Monday, August 26, 2013

A Little Bit of Broadway 8/25/13

Hosted today by Sue B...and today, the "B" stands for 'Broadway!

First, a little rant about seeing The Book of Mormon in Chicago:
Amplification does not equal diction! The now ubiquitous microphone in the hairline has allowed for increased sound, but mumbled diction only means it is louder mumbled diction!
Forbidden Broadway Strikes back! comments with "Ethel Merman and Sunset Boulevard"...sing out, Louise!

Secondly, I appreciate naughtiness. I enjoyed Matt Stone and Trey Parker's movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut." I love Urinetown and [title of show]. But there is a difference between a cartoon movie and a Broadway show. Shows like Urinetown and [title of show] use adult language and themes, but when the show is over, they also give you food for thought. They are funny, witty, meaty shows. The Book of Mormon is wonderfully hummable, but in the end, it was cotton candy fluff. There is no 'there' there. And so, the Forbidden Braodway Alive and Kicking! parody "The Book  of Morons," which ends with "Oh my God, you killed Broadway! You bastards!" seemed apt.

To celebrate a comic strip with bite, today's feature was the 1956 OCR of Al Capp's Li'l Abner. Walter Kerr's review praised the score, stating "Every time to orchestra strikes up one of Johnny Mercer's and Gene DePaul's salutes to comic strip fury, the beat is driving, the voices's all done with zip and zingo."

The musical took satiric jabs at nuclear testing, big business, conformity, and government.
Here's a portion of the lyrics from "The Country's in the Very Best of Hands" which seems as fresh today as in 1956:
The Treasury says the national debt is climbing to the sky
And government expenditures have never been so high.
It makes a feller get a gleam of pride within his eye,
to see how our economy expands,
The country's in the very best of hands.

The building boom, they say, is getting bigger every day.
And when I asked a feller "How could everybody pay?"
He come up with an answer that made everything OK,
"Supplies are getting bigger than demands."
The country's in the very best of hands.

Don't you believe them congressmen and senators are dumb.
When they run into problems that are tough to overcome,
They just declare a thing they calls a moritorium.
The upper and the lower house disbands.
The country's in the very best of hands.

Li'l Abner featured the following cast highlights:

Daisy Mae--Edie Adams (Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical)
Abner Yokum-Peter Palmer
Mammy Yokum-Charlotte Rae
Marryin' Sam-Stubby Kaye
Appasionata von Climax- Tina Louise
Stupifyin' Jones-Julie Newmar (who reprieved the role in the 1996 revival!)

Michael Kidd also won the Tony Award for Best Choreography

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