jump to navigation

Peter Pan, part 5 December 28, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Comden and Green, Musicals, Peter Pan, Theater.
add a comment

The titles for this telecast of Peter Pan (most of which are cut out of this tape), were designed by Sherman Labby, the late husband of my good friend Katherine Orrison. They were based on the design of the original 1904 novel of the James M. Barrie play.

(more…)

Peter Pan, part 4 December 27, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Comden and Green, Musicals, Peter Pan, Theater.
add a comment

Cyril RitchardCyril Ritchard (1897-1977) played the roles of Mr. Darling and Captain Hook; the latter was his best-known role, for which he won a Tony award.

Besides Captain Hook, he may today be best remembered as Sir in The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd, the 1965 Leslie Bricusse-Anthony Newley musical. Here’s an excerpt of his best-known song, “A Wonderful Day Like Today”.

(more…)

Peter Pan, part 3 December 26, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Comden and Green, Musicals, Peter Pan, Theater, Trivia questions.
add a comment

Mary Martin as Peter PanMary Martin (1913-1990) was, along with Ethel Merman, one of the last performers to make a lifetime star career for themselves almost exclusively on Broadway and television, while making almost no movies in Hollywood.

(more…)

Peter Pan, part 2 December 25, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Comden and Green, Musicals, Peter Pan, Theater.
add a comment

The 1954 Broadway production of Peter Pan got mixed reviews and only ran 152 performances, although both Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard won Tony awards. Some people have claimed that the show was deliberately closed so that it could be shown on television. However, the first TV showing on March 7, 1955 was the highest-rated television show up to that time, and Martin won an Emmy.

(more…)

Peter Pan, part 1 December 24, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Comden and Green, Musicals, Peter Pan, Theater.
1 comment so far

Sometime in the summer of 1960, my parents took me to my first Broadway musical, live in a theater: The Sound Of Music with Mary Martin. Six months later, I saw my second Broadway musical, also live, with the same star — but it wasn’t in a theater …

(more…)

Show Boat, part 4 December 23, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Jerome Kern, Movies, Musicals, Oscar Hammerstein II, Show Boat, Theater.
1 comment so far

Helen MorganHelen Morgan (1902-1941), the original Julie LaVerne, is credited as the original “torch singer,” who perfected the style of leaning on the piano while she sang bluesy songs. In fact, she had to lean on the piano to stay vertical, as she was she was an alcoholic who was frequently drunk on stage. She died after collapsing on stage during a performance of George White’s Scandals. Ann Blyth portrayed her in a biographical movie in 1957.

(more…)

Show Boat, part 3 December 22, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Jerome Kern, Movies, Musicals, Oscar Hammerstein II, Show Boat, Theater.
1 comment so far

Because of the film’s length and cost, Universal subjected Show Boat to some fairly drastic cuts before its release. The most glaring is the song “Why Do I Love You?”, which was in the scene with Nola, Gay and Kim in the automobile (in the last video of today’s section). Ellie’s big number, “Life Upon the Wicked Stage”, is also missing although it plays over the scene of the audience leaving after Gay’s first performance. Some posters for the first release still refer to these songs. The studio added “I Still Suits Me” to beef up the role of Joe for Paul Robeson.

(more…)

Show Boat, part 2 December 21, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Jerome Kern, Movies, Musicals, Oscar Hammerstein II, Show Boat, Theater.
1 comment so far

Show Boat has an unjustified association with financial ruin, and not just for Julie and Steve. The original production was blamed for Florenz Ziegfeld’s bankruptcy, although in fact it was a smash success. And the financial and critical success of this version wasn’t enough to prevent the founder of Universal Pictures, Carl Laemmle, from being forced out as studio head later that year.

(more…)

Show Boat, part 1 December 20, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Jerome Kern, Movies, Musicals, Oscar Hammerstein II, Peter Pan, Theater.
add a comment

showboat.jpg

This month marks the eightieth anniversary of the original production of Show Boat, the work that ushered in the Golden Age of the Broadway musical and defined the genre for two generations. In honor of which, the non-blog does not present the movie that remains the defining Hollywood version.

(more…)

He gave his regards to Broadway (first of two posts) December 15, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Dance, George M. Cohan, Movies, Musicals, Theater.
2 comments

George M. CohanGeorge M. Cohan (1878-1942), the antagonist of my original screenplay Equity, was too sick with cancer to attend the premiere of Yankee Doodle Dandy, the movie based on his life starring James Cagney. But a few days later, in a scene reminiscent of the worst excesses of that wonderful movie, they got him in a wheelchair and sneaked him into the back of a Times Square movie theater so he could see it with a real audience.

Cohan’s verdict: “Nice movie. I wonder who it’s about?” He died less than six months later.

(more…)

“Some Enchanted Evening” December 7, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Musicals, Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers, Theater.
add a comment

Among Broadway fanatics, this is legendary: on March 28, 1954, General Foods celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary with a TV special honoring Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, simulcast on all four networks (ABC, CBS, Dumont and NBC). From that show, the only surviving clip of Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin, the stars of South Pacific.


(more…)

Ella sings “Summertime” November 26, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Ella Fitzgerald, George Gershwin, Jazz, Music.
add a comment

Berlin, 1968.

(more…)

“Rhapsody In Blue” November 16, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Cartoons, Classical, George Gershwin, Jazz, Music.
5 comments

Previously I posted Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, in my opinion just about the best animated short ever produced by the Disney studios.

Too bad no one is willing or capable of producing quality 2D animation any more.

(more…)

Happy birthday, Cunegonde November 2, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Musicals, Theater.
add a comment

Barbara Cook, who we saw in yesterday’s medley with the late Robert Goulet, celebrated her eightieth birthday on October 25.

Here she is in one of her best-known roles, as the original Marian the Librarian in The Music Man (no, Lennon and McCartney didn’t write this …):


(more…)