Well, dear readers, we had our first Zoom rehearsal for the upcoming July 12 Kritzerland show and it was ever so much fun. We began with Kerry O’Malley – due to some technical difficulties on her end, we had to rush to get through all three of her songs. They’re really fun. After her, we had Adrienne Stiefel, and I heard her three – again, this woman has the voice of an angel and I chose three really good numbers for her, two of which are put-togethers. Then came Robert Yacko. One of his numbers is the group thing, so that’s one had to be done in advance. His other two numbers are put-togethers and real favorites of mine and his. He does them wonderfully. After Robert, it was Daniel Bellusci’s turn. One of his numbers is a put-togther, the other two are single songs.
That left Hartley Powers and Sami Staitman, both of whom are only doing one song in this particular show. I worked with Hartley first – she’s doing another of my favorite songs and she’ll be great – and then finally Sami, who’s actually doing a movie song that was a huge pop hit, which is an unusual choice for her, but she’s as perfect for it as I knew she’d be. And that was the Zoom afternoon. Did you know that Zoom spelled backwards is Mooz?
Prior to that, I’d gotten to sleep around three-fifteen, so that was good. What wasn’t good was that I woke up around five-thirty and was up for almost an hour. Then I went back to bed, fell asleep until text messages began coming in from my Ralph’s shopper via Instacart, making with the substitutions. I was able to communicate and make sure he got stuff I wanted. There was no food involved, just liquid refreshment. I had to stay up until the delivery, which happened at ten-fifteen. Then I went back to bed until about one. I have no idea how many hours that was other than it wasn’t enough.
Then we did the Zoom thing, and then, since I hadn’t eaten anything at all, I went to Taco Bell and got stuff, came home, and ate it all up. It was a good batch, as Taco Bell goes. Then I did some work on the computer, had some telephonic calls, never heard back from that young whippersnapper, and then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.
Last night, I watched a motion picture on DVD called Pennies from Heaven, the 1981 film starring Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Jessica Harper, Christopher Walken, and others, directed by Herbert Ross. I saw it when it came out and I have to say that the audience loathing of it was palpable, since they were most likely expecting something along the lines of The Jerk, which they most certainly did NOT get. I thought the movie was weird back then. I could buy into the concept – the dark, unpleasant story played against bright, period musical numbers. But ultimately the dreary became wearying and depressing and heavy. But I did love the musical numbers, all of which were choreographed by the great Danny Daniels, a choreographer who never quite got the due he deserved. His stuff in this film is brilliant and breathtaking, whether the big production numbers, especially Bernadette Peters and a bunch of kids, or a trio including Martin, the great Tommy Rall and Bob Fitch, or the wonderful solo turn of Christopher Walken. The production design and art direction are tops, the photography of Gordon Willis is amazing, I’m not a huge Herb Ross fan but his direction is fine here, and Martin acquits himself fine. And the arrangements of anything other than the period recordings by Marvin Hamlisch and Billy May sound great. I’ve seen it a few times since then and enjoy it more now than I did then, but its problems are its problems – but the constant are the incredible numbers.
I watched the twenty-year reunion panel discussion that’s included as an extra. It’s fun in its way, but downright odd that there is not one single reference to Bernadette Peters. I really don’t get that, unless Martin, who was involved with her at the time and broke up with her after the film, asked for that to be left out, but even that seems weird to me – she’s as vital to the film as he is. The transfer is okay – would love to see a beautiful transfer of this on Blu-ray. That said, at the time this film was made, MGM was the worst in terms of opticals and printing and boy does it show.
After that, I finished listening to Kaiserin Josephine by Emmerich Kalman – I really enjoyed it a lot – not as good as The Duchess of Chicago but filled with nice tunes. This is a live recording and is a rare misfire from my favorite classical label, CPO, sound-wise. It’s muffled, it has no life, but the performances and the band are very good so one simply has to look past the sound issues. I may see what alternative versions are available. Then I listened to Erich Leinsdorf doing my favorite piece of Mahler’s, the sixth symphony. It’s quite a good reading of the symphony, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in excellent RCA 1960s stereo sound. I found it on YouTube and it sounds great, but I’d love to own it on CD. Unfortunately, it only came out in Japan and that CD is long out of print and there are literally no copies available.
Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I have no real plans, although, having decided on what the August Kritzerland is, I’ll start thinking about what songs to include. We haven’t done a songwriter tribute since last year, at least I don’t think we have, so since I’ve pretty much done everyone I would devote an entire show to, we’ll do a repeat of a tribute but the last time we did this tribute was in February of 2011, so it’s time. And because I’ve produced a ton of this team’s work, I’ll be able to call in a few favors for our guest stars, so it should be fun. I’d like to use our core cast that’s done all the online shows, so we’ll see if they’re up for it – they know the routine and it’s easy and I love them all. But we’ll have at least three guests in this show. Other than that, I’ll eat, hopefully pick up packages, do whatever needs doing, then watch, listen, and relax.
Tomorrow will be more of the same, and then this week is all Kritzerland show stuff and a brand new month.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, start choosing material for the August show, eat, hopefully pick up packages, then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Mr. Herbert Ross, and your favorite films of Mr. Steve Martin? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had such a fun series of Zoom rehearsals.