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.