In the first episode they replaced Valerie Bertenelli as the tough, over-bearing supervisor -- the victim, alas, of direction that told her, "Don't worry, you can't be too over the top -- and instead have a more nurturing Valerie Harper. (I guess they had cast & crew shirts already made up with "Valerie"on them...) She's clearly beyond her best days, but it was wonderful to see her, and she brought a good spirit.
The rest of the cast borders between perfectly fine and "yeah, we get it, you're a charming misfit." Apparently, they've signed Dick Van Dyke for a few episodes as a semi-regular. I'll keep watching for the time being because -- a) it's okay and I like the premise, and b) I can't wait to see Dick Van Dyke.
At the end of the pilot, there was a little talent show at the old age home where the plot was focused, and Valerie Harper jumps in to help out. What she does is sing a trimmed down version of the great song, "No Time at All," from Pippin, by Stephen Schwartz (who wrote Godspell and Wicked, among others). It was a treat to see -- especially Valerie Harper gamely doing her best. But it was much too trimmed down and had some the edge taken out (an edge which ultimately is what helps makes the song so joyously life-affirming). So, especially if you happened to see the episode, I wanted to play the original here, so you can hear what it's supposed to be.
It's a tremendous song. And with an even more tremendous performance -- with a back story that makes it even more powerful.
The song is performed by Pippin's grandmother, as her way of telling her young grandson why he shouldn't feel as lost and aimless in his life as he does. In the original production, the role was performed by Irene Ryan -- who you will recall most-famously played 'Granny' on The Beverly Hillbillies.
The song is slightly trimmed for the recording. In the show, she gets the audience singing along on the chorus. In the picture above, you can just-barely see the bottom of the huge scroll that they lower for the people to follow with the bouncing ball.
Here's how it's done.