Life sometimes manages to get in the way of my writing. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. About three weeks ago, my 17 month old nephew arrived in the United States for the first time (along with his mom, dad and uncle) so life has certainly taken a different route. Much of June was involved with preparation for their arrival; failed attempts at babyproofing, immense amounts of cleaning and shredding of junk mail and even new carpeting, tile floors, etc. We really seemed to leave no stone unturned getting ready for this arrival.
When Jack arrived, my focus shifted considerably from theatre. I’ve not seen a show since they arrived (though I’m thinking of taking my sister-in-law to her first Broadway show – Jack will have to wait a few years for his turn) and have had very little time to blog, be online and have been having a wonderful vacation from the blogosphere.
I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so exhausted in my life. But it’s a good thing. There’s a lot of running around, feeding, putting to bed, day trips, library visits and shopping. (I don’t do diapers). We’ve been busy practically every day with trips around the Hudson Valley and metropolitan area. So far we’ve done Bear Mountain, my father’s firehouse in Scarsdale (twice), my first trip to Coney Island (we skipped Brighton Beach and stuck to the boardwalk). Jack has even gone to the bank. There was also a family celebration of my father’s 70th birthday which was organized by yours truly (I was born July 7, my father July 8th and my mother July 11th).
It’s been quite a trip; and they’re still here for another two weeks – so my focus has been pulled. Not to mention I’ve also been getting more gigs these days, so there’s been a lot more musical preparation around the house. (This past Saturday, I had a wedding at 3 in Croton-on-Hudson, then a second wedding at 6:30 in Brooklyn. I’m still recovering). On top of that, I’ve been so distracted that I can’t really seem to find anything to write about. I don’t know if anyone else in the blogosphere has had that, but I sit down in a rare quiet moment and I’ve got nothing – and after running after an exceptionally energetic baby all day, I’ve actually been going to bed early…well earlier (hey, 12:30AM is sizable for this nipper).
So what has gone on this month? Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch have joined the cast of A Little Night Music. Within an hour of curtain, the first night performance of “Send in the Clowns,” was on youtube and it’s a rendition that ranks high with the likes of Johns, Dench and Cook. Word of mouth; however, says that Stritch has been more problematic as Madame Armfeldt, so it will be interesting to see how she grows into the part (and after her disastrous performance of “I’m Still Here” at the White House this evening, I’m seriously having concerns about her memory – she’s 85 and it’s no crime should she need a prompter or earpiece).
George Steinbrenner, the long-time owner of my beloved NY Yankees died last week of a heart attack. While he was known mostly for his antics as the team’s owner, he was also involved with several Broadway productions including the Tony-winning Best Musical Applause. Working in close association with Jimmy Nederlander, Steinbrenner had his hand in about five other shows, all of them failures. However, Mr. Steinbrenner is a Tony nominee himself, as producer of the 1973 musical Seesaw. (Another Broadway tie-in: when Steinbrenner was banned from running the team in 1990 by the MLB commissioner, Robert Nederlander briefly stepped in to take over the management). The Nederlander Organization paid tribute to Steinbrenner by dimming the lights of its nine theatres for a minute on Thursday evening. The final Steinbrenner show was the notorious 1988 flop Legs Diamond, which helped bring an end to the Mark Hellinger Theatre as a Broadway house.
Cast album news: Bruce Kimmel is releasing a second issue of Promises, Promises- this second edition restores David Merrick’s name to its place above the title (as it was on the LP) and is only one disc – the second disc from the initial release (which involves pitch correction and remixing). Masterworks Broadway will be issuing some obscurities including the 1958 NYCO production of Marc Blitzstein’s Regina, an opera based on The Little Foxes that folded on Broadway after 56 performances in 1949. In the coming months, they will also be releasing a 1959 studio recording of Song of Norway and the original cast album of Make a Wish, remastered on CD for the first time. These three will be available for digital download, or hard copies from ArkivMusic. PS Classics releases Sondheim on Sondheim in August and JAY Records issues the original cast album of The Scottsboro Boys in September. Also, the Tony-winning revival of La Cage Aux Folles is poised for a cast recording, with a label to be announced very soon.
On the bookshelf, I have so many things to get to. Currently on the nightstand – The Letters of Noel Coward. But I’ve also got Stripping Gypsy, The Necessity of Theater, Enchanted Evenings on my plate. Not to mention Gower Champion’s biography Before the Parade Passes By (I’m on a Prettybelle kick and interested in learning all I can about that legendary flop). I’m also very intrigued by the impending release of South Pacific: Paradise Rewritten which takes a look at the genesis from Michener’s short stories to its smash success at the Majestic, looking at how Hammerstein softened the racial intolerance in his libretto to make the show acceptable to mainstream Broadway, and also looks at the themes of gender roles and colonialism in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. (Which airs Live from Lincoln Center on August 18, and voila! Hollywood is interested in remaking the film!) Oh, and Patti LuPone wrote a memoir…
Other than that? I baby-sit on Wednesday. It’s all about opening doors. Oh – and one last tidbit. Jack has an obsession with youtube, to the point where he comes in, crawls in my lap if I’m at the computer expecting to be entertained. One time I was watching the famed YouTube clip of Donna McKechnie and the original cast of Promises Promises performing “Turkey Lurkey Time” on the Tonys. Not only did he enjoy it, but he pried himself out of my lap to dance around like a madman. He also heard his first ever Sondheim song: “Have I Got a Girl for You” from the OBCR of Company while we were sharing my ipod on a long trip. I guess Steve didn’t know he could make a baby dance in his carseat!