Posts Categorized: Tap Dancing

The Speed Test from Thouroughly Modern Millie

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Rappers have their own clothing lines, headphones, TV shows, and movie deals, but as far as I know, none have ended up on Broadway. That said, I just watched The Speed Test from Thoroughly Modern Milly, and the cast was spitting fire. With catchy lyrics and a bit of a dueling banjo theme of one-upmanship, I’ve had The Speed Test from Thoroughly Modern Milly stuck in my head since hearing it for the first time. I would probably be annoying everyone around me singing it to myself, but luckily for them, I don’t have anywhere near the coordination or lung capacity to even attempt this song.

The premise of the scene is that the main character, Milly, is on a mission to land herself a rich and powerful husband. She decides to go after Mr. Graydon, an eligible bachelor and a boss at the Sincere Trust. So she applies for a job as his stenographer and the song is her interview test. Mr. Graydon starts dictating at a reasonable pace, complaining about an order of floor wax. (That The Speed Test from Thoroughly Modern Milly succeeds in turning a song about something as mundane as floor wax into a Broadway hit speaks leagues about how well written it is). After writing what she is supposed to, and coolly crossing every “t” and dotting every “i,” Millie decides to up the ante by telling him he was a bit slow.

This is where the number starts getting good. While challenging her interviewer to make things more difficult might suggest Millie is not the savviest job hunter, she certainly succeeds in proving she is a good stenographer. Around this point, we get our first bit of comedy with Mr. Graydon shoving the rancid floor wax under Milly’s nose, and the song tempo starts getting quicker and quicker. I’m not fully sure why, but the refrain and mutual affirmation that “Hudson’s Floor Wax doesn’t matter” struck me as the funniest bit of the whole piece — unfortunately it was followed by a scene that I found to be a bit too long and too boring.

The typewriter/tap dancing of the song was drawn out and uninteresting. Mr. Graydon gives Milly two minutes to type the letter, and then the audience is treated to…. two minutes of watching her type the letter. Sure, it has a couple dancers in it, but this song’s strengths lay in the lyrics and vocalists, not the choreographers. While Millie is a great stenographer, she isn’t much of a typist, and is a mediocre tap dancer at best. Had her typing time been limited to 30 seconds, not only would the song have been better, but I would have more respect for Milly’s typing abilities too.

Despite the lackluster typing segment, I thought The Speed Test from Thoroughly Modern Milly makes a major comeback with the best part at the end. Somehow Mr. Graydon sings even faster than the insane pace he was maintaining before— I’m not sure who is playing him, but they might want to try being the first rap star to come out of Broadway. To wrap everything up, we are treated to a happy ending with Milly landing the job and being serenaded by her new co-workers.

Most musical pieces are about some sort of great trial or lost love. On the other hand, The Speed Test from Thoroughly Modern Milly is almost entirely about a spoiled jar of floor wax. Despite the mundane subject matter, its witty lyrics and incessantly accelerating tempo keep it fun and amusing. The Speed Test is by far the fastest paced Broadway song I have ever seen and I highly recommend you buy tickets for Thoroughly Modern Milly to enjoy it live.

The Aggie Song from Best Little Whorehouse In Texas

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I don’t know what it is about a bunch of really hot athletes naked in a locker room singing and dancing that makes everyone watch the tv…except for the shower scene where you get to see their butts, but everyone loves the Aggie Song from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas because it has a ton of hot naked “Football Players”, it’s easy to sing a long to and fun to watch. The Aggie Song from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is one of the classic songs from the show that isn’t sung by the women like “Hard Candy Christmas” or “It’s Just an Iddy Bitty Piss Ant Country Place”, and is probably the best choreography of the entire show. Everyone loves to watch because it’s full of energy, they have male leads and they add in comedy when the guy gets buried under the towels and when the bus breaks down so they pile all of the football players into a truck and have them finish singing and dancing from there.

The song isn’t actually that good in my opinion and wouldn’t be one of the more memorable ones if they didn’t have the dancing or the locker room scene because the song doesn’t have anything special about it. It changes it’s tone a lot during the song and has a fun to sing chorus, but that is it. There aren’t any fun solos, extremely memorable notes and nothing that would make you think about it after you saw the show. Without seeing the video first or seeing the show, you probably wouldn’t like the song. After having seen it in a performance or at a bar during showtunes night, then all of the sudden you’ll like the song because everyone at showtunes night sings a long which makes it more fun.

If you’re at work or somewhere where someone would get offended by guys butts, you should wait to play this video. If you’re not somewhere where people would get offended, then feel free to play it. The Aggie Song from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas isn’t one of the best showtunes, but it is a fun one to watch and to sing a long to if you’ve heard it at showtunes night or have seen it performed by a good cast.

Happy Easter and Drum Crazy from Easter Parade

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Since it’s Easter and I completely destroyed my Easter Bonnet for the JRs annual Easter Bonnet Contest, I figured I would do a post about a show that gets about as much talent and Easter as you can stuff into one showtune. When I think of Easter Showtunes or broadway shows for Easter, the first one that comes to mind, if it is around Easter is Petter Cottontail, but for the rest of the year it is Easter Parade starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire.

Not only do these two amazing iconic Actors create an amazing show, but the singing, the dancing and the way that they can feed off of each other is absolutely incredible. When thinking about which song I was going to use for Easter, I was originally thinking Easter Parade from Easter Parade, but then when I was looking through the videos, I had to do the song Happy Easter.

In Happy Easter you see Fred Astaire dancing through a city singing Happy Easter to everyone. Then he goes into a hat shop and you see some amazing (not as good as the one I created) easter bonnets, then you see some gorgeous flowers and then he goes into a toy store with a kid that you think is a girl until he talks and Fred sings that he is a boy. It’s funny how clothing and hairstyles, etc… have changed since this film was created and the time when it was supposed to take place. I miss the old fur coats, giant jeweled earrings and mink stoles…but then again all you have to do is go to a drag show and you can still see them. Unfortunately they aren’t as good as Judy Garland and Fred Astaire pulling them off. Fred in the toy store is one of my favorite scenes from this movie.

When he starts tap dancing and actually taps with the drums while playing them and using his tap shoes as drum sticks, you can see why he is such an amazing performer. Tap dancing is fairly hard to do, but to combine playing the drums and tapping and singing with it, you have to be seriously talented. That is one of the reasons I love the song Happy Easter from Easter Parade and why it is the perfect Easter showtune for my post today. Judy Garland and Fred Astaire were amazing in this show and the amount of talent that they had was incredible.

Forget About the Boy from Thoroughly Modern Millie

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So with yesterday’s overly dramatic post about Romeo and Juliet and A Boy Like That from West Side Story being the showtunes, I figured lets take the other side and choose a song from my cat’s side of the story.  Not only did I want something a bit more upbeat and happy, but I wanted something campy, trashy and absolutely fabulous.  The only show and song that could possibly do this, without a cast made up of mostly drag queens, is Thoroughly Modern Millie and the only song would be Forget About the Boy from Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Since my cat is the one in the middle of the drama and wants me to be happy but also wants the guy out of my bed, why not sing the song Forget About the Boy from Thoroughly Modern Millie.  The song is Millie singing to forget about him.  He’s not good for you.  It is about getting over a guy and being happy to be rid of him, even though it can be a hard thing to do.  So while you randomly break out into song after talking on the phone and dancing around the room, why not throw in tap dancing too?  I told you it was campy.

Forget About the Boy from Thoroughly Modern Millie is definitely a great showtune to put on your play list after you break up with someone if you need to have some songs which aren’t completely depressing.  No one wants to have to sit around their house depressed and thinking about the person they broke up with.  Even though depressing songs can make you feel better, if you listen to them for an hour or two and then redo your play list to have happy breakup songs like Forget About the Boy from Thoroughly Modern Millie you’ll see how much better you’ll feel.  You probably won’t end up tap dancing around the room, or you might, and you probably won’t end up with a chorus of tap dancing and singing back up dancers, but you may end up finding yourself feeling better about your decision to break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend.  Forget About the Boy from Thoroughly Modern Millie is one of those break up songs that is happy, upbeat and perfect for you if you are in recovery mode from your break up.

Anything Goes Video Patty Lupone + Parodies

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So there is nothing more I like in a show than a song where the Actors can really show off their voices and the other thing that makes a show work for me is dancing and good dancing.  Nothing does that better than a classic tap dancing routine and no show has a combination that is better known than Anything Goes from the show Anything Goes and there is probably no better known Diva performer to do this show and make it famous than the talented Patty Lupone.

Not only did Patty Lupone take this somewhat flat show and turn it into an amazing performance, but Patty Lupone gave a performance that can probably never be topped.  The only person that could ever probably give a run for the money on a classic show and song like Anything Goes is the Great and Glamorous Miss. Carol Channing.  She is probably the only person who has existed in my lifetime that has enough stage presence and raw talent to show up the great Mz. Patty Lupone and make the song and dance for Anything Goes better, but to be honest I don’t see Ms. Channing coming back to do an Anything Goes revival any time soon.

The thing is that when you take an amazing song that starts slow, allows for high notes and very loud and in your face notes and then tie in tap dancing and an amazing and memorable routine, then you add in a true Broadway Star like Patty Lupone, you have an almost guaranteed hit, no matter how bad the rest of the show is, people will leave remembering and loving that song and routine.  This is the same thing with Fiddler on the Roof.

We’ll never have another Zero Mostel but thank god we do have a Harvey Fierstein and although the show lacks a solid ending and a great story line or plot, it does have memorable songs and a couple of fun dance routines, even if they aren’t tap but are more jazz and modern ballet.

Anyways, because of the amazing performance which is still played at almost every showtunes night in the US today, no matter who tried to parody or spoof the song, you always have one thing, tap dancing and divas.  I only found one version of a parody or variation of the hit broadway song Anything Goes and the only reason it is amazing is well,,,,I want the laser gun they have.  You’ll see what I mean. Anyways, even when Hollywood tries to imitate broadway and even when it is a blockbuster like Indiana Jones, they still cannot get away from a diva singing and a ton of people tap dancing.

Here is a great example of how people can try to take the stage from a song like Anything Goes and even with a huge Hollywood budget you still cannot escape the one thing that Broadway will always have, amazing talent.  Even though the singer has an amazing voice and is gorgeous, even though she has amazing back up that can dance and they have special effects, nothing compares to how a real Broadway Star like Patty Lupone can work a song and make it their own.  There is a reason she is a star and even if you like the parody below or the Hollywood version of Anything Goes from Indiana Jones, Patty still did the most amazing version and the best version to date of the song Anything Goes.  Although I do have to say that the third video is probably a big competitor to the Patty Lupone version, even though there is no singing and no one is dancing.  =0).