Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunshine Girl On a Rainy Day

It was still sunny and hazy when I got up late this morning and made Dark Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Pancakes for a decadent send-off to summer. I first listened to I Had a Ball as I got my breakfast together. This 1961 musical features Buddy Hackett as a "psychiatric psychic" in Coney Island. He wants to bring together two down-and-out friends of his (Karen Morrow and Richard Kiley), but it turns out his ball really does have magical powers and has other ideas. This is more-or-less a throwback to the goofy musicals based around a star comedian that go back to the 1800s and were dying out by the early 60s. This was a flop, too old-fashioned for the 60s, but some of the music isn't bad, especially the title number for Morrow and the chorus and "The Other Half of Me" for Kiley.

Of course, the end of summer isn't the only thing people are honoring this weekend. I switched to one of the most famous musicals on working, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, while getting ready for work. This debuted in 1962, and while it also is technically a boy-meets-girl comedy, the boy, one J. Pierpont Finch (Robert Morse), is really more interested in is climbing the ladder of World Wide Wicket than chasing his secretary girlfriend Rosemary. The accent here is on spoofing the 60s corporate culture, from employee loyalty ("The Company Way") to sexual politics ("A Secretary Is Not a Toy," "Love From a Heart of Gold"), and yes, even the sacred "Coffee Break."

Despite it being the Sunday before Labor Day, work was dead for most of the afternoon, and never more than mildly steady. Everybody must have taken off for the Shore the moment it got hot. I was in and out with no problems.

It was hot, sunny, and humid as heck this morning. Heavy dark clouds started gathering somewhere around 4:30. It was lightly showering when I got out. The showers picked up on my way home, but not to the point I got that wet. It didn't really start storming until more than a half-hour after I got home.

As the storm raged outside, I made a simple dinner of scrambled eggs with summer vegetables and ran New Girl In Town. This 1957 Broadway show is a musical adaptation of the Eugene O'Neil drama Anna Christie. Anna (Gwen Verdon) is a former prostitute who comes back east to visit her father and his girlfriend Marthy (Thelma Ritter). She falls for a sailor who doesn't know about her checkered past. Marthy ends up spilling the beans while drunk. The sailor leaves, but Anna is willing to wait. Oddly enough, the majority of this drama isn't reflected in upbeat songs like Ritter's "Flings," "It's Great To Be Alive," "Sunshine Girl," and "At the Check Apron Ball." Although it won a number of Tonys, this one is mainly for Verdon fans or fans of traditional 50s musicals.

Incidentally, it's rained on and off all evening, though it sounds like it's off for now. The storms are supposed to continue into tomorrow. We'll see what happens.

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