Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BILLY BARNES & FRIENDS at THE PANTAGES THEATRE and GETTING HAROLD ARLEN BACK TO BROADWAY!

(Show Host, Barry Williams performs “Flash In The Pan”)
Yesterday, I received information on two of my favorite composers which led to the perfect content for my blog today. Billy Barnes and Harold Arlen. On Monday night, The Actors' Fund in Los Angeles did a tribute to Billy Barnes. I was lucky enough to be in Los Angeles in February when they honored Carol Channing on the occasion of her 90th birthday. I've always loved Billy Barnes. I'll get to Harold Arlen a little further into the blog.

Barbra Streisand - Have I stayed too long at the fair (from Color me Barbra)
Director/Producer John Bowab along with producer Martin Wiviott have yet again brought another successful “Musical Monday” cabaret to the historic Pantages lobby. Under the musical direction of Steven Smith, the most recent sell out production focused on the stellar career of beloved composer and lyricist, Billy Barnes with a special evening of “Billy Barnes and Friends.” In addition to performances by Eileen Barnett, Carole Cook, Nancy Dussault, Jane A. Johnston, Karen Morrow, Barry Williams and JoAnne Worley along with host Barry Williams, were multi media clips from film, television and stage featuring the talents of Judy Garland, Bette Midler, Carol Burnett, Barbra Streisand,
Angela Lansbury, Goldie Hawn, Joel Grey, Carol Channing, Diana Ross, Lucille Ball and Cher performing classic songs, created by the man affectionately known as “the Revue Master of Hollywood”-Billy Barnes.
Production numbers included: “MOVIE STAR”, “CHAPLIN WALKED HERE,” “INNER CHILD,” “CAPTAIN'S DAUGHTER,” “BUNS,” “THE VALLEY,” “LEADING LADIES” “QUEEN OF EQUITY WAIVER,” “FLASH IN THE PAN,” “WHO IS…,” “A LITTLE LIFT,” “DOES ANYONE HERE LOVE ME,” “SHOW VOICE,” “SOMETHING COOL,” and “HAVE I STAYED TOO LONG AT THE FAIR.”
Among those in attendance were noted Billy Barnes Revue performers such as Ruta Lee, Mitzi Gaynor, Patricia Morison, Jackie Joseph, Marcia Wallace and more. Barnes hits include "(Have I Stayed) Too Long at the Fair" recorded by Barbra Streisand (in her album "Color Me Barbra"), and "Something Cool", recorded by jazz vocalist June Christy. His revues were the springboard for many talented comics and singers, including Bert Convy, Ken Berry, JoAnne Worley, Jackie Joseph, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Donald Ross, Dick Patterson, Dave Ketchum and Barnes' former wife, Joyce Jameson. On television he wrote special material and original musical production numbers for Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Danny Kaye Show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, Cher and The Carol Burnett Show, as well as writing opening production numbers for several Academy Awards telecasts. He wrote the songs for the 1976 television musical adaptation of Pinocchio starring Sandy Duncan in the title role, Danny Kaye as Mister Geppetto and Flip Wilson as the Fox. Barnes also had a recurring acting role on Mad About You in the 1990s as "Mr. Edlin," the musical director and pianist of a community theatre.(Carole Cook performs “Queen of Equity Waver”)
Producer/writer, David Rambo, remarked “What an amazing night! This show could easily go on the road and perform to sold out audiences everywhere.” Rambo is currently very actively working with colleague Marc Cherry on the upcoming Actor's Fund Tony Awards® Party honoring the remarkable career of Hal Holbrook on Sunday, June 12th at the Skirball Center. The evening will feature host Marilu Henner and a special presentation of the Julie Harris Award to Mr. Holbrook by friend and colleague Sean Penn.(Eileen Barnett performs “The Valley”)
The highly anticipated Musical Monday's series benefits THE ACTORS FUND, a national human services organization that helps everyone - performers and those behind the scenes - who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping more than 12,000 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund's programs include social services and emergency assistance, health care and insurance, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund has - for nearly 130 years - been a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition.
Visit www.actorsfund.org.
Nancy Dussault (pictured)was born in Pensacola, Florida, her parents were George Adrian, a naval officer and Sarah Isabel (née Seitz).She grew up as a "Navy junior". A former resident of Arlington, Virginia, she graduated from Washington-Lee High School (W-L) where she was an actress and singer in the W-L drama program under director Jack Jeglum and a choral singer in the nationally known Washington-Lee High School Choir and Madrigal Singers under director Florence Booker. She is an alumna of Northwestern University.
In 1962, Dussault stepped into the role of Maria in the Broadway production of The Sound of Music. She received a Tony Award nomination in 1961 for Best Featured Actress (Musical) for Do Re Mi and was nominated for her performance in Bajour (1965). Of her performance in Do Re Mi and later career, Bloom and Vlastnik wrote: "Confidently clowning alongside such pros as Phil Silvers and Nancy Walker...she never faded into the scenery. Equally comfortable as a pure soprano or a rangy high belter, her versatility was well captured on the...cast album...Well cast as a situation comedy wife, she spent much of the 1970s and 80s in California." Other stage shows included Quality Street in 1965 at the Bucks County Playhouse in Pennsylvania.She also appeared in the City Center Gilbert & Sullivan NYC Company, directed by Dorothy Raedler, with such Metropolitan Opera singers as Nico Castel, Muriel Costa-Greenspon, and Frank Poretta, Sr. Dussault took over as the Witch in Into the Woods on Broadway (1987–89).

Jo Anne Worley (pictured) (born September 6, 1937) is an American actress. Her work covers television, films, theater, game shows, talk shows, commercials, and cartoons. She is best known for her work on the comedy-variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
Worley was born in Lowell, Indiana, the third of five children. In 1962, her father remarried and his second union gave her two half-brothers and two half-sisters.
Always known for her loud voice, Worley once said that when she attended church as a little girl, she never sang the hymns but would only lip-synch them for fear that she would drown out everyone else. Before graduating from high school, she was named School Comedienne.(Eileen Barnett, Carole Cook, Nancy Dussault, Jane A. Johnston, Karen Morrow and JoAnne Worley)After graduating from high school in 1955, Worley moved to Blauvelt, New York, where she began her professional career as a member of the Pickwick Players. This led to a drama scholarship to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.(Eileen Barnett, Carole Cook, Nancy Dussault, Billy Barnes, Karen Morrow and JoAnne Worley)
John Bowab(pictured here with Billy Barnes and Martin Wiviott) is an American director and producer of television and theatre.

Bowab began his career in theatre, directing a number of stage productions. Such as Mame (1983), The Night of the Hunter (2003)[2] and most recently 70, Girls, 70 (2010).

In the late 1970s, he moved on to television, amassing a large number of notable directing credits.
Some of directing credits include The Cosby Show, Benson, Bosom Buddies, Gimme a Break!, Small Wonder, Making a Living, Full House, Who's the Boss?, The Facts of Life, Family Matters, Double Trouble, Ellen and among other series.

(Joni Berry, Billy Barnes and Ruta Lee)Barnes started writing musical comedy sketches while still in high school, and continued while at UCLA. He started collaborating in college with Bob Rodgers, and their first professional revue, a Cabaret Concert Show, was staged in 1956 in Los Angeles. (Patricia Morison and Dale Olson)He wrote the songs for the 1976 television musical adaptation of Pinocchio starring Sandy Duncan in the title role, Danny Kaye as Mister Geppetto and Flip Wilson as the Fox.(Cast, Crew and Actors Fund staff - Back Row: John Bowab, Meg Thomas, Eileen Barnett, Barry Williams, Steven Smith, Carole Cook, Keith McNutt and Louie Anchondo, Front Row: JoAnne Worley, Jane A. Jonston, Billy Barnes, Nancy Dussault and Karen Morrow)




(Photos Credit: Daniel Lam) (Source Harlan Boll)

FORGET WONDERLAND! BRING THE MAN WHO TOOK US "OVER THE RAINBOW" TO BROADWAY!


My dear friend Fred Barton(pictured, right) is collaborating on a new show with Scott Thompson, a musical celebrating the music of Harold Arlen. (http://www.oneformybaby.com/demo.html)
ONE FOR MY BABY is a sexy new song-and-dance book musical based on the songs of the legendary Harold Arlen, celebrating the Golden Age of Big-City Nightlife. ONE FOR MY BABY will be directed and choreographed by Scott Thompson, with arrangements and musical direction by Fred Barton.
They both have collaborated on the book. Of course, we ALL grew up with Harold Arlen thanks to THE WIZARD OF OZ! Wow! What a rich legacy Mr. Arlen has left us. Harold Arlen wrote some of the greatest hits from the 30's and 40's, including the entire score to the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz. Songs such as Over the Rainbow, Get Happy, Stormy Weather, It's Only a Paper Moon, I've Got the World on a String, and Last Night When We Were Young are just some of the standards that live on today and have distinguished Harold Arlen as one of the Great American Composers of the 20th Century.
With shows like WONDERLAND (HOW DID THIS SHOW MAKE IT TO BROADWAY!?!?!), AMERICAN IDIOT (It kills me that this is in my beloved St. James Theatre!), and ROCK OF AGES, NOW, IS THE TIME FOR "ONE FOR MY BABY" ON BROADWAY!
About “ONE FOR MY BABY” and HAROLD ARLEN



This book musical is a sexy, funny, slightly dark, tribute to the golden age of night-life in the big city – a time when people smoked, drank, and danced, and weren’t nearly as afraid to die. Like a 1940’s film, the characters are fast-talking and familiar – yet as the story unfolds, their unique, intrigues and heartbreaks collide, culminating in an inevitable, fatal explosion.

WHY ARLEN- WHY NOW?
Unlike his peers (Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Kern), Harold Arlen has yet to receive his due on the Great White Way, and Fred Barton and Scott Thompson are passionate about changing that. We ALL think his time is long overdue.
After recording their demo CD, starring Anika Noni Rose, Carolee Carmello, and Gavin Creel, and attracting the enthusiasm of major Broadway producers, they are now ready to fund the all-important full Workshop production which will propel the show to Broadway.For an unprecedented figure of under $100,000, we will produce a FULL PRESENTATION, including choreography, musicians, and a full cast that will include major Broadway headliners.
(Carolee Carmello, pictured)
The workshop will be co-produced by the One For My Baby LLC, and The Broadway Musicals Company, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation – so your contribution here will be TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.
( Pictured:Scott Thompson)
ONE FOR MY BABY is a cinematic song-and-dance extravaganza, which we intend to showcase in its fully-realized form. With the producers' interest we've cultivated, and the outstanding connections we've made, your contributions (matched by Broadway producers) will facilitate this Workshop, on our way to the ultimate Broadway production!

His music is everywhere! You have probably heard, and maybe even hummed, a Harold Arlen song today and didn't even know it! Though he is most noted for composing the songs for the film "The Wizard of Oz," particularly Over the Rainbow, which was recently named the Number One Song of the Century, he has written over 400 songs including favorites like: It's Only A Paper Moon, Stormy Weather, I've Got the World on A String, and Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.


And yet, it’s been over 40 years since the last complete Arlen score was heard on Broadway. How is it that one of the greatest composers of popular, film and Broadway music has been absent so long from the Great White Way?

George Gershwin said of Arlen- “He’s the most original of all of us” and Irving Berlin opined, “He wasn’t as well known as some of us, but he was a better songwriter than most of us!” We agree- hence- “ ONE FOR MY BABY” - the Harold Arlen Musical.


At www.HaroldArlen.com, you can learn about Harold Arlen, one of the Great Twentieth Century Composers, and his music.

There you can discover how Harold developed his musical career, browse through his catalogue of compositions, and listen to several samples of his works. Take a look at his life in pictures by visiting their on-line photo album. Find out where you can see and hear Harold Arlen's works performed in "What's New" and then shop for your favorite Harold Arlen tunes from the comfort of your own home. For the media, they have provided an avenue for licensing and easy access to press releases and updates on various projects. HAROLD ARLEN (A fellow Aquarian! No wonder he wrote about rainbows!)
(Born Hyman Arluck)
February 15, 1905 - April 23, 1986At www.HaroldArlen.com, learn how his musical career developed, see pictures of him and his friends throughout the years, and hear clips of some of his greatest songs by visiting the LISTENING LOUNGE located in the MUSIC page of the site.


Please consider a contribution large or small to ONE FOR MY BABY at Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/21512231/new-broadway-musical-one-for-my-baby, if you love top-notch show music and great big Broadway song-and-dance musicals as much as we do – have we got a show for you!

DON'T LET THIS SHOW GET AWAY!


All you have to do today is bask in the LOVE and talent that surrounds you!


Tomorrow's blog will be about Ken Greves(who has his own Harold Arlen project happening!), Leslie Orofino (who just had two incredible appearances at The Laurie Beechman and is about to take this incredible show to Bob Egan's New York), and Barbara Porteus (who has a brand new show opening next week with Barry Levitt and directed by Peter Napalitano)...the first three suggestions I receive!

Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

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