Sunday, August 30, 2009

iPod Shuffle Answers

How well did you do? Some were ridiculously tough, I know. Others not so bad...

1. “Chicago’s eleven below and the forecast is snow” – "Sun on My Face," Sugar
2. “You know that our parting breaks my heart” – "All the Love I Have," The Beautiful Game
3. “I once loved a girl out in Flatbush” – "The Trouble with Women," One Touch of Venus
4. “A man is a fool to lose his temper” – "Staying Young," Take Me Along
5. “The strongest thing in the world is not made of steel” – "That Ring on the Finger," Destry Rides Again
6. “Now I see you in the window of a carriage then a train” – "Where in the World?", The Secret Garden
7. “Somehow the ceiling seems a little higher” – "When Mabel Comes in the Room," Mack & Mabel
8. “In all the famous love affairs the lovers have to struggle” – "How Can Love Survive?", The Sound of Music
9. “In the Tiber there sits a boat gently dipping its bow” – "Pretty Little Picture," A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
10. “I slipped out this afternoon and bought some love insurance” – "Paris Original," How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
11. “It’s crazy. Ridiculous. It doesn’t make sense” – "It’s a Perfect Relationship," Bells Are Ringing
12. “Every man has a job to do” – "Doing Good," It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman
13. “How can people be so heartless? How can people be so cruel” – "Easy to Be Hard," Hair
14. “The wonders of the world are said to stop at seven” – "Only in New York," Thoroughly Modern Millie
15. “My daughter is marrying an idiot” – "The Father of the Bride," I Do! I Do!
16. “Nobody home come spring. Nobody home come fall” – "What Do I Do Now?", The Grass Harp
17. “Girls have come and gone, Papa” – "With Anne on My Arm," La Cage Aux Folles
18. “I should never have gone to the theatre” – "It Would Have Been Wonderful," A Little Night Music
19. ‘Please let me say from the start I don’t pretend to be smart” – "The Best Thing for You," Call Me Madam
20. “When the clock goes off and I rub my eyes” – "Talking to You," High Spirits
21. “We’re the perfect loving family so adoring” – "Just Another Day," Next to Normal
22. “Who writes the words and music for all the girlie shows” – "Dames," 42nd Street
23. “I love my wife and I love her more than the way I used to love her before” – "Lud’s Wedding," 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue/A White House Cantata
24. “Why did she die in the spring? Roses bloom and robins sing” – "Cry for Us All," Cry for Us All
25. “If music is no longer lovely, if laughter is no longer lilting” – "I Don’t Want to Know," Dear World
26. “When you feel you’ve gone to hell in a hand basket” – "Where You Are," Kiss of the Spider Woman
27. “Last night I met a man beneath a pale and haunted moon” – "What Was a Woman to Do?", Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
28. “There once lived a wonderful woman…” – "My Husband’s First Wife," Sweet Adeline
29. “What is the curse that makes the universe so all bewilderin’?” – "Necessity," Finian’s Rainbow
30. “When she mentioned how her aunt bit off the spoon…” – "On the Street Where You Live," My Fair Lady
31. “I’ve wined and dined on Mulligan stew and never wished for turkey” – "The Lady is a Tramp," Babes in Arms
32. “March went out like a lion, a-whippin’ up the water in the bay” – "June Is Bustin’ Out All Over," Carousel
33. “His going in the Army is the best thing he could do” – "An English Teacher," Bye Bye Birdie
34. “Plenty of times I been in plenty of jams” – "I Get Myself Out," Grind
35. “Ella, look at me. This way, Ella. Ella concentrate hard.” "When?", Evening Primrose
36. “I trust he really is what I think he is” – "A Proper Man," Lock Up Your Daughters
37. “These are very popular in Italy” – "The Beauty Is," The Light in the Piazza
38. “At the villa of the Baron di Signac” – "Liaisons," A Little Night Music
39. “Oh, what a bevy of beauties. Oh, what a school of fish!” – "They Couldn’t Compare to You," Out of this World
40. “The sea and sky are blue here. The air is warm and sweet” – "Po, Po, Po," Illya Darling

Bonus: “Look at all the immortal works of art” – "The Touch of Magic," She Loves Me (cut)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Got Melba

Melba Moore first hit the Broadway scene as Dionne in the original cast of Hair. During her run in the show, she would also become the understudy for and eventually assume the lead role of Sheila. However, it was the musical Purlie which gave Moore what probably her greatest success onstage. Purlie was a musical adaptation of Ossie Davis' racial satire Purlie Victorious about a black preacher who goes head to head with an old racist landowner. Cleavon Little was Purlie, and the cast consisted of Linda Hopkins, Sherman Hemlsey (it was his appearance in this role that got him noticed by Norman Lear to play George Jefferson) and Helen Martin. Director-choreographer George Faison was in the ensemble.

As Purlie's sweetheart Lutiebelle, Melba made a huge impression on audiences, often stopping the show with her first act delivery of the title song. The authors and directors sensing they had a tremendous performance on their hands immediately went to work writing another number for her. The song was "I Got Love" and if "Purlie" had stopped the show, this new song practically flattened the theatre. Moore won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, besting Penny Fuller and Bonnie Franklin in Applause and Melissa Hart in the 4 performance flop Georgy.

There was a TV production of Purlie that aired in 1981 starring Robert Guillaume, who had replaced Cleavon Little in the original production and had become a star with his portrayal of the title role on Benson. This version made its way to VHS in the late 80s, but has yet to have a DVD release. Here is Melba Moore delivering the title song from the TV version:



Here's a TV performance of "I Got Love"



Now for the random/bizarre entry. This is a television performance from 1980 The Beatrice Arthur Special. Bea is leading a revival (under the name Sistah Luv) with Rock Hudson, Melba with "Madame" on the organ. It has to be seen to be believed:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Casting complete for "Ragtime"

Casting for the highly anticipated Broadway revival of Ragtime was announced yesterday. Many of the principal actors from the sold out Kennedy Center production will be transferring to NY, including Christiane Noll as Mother, Quentin Earl Darrington as Coalhouse Walker, Jr., Ron Bohmer as Father, Bobby Steggert as Mother's Younger Brother and Donna Migliacco as Emma Goldman. New to the cast are Robert Petkoff as Tateh, Savannah Wise as Evelyn Nesbitt and Stephanie Umoh as Sarah.

The show begins previews at the Neil Simon Theatre on October 23, with an opening night set for November 15. The original Broadway production ran for two years at what is now the Hilton Theatre, overshadowed by The Lion King and done in by criminal producing, it closed in the red after only 834 performances (in an ideal world, a show like Ragtime should have had the success of The Lion King). The revival won't be as expensive to produce as the original (I doubt we'll ever see anything near the likes of Garth Drabinsky's spectacles ever again), and has already been acclaimed for its emphasis on the story and characters over scenography. Plus, the revival will be using the entire original 28 piece orchestration.

My only qualm with the production has been the artwork - the new window card art has been released and while some find it superb, I find it rather lacking. Then again, I guess it would be hard to top that iconic image of the title emblazoned across the Statue of Liberty from 1998. However, I've never judged a musical by its poster; no matter my thought about the artwork, it's what's onstage that counts. And what Broadway has at the Neil Simon this fall is likely to be an epic win.

Here are a couple of brief interviews with Christiane Noll, Quentin Earl Darrington and director-choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge from earlier this year:





Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's My Line: Greer Garson as Mame

Most people identify the role of Auntie Mame with either Rosalind Russell or Angela Lansbury (and the occasional philistine will mention Lucille Ball). However, there were three notable actresses who played the part in the original Broadway production of the play. Russell opened the show to rave reviews and she was the toast of the town for over a year. When Russell departed the NY production to make the film version of Auntie Mame, her replacement was none other than Oscar-winning British actress Greer Garson, in her one and only appearance on Broadway (Bea Lillie then took over for the last four weeks of the NY run before opening the play in London). During Ms. Garson's stay at the Broadhurst Theatre, she made an appearance my youtube obsession "What's My Line?" all dolled up as Mame, complete with cigarette holder. The actress, who seemed to channel Garbo in her answers, proceeded to stump the entire panel including guest Orson Welles. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"They're down on steel and carbon and high on UFOs..."

To be honest, I didn't think anyone would be interested in reviving How Now Dow Jones, but much to my surprise, I received a press release regarding the revised version being presented at the Fringe Festival. Then Sarah asked if I'd like to go and I said yes. The show has been rarely performed since the late 60s, so there has been little opportunity (aside from a 2002 Mufti concert) to see it.

While hardly a bomb like Here's Where I Belong, the show is an established failure with a notoriously poor libretto done in by one of the flimsiest plots since the Princess musicals. Kate, the Dow Jones girl (who announces the progress on the stock exchange on the hour) is engaged to a man who won't marry her until the DJIA hits 1,000 (oh, those were the days, huh?). When the girl has a one night stand with our hero, a suicidal failure named Charlie who finds his greatest success selling stocks to widows and orphans, she finds herself pregnant. In a desperate ploy to get married to avoid the scandal (after all, the musical opened in 1967), she announces the Dow has hit the millenium mark.

I know. The plot is absolutely preposterous. And believe me, Max Shulman's original book didn't go unscathed when the show opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1967. In fact the show was troubled from the start. The show went out on the road and it was just not working. Choreographer Gillian Lynne found herself out in the cold while Michael Bennett on his ascent to auteurism came in to fix the show. Madeline Kahn had a featured role that was written out in Boston. (Kahn would find her character written out of Promises, Promises only a year later). Tommy Tune (who was in attendance at the performance I attended) would join the cast.

The show ran 220 performances in NY, a financial and artistic failure. However, it had the good fortune to open in a dreary season and was nominated for a slew of Tonys, including Best Musical. The show would win one, and that was Best Featured Actor for Hiram Sherman (as Wingate). The song "Step to the Rear" would continue to have a life outside of the show, but other than that it was basically long forgotten.

Director Ben West has streamlined a good chunk of the libretto, cutting dialogue, characters and numbers bringing the originally 2 1/2 hour, two act musical comedy to a brisk intermissionless 80 minutes. The cast has gone from 40 to 8, and there were several songs restored, including the gorgeous "Where You Are" which was dropped in Boston. The staging and production values are simple, allowing us to look deeply into the text to see where it succeeds, and inevitably where it fails.

The show can never really work, thanks to Shulman. In spite of the flaws and some uneven casting, the result is rather entertaining. Mr. West makes a gallant effort and offers a rather entertaining way to spend an hour and a half. Much as the case with the underrated revival of Old Acquaintance, SarahB and I found ourselves quite amused, and enjoying ourselves immensely. The jokes and references are archaic and dated, the characters little more than caricatures, but there was a feeling of familiarity - almost as if watching one of those 60s sitcoms on TVLand. (Some might argue that it's as relevant as ever given our financial chaos - not really. But I also don't buy that argument for Finian's Rainbow either).

Where How Now Dow Jones does not fail is in its score. The music of Elmer Bernstein is entertaining; however, it is Carolyn Leigh's lyrics that standout above all else. Witty, intelligent and clever, Leigh creates a level of satire and sophistication that is lacking in every other department of the musical. The opening number "ABC" has fast become one of the most listened to songs on my iPod. The showstopping "Step to the Rear" has been moved from the first act to the finale, and is a fun way to send the crowd out into the streets (even if I missed the matchmaking Jewish widows leading the parade).

Two names I want you to remember: Colin Hanlon and Cristen Paige. Mr. Hanlon, late of Rent and I Love You Because, is Charlie and plays him with considerable charm, affable presence and a mega-watt smile that is poised for stardom. Ms. Paige, who has been seen in The Visit and the national tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, is lovely, sweet and utterly captivating as Kate, the lovelorn heroine. Paige also gets the bulk of the show's ballads whose lyrics give us a greater glimpse into the character than any single line of dialogue.

The rest of the company was amiable enough, but none shone as bright as the two stars. The one weak note in the casting was Cori Silberman as Cynthia, a role originated by Brenda Vaccaro. Cynthia is Kate's best friend and sidekick (though Vaccaro got nominated for a Leading Actress Tony and her costar Marlyn Mason did not) and the Dow Jones tour guide. She's a lovably brash New York girl in search of Mr. Right (in this case, she's looking to become a kept woman). Silberman appeared mannered, amateurish and out of her element, failing to score until "He's Here" toward the end of the show.

Credited in the playbill is UnsungMusicalsCo, which is a non-profit production company "dedicated to the preservation of musical theatre through the presentation of infrequently performed works." Director Ben West is the company's Artistic Director and they are currently at work on revising Platinum, Lend an Ear and Rock 'N Roll! The First 5,000 Years. I find the idea of the group rather exciting, as they look at the musicals anew and make an effort to fix the shows and offer musical theatre aficionados not unlike myself the opportunity to see something like How Now Dow Jones onstage. My question for Mr. West: can we expect Lolita, My Love or Prettybelle?

Variety take a glimpse at "Nine"

There was an interesting article on the upcoming film adaptation of Maury Yeston & Arthur Kopit's Nine in this week's Variety. The 1982 musical, which won several Tony Awards including Best Musical, was itself a loose adaptation of Federico Fellini's 8 1/2. Included in the article were some tidbits about casting, Daniel Day-Lewis' singing and his on-set Method existence, director Rob Marshall's concept (which isn't far removed from what he did in Chicago) and the new songs Yeston wrote for the film. Here is the information on the three new songs as reported by the trade (with my thoughts in post-script).

"Guarda la Luna" (Look at the Moon), sung by [Sophia] Loren. "We were lucky enough to have someone who was part of that great period of Italian cinema, who knew Fellini, who knew Marcello Mastroianni (Guido in the Fellini film)," Yeston says. So he tailored a lullaby specifically for Loren's voice (but based the melody on the song "Nine" from the Broadway score).

-- Having seen Man of La Mancha, I am aware of Loren's vocal limitations. The title song of Nine is sung by Guido's mother, and is a showcase for a mature soprano. Taina Elg introduced the song in the original cast, and it was sung by Mary Beth Peil and Marni Nixon in the Broadway revival with Antonio Banderas. I'm curious to see how this new song works within the context of the musical, and am glad to see at least some element of the original song will remain.

"Cinema Italiano," for Hudson as a Vogue writer in Rome to interview the director. "Italian movies also communicated lifestyle and fashion for the world," Yeston says, so [Kate] Hudson sings and dances to a number with "a retro feel, elements of '60s pop" that is designed to illustrate to younger audiences how important Italian cinema was in that era.

-- Nothing like trying to pander to that coveted youth bracket, which seems to be the only reason this song exists. Stephanie Necrophorus is a rather small part in the stage show, so this would seem like an opportunity to give Hudson more to do, especially since Liliane La Fleur (played by Judi Dench) is no longer a producer, but Contini's costume designer. However, if the message boards on IMDb are to be trusted, most people who have been to screenings feel this song is out of place. My curiosity is piqued. (Speaking of Nine screenings, Roxie and I were approached prior to Mary Stuart to see if we'd like to go to one, but unfortunately we both had prior engagements).

"Take It All," originally written as a trio for [Nicole] Kidman, [Penelope] Cruz and [Marion] Cotillard but, just before shooting, rearranged as a solo for Cotillard, according to music supervisor Matt Sullivan. "Heart-wrenching" is how Yeston describes the performance by Cotillard (who won an Oscar playing Edith Piaf).

-- This one better be good. "Simple" and "Be On Your Own" were cut to make way for this new song, probably a ploy to garner some Oscar attention in the Best Song category. As much as I enjoy Maury Yeston and Marion Cotillard, I cannot imagine Luisa having a more effective song than "Be On Your Own."

I've also been told that "The Bells of St. Sebastian" and the entire "Grand Canal" sequence have been cut, so it should be interesting to see what director Rob Marshall has come up with. Word is that Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson delivers a dynamite performance of "Be Italian." Regardless, I love Nine and I look forward to seeing it (all those Oscar winners!). My real curiosity is seeing if the stage show translates well to the screen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Original Cast Album: "Mame"

Was introduced to Bleecker Bob's yesterday afternoon by SarahB. While down to catch the Fringe production of How Now Dow Jones, we found ourselves with some time to browse through the cast album bin ($2 special on many popular favorites). As you may recall, I am a huge fan of record shopping. Not only do I enjoy the browsing, but I am always excited at the potential of finding a forgotten gem. I picked up Ballroom, Shenandoah, Coco, and the original off-Broadway cast of Hair. Now, not only do I like to collect the records, but I also like to play them. I sound older than my 26 years, but there is just something so incredibly satisfying about the sound of the needle hitting the vinyl. So while I played through a few platters, I decided to pop on Mame, just because. What I had never done before was read the back of the sleeve. I discovered here the most amusing artist biographies I think I've ever read and thought I'd share:

ANGELA LANSBURY (Mame) can do anything but wrong. She can be the good girl (The Picture of Dorian Gray), the bad girl (Gaslight), villainous mother (The Manchurian Candidate) or Elizabeth Taylor's sister (National Velvet). Those were films. On stage she has ranged Bert Lahr's farcical playmate in Hotel Paradiso to the dramatic demands of A Taste of Honey. Her previous musical outing, Anyone Can Whistle, proved that she can handle parades and miracles. MAME proves she can handle anything. And not only sing it, dance it and act it, but wear it, too. And beautifully.

JERRY HERMAN (Music and Lyrics) is a blooming Broadway industry. With four previous scores to his credit (two revues, plus Milk and Honey and Hello, Dolly!) he has a Tony Award, a gold record, a Grammy Award, 1964 citation from Variety as both the year's "Best Composer" and "Best Lyricist," and from station WPAT, for the song "Shalom," a Gaslight award (no connection with Miss Lansbury's movie). On top fo this he was chosen one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men by the United States Chamber of Commerce in 1965. Yes, he seems to have the knack of things, all right.

JEROME LAWRENCE and ROBERT E. LEE (Authors) began on Broadway with a musical, Look Ma, I'm Dancin', starring Nancy Walker. But then they wrote a play, called Inherit the Wind, and the success of that classic theater piece kept them thinking in dramatic terms for some time. (Having a work translated into Urdu and Serbo-Croatian and twenty-six other languages can do that). But one of their subsequent plays was a masterful comedy named Auntie Mame from PATRICK DENNIS' brilliantly funny novel. And now, with the musical MAME, they are bringing it all back home.

SYLVIA and JOSEPH HARRIS and ROBERT FRYER and LAWRENCE CARR (Producers) are a kind of musical Quartet. Each comes to production with significant individual credits. Fryer and Carr produced the original Auntie Mame, Desk Set, Advise and Consent and Gwen Verdon's Redhead. Sylvia Harris coproduced Make a Million and Tovarich, and her husband Joseph has conquered virtually every known aspect of theatrical business management. Together the four launched their firstborn, Sweet Charity, and resuscitated not only the old Palace Theatre but an entire New York theatrical season. And here they come again.

GENE SAKS (Director) is a reformed actor. Since his first job as director, Enter Laughing, there's been no time for acting, enviable as his reputation was. In the short time since that smash hit there have been Nobody Loves an Albatross, Generation and Half a Sixpence. In this last he worked with ONNA WHITE, reformed dancer, who has here staged the musical numbers and dances, as she did there. Miss White had previously been applauded for her assignments in The Music Man and Irma La Douce. From the look of it, mutual success makes happy collaborators.

And so we have the Fryer, Carr, Harris, Lansbury, Lawrence, Lee, Herman, Dennis, White, Saks ensemble. Enough to make up one of Mame's posher, more intimate parties. Cheers!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Name That Tune - iPod shuffle style

I haven't put up an iPod shuffle quiz since December and felt like doing another. There's no rhyme or reason to it, but here are the first lines of forty musical theatre songs. For the sake of keeping it interesting, I skipped anything with the title in the first line. Name the song title and show. I'm curious to see if anyone will take the challenge and if they do, see just well they do. Some answers are easy, others not so much. There's no prize other than bragging rights, but it could be fun way to pass a little time. I'll be posting the answers in one week.

1. “Chicago’s eleven below and the forecast is snow”
2. “You know that our parting breaks my heart”
3. “I once loved a girl out in Flatbush”
4. “A man is a fool to lose his temper”
5. “The strongest thing in the world is not made of steel”
6. “Now I see you in the window of a carriage then a train”
7. “Somehow the ceiling seems a little higher”
8. “In all the famous love affairs the lovers have to struggle"
9. “In the Tiber there sits a boat gently dipping its bow”
10. “I slipped out this afternoon and bought some love insurance”
11. “It’s crazy. Ridiculous. It doesn’t make sense”
12. “Every man has a job to do”
13. “How can people be so heartless? How can people be so cruel”
14. “The wonders of the world are said to stop at seven”
15. “My daughter is marrying an idiot”
16. “Nobody home come spring. Nobody home come fall”
17. “Girls have come and gone, Papa.”
18. “I should never have gone to the theatre”
19. ‘Please let me say from the start I don’t pretend to be smart”
20. “When the clock goes off and I rub my eyes”
21. “We’re the perfect loving family so adoring”
22. “Who writes the words and music for all the girlie shows”
23. “I love my wife and I love her more than the way I used to love her before”
24. “Why did she die in the spring? Roses bloom and robins sing”
25. “If music is no longer lovely, if laughter is no longer lilting”
26. “When you feel you’ve gone to hell in a hand basket”
27. “Last night I met a man beneath a pale and haunted moon”
28. “There once lived a wonderful woman…”
29. “What is the curse that makes the universe so all bewilderin’?”
30. “When she mentioned how her aunt bit off the spoon…”
31. “I’ve wined and dined on Mulligan stew and never wished for turkey”
32. “March went out like a lion, a-whippin’ up the water in the bay”
33. “His going in the Army is the best thing he could do”
34. “Plenty of times I been in plenty of jams”
35. “Ella, look at me. This way, Ella. Ella concentrate hard.”
36. “I trust he really is what I think he is”
37. “These are very popular in Italy”
38. “At the villa of the Baron di Signac”
39. “Oh, what a bevy of beauties. Oh, what a school of fish”
40. “The sea and sky are blue here. The air is warm and sweet”

Bonus:

"Look at all the immortal works of art"

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hmm...

Coming This Fall...


I can't wait to get my hands on this album. For the record? "Let's See What Happens" from Darling of the Day is one of my all-time favorite show songs. Release from PS Classics expected October 20. Kate Baldwin can also be seen onstage in the new Broadway revival of Finian's Rainbow and has just launched her official website. Plus, she's also featured on a studio cast album of a long-forgotten 1926 musical comedy Kitty's Kisses, also from PS Classics. So much to look forward to from this diva on the rise!

Her first solo album is a tribute to Finian's Rainbow's composer Burton Lane and lyricist E.Y. Harburg, an amalgamation of songs they wrote together and with other artists. The track list (courtesy of SarahB) is as follows:

"That Something Extra Special"
(Darling of the Day, 1968)
Jule Styne & E.Y. Harburg
Orch. Sam Davis

"How About You?"
(Babes on Broadway, 1941)
Burton Lane & E.Y. Harburg
orch. Jonathan Tunick
Jonathan Tunick, clarinet (even Benny Goodman would eat his heart out!)

"Moments Like This"
(College Swing, 1938)
Burton Lane & Frank Loesser
orch. Georgia Stitt

"Come Back to Me"
(On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, 1965)
Burton Lane & Alan Jay Lerner
orch. Jonathan Tunick

"Here’s to Your Illusions"
(Flahooley, 1951)
Sammy Fain & E.Y. Harburg
orch. Steve Marzullo

"Have Feet, Will Dance"
(Junior Miss, 1957)
Burton Lane & Dorothy Fields
orch. Rob Berman

"How Are Things in Glocca Morra?"
(Finian’s Rainbow, 1947)
Burton Lane & E.Y. Harburg
orch. Rob Berman

"Poor You"
(Ship Ahoy, 1942)
Burton Lane & E.Y. Harburg
orch. Joshua Rosenblum

"Paris Is a Lonely Town"
(Gay Purr-ee, 1962)
Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg
orch. Jonathan Tunick

"I Like the Likes of You"
(Ziegfeld Follies of 1934)
Vernon Duke & E.Y. Harburg
orch. Rob Berman

"Let’s See What Happens/Open Your Eyes"
(Darling of the Day, 1968)
Jule Styne & E.Y. Harburg
(Royal Wedding, 1951)
Burton Lane & Alan Jay Lerner
orch. Rob Berman

"Where Have I Seen Your Face Before?"
Burton Lane & E.Y. Harburg
orch. Joel Fram

"He Wasn’t You"
(On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, 1965)
Burton Lane & Alan Jay Lerner
orch. Joseph Thalken

"I Don’t Think I’ll End It All Today"
(Jamaica, 1957)
Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg
orch. Jason Robert Brown

"The World Is in My Arms"
Burton Lane & E.Y. Harburg
(Hold on to Your Hats, 1940)
Rob Berman, piano

Thursday, August 20, 2009

'Oh hey, Janet McTeer. What up?'

This year, a small section of the bloggerati embarked on what Kari would call 'The Summer of Harriet Walter.' Ms. Walter costarred with Janet McTeer in a highly acclaimed revival of Mary Stuart, that just ended its limited engagement at the Broadhurst Theatre this past weekend. The production was beautiful enough, but the leading ladies became part of our cheeky lore this summer after the Tony award debacle where their identities were switched during the presentation of Best Actress in a Play. Marcia Gay Harden rectified the moment in her acceptance speech, but that didn't stop us from finding inestimable pleasure in the technical glitch.

I first saw the production in May, capping a week where I saw seven shows in six days. I was exhilarated by the performances of the two leading ladies, and how the revisionist way in which the story was told in this particular adaptation. However, I never really sat down and wrote about it. That was one of the reasons why I felt compelled to return for the final performance, not only to enjoy the company of my fellow bloggers, but to give the show its fair due here on the blog.

British history is fascinating. I have found myself long fascinated with it, dating back to a memorable trip to London when I was 10. There has been a millenium's worth of scandal, bloodshed, sex and intrigue (et al). From William the Conqueror taking on the Normans to the tabloid obsession with the current royal family, they have made quite a claim on fame and our interest.

However, the Tudor/Elizabethan era remains one of the most examined and dramatized in British history. Henry VIII, his six wives, his psychotic obsession with producing a male heir and his split from the Roman Catholic church finds its way into our books, films, televisions and on our stages.

The schism wreaked havoc on Britain in the generations that followed. Henry's children found themselves at odds with one another, as ("Bloody") Mary I remained a devout Catholic. By the time Elizabeth was crowned the Queen of England, she had already lost her mother Anne Boleyn when she was a toddler, been disinherited, removed from the line of succession, locked in the Tower of London and later placed on house arrest and found her life constantly in danger.

However, after the unsuccessful coup d'etat to place Lady Jane Grey (named in Edward's will) on the throne of England, Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England. Her cousin Mary of Scotland posed a legitimate threat, with many Catholic rebels feeling that she and not Elizabeth should be on the throne of England. While Mary was alive, Elizabeth's life was in constant danger. Historically, the two ladies never met face to face. However, that doesn't make for interesting theatre, so every dramatization of their conflict has included fictionalized secret meetings which inevitably prove to be the most memorable scenes.

Friedrich Schiller's play premiered in Germany in 1800 and has remained an immensely popular dramatization, even becoming the Donizetti opera Maria Stuarda in 1834. The play has seen numerous translations and adaptations. Peter Oswald adapted the play for the Donmar Warehouse production in 2005 directed by Phyllida Lloyd. It took four years for the director and leading ladies to be free for a Broadway run, and it was well worth the wait.

The ladies only the share the stage for about ten minutes in the play's three hour running time, but oh, my friends, those were the moments worth waiting for. The first act gets a little bogged down in exposition, though the leading ladies are excellent. It's fascinating to watch the two ladies command the stage. Mary is a showier part - a woman finding herself at the end of her wits fighting valiantly (and in vain) for her life after experiencing twenty years imprisonment and considerable oppression. McTeer is in total domination whenever she is onstage, a combination of her impressive height and immense talent.

Harriet Walter complements the powerhouse McTeer with an understated, wry and unfailingly fascinating performance as Elizabeth I. Where McTeer finds herself isolated in prison with her nurse (the lovely Maria Tucci), Elizabeth finds herself isolated in her position as Queen regnant surrounded by men who are either terrified of her or are trying to control her.

Both roles are incredibly demanding and both actresses were beyond excellent. The first act sets up the second act confrontation, which consists of a ten minute rain storm and a stunning effect upon Elizabeth's entrance. In those few minutes, we watch Mary as she grovels at her cousin's feet begging for her life. Elizabeth, shrewd and uncanny, is constantly aware of the political consequences of both sparing Mary and executing her, and treats her cousin with a coolness bordering on contempt. McTeer's big moment comes during this scene, when she realizes that begging is futile and decides to unleash twenty years of pent-up rage on Elizabeth capping it with the line to end all lines "THE THRONE OF ENGLAND IS DESECRATED BY A BASTARD!!!"

Rarely are the ladies by themselves, and are usually in the presence of men (in Elizabeth's case, she looks like she is perpetually caged in by the cast of Mad Men) yet it always feels as though both women are completely isolated - ironically enough sharing the understanding of the figurative burden that comes with a crown.

John Benjamin Hickey as the duplicitous Earl of Leicester, Brian Murray as the kindly Shrewsbury and the austere Nicholas Woodeson as the severe and calculating Lord Burleigh were the more impressionable of the gentlemen. Lloyd created some fascinating visuals: the abrupt opening invading Mary's chambers, the trinity of counselors addressing Elizabeth while her back is to the audience, the unexpected entrance of Elizabeth at the top of the second act that ends the rainstorm, Mary accepting her fate with grace, in the fabled red gown, and the last searing image of Elizabeth stripped of her wig, period gown and makeup alone with herself as the lights dim.

After the performance, I waited around with the ladies while they made their pilgrimages at the stage door (where Marian...Marian Seldes made an appearance) then we headed off to Angus for our usual routine. This time we found ourselves seated at a table next to McTeer, Seldes and Brian Murray who were waiting for the closing party. Shortly thereafter we were told to "pipe down" by an irascible older woman who was apparently having a difficult time conversing with her friend due to our excessive noise (Excuse us for living). But we were very lucky that Arsenic and Old Lace were already done with dessert, so we were pretty much left on our own at the back of the restaurant to be raucous and randy.

Once we wrapped up at Angus, we ventured back across the street to the Broadhurst Theatre so Sarah could have a look. We followed suit, while Kari took more pictures. We realized our Mary Stuart acquaintances hadn't crossed the street but were making their way toward Times Square. We waved goodbye, only to see someone else waving back at us. Upon realizing it was, of all the people in the world, Janet McTeer, Roxie shouted out affably, "Oh hey, Janet McTeer. What up?!" To which McTeer continued to smile and wave, while the rest of us were doubled over in laughter. Needless to say in terms of "quote of the day," Ms. Z wins hands down.

Though we ventured up to the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble and then O'Neals for one more nightcap, that final exchange on 44th Street, in front of the Broadhurst and all that we hold dear, marked the official end to the Summer of Harriet Walter.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Craig Ferguson: "Why Everything Sucks"

He tells it like it is...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Step to the Rear: "How Now, Dow Jones" receives Fringe revival

With all the Fringe shows being presented, this one caught my eye as I consider Ken Mandelbaum's Not Since Carrie a personal Bible. The release tells you all you need to know about the show, so I won't go into detail. While the original production failed after six months, one song in particular managed to find a life of its own: the act one production number "Step to the Rear." The song has been used in political rallies, Dodge car commercials and has even been adapted into the University of South Carolina Fight song ("The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way" - I kid you not). Here is star Tony Roberts (then still just Anthony) leading the cast in the song on the 1968 Tony Awards. Anyway, here is the press information on the revisal of this long neglected musical:

The new developmental production of How Now, Dow Jones (www.HowNowDowJones.com) starring Cristen Paige (Spelling Bee, The Visit, Cry-Baby), Colin Hanlon (Rent, I Love You Because) and Fred Berman (The Normal Heart, Room Service) will begin performances this Saturday at the Minetta Lane Theatre (18 Minetta Lane) as part of the 2009 New York International Fringe Festival. This new production will also restore an Elmer Bernstein-Carolyn Leigh cabaret favorite to the show: “Shakespeare Lied”.

In a statement, director Ben West (Old Acquaintance) said, “We are thrilled to be developing this new version of How Now, Dow Jones as part of the NY International Fringe Festival. Though it was written over forty years ago, Dow Jones remains wonderfully timely particularly given the current state of the economy and the sexual politics that dominate Washington and big business. As the project has developed, we have included previously unused lyrics by Ms. Leigh, previously unused dialogue by Mr. Shulman, and just recently restored ‘Shakespeare Lied’ to the score. With its extraordinary original material – reshaped in this new version - I look forward to returning Dow Jones to the American musical theatre canon.”

With book by Max Shulman, music by Academy Award winner Elmer Bernstein and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Carolyn Leigh, this new version – revised and directed by Ben West (Old Acquaintance) – plays the following dates and times:

*Saturday, August 15 at 12 Noon

*Monday, August 17 at 10:30 PM

*Tuesday, August 18 at 8 PM

*Thursday, August 20 at 8:15 PM

*Sunday, August 23 at 5:45 PM

How Now, Dow Jones is a zany 1968 musical comedy that follows Kate, the voice of Dow Jones, whose fiancĂ© won’t marry her until the Dow Jones Averages hit 1,000! Bribery, adultery and neurotic Republicans abound in this madcap and timely tale set in the heart of Wall Street.

This new version will be performed without an intermission by a cast of eight. The Tony-nominated score will feature three new songs: “Don’t Let a Good Thing Get Away”, “Where You Are” and “Touch and Go”; all cut from the original Broadway production. Four major roles and the ensemble have been eliminated while five musical numbers have been cut. Additionally, the musical’s signature song “Step to the Rear” will take its own advice and close the show, replacing the previously existing finale.

The production also stars Shane Bland (Bombay Dreams), Jim Middleton (Goodspeed’s 1776), Dennis O’Bannion (White Christmas), Elon Rutberg (The Black Monk) and Cori Silberman (Movie Geek). Choreography is by Rommy Sandhu (Applause, Mary Poppins) with music direction and arrangements by Fran Minarik (Sessions, The J.A.P. Show).

Tickets are currently on-sale by visiting www.FringeNYC.org or calling 866-468-7619. Visit: www.HowNowDowJones.com. The Minetta Lane Theatre is located at 18 Minetta Lane in Greenwich Village, NYC.

The original Broadway production of How Now, Dow Jones opened on December 7, 1967 starring Tony Roberts, Marlyn Mason and Brenda Vaccaro. The David Merrick production was directed by George Abbott with choreography by Gillian Lynne (and an uncredited Michael Bennett). It played 220 performances and was nominated for six Tony Awards including Best Musical, winning one for co-star Hiram Sherman. The musical, originally presented with a cast of over 40 actors, has been rarely performed since.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Quote of the Day: Audience Behavior Edition

Well, I think there are different kinds of theater. Historically, theater hasn't always been this quiet, sit-down affair. It certainly wasn't in Shakespeare's day. Theater is like sports, you have golf and tennis over here, and the whole audience gets quiet, and you don’t make a sound. At the other end, you have ice hockey and everybody's screaming. But we never mix up golf and hockey. I honestly believe there’s a spectrum, even in theater. Are you going to talk at a Peter Brook production of Hamlet? Or The Seagull? Of course not. You have certain types of behavior that work for different kinds of theater. But my gripe is that people tend to say, "Well, that’s the way theater is. You have to be quiet." Everything doesn't necessarily have to be like The Seagull. You can have Hair or The Donkey Show. [Paulus's first production at the A.R.T. is a re-staging of her New York hit, The Donkey Show, a raucous retelling of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream set in a 1970s disco club.] I think we have the possibility of letting other sorts of behavior be released, and enlivening what we think theater is and what it can do.

-Diane Paulus, the brilliant director of Hair on audience behavior. From an interview with our very own Chris Caggiano. You can check out the full article at Everything I Know I Learned from Musicals.

Mary Martin as Nellie Forbush

Ever wonder how the original South Pacific looked? Well here's your chance to have a look at the original staging and design. These are some excerpts of the original London production starring Mary Martin and Wilbur Evans. The musical opened in late 1951, running for two years at the Theater Royal, Drury Lane. The video quality isn't spectacular, it looks like an old kinescope, but I believe it was shot on 16mm film. However, it offers a truly rare glimpse into musical theatre history. Enjoy. (Note: Mitzi Gaynor completely stole Mary Martin's "Wonderful Guy" dance!)

Opening scene - "Dites Moi," "A Cockeyed Optimist" & "Twin Soliloquies"



"I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair"



"Some Enchanted Evening - reprise" & "A Wonderful Guy"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Is It a Crime...?

-to have wanted Grey Gardens to sweep the 2007 Tony Awards?

-to admire every actress who has starred in Gypsy on Broadway and not play favorites?

-to prefer William Warfield's rendition of "Ol' Man River" to Paul Robeson's?

-to want the original production of Follies - sets, costumes, staging - brought back every year or made part of the NYCO repertory?

-for Encores! to stick to their original mission? (More Juno, less Birdie)

-to want a cast album for every musical that opens, regardless of whether or not the show is any good?

-to dislike the British megamusicals?

-for actors to be cast by hard work, discipline and auditions rather than a reality TV series?

-for a musical to be wholly original?

-to admire both Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim?

-for a contemporary non musical play to sustain a three year run?

-to prefer integrated musicals over interpolated musicals?

-to delineate between a revue and a jukebox musical?

-to gently correct people when they mistakenly use the term "Broadway soundtrack" instead of "Broadway cast album/recording"?

-to televise the Tony Awards ceremony in a different Broadway house each year?

-for Colony to gouge their prices so?

-to close a cash cow that's become an industry joke?

-to disapprove of the internet surcharges and service fees when purchasing theatre tickets?

-for the exemplary Jan Maxwell to star in a critical and financial smash on Broadway?

-for the original orchestrations to be respected rather than discarded (I'm talking to you, Roundabout)

-for the Times Square Church to vacate the Mark Hellinger Theatre?

-for a Broadway house to be named for Oscar Hammerstein II?

-to allow more than three minutes for a Best Musical and Revival of a Musical nominee to perform on the Tony telecast?

-to enjoy the new pedestrian friendly Times Square?

-to listen to an overture, entr'acte and exit music uninterrupted by conversation?

-for individuals to turn off their goddamn cell phones, blackberries and iPhones while a show is in progress? (oh wait, it is...)

-for Encores! (or some other group) to present an annual concert series of Broadway flops for us to see how and why they failed?

-to have a hit show play the Lyceum Theatre?

-for contemporary musical theatre composers to write pop scores that aren't unhealthy to sing?

-to have the Drama Desk Awards aired on PBS again?

-for Off-Broadway theatre to get as much love as Broadway?

-to grab a lamppost and then sing "Sweet Adeline"?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Swedish Chef & Cleo Laine.

They duet on "You're Just in Love" from Call Me Madam.

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Requiem for "Carrie"

Here are the opening night TV reviews for Carrie: the Musical from the local New York newscasts on May 12, 1988. The critics: Stewart Klein from Fox 5, Dennis Cunningham from CBS2, Pia Lindstrom for News Channel 4 and Joel Siegel for ABC-7. The show closed three days later after 5 performances, becoming the most notorious flop in decades with a financial loss of over $7 million. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What's My Line - Angela Lansbury

Thanks to the Game Show Network, I discovered a lot of old 50s game shows when I was living the life of a night owl at college. However, the one that I always found myself really fascinated with was "What's My Line," where a four person panel had to guess the occupation of ordinary folks. The regulars on the show were columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, TV and stage personality Arlene Francis (who brought warmth and charm to the entire series) and publisher Bennett Cerf. Many other stars made guest appearances on the panel, but these three were the mainstays for most of the original run. The host was John Charles Daly (no relation) who moderated all questions.

The special gimmick each week was to have a mystery guest appear on the show. The panelists would be blindfolded and they would have to guess which star was in their midst. Based in NY, the panelists and guests ran the gamut from A-list movie stars to noted politicians and diplomats - practically everyone you could think of appeared on the show during its run, including Eleanor Roosevelt.

For each question wrong, the guest would receive $5, with a limit at $50. For celebrities, their winnings would go to charity. I have to warn you, it's very easy to get swept up in watching these clips. Sometimes I find myself spending an hour going from one segment to another - just so addicting and a show that I think could still work today, if any daring TV producer decided to revive it.

Anyway, while Angela Lansbury was appearing on Broadway in Mame, she made an appearance as the weekly mystery challenger. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Quote of the Day: Rude Audience Edition

"But rudeness, in my worldview, is not a small crime. When a phone ring rips everyone's attention from the illusion that has been carefully created in a theater, that's a kind of violence. When rapt darkness is shattered by the light of one iPhone, I find myself dreaming of mob rule. It is impossible to imagine how jarring this oblivious multi-tasking must be to performers, who, we should remember, see and hear everything in the house."

-Linda Winer, "Rude Behavior Plagues New York theater," Newsday

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thinking of Beverly Sills

I didn't discover Beverly Sills until the last months of her life. I was aware of the American icon through "Live from Lincoln Center" telecasts which she hosted with her trademark down-to-earth amiability and charm, but wasn't familiar with her actual artistic abilities. The night she hosted The Light in the Piazza, I was there, but while I could see the television lighting for her in the wings at the Beaumont, I never got a glimpse of the great diva herself. It wasn't until her death in 2007 that I really discovered her greatness thanks to YouTube. I realized while introducing a friend to her with some clips, that I never wrote about Ms. Sills.

Sills was one of the foremost American opera singers, and was a formidable presence in bridging the cultural gap between the world of opera and mainstream entertainment. Her personality made her a popular guest on television shows, including "The Carol Burnett Show" and a famed appearance with Danny Kaye. She was a frequent guest on "The Tonight Show," and is in fact the only opera singer to have ever guest-hosted in Johnny Carson's absence. Months before her death, she appeared on "The View" serving as guest co-host during Best Friends week (she and Barbara Walters were especially close).

Her contribution to the arts transcended her professional singing career. When she retired from performing in 1980, she became the General Director of the NYCO, a position she held until 1989. In 1994, she became the Chairman of Lincoln Center. In 2002, she took reigns as the Chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, a position from which she resigned in 2005 due to the declining health of her husband. She raised millions of dollars for the organizations and was as much a staple at Lincoln Center as the fountain in the plaza.

Sills' battle with cancer made headlines in NY, and as the news became increasingly grim her fans prepared for the worst. When Beverly Sills died of cancer on July 2, 2007, she was fondly remembered for her immense contribution to the world of opera and to the arts in general. Her photo and obituary appeared on the front page of the NY Times the following day and the lights at Lincoln Center were dimmed in her honor. A memorial service was held on September 16 of that year, with performances from Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Natalie Dessay and Nathan Gunn. Speakers at the event included Henry Kissinger, Barbara Walters and Carol Burnett. Other memorial events continued throughout the fall of that year, especially at the NYCO.

Beverly Sills left behind an indelible legacy of talent, arts advocacy and set an example of what it truly means to be a diva. Here are some of my personal favorite clips of the star:

"Una Voce Poco Fa" from Il Barbiere di Siviglia from a 1976 telecast:



Here is "All the Things You Are" from 1973:



A television appearance with Danny Kaye:



And finally, my all time favorite. Here is Ms. Sills appearing on "The Muppet Show" in the debut performance of the new opera Pigoletto.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Neil Simon revivals in rep this fall

If you missed the chance to take in a day of The Norman Conquests, you'll be able to experience another special event this fall when two of Neil Simon's most popular plays of the 1980s are revived in repertory this fall at the Nederlander Theatre. There will be opportunities to take in both shows in one day after both shows are up and running.

Tickets go on sale on Friday, August 7 for The Neil Simon Plays, new productions of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound. Specially priced preview tickets for $50-$35 (not including Saturday evening performances) will be available for both plays if ordered by September 6. Regular priced tickets are $100-$65. Tickets will be available at www.Ticketmaster.com.

The first Broadway revivals of two of Simon’s beloved semi-autobiographical “Eugene Jerome” plays will be directed by David Cromer (Our Town) and will play the beautifully restored Nederlander Theatre (208 West 41st Street).

Brighton Beach Memoirs begins previews on Friday, October 2 and opens on Sunday, October 25. Broadway Bound begins previews on Wednesday, November 18 and opens Thursday, December 10. Starting on November 18, the two plays will be performed in repertory on a varied schedule.

Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound were two of the longest running Broadway plays of the 1980s. The works ushered in a new era of appreciation for Neil Simon, with praise for the playwright’s hilarious and poignant account of his adolescence, early career and family life in New York in the 1930s and 1940s.

Brighton Beach Memoirs originally opened on March 27, 1983 at the Alvin Theatre and played for 1,299 performances. (During the run of Brighton Beach Memoirs, the Alvin Theatre was renamed The Neil Simon Theatre). Broadway Bound opened on December 4, 1986 at the Broadhurst Theatre, where it played for 756 performances.

Brighton Beach Memoirs stars Laurie Metcalf (Kate Jerome) and Dennis Boutsikaris (Jack Jerome) with Santino Fontana (Stanley Jerome), Jessica Hecht (Blanche), Gracie Bea Lawrence (Laurie), Noah Robbins (Eugene Jerome) and Alexandra Socha (Nora).

Broadway Bound stars Laurie Metcalf (Kate Jerome) and Dennis Boutsikaris (Jack Jerome) with Santino Fontana (Stanley Jerome), Jessica Hecht (Blanche), Josh Grisetti (Eugene Jerome) and Allan Miller (Ben).

Brighton Beach Memoirs centers on young Jewish teen Eugene Morris Jerome and his extended family living in a crowded home in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn in 1937: his overworked father, Jack; overbearing mother, Kate; his older brother Stanley; Kate’s widowed sister Blanche and her daughters, Nora and Laurie. As Eugene spends his time daydreaming about a baseball career, he must also cope with his family’s troubles, his awkward discovery of the opposite sex and his developing identity as a writer.

In Broadway Bound, it’s the late 1940s and Eugene and Stanley have started their careers as professional comedy writers. But when the brothers use their home life in Brighton Beach as inspiration for a radio comedy skit, the Jerome family may never be the same.

Scenic design is by John Lee Beatty, costume design is by Jane Greenwood, lighting design is by Brian MacDevitt and sound design is by Josh Schmidt and Fitz Patton. Hair and wig design is by Tom Watson.

The Neil Simon Plays will be produced by Ira Pittelman, Max Cooper, Jeffrey Sine, Scott Delman, Ruth Hendel, Roy Furman, Ben Sprecher/Wendy Federman, Scott Landis and Emanuel Azenberg.

Rehearsals will begin in New York on Monday, August 24.

Prices are $50-$35 for each individual play for tickets ordered by September 6. Regular pricing will be $100-$65.

The Neil Simon Plays will be performed in repertory on a varied schedule. Tickets are available at www.TicketMaster.com or 212-307-4100. The Nederlander Theatre box office will open on August 31st.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Mystery of Patricia Neway, An Update

Back on July 7, I discussed the whereabouts of Tony-winner Patricia Neway. Conflicting circumstantial information led me to post, calling on our musical and opera sleuths to get to the bottom of the situation. If you recall, information on several websites indicated that her name was actually Frances Breeze, and she retired from performing to teach voice in a university in Virginia, ultimately passing away in 2003.

Well, this comment posted today informed me:

"[Famed American contralto] Florence Kopleff reported to me that she spoke by telephone with Patricia Neway on 8/5/09. Miss Neway is living at home in Vermont. She is disabled by arthritis to the extent that she requires full-time assistance, but is otherwise well and alert."

So there you have it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Quote of the Day

Who needs Burn the Floor when Broadway has Angela Lansbury?

"Although it was lacking true star power, the first-night crowd seemed to have more choreographers than you could shake a baton at. If a bomb had fallen on the Longacre, what a boon for Angela Lansbury! She "choreographed" her own trance-dance in Blithe Spirit — and, she said disparagingly, "did it nightly."

- Harry Haun, Playbill on Opening Night: Burn the Floor

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Gwen Verdon - "Walk It Out"

Someone with a lot of time on their hands realized that a vintage clip of Gwen Verdon dancing to "Mexican Breakfast" on 1960s TV synced up with the rapper Unk's single "Walk It Out." Reading the commentary, people are discussing how Beyonce emulated these steps. Homage or thief? You decide...

Here's the original:



Here's the remixed video: