Results tagged “movies” from Blogway Baby
I am thrilled to announce that Myrna Conn will be starring as Little Voice ("L.V.") in Artswest's Seattle premier of THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE by Jim Cartwright, running March 7 to March 31, 2012.
Rehearsals have finally started and ArtsWest has put together a stellar cast: Myrna Conn, Peggy Gannon, Pat Haines-Ainsworth, Daniel Reaume, Jesse Smith, and Travis Tingvall.
Christopher Zinovitch is directing, and Kim Dare is Music Directing.
From the Season Brochure:
I first fell in love with this story when I saw the 1998 movie starring Brenda Blethyn, Jane Horrocks and Michael Caine.
I'm also excited for this production because I wrote the song that LV sings at the end of the show!
Stay tuned for more info, and get your tickets now before they sell out!
Last weekend I went back to Phoenix for the first time in 42 years! I went to see Arizona Theatre Company's BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix. I also went to visit David Ira Goldstein, Artistic Director of Arizona Theatre Company. David directed PLANE CRAZY at the Village Theatre Festival of New Musicals this past August.
Last Saturday night I got Sauced! I know what you're thinking, "Suzy you always get sauced on Saturday nights!". But no, this was different!
I went to see CAFE NORDO SAUCED: Cocktails and Smokin' Music at the Theo Chocolate Factory. This was my first Cafe Nordo event, and my first Theo Chocolate Factory visit! When I first heard of SAUCED, I was intrigued - music, theatre, cocktails...served up in a chocolate factory? Yes!
SAUCED has a story/concept by Erin Brindley and Terry Podorski, with Nordo Lefesczki "in the shadows" of the kitchen. Murray Stenson is the cocktail Designer. Murray was just named "Best Bartender in America", and judging by these cocktails, it's true!
From the website:
This fall, Cafe Nordo returns to Fremont with Sauced, one part historical tour of mixology, one part film noir thriller, shaken and served up with a dash of the surreal. Fedoras nod to the beat of original jazz tunes performed love as four of the top performers in Seattle deliver salty one-liners and perfectly-poured classic cocktails to an intimate audience. Paired with each cocktail is Chef Nordo Lefesczki's interpretation of bar food: deconstructed, reconstructed, and then deconstructed again. As per the laws of Café Nordo, only the finest local, sustainable ingredients are served, and local craft distilleries provide the booze.
We were greeted by "Efie", a speakeasy waitress wearing fish net stockings who showed us to our table and served us up the first of our cocktails, "The Slippage" along with some delicious hot nuts! I love it when the waitresses are part of the show. As the show progressed (helmed by the joint's bartender Saul Needle, played like Rick from Casablanca by Ray Tagavilla) we were served more cocktails paired with food: "The Secret Kiss" with a pickled plate, "A Box of Nails", served with a fried lemon and fried stuffed jalepeno, and the delicious and mysterious Nordo Elixir served with desert. The Cocktails were delicious, but the nicest surprise was that the food was amazingly delicious! You can also buy more drinks a la carte if the cocktail flight isn't enough to wet your whistle.
Billie Wildrick stars as Charlotte Bright, "torch singer extraordinaire", and Mark Siano plays Mike Binnet, the owner of the gin joint and Opal Peachey plays Valerie Rush, Mike's long-suffering wife. Maridee Slater is Efie, our waitress, and Dana Blasingame was Irene, the other waitress. The music was great - some jazzy standards (eg. Love For Sale) mixed with new songs by Anastasia Workman, who also played the piano. Matt Manges was on drums. This "cocktail theatre" is so much fun that we've already planned to return before the end of the run on November 13.
Get your tickets now!
We searched all of NYC and here they are...The Broadway Dolls!
The Broadway Dolls was created by Hollie Howard (she's the one in the middle of the picture), who just happened to originate the role of Holly Banks in the NYMF production of PLANE CRAZY in New York! (see how I always bring it back to me?). Hollie is an incredible triple threat Broadway performer who has put together an amazing group of women.
From the website:
The Broadway Dolls searched New York City for the finest Broadway talent and found Five Broadway Stars! We specialize in developing a customized theatrical experience for your corporate event, business party, fundraiser, benefit or theatrical event! Five, real triple threat women -- all singing, all acting, all dancing come directly to you from the most well known Broadway shows, including Mamma Mia, Chicago, A Chorus Line, Rent, Legally Blonde, Hairspray, Grease, The Wedding Singer, Spamalot, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and more.
The Broadway Dolls was created by Hollie Howard, and is directed by Joey Murray, and assisted directed by Barbara Helms (a former Broadway Doll and she was also in PLANE CRAZY! See, I did it again!). Music supervision is by Lon Hoyt, with choreography by Jordan Fife Hunt and Bryan Knolwton.
For more information:
Phone: 646-537-1708 or email@example.com
First of all, it got this incredible review on ithacajournal.com. The review described the show as "glorious" and "superb".
And did I mention that it stars two of my favorite performers? Richard Todd Adams, who played Brett Mansford in the New York production of my show PLANE CRAZY, stars as Cervantes/Quixote. You gotta love this quote from the review - "His rich tenor/baritone fills the house, and once he begins to sing, you want to crawl up inside his voice and simply live there."
Natascia Diaz stars as Dulcinea. I was blown away by Natascia when I saw her a couple of years ago at the Zipper Theatre's production of JAQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS. She's also in the fabulous movie "Every Little Step".
So hurry and buy tickets because it closes on Saturday!
Clang, clang, clang went the Trolley!
Last night I had my walk-on role in Village Theatre's production of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. Last May when I bid and won the walk-on role at the Village Theatre Gala, the show seemed so far away. Suddenly it was November and time for me to face the music.
A couple of weeks ago I went for a costume fitting and wig fitting. I was to be dressed in a beautiful coral and creme dress, big hair, big hat and lace up boots.
The wonderful and talented Bobbi Kotula was my contact throughout all this organizing dates, fittings etc. Paulette Buse, the stage manager, was my backstage contact and the one who scheduled my "put in rehearsal" for 6:30pm last night. Louise Kincaid was my "wrangler".
I arrived at 6:30 pm thinking I would just be shown when to walk across the stage and wave. Never assume anything!
Steve Tomkins welcomed me with a warm handshake and went about fitting me into the finale. The entire finale. I even had choreography and music to sing! Luckily I'm very well aquainted with both The Trolley Song, and Meet Me In St. Louis, and generally never need much convincing when asked to sing.
I enter with the cast on the trolley, sitting smack in the middle and singing my little heart out! "The day was bright, the air was sweet..." etc. Then I get escorted off the trolley and back to chat with Henry Nettleton and Bill Williams, also in the cast. Then it's back on the trolley, holding on for dear life as it goes off stage. Then grab an ice cream and run on with Bobbi to look at the World's Fair and see the fireworks and sing the last line - "So won't you Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis, meet me at the fair!"
I even got to take a bow with the female ensemble members! And then with the rest of the company! Woot Woot!
I was able to watch Act 1 in the audience with my family and then I went backstage at intermission to get dressed, and get my wig on. I had my own little space in the women's dressing room. Waiting for me was a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I got dressed and chatted with everybody and waited for the finale.
My performance went off without a hitch! I even got to watch some scenes in Act 2 from the wings with Bobbi. After the show they took picture of everyone in the cast, and moi, on the trolley. Then off to meet my fans (my family) backstage. Rave reviews all round!
Then the clock struck midnight and my carriage once again turned into a pumpkin. Back to life "behind the scenes" as a writer!
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS is a fabulous show (even when I'm not in it) and the cast is wonderful. Go get your tickets now!
My new favorite movie!
Every once in a while I totally fall in love with a movie and it occupies a special place in my heart. I can watch them over and over and over again. Movies in the past that have done this: White Christmas, Holiday Inn, The Pajama Game, My Best Friend's Wedding, Family Stone, When Harry Met Sally, Love Actually, any Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie...
Now Paris 36 have entered that exclusive (or not so exclusive) list!
I watched the movie in French with English Subtitles, but after a while it felt as though they were speaking English. Maybe it's all that French I got growing up in Canada (Ou est Pitou?), but I was completely engaged.
From the description on Fandango:
A star is born in a time of both celebration and instability in this historical drama with music from director Christophe Barratier. In the spring of 1936, Paris is in a state of uncertainty; while the rise of the Third Reich in Germany worries many, a leftist union-oriented candidate, Léon Blum, has been voted into power, and organized labor is feeling its new power by standing up to management. While such matters might normally seem unimportant to Germain Pigoil (Gérard Jugnot), who runs a small vaudeville house in the Faubourg district, the chaos of the city seems to be impacting his life and his work -- his wife, Viviane (Elisabeth Vitali), has run off with her lover, she demands custody of their son, Jojo (Maxence Perrin), and unscrupulous local entrepreneur Galapiat (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) threatens to put Germain's theater out of business. With the help of a local political organizer, Milou (Clovis Cornillac), and veteran entertainer Jacky Jacquet (Kad Merad), Germain strikes a deal with Galapiat to reopen the theater, but business is slow until a lovely young woman with a remarkable voice, Douce (Nora Arnezeder), comes looking for a spot in Germain's show. Faubourg 36 (aka Paris 36) received its North American premiere at the 2008 Montreal World Film Festival.
I absolutely love the slightly larger than life feeling of this movie. And j'adore the songs! The original music and lyrics are by Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas and wonderfully evoke shades of Piaf and mid century France.
I'll catch up if I can!
I apologize for not blogging more over the summer. It's just that it was hot, hot, hot in my office and when the house temperature reaches my internal body temperature (98 degrees), my brain ceases to function. That means my fingers won't type. Hence, no posts.
But looking back over those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, I seem to recall that lots of fun theatre-going was had by the Conns.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN at The 5th Avenue Theatre!
DAS BARBECU at ACT!
1. Getting to see Anne Allgood and Billie Wildrick and Rich Gray in the same show! (Oh wait, I already did that with SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE)
2. Love that country music!
3. Now I can talk intelligently about the plot of THE RING with my opera-loving sister :)
4. Becoming members of ACT for only $25! Now I can go see shows as many times as I want for free!
WINNIE THE POOH at YOUTH THEATRE NORTHWEST!
SHOWBOAT at THE VILLAGE THEATRE!
1. Listening to the fabulous voice of Richard Todd Adams as Gaylord Ravenal.
2. Finally seeing this magnificent show in its entirety on stage, and not just the clips from THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!
3. Getting to meet Maria and baby Nate!
ORANGE FLOWER WATER at ACT
1,000 CLOWNS at INTIMAN
Elizabeth Lucas, a friend of mine in New York, sent me this email.
Sounds like a super cool movie! Don't miss it at the New York Musical Theatre Festival!
From the email:
I am so proud of what we came up with and would love to share it with you. We are premiering the results next Thursday, September 10th. Please join us.
We’ll be screening at the SVA, a newly renovated facility with top of the line High Def projector and sound equipment, and the second largest screen in New York City. This presentation is the movie in its best possible form.
You can view the trailer on our website at www.clearbluetuesday.com. Edited by Alex Hammer, the trailer is a beautiful representation of the movie. If it moves you at all, don’t miss this screening.
You are invited to the World Premiere of the musical movie CLEAR BLUE TUESDAY, premiering as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival!
WHERE: SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street
WHEN: Thursday, September 10
7:00pm and 9:15pm
TICKETS: $20 (includes post-screening Q&A)
VIEW THE TRAILER:www.clearbluetuesday.com
If you are looking for something free to do at 4:00pm in New York on Monday August 31, why not check out the industry reading of the new musical FLYER ...
From the press release:
Fresh from its premiere Equity Regional Production in Delaware , Flyer, an award-winning musical based on the majestic and turbulent lives of the Wright Brothers, comes to NYC with a one-night reading presentation at the esteemed Florence Gould Hall Theatre next Monday, Aug. 31 at 4:00 pm.
Flyer was the first recipient of an unprecedented two-time (consecutive years) ASCAP / Disney Workshop Award for its Co-Composer/Lyricists Dan Tramon and Diana Belkowski. The second ASCAP award given was for their musical, Rocket Boys (film version known as October Sky with Jake Gyllenhaal), which had its own premiere last year in Huntsville, AL. Directed by Carl Anthony Tramon (SDC), Flyer was initially presented at the Lamb’s Mainstage Theatre in NYC, followed by a week-long stay as part of North Carolina's NASA/Smithsonian 2003 'Festival of Flight. It was also presented in abridged concert form at Oklahoma City University in 2006.
Dan and Diana have long-collaborated for the Broadway community and beyond, also composing for jingles, multi-media, and both Presidential and gubernatorial campaigns. Carl has been performing on stage since 3 yrs old, and directing professionally for the past 5 years. The current Flyer cast includes Billy Clark Taylor (Wilbur), Michael Mott (Orville), Natalie Newman (Kate), Beau Allen (Milton), Sabina Petra (Susan), and Trip Plymale (Charlie).
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ very first plane sold. 2009 also celebrates the Centennial of the renowned Paris Air Show, which figured greatly in Wilbur and Orville’s path to notoriety. However, the message of Flyer is timeless, as the story is as much about the complex influences that nurture or inhibit potential as it is about a child’s dream to fly.
The Florence Gould Hall is the premier theater of the French Institute Alliance, and is located at 55 East 59th Street in Manhattan. Tickets are free, and may be reserved online at www.flyerthemusical.com.
Wake Up and Smell the Bacon in Missouri! Or is that show me the bacon....
I am please to announce the production of THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND at the State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Missouri! Yes, this November 2009 will see the return of Pigling Bland, Aunt Pettitoes and the whole crazy gang! This will be the third production of the musical that I (I being me, Suzy Conn) wrote (book/lyrics) with Mitchell Kitz (music), following a debut in Toronto (at the Toronto Fringe Festival), and a second production in Chicago at Theatre Building Chicago last summer.
THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND, based on the book by Beatrix Potter (no relation to Harry Potter), tells the story of the adventures of a young pig (Pigling Bland) who sets off to market with his younger brother, is interrogated by a policeman, pignapped by a farmer, teased and tormented by a cat and dog and eventually falls in love with a beautiful female pig . The two escape and....well... I can't give away the ending, now can I?
THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND will be directed by Eric Yazell, and is scheduled to run from November 16 to November 21, 2009 at the Stauffacher Center for the Fine Arts in Sedalia, MO!
And here's a bit of trivia -- turns out Sedalia, MO hosts the annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival!
More posts to come... oink!
Television Gold! (or is that Television Yellow?)
I first saw Mitzi Gaynor in the movie musical Anything Goes with Bing Crosby and Donald O'Connor. One viewing of Mitzi doing "Blow Gabriel Blow", "Anything Goes" and "It's Delovely" and I was a huge fan! Such a fan, in fact, that the name "Mitzi" was on the short list of names for my second daughter (as was "Velma" and "Gladys"...I stopped short of "Daisy Mae").
My wonderful husband of 22 years bought me "MITZI GAYNOR RAZZLE DAZZLE! THE SPECIAL YEARS" for my birthday. Wow! This is an amazing must-see DVD.
From the DVD cover:
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Mitzi Gaynor's blockbuster film, Rodgers & Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC and the 40th anniversary of her first televised special, MITZI GAYNOR: RAZZLE DAZZLE! THE SPECIAL YEARS is an all new documentary that captures the creative excellence, the briliant fusion of song and dance, the glamorous Bob Mackie costumes and the non-stop excitement that were the hallmark of her glittering annual television events. For 10 years, Mitzi Gaynor's annual specials captured the imagination of audiences the world over. Now, for the first time in three decades, experience the groundbreaking Emmy winning performances choreographed by some of the most inflential forces in the world of dance: Peter Gennaro (ANNIE, WEST SIDE STORY), Danny Daniels (THE TAP DANCE KID), Robert Sidney (THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW) and Tony Charmoli (WOMAN OF THE YEAR). Including newly taped interview with Miss Gaynor, Bob Mackie, Kristin Chenoweth, Carl Reiner, Kelli O'Hara, Rex Reed and rare photos and footage from Gaynor's personal archive that illuminate the behind-the scenes stories and impact of her landmark television events.
The present day chats between Bob Mackie and Mitzi Gaynor are worth the price of the DVD on their own! It's so nice to see genuine affection between two artists, and to hear the stories behind the costumes. And what costumes! Mitzi wears sequins, beads, beads and more beads, short dresses, long dresses, dresses that zip up and zip down. As they were always in gorgeous, bright colors! It's like my dream wardrobe! (I can't help it, I like shiny stuff). And the guys costumes are just as amazing!
Speaking of guys, the specials are always just Mitzi and "her dancing boys". No other women in sight! And I recognized on of those guys as a dancer on the Carol Burnett show! I don't know his name but he played the Yankee soldier in the Went With The Wind skit! My favorite special is Mitzi and 100 Guys -- it seemed she had literally every male 1970s tv star on that show! From Captain Stubing to Mannix! Two of my favorite dances are EVERYBODY LOVES MY BABY and PRETTY FOR ME from her first 1968 special Mitzi (watched by 33 million viewers!).
Mitzi seems like such a level-headed woman, someone who really enjoyed her career, and appreciated the good fortune she had, and laughs a lot. There's none of that bitterness or regret, or exploitation/substance abuse stories you so often see in stars when they look back at the "good old days". Not only that, but she was happily married to Jack Bean for over fifty years! I would love to go out to lunch with Mitzi Gaynor and hear more cool stories!
Mitzi Gaynor is currently touring with a one woman show (of course!) called MITZI GAYNOR RAZZLE DAZZLE - MY LIFE BEHIND THE SEQUINS. Here's hoping she comes to Seattle!
One singular sensation of a movie!
FIrst of all, the Landmark Harvard Exit is one cool movie theatre! I'd never been before, and I almost drove right by it. The Landmark Harvard Exit is an old woman's club turned movie theatre.
From the theatre's website:
The theatre is located on a quaint, tree-lined street at the north end of Broadway, at Harvard and Roy on Seattle's Capitol Hill. The building in which The Harvard Exit currently resides was originally constructed as a clubhouse for The Woman's Century Club in 1925. The club continues to hold meetings in the lobby, although the building was sold in 1968 for conversion to a movie theatre. In the 1980s, a second auditorium was added in an unused ballroom space on the third floor of the building. One of the very first "art" theatres in Seattle, the Harvard Exit set the standard for the exhibition of independent film and foreign language cinema. Its large and glorious lobby retains a 1920s atmosphere, adorned with a fireplace, a grand piano and chandelier. A recent remodel adds a fully wheelchair accessible restroom on the main floor, expanded concession stand and an inside box office for those rainy Seattle nights.
I had seen the revival of A CHORUS LINE, so I was really excited to see the film. Also, a friend of a friend of ours, Natascia Diaz was figured prominently in the movie since it had come down to her and Charlotte D'Amboise for Cassie. I absolutely loved Natascia in JASQUES BREL at The Zipper.
What I didn't realize is how much footage we would get to see from the original 1975 production of A CHORUS LINE! As a "Hello 12, Hello 13" teenager I had lived and breathed that cast album (as a record of course) and sheet music when it was released, but had never seen the show until the revival in 2006.
Seeing Donna Mckechnie do The Music and The Mirror dance was unbelievable. She was other-worldly. Don't get me wrong, Charlotte D'Amboise was fantastic, but Donna Mckechnie defied description. You just have to see it. And she was just a wisp of a thing!
Here's to Canada, eh!
And a special shout out to musicals (not an exhaustive list by any means) written by Canadians - TWO PIANO FOUR HANDS, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE and of course, PLANE CRAZY!
Okay, and a special shout out to one of my favorite Canadians -- Wolverine!
Broadway royalty right here in Seattle!
It was a little surreal to be honest. Seriously. I was only a few rows away from Bob Mackie.
The theatre was packed, and there was a palpable electricity. Forget the fact that the event was free (yes, you heard me, free!), it was one of the most enjoyable, exciting nights in theatre I've had!
Spotlight nights are hosted by David Armstrong, the Producing Artistic Director of The 5th Avenue Theatre and are a great way to familiarize yourself with upcoming shows - hearing songs performed, learning the history behind the show, meeting the creative team, as well as gaining new, interesting perspective on shows you already know. The CATCH ME IF YOU CAN spotlight gave insight on the creation of an exciting, new musical!
The evening was divided into three acts:
The Incredible True Story!
David recounted Frank Abagnale's true crime adventures on both sides of the law and discussed this with special guest, Ken Kirkpatrick, President of US BANK, Washington State. Ken had actually hired Frank not so long ago to consult on bank security and fraud so he had lots of interesting anecdotes about this incredibly charismatic man (everyone throughout the evening commented on how charismatic Frank Abagnale is, and how he can walk into a room and suddenly command all attention!) and tips on how to avoid bank fraud - micro shredder and the uni-ball pen (it can't be erased from a cheque with acetone unlike other pens.) When Ken asked Frank whether it would be harder to pull of his fraud nowadays versus in the 60s, he said that today it would be far easier to do everything! Downloading logos, lifting signatures, wiring money...but I digress!
Meet The Dream Team
Songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (HAIRSPRAY), playwright Terrence McNally (THE FULL MONTY), director Jack O'Brien (HAIRSPRAY), choreographer Jerry Mitchell (HAIRSPRAY, LEGALLY BLONDE), musical director John McDaniel , and legendary costume designer Bob Mackie gave an inside look into how a Broadway musical is conceived and created. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman told the story of how they were looking around a bookstore and Scott saw a CATCH ME IF YOU CAN movie book on display and said, Hey how about that? So they bought it, and called Steven Spielberg the next day and they were on their way! I was most intrigued by the description of how they were taking the film and putting it on stage. They weren't going to compete with the movie's ability to show Frank's narrow escapes from the law or just put the movie on stage. Instead, The songs/scenes would be how Frank would view the characters as if they were in a big tv show spectacular. The mid 60s was the time of tv variety shows and specials, with a variety of musical styles from Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones. So, Marc and Scott went for a sort of Ed Sullivan Show soundtrack! It sounds very, very cool. We saw Bob Mackie's sketches for the costumes and they look absolutely fabulous. It was so special to be able to listen to this team talk about putting this show together.
The whole team agreed that four weeks of rehearsal might seem like a long time, but they have a lot of work to do so it will fly by!
Meet The Stars
Norbert Leo Butz, who plays the Tom Hanks FBI agent character Hanratty, Aaron Tveit, who plays Frank Jr., and Tom Wopat, who plays Frank Sr. all performed songs from the show (Fifty Cheques, I'm Good At What I Do, Happy Ending, Making Butter Out of Cheese, Seven Wonders). Wow, all three of these guys were amazing. I got chills!l And they also announced that Kerry Butler, and Felicia Finley (who played Linda in THE WEDDING SINGER) will be in the show. dThis is going to be an amazing cast!
Oh, and one more piece of trivia - the song that Neil Patrick Harris sang at the end of the Tony Awards night was actually written that night, over the course of the awards, by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman! They said it was like putting together a puzzle, and they had lots of options to go with depending on who won the awards (the Fonda/Honda rhyme never made it into the song!)
Hurry and get tickets to see CATCH ME IF YOU CAN live and in living color!
Those were the days!
this CD in the Children's section, filed under comedy! What a gem!
Carol Burnett, Featuring If I could Write A Song is a combination of a record released in 1971 plus three bonus tracks that were originally released as singles -The Christmas Song, Love's The Only Game in Tow, and You're My Reason.
Other tracks include:
If I Could Write A Song, It's Too Late, Those Were The Days, Rainy Days and Mondays, Who's Sorry Now, Saturday Morning Confusion, For All We Know, Rose Garden, Try To Remember, Sunrise, Sunset and Guess Who/Turn Around, Look At Me
And what a great singer she is. I've always associated her voice with her comedy, but listening to an entire of Carol Burnett just singing? I loved it! It's called easy listening, because it is so darn easy to listen to! Duh!
From the original liner notes by Morgan Ames:
It was not until about four years ago that I realized what a lovely singer Carol Burnett is. It took that long because she doesn't make a big deal out of her singing. She doesn't hurl her voice at us dramatically, insisting on its impact. Instead, she comes over with natural sweetness and simplicity, as if to say, "Here is a song; would you like to hear it?
And as only liner notes from the seventies can say:
But the first thing this lady is...is just that: a lady - warm, real and in full flower.
One of my favorite tracks on the CD is Saturday Morning Confusion, written by Robert Russell. It reminds me of Saturday mornings when I was a kid!
From the re-release liner notes:
Saturday Morning Confusion is a charming evocation of parenting woes that Burnett, the mother of three daughter, delivers with knowing wisdom. The tune was written by Robert Russell, whose best known composition, The Nights The Lights Went Out In Georgia, was a #1 hit for Vicki Lawrence in 1973 (at the time, Lawrence was both Russell's wife and a featured performer on The Carol Burnett Show.
I am so excited for this year’s Tony Awards!
First of all, I’m glad they are done with that whole “we don’t need a host” thing that they did last year. Every awards show needs a host! Thankfully, Neil Patrick Harris will be hosting this year! My oldest daughter Myrna is currently watching old Doogie Howser episodes, and Neil Patrick Harris looks about 6 years old on that show! He didn’t look that young when I watched it!
And that electric keyboard musical theme! But I digress..
Most of all I am thrilled that Hunter Bell is nominated for best book for TITLE OF SHOW! I still remember my “first time” at the 2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), sitting on wooden bench, looking down at Hunter, Jeff, Heidi and Susan perform a show I felt they wrote just for me! I also remember laughing so hard I actually fell off that wooden bench. I’ve been following them (no, not stalking, just following) ever since, reading the TITLE OF SHOW blog, watching THE TITLE OF SHOW SHOW, and even watching Hunter compete in LEGALLY BROWN: THE SEARCH FOR THE NEXT PIRAGUA GUY.
So today as I was casually checking out their site, I noticed there is a “TONY VOTERS CLICK HERE” button on the site. I clicked through, only to be met with a login/password request. Foiled again! So it got me wondering – what marvels lie beyond that login page? What treats? Is it a portal into some kind of musical theatre wonderland?
Sadly, I may never know! All I know is that I’ll be tuned in to The 63rd Annual Tony Awards on CBS at 8pm on Sunday June 7, with a glass of champagne in my hand, toasting all the wonderfully talented nominees!
Someone bring me my smelling salts -- I just fainted!
Okay, maybe I am a little disappointed that Hugh Jackman isn't returning to Broadway in a musical, but this will do!
From an article on Playbill.com :
Two major Hollywood box-office draws will join forces in the fall for a new Broadway play.
No official announcement about the production has been made; however, should it come to pass the drama will likely be the hottest ticket of the fall season.
Barbara Broccoli, who was a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang producer, will produce the Broadway outing.
A Steady Rain tells of two seasoned cops whose lifelong friendship is severely tested when a seemingly routine domestic disturbance call results in the death of a young boy. When the horrific truth of the situation is revealed, one of the two must take the blame for the fatal mistake.
A Steady Rain would mark Craig's Broadway debut. His film credits include "Defiance," "Quantum of Solace," "Flashbacks of a Fool," "The Golden Compass," "The Invasion," "Casino Royale," "Infamous" and "Renaissance," among others.
Jackman, who was recently seen on screen in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," earned a Tony Award for his work in the Broadway musical The Boy From Oz.He is also known for his film roles in the "X-Men" trilogy, "Someone Like You," "Swordfish," "Kate and Leopold," "Van Helsing" and the recent "The Fountain" and "Happy Feet" (in voice). His stage credits also include Trevor Nunn's staging of Oklahoma! at Britian's National Theatre and award-winning work in productions of Sunset Boulevard and Beauty and the Beast in his homeland.
A Steady Rain played a six-week sold-out engagement at Chicago Dramatists in fall 2007. The cast and artistic team, headed by director Russ Tutterow, remained intact for the 2008 run at Chicago's Royal George Theater.
Playwright Keith Huff is the recipient of a Drama-Logue Award, the Cunningham Prize, the John Gassner Award, the Berrilla Kerr Award, and three Illinois Arts Council Playwriting Fellowships. He has developed plays at American Repertory Theater, The O'Neill Theatre Center National Playwrights Conference, Steppenwolf, New York Theatre Workshop, New York Stage and Film, and The Public Theater. His plays have been produced nationally and Off-Broadway.
"I saw it in the window, and I just couldn't resist it"
I was (and still am) a huge fan of The Carol Burnett Show. I loved the comedy, the music, the ensemble, and the Bob Mackie costumes! I loved it when Carol Burnett would come out at the top of the show in a glamorous gown, designed by Bob Mackie of course, and answer audience questions. I still remember watching the “Went With The Wind” episode live and busting a gut when she came down the stairs. I mean, didn’t it seem a little strange in the actual movie when Scarlett comes down the stairs dressed in a perfectly tailored green velvet dress that she just happen to whip up from the curtains? They barely had any food, yet the sewing machine was in perfect working order? This costume was a perfect send up of that scene, and the curtain rod is priceless!
I’m thrilled that Bob Mackie’s “Went With The Wind” dress is becoming a permanent part of television history in the Smithsonian’s Kennedy Center Honors Collection!
Movie parodies were always a mainstay of the Carol Burnett Show—and her 1976 Gone With the Wind takeoff is unforgettable. Between the artistry of Burnett and fashion designer Bob Mackie, it’s a comedic tour de force:
Miss Starlett, with her home and finances ravaged by the American Civil War, is visited by her beau and needs to doll up so she can work him for a little cash. Deciding to use her green velvet curtains to make a dress on the fly, Starlett meets her man in one of the grandest, most memorable entrances in television history.
Like Miss Starlett, the Smithsonian saw that Bob Mackie dress in the window and couldn’t resist it. That’s right, folks, the curtain rod dress now honors the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian as a part of the American History Museum’s Kennedy Center Honors collection. And that’s hardly something to fiddle dee dee about. Not only is the dress representative of Mackie’s decadently innovative designs, it’s a monument to the art of parody and the golden age of American comedy. dNo word yet on if and when it will go on public display, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted. Because, frankly, we give a damn.
And for all you Bob Mackie fans, he will be designing the costumes for the new musical CATCH ME IF YOU CAN premiering at The 5th Avenue Theatre this summer in Seattle. Plus, don't miss the June 9 Spotlight Night at The 5th Avenue Theatre -- Bob Mackie will be there!
Gotta go...my banana phone is ringing! Oh, silly me!
From The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2009
Springtime for Hitler in Berlin
THE PRODUCERS opens in Germany to nervous laughter
The German transplant of Mel Brooks’s ridiculously popular 2001 Broadway musical, THE PRODUCERS, based on his 1968 film about two Jewish con men who cook up a scheme to produce the world’s worst musical and defraud the investors, was anxiously awaited in the nation’s capital.
In the weeks leading up to opening night, newspapers here were full of headlines such as “Can Berlin Laugh at Hitler,” in reference to the show-stopping musical number “Springtime for Hitler.”
This certainly isn’t the first time that Germans have had the opportunity to laugh at Hitler—films ranging from Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” (1940) to Swiss director Dani Levy’s 2007 comedy “Mein Führer” are not unknown to German audiences. The original movie version of “The Producers” was banned in Germany for nearly a decade but finally shown in 1976 at a Jewish film festival (with the title “Frühling für Hitler”), where it gained a cult status that it retains to this day.
Still, the sight of real Germans goose-stepping in Nazi uniforms and dancing in Swastika formation (that symbol is unconstitutional in Germany, though a dispensation is made for works of art) promised to be a different animal, especially for an audience snacking on blutwürst with sauerkraut at intermission. (In fact, most of the principle cast is Austrian—like the führer himself—as this production comes to Berlin by way of Vienna, where it recently ended a year-long run two months early due to poor ticket sales.)
In an interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Brooks said that he expects most of the Berlin audience—at least those born after the war—to understand the show. “I don’t think there’s a problem at all. . . . They’re hip, they’re bright and Berlin has always been a great theater town.” At the same time, he’s been insistent that THE PRODUCER is not a musical about Hitler or Nazism, but about the boundaries of taste.
It is a message that seems to have been lost on most people here.
At Sunday’s gala premiere, everyone seemed pumped to ridicule the führer. Politicians, actors and rock stars crowded the courtyard of the Admiralspalast, which was a sea of red and black as Nazi flags with pretzels and sausages in lieu of swastikas fluttered about. Ushers in traditional Bavarian dress handed out flags and armbands and scattered audience members sported World War II helmets and other regalia. Showtime was announced by an air-raid siren, which added to the giddy carnival atmosphere.
But inside, the theater held a palpable charge of nervous energy. Germans have been doing so much apologizing for the past 60 years that they need to justify how they could laugh at Hitler. This has been evident not only from the buzz surrounding the show, but also in a marketing campaign that alternately struck tones of irreverence and sobriety. No surprise then that the playbills carried a quote from Mr. Brooks about the importance of laughing at Hitler. “If you denounce such people with humor, they simply have no chance.” Having been granted permission to laugh, the audience eagerly awaited their moment of catharsis.
Before the curtain rose, the Club of German Film Journalists awarded Mr. Brooks the Ernst Lubitsch Prize for achievement in comedy, named for the Berlin-born filmmaker whose 1942 film “To Be or Not to Be” was among the first Nazi satires. The presenter reminded the audience that Hitler’s bunker was but a short distance away, and grouped Brooks together with Lubitsch and Chaplin as an artist who bravely harnessed humor to combat fascism. Huh? THE PRODUCERS is many wonderful things, but a pointed satire of the Third Reich it is not. Seriously, there’s nothing deep about Nazi showgirls pirouetting or carrier pigeons doing the Hitler salute.
Judging by the reception opening night, I’m sorry to report that Mr. Brooks seems to have overestimated his audience. While his nothing-is-sacred breed of skewering everyone and everything—not only Nazis, but also Jews, homosexuals, the elderly and blondes— seems to have gone over well (Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, was screeching in the box from which Hitler used to watch operettas), the fundamentally Jewish nature of so much of the humor does not resonate for a society that has been starved of Jewish culture for the past 70 years. Add to that the fact that THE PRODUCERS is in large part a send-up of the whole Broadway musical tradition, an unfamiliar one to Germans. Many of the show’s best jokes were greeted with dead silence. It was somewhat like going to see the original Broadway production surrounded by clueless out-of-towners.
So far, the reviews have been mostly positive, although—predictably—very focused on the Nazi content. The Berlin tabloid BZ answered the question of whether Berlin should be allowed to laugh at Hitler with a resounding “yes.” “Not only should we laugh about Hitler. We must laugh about him. Especially in Berlin.” That’s a pretty strong imperative, but something tells me that Germans are historically sensitive enough to use it wisely. And with caution.
The gala audience certainly laughed loud and long during the “Springtime for Hitler” centerpiece. But despite this, the number of empty seats did not augur well for the remainder of the show’s two-month run.
Boy, I would have like to have been a fly on the wall that night!
I laughed, I cried, I sang along!
I am embarrassed to say that I had never seen SHOW BOAT on stage before! Yes, I'd seen scenes from the movie (thanks to THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!) several times, and yes, I knew a lot of the songs, but no, I'd never actually seen that seminal musical. SHOW BOAT with music by Jerome Kern, and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, is based on the novel SHOW BOAT by Edna Ferber. The Village Theatre production is directed by Jerry Dixon, choreographed by Stanley Wesley Perryman and is music directed by Bruce Monroe and Tim Symons.
I was excited to see this production of SHOW BOAT because a friend of mine, the extremely talented Richard Todd Adams (who starred as Brett Mansford in my musical PLANE CRAZY in New York, and most recently played the Phantom in the national tour of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) is playing Gaylord Ravenal. Rick is a great leading man because not only does he have an incredible voice, but he also has a wonderful sense of comic timing!
I was also looking forward to seeing Kathryn Van Meter in the role of Ellie May Chipley. I worked with Kathryn on the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE production of SAVE AS..., so I was really looking forward to seeing her onstage.
From the SHOW BOAT program:
Climb aboard for the story of SHOW BOAT, a show that spans 47 years in the lives of Cap’n Andy Hawks and his troupe of entertainers. The curtain opens aboard the Cotton Blossom, a showboat docked in Natchez Mississippi. A handsome riverboat gambler, Gaylor Ravenal, is charmed by Magnolia Hawks, an aspiring performer and the daughter of Cap’n Andy. Meanwhile, the company’s leading lady, Julie, and her husband Steve are struggling against persecution by the law as an interracial couple, which was considered a crime at the time. One of the most majestic scores in musical theatre buoys this vivid chronicle of changing lives in changing times and the passion, pride, love, and betrayal of the period.
I loved this show! I was so surprised at show contemporary and fresh and alive the whole show felt. I can only imagine what the audience reaction must have been like in 1927 when it originally opened on Broadway!
The whole cast was amazing. I could listen to Rick’s voice all night long, and together with Megan Chenovick as Magnolia, it was a perfect duet. I didn’t realize Old Man River came so early in the show. It was beautifully sung by Ekello Harrid Jr. And Kathryn was simply delightful alongside Greg Allen as Frank Schultz! And the whole show skipped along nicely at 2 hours and 45 minutes. The sets and costumes and orchestra are terrific as well. All in all, a thoroughly delightful evening.
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and I gotta go see SHOW BOAT again!
Will the real Frank Abagnale please stand up!
It’s funny how something you haven’t seen or thought of in years comes right back to you. During The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Gala and live auction in April, the men sang the opening song from the new musical CATCH ME IF YOU CAN by Marc Shaiman (music), Scott Wittman (lyrics) and Terrence McNally (book). As soon as I heard “My name is Frank Abagnale...my name is Frank Abagnale...My name is Frank Abagnale”, the show To Tell The Truth instantly popped into my mind! (I’m guessing they start the show there and flashback...)
I hadn’t thought of that show in years! It was one of my absolute favorite shows (a list that included Beat the Clock and the Watergate Hearings...). I still remember the tune to “Do you know how to tell the truth?”. I loved the trying to figure out who the real celebrity was. And I loved the ending when the host said will the real so and so please stand up. Then the two imposters and the one real celeb would do this shuffle of almost standing up, but then sitting down again, until the real celebrity stood all the way up.
When I saw this clip of Frank Abagnale on To Tell The Truth, I wondered to myself, was it always this easy to tell who the real guy was? I mean, really! And for that matter, could a show like that still work in this day of “everyone’s face everywhere all the time”? It seems a bit weird that people didn’t know who these people were. I guess the internet has changed all that...
Now this is why I miss New York!
The Astaire Awards, presented by Ava Astaire in tribute to her Father and Aunt, will be held this year on June 1st at 7:30pm in The Haft Auditorium at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
Wow. What a night! Alan Cumming will host the evening, with Liza Minnelli presenting Stanley Donen with The Douglas Watt 2009 Lifetime Acheivement Award, Georfffrey Rush presenting The Best Choreography in Film Award and Bebe Neuwirth presenting the Best Male Dancer Award!
Here are the nominees from Broadwayworld.com:
BEST FILM CHOREOGRAPHER NOMINEES: Mamma Mia: Anthony Van Laast Slumdog Millionaire: Longines Fernandes Center Stage Turn It Up: Aakomon "AJ" Jones Make It Happen: Tracy Phillips Fados: Patrick De Bana and Pedro Gomes High School Musical 3: Kenny Ortega Were the World Mine: Todd Underwood
BEST FEMALE DANCER NOMINEES: West Side Story: Karen Olivo Rock Of Ages: Angel Reed, Katherine Tokarz, Savannah Wise Guys and Dolls: Kearran Giovanni You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush: Pia Glenn
BEST MALE DANCER NOMINEES: Billy Elliot - role of Billy: David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish Billy Elliot - role of Michael: David Bologna, Frank Dolce White Christmas: Jeffry Denman Pal Joey: Matthew Risch
The Astaire Awards, established 26 years ago by the Anglo-American Contemporary Dance Foundation, recognize outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway each season. The awards were established with the cooperation of Fred Astaire to honor him and his sister, Adele, who starred with her brother in 10 Broadway musicals between 1917 and 1931. In 2008 the Awards were expanded to include dance in choreography for film as this was the métier that brought Fred Astaire to international fame and a permanent slot on every list of the top movie stars of the century.
In addition to the Awards Ceremony, the show will include some of the best live Broadway and Hollywood dance numbers! Holy Top Hat Batman! Not only that, but a friend of mine and extremely talented playwright, Randall David Cook, is writing the show (you know, the stuff that is said between numbers and awards, and creating the order of events!) So that means I am one degree of separation from Liza...just sayin’!
i have a sudden urge to put on my tap shoes!
"A Garden of Giving"
Or, How much is that doggie in the window?
The Fairmont Olympia Hotel in downtown Seattle was hopping last Saturday night with The Village Theatre Gala! Free champagne and helping to raise money for a theatre are the only reasons I ever put on nylon stockings anymore, so I glammed up (hubbie in a tux!) and headed out!
The auction was divided into three sections – Act I, Act II and the Live Auction plus dinner, hosted by John Curley. Act I was slighter smaller items while Act II items were larger and included lots and lots of cool wine. After Act II closed we all headed into the Spanish Ballroom for a delicious dinner and live auction.
Before the auction got underway we were entertained by Rich Gray, Bobbi Kotula, and Randy Rogel. Rich and Bobbi sang some wonderful Rich Gray songs (Don’t Go Into Show Business, The Leading Man and I Hate The Sun, to name a few). Randy is the book writer, composer and lyricist of the new musical THE GYPSY KING which will appear on the Village Theatre mainstage next season. But even more thrilling, Randy wrote the songs for one of my favorite animated shows THE ANIMANIACS! He performed Yakko’s Nations of The World song – too fantastic!
Then the auction began! Boy, John Curley is an amazing auctioneer (apparently he does more than 85 auctions a year)! He kept the evening going quickly, and did that “auctioneer” fast talking, all the while cracking jokes, and getting up close and personal with the audience. And yes, one of the live auction items was a labradoodle! What a cute puppy! (This is why you never want to drink too much at an auction! ) I ended up with a walk-on role in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS being produced at the Village Theatre next fall! So, combined with my walk-on role in ON THE TOWN at The 5th Avenue Theatre, I’m fully booked for next season!
Mack David and Hal David -- Legendary Songwriting Brothers!
Wow, talk about songwriting talent running in the family! Mack and Hal David are brothers (Mack was older by nine years). Hal David is probably most famous for his collaborations with Burt Bacharach (“What The World Needs Now”, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” just to name a couple!).
Now, I knew Mack David was a songwriter, but I never knew just how extensive and famous his song catalogue was, and that he sued Jerry Herman over “Hello Dolly”, claiming that it was partially taken from David’s “Sunflower”; they settled out of court.
Here is Mack David’s impressive bio off the fabulous Songwriters Hall of Fame website
Mack David was born in New York City on July 5, 1912. He originally thought of becoming an attorney, and attended Cornell University and then St. John's University Law School. When his younger brother Hal David was considering careers, Mack advised his brother against becoming a songwriter and urged him to take up a more stable profession. However, he failed to follow his own advice, and instead of following a career in law, Mack David began writing songs on Tin Pan Alley.
His song "Moon Love", written with Mack Davis and Andre Kostelanetz, and based on a theme by Tchaikovsky, was a hit in 1939. In 1945, he wrote the words for Duke Ellington's "I'm Just A Lucky So-And-So," and in 1947, he had a hit with a novelty number "Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba", written with Jerry Livingston and Al Hoffman.
While primarily a lyricist, David sometimes also contributed to a song's music, and he wrote both words and music for 1948's "Sunflower" (years later, he filed an infringement of copyright lawsuit over resemblences between this song and Jerry Herman’s “Hello, Dolly").
In 1948, David moved to Hollywood, where he became active in film and television. His songs were featured in the score for the Disney animated featureCinderella (1950), written with Jerry Livingston and Al Hoffman. These songs include "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes", "The Working Song", and the film's hit song "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo", which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1950. For another Disney feature Alice in Wonderland (1951), the same team wrote "The Unbirthday Song". The nomination for "Bibbidy Bobbidi Boo" was the first of eight Academy Award nominations David would receive. The other nominations came for his songs "The Hanging Tree" (1959, title song, with Jerry Livingston), "Bachelor In Paradise" (1961, title song, with Henry Mancini), "Walk On The Wild Side" (1962, title song, with Elmer Bernstein), "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1961, title song, with Ernest Gold), “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964, title song, with Frank De Vol), "The Ballad of Cat Ballou" (1965, from Cat Ballou, with Jerry Livingston), and "My Wishing Doll" (1966, from Hawaii, with Elmer Bernstein.).
Another great success came in 1950, when he wrote the English-language version of "La Vie en Rose" (French lyric by Edith Piaf, music by Louigny). And in 1961, the Shirelles had a hit with his song "Baby, It's You", written with Burt Bacharach (whose collaboration with Mack's brother Hal David has become legendary) and Barney Williams. Mack David and Jerry Livingston wrote theme songs together for many successful television series, including Caspar the Friendly Ghost, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Bourbon Street Beat and Surfside 6. Their theme song “This is It” for 1960's The Bugs Bunny Hour also became a hit. In addition to those already mentioned, Mack David's collaborators included John Green, Jimmy Van Heusen, Alex Kramer, Joan Whitney, Count Basie and Franz Waxman. Mack David died on December 30, 1993 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California.
Boy, I'm really glad he decided not to become a lawyer!
My walk-on role in HELLO DOLLY at the 5th Avenue Theatre!
The critics agree -- I was a hit!
At last year’s 5th Avenue Theatre Gala, I bid for and won a walk on role in HELLO DOLLY. I was really excited, but it seemed like it was so far away for so long. Finally HELLO DOLLY opened on March 12 and my walk on was imminent!
The whole walk-on experience is amazing and so professionally handled. First, you pick your date and then you have to send them your measurements (gulp). Then as you get closer, you have your costume fitting! I tried on a petticoat, a day coat, a collar ruffle and some wonderful Mary Poppinesque lace up boots.
The evening of March 27 had arrived. At 7pm I was greeted at the stage door by a photographer and Lonnie Angle, who is the Special Projects Managaer at the 5th Avenue Theatre (and trust me, I’m a special project!). The photographer started snapping shots and didn’t stop until I was in full costume!
First Lonnie showed me the show bricks! Every show that has played at the 5th Avenue Theatre has a personalized brick in the wall! It’s really amazing to see these artistic, amazing bricks (Sweeney Todd was my favorite). Then it was off to my dressing room – it even had a gold star with my name on it on the door! Yes, I had my own dressing room while Cornelius, Barnaby and Ambrose all had to share one, not to mention all the female interns squished into one dressing room! C’est la vie!
My dressing room was adorned with flowers, copies of my bio, a HELLO DOLLY poster signed by the cast, and a 5th Avenue chocolate bar! I was joined by my daughter Myrna, who was a performance intern for the show (squished into the aforementioned intern dressing room!).
First I got into my costume, and chose a hat. I chose the beige gloves and the beige hat with the feathers to go with my beige costume (don’t pull focus!). Then it was off for tech talk! This was really, really fun and interesting. Not only did I get more pics take of me onstage, but I got to see how “the magic” happens backstage. The whole backstage is like a puzzle. To move a set piece, another set piece has to move first. And then there’s the stuff hanging from the celing. And by “stuff” I mean Irene Malloy’s hat shop! Large set pieces are dangling securely and have to be lowered and raised as needed. I saw the train on which I (and many others) would be riding for “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”. The train would be pulled and pushed by the stage crew – ouch!.The people who work backstage are truly the hardest working people in showbiz!
A quick rehearsal with my wrangler (cast member Karen Skrinde) and I was done with my tech talk!
Just before the show started I was lucky enough to have my picture taken with lots of cast members – Pat Cashman (Horace Vandergelder), Krystle Armstrong (Ermengarde), Mo Brady (Barnaby Tucker), Rich Gray (Rudolph), just to name a few! Then it was off to make up and wig! I even have pictures of me in my flattering wig cap! I wore an auburn wig, and my hat. I was ready for my grand entrance.
The walk on role occurred in the reprise of the “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” number, as the train arrives. I waited in the wing during the first part of that number, which was thrilling. I was so close to the cast who were singing their hearts out! Then it was time! Cast members Ty Willis and Karen Skrinde guided me across the stage and onto the train where I proceeded to wave my arm off, and throw a thousand kisses as the train made its way across the stage! The lights! The music! It was thrilling!
Then it was back to my dressing room to de-costume and de-wig! Before you could say “holy cabooses” I was seated next to my husband and daughter Trinity in the theatre watching the rest of the show, which included my daughter Myrna who performed in a blonde wig in “Before The Parade Passes By”!
Thanks to Lonnie, cast and crew of HELLO DOLLY for giving me a magical night I’ll never forget!
Next year’s walk on roles were auctioned off at the 5th Avenue Gala on April 18, 2009. Up next? Another starring walk-on role in ON THE TOWN!
ROBERT MCKEE Story Seminar in New York City!
Aka “Shut up and listen!”
When I realized I hadn’t been back east for almost two years since I moved to Seattle, I decided a trip to New York was in order. And what better reason to fly 5 hours than to attend Robert Mckee’s famous “Story” seminar. Yes, I had read his book, aptly named “STORY”, but I wanted to experience it first hand since I had heard so many great things about his seminars. So my husband and I signed up, and started packing!
From the website:
Over three intense days, McKee's Story Seminar effectively demonstrates the relationship between story design and character. Quality story structure demands creativity; It cannot be reduced to simple formulas that impose a rigid number of mandatory story elements. Robert McKee's course teaches you the principles involved in the art and craft of screenwriting and story design, and proves the essence of good story is unchanging and universal. Whether on the big screen, on television, in novels, on stage and in ALL creative work, everything works in the shadow of classic story design.
The seminar ran Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9am -8:30pm. Yikes! I haven’t sat for that long in a long time. And it didn’t leave much time to see any shows! I did manage to squeeze in a matinee of EXIT THE KING (Geoffrey Rush is amazing!) and the last 30 minutes of TOXIC AVENGER!
I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar, and having Robert Mckee basically talk us through the book really helped solidify the concepts and ideas in my mind. And he runs these workshops with a iron (and grumpy) fist. No questions allowed except at break time (by then, you’re too scared to ask!) and no cell phones at all. If your cell phone rings by mistake, you have to pay him ten dollars. If it happens again, he kicks you out. And he loves to go off on tangents (aka rants) on the current sad state of movies, and various political topics. Perhaps his grumpiness had something to do with the fact that he had just badly hurt his back playing golf and had to sit the entire time.
One of my favorite parts of the seminar was the screening and anaylsis of CASABLANCA (the seminar really is geared towards the cinema, but the fundamentals of story apply to other mediums as well, such as musical theatre). Plots, subplots, text, subtext all unfolded before us. Interestingly, I don’t remember CASABLANCA being so funny! I chuckled constantly throughout the film. That is until the iconic farewell scene as the last plane out is about to take off. It was then that I realized, to my horror, that I had left my cell phone on from the last break! Oh no! What to do, what to do? And my cell phone sounds like a jet engine when you turn it on or off!
I thought about making a run for the door, but then in a moment of pure genius, I waited until the screen was full of loud, rotating airplane propellers and I pressed the off button. The jet engine sound of my phone was muffled by the movie! Robert Mckee remained blissfully unawared of my cell phone situation, and I watched the last few minutes of the film peacefully (ignoring the disgusted glare from my husband who couldn’t believe what had just happened!).
Mckee does this story seminar around the world, as well as single days devoted to genres (love, comedy etc.) .I would highly recommend his seminar to anyone who is in the business of telling stories.
Complete casting has been announced for the Broadway revival ofEquus, which co-stars the previously announced Daniel Radcliffe, Tony and Olivier Award winner Richard Griffiths and stage and screen veteran Kate Mulgrew.
The limited engagement of Peter Shaffer's Tony Award-winning play is scheduled to begin previews Sept. 5 at the Broadhurst Theatre prior to an official opening Sept. 25. The production will run through Feb. 8, 2009.
Radcliffe and Griffiths — who played to sold-out crowds in the London Equusrevival — will reprise their work for Broadway audiences. Radcliffe will star as Alan Strang with Griffiths as Dr. Martin Dysart. Ever-busy stage and screen actress Mulgrew will play Hesther Saloman, the role created on Broadway by Marian Seldes in 1974.
Newcomers to the cast include Anna Camp (The Country Girl), Carolyn McCormick (The Dinner Party, "Law & Order"), Lorenzo Pisoni (Henry IV), T. Ryder Smith (Dead Man's Cell Phone, She Stoops to Comedy), Graeme Malcolm (Translations, Aida) and Sandra Shipley (Pygmalion, Retreat from Moscow) with Collin Baja, Tyrone Jackson, Spencer Liff, Adesola Osakalumi and Marc Spaulding.
So this looks interesting. I mean, everybody loves Daniel Radcliffe. Pshaw! =D It's nice that they're sharing the London Equus revival love with the American audience in New York. However, this Broadway revival starts pretty soon and only plays until February 8, 2009, (okay that's a pretty long run, but time goes by quite quickly these days) so if I were you I'd get my ducks in a row... :-)
So I finally got to sing "Do You Know The Way To San Jose?" on a plane bound for San Jose! My oldest daughter and I went to see WISHING DRINKING, Carrie Fisher's one woman show (created and performed by Carrie Fisher) at the San Jose Repertory Theatre last weekend.I have been a big fan of Carrie Fisher's since STAR WARS (eventhough I never really noticed the spotty British accent that fades in and out during the film until she pointed it out with a clip from STAR WARS!) I've loved her movies (WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, SHAMPOO), and books (POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, SURRENDER THE PINK).
The show was awesome -- so funny, even though it is full of tragic occurrences. Like they say, tragedy plus time equals comedy (or it equals a one woman show). It's like hanging out with Carrie Fisher at her house. She starts the show by singing "Happy Days Are Here Again" as the screen behind her shows newspaper mockups of all the crazy things that have happened to her and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, over the years. Yes, she is a survivor, although she doesn't like that term. Her first anecdote is about the death of a beloved friend that occurred about three years ago and has caused her renewed depression - she woke up next to his lifeless body (he had been staying at her place for a visit). But of course the andecdote includes the fact that she had planned to take tango lessons that morning with Hilary Swank and Ewan McGregor, but had to cancel at the last minute…
Then she went all the way back to her birth - since all doctors were fussing over Debbie Reynolds, and all the nurses were fussing over Eddie Fisher, after he fainted, Carrie feels that lack of attention at her birth is the reason she has done so many crazy things! I'll buy that!
She did a hilarious bit called "Hollywood Inbreeding 101" (see above picture) complete with a blackboard with photos showing the marital links and resulting offspring from her mother's marriages, her marriages (to Paul Simon and Bryan Lourd…the latter left her for another man) and her father's marriages. Very funny and bizarre.
She spent a fair bit of time talking about STAR WARS, wearing that iconic bagel-ear wig. Clearly it changed her life, good and bad. Did you know she isn't wearing a bra under that white Princess Leia dress, since George Lucas explained to her that there isn't any underwear in space? (Your body expands, so you would be strangled by our own bra, which she thought was a wonderful way to go!). Instead her breasts were "held in place" by gaffer tape. Ouch! And all those crazy Princess Leia likenesses - dolls, sculptures, shampoo bottles, pez dispenser, even a life size Princess Leia sex doll. Althought she couldn't figure out why it was called a sex doll…it looked more like Sailor Moon dressed up as Princess Leia…
Carrie Fisher is famous not only for her movies and books but for her addictions, her stays in mental institutions, electric shock therapy, and for her bipolar disorder, which was even written up in a medical journal, complete with Princess Leia picture next to the article. Yet what defines her for me is her humor, and her undeniable interest in the business of living.
The "Special Thanks" section in the program speaks volumes:
To Billie Lourd (her teenage daughter): for her intellect, imperturbability, fashion tips and eventual forgiveness.
To Debbie Reynolds (her mother): for her endless affection and her endless advice (some even solicited), and overall endlessness in general.
To Todd Fisher (her brother): for his even (and thus odd to me) disposition, shared history and co-dependence.
To Eddie Fisher (her father): Thanks for introducing me to his dealer.
To Elizabeth Taylor: Thanks for getting Eddie Fisher out of our house.
WISHFUL DRINKING is coming to the Seattle Repertory Theatre in the spring. I'm pretty sure something "interesting" will happen to Carrie between now and then, so I'm going back to see it again!
Yay this is awesome! I really love Emma Thompson - I first saw her in Love Actually, which is probably my most favoritest movie ever in the history of the world ever forever ever ever. I've also seen her in Stranger Than Fiction (another good movie with Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal) and, of course, Harry Potter. However, I have never seen anything she's written (I know, hard to believe that I didn't jump at the chance to see Nanny McPhee... =S).
Columbia Pictures announced June 5 that it will join forces with CBS Films to create a new film version of the classic musical My Fair Lady that will be produced by Duncan Kenworthy and Cameron Mackintosh.
The film will utilize the legendary Lerner and Loewe score but will adapt Lerner's original book by drawing additional material from Pygmalion, upon which the musical is based. Producers hope to "dramatize as believably as possible for present-day audiences the emotional highs and lows of Eliza Doolittle as she undergoes the ultimate makeover, transforming under the tutelage of Professor Henry Higgins from a Cockney flower girl to a lady," according to press notes.
Well I can't wait until this comes out! 'Tis going to be interesting... :D
Here I go again!I get it! I finally get it! I saw Mamma Mia yesterday and absolutely loved it. I can't wait to go back and see it again. Meryl Streep is my favorite superhero this summer! Take that Batman!
As background, I was a gigantic ABBA fan when I was a teenager (I also loved disco, there I said it). My best friend was Swedish and she introduced me to ABBA and she always got the latest album ahead of everyone else. I was hooked. ABBA was standard fare at sleepovers, and we'd dance around the pool table in her basement (I always wanted a pool table!) to Mamma Mia. Yeah, yeah, the cooler kids hated ABBA, but I've never considered myself cool. I liked all kinds of music, but there was something about those arrangements, those voices, those melodies, those cute Swedish inflections that just made me get up and dance, and sing along.
So of course I was excited about the stage musical production of Mamma Mia when it came out in the early 90s. However, when I actually saw the musical in Toronto, with Louise Pitre as Donna, I really didn't like it. Maybe it was because the decibel level was so high it made my ears bleed, or maybe because the arrangements sounded different. Or maybe it was the silly storyline. I don't know but I never bonded with the musical for some weird reason.
For some reason I'd been really excited about the release of the movie. Maybe because I heard that two of my cuties, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan, were cast in the movie. I love Meryl Streep but I was skeptical about her vocal prowess. But the trailers looked really exciting and fun, so the girls and I went today.
I totally loved it. I laughed, I cried, I boogied.
I finally felt the feeling of twirling joy I used to feel when listening to the ABBA records. The Greek island setting was perfect, the colors, the sun, everything. Meryl Streep is amazing as Donna Sheridan, and she has a great voice and totally inhabits the character. It's like she's dancing around inside an ABBA song. I don't mind the silly story line, and I love the way the movie is a musical, full stop. No apologies needed for breaking out into song and dance, whether you are a main character or part of the "greek chorus" of villagers. I mean, isn't that why you do musicals in the first place?
And let me just say that Colin Firth has a great voice. Very folky, but with a surprisingly high level of musicality to my ears. Pierce Brosnan isn't a singer per say, but Remington Steele slash James Bond can do no wrong in my ears. (Hmmmm, I think I know what age group this movie is targeted at…). I'm not as familiar with Stellen Skarsgard who played the third "dad", but he was good too!
The whole cast rocked (Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters) but one of my favorites was Christine Baranski. She was hilarious.
And did I see cameo shots of Benny and Bjorn in the movie? Methinks I did!
Make sure you stay for the credits!
Well then. Apparently, Access Hollywood learned **exclusively** that Fergie (aka Stacy Ann Ferguson) of the Black Eyed Peas has been cast in the upcoming movie version of the musical Nine. This is Fergie's first major movie role, although she has appeared before on screen in Grindhouse and Poseidon.
From an article on Access Hollywood:
Apparently, Meryl Streep is a fan favorite with the Australian crowd! According to an article in the Herald Sun, the attendees of the Melbourne Central premiere of Mamma Mia! (opening in theaters July 18) "...gave [Streep] a standing ovation. Streep, in turn, waved regally and blew kisses to her fans." That's what I call a rep!
Unlike most major international movie stars, who leave before their screening in Australia starts to be schmoozed by film company minders at expensive restaurants, Streep stayed for the entire film, appearing to be genuinely interested in the reaction the movie would get from the Melbourne audience. At the post-screening party, people working on the premiere had to "...sign forms stating they were not to approach [Streep]... and could only speak to her if she spoke to them first." DUDE!
If you just can't wait for the movie to come out, and you're in the Big Apple, you can go see the live show on Broadway! I remember when I saw the show when I was quite little in Toronto... Party in the house!!!!
So, hats off to Meryl Streep, who truly knows how to work a crowd :-D
The movie version of Mamma Mia! I mean, could they have picked a better cast (no!)? Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, the list goes on. I am super excited for when it opens in the U.S. It opened today in the U.K., and arrives in the United States July 18. However, I hope that I have a better time watching it than I did when I saw the live musical in Toronto a loooong long time ago...
The most memorable part of it for me was the unbearably loud sound. I mean, come on! We can hear it without it having to destroy our poor eardrums... The rest of it wasn't very memorable, but I still love the music!
So, I will give a full report as soon as I go see Mamma Mia! Here's hopin...
I saw WALL-E, the new movie from Disney-Pixar, during its opening weekend. I was really excited, because the trailers looked pretty amazing! My expectations were met and exceeded. The story follows a little robot named WALL-E, and his quest to help humankind return to an Earth that he has been trying to clean up for hundreds of years. There's a love story, action-packed chases, and... wait? Yes folks, the opening credits to WALL-E are underscored by Put On Your Sunday Clothes from the musical Hello Dolly!
The rest of the movie uses Put On Your Sunday Clothes and It Only Takes A Moment as vital insights into WALL-E's character, romance with Eve, and his dreams about the planet Earth. Plus, it exposes the younger generations (I mean, these were little kids) going to see the movie to the extremely hummable and well-constructed melodies and lyrics of Jerry Herman.
From an article in The Canadian Press:
I had heard bad things about the latest Indiana Jones movie. Bad things about Cate Blanchett, the storyline, etc. This made me sad, so I just didn't believe it. However, a little part of me was panicking as we walked into the movie theatre, sat down, and waited for the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones series to commence.
I'm going to say that I LOVED IT!!!!!!!! It was CRANTASTIC! OMG I thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread! Something that was bugging the majority of the people that I talked to about the movie before I saw it for myself was the alien theme. This didn't bug me at all. I guess the definition of "alien" is different for everyone, because I don't think the presence of aliens in an Indiana Jones movie is any weirder than spirits that melt Nazi faces off...
Cate Blanchett did break her accent MULTIPLE times at the beginning of the film, but I thought she was pretty good for the rest of it. I am not a big Shia LaBeouf fan (sorry) but I didn't think he was unbearable to watch. Harrison Ford, on the other hand, was amazingly spectacular (in my personal opinion), and he was as funny and interesting to watch now as he was back in the days of Raiders. Welcome back, Dr. Jones!
Quick mention of the Lego game -- it's absolutely brilliant. We play it on our Wii, and it's the perfect mixture of teamwork and action-packed fighting. Plus, you're Lego people, so you never run out of lives! I mean, come on, does it get any better than that? *no Myrna, it doesn't!*
Favorite scene would have to be the car chase in the jungle with the vines and the jumping back and forth and the cliff and all that cool stuff! My other favorite part would have to be the end, but I won't spoil it for you! GO OUT AND SEE IT. Trust me, it is DEF worth it. :-)
Roy Scheider, who starred as Bob Fosse in one of my most favorite movies ever, All That Jazz, has died. I know he wasn't a musical theatre performer but he did such an amazing job in that film. Whenever I'm tired, I still look in the mirror and say "It's showtime!"
Roy Scheider, a character actor who in the 1970s found an unlikely career as a leading man, died on Sunday afternoon in Little Rock, AR, the New York Times reported. He was 75 and lived in Sag Harbor, N.Y.
Mr. Scheider, who was born in Orange, NJ, in 1932, was imbued with a naturalistic, rough-hewn intensity, and a lean, masculine face which suited the film industry of the 1970s, when experimental directors were searching for actors with greater street authenticity. His breakthrough came in 1971 when he played a pimp in "Klute," and, the same year, was Det. Buddy Russo, Gene Hackman's partner in the brutal police thriller "The French Connection." The latter part earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
He won international stardom as the police chief of a small harbor town trying to grapple with the arrival of a killer shark in the blockbuster "Jaws." Playing opposite Robert Shaw's deranged seaman and Richard Dreyfuss' excitable scientist, Mr. Scheider's realistic performance anchored the horror thriller in a humane reality. He also appeared in "Jaws II" three years later.
His second and last Oscar nomination came for Bob Fosse's autobiographical movie musical "All That Jazz," in which Mr. Scheider, lean, bearded and clad in black, played an onscreen version of the self-destructive choreographer-director as he veered toward professional and personal disaster. The film called upon Mr. Scheider to sing and dance, as well as act; his success in acquitting himself in these fields surprised many critics.
Following youthful forays into the military and sports (his broken nose was the result of the New Jersey Diamond Gloves Competition), he moved to New York to try acting. His professional debut was at Joe Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, playing Mercutio in a production of Romeo and Juliet. He won an Obie Award for his appearance in the play Stephen D in 1967, and made his Broadway debut in 1965 in a William Ball-directed production of Tartuffe at the ANTA Washington Square. Other theatre credits include The Alchemist and The Year Boston Won the Pennant.
Mr. Scheider returned to the theatre in 1980, appearing with Blythe Danner and Raul Julia in Harold Pinter's backwards-traveling play about infidelity, Betrayal. It was directed by Peter Hall and played 170 performances.
In 2003, he starred in the title role in Christopher Trumbo's work Trumbo at the Westside Theatre.
He continued to work in films into the 1980s and 1990s, but his opportunities were not as memorable as his landmark '70s movies. Among his credits of this time were "Blue Thunder," "2010," "52 Pick-Up," "The Fourth War" and "Romeo Is Bleeding."
As it has for the past 18 years, the town of Williamstown, Massachusetts, will host a reading of The Declaration of Independence on July 4.
Williamstown is, of course, the home of a noted theatre festival, and this year members of the company will get in on the act. Ellen McLaughlin, and actress and playwright who will be in the Williamstown Theatre Festival's production of Top Girls this summer, will read The Declaration of Independence, as well as the Preamble to The Constitution. New WTF artistic director Roger Rees, meanwhile, will take on the role of the villain: he will read the British response to the Declaration.
The event will take place at 11:30 AM on the second floor of the Chaplin Library, located in Stetson Hall on the Williams College campus behind Sawyer Library. Admission is free.
I'm just watching High Society right now and WOW...what a great movie. I've seen it a million times on afternoon TV in the '70s, but I haven't caught it in a while.
In 1940, Katherine Hepburn's movie career was in desperate condition. Her 1938 film BRINGING UP BABY, although recognized as a Howard Hawks's masterpiece today, was at the time a box office failure. The failure signaled the temporary end of demand for her talents in Hollywood, although she had HOLIDAY in the can (and costarring, like both BRINGING UP BABY and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, Cary Grant). So, she went back to the stage, in a play written specifically for her, and the subsequent hit was an unexpected and triumphant return to the screen for Hepburn. Her career never looked back again, especially when two years later she teamed with Spencer Tracy for the first time. Ironically, she originally requested that Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy play the Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart roles.
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY is such an extraordinarily well-done film that one can watch it repeatedly, reveling each time in new and hidden details. It strikes the perfect balance of being spectacularly well-acted, hysterically funny, and delightfully silly while maintaining an elegant veneer. The cast is nearly overwhelming in its quality, with Hepburn and Grant turning in especially fine performances. Jimmy Stewart is also superb, though he won an Oscar for this year that he probably didn't deserve. The Academy in 1940 may have been giving him the award as an apology for not having won the year before for MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. Unfortunately, this meant that Jimmy Stewart's best friend Henry Fonda failed to win for one of the finest performances in the history of American cinema, as Tom Joad in THE GRAPES OF WRATH. Still, although the Oscar clearly should have gone to Fonda, Stewart manages a great turn. He and Grant manage a great moment when Stewart adlibbed a hiccup, and Grant, not batting an eye, adlibbed, "Excuse me." The rest of the cast is flawless. Too many excel to mention, but special mention must be made of Roland Young as Uncle Willie, Virginia Weidler in a marvelous turn as Tracy Lord's precocious younger sister, and the erstwhile Errol Flynn nemesis Henry Daniell as the devious and unscrupulous Sidney Kidd.
Although this film holds up magnificently upon reviewings, there is nothing like seeing it for the first time. I remember vividly how exciting it was to watch this in the lamentably demised Lincoln Theater in New Haven, Connecticut, having absolutely no idea how the film was going to end only five minutes before the closing credits. Who will Tracy marry? Will she marry? How will the film managed to tie up all the loose ends.
I have a list of my all time favorite lines from films. One of my favorites comes from this one. On the morning after Tracy has gotten rip-roaringly drunk, she has almost no memories of what happened, but what she does recall makes her fear that she might have been in a compromising situation with Jimmy Stewart. After Stewart assures the confused and fearful Tracy Lord that nothing happened because she was drunk and "there are rules about that sort of thing," the infinitely relieved Tracy says, "I think men are wonderful."
The film has managed to permeate our culture in subtle ways, from inspiring musical remakes, to providing famous adult movie stars with their names, to providing foundations for jokes (in the Rocky and Bullwinkle adventure "The Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam," whenever Bullwinkle sees his jewel encrusted small boat, he mutters under his breath, "Yar, yar").
First of all, Grace Kelly is GORGEOUS. I don't think there's anyone like her today...the only person that approaches her in the looks department is Nicole Kidman, but Grace Kelly is much more natural to watch (prolly 'cause she's not fighting off an Australian accent while she's acting), more graceful, and more naturally beautiful.
Celeste Holm (who originated the role of Ado Annie -- singing "I Cain't Say No" -- in Oklahoma on Broadway, and who is still alive) and Frank Sinatra do a fantastic number with all the wedding gifts called "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?" It is a wonderfully inventive number where they use the different pieces of wedding silverware to modify their voices and to create sounds and movement to punctuate the song. Pure movie musical magic.
As an aside, there's a big "hangover" scene near the end which makes me think "I'd hate to be hung over in the '50s"...all those tight dresses and formal clothes don't make a hangover look like much fun. Track pants are the only way to go if your head's on fire...
The musical adaptation of The Color Purple is winding up a summer workshop with its star La Chanze before its upcoming Broadway run this season.
Production spokespersons previously confirmed (May 3) to Playbill.com what a casting notice revealed -- a June 13-July 12 workshop was being held in New York City with a projected production on Broadway this fall.
The new musical based on the well known Alice Walker novel (which inspired the better-known film) made its world premiere at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre in fall 2004 and is readying its New York debut. With a number of theatres now becoming available, an announcement regarding dates is expected shortly.
The story of "The Color Purple" centers on Celie, a woman who endures insurmountable hardships within her own family and struggles to find her identity and love. The production warns that it "contains adult situations."
Wow. Adult situations...I wonder if that means there will be a scene about
Celie going to the airport only to find her flight has been cancelled and she has to wait hours in line to re-book and then finds out she won't be able to fly home for two days 'cuz everything is booked. That's the situation this adult found herself in at La Guardia tonight!
Also, I can just imagine the Variety headlines:
If The Color Purple loses money: "The Color Purple is in the Red!"
If The Color Purple makes money: "The Color Purple is in the Black!"
DARN! I loved this movie, and I was really looking forward to seeing this show. However, it looks like some hard decisions were made, and The Mambo Kings is being shelved. And they've got a marquee and everything on Broadway!
Daryl and Jordan Roth will not make their first collaboration on Broadway with the musical The Mambo Kings. The mother-son producing team announced the show will not reach New York.
"We are deeply grateful for the amazing dedication and remarkable spirit of the entire cast, crew and creative team of The Mambo Kings," said Daryl and Jordan Roth. "While we had pursued several incredibly talented people to join the team and help us realize the full potential of the show, it became apparent to us all that the production could not successfully go forward on the current schedule."
The stage version of Oscar Hijuelos' Pulitzer Prize-winning novel made its world premiere at San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre, opening May 31 to lackluster reviews. The work was next slated for a berth at the Broadway Theatre, starting previews July 20 and opening Aug. 18.
Speculation in the theatrical community in recent weeks had Tommy Tune and Maury Yeston as possible show doctors with names like Jerry Mitchell, Jason Robert Brown and David Ives also being bandied about. Production spokespersons did not confirm any change in the creative team.
Based on the Hijuelos' "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love," the musical follows the same story of two Cuban brothers who travel to New York City in 1949 with dreams of becoming recording stars. The Latin siblings -- flashy, guitarist Cesar and his shy, trumpet-playing brother Nestor -- rise to fame from the dance halls to perform as Desi Arnaz's cousins on "I Love Lucy."
The novel was adapted for the film starring Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas directed by Arne Glimcher. Glimcher now provides book (with Hijuelos) and lyrics for the musical version which features music by Carlos Franzetti -- who also scored the film. Sergio Trujillo served as choreographer with Glimcher as director for the California premiere.
Bad luck befell the production two weeks prior to its California debut when previously announced star Billy Dee Williams left the production "due to an aggravated hip condition," a release stated. Williams was to play nightclub impresario Fernando Perez, a role that went to David Alan Grier (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum).
Well, as I predicted I heard the song "Artificial Flowers" for the third time! But maybe it doesn't count because it was Kevin Spacey singing, not Bobby Darin. Last night I was feeling a little bummed, so I did what I always do.
I enjoyed it and glad I saw it but I don't think I'll need to see it again. According to the note at then end credits, it wasn't "strict" re-telling of the Bobby Darin life story, but a creative reenactment. I found out all sorts of stuff I hadn't known before (but to be honest I didn't know much about his personal life to begin with).
The woman he thought was his mother was actually his grandmother and the woman he thought was his sister turned out to be his mother. For some reason I'd had the impression he was a "bad" guy, beating up Sandra Dee etc., but the movie shows exactly the opposite. According to the movie, he had a real relationship with Sandra Dee, with real love and he was a "good" guy, if not perfect.
Apparently Sandra Dee never remarried -- and remained in love with Bobby until she died on February 20 of this year (Bobby Darin died in 1973 after heart surgery). His early death stemmed from the rheumatic fever he'd had as a kid (he wasn't supposed to live beyond 15.) Again, for some reason I thought it was hard living that did him in! So I was glad to get all this new information.
Two things bugged me about the movie.
Firstly, Kevin Spacey was too old and lacked the performing charisma to carry off Bobby Darin. I longed to hear the original tracks. Ironically Kevin Spacey's insistence to sing and perform all the songs really highlighted what a talent Darin was, since Darin didn't have that amazing a voice, but had "it". This is well described by his son, Dodd:
"Not to denigrate other artists," Dodd Darin says of his father, "but other people of that early-Sixties era, they just faded, because they really were kind of homogenized. This artist, my dad, was different. He came from the gut. Because he didn't have a great voice, he didn't have Fabian or Presley's looks. But what he had was the desire and charisma and talent. When you saw him on the stage, he was ten feet tall. All that came through in the music."
The second thing was the artificial/fantastical construction of looking back over his life. This worked beautifully in De-Lovely, but in Beyond The Sea, seemed forced and overly constructed. Go figure.
I think I'll go listen to "Artificial Flowers" and get my real third time in...
The Martin Short solo show "If I'd Saved, I Wouldn't Be Here" will have a Boston tryout prior to its Broadway arrival.
The show is currently being advertised on the Broadway in Boston website for a Sept. 27-Oct. 9, 2005 engagement. The site indicated the show will then travel to Broadway in spring 2006.
The venture was created by Short and the "Hairspray" writing team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Shaiman told Playbill.com columnist Harry Haun that it would land on "Broadway next year" and is now being written as a "one-man show with cast." He said, "What do you call a one-man show that has four people helping out? They play the other million characters. Marty can only play a billion characters. We need others to help out. It's called "If I'd Saved, I Wouldn't Be Here: Martin Short on Broadway". Anyone who likes him will be a kid in a candy store.
I WANT CANDY! I've been a big Martin Short fan since I saw him onSCTV. One of my favorite skits is when he plays a guilty lawyer being interviewed 60 Minutes-style and he just sweats -- brilliant. Or the dancing executive of Scrapco -- "look at me, I'm Nureyev! [crash]" Not to mention all his billion other characters and Broadway roles.
He's just so darn watchable. Since I missed Billy Crystal in 700 Sundays [sob] I'll have to see Martin -- road trip to Boston!
If you're a Martin Short fan, you'll remember his 1993 star turn in The Goodbye Girl, , his 1999 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in the Broadway revival of Little Me, and his most recent starring role as Leo Bloom in the Los Angeles production of The Producers.
But what a lot of people DON'T know is that Martin Short got his start in musical theater in the original Toronto production of Godspellin 1972. Stephen Schwartz has a great article on that Toronto production here: That production of Godspell also included the talents of Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) Victor Garber (Titanic,Alias), the late Gilda Radner (Saturday Night Live), Eugene Levy (A Mighty Wind, American Pie) and even the musical director Paul Shaffer (The Late Show with David Letterman).
Hey, I've got a great idea...how about a musical version of Father of the Bride? I think that Martin Short would knock a musical version of Franck out of the park...
So a fair question here would be: "How in God's name does the classic 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid relate to musical theater?" Well, I'm glad you asked, because there are four interesting connections.
I recently got the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Special Edition DVD, which has a fantastic documentary from 1969 produced by Yale University, and narrated by Director George Roy Hill, the famous Academy-Award winning director of movies like The Great Waldo Pepper, The Sting, andSlap Shot.
Before I go any further, here are the first two connections. Firstly, George Roy Hill was also the Director of Thoroughly Modern Millie with Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore, which of course became the multiple-Tony Award-winning2002 musical (and star-maker for the fabulous Sutton Foster, who most recently starred in Little Women the Musical on Broadway).
Secondly, George Roy Hill was also nominated for a 1958 Tony Award as Best Director for Look Homeward, Angel.
Here's the third, really cool connection. In the documentary, George Roy Hill talks about one of the scenes in the movie:
The trip they made through New York on the way to Bolivia became one of our three musical sequences. Originally, it was to be done in live action like the bike sequence [Suzy: which popularized the BJ Thomas song "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head"] and I wanted to shoot it at the Fox Studio where they'd built a magnificent New York street for Hello Dolly!. But since our release date was before Dolly's, Zanuck didn't want us showing the street to the public before Dolly did. So I decided instead to make the sequence out of old still photographs of New York during the late 1890s. We took still pictures of our stars at various spots on the Dolly street, then we cut them out and we pasted them into old photographs so they would actually seem to be a part of the period pictures themselves.
We printed the whole sequence in sepia to give it the same kind of period flavor as the opening of the movie. We worked out all these moves for an animation stand, and we shot them one frame at a time.
How cool is that...Hello Dolly! and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kidsharing the same set. I love it...musical theater is everywhere!
I think the fourth connection is obvious...the score is by Burt Bacharach, including the wildly popular BJ Thomas hit "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head". Burt's connection to Broadway is of course as the composer ofPromises Promises (check out the amazing CD cover art), which is the musical version of the classic 1960 Jack Lemmon movie The Apartment.
Whew...I'm going to bed now...
I must admit I was a bit tentative about seeingDirty Rotten Scoundrels. The movie starringMichael Caine and Steve Martin has become a standard around our house, and Ruprecht is often quoted around our table.
I am happy to report I had an extremely enjoyable evening and left the theater humming (not hummer, humming) the last song "Dirty Rotten Number" which is the acid test for me. Finally a song I'd like to get up on stage and perform! I've found a lot of new shows have pleasant enough, but forgettable scores. But nothing that touches the performer in me and makes me want to BE in that number (Sweet Charity of course is filthy with them...) Not every number in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was wildly memorable, but every number was fun.
I kinda felt it as soon as the orchestra started playing. The spirt of the piece said classic musical comedy, which I also like. So when they did break the fourth wall now and then it didn't bother me, because it didn't feel like the whole piece was one giant "nudge nudge, wink wink" parody. I even liked the "Great Big Stuff" pseudo rap number that Norbert does (and does really well!) despite my best intentions to hate it! The "Love Is My Legs" number (a big audience fav) almost crossed the line for me though, since it is a parody of a big Celine Dion ballad, but it managed to stay on my good side. Maybe because Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott are such fabulous performers and they do it with such heart.
John Lithgow, although not a great singer, has amazing charisma and is a joy just to watch, even "if he were reading the phone book", as they say.
The book was very close to the movie and very funny and moved along nicely. They did a nice job of embellishing Muriel Eubanks of Omaha's role for Joanna Gleason and the police chief's role for Gregory Jbara. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, I won't give away the ending!
The set design was wonderful as was the staging. When it's just John and Norbert on a bare stage in lounge chairs at the end singing the "Dirty Rotten" number it worked so beautifully.
The girls wanted t-shirts and I want to go out and buy the CD, and those are both good signs too.
Broadway's lights will be dimmed tonight at 8 pm...
Tony Award-winning actress Anne Bancroft, who played tough, warm and funny roles throughout a respected stage and screen career, died June 6 of uterine cancer at New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital, a spokesman for her husband, Mel Brooks, announced.
She was 73. Ms. Bancroft played Annie Sullivan in the Broadway and Hollywood takes on Helen Keller's story, The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson. She won a Best Actress Tony Award for the role in 1960. She won the Academy Award for the role on screen (as did stage and screen co-star Patty Duke, as Helen).
By the time of her Best Actress wins in New York and Hollywood, she already had a Tony on her shelf for her work in Two for the Seesaw. She would later be Tony nominated for the playing Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in Gibson's Golda in 1978.
One of her famous Hollywood roles was playing wealthy middle-aged seductress "Mrs. Robinson" in Mike Nichols' "The Graduate." She was Oscar nominated for the turn.
Broadway's marquees will be dimmed at 8 PM June 8 in tribute to Ms. Bancroft, Mel Brooks' spokesman, John Barlow, told Playbill.com.
So here's to you, Anne Bancroft...
I'd been meaning to pick up a CD ofBobby Darin's greatest hits for a long time. The other day I was in a bookstore (which I'm sure the Oxford English Dictionary defines as "a store where they sell knick-knacks and CDs") with 30 minutes to kill while my daughter was at her tap lesson. I was browsing through the CDs and found The Bobby Darin Story -- Mack the Knife. I just thought it was a collection of his hits: You know, "Mack The Knife", "Splish Splash", "Dream Lover", "Beyond The Sea". And it was produced by the music industry giant Ahmet Ertegun, so I figured, how could I lose?
Bobby recorded his first LP That's Allwhich included "Mack The Knife". Taken from the album and issued as single, it became the biggest record of 1959, selling over 2,000,000 copies. As Bobby says on the CD, "...it changed my life forever..."
Musical theater has a way of doing that...
The coolest thing about the CD is Bobby's narration, wherein he chats a bit about his start in the biz. After the first five songs he says "You better hurry up and turn the record over before I crash into the label..." This is followed by crashing sounds and then he says "Somebody bring me some bandaids!" High-lariously cool...sometimes I really miss vinyl!
Another curiosity about the CD is that it contains three songs ("Mack the Knife", "Artifical Flowers", and "Clementine") that are either very sad or gory, set to hot swinging rythms and sung with great hep pep.
Especially odd is "Artificial Flowers" which is a very morose song about a 9-year old orphan girl (whose parents have died) who makes artificial flowers for rich society ladies until her little fingers go numb from the cold. She is eventually found dead, covered in ice, and still grasping her shears. All the while Bobby Darin is swinging his little heart out! Very peculiar, but very entertaining!
BTW, if the Big Guy is listening, if I get to come back again, I want to work in the Brill Building in the early '60s.
This movie is an homage to the Brill Building era (the late 1950s to the early 1970s) of pop-music glory, providing a perfect match between writer-director Allison Anders and her excellent cast. Illeana Douglas plays a singer-songwriter (loosely modeled after Brill recording artist Carole King) whose life runs emotionally parallel to popular music trends. John Turturro is a stand-in for "wall of sound" producer Phil Spector and Matt Dillon is a thinly disguised version of maverick Beach Boy Brian Wilson. It's a bit too schematic in the way the central character is always in the right place at the right time, but as a tale of fame and romantic highs and lows in the '50s and '60s the movie is funny, touching, and sincere. It's a lively and loving tribute to timeless music and the colorful characters who created it.
I love it when two of my favorite things combine -- TV and musicals, and now Star Wars and musicals!
As posters around London feature Ewan McGregor flashing his lightsaber in the recently opened "Star Wars" movie, the actor makes his West End musical debut May 19 when Guys and Dolls begins previews at the Piccadilly Theatre.
McGregor plays the gambler Sky Masterson, with Jenna Russell as Sarah, the doll he sets his heart on. Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski plays Miss Adelaide with Douglas Hodge as Nathan Detroit. Also amongst the line-up are Niall Buggy, Gaye Brown, Sevan Stephan and as Nicely Nicely Johnson -- the role which made Clive Rowe's career in the NY staging -- Martyn Ellis.
I'd love to see what Jane Krakowski does with Adelaide's Lament -- I loved her rendition of "Call from The Vatican" in the recent revival of Nine!
"I Got The Force Right Here..."
A composer friend of mine told me he is going to Miami to shoot some video of a dancer he knows there.
"Oh really," I said, "and who would that be?"
"Cuban Pete" he said.
Wow! Cuban Pete! That guy is super famous! I mean, Desi Arnaz gave him the nickname Cuban Pete! Apparently my friend is really good friends with Pete -- he's his personal videographer. So how cool is that!
Here's a great link from the Planet Salsa Web site on the Mambo craze that gripped North America in the 1950s, and the role that Cuban Pete and his dance partner Millie Donay played.
And of course that got me thinking of Mambo Kings, the movie (with Armand Assante andAntonio Banderas, the latter who starred in the Nine revival on Broadway with Jane Krakowski who I mentioned briefly in a previous post!) which showcased Cuban Pete and Millie Donay on the dance floor.
Which got me thinking of Mambo Kings the Musical (produced by Daryl and Jordan Roth) which is coming to the Broadway Theater in NYC this summer.
Which made me think about writing this post.
Mamma love Mambo!
Disney will be presenting Tarzan The Musical (based on the1999 animated film) on Broadway sometime in the 2005/2006 season.
I think Hugh Jackman would be perfect to play Tarzan! I mean, it would be pretty easy to take two hours of Hugh in a loin cloth, don't you think? And that boy can sing!
Caught between the world of gorillas and the world of humans, he is a human raised by a family of apes in the African jungle. We must identify with him and care about him and his emotional journey. Charming (Ed: Hugh Jackman = YES),sexy, (Ed: Hugh Jackman = YES), vulnerable (Ed: Hugh Jackman = YES), lots of humanity, animal-like. (Ed: Again, Hugh Jackman = WOLVERINE!). Physically lean but toned, a swimmer;s body -- NOT a muscle man. Strong upper body strength, physical, agile, fearless, must be very comfortable with movement. His body must be at one with the environment (OH BABY, OH BABY: This is Hugh to a tee...). Will fly. Needs a terrific pop/rock singing voice.
Well, there goes the G rating...
My husband got the following message fromAir Canada today. He's an Elite member, so this is his "special offer" (err, he received the same message three times...NOTE: Get your act together ThinData!):
I am pleased to offer you an exclusive opportunity to be first in line to purchase tickets for the Toronto World Premiere theatrical production of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Only Air Canada, as a principal sponsor of the first major stage adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy, can offer our Top Tier members this exceptional opportunity to order tickets before anyone else.
Tickets go on sale to the public on May 15, 2005. However, as an Air Canada Top Tier member, you'll be among the first to experience the biggest, most ambitious theatre production ever staged by ordering your tickets on May 14, 2005 beginning at 9 AM (ET).
Performances for THE LORD OF THE RINGS begin on February 2, 2006 at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.
J.R.R. Tolkien's book trilogy has sold over 200 million copies. The award winning three-film adaptation broke box office records. And now, an international creative team directed by critically acclaimed Matthew Warchus has combined all three books into one extraordinary stage event.
To order your tickets on May 14 at 9 AM (ET), before they go on sale to the public, call 1-800-461-3333 (in Canada and the Continental U.S.) or (416) 872-1212 (in Toronto), or click here to buy online. Please have your Aeroplan number ready. For more information about this great show, visit www.lotr.com.
With a thrilling score, a spectacular design, and an ensemble of over 65 actors, singers and musicians, THE LORD OF THE RINGS is destined to be the stage event of the year. I truly hope you can take advantage of this exclusive opportunity and enjoy the show.
Senior Director, Marketing
Someone needs to explain to the agency that you should only have two spaces after a period with non-proportional fonts (like Courier, and on typewriters). With proportional fonts, only one space is required after a period. Koff, koff, bush league, koff, koff. I have gone to the trouble of correcting the double spaces, at no charge!
Bart, Bart...coincidence? I think not!
Greene, Green... coincidence? I think not!
And to top it off, this year I got my Green Card...when does coincidence turn into divine intervention?
This starts a new series, called: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO...
After last week's Lionel Bart post, I wanted to re-viewOliver!, which was the first movie musical I EVER saw, and still one of my favorite films. Although I still find it difficult to watch the part where Nancy is bludgeoned to death by Bill Sikes. It won 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Score, and Choreography.
After it finished, I asked myself: "Whatever happened to Shani Wallis?", who played the part of Nancy isOliver!
For the record, she was born in 1933, and she's still alive.
There is a glowing review of her pre-Oliver! stage career at Musical-Theatre.net, under the heading of Unsung Heroines, which is a very cool collection of great British theatre actresses. It also includes this bit on Shani Wallis' career in the '80s:
From 1985-87 she did service in 42nd Street, and for five years from 1985 went on a world tour with her old mate Liberace. It was ten years later that she came back to Britain to play Aunt Bessie in Always at the Victoria Palace (May 1997). She was third-billed, in rather smaller type, below the show's so-called stars, Jan Hartley (excellent as the Duchess of Windsor) and Clive Carter (embarrassingly awful as that lovable tinker Edward VIII). She endured rehearsals during which her part was trimmed, and by the time the show opened she gave performances that seemed to suggest she had a proper contempt for what was going on around her. She made the most of her one big number, 'The Reason For Life Is To Love', seizing centre-stage and belting out as if, seventeen again, she had just taken the Princes Theatre by storm in a really good American musical. She was an example to anyone who cared to take notice.
What a shame. I'd love to meet her sometime...
While I was re-watching my The Ed Sullivan Show: The Best of Broadway Musicals DVD I was mesmerized by the segment of Anthony Newley singing "Who Can I Turn To". His voice, his movements, are uniquely compelling. But for some reason he, like Bart, doesn't seem to have retained his profile since his death in 1999, at least in North America.
I remember the first time I heard his voice -- listening to the record ofStop The World I Want To Get Off in my parents living room. I was first attracted by the whimsical art of the album cover, but once I listened I became a bona fide Newley fan! I became also became a fan of the score to The Roar of the Greasepaint -- The Smell of the Crowd as well, but I never saw either show on stage nor did I have the pleasure of seeing him perform live.
I also love the 1968 movie Sweet November, starring Anthony Newley and Sandy Dennis (he wrote the title song with Leslie Bricusse, his long-time writing partner). He always seemed to be on the verge of bursting into song which made the film so poignant and charming. I also happen to loathethe remake with Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron, which is utterly without charm.
There is a great tribute site called "The Anthony Newley Appreciation Society" (also "officially recognized by the family of the late entertainer"), which outlines his impressive career:
ANTHONY GEORGE NEWLEY, who died at age 67, was an actor, singer, songwriter and director of unusual versatility; his career spanned more than 50 years and embraced film, repertory theatre, rock and roll, comedy revues, music hall and television.
He was the original East End boy made good, born illegitimately in Hackney and leaving school at 14. He then found success as a child actor, most notably as the Artful Dodger in David Lean's 1948 film OLIVER TWIST. Propelled by his role in OLIVER TWIST at the age of 17, Newley made his U.S. debut in 1956, appearing in six films that year. In the 1950s and 1960s, Newley was everywhere - on the screen, on television and, seven times, in the top ten.
His singing career came about almost by accident. In 1959, he took the part of rock and roll star Jeep Jackson - a spoof on Elvis Presley - in the film IDLE ON PARADE. A ballad from the film, I've Waited So Long, took Newley to the top of the British charts and started a three year run of hits which included Personality, If She Should Come to You, And The Heavens Cried and the novelty numbers Pop Goes the Weasel and Strawberry Fair. He also had two No 1s, with Why and Lionel Bart's Do You Mind? "So overnight I had this incredible power," he said years later. "I was a rock and roll singer and and it lasted for ten wonderful years."
His film appearances included DOCTOR DOOLITTLE and THE COCKLESHELL HEROES. But he is likely to be best known for co-writing and starring in the hit musicals STOP THE WORLD - I WANT TO GET OFF and THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT - THE SMELL OF THE CROWD, as well as a number of best-selling hit singles, including What Kind Of Fool Am I?, The Candy Man and Goldfinger. In 1987 he and frequent collaborator Leslie Bricusse were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
STOP THE WORLD was a landmark in the history of the British musical, notable for its freedom of form and cynicism of content as it charted the bitter-sweet rise of its central character, played by Newley, from teaboy to millionaire. For Newley, its lasting legacy was its songs. They included Gonna Build a Mountain and What Kind of Fool Am I? which sold more than a million records and became his signature tune.
STOP THE WORLD for which he was the director, star and co-author (with his longtime collaborator, Leslie Bricusse), was his greatest showcase. The show was conceived as "a simple, lighthearted satirical life cycle of the seven ages of man." (Namely, youth-and-adolescence, decision, sophistication, maturity, sagacity, retirement and senility.) In the UK, it played to packed houses for 15 months before transferring to Broadway in 1962, where it ran for 555 performances. An allegory about acquiring fame and power but ending up disillusioned, STOP THE WORLD was a tour de force for the star, who portrayed a symbolic Everyman named Littlechap.
In the States he became one of the very few British crooners to make it big on the US cabaret circuit (In Las Vegas he commanded the same attention as Tony Bennett, Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra) and his Cockney rags-to-riches story made him a chat show favorite. In 1977 he was voted the Male Musical Star of the Year in Las Vegas.
He had a gift for striking an emotional chord with a mass audience. But Anthony Newley was also an influence on David Bowie among later performers, because in all his songs he maintained a distinctively British voice, ending with his right arm extended for effect in his trademark signoff.
In addition to writing the score with Leslie Bricusse for 1971's film WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, Newley wrote the score for the 1975 film MR. QUILP (now broadcast on TV under THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP) and, with Bricusse, the title song for the 1968 film SWEET NOVEMBER; and, finally with Bricusse, the songs for the 1976 TV version of PETER PAN. He also co-wrote with Stanley Ralph Ross the book, music and lyrics for the 1983 stage show CHAPLIN and created the 1985 revue ONCE UPON A SONG. Newley had been working for many years on a musical version of RICHARD III and sang some of these songs during his last New York cabaret appearance at Rainbow and Stars in 1996. The BMI database lists over 150 songs for which Newley wrote the music or lyrics. His four U.S. hit songs were Why?, If She Should Come to You, Pop Goes the Weasel and What Kind of Fool Am I? By contrast, he had 12 hit singles in three years in the U.K., all included in the 1997 CD, THE VERY BEST OF ANTHONY NEWLEY. Newley went from child star to pop idol, to composer, author, director and leading man and leaves an amazing body of work.
His third wife, Dareth Newley Dunn, described him as "a dear, sweet, loving friend and father ... consummate performer and ultimate composer".
Not bad, not bad at all.
She's On Fire!
Wow, Kristin Chenoweth seems to be everywhere these days -- doing a Dolly Parton impersonation on Letterman, singing for Katie Couric, appearing in The West Wing, and filming the movies Bewitched,The Pink Panther, Asphalt Beach, Running with Scissors, and Stranger Than Fiction.
Hollywood Reporter says that the biopic will be written and directed by Jessica Sharzer, the recipient of a 2002 student Academy Award for the movie "Speak," which she wrote and directed. The Springfield film, which will focus on the singer's life in the sixties and the recording of her classic album, "Dusty in Memphis," will be produced by Universal's Marc Platt, actress Chenoweth and Untitled Entertainment's Danielle Thomas. Springfield's manager, Vicki Wickham, will serve as a consultant for the motion picture.
Dusty Springfield was born Mary O'Brien in the U.K. in 1939. Her many hits included "I Only Want to Be With You," "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself" and "Son of a Preacher Man." The latter was released on her album "Dusty in Memphis," which is often regarded as her finest release. Springfield battled substance abuse and faced financial difficulties, although she did have another hit in the nineties when recorded the duet, "What Have I Done to Deserve This?," with the Pet Shop Boys. Springfield died of cancer in 1999. She was 59.
Now that sounds right -- acting and singing. I love Kristin, so don't get me wrong, but she's just not working for me on The West Wing. I saw her in Epic Proportions, a not-so-great play that opened on Broadway in 1999. She was very funny and she always exudes that special star quality, but I love her best when she acts and sings: Then she's totally unstoppable!
Even more exciting (for me at least) is that according to this article from Broadwayworld, Kristin will star in the final City Center Encores! production of the 2004/2005 season: The Apple Tree in May.
Kristin Chenoweth is set to star in The Apple Tree, the final Encores! presentation of the 2004-5 Season, it was announced by Artistic Director Jack Viertel and Music Director Rob Fisher. The engagement, which runs May 12-16, 2005, also marks Mr. Fisher's final production as Encores! Music Director - a position he has held for Encores! entire 12-year history. The production is directed by Gary Griffin.
The Apple Tree features music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, Fiorello!); and a book by Messrs. Bock, Harnick and Jerome Coopersmith.
The Apple Tree is a unique and innovative evening of three one-act musicals about men, women and a little thing called temptation from one of Broadway's most beloved songwriting teams. Act I is based on Mark Twain's "The Diary of Adam and Eve", Act II on Frank R. Stockton's "The Lady or the Tiger?", and Act III on Jules Feiffer's "Passionella". Notable songs include "What Makes Me Love Him?"; "Go To Sleep Whatever You Are"; and "Oh, To Be A Movie Star".
Under the direction of Mike Nichols in his first musical outing, The Apple Tree opened at the Shubert Theatre on October 18, 1966 where it played for 463 performances. The original Broadway cast featured Alan Alda and Barbara Harris. The show was nominated for seven Tony Awards including Best Musical; with a win for Harris as Best Actress in a Musical.
I saw an old excerpt from this musical on Broadway's Lost Treasures.
It was an adorable scene called "Passionella" about a woman (Ella) who works as a chimney sweep during the day, and dreams of being a movie star at night. Then, one day her Fairy Godmother (on the TV) transforms her into a Marilyn Monroe-type gorgeous voluptuous blonde (Passionella).Barbara Harris played the role of Ella/Passionella and she was amazing. She also won the Tony for it.
I can totally see Kristin Chenoweth doing it. She certainly has the figure to pull off the voluptuous side of the character...I know that Letterman would agree based on the way that he ogled her the other night!
I'm wishin' and hopin' that I can see it!
I was watching another one of my The Songwriters: An Intimate Evening of Songs and StoriesDVDs last night. This one was devoted to Charles Strouse and Arthur Schwartz.
I really enjoyed the Charles Strouse segment as he threw in a couple of bits of acting. He and his Annie cowriter Martin Charnin did a mock backer's audition, feebly describing the concept of the show to a very rich backer (played by Debbie Shapiro who had an amazing voice). They play, she smokes, they play, she looks distant, they play, she smokes. Finally at the end her one question is "Annie has no pupils, how are you going to cast someone without pupils". Then "Good luck with your show" and she leaves. Very funny. I've experienced something similar...
Charles Strouse sure can write show tunes (Bye Bye Birdie was his first show on Broadway) but he is more of a shouter than a singer. (Dammit Jim, I'm a writer not a singer). It was another great sing and tell and he told the story about Annie being troubled and needing fixing and re-writing.
In one great story, they had finally written the song that would really help the show and then they promptly lost it. Since they were so stressed, neither could remember a note or word of it! After searching through bags of garbage and having a nervous breakdown, the conductor finally found it -- "Easy Street"! It's a great number, and it would have been a shame if it had ended up lining a gerbil cage. I also learned he wrote "Those Were The Days" for All In The Family! Kewl -- I love it when my two favs, musical theater and TV, dovetail!
I hadn't known that Charles Strouse wrote the music to Nick and Nora (book by Arthur Laurents and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr.) so when my husband gave me the original Broadway Cast recording of it, I was anxious to hear it. Looking at the writers and the amazing cast list (Joanna Gleason andBarry Bostwick star, with Christine Baranski, Chris Sarandon, Faith Prince, and Debra Monk among other luminaries) I was puzzled as to why this wasn't a smash hit.
Now, I'm a hug fan of the Thin Man movies. My husband and I watched them so much while we were dating we decided to name our first born Myrna, after Myrna Loy. (If it had been a boy we would have called him Powell, after William Powell).
Maybe it's because I have such a strong vision of who these characters were from the movies, that the story as described in the liner notes ("Nick and Nora are forced to confront their own hidden demons...they also investigate their marriage, working on the case and their personal problems...") didn't seem very Nick and Nora-like. And to be honest I was underwhelmed by the music and lyrics.
Charles Strouse had played some tunes on that DVD that I had never heard before and instantly fell in love with ("Once Upon A Time" from the show All American starring Ray Bolger) so I was kinda disappointed in this CD. The songs never quite seem to measure up to the spectacular voices. However, the liner notes point out "The show features extended musical scenes, but it is not through-composed and gives equal weight to song and spoken word. Because of the fragmentation and unorthodox structure of many of the musical numbers, the score tended to be underappreciated by many at first hearing, and rewards repeated listening."
Hmm...maybe I should give it another listen...