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Angela Lansbury

Anyone Can Whistle

March 20, 2022

Although when MasterVoices chose the third of the four Stephen Sondheim/Arthur Laurents collaborations, "Anyone Can Whistle," as part of their 80th season at Carnegie Hall, they had no way of knowing that it would prove to be a memorial to the late Mr. Sondheim rather than a tribute. This rarely revived show, now considered a “cult classic,” a euphemism for a quick flop in 1964 running only nine performances, was ahead of its time, attempting a new form, one that Sondheim has called “the first absurdist musical.” Performed by stars Vanessa Williams, Santino Fontana, Elizabeth Stanley, Douglas Sills, Eddie Cooper, Michael Mulheren, and Joanna Gleason as the narrator, it was beautifully sung under the direction of maestro Ted Sperling, but can’t hide the fact that Laurents’ libretto is extremely scattershot taking on far too many targets for one show. Subtitled “A Musical Fable” in its first publication, the musical is really a cartoon satirizing everything imaginable. The theme is one of individualism versus conformity, a big trope for shows and movies in the turbulent 1960’s, now symbolized by the more famous "King of Hearts" (1966), "Your Own Thing" (1968), "HAIR" (1968) and "Easy Rider" (1969). [more]

On The Town … with Chip Deffaa: Jerry Herman and Michael Feinstein

January 3, 2020

Composer/lyricist Jerry Herman was, of course, a Broadway legend.   He gave us such unforgettable shows as "Hello, Dolly!," "Mame," and "La Cage Aux Folles." These musicals were all  huge hits, brimming with songs that audiences quickly took their heart--songs like "We Need a Little Christmas," I Am What I Am," "If He Walked into My Life," "The Best of Times," and, of course, two of the most enduringly popular title-songs in Broadway history: "Hello, Dolly!" and "Mame."  Among his other Broadway shows: “Milk and Honey,” “Mack and Mabel,” “The Grand Tour,” “Dear World,” “Jerry’s Girls,” “An Evening with Jerry Herman.”  He also contributed material to both “Ben Franklin in Paris” and “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine.” [more]

ON THE TOWN… with CHIP DEFFAA, February 3, 2018

February 6, 2018

If you’re in the mood for a night of laughter, “The Outsider”—a new comedy by Paul Slade Smith, receiving its East Coast premiere in January and February at the Paper Mill Playhouse--is great good fun.  Oh, I’m not claiming it’s profound or a show that you’ll never forget, like “A Chorus Line.”  If “A Chorus Line” is like a fine roast-beef dinner, “The Outsider” is more like a hot dog with all the trimmings.  But sometimes a hot dog with all the trimmings just hits the spot. [more]

On The Town … With Chip Deffaa .. April 4, 2016

April 8, 2016

it’s significant that Steve Martin has won five Grammy Awards for albums he’s made–two in the category of “comedy,” and three in the category of “music.” He loves to play the banjo (an instrument, incidentally, that has a prominent role, along with the fiddle, in the music we hear in “Bright Star.”) He’s collaborated with Edie Brickell on two albums. And their ongoing musical collaboration has provided the foundation and inspiration for this engrossing musical play. [more]

BROADWAY’S 2006 Fall/Winter Season

January 27, 2007

The White Way barely had time to recover from last season’s exciting Tony race when Martin Short roused the sleeping giant with his manic ode to himself, Fame Becomes Me. [more]

Gypsy

March 2, 2003

Within seconds after musical director Marvin Laird picks up his baton, you will know why composer Jule Styne's slam-bang overture to "Gypsy" is considered by many the greatest and the most invigorating overture ever written for an American musical (okay, so you prefer Leonard Bernstein's more highfalutin "Candide"). Know this, however, that those who do go to this "Gypsy," will hear, probably for the very last time, the sound of 24 musicians in the pit (thanks to the concessions made during the recent strike). That alone is worth the price of admission. [more]