Posts Tagged ‘musical theater’

Speaking of pearls (poils), there’s nothing quite like the Goldwyn Girls to liven things up.

I love that it’s a strip tease, but for different reasons…

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The other day in the car, I was listening to one of our local indie radio stations (yes, I know it’s quaint to listen to the radio) and this song came on and hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. How could it not? It’s crazy and bold and unusual and annoying and entrancing and her voice, well, it’s powerful and clear and schmaltzy and beautiful and perfect for musical theater and it draws me right in. I had to look it up on the playlist when I got home because its title wasn’t announced by the time I got out of the car. And if you think wiki qualifies as research, I did a tiny bit of that, too, just to be fair to the writers. I think it’s a brilliant song.

Yes, Hubby and Violet have finally made it back from China, both in all pieces, meaning each in one piece, at 2 this morning. It was high time.

No one seemed to read my post the other day. I swear, on my stats page, not one hit. What’s up with that? But if you do read it, it sort of makes this Music Monday more of a twofer, as they say in FM-radio parlance, but also, that means it should be posted on a Tuesday. But this isn’t FM radio, you dig? so I’m still in like Flynn.

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You know I love etymologies, oui, ja, si? Here’s one, fairly obvious, but which I could not perceive until I looked it up: Cabaret: French, tap-room, from Middle Dutch cabret, from Old North French camberet, diminutive of cambre, from Late Latin camera, from Ancient Greek kamara (καμάρα) “vaulted chamber.” And now I know where the word camera comes from, too. How interesting and useful!

This weekend I saw the Arena Civic Theater’s production of “Cabaret” at the lovely Shea Theater in Turner’s Falls, MA.

The show was great. Fantastic costumes, choreography, and a very strong cast top my list.

Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli had the iconic lead roles in Bob Fosse’s 1972 movie “Cabaret.” Theirs is a tough act to follow so theater people have to find a way to make anything from “Cabaret” their own. I thought the Emcee in the production at the Shea was strong all around, achieving the Triple Crown of musical theater fairly well–singing, dancing, and acting. I found his performance refreshing, something quite difficult in a role made so famous on film. It’s also an edgy role, so the word “refreshing” might not suit the persona of the Emcee, but it suits me just fine, so there.

Here’s Liza Minnelli doing “Mein Herr.” But don’t set yourself up: I recommend that you first see the production at the Shea and then poke around on youtube. You’ll even find Judy Dench (who knew?) vamping and singing as Sally Bowles. Wow.

If that’s not enough for you, here’s a honey of the intro, “Wilkommen,” from Sam Mendes’ 1998 Broadway revival starring that rapscallion Scotsman, Alan Cumming. A performer who definitely had his way with the role.

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Good Music Monday to you. Today, it’s It Might as Well Be Spring, music and lyrics by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The crocuses were starting to open in yesterday’s full burst of sun, but they are tightly bundled against today’s continuing snowfall. It’s pretty cozy inside my house, but Sinatra’s voice makes me pine for something more.

I couldn’t find an adequate and free-to-link-to recording (or video) of Sinatra doing this song, so this Music Monday, you’ll have to troll around teh interwebs and find your own. I love Sinatra’s version the best, with Ella Fitzgerald running a close second. I couldn’t find Nina Simone doing it, but my guess is she, too, would do it justice.

The song generally seems to be presented as a saccharin confection; take for instance, Shirley Jones’, Julie Andrews’, or Andy Williams’ renditions. If I had heard one of those first, I might have dismissed the song as fluffy and escapist; it is after all from the 1945 musical “State Fair,” and though I have never seen it, I can guess at its sentiments.

Until you can find a recording of it, here are the lyrics. Beautiful really. Who writes songs like this any more?

It Might as Well Be Spring

Rodgers and Hammerstein

I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm
I’m as jumpy as a puppet on a string
I’d say that I had Spring fever
But I know it isn’t Spring

I am starry-eyed and vaguely discontented
Like a nightingale without a song to sing
Oh, why should I have Spring fever
When it isn’t even Spring?

I keep wishing I were somewhere else
Walking down a strange new street
Hearing words that I have never heard
From a girl I’ve yet to meet

I’m as busy as a spider spinning daydreams
I’m as giddy as a baby on a swing
I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud or a robin on the wing
But I feel so gay in a melancholy way
That it might as well be Spring

It might as well be spring

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You would think that after serving as Production Manager for my daughter’s  7th-Grade production of “Mary Poppins,” I would post “Jolly Holiday” or “Steppin’ Time.” Not so, me laddies and lassies. While I loved being around the students and their play, my head rang with the phrase and accompanying tune of “A British Bank” far too often. For the last six, intensively busy weeks, I have not been able to attend my weekly Sacred Harp sing. Every Tuesday night, from 7-10 pm in Northampton, MA at the Helen Hills Hills Chapel (the chapel so nice, they named it twice), a group gathers to sing from “The Sacred Harp.” This is the longest stretch I’ve gone in the last 6 1/2 years without singing on a Tuesday night.

Here’s a fine example of a song from The Sacred Harp led by David Ivey of Alabama.

I still don’t understand what “the third Heaven where God resides” is. Anybody?

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