Sunday, February 08, 2015

Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

Started off a sunny morning with the Leave It to Jane/Oh Kay! CD cast album set and Banana Pancakes for breakfast. Leave It To Jane is a college-set tale that originally debuted in the tiny Princess Theater in 1917. It was the second of three major shows Jerome Kern and PG Wodehouse did for that theater. Appropriately, it was revived off-Broadway in another small house in the late 50s and was a surprise hit. Wodehouse also had a hand in both the original 1925 version of Oh Kay! and its 1960 off-Broadway revival. A couple of songs were added to the 1960 version, including "Stiff Upper Lip" from the movie A Damsel In Distress and "Little Jazz Bird" from the Broadway show Lady Be Good.

Work was steady for the entire afternoon. It was clouding over a little when I headed to the Acme, but it wasn't bad. We're between holidays and are pretty much supposed to get the same weather tomorrow that we got last Monday - a little sleet and snow, but mostly rain. Once again, all the snow will be going north. (Lauren is supposed to get two more feet. She's not happy.) It did get really busy later, to the point where they had to call in a stock woman so I could get out on time - I originally had no relief.

As soon as I got home, I hit the tub. Soaked in the bath for over an hour, listening to the soundtrack from the MGM musical 'Till the Clouds Roll By and looking over the Wilton Cake Decorating Yearbook I bought yesterday. I really needed that bath, especially after all the walking yesterday. It was so relaxing.

Moved onto Seussical as I made a pan-fried seasoned chicken thigh and broccoli for dinner. This 2000 Broadway show introduced a rather complicated plot that was a crossover between several of the best-known Dr. Seuss stories (with references to many others). Horton the Elephant (Keven Chamberlin) is determined to keep a dust speck that is the world of the Whos, as well as an egg abandoned by thoughtless Mayzie, from harm. Most of the Jungle of Nool think he's off his nut, especially the Sour Kangaroo. Gertrude McFuzz believes in him, and even tries to grow her tail to get him to notice her. JoJo, an imaginative Who, also believes in Horton. His parents aren't sure what to think of their son's strange way of thinking and send him off to military school. Meanwhile, the Cat In the Hat pops up wherever he feels like it to narrate the story and help it along.

This was Lynn Aherns and Stephan Flahtery's follow up to Ragtime. It was a flop at the time, due to a lot of the same problems that gave Ragtime fits - a storyline that was too complicated was overshadowed by a huge production. The show has done much better cut down for children's theater and amateur stages. I can understand why. There's some really wonderful music here. My personal favorite is the heartbreaking ballad "Alone In the Universe" for Horton and JoJo when they both realize there are other thinkers out there who want to break out of the speck, so to speak, too.

This is a difficult but generally fun show. I think there's a CD of the later cut-down version out there as well. That might be better for younger kids. For everyone else, especially those who love Aherns and Flahtery or Seuss, this is really sweet and is very recommended.

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