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Joy abounding!

4.30.2010

Oliver Hale Collins is here! Congratulations Bridget, Beau, and Finn! My heart is so full.

Songs are like tattoos...ink on a pin, underneath the skin, an empty space to fill in.

4.29.2010

I've thought about this a lot. Probably not enough, but A LOT, ok? How can one ever think about a tattoo enough? For a year? 10 years? 20? You might think that someone who changes the color of her hair every 2 months shouldn't be making any decisions that involve the word 'permanent' (unless it is, in fact, to get a perm), but it's too late for that.

I thought of this tattoo back in December on a night when I didn't sleep at all. Partly I was mourning the death of a friend, partly because I had to get this tattoo design down. I knew the lyric I wanted, and the font, and that was that. No question.

I'd give you all the reasons and justifications and meanings behind the tattoo, but have the fun is telling you them in person. Besides, it sort of speaks for itself:



I also got a star tattoo over my IV scar.



'If you look real close you might see scars, but me, I'm only seeing stars.
'


Who is the pip with pizazz? Who is all ginger and jazz?

4.24.2010


It's you, Barbra. A very happy 68 to you. Brava!

"Just come out so we can talk. Or sing about it."

4.21.2010



I don't care if he's a jerk. Jonathan Groff's character is my favorite thing about Glee right now. A man who pushes over a Stephen Sondheim biography in the library to get your attention? Yes, please. ("Because only he would be able to express my melancholia.")

(Kristin Chenoweth comes back next week! If there's a God in heaven, there will be a duet.)

Making insomnia fun again



Ozymandias. If you sing under the comforter, he will find your mouth and attempt to stifle the scary, scary sound. He was OK with Barbra, but apparently he's no fan of the Magnetic Fields.

Time Machine Game: "Mandy. Is that a male friend, like Mandy Patinkin?" Edition

4.20.2010




If I had a time machine, I would travel to New York City on Sep 25, 1979 for the opening night of Evita. And then I would just stay through his last show as Che: Jun 26, 1983. (And then I would pop over to the set of Yentl, and make Barbra give him at least one song.) The man may excel at Sondheim, but his Lloyd Webber/Rice leaves nothing to be desired. Except him. (His "High Flying Adored" takes Antonio Banderas' to school.)

I would settle for a quality DVD of one of the original cast performances, but you know, that's much more unlikely.

Here he is (2 min. in) with Patti Lupone (splendiferous in her own right--4:18!) at the Tony's:



And surely I'm not the only person who fantasizes about being fought over by Mandy and *swoon* Robert Westenberg. Right?



Or that he and Bernadette Peters have been a secret couple ever since Sunday in the Park with George?



Surely there are others.

One day, one night, that's the pity.

4.19.2010


On Wednesday I'm going to see On the Town on stage. I'm very excited, but pretty nervous too. On the Town (1949) is in the Gene Kelly Holy Trinity for me, along with Singin' in the Rain (1952) and An American in Paris (1951). Don't get me wrong, my love is vast and wide for Brigadoon (1954), Take Me Out to the Ballgame (1949), Anchors Aweigh (1945), Summerstock (1950), The Pirate (1948), etc....but musicals and film-making don't get much better for me that those first three. I honestly know very little about the stage production of On the Town, and I'm not sure how true the revival is to the original staging vs. possible elements added from the beloved film. (Even though I think the right thing is to want it in its original form, I can't help secretly desiring bits from the movie.)


It's common knowledge that the original Leonard Bernstein score was quite butchered for the film adaptation, even though original lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green were able to write the lyrics to the new songs, with music by Roger Edens. Only 4 of Bernstein's songs survived in the adaptation, which I kinda feel bad about but not really cause I adore the whole score of the film. (There was a good period of time when I thought if I ever married "You're Awful" would be my first dance song, because how could I not marry someone who thought it was The Best Thing Ever?) The idea for the stage musical came from choreographer Jerome Robbins, and his 1944 ballet Fancy Free, set to Bernstein's music. It was so successful that Comden and Green were asked to turn in into a musical. The funding came in part from MGM, with the promise of film rights. However, when Louis B. Mayer saw the show, he found it 'smutty,' which in large part why the show was changed so drastically for film.

Originally George Abbott, the stage director, was also set to direct the film, but let's all thank our lucky stars that the job went to collaborators Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly. And also send a shout of thanks for the casting. The perfect male musical trio returned for its final time (and thank goodness, because that would be have been a sadder mess in It's Always Fair Weather). Jules Munshin as comic relief, Frank Sinatra as the complete opposite of himself (in real life a total wolf) and Gene as his pretends-to-be-a-rogue-but-really-is-a-small-town-guy-with-tons-of-heart. Also known as O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg.

And then there's the ladies: Betty Garrett (another returner from TMOTTB), Ann Miller, and Vera Ellen. Betty basically plays the same character she did in TMOTTB, but with an even better name: Brunhilda Esterhazy. Ann Miller is also her usual scintillating self, sexy and desired by all men. It's Vera Ellen's performance that always surprises me. I know her best of all as Judy Haynes in White Christmas (1954), where she's a tad manipulative, pushy, and full of herself. Her Ivy Smith in On the Town is weepy, insecure, and certainly the most saccharine of all three females. But it works, and you do like her. I'm just always sort of shocked that it's the same person. Also, she seems to have at least a tad more meat on her bones. Her cuteness is best displayed in "Main Street" when her soft-shoe number with Gene reminds me a lot of "You, Wonderful You" from Summer Stock (1950) with Judy Garland. So sweet and sincere and just exactly how you would imagine two people falling in love in a totally choreographed way.

This was the first musical to be shot on location, and they only had 5 days, most of which had rain. Not to mention the rabid Sinatra fans (who can blame them?) hunting them down throughout the city. I believe it was also the first musical to replace the lead actors with trained dancers for a ballet sequence (seen later in Singin' in the Rain, Oklahoma! and others). The fabulous Carol Haney made her film debut filling in as one of the females. It's not my favorite dream ballet, but the dancing Vera and Gene do on the ballet bar is downright HOT. Plus, this is where Leonard's music shines and makes you wish all his music had stayed.

Of course Gene's dancing is fantastic in the film, even if it's not on display quite as much as usual. I find I'm so drawn to his moments in numbers when he's not singing or even dancing. You'd think he'd appear uncomfortable to not be in on the 'action', especially for numbers he likely staged and choreographed himself. He looks so content to just sit back and watch his friends and castmates do their thing. I can't think of someone who can be silent and react and act when others are performing for him as well as he does. For someone with a reputation as a perfectionist and fierce task-master, he seems to GIVE so much to his fellow actors (not to mention his fellow dance partners). He clearly wants them to look good (unlike, may I say, Vera Ellen in White Christmas). A huge part of his magnetism comes from how intent he is on portraying genuine chemistry with those around him. I mean, watch him in the guaranteed pick-me-up "Count On Me," one of my favorite scenes in the film, and one of my favorite ensemble numbers EVER:



The gang (along with Alice Pearce as Lucy Schmeeler--the only original cast member to be included in the film) try to cheer up Gabey (Kelly) after Ivy ditches him. And just for starters, LOOK AT HOW HE LOOKS AT FRANK. I mean, it's freaking adorable. He looks like he is looking at his best. friend. And gawd, that smile. Don't even get me started on his bit with Lucy. How he keeps her stare, half bewildered, half aroused. It's just divine. Lucky, lucky woman. I mean, through the whole number you could look at any one of the actors and get a different show. I can't get enough. It's simply one of the best movies ever.

ornithogalum dubium

4.09.2010



My friends Melody and Ryan bought me flowers for today. An orange star plant, which originated in South Africa. It might be my new favorite flower.

The MRI went fine (zero tears!). Now we wait.

As a lover of Mad Men and Bye Bye Birdie

4.07.2010

this fills me with joy.

Did I ever tell you about my first ebay purchase? (Incidentally also one of my greatest shames?)

4.05.2010

Before Glee there was another show full of high schoolers covering popular songs. It aired on the Disney channel, and as a child I would watch it in my grandmother's basement because we did not have the cable. Little did I know at the time that I was watching the true love of my future adolescent life start out his music career.

Joshua Scott Chasez auditioned for the re-vamping of the Mickey Mouse Club, newly titled MMC, in 1988 with, of course, Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting." The song was aptly chosen, considering I'd later belt it 'to' him in my bedroom years later. But more on that in a moment. Obviously accepted into the new cast, his named was changed to JC, as there was already another Josh. He stayed until MMC's cancellation in 1994, where he would later go on to join some boy band.

Though I watched the show in its original air time in the 90s, it wasn't until my obsession with NSYNC several years later that led me back to MMC. I wanted to watch JC, but also Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, and countless other now-famous people dance and sing and 'put on a show' like only kids in the Disney system can. I wasn't the only one, so the Disney channel began re-runs of the old episodes, re-runs I faithfully watched over and over again at my friend Chrissy's house.

A specific song stuck out to me, and I felt that twinge of obsession take hold: I had to have it. It was--what else?--Richard Marx's "Now and Forever" sung by JC and Tony Lucca. There was a MMC soundtrack, but no "Now and Forever." What was I to do? I went to the internets, and they saw my great need. At eBay, waiting just for me, was "The Club Mix." Some divine person had ripped 21 of JC's songs from MMC and put them on a CD. My parents, also divine, were willing to help me sign up for eBay and bid on this glorious artifact. Below, I give you the track listing and videos where available--which is for most of them--AREN'T YOU PLEASED?

1. "(I Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" originally by Nelson, sung by JC.

2. "More Than Words" originally by Extreme, sung by Tony and JC.

3. "Can't Get Next to You" originally by The Temptations. Here's JC with Blain, Marc and Matt:


4. "Thinkin' Back" originally by Color Me Badd, sung by JC.

5. "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" originally by Marvin Gaye, sung by JC...and someone else...?

6. "Jam" originally by Michael Jackson, sung by JC.

7. "Live and Learn" originally by Joe Public, sung by Marc with JC RAPPING. (Note Keri Russell busting a move:)


8. "Walls of Love" originally by...I couldn't tell you. Sung by JC.

9. "Mysterious Ways" originally by U2, sung by JC and Mylin.

10. "End of the Road" originally by Boyz II Men, sung by JC, Matt, Tony, Jason, and Kevin:


11. "The Hitman" originally by AB Logic, sung by Dale, JC, Matt, Mylin, and Keri:


12. "Runaway Train" originally by Soul Asylum, sung by JC, Dale and Marc. Look out for the creepy random clown.


13. "Who is It?" originally by Michael Jackson, sung by Josh and JC.


14. "Two Princes" originally by Spin Doctors, sung by JC, Matt and Tony:


15. "Cry For You" originally by Jodeci, sung by JC, Dale, Ryan Gosling, and Justin Timberlake. Oh, girl...just try to resist their over-sized khaki suits. So much 90s sexiness.


16. "Got No Shame" originally by Brother Cane, sung by JC, Marc and Tony Lucca.


17. "Now and Forever" originally by Richard Marx, sung by JC and Tony Lucca!


18. "The Calling" originally by Yes, sung by JC and others. LOVE THIS.

19. "I Only Have Eyes For You" originally by Ben Selvin in 1934 and then among others too. Sung by JC, Justin, Dale and Josh:


20. "When Can I See You Again" originally by Babyface, sung by JC, Tony and Rhona.


21. "You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast" originally by Spin Doctors, sung by JC, Matt and Tony.


22. "Break it Down Again" originally by Tears for Fears, sung by JC, Josh, Tony and the gang!


The amazing thing is how many more there are to find on youtube, that most glorious of God's creations. Also, that I still find JC's voice to be thoroughly intoxicating even now. And that I hope one day they release all 7 seasons of MMC on DVD because I would buy that shit in a heartbeat.