Friday, July 30, 2021

Broadway Games: One of These Things (Is Not Like the Others)

Broadway Games: 
One of These Things
(Is Not Like the Others)

Growing up, one of my favorite features of Sesame Street was when they played "One of These Things." Bob or Susan or one of the other adults would sing:

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Three of these things belong together
Three of these things are kind of the same
Can you guess which one of these doesn't belong here?
Now it's time to play our game (time to play our game).

This week, let's play the Broadway version! Which one doesn't belong with the rest, and why? Good luck! (#5 is a toughy!)

1.     a. The St. James Theatre 
        b. The Brooks Atkinson Theatre
        c. The Eugene O'Neill Theatre
        d. The Virginia Theatre

2.    a. Greg
       b. Val
       c. Zach
       d. Sheila

3.    a. Once
       b. Titanic
       c. Follies
       d. Annie

4.    a. Daniel Radcliffe
       b. Joel Grey
       c. Alan Cumming
       d. Neil Patrick Harris

5.    a. Professor Henry Higgins
       b. The King of Siam
       c. The Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub
       d. Tevye the Milkman


Answers to Last Week's Game:

Angels in America

cab + beret = Cabaret

Head Over Heels

"Full"  Mon + tee = The Full Monty



scar + "let" pimp + H.E.R + Nell = The Scarlet Pimpernel

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Celebrating Audra McDonald: Great Moments We Missed

Last week, we celebrated some of the great moments that we got to see in the illustrious career of Audra McDonald. We consider ourselves fortunate, indeed, to have witnessed so many (HERE). But when you the giant list of accomplishments Ms. McDonald has, you unfortunately end up missing a lot no matter how big a fan you are! And so, today, we celebrate this wonder with a list of those performances we are still kicking ourselves for missing! 

Celebrating Audra McDonald:
Great Moments We Missed
(in no particular order)

Lottie Gee in Shuffle Along...
We missed her twice in this show! Of course, we'll forgive her! Her child is definitely worth her missing a few shows. Still it would have been nice to see her as a song and dance gal. In the pictures, she looks like she had the time of her life.

Marie Christine L'Adrese in Marie Christine
This was a double miss for us, as we are big Michael John LaChiusa fans, almost as much as we are Audra fans. Add to that the challenge of this complex show, and we really missed out!

Sharon in Master Class
 The first of her three appearances in shows written by Terrence McNally, I'm disappointed in myself that I missed her Tony-winning turn. It is entirely my fault that I missed out. At the time, I wasn't very fond of opera and knew nothing of the subject matter, so I didn't bother. Now that I'm more aware and appreciative of the art form, I'm sure I'd love the play.

Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun
One of my favorite plays, I am shocked that I missed this star-studded arrival. And she won another Tony for it. I bet she was amazing.

Lizzie Curry in 110 in the Shade
Here's another of her Tony-nominated turns. I know almost nothing about the score of this show, though I have seen the play on which it is based. But I'd have loved to see Audra act her ass off with the likes of John Cullum and Steve Kazee, not to mention a supporting cast that included Bobby Steggert, Betsy Wolfe and her future husband, Will Swensen.

Thank you, Audra, for sharing all of your gifts!


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Broadway in a Box CD Review: OBCR Cabaret (1966)

Broadway in a Box CD Review: 
Cabaret OBCR (1966)

At Christmas a few years ago, Jeff gave me a copy of Broadway in a Box: The Essential Broadway Musicals Collection. He has now given me the opportunity to use his blog to share my impressions of each of the 25 cast recordings contained in the set, in alphabetical order.

This week’s entry is about the 1966 Original Broadway Cast Recording of Cabaret.

This CD is a nearly flawless representation of the original version of this show, with vivid performances all around. Two weeks ago, when I wrote about Annie, I noted that some of the performances seemed to sacrifice characterization for clean recordings of the songs; that’s not a problem here, where almost every performer brings both technical prowess and a keen sense of character. No two of the lead performers sound at all alike, but pretty much all of them are excellent.

Of course, that’s not surprising given how stacked this cast is with talent. One of the standouts is Jill Hayworth as Sally Bowles, with a powerful voice that makes it easy to believe she could talk anyone into giving her free lodging. Likewise, the legendary Lotte Lenya as Fraulein Schneider is a perfect combination of determination, practicality, and vulnerability, all of which come together beautifully in “What Would You Do?” Little need be said about Joel Grey’s career-making performance here, other than it absolutely lives up to the hype.

If I have any tiny qualms about the singing on this CD, I would say that Burt Convy as Cliff Bradshaw comes off as a bit overblown and quasi-operatic at times, as if making up for his relative lack of sung material. It’s perfectly appropriate for the character but a little out of sync with his scene partners. Another ever-so-slight distraction is Jack Gilford as Herr Schultz, who provides a memorable interpretation of his character but does not even attempt to sing in key. But these are indeed minor issues; the entire cast, including the ensemble, sounds amazing, as in the chillingly beautiful “Tomorrow Belongs To Me.”

Despite being a recognized masterpiece, Cabaret has also always managed to be a work in progress, with major changes for the film version and Broadway revivals. Some of the songs on this CD therefore do not survive in current versions of the show. One is “The Money Song (Sitting Pretty),” which was replaced by a superior song on the same topic and is probably not missed by many people. Another, “Why Should I Wake Up,” is a gorgeous ballad which gives Cliff some decent singing material, but which is entirely unnecessary to the plot and I can understand why it’s no longer in the score.

I have a sentimental attachment to “Meeskite,” having sung this song when I played Herr Schultz at Fordham University in 1994; without it, the character seems a little out of balance with his partner Fraulein Schneider. At least in the version we performed, it also serves the dramatic purpose of alerting the Nazi Ernst Ludwig to the plans of the older pair to marry. However, it’s my understanding that the song was generally disliked from the get-go, and listening to it today, I have to admit it hasn’t really stood the test of time, so I’ll bid it a bittersweet farewell.

The CD contains a significant amount of bonus material from an early version of the show produced as a demo for John Kander and Fred Ebb’s publisher. It includes spoken narration and four songs, none of which made it into the show in its original form, but one of which (“I Don’t Care Much”) eventually worked its way into the score in a modified form. It’s interesting to hear the creators discuss their vision for the show in their own words, but the other songs themselves are not particularly interesting. The somewhat long, somewhat dreary “Roommates,” for instance, was replaced with the much catchier, and more concise, “Perfectly Marvelous.”

Next up is the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Camelot.

Thanks again, Mike! Jeff


Monday, July 26, 2021

Broadway Musical Revival Logos Bracket Tournament - The Region 2 Elimination Round!

Well, last week's elimination round is in the books, and it was really spectacular! More of you voted than in any 1st round elimination before. And there were some shocking upsets, including #64 seed On the Town defeating #1 seed Sweeney Todd!

Will that happen this week? Only time and your votes will tell! Thanks, as always for your support and enthusiasm.



Broadway Musical Revival Logo Madness!
REGION 2 Elimination

  • 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 an unsuccessful show!
  • We will provide pictures of the full window card (in most cases) or logo 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:

Friday, July 23, 2021

Broadway Games: Rebuses - Show Title Edition

They're back! Here are 5 picture puzzles that combine to make show titles. Good luck!

Broadway Games:
Show Title Rebuses







Answers to Last Week's Broadway Games:
What's Missing?

Below are lists, each having something to do with Broadway. But each list is missing something. If you can figure out what each list is, you'll know what's missing! Good luck!

1. Shubert Theatre, St. James Theatre, Majestic Theatre, BROADHURST THEATRE 
(The 44th Street Broadway Theatres) 

2. Dean Jones, Larry Kert, Boyd Gaines, Raul Esparza, KATRINA LENK
(The original leads in Broadway productions of Company)

3. Donna, Sam, Tanya, Harry, Rosie, BILL
(The adult principal roles in Mamma Mia!)

4. Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, PASSION
(Sindheim-Lapine collaborations)

5. Madame Arcati, Rose, Nellie Lovett, Countess Aurelia, Mame
(The Tony-winning roles of Angela Lansbury)
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