Monday, December 8, 2014
Here in Camelot! #Broadway
LUCY BURDETTE: The touring show of Camelot came to Key West last week and I jumped on tickets. This has to be my favorite Broadway show of all time. My high school put this production on during my sophomore year and without much talent in the acting/singing department, I happily joined the the costume committee. And then—oh glorious, happy day—I was assigned to dress Sir Lancelot himself. Can you imagine my teenage self aquiver in the men’s dressing room, helping the adorable Lancelot into his armor? The low point came later, after he realized I’d ever-so-helpfully taken his tights home to wash in the family laundry, and brought them back the next day—shrunken two sizes smaller.
That incident aside, I love this show. I know all the words. And the sweeping emotions from high (“Camelot”) to low (“Guinevere”.) My favorite song of all time has to be Lancelot singing the heart-breaking “If Ever I Should Leave You” to his trembling Guinevere.
Though the moment when Sir Lancelot bursts onto the scene singing “C’est Moi, chest moi, I blush to admit, tis I, I humbly reply. That mortal who, these marvels can do, chest moi, c’est moi, tis I” is utterly priceless too.
My second all-time favorite is the Sound of Music, another of our high school productions. This time, while my dear friends Joel Silidker and Suzanne Snell played the leads, I landed a bit part as one of the seven Von Trapp children, Brigitta.
What’s your favorite Broadway song/show?
HALLIE EPHRON: Hands down favorite: "Guys and Dolls." Starting with "Fugue for Tinhorns" (I go the horse right here...) to Miss Adelaide's lament to Luck be a Lady ... one great number after another! Sky Masterson. Nicely Nicely. Miss Adelaide. I don't even mind the drippy sweet Sarah Brown.
Can't believe I've never seen Camelot.
LUCY: Oh those songs from Guys and Dolls are fabulous too Hallie! You must see Camelot--the thing is, I got so excited about going last week that I forgot about the ending. Then I turned to John at intermission: "It's so tragic!" It is tragic, more like the brutal finish of an opera than a musical. But with a tiny flicker of hope at the end...
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, I saw Camelot (for the first time) in Chicago, a MILLION years ago, with Robert Goulet and Julie Andrews? And Richard Burton? And Roddy McDowell as Mordred.( "If charity means giving, I give it--it you!") And I cried for THREE WEEKS. Truly. Could I have been in college? I forget--but I clearly remember trying to figure out whose "fault" it was. Oh, gosh, I could sing the whole thing.
For one song only, my favorite is Candide. I can hardly type "And Make Our Garden Grow" type without crying.
For lyrics and music, that's too hard. South Pacific. Oklahoma! My father was the music critic for the old Chicago Daily News, and he saw the ground-breaking and tragic West Side Story ("We're depraved on account of we're deprived...") (Everyone there will give big cheer! Everyone there will have moved here...) and the gorgeous operatic Kismet ("Play on the cymbal, the timbrel, the lyre; play with appropriate passion, fashion songs of delight and delicious desire.." in previews. Can you Imagine?? I asked him--did you know?
And he said yup.
There are so many...ah. Let me think.
Oh! A LIttle NIght Music, absolutely. Cleverest lyrics in the world. Winner. ("A Weekend in the country, it's insulting!" "It's engraved.")
Don't get me started. Oh. Too late.
RHYS BOWEN: I've always adored big musicals. As a young girl my friend and I stood for hours to get standing tickets to the opening night of My Fair Lady (and yes, my parents let me go up to London alone at eleven or twelve). I think I've seen them all. Favorites: for the quality of the music is Les Mis and West Side Story. For spectacle: Phantom. For cleverness: Chicago and into the Woods. But frankly nothing can beat those old musicals that were part of my childhood: Oklahoma, South Pacific, and Carousel (Yes, Hallie, I know your parents wrote it. it's brilliant and I still cry every time I see it.)
If I had to choose just one musical probably The Sound of Music.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I am with Hank on Candide, which I absolutely adore. I have the music, and like Hank, listening to Make Our Garden Grow gives me the sniffles. Bernstein was so brilliant. I love West Side Story, too. I love Oklahoma! There's something so joyous about it. And of course My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music. But I'm embarrassed to admit I've never seen Carousel. Hallie, is there a film version I should watch?
HALLIE: Ha ha! Indeed there is. The movie my parents wrote with Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones in '56. It's very '50s in its interpretation. I saw the play revived at Lincoln Center awhile ago and it was interpreted as a much darker story, really about domestic abuse. It held up very well. Great songs. On the other hand.. I was always a big fan of Peter Pan (Mary Martin, Cyril Ritchard) but the version that just ran on television shows how dated the book is and the songs are just meh. Painful to watch.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: The first Broadway show (in previews in Washington, D.C.) I saw was Les Miserables — at the time, it was mind-blowing. Then I became obsessed with Stephen Sondheim, everything, really but maybe especially Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods.Hank, I played Anne in A Little Night Music in college — so much fun, although singing Sondheim is harder that you may think....
My first show when I got to New York City was The Secret Garden. Loved, loved, loved it and I would save my publishing salary penned to go to TKTS and get discount tickets to see it any number of times.... (Funny story — years later, a friend of mine brought a young lady over to our apartment for dinner. Over the course of the evening I realized — same actress who played Mary Lennox!)
For us, Avenue Q was just amazing — the puppetry community in NYC is pretty small, so of course we know the original cast and were there to cheer them on on opening night and also for the big Tony win.
Oh, and this is true, cross my heart — Bobby Lopez (Avenue Q, Book of Mormon, Frozen) is our neighbor and the Kiddo and his daughter used to have playdates. But she had a crush on him and he didn't reciprocate, so.... When we heard her as the first voice of "Do you Want to Make a Snowman" I was like, you could have been BFFs with her! (He was still unimpressed.)