Thursday, September 22, 2011
MY NEW PHILOSOPHY...and taking a page from Gypsy Rose Lee!
-George Sand, French author (1804-1876)
Happy Thursday and last day of summer Everyone ... it's a fine day outside!
Yesterday the world was in turmoil. Not because of the economy. Not because of some earthly catastrophe. But because FACEBOOK has changed its format! There's an old adage that reads "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I think that these constant changes that Facebook makes shows a total disregard for its users and subscribers. I think that's true of most businesses, however. Rather than trying to keep their current customers happy, they are more focused on next year's customers. Therefore, constant changes are being implemented.
Better than before!
It very rarely is.
So today my new philosophy (thank you, Andrew Lippa) is never get comfortable. Things are constantly changing. Especially in the world of the internet. Something that you love today is GONE TOMORROW. I used to be on MySpace. NEVER even go there anymore.
GooglePlus is breathing down Facebook's neck.
If Facebook does not play its cards right, I guarantee that it will fall out of favor within the next 12 months. My advice to Facebook, LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS! Bring back those aspects that everyone loved. You don't have to compete with Twitter and/or GooglePlus or anyother social media. If you do what you do well, your numbers will continue to grow.
When I got up this morning, once again, I had NO IDEA what I wanted to write about. Then, I got an email from David Kenny for EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN, his Saturday night radio program heard over WBAI 99.5 FM
and on the Internet at:www.wbai.org.
So my blog today is based on his Sunday night show!
"MY NEW PHILOSOPHY!"
Inspired by the ANDREW LIPPA song,
we will feature songs
with a philosophical message.
I remember sitting in our dressing room at The Hilton in Atlantic City in February 1999. Eric Milligan, one of the stars of our show was reading The New York Times revival of YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN which had just opened on Broadway. He was excited about the review that Kristin Chenowith had received. He knew her, I think they had worked together, and he said she was going to be a big star. The next month, Danny and I went to a concert of The New York City Gay Men's Chorus. Their special guest was Kristin Chenowith. I'll never forget her walking out on that stage in a very tight but incredibly sexy gown and sang "Glitter And Be Gay" from Candide. THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME I SAW KRISTEN CHENOWITH! Then on Saturday afternoon, I was at the Ambassador Theatre seeing Kristin as Sally in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. That did it! I was an instant fan and I have followed her ever since. Just adore her!
Now, in today's blog, I'm going to list some songs from My Own Personal Philosophy and some from David's list. You will have to tune in Sunday night to hear which songs he plays!
Rose Elizabeth Thompson Hovick (August 31, 1890 – 1954) was the mother of two famous performing daughters: burlesque artist Gypsy Rose Lee and actress June Havoc.
Rose Thompson married her first husband, Jack Hovick, when she was a teenager. She gave birth to Rose Louise Hovick in Seattle, Washington and two years later gave birth to her second child, another daughter, Ellen, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Later in their careers, the two daughters would adopt their more famous stage names, Gypsy Rose Lee and June Havoc. Rose Thompson Hovick's drive to create a performing career for her daughters eventually led to the end of her marriage to Jack Hovick, who disagreed with her intentions for the girls.
In later life, Rose had opened a lesbian boardinghouse in a ten-room apartment on West End Avenue in New York City. This property and a farm in Highland Mills, New York, had been rented for Mother Rose by Gypsy Lee. Rose shot and killed one of her guests (according to Erik Preminger, she killed her own lover, who had made a pass at Gypsy) at the boardinghouse.
This incident was explained as a suicide.
Rose Hovick became known as the ultimate stage mother by way of the classic musical Gypsy: A Musical Fable, based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee.
Originally staged in 1959, Gypsy - with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by Arthur Laurents - has since been performed in countless venues on stage and in film.
It portrays Rose Hovick as a domineering, take-no-prisoners stage mother who will do anything to further the success of her daughters in show business.
The character is often referred to as "Mama Rose" (or "Momma Rose"), a sobriquet that does not appear in the script and adamantly dismissed by its book writer Mr. Laurents.
In the musical Gypsy, the character is called Momma, Rose, or Madame Rose.
The role has been portrayed on stage and screen by a number of notable Broadway and film stars, including Ethel Merman in the original 1959 Broadway production of Gypsy, Angela Lansbury in the Original London production, and Rosalind Russell in the Warner Bros 1962 film Gypsy; stage revivals have starred Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, and Betty Buckley.
Patti Lupone's 2008 Revival of Gypsy, won her a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
A television movie starring Bette Midler premiered in 1993.
Hovick died of colorectal cancer in 1954.
Every serious actor, at sometime or other, wants to play Hamlet. Cast a great actor to speak “To Be Or Not To Be” and people will come to the theater. Gypsy is like that. Frank Rich of the New York Times actually called it a musical King Lear.
A look at Gypsy must begin with the original Mama Rose, Ethel Merman. Composer Jule Styne (Funny Girl, Bells Are Ringing, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) wrote Gypsy for Merman.
He knew her range and her vocal power.
Photo by Leo Friedman.)
Stephen Sondheim (originally considered as a potential composer for Gypsy) agreed to work as lyricist with Styne.
Sondheim wrote the lyrics knowing that Merman was the best enunciator in the business.
He was able to write lyrics knowing that they would be understood.
Twenty-Five years later, Merman could bring the house down singing “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” Don’t take my word for it, check out the performance on You Tube.
Merman was never suave; she was a pre-microphone Broadway belter and that is what she did in every song in the show, on the CD and actually on almost every recording she ever made, belt. That is not to say there is no nuance in her CD performance, but there are only shades, not dramatic vocal variations in sound. She may not have been the world’s best actress, but when she sings “Rose’s Turn,” actress be damned, this is Merman’s show. Stereophonic sound on recordings was perfected in 1957 and this was the first Merman recording done in Stereo. The album won the Grammy award. Those who followed Merman had to do her score, in her range, and were always aware that she created a classic performance on stage and on CD and that they would be compared to her.
This is one of my favorite recordings of Gypsy.
I believe it should be a part of everyone’s collection. Interestingly enough, Merman did not win the Tony for her performance. The 1959 Tony went to Mary Martin for The Sound of Music.
In 1973, Angela Lansbury opened Gypsy in London.
It was a great success there and moved to New York for a limited 120 performance run which ended in January of 1975.
She later brought the show to the Schubert Theater in Los Angeles.
The album and CD that came from this revival was a remix of the London production with a newly recorded “Some People.”
Lansbury, in her acceptance speech, gave credit to Ethel Merman.
Lansbury has a great voice with great power.
She is also an actress and, as such, she was able to add vocal nuance and drama to her performance on stage and on the CD.
Gypsy Rose Lee (January 9, 1914– April 26, 1970) was an American burlesque entertainer famous for her striptease act.
Gypsy Rose Lee was born Rose Louise Hovick in Seattle, Washington, in 1914, although her mother later shaved three years off both of her daughters' ages.
She was initially known by her middle name, Louise.
Her mother, Rose Hovick (née Rose Evangeline Thompson), was a teenage bride fresh from a convent school when she married Norwegian-American John Olaf Hovick, who was a newspaper advertising salesman and a reporter at The Seattle Times.
Louise's sister, Ellen June Hovick (better known as actress June Havoc), was born in 1913.
Rose Louise Hovick had her first brush with fame at age one, winning a healthy baby contest.
After their parents divorced, the girls supported the family by appearing in Vaudeville, where June's talent shone while Louise remained in the background.
At the age of 15 in December 1928, June eloped with Bobby Reed, a dancer in the act, much to her mother's displeasure, going on to a brief career in marathon dancing, which was more profitable than tap dancing at the time.
Louise's singing and dancing talents were insufficient to sustain the act without June. Eventually, it became apparent that Louise could make money in burlesque, which earned her legendary status as a classy and witty striptease artist. Initially, her act was propelled forward when a shoulder strap on one of her gowns gave way, causing her dress to fall to her feet despite her efforts to cover herself; encouraged by the audience response, she went on to make the trick the focus of her performance.
Her innovations were an almost casual strip style compared to the herky-jerky styles of most burlesque strippers (she emphasized the "tease" in "striptease"), and she brought a sharp sense of humor into her act as well.
She became as famous for her onstage wit as for her strip style, and — changing her stage name to Gypsy Rose Lee — she became one of the biggest stars of Minsky's Burlesque, where she performed for four years.
She was frequently arrested in raids on the Minsky brothers' shows.
She eventually traveled to Hollywood, where she was billed as Louise Hovick.
Her acting was generally panned, so she returned to New York City and invested in film producer Michael Todd.
She eventually appeared as an actress in many of his films.
Trying to describe what Gypsy was (a "high-class" stripper), H. L. Mencken coined the term ecdysiast.
Her style of intellectual recitation while stripping was spoofed in the number "Zip!" from Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, a play in which her sister June appeared. Gypsy can be seen performing an abbreviated version of her act (intellectual recitation and all) in the 1943 film Stage Door Canteen.
In 1941, Gypsy Rose Lee authored a mystery thriller called The G-String Murders, which was made into the 1943 film Lady of Burlesque starring Barbara Stanwyck.
While some assert this was in fact ghost-written by Craig Rice, there are also those who suggest that there is more than sufficient written evidence in the form of manuscripts and Lee's own correspondence to prove she wrote a large part of the novel herself under the guidance of Rice and others, including her friend and mentor the editor George Davis.
Lee's second murder mystery, Mother Finds a Body, was published in 1942.
"If we remember that we are not CAUSING things to happen, but rather simply seeing the thoughts we’re having reflected in what’s “happening” we can then appreciate that the only thing that’s “happening” is that we are seeing what we’re thinking in a benign mirror. Once we know this, instead of saying, “My God! What a crisis,” we can say, “Thanks. Didn’t realize I was thinking that. Let me exchange my thought.”
David Friedman, The Thought Exchange
Today, should a “crisis” arrive, ask yourself “What thought of mine is this crisis reflecting.” If you can identify the thought and exchange it, the “crisis” MUST disappear since it’s nothing more than a reflection of your thought.
"Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries"
"Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries" is a popular song with music by Ray Henderson and lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva and Lew Brown, published in 1931.
The song was revived in 1953 by singer Jaye P. Morgan.
The song title gave rise to the revue of composer Ray Henderson's music called It's the Cherries, which launched the American Composer Series in 2000.
And have a SENSATIONAL day!
It’s impossible not to.
"There But For You Go I"
Not only was Eydie Gorme a fantastic entertainer, but she took a song that was meant for a little boy (Patrick in "Mame") and turned it into a song that could be sung about a lost love.
"Let Me Sing And I'm Happy"
"If Love Were All"
This concert appearance, on the night of April 23, 1961, has been called "the greatest night in show business history".
Garland's live performances were big successes at the time and her record company wanted to capture that energy onto a recording. The double album became a hit, both critically and commercially.
"Throw It Away"
Harry Connick Jr. gave his very first performance of the title song from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever on live TV during the September 20 results show of Dancing With the Stars.
The Broadway-bound star put a jazzy vibe on the Lerner & Lane tune, which he noted he’ll be performing eight times a week when Michael Mayer’s revised version of the 1965 musical begins performances at the St. James Theatre.
Connick confessed his DWTS Season 13 preference (Iraq war vet J.R. Martinez), but added with a laugh, “I’m feeling the Chaz vibe, man!” (So is Broadway.com: Click here for our take on Chaz Bono’s Broadway future.) To see Connick sing “On a Clear Day” and talk up Broadway, enjoy the clip below.
"Pennies From Heaven"
"I Can See Clearly Now"
Be sure and tune in to David Kenny's EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN Sunday night for some of these songs and MORE!This Sunday: "MY NEW PHILOSOPHY!"
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
can be heard every Sunday 9-11 PM(ET)
over WBAI 99.5 FM
and on the Internet at:www.wbai.org
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Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com