Monday, October 15, 2018

En vacances!


Off to Paris this coming weekend!
So 2 on the Aisle will be left in the competent hands
of a pre-recorded version,
come October 21st.
This show was recorded last year,
so it will be a surprise playlist, for sure.
I promise to tear myself away from croissants, 
creme brulee, good wine, and well-tied scarves
 to be back on the 28th 
with more LIVE Broadway at its Best!
Au revoir, mes amis...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

La Cage!

 La Cage Aux Folles
hit Broadway in 1983,
with Jerry Herman's great music
and Harvey Fierstein's great book.
Gene Barry and George Hearn starred,
but at first these two straight actors hesitated
 to play gay roles.
“It’s funny, but I never thought twice about playing a cold-blooded murderer
 like Sweeney Todd,” said George,
who played Sweeney post-Len Cariou.
  Colleen Dewhurst finally convinced him to audition. 
“She said, ‘Don’t be a fool. You’ll have a great time.’
Gene Barry's children talked him into it...
his daughter wanted him to try for the more flamboyant role
of Zaza. 



 Arthur Laurents directed and assured them:
"This was not going to be any camp show. 
We really wanted to go for ‘heart’ in La Cage
I always felt the thing to go for was emotion. 
These two people care for each other."
The show would go on to win 6 Tonys,
including Best Score, Best Book, Best Direction,
Best Costumes, Best Musical,
and a Tony for George.
It ran for over 4 years, and almost 1,800 performances.
Above Merle Louise, Jay Garner, John Weiner, George and Gene.
Below,
the original Cagelles! 
 


 And below, another version of Cagelles! 
Replacements and stars from other productions:
Van Johnson, Peter Marshall, Gary Beach,
Kelsey Grammar, and Douglas Hodge, just to name a few!






 But first came the movie!
Well, actually SECOND came the movie,
because the 1978 French comedy was based on a 
play by Jean Poiret from 1973.
The movie starred Michel Serrault and Ugo Tognazzi, above,
and played FOR EV ER at the 68th Street Playhouse in NYC,
where I worked in the box office for a year of that "forever."
Hence, I know every frickin' line!

 Michele, above as Zaza,
won a Cesar, a David di Donatello Award and 
a Sant Jordi Award for Best Performance.
Below center, Ugo, whose voice was not used, strangely enough.
He was dubbed in French releases by Pierre Mondy
and in Italian releases by Oreste Lionello.



 Serrault with Michel Galabru,
who played the conservative diplomat/would be father-of-the-bride.

 The 1996 American version, The Birdcage,
was written by Elaine May, directed by Mike Nichols,
and starred Gene Hackman in the "conservative" role above,
Nathan Lane, Hank Azaria, and Robin Williams.
In the ensemble, Dianne Wiest, Christina Baranski, and Calista Flockhart.
 


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Playlist for Sunday, October 14, 2018: It's ROC-tober!

October means 3 things to me:

1.) It's my birthday! Once again, I am older than dirt (and that dirt, like the dust of the Apian Way, like Pig Pen's cloud, is aging as we speak). I like to spend the entire month celebrating. So NYC. So Paris. So cake and croissant and creme brulee and gin and bordeaux. That's the menu, at least. In any order (I adhere to the commutative property with all my body and soul). Parties. Party dresses. More earrings. Happy 1,000th birthday to me!

2.) It's 2 on the Aisle's birthday, too. As of October 24th, it will be 6 years old. Hard to believe that Jazz 90.1 has put up with my wacky musical selections and flubbed talking breaks for that long, and allowed me (nay, encouraged me) to keep trying. Honestly, I was so petrified (and rotten) those first few weeks (back in 2012), that I figured I would be lucky to last 6 months! Thanks for putting up with my gaffes, mispronunciations, cheesy themes, and flubbed button pushing for so long, folks! 

3.) It's pledge drive time...Jazz 90.1 has been broadcasting for 45 years, as a listener-supported radio station. That's hard to believe, too...not one sugar daddy in sight. No grants, no corporate sponsors. Nada. And yet "it lives!", thanks to $10 and $20 and $90.10 contributions from YOU!

So all that means BLOCKBUSTER BROADWAY this Sunday! All the big shows, the big songwriters, the big Broadway names. If you like what you hear during this show, give me a call (and Carol Peterson will be guesting, and helping with the barrage of calls, as well!), or go online at Jazz901.org....without you, we sink! With you, we PARTY! Think of it as a happy birthday gift to me and that Aisle! :)


We Are What We Are (Gene Barry, Ensemble, La Cage Aux Folles)
The Schuyler Sisters (Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas
      Jones, Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton)
Omar Sharif (Katrina Lenk, The Band's Visit)
Waving Through A Window (Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen)
Big Spender (Ann Reinking, Ensemble, Fosse)
Bye Bye Blackbird (Liza Minnelli, Liza With A Z)
All That Jazz (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago)
The Glamorous Life (Audra McDonald, Go Back Home)
Send In The Clowns (Glynis Johns, A Little Night Music)
The Ladies Who Lunch (Elaine Stritch, Company)
New York, New York (Adolph Green, John Battles, Cris Alexander, On The Town)
Come Up To My Place (Nancy Walker, Cris Alexander, On The Town)
Dance At the Gym (Instrumental, West Side Story)
Dear Officer Krupke (Michael Callan, Ensemble, West Side Story
Some Other Time (Betty Comden, Nancy Walker, On The Town)
It's De-Lovely (Laura Osnes, Colin Donnell, Anything Goes)
Anything Goes (Sutton Foster, Ensemble, Anything Goes)
Bianca (Michael Berresse, Kiss Me, Kate)
Brush Up Your Shakespeare (Lee Wilkof, Michael Mulheren, Kiss Me, Kate)
It's Today (Angela Lansbury, Mame)
Mame (Ensemble, Mame)
The Best Of Times (Gene Barry, Company, La Cage Aux Folles)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The swiniest, the doggiest, the Bad Boys of Broadway!

 Cyrill Ritchard,
1960,
in the live TV showing of Peter Pan,
giffing to "Mysterious Lady"...

 Nick Cordero telling Zach Braff
where to get off (no doubt)
in Bullets Over Broadway...
"Ain't Nobodies Business If I Do"

 Ray Walston played Mr. Applegate
on Broadway and in the subsequent movie
of Damn Yankees.
"Those Were The Good Old Days"

 "Someday They Will Thank Me!"
Nick Wyman as the dastardly Governor Otto von...something(!!)
in Desperate Measures. 

 Henry Calvin
in the original production of Kismet.
"Was I Wazir?"


And below,
Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney (in a lighter mood!)
with "Epiphany"...
Angela and Len, of course. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Sunday Stand-outs

 Raul Julia and Karen Akers
in Nine,
featuring the music of Maury Yeston,
who would go on to score Grand Hotel and Titanic.
Awarded the Tony for Best Musical of 1982,
Nine was based on Fellini's 8 1/2.
 "The movie had a phenomenal impact on me when I saw it as a teenager 
when it first came out," says Maury.
"I was fascinated with Guido who was going through a second adolescence 
when I was going through my first! 
As I grew I began to realize that there was room to explore the reactions of the inner workings of the women in Guido’s wake."
 

 Kathi Moss as Saraghina...
Ti Voglio Bene/Be Italian.


Raul would pass away just 8 years later,
at the age of 54.
Credits to Getty Images
for this great shot of him conducting his "harem".

 ...and to Al Hirschfeld for this marvelous caricature.
Below, some of the women in Guido Contini's life:
including Lilliane Montevecchi (third from the left)
who won a Tony for Featured Performer in a Musical.



 Also on this Sunday's agenda: Charles Aznavour,
who was born in 1924 to Armenian parents who made a home in Paris.
His father sang in local restaurants,
before starting one of his own;
Charles followed in his footsteps,
beginning acting school at the age of 9.

 Edith Piaf was one of his inspirations,
the way she told a story thru song and her presence on stage,
along with Charles Trenet, and Maurice Chevalier.
  “Trenet for his writing, Piaf for her pathos and Chevalier for his professionalism," said Charles.



His first "act" was dancing and singing in French nightclubs,
frequently opening for Piaf in the Moulin Rouge.
Charles recorded over 1,000 songs,
writing and singing them in nine languages,
including "Hier Encour" ("Yesterday When I Was Young").

 With Liza Minelli,
a favorite to perform with...

 Above, a pic from the Truffaut movie,
Shoot The Piano Player.
Truffaut evidently wrote the part of said "piano player" specifically for Charles.
He did 60 movies over the course of his life-time,
including bit parts done as a child.

Charles was also noted for his humanitarian work
for his native country of Armenia.
 In 1998, he founded the charitable organization Aznavour for Armenia;
ten years later he was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland, 
and became Armenia's permanent delegate to the United Nations.

Also in 1998, Aznavour was named Entertainer of the Century by CNN,
edging out Presley and Dylan.
When other performers were retiring in their 60s,
Charles continued to tour.
He even had performance dates scheduled for this November and 
December, at the age of 94.
“We live long, we Armenians,” he said. 
“I’m going to reach 100, and I’ll be working until I’m 90.” 
 1924 - 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Playlist For Sunday, October 7, 2018: Bad Boy!

If you want to "read in" to this week's 2 On The Aisle theme, feel free! We're doing Bad Boys...on Broadway. Devils, pirates, mad scientists, liars, thieves, wazirs, and blood-thirsty barbers. Musical villians, some comic, all corrupt! Characters from Oliver(!), Damn Yankees, Desperate Measures, Forum, Peter Pan...you name it. Evil really plays on Broadway. And beyond, evidently.

Along with all of those baddies, we'll have goodies like Nine and Bandstand, and also a tribute to Charles Aznavour, who passed away just yesterday (10/1/2018) at the age of 94. An Armenian/French singer/songwriter, who created over 1000 songs in dozens of languages. Actor. And a stage presence and a half. I saw Charles twice at Carnegie Hall back in the 80s, and he would tell the story of a song he was about to sing, thankfully the story was in English, and then we could sit back and hear the French story, done in song. And understand it all...well, it was all heartbreak, and who can't understand that, whether it be in Turkish or Klingon? It was marvelous. He sang of loneliness and betrayal and unrequited love. And I fell in love. So we will hear three of his signature songs.

The following Sunday (10/14) is Pledge Drive, so I'll be block-buster-ing that day with over the top shows.  So send me your favorite buster of blocks and I will play it. Cuz THEN maybe you'll call and donate. To Jazz 90.1. Which means to 2 On The Aisle. You Bad Boy. :)



I'm A Bad, Bad Man (Ray Middleton, Annie, Get Your Gun)
Captain Hook's Waltz (Cyrill Ritchard, Peter Pan)
Someday They Will Thank Me (Nick Wyman, Desperate Measures)
Those Were The Good Old Days (Ray Walston, Damn Yankees)
The Seven Deadly Virtues (Roddy McDowall, Camelot)
Revenge (Michael O'Sullivan, It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman!)
Easy Street (Dorothy Loudon, Robert Fitch, Barbara Erwin, Annie)
'Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do (Nick Cordero, Ensemble, Bullets
      Over Broadway)
Que C'est Triste Venise (Charles Aznavour)
La Boheme (Charles Aznavour)
Hier Encore (Charles Aznavour)
You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two (Clive Revill, Oliver!)
Be Prepared (John, Vickery, The Lion King)
Epiphany (Len Cariou, Angela Lansbury, Sweeney Todd)
A Band In New York City (Company, Bandstand)
You Deserve It (Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, Bandstand)
Donny Novitski (Corey Cott, Bandstand)
Nobody (Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, Ensemble, Bandstand)
Pirate Song (Ensemble, Peter Pan)
A Professional Pirate (Tim Curry, Ensemble, Muppet Treasure Island)
Poor Pirates (Jon Rua, Ensemble, SpongeBob Square Pants)
Bad Companions (Nathaniel Frey, Margaret Hamilton, Ensemble, Goldilocks)
I Want To Be Bad (Annette Hanshaw)
Hello, Little Girl (Robert Westenberg, Danielle Ferland, Into The Woods)
The Germans At The Spa (Camille Saviola, Ensemble, Nine)
Only With You (Raul Julia, Nine)
Movie Themes (Raul Julia, Nine)
Ti Voglio Bene/Be Italian (Kathi Moss, Ensemble, Nine)
Was I Wazir? (Henry Calvin, Kismet)
Bring Me My Bride (Cris Groenendaal, A Funny Thing Happened On The
      Way To The Forum)
Hades (Peter Bartlett, Ensemble,The Frogs)
Et Pourtant (Charles Aznavour)