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March 17, 2018:

COME AND SEE THOSE DANCING FEET

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it is late and I must write these here notes in a hurry as it is late. So, let me start with last night, since it is fresh in my mind. I attended a high school production of the musical comedy 42nd Street – dear reader Leslie’s daughter Alexa was in the ensemble. I saw this show right after it opened on Broadway and although I didn’t completely love it, it was very entertaining and Mr. Champion’s work was of champion quality throughout. He simply was one of the all-time greats. The book was paper-thin but with a cast like that production had, it would have been hard to fail. Then I saw it a second time after the show had moved to the Wintergarden because one of the Nudie Musical dancers was in the show and maybe even playing Billy Lawlor by that time. I liked it less that time around.

Then I saw the revival, which my friend Todd Ellison conducted, and it was okay – not as good as the original despite mostly recreating Champion’s work, but with a cast that wasn’t quite up to the original. Again, I just thought it was enjoyable but it never reached the giddy heights of the Champion original. I’ve steered clear of it ever since then. I always enjoy seeing kids strut their stuff and this was an ambitious show since not many of them had ever tapped. But the choreographer (not recreating Gower’s work) basically didn’t challenge them – just a lot of basic time steps and stuff – I always feel kids should be challenged. The original kids who did The Brain from Planet X had never tapped before, but I brought in a pro to stage that number and she gave them really hard stuff and you know what – they did it. So I get really annoyed when high school directors and dance teachers don’t challenge. This particular director, who is retiring after this production, didn’t do much directing at all, which is a real shame. Every person on that stage could have done better with a director in attendance, someone to push them and guide them. They had a person of color playing Peggy Sawyer, which was fine, and she was very cute, but she was asked by this director and musical director to riff on 42nd Street and yes all the kids in the audience woo-hooed as if this girl was on American Idol, but it was so wrong for the show they were doing, and that decision was just pure idiocy and shame on them, especially as the director spent the first ten minutes of the evening cheerleading the audience telling them to scream and applaud (shame on him for that, too) and explaining to us all about the 1930s. Well, sorry chum, they did not do American Idol riffing in that time period. As always with high school shows, the “set” changes went and on and on – it’s so simple a problem to solve, but they never do. Alexa was the prettiest girl on the stage but the choreographer chose to literally keep her all the way in the back for every single number – switch it up, choreographer. I gave Alexa a little tip about being in the back but performing as if you’re in the front – shining your own light on you.

The band was sans strings so that was a bit weird, but I have to give a shout out to the gal who played the bass – she’s really good, and so is the drummer. But oh those songs – that’s what the show’s all about, and it’s one charmer after another, my favorite being A Quarter to Nine. I decided right then to do a little put-together of those in the upcoming Kritzerland show.

After the show, Leslie, Alexa, and I went to Barone’s for food. I hadn’t eaten all day. I had the little dinner salad, a couple of pieces of pizza, and their excellent carbonara – I was famished, so it was all very tasty. Then I came right home. There was some leftover pizza so Grant was still next door working on his book so I gave him some.

Prior to all that, I’d gotten about five hours of sleep, did my necessary morning errand, then went back to bed. I happily slept another two-and-a-half hours, got up, answered e-mails, printed out orders from our flash sale, decided to extend it one more day, did some work at the piano and the computer, then went and picked up a couple of packages. Then I got ready for the show and then moseyed on over to the high school, which was in the Nuys of Van.

Today, I’ll hopefully arise after a good night’s beauty sleep, I’ll putter around the house, eat very lightly, and probably watch some stuff. We’re waiting to hear back from more singers, but I’ve started choosing songs for the two who are booked, and we settled on the musical director. Otherwise I’ll just relax.

Tomorrow is more of the same, then next week is busy with meetings and meals, doing a work session for the Kritzerland show late in the week, and stuff like that.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, putter, eat lightly, choose songs, cast, hopefully pick up some packages, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite Harry Warren songs? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, always happy to come and see those dancing feet.

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