I was able to sleep in a little bit more than I was last week. I felt more refreshed as I made Blackberry Pancakes for breakfast and listened to Mack & Mabel. Jerry Herman's best score is unfortunately attached to the depressing real-life story of movie comedy pioneers (and on-again, off-again lovers) Mabel Normand and Mack Sennett. To date, no one has ever been able to make this downer history lesson work on stage. It was a huge flop in the 70s, despite a cast that included Bernadette Peters as Normand and Robert Preston as Sennett. Too bad, because the music is fabulous, including two classic ballads, "I Won't Send Roses" and "Time Heals Everything."
Work could have been worse. It was busy, but not quite as bad as yesterday. It helped that the weather cooperated. It rained last night, around the time I got offline, but by noon, it was once again just cloudy, cool, and humid. My relief, the same college boy as the past few days, was right on time. I was able to get out with no problems besides a couple of cranky customers.
It was sprinkling lightly when I rode home. It waited until I was already there and making tuna salad for dinner for the showers to pick up. I don't think it's done anything since that, though it's still wet and humid.
I spent the rest of the evening just resting, reading, and listening to CDs. Follies is my favorite Stephan Sondheim show. This was another flop in the early-mid 70s, though it did run longer than Mack & Mabel. Two women who once appeared in a Ziegfield Follies-style revue and their husbands fight and try to figure out where their marriages went wrong during a reunion of former show girls that somehow turns into a real "Follies"-style revue in the end. Meanwhile, we see "ghosts" of everyone's younger selves in the background, commenting on the action and representing the past. It sounds strange, but there's some wonderful songs here, from searing ballads like "Losing My Mind" and "Too Many Mornings" to pastiche numbers for the former chorus girls, including my favorite tune from this show, "I'm Still Here."
My Favorite Year is a lot less dire. This cute musicalization of the 1982 comedy features Tim Curry in Peter O'Toole's role as Alan Swann, the perpetually drunk movie star who is coerced into appearing on a variety show in the 50s, Andrea Martin as the only woman writer on the show, and Lanie Kazan in her original role as a boisterous Jewish mother who married a Filipino prizefighter. While this isn't one of songwriters Lynn Aherns and Stephan Flahtery's better scores, it does have an awesome opening number, Benjy's description of behind-the-scenes at the variety show right before it goes on the air, "Twenty Million People."