Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lullaby of Show Business

I slept in quite a bit this morning. It was quarter of 11 before I finished the Carol Higgins Clark book Burned. (Incidentally, I love her books, but they are comic mysteries and really aren't plot-heavy. If you want something with heavier plot or deeper characters, the Regan Reilly series absolutely isn't for you. Like The Pyrates, they play more as a spoof of PI mysteries than hard-boiled noir.) I had an apple with a really big brown spot, so I cut the brown spot off, chopped it into pieces, and made Apple Cinnamon Pancakes for breakfast.

Today's CD theme was musicals about show business or putting on a show. I began with Copacabana, the Barry Manilow show from England which dealt with Tony and Lola of the famous song in the 40s nightclub...and the songwriter who created them and became smitten with the fictional showgirl. Though I think Manilow did appear in a movie version on TV in the 80s, he's not in this one, a West End stage version. Some of the songs are actually quite well done, including Tony's "Sweet Heaven" and "Who Needs to Dream?" My favorite song is the vivacious ensemble number that opens the story proper, "Just Arrived," with Lola and many other hopefuls coming to New York to become stars.

I moved ahead a decade and went further north to Boston for Curtains, the last show John Kander and Fred Ebb did before Ebb's passing (with assistance from Rupert Holmes). Murder is also involved in this musical, where we see the star die during the finale of an on-the-road musical in 1959. Turns out everyone had a reason to kill her, as she was a lousy actress and really bringing the show down. The stage-smitten detective (David Hyde-Pierce, who won a Tony for this role) does what he can to find out who killed the star and help the director and producer try to make the show work. While not the absolute best thing Kander, Ebb, or Holmes ever did, there's some good music here - my favorite numbers are Hyde-Pierce's touching "Coffee Shop Nights," explaining why the detective is so crazy about show business, and his fantasy duet with the dead star's understudy, "A Tough Act To Follow."

Swept the porch as I did the 2001 revival of 42nd Street. I have the original cast on LP as well, but the revival added three excellent songs ("With Plenty Of Money and You," "Keep Young and Beautiful," and "I Only Have Eyes For You"), and the performances are equally fun. The porch was surprisingly not too bad. There were more flower petals from one of the trees on the ground than seed pods. Seed pod season must finally be winding down. Good - that means I can clean the porch furniture either this week or next week.

Work was on-and-off busy for most of the night. At one point, I even did some returns. Alas, it was starting to get busy again when I left. Some annoying customers didn't help, either. I did manage to get out on time, and there were otherwise no major problems.

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