CAMP Show Queen
|by Kenn Harris|
I'd like to dedicate this quiz to the brilliantly talented artists who play secondary roles in Broadway musicals, past and present. Some of these folks went on to stardom, others did not. But they are all wonderful. See how many you can recognize from these hints.
1. Early in her career, this Jersey girl won the Tony for a role in which she only wore a bath towel. Married to one of the show's authors, she later quipped that she was the only actress in history who got to the role by not sleeping with the playwright. Name the lady, the musical, her show-stopping number, and her eager to please husband.
2. This plump, cheerful guy stopped a great Frank Loesser show in its tracks. Later on, he charmed audiences by playing a character taken from a comic strip. Interestingly, he appeared in the film versions of both shows. Incidentally, he was a school chum of my dad's. Name the actor, the big Loesser show, his show-stopping number, and the second musicalwhat was his big song in that one?
3. In spite of a great vehicle for a debut and the love interest of the musical's composer, this young girl had to contend with a jealous leading lady. She showed everything that she had, but her career failed to ignite. Name the actress the show, her character and the difficult star.
4. This willowy lass had a marginal role in a fabulous musical. Each performance, she stopped the show singing a ribald song about her love life. Her Broadway career was sporadic, but she was a supper club favorite. Name the girl, the show, and the song.
5. This quintessentially New York actor had a very funny song about a Jewish/Latin lover from Queens. His character's name implied discomfort. It was, they say, a very funny performance in a show whose true star was a swimming pool into which the musical's villain got thrown, fully clothed (darn) at every performance. This chap had a second rather amusing song in the show. Name the actor, the show, the character, and both the song about a not so gay caballero, and the one about a bad career choice.
6. This strikingly handsome youth with a beautiful voice had a smashing song in an Anthony Newley musical. Big things were predicted for him, but alas, he was a very early victim of AIDS. What a talent. RIP... Name the actor and the show.
7. This lady was Broadway's favorite ingnue in the 60s and 70s, charming us in everything from Bye Bye Birdie to No No Nanette. I'll never forgive her for giving up her career just to be happily married. I apparently touched the lady's heart when we met by telling her I had given up a chance to hear the great Victoria de los Angeles at the Met to go see her play Kim in Bye Bye Birdie. Incidentally, as a young girl, this lady bore a striking resemblance to the feature editrix of this magazine! Who am I referring to?
8. He died too young, but this gravelly voiced comedian with a teddy bear personality delighted audiences un such shows as Damn Yankees, Fiorello! and especially, She Loves Me. He's wonderful on the cast albums. Who's my guy?
9. In the second act of a bad musical based on a good play, the tallest, toe-tappingest Texan you ever saw strode onto the stage and brought down the house with a number that had America's finest directors and choreographers envious. The number had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the show but it was a complete triumph. Dancer's injuries have sidetracked this fellow's performing in recent years, but he is considered to be among the best. Name the guy, that awful show and that great number. Try not to sit behind him in a theatrehe's six foot-six.
10. In her later years, one of the great beauties of the British stage accepted a featured role in the greatest musical of them all. She didn't get to sing, but she was dressed exquisitely and had good scenes with the stars. The lady lived to be 94 and until the very end of her life she toured in the musical playing along side the show's original leading man. Name the lady, the show her character, and the male lead.
Answers1. Phyllis Newman, Subways Are For Sleeping, "I Was a Shoo-in," and Adolph Greene.
2. Stubby Kaye, Guys And Dolls, "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the boat," L'il Abner, "Jubilation T. Cornpone."
3. Sandra Church, Gypsy, Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee, and Ethel Merman.
4. Lisa Kirk, Kiss Me, Kate, "Always True to You in My Fashion."
5. Sidney Armus, Wish You Were Here, Itchy, "Don Jose from Far Rockaway," and "A Social Director."
6. Gilbert Price, The Roar Of The Greasepaint, The Smell Of The Crowd.
7. Susan Watson.
8. Nathaniel Frey
9. Tommy Tune, Seesaw, "It's Not Where You Start, It's Where You Finish."
10. Cathleen Nesbit, My Fair Lady, Mrs. Higgins, Rex "Gassy" Harrison.
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 email@example.com
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 07 June 13, 2008