Sunday, June 09, 2013

Across the Apartment

It was a gorgeous day when I woke up this morning, sunny, breezy, and warmer than yesterday but not out of line for this time of year. I had Blueberry Pancakes and slices of cantaloupe while listening to Brunch With the Beatles. Let It Be, the Beatles' last album, was recorded as they were just beginning their painful break-up. Some of the discord did end up in the music, including "Get Back" and the title number. Other favorites from this album include "The Two of Us," "Across the Universe," "The Long and Winding Road," and the 50s rock-inspired "The One After 909."

Made my weekly call to Mom during the second half of the show. Not only was she at home, but she was in a far better mood than she was last week. Dad was out at sea; Anny took a day off to spend time with her sons. Mom had a rare day to herself and intended to spend it working on her garden and cleaning the house. She told me about her new Kindle and the math games she'd downloaded for Skylar (Anny's oldest son, who is almost 9). I told her about my upcoming vacation and how much I'm looking forward to it.

I had some cleaning of my own to do after I got off with Mom. I desperately needed to finish the dusting. Every couple of months, I go do a really deep dusting session and go under everything - books, DVDs, dolls, stuffed animals. I don't do it every month because it takes a while - I have a lot of those things! Even just doing the entertainment area (section of the living room where I keep the TV and DVDs) and my bedroom took two hours.

Ran a couple of Broadway cast albums as I dusted. All three were flop shows from the 60s and 70s that told tales of travel that didn't always go as planned. Do I Hear a Waltz? was the only show written by Richard Rogers and Stephan Sondheim. Pity they didn't get along, as there's some really lovely music in this adaptation of the play The Time of the Cukoo about a spinister who falls for a (married) local man on a trip to Italy.

The Grand Tour did even less well. The play that was musicalized here is Jablowsky and the Colonel, with songs by Jerry Herman. Joel Gray plays Jablowsky, the little Jew who convinces a haughty Polish colonel to drive him from Paris to England to escape the Nazis during World War II. Though it won a Best Score Tony for Herman, it's not considered to be one of his better shows and flopped rather quickly on Broadway. I don't know how this worked on stage, but there's some excellent songs in the score, including Marianne's "I Belong Here" and Jablowsky's anthem "I'll Be Here Tomorrow."

Sail Away was also a vehicle for a star and a composer, in this case comedienne Elaine Stritch and British wunderkind Noel Coward. Stritch is the activities director of a cruise ship who falls for a handsome young millionaire. She's not sure the relationship will work out on dry land, and his mother's completely disapproving of their age differences. This was the only original show of the three I listened to this afternoon, and the least successful. Critics dismissed it as old-fashioned in the early 60s, and even now, despite a good performance by Stritch and some decent material (including Stritch's big final song, "Why Do the Wrong People Travel?"), it mostly sounds rather dated and is a disappointing send-off for Coward.

Headed for work after a very quick lunch. Work was very busy all evening as people prepared for high school graduation and for other kids to be on their last weeks of school. It finally slowed down long enough by 7 for me to leave with no relief (which was a pleasant surprise, given that we were short on help with long lines for much of the evening).

Ran the 1977 New York Opera version of The Merry Widow as I had a quick dinner when I got home. This much-praised version of the venerable Austrian operetta has a translation by Broadway composer Sheldon Harnick that's considered to be one of the best English-language versions ever done. Beverly Sills shines as the Widow whose money could save her kingdom.

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