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".

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