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April 5, 2017:

VIDEOS IN THE NOTES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, you want videos, we’ve got videos. I shan’t post them all in today’s notes because that would create a video glut, but I’ll post some now and some in tomorrow’s notes – parsing them out, as it were. So let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Here’s Robert Yacko doing our opening number – the What If the Stephen Sondheim of 1962, instead of writing the show he wrote that year, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, had written Sweeney Todd.

Here’s Robert and Will Collyer doing the infamous Silverware, from We Take the Town, the musical about Pancho Villa that closed during its out of town tryout despite starring Robert Preston. I recorded this on Unsung Musicals and did it in our revue Lost and Unsung – this is one of the songs on Stephen Sondheim’s list of songs he wished he’d written.

I love how the audience didn’t know quite how to react at the start – which is what happened in the revue, too – but within twenty seconds the laughs start. Now here’s the wonderful Kerry O’Malley doing Home – not from Beauty and the Beast or The Wiz – but from Minsky’s, the musical version of The Night They Raided Minsky’s. When I posted this on Facebook, the lyricist, Susan Birkenhead, saw it and loved it and was flabbergasted and she passed it along to the composer, Charles Strouse.

Okay, now we have our three-parter. Here’s part one.

Isn’t she something? Here is part two.

The only Mama Rose in history to play the trumpet. And here’s part three, where she actually does her real number after trying out one more song.

Now, during her applause this next thing happened right in the middle of it.

There’s simply no one like Bruce Vilanch and I, for one, would cast him instantly as Miss Hannigan. Here’s Kerry and Will doing I’ll Never Fall in Love Again from Promises, Promises – Kerry played Fran Kubelik when Encores did the show, and Will played C.C. Baxter when Musical Theatre Guild did their concert version a couple of months ago.

Finally, here’s Hadley Belle Miller doing I Want to Be a Rockette.

I’ll have more tomorrow – still have to upload a bunch.

Yesterday was an okay day. I got nine hours of sleep, which was lovely, got up, answered e-mails and stuff, then went and had a cup of chicken soup and a bagel. After that, I picked up two little packages, then did some banking. After that, I made a Rite Aid run – I shan’t mention which Rite Aid because every time I mention Rite Aid somehow all the cherry chip ice cream disappears. Happily this undisclosed Rite Aid had at least ten containers of cherry chip and on sale yet – two for seven bucks, so I bought two. Then I came home.

I did some work on the computer, cast a couple of folks for the May show, but we still have a lot to go – also trying to get two guest stars for this one. So, the search continues. I got the very good news that Two for the Road shipped and is scheduled for delivery on Friday, at which point we’ll get them all shipped out – and still more than three weeks ahead of the official ship date. Whew! Then I did some more work on the computer, read dear reader Jrand’s wonderful Amazon review of Thrill Ride, which made me VERY happy, and then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on Blu and Ray entitled Ride the High Country, directed by Sam Peckinpah, and starring Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea and an incredible cast of supporting players. I love this movie dearly – in fact, it’s one of my all-time favorites. The DVD was VERY disappointing because it was lifeless and brown. This new transfer has perfect color and is a pleasure, save for the odd decision to have window-boxed credits. But that’s a nitpick and hardly worth mentioning. The movie runs a tight ninety-four minutes and is filled with brilliant dialogue – it’s funny, rueful, dramatic, and Mr. Scott and Mr. McCrea each deserved an Academy Award for their fantastic performances. You watch them and you realize that there is simply no one like that working today – that kind of actor has gone the way of the dodo bird – they are both completely unique, both in looks and in voice – the only ones really left who you could say that about are probably Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford. But you look at today’s mumbling, lightweight actors brooding their way through everything and you mourn for the likes of Mr. Scott and Mr. McCrea. I’ve always loved Randolph Scott, but Mr. McCrea is one of my all-time favorite screen actors – and he is virtually forgotten today, which is just shocking considering he worked with some of the greatest directors in the history of the cinema and did some of their greatest films – and he’s wonderful in everything – comedy, drama, suspense, westerns – there’s nothing he didn’t shine in. And just in case you dear readers need a memory jog, here are some of his classics: The Most Dangerous Game, These Three (William Wyler), Come and Get It (Howard Hawks and Wyler), Dead End (Wyler), Union Pacific (De Mille), Foreign Correspondent (Hitchcock), Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges – and one of his greatest performances), The Palm Beach Story (Sturges), The More the Merrier (George Stevens), and that’s just a small sampling. The score by George Bassman is fine – a great, great main theme, but occasionally overdone cues that are close to Mickey Mousing – but overall I really like it. I cannot give this a high enough recommendation – it’s an elegiac and completely beautiful film from start to finish.

After that, I had a nice telephonic conversation with our very own Mr. Nick Redman, who is feeling better with each passing day – I’m going to try and visit him again this week. I was also uploading all these videos throughout the day. And we set the casting and rehearsal dates for Dial ‘M’ for Murder, so that’s good. And I did relax and did listen to some music.

Today, I have a meeting with my set designer and I’ll see some ideas he’s come up with, and then I’ll eat something, hopefully pick up some packages, try to finish casting so I can choose some songs, and I’m also going to start doing some work on the script for the Sherman Brothers musical, mostly trying to get the opening of the show the way I think it should be.

The rest of the week is meetings and meals, seeing a couple of things, and doing whatever needs doing.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a meeting, eat, hopefully pick up packages, finish casting, choose songs, work on a script, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, hoping everyone enjoyed the videos in the notes.

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