed Mothers (Rob McClure, Nancy Opel,
      Honeymoon In Vegas
Confession To A Park Avenue Mother (Charles Nelson Reilly, Parade)
Around The World (Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens)
Rose's Turn (Patti LuPone, Gypsy)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Travel, they say, improves the mind...

 Bryan d'Arcy James and Daniel Breaker,
the original Shrek and Donkey, back in 2008.
Shrek ran for just over a year on Broadway,
One of the most expensive musicals of its day (25 mill?).
It got tons of Tony noms, but won only one
(for those costumes)!

 "The Travel Song" 
with the same duo,
now outfitted in those award-winning duds!

 Among a horde of other accomplishments since Shrek,
Daniel Breaker is presently starring in Hamilton
as Aaron Burr!
 (That's who I saw in the role, and he was super!)

 The Frogs
was written by Stephen Sondheim
and produced in 1974
in Yale University's (amphibian-appropriate) pool.
In 2004 it was revived at Lincoln Center
(well, they do have a fountain!),
with Nathan Lane's tweaks.
Above Nathan as Dionysus and Roger Bart as Xanthias,
  traveling companions to the Underworld,
from whence they hope to retrieve George Bernard Shaw,
so he (and Art and Literature)
can save the world. 
Just watch out for the frogs.
 The cast huddled about Susan Stroman,
who directed.
Can you pick out John Byner?
Also in the huddle: Roger B,
Nathan, Peter Bartlett, and Burke Moses. 

 See? These are the scary frogs.

 And you can't do a travel "set"
without Elaine Stritch's ode
to the wrong people who do it.
Above, Elaine as Cruise Director Mimi Paragon 
on the boat to Europe
in Sail Away!

Had to include this shot of Elaine with 
"passenger" Alice Pearce
who you may recognize as Lucy Schmeeler
(Girl of Mystery)
from On The Town.
 (And Mrs. Kravitz on Bewitched?)

 Elaine with Noel Coward,
the perpetrator of this musical.

Ed Sullivan spotlighting Elaine on 
the Toast of the Town,
during her On Your Toes run in 1954.

 And I had to add a shot of The Perfect Furlough...
ever seen this movie?
Me neither!
Troy Donahue, Les Tremayne, Linda Cristal, Keenan Wynn,
Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis, Elaine and King Donovan, 1958.
Sounds like "On The Town" but in France,
and maybe no Lucy Schmeeler
(unless Elaine was playing that part! :)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Here's to May, Smirnoff, and Saying No!

(the precursors of kites, Frisbees and Jarts)!
They used to be a thing
back in Merry Old, I guess.
Lerner and Loewe's Camelot  swirled onto Broadway
in 1961
with Julie, Richard and Robert.
Julie was nominated for a Tony, 
but it was Richard who walked away with one.

 And not to forget Roddy McDowell as Mordred,
whose days look to be numbered, above. 

 Love this vodka ad,
back in the days when Moss Hart
catered your cast party
and even invited the dog.
Robert's debut on Broadway brought him a Theatre World Award
 Joan Roberts (who played Laurey)
and Celeste Holm (Ado Annie)
in the original Oklahoma,
relaxing back stage,
maybe with a Smirnoff or 2.
Below, Celeste with Joseph Buloff and Ralph Riggs.

 Celeste was 26 when she played Ado Annie;
after her success, she'd go on to star in Bloomer Girl,
and then Hollywood reached out an arm! 

 In the movie version,
Gloria Grahame was the Ado Annie dame,
below with Shirley Jones.
Gloria's film career was losing steam when she 
accepted the role,
and audiences had a hard time believing 
that this very successful noir actress
(The Bad And The Beautiful, The Big Heat, A Lonely Place)
could be fresh faced and wholesome.
 She didn't win any points behind the camera either,
alienating her co-stars,
while suffering from a paralyzed upper lip
(the result of plastic surgery).

 Had to include the above shot
from The Greatest Show On Earth, 1952,
and an Edith Head costume for glorious Gloria.
Ms. Grahame (the owner of 4 husbands)
did her own stunts in that movie
as Angel, The Elephant Girl.