When Encores! clicks, it renders the imperfect to perfection. Do I Hear A Waltz? is a famously imperfect Broadway musical that very few ever got to see. (It ran for roughly six months, after opening in March 1965, and rarely gets revived.)
I am fond of the 1943 movie, but it does have its problems. The opportunity to finally see the show at City Center's Encores! series last week, ostensibly as it was originally performed in 1940 on Broadway, filled me with anticipation. And trepidation.
His words caught the public fancy -- such phrases as "my huckleberry friend," "one for my baby and one more for the road," "hooray for Hollywood," and the immortal "my mamma done tol' me" are prime Mercer.
In a day and age when producers, directors and author's executors think nothing of imposing their so-called artistic vision on Broadway masterworks that were pretty good to begin with, it is heartening to see producers, directors and executors just do the show as written.
Why can't they just do Broadway musicals the way the authors wrote them in the first place? is a not infrequent cry along the Rialto. If a show was a hit, if a show is a classic, why do modern producers, directors and book doctors insist on trying to make them better?
"Sing For Your Supper" was one of the many delights on a menu of nearly 50 songs by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart that were performed during 42nd Street Moon's recent musical salon (Thou Swell, Thou Witty!) dedicated to the legendary songwriting team.
Mary Rodgers died yesterday, at the age of 83. I do hope that her book is forthcoming, as she was a firsthand observer of and participant in our musical theater world. And one who was willing to speak candidly, with good nature and humor.
For many baby boomers, the first images of war they remember did not come from the news. Instead, they were from an extremely popular documentary television series that aired on NBC in 1952 and 1953 and was subsequently made into a feature film.
In recent decades, movie musicals that began as full-length animation features and original movie musicals have become multi-million dollar stage vehicles drawing audiences into theatres in cities around the world.
Of course, when songs so ebullient and/or passionate are this good, who's going to complain? Although a number of the Encores! dust-offs have moved to Broadway, this one certainly won't. Never mind, since it has enough going for it right where it is.
In her mid-80s, Barbara Carroll's still doing what she does best and what few others even begin to do as well as. Nowadays she does it more regularly at the Oak Room, where management is wise enough to turn the paneled room over to her every Sunday brunch.