LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth CAMP Show Queen by Kenn Harris Editor's note: Here's a new column for all you students of the Golden Age of Broadway. But even if you haven't a clue about show tune
CAMP Show Queen
|by Kenn Harris|
|Editor's note: Here's a new column for all you students of the Golden Age of Broadway. But even if you haven't a clue about show tunes, these Broadway quizzes will entertain. After all, do you think that Britney and Paris were the first celebs to stir up gossip?
There's No Business like...
1. What was the royal screwing Patti Lupone got from Andrew Lloyd Webber?
2. Which of the following musicals did not have Jerry Orbach (the late Lenny Briscoe from Law & Order) in the original Broadway Casts?
a. Chicago b. Promises, Promises c. Sweeney Todd d. Forty-Second Street
3. This star must have washed her brain right out of her head the day that Alan Lerner and Fritz Loewe came to play and sing through the partially completed score of their new musical My Fair Lady. The actress listened politely but was noncommittal. After her guests left, the star turned to her husband and said, "Those dear boys have lost their talent." Who was this fair lady who turned down the role of Eliza Doolittle?
4. In this early Stephen Sondheim show, an elderly actor argued nightly with the authors and production team, almost trying towrest control from them. One night, after a backstage argument, the actor fell over dead. Not many tears were shed at his funeral. On a happier note this short-lived musical gave two formidable female stars their first opportunity to sing on Broadway. What was the show, who was the obnoxious, doomed actor, and who were the ladies? Extra credit: Who wrote the book for the show?
5. Which member of the original Oklahoma! production team made a notoriously mean spirited remark about gays? What was said?
6. The actress who began her Broadway musical career playing the sweet and silly Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel eventually played Medea in a Creole retelling of the story of Sparta's answer to Martha Stewart in a show called Marie Christine. Name the actress.
7. There was a musical staggering through its pre-Broadway try-out in Boston. Nothing was going right; no one was happy and no one liked the show, which dealt with the doomed romance between an African doctor and an English lady doctor in a fictional African country. One night, the beleaguered director/composer (and a prominent one, too) tiptoed into his hotel suite and found his wife (the musical's leading lady) in the arms of her sexy leading man. Somehow, the musical made it to New York where, jinxed, it ran only 32 performances. Star and director were soon divorced. Name the show, director, and two errant stars.
8. Once upon a time, Ethel Merman was starring in a hit Broadway show. She had an understudy who was an ambitious young thing, determined to make her mark in the theatre world. To that end, Merman's understudy signed a contract to be in another show simultaneously, where she wouldn't have to appear before 10:40 p.m. But before Broadway the show played New Haven, and the fledgling star had to travel there each evening, often, it turned out, in heavy snow. Identify the understudy, her song in her new show, and the Merman hit.
9. The beloved star of an iconic, incredibly popular musical achieved a reputation for showing up drunk, changing lines and getting physical with female cast members. These problems were especially bothersome to the long-suffering casts of the musical's revivals. No one dared complain while this star was alive, but when he died unexpectedly.... Who was he and what was the vehicle?
10. Composer Frank Loesser carried on with a young featured actress in one of his shows throughout the play's run. He finally walked out on his wife and married the girl. Who was she and what Loesser show was she in?
1. Our Miss Lupone opened the London company of Webber's Sunset Boulevard with a contract to open theNew York production the following year. Patti did not get good reviews and Lloyd Webber soon became enamored with Glenn Close's performance in the L.A. company. So Webber fired Lupone and La Close opened on Broadway. Patti Lupone felt immensely humiliated and won millions from thefickle composer/ producer in a law suit.
2. The answer is c. Orbach did not appear in Sweeney Todd.
3. Mary Martin (who also had turned down Oklahoma! and Kiss Me, Kate) gave up being a fair lady.
4. The show was Anyone Can Whistle;the cantankerous actor was Henry Lascoe; Lee Remick and Angela Lansbury sang. The book was by Arthur Laurents.
5. Agnes De Mille, the brilliant choreographer of Oklahoma!, Carousel and so many other great musicals, complained incessantly about the quality of the male dancers she had to work with when Oklahoma! was put together in 1943, "The army has taken all the real men and I only have the fairies to work with." Thanks, Aggie, we love you too!
6. The Tony Award winning Audra McDonald.
7. The show was Kwamina, the director/composer was Richard Adler (of Pajama Game and Damn Yankees fame), the wife was Sally Ann Howes (Our Lady of the Perpetual Brigadoon Revivals). The male lead was the studly and talented Brock Peters.
8. The young understudy was Elaine Stritch. She signed on to the famous revival Pal Joey that established the Rodgers and Hart musical as a masterpiece. Stritch sang the acerbic "Zip." As it turned out, the young actress stopped the show every night just before 11 p.m., no doubt thanking God and Irving Berlin that Merman lived up to a reputation for never canceling a show. Merman was starring in Call Me Madam.
9. In and out of Fiddler On The Roof, Zero Mostel could be avery bad boy.
10. She was Jo Sullivan and the show was Loesser's megahit The Most Happy Fella. Meanwhile, Frank Loesser's first wife Lynn served as executive producer and had a reputation for being one tough cookie. She was often referred to as "the evil of two Loessers!"
Kenn Harris is a NYC theatre and music critic and author of the biography of opera diva Renata Tebaldi, and The Ultimate Opera Quiz Book. Kenn is both an opera devotee and big time collector of original cast albums from Broadway and around the world. And he loves to dish. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 01 February 08, 2008