Surely the Comden and Green comedy sketches were tiresomet even in 1956. A bunch of dull songs by Jule Styne - okay, 3 decent songs in Act 2, one of which only works if Judy Holliday is doing it. Who was the genius who cast Kelli O'Hara in Holliday's part? O'Hara sings everything as if she were eulogizing her pet gay guy at an AIDS funeral. And what is the opposite of charisma? Answer: Will Chase. So many Broadway musicals are so embarrassing, with their smug self-referentiality, their desperate striving to act as if they were hip: Marlon Brando imitations! Poor Bobby Cannavale. Their casual racism, their aggressive sexism, their prissy WASPy tight-lipped repression, their un-fun vulgarity. . . And speaking of racism: When will Bway creative types start supporting genuinely inter-racial casting, instead of hiring 3-to-5 token black kids to dance in the second row of the otherwise white chorus? The production team at Encores! should be in jail.
I''d rather eat light bulbs than see BELLS ARE RINGING again.
|by Anonymous||reply 241||06/21/2013|
It sounds like you were forced to see it at gunpoint by cruel fascists who also have taken away your Midol.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||11/20/2010|
Midol! Huh! I'm a dude, dude. And I was sort of forced to see it at gun point.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||11/20/2010|
[quote]Midol! Huh! I'm a dude, dude.
And an irony-challenged one at that.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||11/20/2010|
r 3, sweetheart, if you read my original post, I think you could hardly accuse me of being irony challenged!
|by Anonymous||reply 4||11/20/2010|
"The production team at Encores! should be in jail."
OP, aren't you getting a bit overwrought?
|by Anonymous||reply 5||11/20/2010|
Well, I'm just exhausted by the racism of the Broadway community - in terms of casting, in terms of audience outreach, in terms of the writers who are encouraged, in terms of the kind of work that is sanctioned. Broadway is 30 years behind even the Tea Baggers in its aggressive white-ness.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||11/20/2010|
But it's a musical about white people in New York City in the 1950s.
|by Anonymous||reply 7||11/20/2010|
Oh the things I miss out on now that I left NY!
|by Anonymous||reply 8||11/20/2010|
Totally agree OP. I walked out after Act 1. Dreadful.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||11/20/2010|
Oh, r 7! But it's a musical being performed in NYC in 2010.
And if you're all exercised about color-blind casting, well: Color-blind casting was a convention of the very decade in which the egregiously awful BELLS ARE RINGING was first produced. Marlon Brando starred as a Japanese translator named Sakini in TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON. Jennifer Jones starred as a Eurasian woman in LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING. Marlon Brando again, as a Mexican revolutionary in VIVA ZAPATA. Ava Gardner as a biracial woman in SHOWBOAT. And if we're moving into the 1960s, there's Mickey Rooney as a Japanese guy in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S.
Color-blind casting was all the rage in the 1950s.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||11/20/2010|
And, OP, you are clearly in the minority about O'Hara, Chase, and this production, as the reviews prove. This show's going to Broadway, baby!
You don't like the casting? You don't like Broadway's "racism"?
Then don't GO!
Stay home and watch TV.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||11/20/2010|
Dear Jack Viertel: Why on earth would Encores! drag out into the open a dull show that received a flop revival not ten years ago?
As for being wrong about O'Hara: Even Ben Brantley, who ordinarily finds O'Hara's blandness precisely to his taste, admits that she can't chase away the memory of Judy Holliday.
I don't have a TV.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||11/20/2010|
Kelli O'Hara is a wonderful performer and I bet this production is delightful. This OP is a gay cunt who drips venom. %0D %0D Hey, douchebag, it is a great show about WHITE people in the 1950's in NYC. DEAL. %0D %0D No fucking "politically correct interracial" stuff should be added to really screw the show up. GO SEE AIN'T MISBEHAVIN for your "black fix."%0D %0D Jerk.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||11/20/2010|
Delightful maybe for the easily amused. O'Hara is miscast.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||11/20/2010|
r14, you are a blowhard who doesn't know what the fuck he is talking about. Judy's screen career ended because she GOT CANCER AND DIED.%0D %0D Bells are Ringing is a delightful show. NOT every single song in a musical is going to be a showstopper. Boy, talk about hard to please.%0D %0D "Just in Time" is a standard. Judy and Dean Martin's version in the film is a warm, sweet, funny classic movie musical moment.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||11/20/2010|
The play itself is miscast. It's playing the part of a "great, classic musical" and it's actually an ugly dog.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||11/20/2010|
Comden and Green stole the plot from a twenties musical called "The Five O'Clock Girl."
|by Anonymous||reply 18||11/20/2010|
No, R16 - Judy's film career lasted from 1950 to 1956, and ended because she was blacklisted and her Columbia contract ran out and wasn't renewed. So she returned to the stage and did "Bells Are Ringing", then made only one more film - the movie version of the musical - in 1960. She didn't die until 1965, NINE YEARS after she had stopped making most of her movies.
She was a great actress who got typecast as a dumb blonde and that's all movie audiences wanted to see - her films never made a lot of money because most of them didn't ask her to play Billie Dawn again and again. Her other films are variable in quality, and she never was an A-level star in Hollywood because she was too smart and too loud and a Communist.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||11/20/2010|
O'Hara is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay miscast. And all the supporting players are, at best, adequate.
As for color-blindness: It's just idiotic that Broadway continues to be a festival of white white people. The only time black folks show up in a show is when it is an all-black version of, like, Tennessee Williams, or when the show is specifically about black people.
But why couldn't a chorus line, these days, be 70% black and 30% white, instead of the other way around? No matter what show?
What bugs me most is the weasle-y guilty liberal convention of putting 2 or 3 token black people into the white chorus, as if to say, "Look! See? We know black people exist!" There is no reason why Kelli O'Hara's love interest in BELLS could not have been a black guy. There were, after all, black novelists in 1956! Duh? r 13? James Baldwin? Ralph Ellison? Richard Wright? Who's the jerk? Black guys have been publishing novels for quite some time now. And plenty of them had white girlfriends or wives! Or boyfriends, of course, but that's another story. . .
|by Anonymous||reply 21||11/20/2010|
Well, r 20, presumably Davis and Swanson canceled each other out, and Holliday, who'd ordinarily have been #3, won the prize. That said, she is highly enjoyable in BORN YESTERDAY.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||11/20/2010|
OP, whom did you want to see cast in the lead role? Beyonce? Sheryl Lee Ralph?
|by Anonymous||reply 23||11/20/2010|
I can't figure out how a show would be ruined by casting actors of color in some of the bigger parts. Ruined?
R20, it's Judy Holiday, not Billie.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||11/20/2010|
Argh, I meant Holliday with 2 L's.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||11/20/2010|
Well but I mean it's precisely because black folks aren't cast in major roles in most musicals that you can't come up with a list of black women other than Audra McDonald who regularly headline Bway musical revivals. The divas: Bernadette Peters, Patti Lupone, McDonald, Kristen Chenoweth, Victoria Clark, Christine Ebersole, Leslie Kritzer, Donna Murphy, Marin Mazzie, Alice Ripley, Sutton Foster, Kelli O'Hara, Stephanie Block, Judy Kuhn, Karen Ziemba, Rebecca Luker, Beth Leaval, Idina Menzel. . . Where are the black women? Black women tend to get a once-in-a-career role - Jennifer Holiday - and then vanish. How many black women even work on Bway regularly, in more than token-cameo-supporting parts? Tonya Pinkins, Lillias White. Vanessa Williams. And we have already mentioned McDonald.
Encores! is especially guilty of skewing white white white in their casting.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||11/20/2010|
Oh dear, is chekky back again? All this verbosity and misplaced anger!
|by Anonymous||reply 27||11/20/2010|
R20, fuck off. Judy was amazing in the movie -- and it was amazing she got cast, since she did the play, and Hollywood didn't think she was "hot" enough to do the movie version. "Born Yesterday" may be dated, but her acting, her performance and the character is still funny and bright. Sadly, Judy died way too soon. I wish the folks who were talking about doing a bio pic about her life, would do it.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||11/20/2010|
What we need is a revival of "The Wiz."
|by Anonymous||reply 29||11/20/2010|
r 27, if you were a black actor who wanted a career in Broadway musical theater, maybe you'd be angry getting stuck with - at best - your 11 PM psuedo-gospel number over and over; or Chorus Boy #9 way in the back, if you can dance.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||11/20/2010|
I love Judy Holliday too, Zak, but her performance was in no way better than either Davis' or Swanson's. I would say she wasn't better than Parker in "Caged" (which is a phenomenal movie, btw) either, and was only marginally better than Baxter.
Supporting Actress that year had a similar issue, with Hull winning for "Harvey" when Olson, Holm, and Emerson were all clearly better.
The Academy seemed to want to go with more bland movies that year, awarding to "Harvey" and "Born Yesterday" and even "Cyrano"... or "Annie Get Your Gun" over "West Side Story" for musical. It was an odd year for awards.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||11/20/2010|
[quote]How many black women even work on Bway regularly, in more than token-cameo-supporting parts? Tonya Pinkins, Lillias White. Vanessa Williams. And we have already mentioned McDonald.
Anika Noni Rose
|by Anonymous||reply 32||11/20/2010|
Headley, Rose, Fantasia, LaChanze, Lenox: How many of them have played leads in Bway musicals - especially in revivals of so-called Golden Era musicals whose original casts were all white? Headley did AIDS; Fantasia was a replacement lead in a musical about black characters; LaChance has done plenty of stuff but only one lead; Rose and Lenox have never been cast opposite as leads opposite white guys.
Casting-wise, Bway is the most racist of all the entertainment media, way more than TV, and more than film.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||11/20/2010|
The race thing about "Bells Are Ringing" is just nonsense. Why not have the lover a screaming queen wearing a butt plug--or better yet, a blind amputated Chinese guy who once sucked dick and now thinks he's straight?%0D %0D Honestly. Lol. Any show queen carrying on about "Bells Are Ringing" and race is really a loser.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||11/20/2010|
Wow, THAT was a Freudian typo: I mean AIDA, not AIDS. Yikes.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||11/20/2010|
ranger, so what's so odd about wishing more musicals had multi-racial casts?
Honestly, how many "revived" or "revised" versions of long-ago musicals have you been to - lots! - where the production team, in a tokenish nod to multi-racial casting, has put like 1 or 2 or 3 black people in their chorus? And then NONE of the leading or even supporting players are black? Everyone else is white white white. How often you have seen that? Can I say, um: all the time? Yes. It happens all the time.
|by Anonymous||reply 36||11/20/2010|
Pearl Bailey played Hello Dolly. Lena Horne starred in several Broadway plays. There have been a zillion black DANCERS in Broadway shows over the years, too. Watch the Turkey Lurkey clip from Sweet Charity for one from 1968. Paula Kelly could dance her ass off, too. She was in Sweet Charity with Shirley McClaine. %0D %0D Many black opera divas, too. Many. I just heard Kathleen Battle last week.%0D %0D Brandy did that mixed cast version of Cinderella on TV in the 90's. %0D %0D Bye Bye Birdie had Vanessa Williams in the cast for THAT TV version from some years back.%0D %0D Your race card has been played to death, whoever you are.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||11/20/2010|
R29--Encores tried that too and...not so hot.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||11/20/2010|
[quote]Headley, Rose, Fantasia, LaChanze, Lenox: How many of them have played leads in Bway musicals - especially in revivals of so-called Golden Era musicals whose original casts were all white? Headley did AIDS; Fantasia was a replacement lead in a musical about black characters; LaChance has done plenty of stuff but only one lead; Rose and Lenox have never been cast opposite as leads opposite white guys.
I hate this bullshit.
You post a question at r26, thinking no one can answer it; then someone answers it, and so you move around the goalposts afterward by refining the question further.
That's bullshit argumentation. You lost whatever sympathy I had in your case.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||11/20/2010|
"r 27, if you were a black actor who wanted a career in Broadway musical theater, maybe you'd be angry getting stuck with - at best - your 11 PM psuedo-gospel number over and over; or Chorus Boy #9 way in the back, if you can dance."
Or perhaps you'd be grateful to be one of the very few lucky people - black, white, or whatever - who has a career in Broadway musical theater.
|by Anonymous||reply 42||11/20/2010|
Um, Denzel Washington just won a TONY for his role in Fences.%0D %0D The Color Purple was a recent big success.%0D %0D Ever hear of the musical Carmen Jones? Jamaica?%0D %0D Your statement is retarded.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||11/20/2010|
OP = Greg Naughton
|by Anonymous||reply 44||11/20/2010|
Broadway musical directors, did you not hear? All of society's wrongs must be corrected by your casting Anika Rose Lee as Liza Elliott in the next Encores! revival of "Lady in the Dark"!
|by Anonymous||reply 45||11/20/2010|
[quote] But why couldn't a chorus line, these days, be 70% black and 30% white, instead of the other way around? No matter what show?
Because the only black people who would have worked at the Harmonia Gardens would NOT have been waiters.
Because the military was still segregated during WWII, when SOUTH PACIFIC takes place.
You get the picture
|by Anonymous||reply 46||11/20/2010|
Look, if Judy Holliday herself had risen fr the dead for the weekend to do it at Encores!, we would still be talking about what a lousy show it is.
So can we forget the racist rant for a minute and just all agree that BELLS ARE RINGING is a piece of shit that needs to never be brought out of mothballs ever, ever, ever again? Stick "Long Before I Knew You," "Just in Time," and "The Party's Over" into the next revival of WONDERFUL TOWN, and burn the rest of the BELLS score. Okay, we can keep "I Met a Girl" for some future Styne jukebox revue, but that's it. Bonfire every piece of BELLS in the Tams-Witmark library and be done with it.
|by Anonymous||reply 47||11/20/2010|
[quote]By and large, however, black audiences understand that Bway theater is not for them. And that's because: Duh, it's not for them.
"Broadway: Not for Negroes."
Fucking hell, that's vile, even for DL.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||11/20/2010|
Encores next show will be Lost in the Stars with many many black actors.
|by Anonymous||reply 49||11/20/2010|
Heather Headley and Brian Stokes Mitchell both played leads at Encores that were originated by white actors. So did Perry Ojeda in Babes in Arms and there've been several others. Encores shelled out major money to restore the orchestrations for ST. LOUIS WOMAN and HOUSE OF FLOWERS so they could perform them (and GOLDEN BOY, which didn't need as much restoration), and they're doing the same for LOST IN THE STARS.
Tell us again how the deserve to be shot, you pompous, self-righteous asshole.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||11/20/2010|
"their desperate striving to act as if they were hip"
Pot, kettle & all that.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||11/21/2010|
Oh, whatever. All I ever have to do is say Broadway is racist, and everyone goes crazy.
I was NOT, by the way, r 48, saying "Broadway is not for Negroes." I was saying, Broadway theater in general is not interested in the lives of people who are not white.
Why do you all go crazy when you hear the truth? Broadway theater is designed for white people from Ohio.
Everyone knows this.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||11/21/2010|
I'm with OP on this. Why the hell is Pacino playing Shylock? Wasn't LeVar Burton available?
|by Anonymous||reply 53||11/21/2010|
You're racism is misplaced. Encores has done things others wouldn't do. They've produced "Purlie" "St. Louis Woman" "House of Flowers" "Golden Boy" "No Strings" They cast Lea Delaria as a man in "Lil Abner".
|by Anonymous||reply 54||11/21/2010|
Hey fuckhead OP, you said the production team at Encores should be in jail. Besides being a ridiculously florid comment, it's totally not reflective of the part Encores has taken in reviving black musicals and doing color-blind casting.
|by Anonymous||reply 55||11/21/2010|
And speaking of the Naughtons, papa-in-law James was at opening night, but Greg was not. Why?
It's not as if he has a job, is it?
|by Anonymous||reply 56||11/21/2010|
do all of you who cry "racist" at the slightest drop of a hat and insist on color-blind casting no matter the time or place of the material have a problem if it is reversed? Say, for example, an all-white or mixed casting revival of RAISIN IN THE SUN?
|by Anonymous||reply 57||11/21/2010|
Greg Naughton was at opening night sitting next to Kelli O'Hara's mother, who's lovely. Greg's a nice guy himself and very proud of his wife. I met them both Thursday night. The show is enjoyable nonsense. Yes, Judy Holliday casts a shadow, but Kelli O'Hara has some very nice moments. Her rendition of The Party's Over is beautiful. Why do I have the feeling that most of you haven't seen the production? I'd suggest running over to 55th Street this afternoon and catching it, but for most of you on this thread you'd need a plane ticket. You give new meaning to the phrase "nasty queen."
|by Anonymous||reply 58||11/21/2010|
Is Todd Robbins the OP?
|by Anonymous||reply 59||11/21/2010|
r 58, you're exactly right, Kelli O'Hara has nice moments. That's all she ever has. She is the definition of nice. She has a nice voice, she has nice straight posture, she looks nice in a frilly dress. But Ella Peterson in BELLS ARE RINGING has many more sides than "nice." Ella is cracked. She is zany and outrageous. She does imitations, she gets all up in other people's business. She stalks writers. She bursts into people's apartments. She is antic and a little bit crazy. Kelli O'Hara cannot do antic and crazy. She cannot do just-deep-down-kind-of-nuts. She certainly cannot do "heartbreakingly nuts." Whatever, she does a nice "The Party's Over," but her rendition of the song had nothing to do with the character, with any character. It was just Kelli O'Hara nicely singing a nice song.
I don't understand why people are liking this production of BELLS. It's remarkably tedious. Nowhere near the revelation that last year's ANYONE CAN WHISTLE was. Encores! is of course allowed their failures here and there, but why would they bother doing BELLS? It's not exactly a musical that is in danger of vanishing from the canon. There's the movie, and there was the flop revival in 2001 or whenever.
As for racism: Well, you can't deny that it has become a Broadway convention to put 2 or 3 black kids into the otherwise all-white chorus line, particularly in musicals in which none of the leads or supporting players are black. I find this movie hypocritical. Though I'm sure the dancers are grateful for the work.
|by Anonymous||reply 60||11/21/2010|
Totally agree, r58. Kelli is not funny. Lovely, skillful, energetic, but not funny. Anytime I almost-laughed, it was because she borrowed from Holliday.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||11/21/2010|
Well, what do you all think of Encores' choices of their next two productions this season: Lost in the Stars and Where's Charley?%0D %0D Do they interest or excite you?
|by Anonymous||reply 62||11/21/2010|
I'm holding out for ANKLES AWEIGH.
|by Anonymous||reply 63||11/21/2010|
Can Someone start a Theatre Gossip #58 thread?
|by Anonymous||reply 64||11/21/2010|
I think both are good choices, r62. I've always wanted to see productions of both of them.
Already exists, r64.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||11/21/2010|
[quote]she never was an A-level star in Hollywood because she was too smart and too loud and a Communist.%0D %0D Which is code for "Too Jewish."%0D %0D [quote]if you were a black actor who wanted a career in Broadway musical theater, maybe you'd be angry%0D %0D Maybe you could channel that anger into a more stable career. No one owes it to you to create jobs in so esoteric a field.
|by Anonymous||reply 66||11/21/2010|
I wonder if Judy Holliday simply wasn't very ambitious about maintaining a movie star career and living in Hollywood in the 1950s. I think that's how I interpret the former poster's claim that she was "too smart," too smart to play the Hollywood game. %0D %0D She most certainly could have segued her career into TV sitcom stardom, at the very least, in that era.%0D %0D Check her out on the What's My Line? clips as the Mystery Guest, one during Bells Are Ringing and one right after her final Broadway opening in Hot Spot which was a sad and unfortunate flop. But she comes across as a very down to earth and intelligent woman, clearly beloved by one and all.
|by Anonymous||reply 67||11/21/2010|
She was a Communist - and listed in Red Channels, which meant death to her career in Hollywood. Yes, she got out of being indicted by playing Billie Dawn at her Congressional hearing, but she never denied being a party member ("Oh, did I do that?" got her out of trouble with the law).
Once she was named, Hollywood couldn't really allow her to be in movies or on TV.
Although she was well loved personally, and the theater had no blacklist, her career suffered permanent damage.
Her open bisexuality also didn't help her.
|by Anonymous||reply 68||11/21/2010|
Or THE BODY BEAUTIFUL, I wonder what that show is like. I'd also love to hear a recording - no doubt none exists - of the industrial show that Bock and Harnick wrote for the Ford Motor Company.
|by Anonymous||reply 69||11/21/2010|
I just watched a clip on Broadwayworld. I don't know the show, but the song is adorable and cries for a comedic actress. O'Hara just walks through it. She continues to be unimpressive to me. I don't understand how she has the fan base that she does.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||11/21/2010|
I remember reading an anecdote by a guy who encountered Judy Holliday at a party in the 1960s. He said that she %0D was sad and talked about being nowhere, career-wise.
|by Anonymous||reply 71||11/21/2010|
And another thing:
How come Will Chase keeps hiking up his pants? He did it all throughout the Saturday matinee of BELLS: grabbing his trousers at belt-loop level and hauling them up. Again and again. I thought at first it was a character note, but then it seemed like a nervous tic, or maybe an unconscious bit of business that someone should draw his attention to and tell him to stop.
|by Anonymous||reply 72||11/21/2010|
I noticed that too, on Friday night.
I think in the 2 weeks between getting measured for costumes and performance, he lost enough weight around the middle that the waist of his pants was too big, and there wasn't enough time to get them tailored.
Considering he danced much more than any other actor I've ever seen in the role, it's possible he did lose some weight during rehearsals.
He sure sounded like Dean Martin too...
|by Anonymous||reply 73||11/21/2010|
He DID sound like Dean Martin, didn't he?
Nonetheless, he was still bland.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||11/21/2010|
It's a bland role. Not much room there to add color. I thought he was terrific.
|by Anonymous||reply 75||11/22/2010|
actually, r69, the recording of "Ford-i-fy Your Future" exists. I have it.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||11/22/2010|
r 76! I am deeply in love with you! I wonder what "Tractor Drivin' Man" sounds like! But apparently you know! Give me a preview! I can't figure out how to order things on Amazon! I'm not very smart!
|by Anonymous||reply 77||11/22/2010|
There are no black Broadway actresses on the level of a Lupone, Peters, or Chenowith. That's a fact. They've all been able to have steady careers doing varied roles. But black Broadway either get one prime role or are replacements for the white ones.%0D %0D Lena Horne, yes, she was big on Broadway. But that was sixty years ago! Aside from "Lady and her music" she didn't touch Broadway the last forty years of her life. And Eartha Kitt had a semi-successful career on Broadway, but in occasional supporting roles.%0D %0D Jennifer Holliday could have easily up there, but no one bothered to give her another juicy role after "Dreamgirls". Debbie Allen has tried doing color variations on classic plays, but they've been treated with scorn by the public. %0D %0D Phylicia Rashad is one of the best actresses on the Great White Way but is constantly mocked for taking her craft seriously, while Elaine Stritch can mumble any incoherent thing and have audiences in awe.%0D %0D
|by Anonymous||reply 78||11/22/2010|
|by Anonymous||reply 79||11/22/2010|
r 76, is it on CD? I'm guessing not. Transfer the thing to a digital something-or-other and send me a copy! What do you want in exchange? I am prepared to grasp you tenderly, at least. . .
|by Anonymous||reply 80||11/22/2010|
[R31] The Academy seemed to want to go with more bland movies that year, awarding to "Harvey" and "Born Yesterday" and even "Cyrano"... or "Annie Get Your Gun" over "West Side Story" for musical. It was an odd year for awards.%0D %0D What year are you referring to? 1950? "West Side Story" was made in 1961. What point are you trying to make?
|by Anonymous||reply 81||11/22/2010|
How come Encores! doesn't do HAPPY HUNTING? I never miss a Harold Karr musical! Not to mention Matt Dubey. Bring back SMITH!
|by Anonymous||reply 82||11/22/2010|
Has anyone seen SMITH?
Tell the truth.
|by Anonymous||reply 83||11/22/2010|
This never happened
|by Anonymous||reply 84||11/22/2010|
%0D If they did "Juno", they can certainly do "Happy Hunting" BUT.... not till they do "Bajour"!!!
|by Anonymous||reply 85||11/22/2010|
I saw a production of SMITH at an off-off Broadway "theater" about ten years ago. It was cute.
|by Anonymous||reply 86||11/22/2010|
No way they'll ever do Happy Hunting. No one can replace Merman
|by Anonymous||reply 87||11/22/2010|
r 85, do you like BAJOUR? I am listening right now to "Words, Words, Words":
Words words words
Words are the key
I talk to you
You talk to me
Dude! Does that not strike you as a tune from MR. ROGERS? Okay, the song gets more fun after that. And BAJOUR is the only musical I know with the words "Rego Park" in its lyrics.
But to hell with BAJOUR. Let's revive Walter Marks's follow-up masterpiece, PETERPAT! Okay, it's a play with incidental music, but: Great title!
|by Anonymous||reply 88||11/22/2010|
r 86! What is SMITH about?
Gratify me, please.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||11/22/2010|
|by Anonymous||reply 90||11/22/2010|
SMITH -- I can't remember much about the plot. I think the Smith character keeps getting thrown in to situations where he accidentally becomes the hero. There was a musical number on an airplane, and then there was a jungle scene with aborigines. Or maybe Smith is a dreamer like Walter Mitty.
|by Anonymous||reply 91||11/22/2010|
Thanks for sharing.
I kiss you.
|by Anonymous||reply 92||11/22/2010|
I saw "Bells" last night. I thought it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
|by Anonymous||reply 93||11/22/2010|
But seriously, can you stand all the cutesy embarrassing cliched and offensive gypsy stuff in BAJOUR?
|by Anonymous||reply 94||11/22/2010|
r 93! What's your idea of enjoyment? Spraying Windex on your bay windows and watching it evaporate?
|by Anonymous||reply 95||11/22/2010|
r 93! What'd you have for lunch? Mac and cheese? Easy on the spice! Bland foods, bland foods. . .
|by Anonymous||reply 96||11/22/2010|
Did they do the number DROP THAT NAME? %0D %0D There was an excellent analysis of the film version in a book about the films of Vincent Minnelli which basically said the film itself was out of date by the time it was released. The number DROP THAT NAME was highlighted as being particularly of an era essentially unrelatable to the young of the early 1960's.
|by Anonymous||reply 97||11/22/2010|
r 93! I bet your favorite performer is Robert Goulet!
|by Anonymous||reply 98||11/22/2010|
R95 and 96. %0D %0D I would never spray Windex on a window without wiping it before it dries, or else STREAKS!%0D %0D Very close. I had roast turkey (real roast turkey) on rye with mayo (Hellmans).%0D %0D Make fun of me all you want, I still liked "Bells." I liked the costumes (more changes than usual at Encores), music, and cast. %0D %0D I had no prior experience with the show so maybe that's why. Don't know anything about Holliday or previous productions or anything.%0D %0D All I know is that 3 times a year I plop down in my 6th row center seat and see fabulous performers put on a show. And THAT makes me happy.
|by Anonymous||reply 99||11/22/2010|
r 97, I have that book! Thanks for the tip, I'll check out. And yes, they did do "Drop That Name." Interestingly, Vincente Minnelli is one of the names it drops:
La la-la-la luh la! Jose Ferrer and Janet Blair and Fred Astaire and Vincente Minnelli. . .
And on and on.
Stupidest Broadway song ever.
And I can't imagine that Janet Blair was a recognizable reference even in 1956.
|by Anonymous||reply 100||11/22/2010|
r 99, where to you live, Manley, Iowa? Do you not know that the red dress into which Kelli O'Hara was encased was an exact replica of the red party dress Holliday wears in the BELLS ARE RINGING movie?
I don't mean to be mean, r 99. I love you dearly. And I'm glad you don't let your windows get streaky!
|by Anonymous||reply 101||11/22/2010|
I meant "in which," not "into which," sorry.
|by Anonymous||reply 102||11/22/2010|
About the race thing. Broadway is pretty darn good in terms of color blind casting than, say, Hollywood. Several black actors have had leads or featured roles in revivals originally written for whites.
Let's look at Carousel, La Mancha, 110 in the Shade, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Encores' Do Re Mi, Kiss Me Kate, Chicago just to rattle the ones that pop immediately into my head.
Plus, black performers are regularly rewarded at the Tony Awards and have been for decades.
Also, Broadway doesn't shy away from shows/plays that tackle themes of race.
So, while the Broadway community isn't perfect in terms of race, it's pretty open-minded.
Not EVERYONE is the community is open, however. There are the Producers who get pissy when some black shows get too much acclaim, such as a few I heard gripe about the blackness of Bring in Da Noise. Producers prefer blackness on their terms, and Noise/Funk was on the black man's terms.
Finally, the argument from R57 that if we can do an all-black Cat on the Hot Tin Roof, then we should do and all-white Raisin in the Sun is illogical. Raisin is dependent on those characters being an ethnic minority. CAT is not dependent on the characters being white.
No one could raise a reasonable fuss if Pippin's Leading Player or Judas in JCS were played by white guys.
|by Anonymous||reply 103||11/22/2010|
Janet Blair was a HUGE TV star in the 1950s! Puh-leeze, she played Sid Caesar's wife after Nanette Fabray moved on.
|by Anonymous||reply 104||11/22/2010|
r 103, though: What ABOUT those "multi-racial" chorus lines, which means: 3 black folks in a 10-member chorus, in a show in which all the leads and supporting players are white? Doesn't that strike you as, you know, kind of annoying? If the chorus line needs 3-5 black folks, why doesn't the cast of major and minor parts in a given musical always need 3-5 black actors? The notion of color-blind casting seems to have gotten as far as 30% of the chorus and no further.
|by Anonymous||reply 105||11/22/2010|
"Drop That Name" also mentions Courtney Burr, who was Sal Mineo's lover.
How the fuck did he get in there?
|by Anonymous||reply 106||11/22/2010|
R105 - I would LOVE to see a show where every leading/featured role is played by someone of a different race. The best recent example I can think of is the revival of Charlie Brown.
However,it doesn't need to be mandatory for EVERY show. The talent pool is predominantly white, then black, and the Asian and Latin pool is much smaller. It would be unrealistic to expect every show to be multi-racial.
There aren't many black "featured" actors, I concede. Blacks are usually either a leading role, or a chorus line.
Also, it depends on the show. In fluff like BELLS, multi-racial casting wouldn't make any diff. But in something like JUNO or FANNY, it would be distracting. Some shows demand a higher level of historical accuracy.
|by Anonymous||reply 107||11/22/2010|
r 104! No nose Nanette!
As for Courtney Burr: He was born in 1891! Was he doing Sal when he was 60 years old? Or is there some other Courtney Burr?
|by Anonymous||reply 108||11/22/2010|
"Phylicia Rashad is one of the best actresses on the Great White Way but is constantly mocked for taking her craft seriously..."%0D %0D r78 -- no darling, she is constantly mocked for constantly and pompously telling us she takes her crahfffft seeeyeeeriousleeee.
|by Anonymous||reply 109||11/22/2010|
r 107, PAL JOEY - the recent dreadful revival - was another of those musicals with like two non-white people in the chorus line, and otherwise all white actors. Why could Joey Evans not have been black? Or Gladys Bumps? People do no get all exercised about color-blind chorus lines in the same way that they flip out about multi-racial leads, as if to say, "Well, it's okay to admit there were black people in the background in 1940, but if you put a black person up front, well, THAT'S JUST INACCURATE!" You know what I mean?
|by Anonymous||reply 110||11/22/2010|
Who was the 1891 Courtney Burr? I never could figure out that reference.
|by Anonymous||reply 111||11/22/2010|
Harp, harp, harp, r110, that's all you do. By the way, you dropped your screed about Encores once you were proven wrong about them, didn't you?
|by Anonymous||reply 112||11/22/2010|
They could have made Joey Evans or Gladys black, but they didn't. It's not the end of the world. This is the same theatre that cast Audra in 110, which was a wonderful risk considering her entire family was white, so once can't say the casting directors are racist.
In your particular example, Joey is a womanizing, unlikable con man and drip. Surely someone would have complained that a black lead was cast as an anti-hero.
|by Anonymous||reply 113||11/22/2010|
[quote]Why could Joey Evans not have been black? Or Gladys Bumps?
He WAS black, in the version with Lena Horne as Vera. In fact, he was Clifton Davis. That one had a few white people in the chorus, but all the leads were black.
|by Anonymous||reply 114||11/22/2010|
first, Just In Time, The Party's Over, Long Before I Met You, and I'm Going Back are the kind of songs that are rare in musical scores, even then; certainly now.
second, it's Encores; it's there to showcase vintage shows; it can't please everybody with every single selection
third, you're not interested, stay home; no one is forcing you to go.
|by Anonymous||reply 115||11/22/2010|
r 107, what happened to my damned post! I posted it forever ago. Anyway, what I said was: In the PAL JOEY revival - that awful thing - there were a couple of black kids in the chorus line, but everyone else was white. And this seems to me a classic Bway accommodation: To do color-blind casting for chorus lines, but nowhere else. And none of the anti-color-blind casting folks ever object to THAT. As if to say, "We admit there were black people in the background in 1940, BUT THERE WERE NOT LEADING ANYTHING!" You know? I think it's kind of bullshit. Joey Evans could easily be black. Or Gladys Bumps.
|by Anonymous||reply 116||11/22/2010|
The original Courtney Burr was a Broadway producer and man-about-town. His grandson, Courtney Burr III, was an actor and Sal Mineo's lover toward the end of Mineo's life. I think they met when CB III was in a production of the play Fortune and Men's Eyes that Mineo directed.
It's not what you don't know that embarrasses you; it's what you know.
|by Anonymous||reply 117||11/22/2010|
r10, those aren't examples of color-blind casting, they are examples of racist casting, as you very well know. They're all white people playing non-white people; they are not casting a role nontraditionally.
As for non-traditional casting on Broadway, what about Debbi Allen in Sweet Charity, Brian Stokes Mitchell in Man of La Mancha and Kiss Me Kate, Audra Macdonald in Carousel and 110 In The Shade, Eartha Kitt and Tonya Pinkins in The Wild Party, La Chanze in the 95 revival of Company, Angel Desai in the 06 revival of Company, the multitude of black performers who played princip. roles in Chicago over the years.... don't those count at all?
|by Anonymous||reply 118||11/22/2010|
r 115, "Long Before I Met You" defines bland. And "I'm Going Back" makes sense only in context, and only if Judy Holliday or some comparably wonderful star is singing it.
And if you must know, I WAS forced to see BELLS ARE RINGING.
As for dropping my complaints about Encores! and its whiteness, well: My original argument substantiates my case. Why not put 3-to-5 black actors in lead and supporting parts in BELLS ARE RINGING, instead of just in the chorus? Surely the police officer could have been black; or the woman who runs Susanswerphone; or the writer, the novelist guy, there was a plethora of black male novelists in the 1950s; etc.
I'm tired of seeing shows that pander to multi-culturalism by "integrating" only the chorus line.
If you were a black musical-type-star you'd be frustrated, dude.
|by Anonymous||reply 119||11/22/2010|
from Jane White in Once Upon A Mattress to Diana Sands in The Owl and the Pussycat to Audra to P. Rashad and Vanessa Williams in Into The Woods to the present day (Brian Stokes Mitchell and De'Adre Aziza currently appearing in Women On The Verge, to name one example) - Broadway, should be commended for being comparatively open to non-traditional casting, and it's been doing it for decades.
Is it perfect? Hardly. But what is?
In comparison to Hollywood, it's way ahead of its time.
|by Anonymous||reply 120||11/22/2010|
r 120: It is TIME for Bway to catch up to the rest of the country! For God's sake! Bway musicals are written by white people for white people, with an occasional allowance for the casting of an absolutely bland black performer like Brian Stokes Mitchell or Vanessa Williams in a one-time-only lead part, often as a replacement for a white performer.
The racism of the Bway musical is a disgusting sight to behold. It's also a longstanding tradition, going back to before even SHOWBOAT. Rodgers and Hammerstein are what passes for "racially enlightened," because of lame pandering liberal nonsense like "You've Got to Be Taught." But there is hardly anyone more racist in 20th century American culture than Rodgers and Hammerstein. Blame them for the Vietnam War: They helped make it okay for the US to treat Asians as if they weren't really human.
|by Anonymous||reply 122||11/22/2010|
You know I'm right.
|by Anonymous||reply 123||11/22/2010|
whom was I responding to?
well, since the first word in my post was r10, perhaps that could have given you a clue.
|by Anonymous||reply 124||11/22/2010|
"But there is hardly anyone more racist in 20th century American culture than Rodgers and Hammerstein."
if only that were true!
|by Anonymous||reply 125||11/22/2010|
r122, you are one fucked up mess. Broadway is one of the LEAST racist places on earth.
|by Anonymous||reply 126||11/22/2010|
Oh! r 118! Sorry! I misunderstood. But so did you: I was making a point, which is to say: White people have never had a problem with casting white people as Asians, blacks, Native Americans, Latino/as, etc. The 19th and 20th centuries in the USA are packed with instances of white people cast as non-Caucasians. Okay, I was making an ironic point. I was just saying, How come you anti-color-blind-casting-freaks aren't out there screaming your heads off about Mickey Rooney's unbelievably offensive and embarrassing Asian-face performance in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S?
|by Anonymous||reply 127||11/22/2010|
r 126, I never said I wasn't a fucked up mess!
As for Bway not being racist, well, I don't know: Go see a Bway show, tell me how many black audience members you see. NYC is packed with black people, and it's on the way to being majority Latino/a. Yet Bway theaters are jammed every night with white white white people, onstage and in the audience. Explain that.
|by Anonymous||reply 128||11/22/2010|
r 125, but Rodgers and Hammerstein practice polite racism, which is more insidious and perhaps more destructive, ultimately - gentlemanly racism, posing as bleeding heart libreralism.
|by Anonymous||reply 129||11/22/2010|
I did mean "liberalism."
|by Anonymous||reply 130||11/22/2010|
It's all the moreso offensive because the Bway musical theater stole so much of its pizzazz from black culture.
|by Anonymous||reply 131||11/22/2010|
Jesus, you're practically this entire thread, you fucked up nut case. Well, now that you've admitted you're a mess, can you please have the decency to leave? You're ruining several good threads. Go back to the Jesse Eisenberg thread and expound some more on how brilliant he is.
|by Anonymous||reply 132||11/22/2010|
[quote] It's all the moreso offensive because the Bway musical theater stole so much of its pizzazz from black culture.
|by Anonymous||reply 133||11/22/2010|
Jesse Eisenberg IS brilliant.
Whatever, I'm compulsive. And I have a cold.
Bway musicals are racist, face it.
All my love. . .
|by Anonymous||reply 134||11/22/2010|
r 133, prove me wrong.
Music, dancing, attitude?
Tell me the Bway musical doesn't incorporate a big chunk of African and Caribbean American culture into its very genesis.
|by Anonymous||reply 135||11/22/2010|
No, you're beyond compulsive. You're SICK. And not just with your cold.
And you make pronouncements as if anything YOU think is automatically right, and any other opinion is wrong. You simply don't know the words "In my opinion..."
In your opinion, Broadway musicals are racist. In your opinion, there were no great musicals in the 1950s. In your opinion Jesse Eisenberg is brilliant (you lose all credibility with that one right there. Brilliant? Hardly).
No go wank off to pictures of Jesse and leave us alone, permanently.
|by Anonymous||reply 136||11/22/2010|
r 136, thanks for the laugh!
Eisenberg IS brilliant in that Facebook film.
Am I wrong to assume that the one place where show-offy and opinionated blather is NOT out of line would be Datalounge?
|by Anonymous||reply 137||11/22/2010|
[quote] Tell me the Bway musical doesn't incorporate a big chunk of African and Caribbean American culture into its very genesis.
What a worthless piece of idiotic trash you are.
The Broadway musical had it's "very genesis" from the Operetta culture of Western Europe.
|by Anonymous||reply 138||11/22/2010|
Yes, Jennifer Holliday should have gotten more leading Broadway roles, except for the fact that SHE COULDN'T ACT. Her line readings in Dreamgirls were horrible.
No one/ can see her/ on RECORD.
|by Anonymous||reply 139||11/22/2010|
Oh, blah blah blah, r 138, go renew your membership in the SS. Try to convince anyone that the Bway musical theater in the '20s and '30s wasn't a festival of borrowing from black musical traditions. And the '20s and '30s are still early enough to be considered one of the generative moments of the present-day Bway musical comedy.
|by Anonymous||reply 140||11/22/2010|
You're wrong to assume that the kind of diatribes you contribute are welcome. You go on and on and on, always saying the same thing. It's like you think you can make it be true if you keep saying it.
And you're not entertaining. If you had the slightest modicum of wit, or modesty, or self-knowledge - if you were even able to laugh at yourself - it would help. But you take yourself seriously, and you leave no room for anyone else to have a valid opinion.
And you're practically running the entire thread yourself.
That makes you a bore and a boor. Oh yes, and a fuckhead.
|by Anonymous||reply 141||11/22/2010|
r 141, stop flattering me!
I know the thread is mostly me.
Whatever, I'm a narcissist.
|by Anonymous||reply 142||11/22/2010|
Ethel Merman also - like Jennifer Holiday - COULD NOT ACT. Yet they put her in show after show after show.
|by Anonymous||reply 143||11/22/2010|
The rest of us are out of here, r142. Won't be checking back in. You can masturbate to your little heart's delight.
Why don't you try arguing with yourself now? Start posting as someone who loves Bells are Ringing, and then rip yourself to shreds?
|by Anonymous||reply 144||11/22/2010|
Merman lived in a different era. If she'd started in 1980 like Jennier Holliday did, they most certainly would not have put her in show after show after show.
Ask Andrea McArdle.
|by Anonymous||reply 145||11/22/2010|
Ah, but Holiday might at least have had a career something like Patti Lupone's, no?
|by Anonymous||reply 146||11/22/2010|
PS: 144, that's a brilliant suggestion:
Oh, but BELLS ARE RINGING is so inoffensive and sweet! And Kelli O'Hara is someone my vapid old grandmother just loves! And I just LOVE inside-theater-jokes - when I get them, it makes me feel like I'm a member of the theater community! And ha ha ha, who would have thought to put a tired old Marlon Brando routine in the middle of a show! Comden and Green are just so ingenious!
|by Anonymous||reply 147||11/22/2010|
"Ethel Merman also - like Jennifer Holiday - COULD NOT ACT. Yet they put her in show after show after show."
Merman played the same character over and over, the ballsy, brassy dame.
If Jennifer Holliday had found a character to play over and over like Merman did, she would have gotten more work.
|by Anonymous||reply 148||11/22/2010|
Yeah, well, but Merman had an army of songwriters running around writing songs to gratify her. How come nobody sprang up to write shows for Holiday? Don't say it's because Irving Berlin and Cole Porter were dead.
|by Anonymous||reply 149||11/22/2010|
r 147, where did you grow up, Cokesbury, New Jersey? BELLS ARE RINGING is trash! And it's my bombastic obligation to say so, over and over, so as to drive away all the theater queens, who in any case would much rather be touching their "back pussies" and dreaming of being mocked-raped by Republican fire fighters! All the while with one free hand typing over and over how much they dearly love wispy wimpy sweet non-threatening women with no comic timing!
|by Anonymous||reply 150||11/22/2010|
r 150, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE. YOU'RE A BORE. GO AWAY.
Wow, I bet that fixed him.
|by Anonymous||reply 151||11/22/2010|
But Kelli O'Hara was nominated for 3 Tonys, 150! That must mean she's perfect. So there.
|by Anonymous||reply 152||11/22/2010|
No one is reading your posts, anymore, dude. Go to sleep.
|by Anonymous||reply 153||11/22/2010|
[quote] "Drop That Name" also mentions Courtney Burr, who was Sal Mineo's lover.%0D %0D How the fuck did he get in there?%0D %0D %0D %0D %0D %0D Courtney Burr was a famous Broadway producer. His grandson, Courtney Burr III was an actor who Sal Mineo cast in the San Francisco production of Mineo's FORTUNE AND MEN'S EYES. They were lovers.
|by Anonymous||reply 154||11/22/2010|
Courtney Burr was in THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, on Bway just the year before BELLS ARE RINGING opened. Maybe that's the connection. Or am I wrong? Experience would suggest I just might be. . .
|by Anonymous||reply 155||11/22/2010|
[quote]Ethel Merman also - like Jennifer Holiday - COULD NOT ACT. Yet they put her in show after show after show.%0D %0D They put her in a lot of shows because having her name on the marquee sold tickets. Her fan-base flocked to see her even in less than wonderfuls shows.%0D %0D People loved Jennifer Holiday too but they went to see DREAMGIRLS for its own virtues long after she departed. Modern shows aim for longer runs than they had in Merman's day. For that reason, most producers wish to make the show itself the star rather than its performers. %0D %0D Besides, you can't produce show after show with a 300-pound woman in the lead no matter what color she is. Kate Smith was a mammoth hit on radio but her only movie flopped because no matter how talented they are, fatties have a tough image to sell. %0D %0D
|by Anonymous||reply 156||11/22/2010|
So how come people go to the opera all the time? If body size is such an issue? Jennifer Holiday had quite the following after DREAMGIRLS, and a follow-up musical with her name over the marquee would have sold tickets and tickets.
|by Anonymous||reply 157||11/23/2010|
Opera is about the music. Opera audiences are willing to overlook a great singer's physical appearance. %0D %0D I am sure many of us would have loved to have seen JH in more shows after DREAMGIRLS. Sadly, the 80s were a lame decade for new musicals of non-British origin.
|by Anonymous||reply 158||11/23/2010|
Lame, indeed! Aren't there any musical comedy stars of size? Jackie Gleason? Robert Weede?
|by Anonymous||reply 159||11/23/2010|
And what ever happened to Virginia Capers?
|by Anonymous||reply 160||11/23/2010|
Her name is a complete sentence, by the way.
|by Anonymous||reply 161||11/23/2010|
You know, and there's Barbara Cook, if we're talking women of size. Okay, the size didn't happen until long after her Bway heyday, but: Was she not nominated for a Tony just last year? Yes, she was.
|by Anonymous||reply 162||11/23/2010|
And they always have a big guy singing "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat!"
Jennifer Holiday's size does not explain her evaporating Broadway career!
|by Anonymous||reply 163||11/23/2010|
BAJOUR: a much better choice for Encores! than BELLS ARE RINGING.
|by Anonymous||reply 164||11/23/2010|
You're such a cunt, r162. You keep making comparisons - in everything - that you know can't really be made.
Ethel Merman vs. Jennifer Holliday when Merman's fame came 50 years before Holliday, when less was required of an actor, and Merman was svelte when she became famous.
Now you drag in Barbara Cook - a superior actress who became famous and won her Tony before she was FAT. Yeah, she was nominated this year - for a revue. Lots of heavy black ladies have won in revues, too, and it doesn't make them right for parts that require someone of normal girth.
Jesus Christ, chekky, can't you go drown your sorrows in a full bathtub and say goodnight?
|by Anonymous||reply 165||11/23/2010|
I don't have a bathtub!
Or all that many sorrows, really.
|by Anonymous||reply 166||11/23/2010|
You fucking idiot. You've just shown what a phony you are. Ranting about "racism." Have you ever read the book to BAJOR, dipshit? Incredibly racist in the way it deals with Romany - of course, it was fun to laugh about their stealing in 1964, but I guess you think it's still acceptable to portray them as lazy, shiftless thieves.
|by Anonymous||reply 167||11/23/2010|
No, no, no, r 167, of course you're right. It's obviously a show with a weird relationship to gypsies. I mean, I've never read the libretto, but the lyrics of, for instance, "Where Is the Tribe for Me?", are problematic enough. I see your point. It's just, everybody already knows all about BELLS ARE RINGING - there's that movie, after all - but who knows what BAJOUR is? And I never said that Broadway should not revive shows that have highly problematic relationships to minority groups. If that were the case, Broadway would never revive shows! So much of art is racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. That doesn't mean we can't look at it. And enjoy it, for what it is. But there's no reason not to point out its racism, sexism, etc. In fact, I think we have an obligation to call attention to that stuff.
Thanks for knowing I'm a phony.
|by Anonymous||reply 168||11/23/2010|
And I do know that you're a phony, and an annoying one at that.
That said, I could listen to the BAJOUR cast album all day (the overture alone is incredibly exciting), and I can't abide BELLS ARE RINGING - or MY FAIR LADY. But I don't try to pretend everyone else should believe the way that I do or that I'm the final say on such things.
BELLS stinks, in my opinion. But you have to understand that Encores needs to have their "guaranteed to bring in a crowd" shows to allow them to do their "lesser-known" shows. If the crowds don't come, Encores! disappears. BELLS and WHERE'S CHARLEY were picked to be those shows, and LOST IN THE STARS is the "risky one." While I don't like BELLS, people hear "Just in Time" and "The Party's Over" and "Styne, Comden and Green" and they come running - which is what happened this weekend.
|by Anonymous||reply 169||11/23/2010|
Annoying I may be, but I kept the title of that wretched musical on the front screen of DL for 24 hours, more or less, did I not? Is there such a thing as bad publicity? There is not. I think Jule Styne's estate owes me a commission.
I have just discovered the score for BAJOUR, even though the thing has been on my iTunes for about 3 years. It is a very silly score, but I find myself enjoying it. I am trying to memorize the scores of forgotten musicals. Last week my project was PLAIN AND FANCY - the Amish musical! "How do you raise a barn? How do you raise a barn?" Verse, chorus, repeat. "How do you raise a barn?" How did Arnold Howitt have a career? To say nothing of Albert Hague.
I am holding you tenderly, r 169, as I drift to sleep at last. . .
|by Anonymous||reply 170||11/23/2010|
Judy Holliday sang on tv shows like this Perry Como appearance in 1960. So are you sure she was blacklisted? MGM, afterall, cast her in the movie version of BELLS? If Holliday was being blacklisted, wouldn't Mitzi Gaynor have gotten the part?
|by Anonymous||reply 171||11/23/2010|
[quote]Kate Smith was a mammoth hit on radio but her only movie flopped because no matter how talented they are, fatties have a tough image to sell. %0D %0D %0D Kate Smith was also popular on TV. Her afternoon show made her the Oprah of her day.
|by Anonymous||reply 172||11/23/2010|
I'm only speaking for myself - but I suspect also of countless others - when I say that I can't have an intelligent discussion about musicals with anyone who claims Long Before I Met You is bland or that the score of Bajour is exciting.
|by Anonymous||reply 173||11/23/2010|
Judy Holliday, having been named as a Communist by Red Channels, escaped being officially blacklisted by testifying before HUAC in her Billie Dawn character; i.e., playing "dumb". It stopped her from being labeled "unemployable" so she could continue making films, but in the public eye she was tarnished, which is why her films didn't do well and her Columbia contract wasn't renewed, despite her Oscar.
By the time the BELLS movie was made, the blacklist had started to weaken - starting with SPARTACUS earlier in the year.
|by Anonymous||reply 174||11/23/2010|
Oh, 173, "Long Before I Met You" IS kind of bland. To my ear/mind. And BAJOUR is just wacky. So sue me. I never said I was tasteful.
|by Anonymous||reply 175||11/23/2010|
r 173, let me clarify: Whole lyrical passages from the score of BAJOUR are stunningly bland, whereas most of BELLS ARE RINGING is merely bland. I guess I prefer stunning to mere.
And maybe "bland" isn't the right word for "Long Before I Met You." Maybe the right word is "sepulchral." Certainly at least "dirge-like." Or, if you prefer, "draggy."
|by Anonymous||reply 176||11/23/2010|
Or maybe what I mean is "insipid."
|by Anonymous||reply 177||11/23/2010|
Or "whiny," maybe.
|by Anonymous||reply 178||11/23/2010|
Just as an aside, the dentist who wants to be a songwriter in BELLS ARE RINGING is based on the real-life Broadway songwriter Harold Karr, who was a practicing dentist before he made it to Broadway for his one and only score, HAPPY HUNTING.%0D %0D Now back to your endless squabbling....%0D %0D
|by Anonymous||reply 179||11/23/2010|
I hope r142(etc)'s cold kills him.
|by Anonymous||reply 180||11/23/2010|
Hey R100, R97 (DROP THAT NAME) here again.%0D %0D You will appreciate this - last night I went to see Sondheim being interviewed by Frank Rich at the NY Times Center and Rich mentioned Comden and Green were Leonard Bernstein's original choice to co-write West Side Story. %0D %0D After some laughter Sondheim said Bernstein's vision was so strong for the project that he thinks Comden and Green would have been up to the task......but then he cattily (but sweetly) added "but at least one celebrity name would have had have been mentioned in the song lyrics."%0D %0D
|by Anonymous||reply 181||11/23/2010|
Arthur Laurents is nearly as silly a book writer as Comden and Green! How come so many book writers are such hacks?
|by Anonymous||reply 182||11/23/2010|
r 179, thanks for the fabulous Karr info! I was just trying to find more info on the writers of HAPPY HUNTING. What else do you know? Please share!
|by Anonymous||reply 183||11/23/2010|
Do you know anything about Matt Dubey, HAPPY HUNTING's lyricist? Is he an orthodondist?
|by Anonymous||reply 184||11/23/2010|
Dubey and Karr wrote another score for WE TAKE THE TOWN starring Robert Preston. Not on ibdb because it never made it to New York. But Barbra recorded a song and another is on Sondheim's list of those he wishes he had written.
|by Anonymous||reply 185||11/23/2010|
Happy Hunting is one of the worst score ever written for the Broadway stage. I don't know what Merman was thinking in accepting it after she'd heard the dreck that passed for songs.
The only good one is "Gee But It's Good to Be Here," which apparently was written by someone else.
|by Anonymous||reply 186||11/23/2010|
OK, I'm DYING to know what song from We Take the Town was recorded by Barbra! %0D %0D Wasn't that musical about Pancho Villa and costar Dolores Grey?
|by Anonymous||reply 187||11/23/2010|
OK, just did a little research for myself. %0D %0D We Take the Town had financing by Columbia Records and they convinced their new recording star Barbra Streisand to record How Does the Wine Taste? from its score for her People album.%0D %0D That is absolutely one of my favorite early Streisand numbers...who'd have thought it came from such a flop musical but it does pique my curiosity about the rest of the score.%0D %0D Oh, and Dolores Grey was not in it but Pia Zadora (as a child) was!
|by Anonymous||reply 188||11/23/2010|
I * think * it was "How Does The Wine Taste?"
|by Anonymous||reply 189||11/23/2010|
Yes, it was, and Sondheim's fave song from it was called "Silverware." It's recorded on one of Bruce Kimmel's compilation albums.
|by Anonymous||reply 190||11/23/2010|
r 186, my guess is that "Gee But It's Good to Be Here" was written by Roger Edens, who - according to wikipedia - wrote a bunch of new songs for HAPPY HUNTING when Merman refused to sing some of the old songs; Eden was under contract to MGM at the time, and so his songs were credited to Kay Thompson.
Anyway, that's what wikipedia says.
I had no idea Karr and Dubey wrote "How Does the Wine Taste."
And I have never heard "Silverware."
Can someone sing it?
I love everyone.
|by Anonymous||reply 191||11/23/2010|
Where'd everybody go?
|by Anonymous||reply 192||11/24/2010|
Did you all run out and find a copy somehow somewhere of HAPPY HUNTING, and you're home in your kimono with a hot toddy playing the thing over and over?
I heard that it was because of the HAPPY HUNTING score that Merman wouldn't let Sondheim write the music for GYPSY. She didn't want to trust herself with first-timers, anymore.
|by Anonymous||reply 193||11/24/2010|
Merman was willing to work with Dubey and Karr because as new-comers they were not in a position to demand the large royalties that went to more famous songwriters. Ethel had always resented being the one who had to go on eight times a week while the producers and composers sat at home and collected the profits. I believe she and her husband had money in HAPPY HUNTING and of course they wanted it back as quickly as possible. %0D %0D Some of the songs that made it to the HAPPY HUNTING album were cut and replaced after the show had opened. As Merman was famous for resisting last-minute changes that tells you how bad they were. The title number has one of the most maddening near-rhymes ever written: "Everyone's on the hunt / For whatever they want / And whatever you want/ Happy Hunting. . . "
|by Anonymous||reply 194||11/24/2010|
My nickname for that show was "Happy Cunting."
|by Anonymous||reply 195||11/24/2010|
"Silverware" is almost impossible to sing.
|by Anonymous||reply 196||11/24/2010|
They have a Western Electric 555 cord switchboard in the production, just like mine.
|by Anonymous||reply 197||11/24/2010|
Hard to believe that with all the Broadway shows Merman did that Happy Hunting was the only bomb. Were there no other flops?
|by Anonymous||reply 198||11/24/2010|
It looks like this:
(I hope the link works.)
|by Anonymous||reply 199||11/24/2010|
That was supposed to be this:
|by Anonymous||reply 200||11/24/2010|
My grandmother was a switchboard operator.
|by Anonymous||reply 201||11/24/2010|
Ernestine here. The board posted (557) is correct for answering services. Guess the producers couldn't find one. They have a 555, used in small businesses. 199/200, I do thank you for the search.
|by Anonymous||reply 202||11/24/2010|
Our beloved sister Ernestine, on duty.
|by Anonymous||reply 203||11/24/2010|
Okay, so now that we've cleared that up, my question is: Why? Are we worrying about the switchboard that the aggressively competent Kelli O'Hara used in the Encores! BELLS ARE RINGING? Huh.
And by the way: Why does everyone like Kelli O'Hara so much? I'd never seen her onstage until BELLS, and I have to say that I find her perfectly forgettable.
|by Anonymous||reply 204||11/24/2010|
[quote] Hard to believe that with all the Broadway shows Merman did that Happy Hunting was the only bomb. Were there no other flops?%0D %0D %0D Stars in Your Eyes - 1939. Lasted 3 months on Broadway, on Ethel's name, and Durante's. A satire of Hollywood and Communism by Dorothy Fields and Arthur Schwartz. Meh score, dreadful book, interesting supporting cast (Mildred Natwick, Tamara Toumanova, Dan Dailey, with Nora Kaye & Jerome Robbins in the chorus) and directed by Josh Logan.%0D %0D The shortest run of any Merman musical on Broadway (at least Happy Hunting ran almost a year).%0D %0D It closed in May 1939 - before the year was out, Merman was doing "DuBarry Was A Lady"
|by Anonymous||reply 205||11/24/2010|
Not to mention Mary Wickes!
What do you suppose "I'll Pay the Check" sounds like?
|by Anonymous||reply 206||11/24/2010|
When will Encores! do ARMS AND THE GIRL?
|by Anonymous||reply 207||11/24/2010|
Which includes the immortal song:
"A Cow, Plough, and a Frau!"
|by Anonymous||reply 208||11/24/2010|
Oops, that's: "A Cow and a Plough and a Frau."
|by Anonymous||reply 209||11/24/2010|
Please eat lightbulbs, OP.%0D %0D I think I speak for all of us.%0D
|by Anonymous||reply 210||11/24/2010|
R206, Ethel recorded "I'll Pay the Check" while the show was running.%0D %0D It shows up on a lot of Merman compilation CDs:
|by Anonymous||reply 211||11/24/2010|
r 210! I love you just as much as you want to be loved!
I'm all out of light bulbs, by the way.
|by Anonymous||reply 212||11/24/2010|
fortunately for you OP the new Cameron Macintosh/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Eating Light Bulbs" will be coming to New York soon.
|by Anonymous||reply 213||11/24/2010|
Yeah, except "Stars in Your Eyes" made its money back - so it can't officially be called a flop, even though it ran only 127 performances. Remember, back in those days, a show was a super-hit if it ran a year, and even a few months was enough to be a hit.
|by Anonymous||reply 214||11/24/2010|
OP has to be chekky.
|by Anonymous||reply 215||11/24/2010|
r 213, it would just be called BULBS, and it would run forever and ever and ever, even though activists would circle the theater each night protesting the "watt-ist" casting of incandescent lights in the roles of compact fluorescent tubes.
|by Anonymous||reply 216||11/25/2010|
|by Anonymous||reply 217||11/25/2010|
Where'd you go? Stuffed with turkey? Unable to move?
|by Anonymous||reply 219||11/26/2010|
Amazingly, I found a copy of the original bway cast recording of HAPPY HUNTING at Tower Records, and I bought it, and I must admit: It's kind of fun! And I had no idea in featured "New Fangled Tango," a song that Lena Horne does delighfully one one of her live records.
I recommend it!
|by Anonymous||reply 220||11/27/2010|
There are worse scores than Happy Hunting.
|by Anonymous||reply 221||11/27/2010|
I think HAPPY HUNTING is due for an Encores! production.
The book is supposed to suck but what book doesn't suck?
And there's a whole song about, like, "I'm so tired of hearing about the 'marriage of the decade!'" And aren't we already tired of hearing about them Brits staging another royal wedding? HAPPY HUNTING is timely! Somebody tell Jack Viertel!
|by Anonymous||reply 222||11/27/2010|
Surely you queens have something more to say about HAPPY HUNTING!
Don't disappoint me.
|by Anonymous||reply 223||11/27/2010|
There isn't a performer alive who could breathe life into Happy Hunting.
|by Anonymous||reply 224||11/28/2010|
Klea Blackhurst! I confess I have never heard of you! But I just googled you, and there was EVERYTHING THE TRAFFIC WILL ALLOW, your Merman tribute show/album. And I wonder why you didn't include anything from HAPPY HUNTING. "I'm a Funny Dame?" "This Is What I Call Love?" Actually, the most enjoyable HH songs are not Merman's, so maybe that's the problem. . .
|by Anonymous||reply 225||11/28/2010|
Surely you queens have something more to say about HAPPY HUNTING!
If you don't own a copy of the novel VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, get one. Read about the show Helen Lawson opens with the night she and Neely get into a hair-pull in the powder room. Susann's description of that show -- how trite it is, how Helen/Ethel is getting too old to play the love interest and how the audience want to like it but can't -- is all based on HAPPY HUNTING.
|by Anonymous||reply 226||11/28/2010|
If you've never heard of me, r225, it's not my fault. I've released two albums. And I'm LOUD!
|by Anonymous||reply 227||11/28/2010|
But Klea dear, you have no talent of your own. Your Merman imitation is strident and lacks humor, and what have you ever done besides that? Nothing. Your 15 minutes are just about up...
|by Anonymous||reply 228||11/28/2010|
r 226, I have never read VALLEY OF THE DOLLS nor seen the movie. So sue me. I have heard, however, that Jackie Susann and the Merm were lovers. True or false? I also heard one about the Merm and Lana Turner. Huh.
|by Anonymous||reply 229||11/29/2010|
Because I am in fact as desperate and needy as everyone says - though not at all alone - I am posting again, at the end of this thread, for no good reason.
|by Anonymous||reply 230||11/29/2010|
Didn't "Danny" Powich direct a Merman impersonator?
|by Anonymous||reply 231||11/30/2010|
You're insane. But you know that, don't you?
|by Anonymous||reply 234||12/14/2010|
Bumping so we can all see the Frau Troll and some of his other obsessions.
|by Anonymous||reply 235||02/08/2011|
Homophobia is just another version of misogyny.
Violent language against women is a form of queer self-loathing.
|by Anonymous||reply 236||02/08/2011|
It *would* be interesting to cast a black man or woman as the lead in "Bells." Consider the unspoken additional story point that the male lead falls in love with someone who doesn't look anything like he imagined.
|by Anonymous||reply 237||02/08/2011|
I feel that it's time for this thread to return.
|by Anonymous||reply 238||02/23/2011|
Okay, nobody agrees.
|by Anonymous||reply 239||02/23/2011|
I'm watching this for the first time now on TMC. Enjoyable movie. For those Judy detractors, she was a quintessential comedienne who someone like Monroe or Streisand could only wish to be as wonderful as. This woman had a genuine sincere sweetness that never comes across as narcissistic or needy/manipulative.
Has Jean Stapleton ever looked young? She looks like she's in her mid-40s in this!
Did the movie audiences at the time know that that office boy was meant to be gay? Swishing around, hanging with the girls, teaching them how to cha-cha, and correcting people on how many Beethoven symphonies there were?
|by Anonymous||reply 241||06/21/2013|