Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Funny, Desperate and Honey-full!

Since opening in 1962, with Zero Mostel as the original Pseudolus,
Forum has had 2 Broadway revivals:
in 1972 with Phil Silvers
and in 1996 with Nathan Lane (above with Mark Linn-Baker).
Every actor who's opened in this role on Broadway 
has won a Best Leading Actor Tony Award for his performance.
Even Jason Alexander, 
who did ONE SCENE as this slave in Jerome Robbin's Broadway
won a Tony!

 In the role of Domina (in Nathan's revival)...Mary Testa
and her "Dirty Old Man", 
Lewis J. Stadlen who played Senex.
 (It would have been a riot seeing Nancy Walker in this role,
when she did it in the Phil Silver's version!)

 Love the "sex, guns, tumbleweeds" subtitle...
Desperate Measures began in Irving, Texas (really?),
back in 2004,
and has finally galloped its way to Broadway, or close enough!
Music, David Freedman and Peter Kellogg.
Above, Peter Saide, Emma Degerstedt, Conor Ryan, Lauren Molina,
Nick Wyman and Gary Marachek.

 Verrrrry loosely based on Shakespeare's Measure For Measure,
Susanna/Sister Mary Jo, a novice nun,
is forced to make a "sleep with me" deal with the dastardly
Governor von Richterhenkenpflichtgetruber 
 to get her brother out of jail.  
A switch is proposed by the sheriff,
so that "In The Dark", Bella the randy saloon hall gal
will substitute for Susannah.
 Hey, "It Doesn't Hurt To Try"!

 The New York Times called it 
"terrible, wonderful",
and that the music was "enthusiastically ordinary
with the exception of the opening number
("Johnny Blood")
which is even worse.
Not even Tex Ritter could pull it off."
 We will hear it!  And several others!

 What a trio!
Mary Martin, Richard Rodgers, and Ezio Pinza.
South Pacific opened in the spring of 1949,
an immediate hit.
Nine Tony wins,
including one for Mary, Ezio, Best Score, Best Libretto,
Best Musical...
and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

 Mary, in her prime!
 Love this shot of Rodgers and Hammerstein,
Mary, Josh Logan who directed
 and Leland Hayward,
the producer of the show.
The story goes that Hammerstein had difficulty writing the book, 
having had no military experience;
Josh came to the rescue,
later receiving co-writing credit, but no compensation. 
(And for an interesting read, 
try Leland Hayward's daughter Brook's memoir of 1977,
Let's talk dysfunctional family.)

 Mary full out, as Nellie Forbush.
Back when they cast Oklahoma,
Mary almost got the role of Laurey.
Rodgers saw her again in a tour of Annie Get Your Gun,
and thought of her for Nellie.
At first Mary hesitated,
afraid that Ezio's operatic voice would
overpower her own,
but Rodgers convinced her that the two would rarely have to sing together.
She bought it.
We'll hear "Honey Bun".

Monday, August 27, 2018

Play For Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018: Broadway Knows! (Nose?)

Ahhhh, questions beset us!

Will the saloon hall gal (with the heart of gold) "convince" the governor to pardon her intended from a horrible fate? (See Desperate Measures)
Will the sheriff marry the nun?(See Desperate, REALLY see it!)
Will the candy box? (See Barbara Cook)
Will the sugar spoon? (See Julie Andrews)
Will the honey comb? (See Lena!)
Am I really lovely? (See Nathan and Mark)

These are the questions that try our souls as summer wanes and fall waxes (or is that the other way 'round?), and Broadway (sometimes) has the answers (and a lot more questions).

In(inn?)keeping with those queries, Forum (Nathan's version), Murder For Two (I'm seeing this on Saturday, done by the Merry Go Round Players in Auburn, so...), Sutton with favorites (well, at least mine!), plus a big gulp of a "new" off-Broadway nugget called Desperate Measures (check your boots for snakes and dastardly governors) are on the menu. Plus candy. And sugar. And a couple of desserts, sweet enuf for me to jump the Broadway Bandwagon (The Boswells? The McGuires? The Mercer, the Stafford, the Pipers Pied? YES.) Let's hope they hang together, in a grand Waldorf salad of melody (ooh-la-la, metaphors be with you!)(BTW, I think we're all out of Waldorf). Tune in for LIVE liveliness on Sunday, and have your questions answered! 

Comedy Tonight (Nathan Lane, Company, A Funny Thing Happened On The
      Way To The Forum)
Lovely (Nathan Lane, Mark Linn-Baker, A Funny Thing Happened On The
      Way To The Forum)
Love, I Hear (Jim Stanek, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To
      The Forum)
That Dirty Old Man (Mary Testa, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way
      To The Forum)
Comedy Tonight Finale (Company, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way
      To The Forum)
The Candy Man (Christian Borle, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory)
No More Candy (Barbara Cook, She Loves Me)
Candy (Johnny Mercer, Jo Stafford, The Pied Pipers)
Hard Candy Christmas (Pamela Blaire, Donna King, Ensemble,
       Best Little Whorehouse In Texas)
Give Him The Ooh-La-La (Sutton Foster, Take Me To The World)
It All Fades Away (Sutton Foster, Take Me To The World)
Air Conditioner (Sutton Foster, Live At The Cafe Carlyle)
Anything Goes (Sutton Foster, Company, Anything Goes)
Let Me Be Your Sugar Baby (Chorines, Sugar Babies)
When I Take My Sugar To Tea (The Boswell Sisters)
Sugar Time (The McGuire Sisters)
Bubbling Brown Sugar (Avon Little, Josephine Premice, Company,
      Bubbling Brown Sugar)
Sugar Blues/Running Wild (Instrumental, Some Like It Hot)
The Ballad Of Johnny Blood (Connor Ryan, Company, Desperate Measures)
It Doesn't Hurt To Try (Emma Degerstedt, Peter Saide, Gary Marachek
      Desperate Measures)
It's Hot In Here (Lauren Molina, Desperate Measures)
The Way That You Feel (Emma Degerstedt, Peter Saide, Lauren Molina,
      Desperate Measures)
Stop There (Peter Saide, Desperate Measures)
In The Dark (Emma Degerstedt, Nick Wyman, Peter Saide, Lauren Molina,
      Desperate Measures)
About Last Night (Nick Wyman, Emma Degerstedt, Desperate Measures)
Just For You (Lauren Molina, Connor Ryan, Desperate Measures)
Honey In The Honeycomb (Lena Horne, Cabin In The Sky)
Honey Bun (Mary Martin, South Pacific)
A Spoonful Of Sugar (Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins)
Sugar (Tony Roberts, Robert Morse, Sugar)
Waiting In The Dark (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Murder For Two)
It Was Her (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Murder For Two)
A Lot Woise (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Murder For Two)
He Needs A Partner (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Brett Ryback, Murder For Two)
Process Of Elimination (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Brett Ryback, Murder For Two)

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.