Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Musical of the Month: Grease: The Best Songs


I should preface this article by saying two things. First, I find the score of Grease wholly entertaining, in a sing-along, fun kind of way. (Let's face it, you don't listen to Grease the same way as you do Passion.) Second, for me the movie soundtrack is a completely different consideration, no matter how many of the songs make it into subsequent productions. Unless otherwise noted below, I'm talking about these songs in terms of the various Broadway stagings.

Musical of the Month:
The Best Songs

"There Are Worse Things I Could Do"
Easily the best song in the entire score, it sticks out (in a good way) for being a great character song, with emotional depth largely missing from the rest. Makes one wonder what the show would have been like with more of this going on. It is interesting to note that this is one of only two numbers that appear in all versions in virtually the same place in the story. I guess you don't mess with a great thing.

"Summer Nights"
The other song that appears in all versions in the same place in the story is this catchy ditty that tells us a lot about our two protagonists, Danny and Sandy, while also revealing quite a bit about the dynamics between rest of the characters. Plus, it's fun to sing along to, while playing each character!

"We Go Together"
Over the years, this song has appeared in different places in the story. In both the original and 2007 revival, it was the finale of both acts, while the 1994 revival it was part of the opening of the show, and a reprise at the end of the act. Another song that is fun to sing along with, the tongue-twisting rama-lama-ding-dongs and shoo-bop-shoo-waddys requiring some skill and a sense of humor.

"Those Magic Changes"
Relegated to background music in the film, this number is one of the terrific homage sings to the music styling of the nifty 50's. It was particularly great - a full-on production number - in the 1994 revival, with the amazing Sam Harris providing lead vocals.

"Born to Hand Jive"
This toe-tapper is as fun to sing as it is to dance to. And it's great to watch in any of the versions of the show.

"It's Raining On Prom Night"
If it weren't for other songs being added to each of the revivals, this would be Sandy's only solo number. It's a testament to the song that it appears in each production, with or without added songs. It's a charmer - especially the "talking to the music" section.

"Greased Lightning"
This song always seems to be a crowd-pleaser, and I include it on this list for that reason alone. It isn't one of my favorites, but I do get a kick out of the lyric changes between versions. I guess it depends on what you think of the word "pussy." I would love to get my hands on the lyrics to the original original.

The Finales
I think it is telling that no version of Grease ends exactly the same way, musically. The original ends with the unimpressive "All Choked Up." The 1994 revival ends the story (and the show) with the song "Grease" from the film, while the 2007 version ends the story with "You're the One That I Want Want" from the film. The latter makes sense, too, since the leads were cast from a reality show called Grease: You're the One That I Want.

All of the above said, I think the film version of Grease is vastly superior to the stage version. That is something I rarely think is true.

PS: The only good version of "Beauty School Dropout" is the definitive Billy Porter take from the 1994 revival. A golden veneer on a leaden song.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Ms. Broadway September 2020: Diana's Jeanna de Waal

In what has generally been a nightmare scenario for Broadway, one of the first bright spots of the pandemic has been the news that the new musical Diana was being filmed for a Netflix release prior to an actual opening night next spring. That is particularly wonderful news for our Ms. Broadway September 2020, Jeanna de Waal. A Broadway, off-Broadway, national tour and regional theater veteran, she's paid her dues and is now the star of the show! She's played all sorts of roles - from the chipper and cunning Glinda in Wicked to the evil backstabbing bad girl in Carrie - taking on the part of a beloved real-life historic figure like Princess Diana, must be a challenge and a dream come true. Congratulations, Jeanna!

Ms. Broadway 
September 2020
Diana's Jeanna de Waal

Birth Date: March 1
Birthplace: Germany
Education: The Arts Education School, Tring Park, London
Select Theater Credits: Broadway: Diana, Kinky Boots, American Idiot; Off-Broadway: Carrie; National Tour: Wicked; West End: We Will Rock You; Regional: Waitress (A.R.T.), Finding Neverland (A.R.T.), The Rocky Horror Show (Old Globe)


Monday, September 28, 2020

1990s Broadway Musical Logos Madness! Round 1: Jelly Roll Division

You know we are obsessed with show logos and window cards! We just LOVE them. Now, it's time to find out your top logo for the closing ten seasons of the 20th century. To get things started, we poured over the archives and came up with a 64 show bracket of musicals from the 1990s. Last week, you voted for your favorites from the Mufasa Division! Here are those results:

Each division includes at least 2 Best Musical winners, several Tony nominees, and a few bonafide Broadway misfires. 


1990s Broadway Musical Logo Madness!
Round 1: The Jelly Roll Region

  • Each week, we'll open the voting for a different segment of the bracket, and you will select your favorite from each pairing.
  • Your selection should be based on the logo/window card ONLY. We are NOT looking for your favorite show! It is possible to like a logo from a show you've never heard of before!
  • We will provide pictures of the full window card (in most cases) above each week's ballot, then you scroll down and make your selections. You MUST click/tap the "Click Me to Count Your VOTES" button at the bottom of the survey.


GAME 1:                                                                    GAME 2:

GAME 3:                                                                    GAME 4:

GAME 5:                                                                    GAME 6:

GAME 7:                                                                    GAME 8:


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