How to Make Rahadlakum…

Several weeks ago I posted Eartha Kitt’s entrance to end all entrances in Timbuktu!, and have been led to this video of Kitt performing the second act number “Rahadlakum.” Stopping midsong, Kitt delivers the most tantalizing monologue about how to make the concoction. Kitt, to the accompaniment of the percussion section mesmerizes the entire audience with her recipe turning every ingredient and instruction into a double entendre. The song in Kismet was also a suggestive showstopper, only it was a duet assisted by the chorus. In Timbuktu, the song becomes a solo for Kitt, cutting most of the actual song but extending the performance by several minutes with her new monologue and stopping the show in the process.

I did a little searching around about “radhadlakum.” It is apparently a bastardization of the Turkish term “rahat loukoum,” whose literal translation is “rest for the throat” but is more commonly known as Turkish delight. After this you may never be able to look at your spice rack the same way again… Enjoy:

Eartha Kitt Makes an Entrance

Which might be one of the grossest understatements I’ve ever made. In 1978, the late, great Eartha Kitt made a comeback on Broadway in Geoffrey Holder’s revision of Kismet retitled Timbuktu! The new musical adapted the book and score of the original, transporting the setting from Baghdad to the eponymous African oasis. Kitt took on the role of Shaleem-La-Lume, originated in the earlier musical by dramatic soprano sexpot Joan Diener, and was given a brand new song (since “Not Since Nineveh” is topical to Baghdad) called “In the Beginning, Woman.” In the new song, she sensuously dispels the Biblical myth of whom God created first. The revision played the Mark Hellinger Theatre for 221 performances in 1978, costarring Melba Moore and Gilbert Price, before going out on national tour. Unfortunately, no cast album was produced. Though playing a supporting role, Kitt took top billing and walked away with the show and a Tony nomination for Lead Actress in a Musical. She got a star entrance so opulent and grand, it brought down the house every night. And now here it is, enjoy: