Saturday, December 23, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "12 Days 'til Christmas"

Musical Theater Therapy celebrates the holiday (just the one) with one of the superstars of Broadway. Not George Hearn, not Richard Kiley, not Brian Stokes Mitchell, nor Len Caiou, not Gregory Hines or even Jerry Orbach. No, we're talking Broadway superstarrier...

We could only mean Boyd Gaines. Boyd is, naturally, the male equivalent of Audra McDonald combined with Angela Lansbury times Patti Lupone to the power of Chita Rivera. Or maybe it's Gwen Verdon. We forget.

Boyd Gaines has 4 Tony awards. Four. He has more Tony awards than any other male actor except one and for the life of us we can't figure out who that is right now.

Frank Langella... it took longer than it should have to find that.

But Langella has only been nominated for acting in plays while Gaines was the first performer, male or female, to be nominated in all 4 performance categories for his/her gender. He blazed the trail for Audra McDonald.

Of course he only won in 3 of those, probably because Frank Langella cock blocked him.

HOLY SHIT it was Frank Langella!!! Langella (Frost/Nixon) beat Gaines (Journey's End) along with 3 other impressive actors (Brían F. O'Byrne in The Coast of Utopia; Christopher Plummer in Inherit the Wind; and Liev Schreiber in Talk Radio). What are the odds... oh, right, 100% since it already happened.

We know you first saw Boyd as the would-be rapist in that one episode of The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, and you haven't thought of him as anything but super creepy ever since. It's common, that perception.

He's so talented that he's played 4 completely different characters on Law & Order. Broadway superstar!!!

Today's song comes from his Tony winning performance in the 1993 revival of She Loves Me--that production received 9 Tony nominations, with Boyd the only winner (Leading Actor in a Musical). Coincidentally the show's other Broadway productions have received multiple Tony nominations and won exactly one, so Boyd was the winner that time. Broadway superstar!!!

She Loves Me is one of the 47 different works (plays, movies, musicals, operas, interpretive dance pieces, dioramas, shadow puppet performance art, etc.) based on Parfumerie, a 1937 play by Hungarian playwright Miklós László, which is, in turn, based on the novel Push by Sapphire. The best known of these is probably You've Got Mail but really it should be the one starring Boyd Gaines, Broadway superstar!!!

In the 19 times Gypsy has been performed on Broadway, only one actor has won a Tony award for playing Herbie. Who do you think that is? No, not Frank Langella... it's Broadway superstar Boyd Gaines!!!

Today's song is "12 Days til Christmas" and today's lesson is that if you don't plan out these songs far enough in advance you'll miss the chance to post this on December 13th. Ooops.

Song of the Day: "Woman"

Kesha is never going to get a husband with vulgar language like this.

Song: "Woman"
Artist: Kesha

Friday, December 22, 2017

Song of the Day: "Way Out West"

Marty Stuart and Mike (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) Campbell made a record that merges retro country and halcyon California surf music. It's called Way Out West and even if you don't think about it, that's the perfect title for something like that. And here we are.

Song: "Way Out West"
Artist: Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Denton U.S.A.!"

In the annals of musical theater, the efforts to cash in on past success rarely succeed. For every Snoopy there's a Grease 2, Annie Warbucks, Bring Back Birdie, and Love Never Dies. And today's show: Shock Treatment, the 1981 movie musical following the exploits of Brad and Janet from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Only Brad was unavailable and Janet wasn't affordable: so Brad is the Brad one of the show's creators wanted before the Brad everyone knows as Brad was cast as Brad. Janet was just a much better singer than Janet. Bonus that Brad and Janet worked together before, on stage in Hair.

The show went through many changes during its evolution so is it fair to characterize this as a sequel? Yes, yes it is.

According to the movie's Wikipedia entry "Shock Treatment was a critical and commercial failure, not earning the same level of cult film status its predecessor received." Although in all fairness almost no movie ever has earned the same level of cult film status as its predecessor; they were some pretty big fuck-me pumps to try to fill.

Today's song celebrates Denton. It's "Denton USA!" The song manages to rhyme "civic duty" with "beauty" and, yes, he did say "doody."

They planned to film in Denton TX. Fun fact: my former employer had a phone room in Denton and I've visited the town several times. "Town"... the Census ranks Denton as the 200th largest city in the US (and only the 20th largest city in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, which means that the DFW area accounts for 10% of the 200 largest cities in the country).

Un-fun fact: Robert Snider is buried there.

They did not film in Denton due to a Screen Actors Guild strike.

Denton is home to the University of North Texas, whose renowned music program has seen past students nominated for more than 100 Grammys (winning more than 50). The Jazz Studies Division's One O'Clock Lab Band accounts for 7 nominations on its own.

Denton is also home to Texas Woman's University (just the one woman gets the university) which is coeducational, but the sorority to fraternity ratio is 5:2 so it's not recommended for an M.R.S. degree. Also of note is a shortage of student housing: "The housing shortage creates student wait lists and financial aid complications. Private rooms typically are not available even if a student is willing to pay significantly higher rates. Students seeking exemption from the living on campus requirement have to fill out and return paperwork."

They have to fill out AND return paperwork. Thanks Obama.

Today's song is "Denton U.S.A." from Shock Treatment. Today's lesson is that the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area accounts for 10% of the country's most populous cities.

Song of the Day: "All I Want"

'Tis the season, amirite?

Of course 'tis always one season or another. For me 'tis the season of listening to music from a shit ton of "year end" music lists so I might craft my own, only slightly derivative year end lists. It's quasi-curated for me to present to you, easy peasy. Well, easier peasy as there's still a goodly amount of searching and listening and what not.

That's how I came across this new track from Ride which is actually quite nice. Note: this is not Lush nor is it Kitchens of Distinction nor is it Slowdive who do have a 2017 album. Fun fact: I almost didn't even type this and how weirdly random would this post have been had I not mentioned the band or the song in some way?

Other seasons: season of the witch; season of the bitch; Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons"; and "Seasons of Love" from Rent.

Song: "All I Want"
Artist: Ride

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Merry Twistmas"

Musical Theater Therapy answers the question "is it still Hanukkah" with a resounding "Merry Christmas." No, wait, we mean "Merry Twistmas."

"Merry Twistmas" is one of the many Twist-able songs in the 1961 movie musical Twist Around the Clock. It was a remake of Rock Around the Clock from a few years earlier. It makes us wonder if there's a Dub Step Around the Clock or  Grunge Around the Clock that we're missing out on.

Here's the story synopsis from Twist Around the Clock's Wikipedia entry: "A struggling manager visits a hayseed town and discovers a new dance craze, 'the Twist' and hopes to turn it into an overnight nationwide sensation."

And here's what the producer had to say: "Twist Around the Clock only cost $250,000 to make, but in less than six months it grossed six million - so of course I'm gonna make more 'Twist' movies !"

Today's lesson: that lack of hesitation to do something simply to make himself some profit is what's wrong with society. It's why we can't have nice things. That sequel, Don't Knock the Twist, is one of the key reasons America's involvement in Vietnam turned into a morass. Think about that the next time you go see a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Song: "Toxic"

The Bellas of Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2, and Pitch Perfect 3, cover Britney Spears.

Song: 'Toxic"
Artist: The Bellas