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February 13, 2021:

LAST NIGHT’S TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, the second showing of project one aka Tonight’s the Night was fun – about fifty-five people this time, but fun comments throughout. And now, one more on Sunday. I spent two hours yesterday, posting and tagging up a storm, probably tagged two hundred people, 99% of whom did not bother to watch, nor will they bother to watch on Sunday. I find it especially disheartening with Facebook “friends” and even more disheartening that the people who frequent the musical theater groups on Facebook will watch any amateur piece of dog dirt but not our stuff. I think since we’ve been doing stuff online maybe four or five from those groups have watched and they’ve all posted lovely things. People say, “Why don’t they do more original musicals not based on anything?” And then you do one and they can’t be bothered. Nothing to be done about it, sadly. You can lead a horse to water but can’t beat the horse because it’s dead. The comments for last night’s showing were wonderful and very much appreciated. Interestingly, the night before I’d found on the Tube of You and entire performance of the Tyne Daly Gypsy and I ended up watching all of it. I saw it back in 1991 and thought it was great and that Tyne was brilliant and the young gal who played Louise was the best I’d ever seen, which is why I sought her out to sing on Unsung Sondheim, and which began a long recording relationship with her – Crista Moore.

Watching it again and having seen multiple clips of Miss Patti LuPone and Miss Bernadette Peters and the Imelda Saunton performance, I can only say that Tyne Daly wipes the floor with all of them. Miss LuPone is either underpowered or overpowered, no in-between and it’s all so shmacty I can barely watch and I’ve seen most of her turn as Rose. Miss Staunton was so over the top I had to shut it off. And Miss Peters just felt wrong. The only Rose I’d seen onstage prior to Tyne Daly was Angela Lansbury and she was great for all the reasons Tyne was and I assume Miss Merman was. This Rose is a monster mantra – if that’s all you play, you lose. Because you have to understand why Herbie would put up with her – yes, she has her monster moments, but you can’t hate her, and she has to have warmth and charm at times. It’s why I like Rosalind Russell in the film, despite her singing. Daly is a force of nature in the show, but she’s also very funny, very frightening at times, and very charming at times. She understands Rose perfectly, but all these subsequent psychologically impaired performances are simply not for me at all. And watching Crista just reinforced how perfect a Louise she was – so real and touching and her transformation is wonderful to watch. The production’s weaknesses were Jonathan Hadary as Herbie – I just didn’t care for him – he’s okay and nothing more, and the Tulsa, who I remember really not liking back in 1991 and is even worse watching him now. But I don’t know anyone who’s played Tulsa who’s ever come close to Paul Wallace, who created it and also did the film. First of all, Jerome Robbins created the choreography specifically for his body and talents. And there don’t seem to be any dancers today who move like he moved or had his style and who wore clothes like he did. Just watch All I Need is the Girl in the film – it and he is breathtaking. And, of course, the Robbins choreography is extraordinary throughout. I’m not a fan of Mr. Laurents as a director, but I think the Daly production was the last time before he lost his mind and went down the psychological rabbit hole with the actors who played Rose under his subsequent productions. And his West Side Story revival was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, and one of the worst cast shows I’ve ever seen.

So, I wrote Crista to tell her it was on YouTube and how great she was. She hasn’t ever been able to find a complete video, so I linked her to it, and she was thrilled. In fact, I’m going to Clip Grab it so she can have her own copy. We’re going to talk on the phone today, but I pointed her to Tonight’s the Night, and she watched it and wrote me that she absolutely loved everything about it.

My goodness, I am going on, aren’t I? Otherwise, I’ve been sitting here like so much fish, listening to – yes, you guessed it – another CD of Hansel Und Gretel, this one conducted by Andre Cluytens. It doesn’t quite displace my favorite CD conducted by Kurt Eichhorn, but it sure does come close and it’s now my second favorite of all I have. Cluytens is a wonderful conductor, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra plays the HELL out of the score, and the singers are really great – Irmgard Seefried, Anneliese Rothenberger, Walter Berry, and Elisabeth Hongen.

Yesterday was an okay day. I got seven and a half hours of sleep, answered e-mails, had some telephonic conversations, ran some fixes by Muse Margaret, so the book has been fully proofed for now and the next proofing will be from me when Grant has finished designing the book.  I picked up a couple of packages, came home, ordered a pastrami sandwich from Togo’s, ate it when it arrived, and then watched about eight self-tape auditions. Then we had our second showing of project one aka Tonight’s the Night and we had some repeat dear readers in attendance and that was nice. After that, I went to Gelson’s and decided to try their spicy grilled salmon. I look at it all the time, so last night was the taste test. You only have to microwave for about a minute and thirty seconds. I thought it was pretty good, so that’s a good thing to eat as there’s nothing that’s more calorie friendly than salmon. I finished the Tobias Picker opera of Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I basically hated, then a short Respighi opera of Sleeping Beauty, which I basically loved, and then the Lukas Foss opera, Griffelkin, which I liked some of. Then you put on Mr. Humperdinck and hear a sublimely perfect opera and it’s a real palate cleanser.

Today, I’ll be up by eight-thirty and then she of the Evil Eye will arrive and I’ll go have an early breakfast somewhere fun, kill some time, hopefully pick up some packages, then at two o’clock we have a Zoom casting session, which I don’t think will last very long. Then we’ll set callbacks for next week, but prior to doing them, I want to do a five-minute Zoom session with all the candidates, so they know exactly what I’m looking for in terms of cast balance and performance and to weed out anyone who doesn’t have the technical set up to do it the way need to do it. After that, I’ll do some things that need doing, and then I can watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow, I’ll relax and then we have our final showing of Tonight’s the Night and I’m thinking we’ll do a Q&A afterwards, just because I enjoy that so much. I’m hoping all these people who’ve managed to miss this so far will be with us, so we have a nice and lively crowd. Then next week is all Kritzerland show, announcing two new Kritzerland titles, callbacks, getting the manuscript to Grant, and lots o’ other stuff.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by eight-thirty, have an early breakfast, kill some time, hopefully pick up packages, have a Zoom casting session, do things that need doing, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite Gypsy cast recordings, and which have been your favorite live and film performances? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had a fun second Tonight’s the Night showing.

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