Monthly Archives: November 2012

Broadway’s Best Working Girls – 8 – Lucy

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In my series of Broadway’s Best Working Girls, we’ve gone over everyone from the ladies who are stuck selling their bodies, ones who enjoy it and even ones who use their looks to get what they want. What about a working girl that does it to save up enough money to escape? Unlike Fantine from Les Miserable, Lucy doesn’t have to support a child. Instead she is working as a dancer and escort in order to move on to a better life. She cannot read, is probably not educated, but she does have goals and she knows how to stand up for herself. That is one of the more admirable traits of her role. Unfortunately she also has to survive, so when her boss demands something, she does it.

Lucy is an odd character. She is very independent and seems determined, but she always gives in and never really pushes for what she wants. She hates her boss but lets him get his way, at least with her. She does actually avoid other things he requests. She also ends up giving in to Mr. Hyde when he comes to visit, even though she knows he isn’t good and is going to hurt her. That lack of being able to defend herself is what eventually causes her to die in the end.

Lucy had a huge crush on Dr. Jekyll and thought that he would be the person to save her. In a way, she was right. Dr. Jekyll sent money to Lucy via his best friend with a note to leave as fast as she can. Unfortunately, by the time she starts packing, Mr. Hyde has already broken into her apartment and knows what she is doing. The night before he had warned her that if she ever left, he would come after her. This is the one time she shouldn’t have given in and should have stuck up for herself. Instead, she thinks that by pretending she wasn’t leaving and by letting him sleep with her she would be safe. Unfortunately Mr. Hyde didn’t fall for it and ended up killing her. It’s ironic that the person she thought would save her tried to, but he also ended up being the person who killed her. You can’t help but love Lucy in the show.

Her role gives you hope and makes you fall in love with her. She is a nice person who has goals and wants to do more with her life. Most people can actually relate to her. Unfortunately she is stuck as a working girl in a club, and she never actually gets to escape being one. Everyone is upset when she is killed, but everyone also loves her and she is easy to think of someone to look up to as an inspiration.

Ten Broadway Gifts any Broadway Fan Will Love

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Broadway people can be tricky when it comes to buying them a gift. They love certain things and hate others, especially when it comes to shows and cast recordings. That’s why it can be tricky to shop for broadway gifts for a broadway fan. You can check out broadway stores like the one here, or you can buy broadway tickets to a show, but that is sort of a boring broadway gift. Instead, think of something that is unique, useful and instead of being something generic like a gift card to download music, get something they will love. Here are my top ten broadway gifts that anyone who loves broadway will love.

Top Ten Best Broadway Gifts

Top Ten Best Broadway Gifts

1. Broadway The American Musical Book.

I love this thing. It is a giant history of broadway from the first shows and even pre-broadway follies to Wicked. It is full of facts about shows and the history of them, has tons of photos and great images and is perfect for coffee tables, reading and something that everyone will love to look at and read through. There is also a video set created by PBS that you can buy. The video set isn’t as good as the book, but it is still fun to watch. There is an awesome recording of Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel rehearsing for Wicked in it as well.

2. Window Card Frames (Broadway Poster Frames)

One thing that is always annoying, unless you like in NYC, is to go to a show and buy the window card and when you get home, not have a frame for it. Window card frames are expensive and if you get a custom frame, it can easily cost $100 or more. That’s why I like to buy a bunch of them when I’m in NYC or I order them online which ends up being around $50 a piece (If you click the link above I found some on Amazon for about $24 and less. Make sure you buy 14×22 frames since that is the size of the window card.). The nice thing is that they protect your posters, look professional and come with everything you need to get it ready to hang. Window card frames are a perfect broadway gift for someone who loves shows and has window cards but not framed or protected.

3. Wine Baskets

Let’s be honest, what do you love to do before or after a show? Have dinner or drinks and what is a drink of choice? Wine and Martinis. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the West End in London, Broadway in NYC or any other theatre heavy area, everyone loves wine before a show. Sending wine gift baskets and then also having a few classic shows or cast recordings show up is the perfect gift basket combination.

4. Shows DVDs and Cast Recordings

One thing that I definitely do is shop on Amazon for cheap show DVDs. You can get tons of them for a couple of dollars and if you order from the same vendor, or all from Amazon as the seller, you can save on shipping. This means you can send a fan a ton of classic and some newer shows for under $40 and also get to enjoy watching them when you go over to their house to visit. Because you can usually buy 4 or 5 DVDs for under $20, you have an awesome gift and will be able to send at least one show they like.

5. Playbill collections

This isn’t for everyone, but a real broadway fan will go crazy for these. They aren’t the cheapest if you go to the Playbill store, which is why you can check out amazon or eBay for the sets or at least sets with the shows your friend likes and get them much cheaper.

6. Autographs (How to get them as well).

If you know the fan is obsessed with a star or a show, write to the PR department and ask if you can get a cast autograph. A lot of shows in NYC sell window cards with complete cast autographs in exchange for a donation to Broadway Cares (which is an awesome charity) and you can ask if you can buy one and have them ship it. You’ll have to pay for shipping. If it is just one person whose autograph you want, you could try eBay or Amazon, or you could write to their management company or PR company and ask for an autographed glossy. Most of them will be happy to send one, even if they have someone else forge the autograph.

7. Paintings or Photos of Times Square

One thing that I think almost every broadway fan loves are Times Square photos and paintings. These scream broadway, feature the shows when the artist was painting and are awesome gifts for anyone. They can help keep the person excited for their next trip to NYC and are also just really cool to have. If you don’t mind spending more on the person, buy them a painting of Times Square and try to find one with the ads for shows and marquees in it.

8. Broadway Trinkets

These aren’t the best gifts, but when the person first gets a times square or broadway snow globe, they will love it. They will also probably keep it on a shelf in their room or in a display case. Even though they may not think of it all the time, it will be something they will love and that will make them smile each time they see it.

9. Broadway Merchandise

If you know the person loves a show or a character, go online and find different products for that show or that character. You can buy the Grimerie from Wicked, Short Shorts from Bring it On or even Tshirts from the shows if the person lost theirs. These make awesome gifts and if you buy something that is specific about the character they love or show, it shows you actually put thought into the gift so it may mean more to them.

10. Dinner

One thing that is always cool is if you are planning a trip to NYC to see a show, surprise them with reservations at Sardi’s or another broadway related restaurant. This is always a fun way to start your evening off and get ready for a show. Sardi’s is where they created the Tony Awards and is mentioned in a ton of broadway shows. They even feature it on TV shows when they are going to see shows or people want to audition for a show, they always go to Sardi’s.

Buying broadway gifts is actually somewhat easy to do. If you know what shows or stars the person likes, if they have window cards but no frames or even if they just love NYC, you can find something on this list for them. If you have other broadway gifts that you like, feel free to leave a comment with your favorite broadway gifts and broadway gift ideas.

It’s Super Liza – A Liquor Powered Superhero in Sequins

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I saw this at MOVA Lounge the other night and couldn’t stop laughing. It is a short video clip of a superhero version of Liza Minelli whose goal is to help all the gays in NYC who are in need. Not only is this liquor powered Heroine true to a stereotypical form, but it is absolutely hilarious. Kiss the “blackbirds” goodbye and realize that when Super Liza’s on the scene, every day “is a Cabaret old chum“.

If you’ve been to NYC and like the piano bars, I think that one of the funniest things that you may not get from this video is that when Liza goes to get fueled up to fight evil, she goes to a gay piano bar called Don’t Tell Mama (which I always review here when I go to NYC). The funny part about Super Liza going to Don’t Tell Mama in NYC is that “Don’t Tell Mama” is a song from the show Cabaret which Liza made famous. I love that they actually took a famous icon like Liza and made her into a superhero, but it could get kind of scary if they took other broadway stars and turned them into superheroes as well.

Could you imaging a super powered Bernadette Peters with her hair lasso or a super powered Kristin Chenoweth that uses her power of cuteness and voice to fight off evil and protect the gays. What about a super powered Barbara who fights for deals so you “can get it on wholesale” or even a Carol Channing that can talk to Diamonds and make them attack since they are her best friends. There are a ton of funny broadway star superheroes they could invent.

I never actually watched the show that produced this video clip, I think it’s that big gay sketch show, but I am completely tempted to start watching now if all of the clips are as good as the Super Liza one. If you’ve watched the show and liked it, feel free to leave a comment below or to share your own favorite clip from their show. Thank you all again for reading.

Sing a Long Showtunes Cabaret with Faheem at BlackFox Lounge DC

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I’m extremely excited to share with you all that Faheem will be playing piano for another sing a long showtunes night at the BlackFox Lounge in Washington DC this coming Tuesday 11/27/2012 from 8pm until 11pm.  Although it isn’t professional people jumping up to sing like at Don’t Tell Mama in NYC, the crowd is extremely encouraging and everyone who wants to gets a chance to sing.  That’s what I love about when Faheem does sing a long piano showtunes at the Blackfox Lounge in DC.  There are a few things you need to know before you go to the piano bar downstairs in the restaurant for sing a long showtunes.

BlackFox Lounge Washington DC.
1723 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20009
Phone: (202) 483-1723

The first thing is that it is all based off of sheet music so if you don’t know the words, you need to be able to sing a long while he plays the piano.  This can be a lot trickier than you think if you’ve never sang live.  It can be a bit intimidating.  Luckily it isn’t a huge crowd and everyone is there for fun so you’re nerves will be a lot more calm.

The next thing is that because it is all sheet music and played by sight, you may not find the songs you normally like.  If you want a specific song and in a specific key, buy your own sheet music and bring it to make sure.  Some songs are written in different keys or he may play at different speeds than you are used to practicing, which means if you don’t bring your own, he’s going to do the version in front of him.  You can buy sheet music by clicking on any of the links below (just make sure not to use any coupons or I won’t get credit for the sales and they may not advertise with us anymore).

The last thing is that it is all about having fun and getting to sing with someone playing the piano.  If you love theatre then you probably love watching video clips of your favorite stars singing with a piano player.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to be able to sing with a piano player and in front of a small group of people who will support you and cheer you on, een if you are tone deaf and sound like crap like I do.  =0)   I love the group because everyone will welcome you over and because they pour strong drinks, you won’t be afraid to sing a long either.

I hope you can all make it to see Faheem at the Blackfox Lounge in the downstairs bar for his sing a long piano bar showtunes night.  It is a lot of fun and only happens once a month.  Also, unlike the other group, there is no one announcing everything and hogging the stage do you actually get to sing and have fun.  See you all there and don’t forget to order drinks and Tip Faheem so he can buy new fingers after the show.  They must kill him after playing ridiculous songs for a few hours without a break.

Sheet Music Plus Broadway Music

Sheet Music Plus Broadway Music – Click the banner to find all of the piano sheet music for Sheet Music Plus’s broadway piano sheet music books.

Click here for a direct link to their broadway piano sheet music.

Rodgers and Hammerstein Take on the Movies – A Full R&H Movie History

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This Sunday’s Curtain Call @ MOVA Lounge DC pays tribute to what is arguably the most prolific songwriting team in American musical theater history: Rodgers & Hammerstein. Particular attention is paid to the 6 screen adaptations of their most famous works, from OKLAHOMA! (1955) to THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965). During this 10 year span, the tunesmiths had their creations showcased on motion screens all over the world.
OKLAHOMA! was produced by Rodgers & Hammerstein themselves. They did not trust their “baby” to Hollywood. In fact, to guarantee a faithful stage-to-screen adaptation, the team enlisted the talents of those who had contributed to the Broadway hit: choreographer Agnes de Mille, art director Oliver Smith, orchestrator Robert Russell Bennett, and conductor Jay Blackton. Because Rodgers & Hammerstein were by then household names and the title equally famous, they did not have to solicit big stars to add luster (and expense) to the marquee. On location filming near Nogales, Arizona (because it was more photogenic than 20th century Oklahoma) and the decision to basically film each scene twice – once in 70mm TODD-AO and once again in 35mm CinemaScope– had already guaranteed this was the most expensive film musical up to that time. OKLAHOMA! also had the distinction as the first film musical to be distributed as a prestigious “road show,” one-theater-per city, at advanced prices, with just one screening per night (twice daily on matinee days), all seats reserved. Watch Gordon MacRae entice co-star Shirley Jones about “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top”:

Rodgers & Hammerstein left production chores to 20th Century-Fox for their next film outing: CAROUSEL (1956). Frank Sinatra had been signed to play the lead, but he left the production early on. Star Shirley Jones once remarked her portrayal as Julie Bigelow would have benefited dramatically had she played opposite Sinatra. Seen today, the film suffers from poorly matched location shots and those obviously studio bound sets, often in the very same scene. However, this movie greatly benefits from what is arguably Rodgers & Hammerstein’s best score, and it was Rodgers’s personal favorite. One of the most popular musical number from the film was “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” shot entirely in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, as seen here:

THE KING AND I (1956), released just months after CAROUSEL, was personally produced by 20th Century-Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck . Starring Deborah Kerr and reprising his Broadway triumph as the King of Siam, Yul Brynner, the production benefited from the stellar performances of its charismatic leads, a handsome production design, and superb musical direction by Alfred Newman. Brynner collected a Best Actor Academy Award and created a trend: many young men at the time shaved their heads after having seen THE KING AND I. Watch Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in a brief clip from the movie.

Rodgers & Hammerstein returned to film producing for a final time, 1958’s SOUTH PACIFIC. Starring Italian actor Rozanno Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor, the film was 1958’s most popular. Like OKLAHOMA!, it was initially distributed on a “road show” basis in TODD-AO before it was broadly released later in standard 35mm Panavision. Watch several songs from SOUTH PACIFIC here, including “Bloody Mary,” “Younger Than Springtime,” “Happy Talk,” “My Girl Back Home,” and “Carefully Taught” here:

I once thought the film version of SOUTH PACIFIC was overproduced, with its garish, distracting color filters used in its musical numbers, until I watched the Glenn Close vanity production. This SOUTH PACIFIC television version suffers greatly from miscasting: Close was far too old and sophisticated to portray provincial Little Rock-born Nellie Forbush. When she sings “Cockeyed-Optimist,” it is not very convincing. The dramatic tension Oscar Hammerstein and Joshua Logan had created on stage and adapted in the film version between the naïve, racist navy nurse and French born island plantation owner was absent here. Only Harry Connick Jr. as Lt. Joe Cable was adequate.
1961’s FLOWER DRUM SONG (1961) was the first big-budget film to feature an all-Asian cast. Set against the backdrop of contemporary San Francisco, the film stressed the tension between the old and young generations (“The Other Generation”) and the Old World versus the New (“Chop Suey”). This movie faced formidable competition from the multi-Oscar-winning “West Side Story” that year but was a mildly popular success. Watch Nancy Kwan sing about San Francisco’s wondrous “Grant Avenue”:

THE SOUND OF MUSIC was the most financially successful film adaptation of all Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. No one can deny its popularity. Premiering March 2, 1965, it was not withdrawn from its first release until Labor Day, 1969 over 4 years later. It was not unusual for the film to have runs lasting a year or more in major markets, and in Washington, DC, THE SOUND OF MUSIC had an exclusive run at the Ontario Theater for 97 weeks on a reserved-seat basis. Extravagantly underestimated by the critics, who took perverse delight in tearing it to shreds due to its “sugary” sentiment, the movie lured people again and again. Repeat business was phenomenal. It collected 5 Academy Awards including “Best Picture,” impressive when factoring its major Oscar competition, epic blockbuster “Doctor Zhivago.” Watch Peggy Wood as The Mother Abbess counsel Maria (Julie Andrews), singing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”: