…which can only be described as “the mood of listen to dozens of covers of ‘Roxanne’ in a row.”
So far I’ve hit the version from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, which was so bad I turned it off in the middle; George Michael (from his so-bad-it’s-great American Songbook collection); Sting himself backed by a symphony, and Fall Out Boy. Who knows how long this will continue.
Have you ever thought of writing a Dorothy Loudon biography? I really think there needs to be one written, but would it be the right time?
Great biographical writing is a very particular skill that involves quite a bit of research — both of the dealing with documents and talking to people variety — that I don’t generally relish. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of payment: sadly, no biography of Dorothy Loudon would ever sell enough to justify the time and expense to do it properly.
(Am I right in assuming all the anonymous questions about Dorothy Loudon are coming from the same person? Why are you anonymous?)
Cole Porter wrote two very dirty songs about women named Kate: “Kate the Great,” which was dropped from Anything Goes when Ethel Merman demurred from singing it — I believe the story goes that she was embarrassed to sing it on the night her mother was in the audience — and this song, “Katie Went to Haiti,” which Ethel Merman introduced in DuBarry Was a Lady (and Mary Martin recorded for an EP of Cole Porter songs).
I don’t think “Katie Went to Haiti” is one iota less dirty than “Kate the Great,” so perhaps in the five years since Anything Goes Merman simply got more comfortable being racy in public. Lord knows she had a reputation for being racy in private. It’s interesting that Martin, who shot to stardom with a different dirty Porter ditty, “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” later disavowed singing dirty songs, especially after she starred as the almost-nun Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
It’s worth noting that while DuBarry is mostly forgotten (save for a film version that bears little resemblance to the stage show, an Encores revival 20 years ago, and a couple of British concert productions), most of its best parts have been transplanted into other Porter pieces including Anything Goes (“Friendship”) and High Society (“Well Did You Evah!”).
One small footnote about DuBarry was a Lady: according to Wikipedia, one of the women who took on the part Merman originated later in the original Broadway run was none other than Gypsy Rose Lee. Isn’t that interesting?
Continuing my weeks-long Gershwin kick, I was excited to see that Spotify now has a recording of Ethel Merman singing “Sam and Delilah,” which she introduced in Girl Crazy, a recording that combines three of my general obsessions: the Gershwins, Ethel Merman, and showtunes based on Bible stories.
“Up to His Old Tricks” from The Magic Show (Original Broadway Cast)
written by Stephen Schwartz
performed by The Entire Company (including Anita Morris, Robert LuPone, David Ogden Stiers, and Dale Soules)
This cast recording—brief as it is with 11 tracks totaling about 38 minutes of music—is a sheet delight and certainly one of my happy places. I still know very little about what is actually happening during any given number—let alone between them. This is the opening number. And I love it. So cheesy and happy and fun.
There is a DVD of a live performance that has long been commercially available, but I’ve never seen it. They apparently made a number of changes to the score, which severely diminishes the appeal of the production.
Also, is The Magic Show is arguably the most obscure show to have played 1900 performances on Broadway?
Speaking of great Stephen Schwartz opening numbers…
It’s tempting to post the whole album, but I won’t. However, it’s worth posting this track just to remind us all that although she was best known as a comedienne, Nancy Walker knew her way around a torch song.
A script for a Ms/Captain Marvel movie is ready to go. They just needed an actress. Marvel are having a meeting in a couple of weeks and will be ready to announce some films then … He said we’d be pleasantly surprised.
The ongoing Captain Marvel by Kelly DeConnick starts in July so that would be good timing and good publicity.
So there’s the character. But if you remember Quesada said that he couldn’t think of a an actress to for a tentpole film. Let’s help him! Cast Carol Danvers.
I know they’d never go for an older Captain Marvel, but I’d kill to see Felicity Huffman take on the character, with a script modeled after Brian Reed’s run on the book that had Carol as an older hero looking back on a life of being second-best and deciding to try for a second act that could outshine the first.
If you’re down there and have time, go visit the Dixie Stampede. It’s sort of a Medieval Times does the Civil War also owned by Dolly Parton. It’s kinda stupid, but amusing.
Oh, I know all about the Dixie Stampede. I mean, do you really think I need convincing with an attraction that can be described as “dinner theater with dancing horses*”?
The summer between junior and senior years of college, when I interned at Varese Sarabande, I drove from Cambridge, MA to Los Angeles, CA with two friends on an eleven-day journey that took us to Gatlinburg, TN, the town neighboring Pigeon Forge (where Dolly owns everything). We were so excited to visit Dollywood, and so crushed that tickets cost (at the time) $44. That seemed like a lot of money to someone heading west for an unpaid internship.
Having been disappointed by the price of Dollywood, we headed over to Dolly’s Dixie Stampede as a consolation prize… and found it was just as far out of our price range. Dolly and I were in a fight for quite a few years after that.
We had a great time in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge anyway, enjoying the board walk and especially the Comedy Barn. I don’t remember anything of the Comedy Barn’s mainstage show, but the pre-show featured the students of a local clog dancing school — there must have been 30 ten-year-old girls and one boy on stage doing their thing. They were amazing, for both the right and the wrong reasons. Had my friends and I any ambition, we would have created a poignantly hilarious independent movie based on those kids called Cloggin’. Some day maybe…
* except at Christmas, when it can be described as “dinner theater with dancing camels.”
I briefly ran a blog called “Camp vs. Kitsch” that offered two related examples (for example, the kitsch of a YouTube video of children performing songs that are totally inappropriate for them versus the camp of Kevin Smith building a set piece out of an elementary school’s production of Sweeney Todd) and asked readers to vote on which one they preferred.
Were I still running that blog, I’d be scurrying to find the camp counterpart to this album.