My friend Kari, our blogosphere’s answer to Tina Fey, had the opportunity to participate in a conference call interview with the one and only Elaine Stritch about her upcoming appearance on the 30 Rock Christmas episode. For those who aren’t watching this brilliant series – and you should be, Stritch plays Colleen, the unrelentingly brash and tough-as-nails mother of Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). She won an Emmy for her first appearance on the first season finale. You can read the delightfully colorful and unabashedly honest things she had to say about the series and her co-star here. Stritch has asked Fey to write an episode for her to appear in with Nathan Lane as her other son. I up the ante, and say bring back the whole Donaghy clan including Molly Shannon as their sister. (“I want you to punch your sister in the face.” from that particular first season episode is one of the many comic lines this contemporary classic has to offer).
It seems that every production of Show Boat has featured a different number in the eleven o’clock spot. At that point of the production, the period is the 1920s and Magnolia has retired gracefully to allow her daughter Kim to become the next big musical comedy star. In the original Broadway production, Norma Terris played both Magnolia and Kim, in which she presented “Kim’s Imitations,” in which she did impressions of popular people of the era, which itself was replaced by a reprise of “Why Do I Love You?” shortly after opening. For the London production in 1928, Kim (Edith Day) sang “Dance Away the Night.” The 1946 revival featured what was to be Jerome Kern’s final song “Nobody Else But Me” written specifically for Jan Clayton.
In 1993, Harold Prince took on the musical, with considerable revision done to the troublesome second act, including a new showcase for Kim, called “Kim’s Charleston,” a 20s-flavored dance piece featuring a period variation on “Why Do I Love You?” and featuring the Tony-winning choreography of Susan Stroman. Here is the Tony performance of the latest in the long evolution of Show Boat with Tammy Amerson as Kim, Elaine Stritch as Parthy and John McMartin as Cap’n Andy. Enjoy.
I don’t know about you, but I’m already there…
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11
“30 Rock” (9:30-10 p.m.)
CHRISTMAS SPIRIT TAKES OVER 30 ROCK AS LIZ ATTEMPTS TO FULFILL CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS WISHES; ELAINE STRITCH GUEST-STARS — Only days before Christmas, Liz’s (Tina Fey) parents ditch her to celebrate the holidays at a couples-only retreat, leaving her all alone for the holiday and to fill the void, she participates in a charity program, “Letters to Santa,” to help underprivileged kids have a nice Christmas. Meanwhile, Jack (Alec Baldwin) takes his frustration out on the TGS staff when his plans for a dream holiday vacation away from his overbearing mother, Colleen (guest star Elaine Stritch) are crushed. The TGS crew are forced to give up their plans to produce a last-minute Christmas special. Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer, Judah Friedlander and Keith Powell also star.