Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The new version of On a Clear Day includes most of the original Tony Award-nominated Broadway score, adds songs from the film version, and interpolates Lerner and Lane numbers from the M-G-M film "Royal Wedding."Tonight on Broadway, a classic Broadway show gets a second chance and a new look. The show was written by the late greats Burton Lane ("Finian's Rainbow") and Alan Jay Lerner ("My Fair Lady." The original production in 1965 ran only 280 performances (from October 1965 to June of 1966) Boy, have these guys turned this story around. Harry Connick Jr. plays the lead. The new version of On a Clear Day includes most of the original Tony Award-nominated Broadway score, adds songs from the film version, and interpolates Lerner and Lane numbers from the M-G-M film "Royal Wedding.". Originating producer Liza Lerner (Alan Jay's daughter) joins with Tom Hulce (the voice of Quasimotto in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and Ira Pittelman and Broadway Across America (John Gore, Thomas B. McGrath, Beth Williams) to bring the show to Broadway.
The creative team includes American Idiot Tony Award winner Christine Jones (sets), five-time Tony Award winner Catherine Zuber (costumes), American Idiot and Spring Awakening Tony Award winner Kevin Adams (lighting), Peter Hylenski (sound), Tom Watson (hair), Lawrence Yurman (music director and arrangements), and three-time Tony Award winner Doug Besterman (orchestrations).
Here's how the producers characterize the romantic musical comedy: "Love blooms in unexpected places in the delightfully reimagined world of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Still in love with his deceased wife, Dr. Mark Bruckner (Harry Connick, Jr.), a dashing psychiatrist and professor, unknowingly takes on the case of his life with David Gamble (David Turner), a quirky gay young florists' assistant. While putting David under hypnosis to help him quit smoking so he can move in with his perfect boyfriend Warren (David Gehling), Dr. Bruckner stumbles upon what he believes to be David’s former self — a dazzling and self-possessed 1940s jazz singer Melinda Wells (Jessie Mueller). Instantly intrigued by Melinda, Dr. Bruckner finds himself swept up in the pursuit of an irresistible (and impossible) love affair with this woman from another time and place, who may or may not have ever existed."
The score includes the songs "Come Back To Me," "What Did I Have That I Don't Have Now?," "She Isn't You," and the title song, plus "Love With All the Trimmings" and "Go to Sleep," as well as "Ev'ry Night at Seven," "You're All the World To Me," "Open Your Eyes" and "Too Late Now."
I love the title song and many of the others and I congratulate the team and wish it so much success.! Now the show has real conflict that it never had before. The score will take some songs from the film version and also from Lerner and lane's musical movie "Royal Wedding that starred good old Fred Astaire who also starred in Burton Lane's film version of "Finian's Rainbow"
My friend Tony Westbrook confirmed to me yesterday that he did indeed go for the audition of chorus in the new musical "The Book of Mormon." There's another show I absolutely love" That opening number is absolutely classic. It's a beautiful fall day here and this coming Saturday, we're having a re-union holiday party for the cast of "WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW". We also have started the process of a recording session that we'll hold the third week of January 2012. We're getting some pretty amazing singers who are applying this time. Yesterday, I finished the re-wrirte of the pilot script for my newest TV effort "SENIOR HIGH DROP OUTS". This is going to be one hell of a funny show.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
REMEMBER "The Yearling"? Not the novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Pulitzer Prize, 1939).Not the M-G-M motion picture which starred Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman and, in an Oscar-winning performance, Claude Jarman Jr., 1946).But the Broadway musical version (that lasted two days and three performances, back in 1965). It opened on this fateful day at the Alvin Theatre where the musical "Annie" played so many years in te same venue. The show was produced by Lorre Notto, the famed producer of the Off-Broadway champion "The Fantastiks" with all of its many hit songs. This show had a score by Michael Leonard who also wrote the tunes to "How To Be A Jewish Mother" which ran only twenty one performances in 1967. Loree Notto after this disaster vowed that he would never again produce a Broadway show and he didn't.. This composer was reportedly the uncredited composer of songs that were associated with Duke Ellington's melodies in "Pousee Cafe" Only One song from the score became famous and that was Barbara Streisand's standard "Why Did I Choose You? With a Broadway track record like that, it's no wonder that Mr. Leonard is referred to as "one of the entertainment world's best kept secrets in advertisements for a revue of his songs. The young star of this fiasco was Jody Foster later to become a presidential press secretary for Ronald Reagan. I find it amusing that this composer wrote a score for "How To Be A Jewish Mother" and I am writing a TV series about a Jewish Mother who becomes the "First Mother" of the United States when her vice president son suddenly becomes the next president after the elected president dies of a heart attack. John Nugent and I have now constructed seven episodes and I've already done a re-write of the first three punching them up and maker them any funnier than they were. My training of five years with Danny Simon back in the 1980's is really paying off this time. Christmas is fast approaching and John and I really cleaned up the kitchen so that we can do some baking of cookies and bunt cake. We put light all over the outside and as the great old Meredeth Wilson song goes "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas." That great old Christmas standard actually comes from an obscure Broadway Musical called "Here's Love" even though it's based on the classic Macy's story "Miracle on 43rd Street" Also enjoying Christmas this year with two cats: our beloved Joshua: a rag doll Siamese mix and Dusty an older tabby cat. Boy are these guys characters in every sense of the word. I was amused at reading the story of the guy who faked his mother's funeral so that he could get some paid bereavement time off from work. He even put the notice in the paper where it was read by guess who-- that's right his very alive mother and her friends who all went down to the newspaper office to show off that mom was very much alive. As Mark Twain used to say "I think God created man because he was disappointed in the monkey!" So now this guy faces criminal charges, a lost job and the consternation of his mother all in one Christmas. I don't know about you man is the amusing guy of all creation.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Today would have been the 86th birthday of one of the most remarkable singers, dancers, comedian and genuinely amazing human being. His name was Sammy Davis Junior. I found this remarkably sharp picture of him photographed in a pensive mood, but pensive or not, he was simply a talent whose excess in drink and drugs were his mighty downfall. But let's not dwell on what brought him down. Instead let's focus on what he was and what he meant to others. His great good heart was legendary. Here then are some quotes by this remarkable man many of which I found fascinating:
"I wasn't anything special as a father. But I loved them and they knew it."
I'd learned a lot in the Army. I knew that above all things in the world I had to become so big, so strong that people and their hatred of any one black could never touch me"
". If you want to get known as a singer you hire five sexy chicks and let them fight over you onstage and for the cameras. That's publicity, man."
" Marilyn Monroe and I were rumored to be an item. We were friends. Nothing more. Marilyn was one of the sweetest creatures that ever lived."
" My wife May was young and beautiful, we were legally married, but she was caught in the prison of my skin."
"My home has always been show business Part of show business is magic. You don't know how it happens."
Also on this day in 1991 after 71 lumbering previews in New York City, the musical "Nick and Nora" finally opened on Broadway at the Marquis theatre, During all the preview time the poor musical underwent extensive script rewrites, multiple song replacements, and a major cast change. (It was surpassed by a record of 15 weeks of previews for the Broadway musical Spider Man: Turn Off The Dark which finally opened on Broadway in June 2011.)
The Broadway production, directed by Laurents and choreographed by Tina Paul, was simply unable to overcome the bad publicity and brutal reviews, it ran for only nine performances. The cast included Barry Bostwick (Nick Charles), Joanna Gleason (Nora Charles). The show was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Original Score. An original cast recording was released on That's Entertainment Records and was re-released on Jay Records in 1997. In his memoir Original Story By, Laurents confessed he didn't realize until the show was in previews that the characters of Nick and Nora Charles were identified so closely with William Powell and Myrna Loy that the public would have difficulty accepting anyone else in the roles. He also felt the lengthy preview period, during which theatre gossips and newspaper columnists spread largely unfounded rumors about the show's mounting problems, helped destroy any chances of success it may have had. Charles Strouse (the composer of "Annie and "Bye Bye Birdie" has had more flops than hits on Broadway.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Well besides the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, we also remember the late great Harry Morgan who passed from this life at the grand old age of 96. He was of course the co-star of Dragnet with Jack Webb and the loving but strict Col. Harry Potter on the classic television series MASH. He was an amazing character actor who got sidelined from becoming a lawyer in Santa Barbara in the 1940's and wound up being one of the busiest actors in Hollywood who was able to learn an entire script in one night's study at home. I used to always enjoy watching Harry's performances on both television and the big movie screen. He leaves three children one of whom became that lawyer that Harry didn't quite make. I want to remind readers of my blog that I've release a double CD album on CD Baby that has forty-seven songs from my songwriting career, all remastered and sounding as good as ever. There are songs from "Skylark" and "A Moment With Mister "C" and "The Invitation" which has a new improved libretto that can be purchased at LULU press. Go to www.CDbaby.com, for the CD and www.lulu.com for the new libretto. look under Creative Horizons. I'd sure appreciate friends picking up a copy of each. In conclusion, God keep the memory of our lost servicemen lost at Pearl Harbor: a senseless tragedy that led to the fiercest world war of all times, so far. and oh yes, almost forgot-- happy belated birthday to my cousin Sue Alan in Texas. This was a day of some accomplishment as well. I finished the second episode of a "First Mother" episode called "Martha Monovitz Saves The World." Can you imagine? I created this wonderful story and character back in the early 1990's and just now we are getting some interest from the networks? The second thing I accomplished today ? How about seventeen loads of laundry. I think I washed every shirt and pair of pants that myself and John Long owns. Wow! That laundromat guy surprised me today, I must say. For the very first time since I've been going to his place since he bought it seven years ago he actually said "Thank You". I guess it must be Christmas, after all.
Monday, December 05, 2011
Today, the amazing Walt Disney would have been one hundred and ten years old. He's now officially been gone more years than he was ever here guiding his company. I called Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland today just to remind them. They had no idea what today was. Well, I'm not surprised. I worked for Disneyland because it was on my bucket list-- something I wanted to do before I died. I loved my fellow cast members. They were all friendly and kind and thoughtful. Disney managers? Well, poor things they are far too absorbed in what i call "the business of magic." I traveled forty-three miles one way to get there. I worked all of the grad nights in one year. I loved waiting on the guests because I know so much about Walt and his company. The highlight of my day came at the end of that work shift when I would briefly stop at the base of Walt's old Disneyland apartment on Main Street and I would look up at his window on main street and say "Goodnight, sir, thanks for starting all the magic." This was especially wonderful during the Christmas season when the small lamp was always replaced by a small Christmas tree. All of Main street was deserted. It was after two o'clock in the morning as we cast members on the late late shift were all going home. I was the only one ever there. Was I the only one who cared? Walt Disney was one of the greatest gifts God gave this weary planet. He was very special to me for many reasons some of which I've shared in this journal since June of 2006. I really wonder sometimes what he might say if he were alive today. They're still guessing what he would have done. Imagine that: a simple boy from the Mid-West without a high school diploma who was so intrinsically connected with every creative step of this company that he knew when a song worked for a movie. He knew what the public would love in entertainment. He knew everything. Sure, Walt made a few mistakes in his days on this planet: a few pictures that flopped. But not like the studio does today. I happen to respect Bob Iger. He really tries. He seems to keep Walt's memory alive. I know that Walt's current Imagineering stagg really tries, but there is far too much politics in the Disney organization today: far too many "sharp pencil boys". Disneyland was not created for that, ladies and gentlemen and while the word "profit" is not a four letter word, it should not also be everything that you hang your hat on, While I worked at the Emporium and The Candy Palace cash registers (among others) I watched people spend money in a bad economy with money they really didn't have. But they seemed to spend it as if being loyal to the creations of this most amazing man. Walt used to say "We never do anything twice" and "You can't top pigs with pigs!" Those were the first philosophies the Disney organization threw out. Imitation is rampant in the company and big attractions (like the new "Little Mermaid") on which lots of money is spent just don't fufill Walt's legacy. It just disappoints. Please, Mr. Iger, you'll make lots of money-- Walt taught you how-- but please don't make money everything. There's no magic in that.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Well, it's been a month since I have written here and so much has happened. With the grace of God, my writing partner and I have found a theatre to perform our musicals in the city of Sherman Oaks. It's a really beautiful theatre and no, it's not the grandeur of the stage in the picture,but it is a stage that is twenty four feet wide and thirty feet deep with an electronic curtain, spots, special effect lighting and amazing beautiful cabaret seating. This theatre is a little gem and the Good Lord led us to it and I am so grateful to Him. The rental is modest and we have a an amazing publicist named Bill Hooey for whom we are turning his novel into a musical for a trade in services . It's an unusual tale let us just say that and its a great irony that we are turning this type of subject into a musical show, but we already have forty-five pages written and several songs. Our plans is to turn this venue into a self contained dinner theatre utilizing a caterer serving well drinks and wine and rewarding the cast with our profits. Our dinner theatre price will be thirty-three dollars ans will include a main course like Yankee Pot Roast, potato, veggies, bread, salad, dessert plus bottled water or ice tea and one well drink. We're thinking of adding three or four four dollars for a second helping option. All in all, with God's help we will put on a 9/11 Memorial show plus a review show with many of musicals in that show being previewed. And now also we are very close to making a deal for our TV series "First Mother" with Lanie Kazan set to star as the title character. I want this so much to happen and finally make my sisters proud of me. It's tough being related to a dreamer, especially when these same three sisters (two older, one younger) never really had a big dream of their own. Raising a family is wonderful, trust me, but the gift of having a dream and sticking with that dream until it has been realized is a joy I can not begin to describe to you. When God gives you a special talent, He expects you to carry through with that talent and see it trough to it's grand big conclusion. My manager Jimmy Chapel understands this and my partner John Nugent certainly understands this. We've been plugging away for the same amount of time. So now with God's guidance and help, we can get these first two projects cast and staged. This time John and I are not trying to direct. Thank goodness! We heard yesterday that a big TV director is interested in our musical "Brothers Laughter". So everyone who reads my blog (it's been going on for five years and a month) say a little prayer that things go right and smooth. If we can sell some ads and get a corporate sponsorship, we will really be ahead. And belatedly may I wish Neil Simon a Happy Birthday. He turned eighty-four on the Fourth of July. Amazing guy. Complex-as he brother Danny called him, but amazing.
Monday, June 06, 2011
We lost two Disneyland icons last Friday and they both died on the same day. The show was "The Golden Horseshoe Revue" and the performers were Wally Boag (my comedic hero) and his lovely and wonderful co-star, Betty Taylor. I used to love going to see this show every time I went to Disneyland. When I was a kid, I had written a Walt Disney tribute poem and got to know a man by the name of Robert Lilienwall. Bob was always so super to me and he always would call down to the Horseshoe to get me reserved seats for that day's performance. Without those reservations, guests would wait for two hours in line. Wally was a brilliant comedian who had the most amazing comic timing of all time. Walt Disney personally signed Wally for a two week contract way back in 1955. That grew to a gig that lasted until 1982 or almost thirty years. Betty was a beautiful and amazing entertainer who can really sing a wonderful song. In the show Wally (who played Pecos Bill) was supposed to Betty's boyfriend. The routine was as flawless and Abbott and Costello's classic "Who's on First!" Wally was also the voice of Jose, the parrot in Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room", the very first Audio animatronic attraction at Disneyland. We've created a new poster for our latest musical "Father Dreamer" which joins our incredible roster of thirty original musicals in our Creative Horizons catalog. Today is also a milestone in entertainment because forty years ago, today, the last "Ed Sullivan Show" was broadcast on CBS.Sunday nights, 8:00 pm, CBS. Ask almost any American born in the 1950's or earlier what television program ran in that time slot on that network, and they'll probably know the answer: The Ed Sullivan Show. For more than two decades, Sullivan's variety show was the premiere television showcase for entertainers of all stripes, including borscht-belt comedians, plate-spinning vaudeville throwbacks and, most significantly, some of the biggest and most current names in rock and roll. Twenty-three years after its 1948 premiere, The Ed Sullivan Show had its final broadcast on this day in 1971. In its first eight years of existence, there was no such thing as rock and roll to be featured on the program originally called Toast of the Town, yet even its first broadcast made music history when Broadway composers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II gave the world its first taste of the score from their upcoming musical, South Pacific. Over the years, live performances of new and current Broadway shows were featured regularly on Ed Sullivan, including Julie Andrews singing "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" from My Fair Lady and Richard Burton singing "What Do The Simple Folk Do?" from Camelot. Classical and opera performers also made frequent appearances, but of course The Ed Sullivan Show is now remembered most for providing so many iconic moments in the history of televised rock and roll. Elvis Presley's first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, in September 1956, was actually one of his most restrained and least thrilling. It was notable, however, given Ed Sullivan's assertion earlier that year that he'd never allow "The King" on his show. By the time the Beatles rolled around, Sullivan was far more comfortable with the hysteria young Elvis had caused. In fact, it was Ed Sullivan personally witnessing Beatlemania up close at London's Heathrow airport in 1963 that led the Beatles being booked for their historic February 1964 American television debut. Through the rest of the 60s, The Ed Sullivan Show continued to host the day's biggest rock acts: The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, The Doors, The Mamas and the Papas, Janis Joplin and more. Gladys Knight and the Pips were the musical guests on the final episode of The Ed Sullivan Show, which was cancelled shortly after its rerun broadcast on this day in 1971.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
One of the greatest natural clowns and incredibly funny men would have turned one hundred years old today. His name was Phil Silvers: the absolute master of in your face, but honest comedy. His Sgt. Bilko character was the best and I'm sorry to say can not be imitated-- even though dear Steve Martin tried. Funny funny man. Known as the "King of Chutzpah" Phil was born on Thursday, May 11, 1911, in Brooklyn, New York where he was the eighth and youngest child of Russian- Jewish immigrants, Saul and Sarah (née Handler) Silver. His brothers and sisters were Lillian, Harry, Jack, Saul, Pearl, Michael, and Reuben Silver. His father was a sheet metal worker, helped build the early New York skyscrapers. Dear Phil Silvers started entertaining at age 11, when he would sing in theaters when the projector broke down (a common occurrence in those days). Two years later, he left school to sing professionally, before appearing in vaudeville as a stooge. He then landed work in short films for the Vitaphone studio, burlesque houses, and on Broadway where he made his debut in the short-lived show Yokel Boy. Critics raved about Silvers, who was hailed as the bright spot in the mediocre play. He then wrote the revue High Kickers, until he went to Hollywood to appear in films.He made his film debut in Hit Parade of 1941 in 1940 (his previous appearance as a 'pitch man' in "Strike Up The Band" was cut). Over the next two decades, he worked as a character man for MGM, Columbia , and 20th Century Fox in such films as Lady Be Good , Coney Island Cover Girl and Summer Stock. When the studio system began to decline, he returned to the stage.
Silvers wrote the lyrics for Frank Sinatra's "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)". Although he was not a songwriter, he wrote the lyrics while visiting composer Jimmy Van Heusen. The two composed the song for Van Heusen's writing partner Johnny Burke, for his wife Bessie's birthday. Substituting Sinatra's little daughter's name Nancy at her birthday party, the trio impressed the singer to record it himself. The song became a popular hit in 1944 and was a staple in Sinatra's live performances. Silvers scored a major triumph in Top Banana , a Broadway show of 1952. Silvers played Jerry Biffle, the egocentric, always-busy star of a major television show. (The character is said to have been based on Milton Berle. .) Silvers dominated the show and won a Tony Award for his performance. He repeated the role in the 1954 film version that was originally released in 3-D. Phil Silvers became a household name in 1955 when he starred as Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko in You'll Never Get Rich, later retitled The Phil Silvers Show. . The military comedy became a huge television hit, with the opportunistic Bilko fast-talking his way through one obstacle after another. Most episodes of the series were filmed in New York . The series ceased production in 1959, not owing to any decline in popularity, but because of the high production costs of a show with a huge ensemble cast.
Throughout the 1960s he appeared internationally in films such as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and 4o Pounds of Trouble . He was featured in Marilyn Monroe's last film, the unfinished Something's Got To Give" . In the 1963–1964 television season, he appeared as Harry Grafton, a factory foreman interested in get-rich-quick schemes, much like the previous Bilko character, in CBS's 30-episode The Phil Silvers Show. Today is also the birthday of Irving Berlin: the father of American music. Amazing guy. He never read a note of music and he could only play the black keys on the piano. One of his early arrangers was George Gershwin. Early on, Irving sent him away saying "George, you are much too talented to be regelated as a note taker for me. Sorry alsdo to hear about Frank Wildhorn's musical "Wonderland" which will be closing after only thirty-three performances on May 15th. It's sad: Frank hasn't had much success lately on Broadway in the last ten years. but somehow I knew intrinsically that this musical was just not going to make it. It wasn't "large" enough in the high concept department and in my humble opinion just didn't pass the public's "Who Cares?" test that we've talked about here. It cost an average of $125.00 and $150.00 to see a Broadway show today-- so guess what? Today's Broadway musical has to be really top of the hill in high concept. Movie titles help, but are no guarantee. That pitch has got to contain the who, what, where, when and how in two sentences-- and those are the two sentences that need to resonate in the minds of the public. John and I continue to write as many high concept shows that we can. We're writing one on Saint Valentine and Jack The Ripper that looks at the story from Jack's Point of view. By the way, I found some funny signs that you might enjoy also. It's crazy how people don't realize what kind of message they are delivering!
Monday, April 25, 2011
In 1972, she moved to the Greater Los Angeles Area and sublet her apartment on Central Park West in New York City and her country home in Bedford, New York. Bea Arthur was a committed animal-rights activist and frequently supported People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals campaigns and joined PETA in 1987 after a Golden Girls anti-fur episode. She appeared on Judge Judy as a witness for an animal-rights activist, and, along with Pamela Anderson insisted on a donation to PETA in exchange for appearing on Comedy Central. In Norfolk, Virginia near the site of the PETA headquarters, there is a dog park named (Bea Arthur Dog Park) in her honor. Arthur's longtime championing of civil rights for women, the elderly, and the Jewish & LGBT communities—in her two television roles and through her charity work and personal outspokenness. Arthur died at her home in the Greater Los Angeles Area in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 25, 2009. She had been ill from cancer,and her body was cremated after her death. Her ashes were given to either a friend or relative.On April 28, 2009, the Broadway community paid tribute to Arthur by dimming the marquees of New York City's Broadway theater district in her memory for one minute at 8:00 P.M. Bea Arthur's co-stars from The Golden Girls, Rue McClanahan and Betty White, commented on her death via telephone on an April 27 episode of Larry King Live as well as other news outlets such as ABC. Longtime friends Adrienne Barbeau (with whom she had worked on Maude) and Angela Lansbury (with whom she had worked in Mame) released amicable statements: Barbeau said, "We've lost a unique, incredible talent. No one could deliver a line or hold a take like Bea and no one was more generous or giving to her fellow performers"; and Lansbury said, "She became and has remained my "Bosom Buddy" I am deeply saddened by her passing, but also relieved that she is released from the pain".
Arthur bequeathed $300,000 to The Ali Forney Center, a New York City organization that provides housing for homeless LGBT youths. Dear Bea won the American Theatre Wing's Tony Award (The Tonys) in 1966 as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance that year as Vera Charles in the original Broadway production of Jerry Herman's musical Mame. Arthur has received the most Emmy nominations for Leading Actress in a Comedy Series with 9. She later received the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series twice, once in 1977 for Maude and again in 1988 for The Golden Girls. She was inducted into the Academy's Hall of Fame in 2008.
On June 8, 2008, The Golden Girls was awarded the Pop Culture award at the Sixth Annual TV Land Awards. Arthur (in one of her final public appearances) accepted the award with co-stars Rue McClanahan and Betty White.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
It's a world of laughter, a world of tears.It's a world of hope and a world of fears.There's so much that we share,That it's time we're aware,It's a small world after all.
There is just one moon and one golden sun.And a smile means friendship to everyone.Though the mountains are wide,And the oceans divide,It's a small world after all.
It's a world of star light of sky and sea
Like a world without end
It's a small world after all.
If we just lock hands clear around the earth,
We will know how much brotherhood is worth.
It's a chain strong as steel
In it's strength we can feel,
I had absolutely no idea that the Sherman Brothers had composed so many verses for the incredible song. The original attraction was inteneded for the New York World's Fair of 196401965. The fair itself lost a lot of money because it was poorly laid out, but the Disney attractions were solid hits. We all perhaps have heard of the famous story about "It's A Small World" which was sponsored by Pepsi Cola at the fair. The Pepsi Company Board of Directors simply hated it and thought it was dreadful. Luckily for all of us the Pepsi Chairman had just died and his famous actress wife took over. She loved it and threatened to fire every member if the board whoopposed it. That celebrity ladies and gentlemen was none other than "Mrs. Wooden Coathanger-- JOAN CRAWFORD. Of course, there is another "Small World" story that is quite classic. Walt Disney was driving the Sherman Brothers to WED Enterprises back in 1963 to show them the prototype for the original attraction at the World's Fair. Walt was telling the Shermans how the ride would be a salute to the children of the world and how the attraction was being sponsored by UNICEF. The Shermans hearing the acronym UNICEF said "OH, we should donate our royalties to the UNICEF. Walt put the brakes on the car and put the car in park, turned around to the Shermans and said "Boys, don't you worry about the children of the world-- the world will take care of them-- DOn't you ever give your royalties to anyone!" Now Walt Disney could have turned that single generous offer into one hell of a marketing campaign, but Walt Disney was simply not that kind of man.. The Shermans make a lot of money a year for a little song that took ten minutes to write.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Burnett sang loud, for sure, but it was a loudness masking her character's embarrassment — mixed with a certain amazement at that sound emanating from her mouth. Connell, here, is of the loud-is-funny school; and it ain't. Although let it be said that she more than proved her mettle six years later when she got her hands on Agnes Gooch in Mame. Connell always seemed like a little old character woman, and a very funny one; which might explain why she was an unlikely, and apparently unsuccessful, Winnifred. The two comediennes eventually shared the stage, in 1995, in the mirthlessly unfunny Moon Over Buffalo; watching the pair I don't suppose anyone could imagine Connell having replaced Burnett in any role, ever.
As is the practice of Sepia Records, they have filled out the CD with another piece of Rodgers. Mary, that is. "Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves 40" sounds more promising than it is. This was a 1957 two-sided 78 for children from Golden Records, with the tale told and sung by Bing Crosby; Mary's music had lyrics by Sammy Cahn, of all people. But it is not, alas, found treasure. Today is also Steven Schwartz's sixty-third birthday and today in 1974 was the opening of Richard and Robert Sherman's "Over Here" which introduced John Travolta, Samuel E. Wright and Treat Williams to the world.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
In 1948, Diana Wynard fell 15 feet into a pit during a production of The Scottish Play when she walked off the stage with her eyes closed in the sleepwalking scene. A century earlier 23 audience members were trampled to death when a riot broke out during a performance of Macbeth in Astor Place, New York At the Old Vic production of Macbeth in 1937 a 25lb weight fell from the ceiling and missed Laurence Olivier by inches. Old Vic founder Lilian Baylis died on the night of the final dress rehearsal. In 1990 at Hampstead's Pentameter Theatre the plastic retractable dagger failed to retract and Lady Macduff (Dr Annabel Joyce) had to go to hospital. She made a full recovery. And just reported now, Two women from Kansas City, MO, who attended the Nov. 23, 2009, performance of Billy Elliot The Musical have filed a $4 million lawsuit over injuries sustained while watching the hit musical, according to the New York Post. While sitting in the front row at the Imperial Theatre, Elaine Rosen and Cynthia Noblit were hit in the face by a prop that flew off the stage during a production number prior to the end of the musical's first act.
Both were taken to a hospital following the incident. Fifty-four year-old Rosen now has a "permanent scar" on her face, according to her lawyer Steven Halperin, while 60-year-old Noblit suffered a concussion. The lawyer told the Post that the production had invited both women to return to the musical; the staging of the first act production number has also been modified to avoid any future incidents. The lawsuit, according to the Post, charges the show's producers, Billy Broadway and NBC Universal, with "'general negligence' for 'arranging a hazardous and dangerous choreography' and 'failing to give . . . any notice or warning' to the audience."
Billy Elliot, winner of ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, continues to play Broadway's Imperial Theatre. And on a personal, mention of "The Scottish Play's name" on stage proved to be very unlucky for my production of "Edgar Alan and Poe" and it caused a whole rafter of bad luck things-- but such is life. Happy Birthday to Harold arlen and on this day in 1986, show business lost the late great
and absolutely amazing Ethel Merman: the only singer in the world that could hold a note longer than Chase Manhattan Bank.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Other versions of Disney's Aladdin have been available for years through MTI's Kids and Junior series, which offers pared down versions of stage musicals, geared toward youth theatre performers and young audiences. Disney has also previously developed "Mulan," "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland" and "High School Musical" for its youth theatre series. Disney is also at work on a theatrical adaptation of its 1992 live-action film "Newsies," which also features a score by Menken and a new book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein. Yeah for Harvey! His magic will make it come alive! The property has been sought after by numerous schools and theatre groups across the country for years, and will likely receive its own pilot staging in the near future prior to being released as part of Disney's theatrical licensing catalogue. But right now, the new production is not aimed at Broadway, but licensing for schools and colleges. Our own show "The Bremen Town Boys" continues its rehearsal process and we have a wonderful director who is simply brilliant. Her name is Cat Deobler. The weather here in California has actually gotten over it's terrible cold spell. I actually have my front door open as I write this. That would have been stupid only four days ago. My new little cat "Joshua" is a real character, himself. He's a Siamese-Rag Doll mix and has more personality than some people I know.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
The walls of her Los Angeles home were adorned with pictures by Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, and Dorothea Tanning, all of which were reportedly gifts to her by the artists themselves. Like Picasso, she was a supporter of the Popular Front movement in the Spanish Civil War and raised money for charity to alleviate the suffering of Spanish children during the conflict. She also founded one of the first kennels dedicated to breeding Chinese Crested dogs in the U.S, "Lee", which was sold after her death to Mrs. Ida Garrett and Debora Wood. Gypsy Rose Lee died of lung cancer in Los Angeles in 1970. She is buried Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.