Best of Broadway
With the Tony Awards coming upon us this Sunday, I thought it would be a good time to post this.
That said, I have no idea precisely what "this" is -- but I'm sure glad it exists. It's just identified as "1984 Tony Awards The Musicals." So, that would suggest is a production number that took place during...well, the 1984 Tony Awards. Except this isn't a mere "production number" -- it's 32 minutes! That's like a separate show. Except it's too look for a half-hour slot and not long enough for an hour show.
So...maybe it is just one bejeepers of a production number during the middle of the Tony's. It's a salute to Kander & Ebb, Stephen Sondheim and Jerry Herman, and features an impressive range of wonderful performers, including Robert Preston, Julie Andrews, Carol Channing, Tony Roberts and a whole lot more.
Many of the performers are singing songs made famous by others. But several recreate their own classic songs. George Hearn belts out a phenomenal "I Am What I Am" from La Cage aux Folles (albeit tastefully in a tux, rather than his gown in the show), Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon bring back their famous "Nowadays" from Chicago, Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters re-create a number from their Mack & Mabel (although it looks like Ms. Peters couldn't make it for the show, and they recorded her earlier), and a few others.
It's a fairly good collection of songs. A lot are just snippets, but many are sung in their entirety. (A couple are odd choices, for my taste.) You will either be bowled over by the wildly energetic Dorothy Loudon in two numbers, or think the scenery could do with a little less chewing. I really like her -- but not as much here. Basically, I get the sense that she's auditioning for The Dorothy Loudon Show. But she sure is enthusiastic.
Overall, this is a real treat. It comes in three separate videos, but they should run seamlessly together.
6/6/2013 01:31:00 pm
Yeah, the format is a little odd with some weird people selected for certain songs. Raquel Welch sings a song that Liza did almost as soon as Liza left the stage? There were also a lot of people that the general public would have associated with movies or TV, not Broadway. It was fun though and they should have revived Mame with Leslie Uggams. I know that the whole plantation sequence wouldn't have made much sense, but she would have been great.
6/6/2013 02:39:33 pm
I agree that some of the choices are quite odd -- but overall, that's one heck of a "production number." I'm not sure if Leslie Uggams had the free-wheeling sense of comedy to pull of "Mame," though maybe, but mainly I love the suggestion and comment. Especially imagine the line, "...who put us little Dixie Belles to shame."
6/6/2013 02:52:18 pm
It was one hell of a production number, too bad it would never get onto network TV today and Great Performances budget is too small to put a show like it out on a regular basis. The Sondheim birthday concert from a couple of years ago is the most recent example that comes to mind. You might be right about Uggams and the comedy, but most of my memories of her come from her toiling in daytime TV when I was a kid. As I recall she held her own on "funny" shows like Password and Pyramid. Weather that would have translated to doing Mame live, I don't know. I forgot about that Dixie Bells line. The whole sequence would have to been staged as a fever dream or an accidental acid trip! Still, I would have liked to have seen it done. I'd settle for almost anyone in a major revival at this point. I love the show, but other than some TV performances by Lansbury, I've only seen the movie. Not Lucy's finest moment, but its the only filmed version.
6/6/2013 04:31:54 pm
Back in 1997, I had one of my periodic brainstorms. CBS had just had a big hit with an original TV musical, "Mrs. Santa Claus," with Angela Lansbury and a score by Jerry Herman. I called a friend at CBS and suggested they re-do "Mame", with that same team of Lansbury and Herman -- in the same "Murder She Wrote" time slot and additionally market it as with the original star finally getting to recreate her classic role on film. She was 71 at the same, a bit old for the role, but not too old. I couldn't get my suggestion past this stage, and I still gnash my teeth over it.
6/6/2013 05:42:33 pm
As devoted as the Murder She Wrote audience was, I'm surprised that CBS wasn't interested. As for the proposed Cher version, I keep imagining Flapper costumes designed by Bob Mackie.
6/7/2013 12:28:31 am
In fairness to CBS, someone there *may* have been ultimately interested and realized what a no-brainer idea it was, but I wasn't plugged in well-enough there to get the suggestion very far. And at lower levels, it's much to easy for the default answer to be "no."
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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