Sunday, May 13, 2018

More I Cannot Wish You

Began a gloomy morning with some Mother's Day reading from Colliers Harvest of Holidays. The short story was a really cute piece about a little Ukrainian girl who is lost while her parents are cutting wheat in the fields. She asks people where her mother is, claiming that "my mother is the most beautiful woman in the world!" She may not be to others, but to the little girl, she's all things comfortable and safe.

Made Banana Brown Sugar Pancakes for breakfast while listening to Gypsy. I have the original 1959 Broadway cast featuring Ethel Merman in her most famous role as Mama Rose, the ultimate stage mother. Rose is bound and determined that her daughters are going to be stars in vaudeville. She couldn't have picked a worse time to shove them into it. It's the late 20's, and the one-two-three punch of talkies, radio, and the onset of the Great Depression is killing vaudeville. She also tries to keep her younger daughter June in child roles well into her teen years and ignores her shier daughter Louise. The girls do eventually become stage actress June Havoc and mystery novelist and striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, largely without their mother's help. 

You can't go wrong with any version of this musical. It's one of the most beloved musicals ever made for a reason. Angela Landsbury appeared as Rose in a London and Broadway revival in the mid-70's. Tyne Daly was in a Broadway revival in 1989. Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone both showed up in Broadway revivals staged within a decade of each other in the 2000's. Imelda Staunton was in the most recent revival in England in 2015. Bette Midler starred in a TV version in 1993. (Rosalind Russell was Rose in the 1962 movie, but I'm pretty sure she was dubbed.) All should be on CD and/or online, and the Russell and Midler movies are on DVD and Blu-Ray. 

Called my own mother quickly after breakfast. Mom was at work, but she did say that she'd gotten the card she sent and she appreciated it. Mom works at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal in North Cape May, taking tickets. I imagine she was probably pretty busy this weekend, regardless of the weather. A lot of people may have wanted to take their moms to Lewes and the outlets in Rehoboth Beach for the holiday.

Headed out shortly after the CD ended. Work was a madhouse when I got in, with lines down the aisles. I started out doing returns, then got stuck in the registers for almost an hour. "It'll only be five minutes!" That's what the manager said. Then it really got crazy. At least most people were in decent moods as they shopped for (or sometimes with) their mothers. I panicked so badly, they finally took me off and put me on bagging. I spent the rest of the day bagging, gathering plastic bags, and doing the carts. 

I did get lucky in one way. It rained this morning, but by the time I went to work, the rain was long gone. It did shower a little while I was doing returns early in my shift, but once again, it was gone when I went home. I got in dry. 

I was so hungry when I got home, I had leftovers for dinner right away while listening to Donna Summer's On the Radio. Did a little bit of writing after I ate. Chirrut and Baze express their concern for Han, whom they'd become friendly with during the trip after Scarif. Leia is about to explain Han's real identity when Mon Mothma and crusty, fishy old Admiral Ackbar silences the room. Mothma, the most outspoken advocate of Palpatine in the Royal Council, has just learned that most of Palpatine's guards will be among the people during the Mid-Summer Festival, leaving Solo Castle and Palpatine himself unprotected. Ackbar takes over to explain their military strategy...

Broke at 8 for a shower. Put on the 1959 original cast album for The Sound of Music when I got out (and to cover Charlie screaming at the dogs downstairs again). Beloved stage star Mary Martin headlines as Maria here, winning a Tony (over Ethel Merman in Gypsy) for her work. The movie changed quite a few things from the stage show. "My Favorite Things" is sung by Maria and the Abbess when Maria's trying to explain why she's always such a clown; she performs "The Lonely Goatherd" to calm the children during that thunderstorm instead. Max and the Captain's original fiancee Baroness Elsa had two rather sarcastic numbers, "How Can Love Survive?" and "No Way to Stop It." Neither made it into the film version, possibly because they really don't jive with the show's optimistic tone. Maria and the Captain's big romantic moment was originally "An Ordinary Couple," also cut from the movie in favor of "Something Good."

I honestly prefer the film version. The cast is better, the music is better, and the placement is better. This is one of the very few musicals that was actually enhanced on the way to the big screen. The original cast is really for fans of Sound of Music, Rogers and Hammerstein, or Martin.

Ended the night with another favorite musical from earlier in the 50's, Guys and Dolls. The "guys" are gamblers who keep having to find a new place for their floating crap (dice) game. Head gambler Nathan Detroit makes a bet with smooth Sky Masterson, who will bet on pretty much anything, that he can take the lovely Sarah Brown, a member of the Save-a-Soul Mission, to Havana for dinner. Though she resists at first, Sky does manage to pull it off after he promises to bring the mission a full house of sinners. They fall for each other in Havana, at least until Sarah thinks he's been using the mission for gambling. Meanwhile, Nathan's stripper girlfriend Adelaide is dealing with a nasty cold, due to her boyfriend's inability to hurry up and propose.

I listened to the original cast from 1950 tonight...but despite some good performances (notably Vivian Blane and Sam Levene as the gambler and the woman who wishes he'd actually pay attention to her) I like the more dynamic 1992 revival cast with Nathan Lane and Peter Gallagher better. Blaine also appeared in the 1955 movie, with Frank Sinatra as Nathan and Marlon Brando as Sky, which is pretty good but is also missing music (a lot of songs were cut). 

Once again, the next round of thunderstorms didn't show up until well after I'd gotten home and online (and had gone downstairs to get a box of snacks Lauren sent for our vacation from Charlie). Hopefully, it won't be too bad for the next few days. I have a lot to do before Lauren arrives, including laundry, library trips, and counseling. 

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