Sunday, June 07, 2020

Only a Moment Ago

I woke up late to an absolutely glorious late spring morning. Listened to the soundtrack from the early 60's TV show The Roaring 20's as I ate. Dorothy Provine apparently played Pinky, the singer on the show who performed authentic numbers from the era as a backdrop to reporters doing articles on the news of the era. Some of the medleys here are really fun, especially the one that includes dance numbers like "Charleston" and "The Black Bottom."

Switched to the Carousel original cast album as I finished my banana pancakes. John Raitt was Billy, Jan Clayton was Julie, and Jean Darling was Carrie in the 1948 cast. Raitt's "Soliloquy" is still considered to be one of the best versions, and features a passage that was cut before the show opened and isn't featured anywhere else.

Put on the 1973 revival of Irene while doing the dishes. Unlike the 1940 film, the Debbie Reynolds revival returned to more-or-less the original story. Irene O'Dare is now a piano tuner who fixes the musical instrument owned by a wealthy Long Island family. She falls in love with the son Donald Marshall, and he with her. Meanwhile, his friend gets together with flamboyant male clothes designer "Madame Lucy" to start a shop of their own. Irene is among their first models. She argues with Donald after he insists that she pose as a society girl to sell dresses. Her friends try to get him to act tougher, but that only upsets her more. It'll take intervention from Irene's mother (Patsy Kelly) and "Madame Lucy" to bring them back together.

While I wish they'd used the songs from the original show, what is there is mostly enjoyable. Reynolds and Kelly have a cute mother-daughter duet, "Mother Angel Darling," Lucy and the models get "We're Going to Get Away With It" right before the big ball that ends the show, and Reynolds pours her heart into one of my favorite songs of the late 10's-early 20's, "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows." (And Carrie Fisher was apparently in the chorus, though I'm not sure if she can be heard on the album.) All in all, a fascinating curio if you love vintage musicals or Reynolds.

Mom called while Irene ran. She's fine. She's hoping to return to work at least part-time at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry starting next week. We talked about crocheting and TV shows and game shows I've been watching that she watched as a kid and a teen in the 60's and 70's, but we mostly discussed my move. I think I might just end up buying boxes instead of trying to haul them home one-handed. It'll probably be easier. Should be able to at least get bins home on the cart.

Mom didn't let me go until almost 3 PM. I went for a walk to WaWa for a treat. It was too nice not to! While it remained warm, a soft blue sky and gentle breezes replaced the stifling humidity of the past few days. It was surprising WaWa wasn't busier. I bought a blueberry pomegranate milkshake, then drank it as I strolled past children on bikes, people walking their dogs, and folks out for jogs.

Had a quick lunch when I got home. Listened to No, No Nanette while I ate. The 1971 revival of this seminal 20's musical kicked off a craze for early 20th century shows on Broadway that included Irene. Bobby Van, Ruby Keeler, Susan Watson, Helen Gallagher, and Jack Gilford. Nanette (Watson) is a flapper heiress who runs off to Atlantic City to spend the money her absent-minded guardian Jimmy (Gilford) gave her. Her boyfriend isn't happy about it, and Jimmy's wife Sue (Keeler) is less thrilled, especially once she finds out her husband may have been financing three lovely ladies.

The big hits here were "Tea for Two," "I Want to Be Happy," and "I've Confessed to the Breeze," but my favorite song was written for the revival. I'm so glad they let Keeler and Gilford record "Only a Moment Ago," even though it was eventually cut from the show. Their discussion of how times have changed, but their love is the same encapsulates why nostalgia is so comforting to so many people.

Worked on writing for a while. The frog is frightened when Malade arrives and tries to hide, and Betty's not happy, either. Richard's entranced by one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, but he doesn't get the chance to talk to them before Malade orders everyone to dance and start searching for suitors. Charles agrees to dance with the Queen and her frog companion while Richard searches for the contact...but she finds him...

Broke for dinner at 7. Made chicken pasta salad with spring vegetables while listening to Oh, Kay! I have the 1955 studio cast recording of this popular 1926 farce with Gershwin music featuring Barbara Ruick of the Carousel film and Jack Cassidy. Cassidy is another wealthy Long Islander, while Ruick is the sister of a bootlegger who poses as a maid while her brother uses his home to stash his booze. "Someone to Watch Over Me" was the big hit here; in the original show, it was staged simply, with Kay singing her lament to a rag doll. Other favorites include "Clap Yo' Hands," "Do, Do, Do," and "Dear Little Girl."

Finished the night before the Match Game syndicated premiere on YouTube with the original American cast of The Boy Friend. Julie Andrews made her debut on this side of the pond in the Broadway version of this seminal British take on 20's musicals. She does get a lovely "I Could Be Happy With You" and does well by the title song. I also like "Won't You Charleston With Me?" here.

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