Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Dance Party: That Existential Problem In Tights

She swore like a sailor, had a voice like a cab driver, and charged through life mowing down anything in her way.  Through it all, she remained a class act.

Elaine Stritch
1925-2014
Even after two Tony nods, Stritch found her career
dangerously dry in the mid-60s. She tended bar to
support herself (appropriately, at Elaine's in NY).


The recording session for the cast album of
Company was preserved in a documentary, which
showed Stritch struggling to nail "Ladies Who
Lunch" at the end of a grueling day. The producers
were smart to spring for a second session, which
she attended in full make-up, ready to perform that
night's show.

I first became aware of Stritch when I listened to the original cast album of Company. Who the hell was that brassy woman with the bass voice shouting about ladies who lunch?  Hers was the 11:00 number, and is, with the possible exception of "Being Alive," the most famous song from the show.  And Elaine's rendition is considered the definitive version.

Her first Tony nod came for Inge's Bus Stop, in
which she played acerbic cafe owner Grace. The
film version was only loosely based on the play,
and Stritch's role went to Eileen Heckart. 35 years
later, Elaine returned the insult, and replaced
Heckart as Wilma Bern on One Life To Live.
Our heroine escaped a priviledged but emotionally distant childhood as soon as she could;  she moved to New York from her upscale Detroit suburb before her 18th birthday.  She tells this story and many more in her acclaimed one-woman performance, Elaine Stritch At Liberty

Stritch toured the country as the lead in Call Me Madame, and together with her success "in support" in Pal Joey, it was time for a starring role in a musical on Broadway.  That role was in Goldilocks, an unsuccessful parody of the silent film era.  The project brought Elaine to the attention of Noel Coward, above, who fell in love with her dry style and wrote a new show for her. Sail Away provided our gal with her second Tony nomination, (and first in a musical).  Her competition was so fierce that she lost the award to two others, the only time the Best Actress in a Musical has ended in a tie.  Both Diahann Carroll, for No Strings, and Anna Maria Alberghetti, for Carnival, took home the trophy.
She spent some time in drama school, but it was only a few years until she began her Broadway career.  She made a splash in a revival of Pal Joey, playing a reporter who interviews the star and delivers "Zip," the kind of comic song for which Stritch became well known. 
Everyone was sure Elaine would finally
win her Tony when her performance as
Joanne in Company became the talk of
the town. She lost it to hoofer Helen
Gallagher in No, No, Nanette.

She was at her best in this kind of number, telling a story or making a list;  all her signature songs are in this vein.  A straight-out love ballad was not her strong suit, but give her a tale to tell, and she was in her element.
The only time I saw Elaine Stritch in person was in this revival of A Delicate Balance, in which she stole the show from some very accomplished actors.  It's true that she is more famously remembered for her musical roles, but her performance as Claire was one of the most memorable I have ever seen. She was again nominated for the Tony, and would have won it, if Zoe Caldwell hadn't swept into town and flattened the competition as Maria Callas in Master Class.
Elaine was nominated for the Tony five times during her career, finally winning for her one-woman show, At Liberty
Elaine's lone Tony was for
her solo show, in a category
which no longer exists.

Back in 1996, she told 60 Minutes that, if a performer believes she deserves the Tony, she does not have to win it.  Many years later, she had changed her mind.  Talking to the New York Times, Stritch recently confessed to a deep disappointment that she had not been rewarded for her lifetime of theatrical work sooner.  I agree with her.
After the Broadway run of Company, Elaine took the show to the West End, where she was so well received, she stayed. In London she had great success with Small Craft Warnings, by Tennessee Williams, and with The Gingerbread Lady, by Neil Simon (the latter would eventually end up as the film Only When I Laugh, with Marsha Mason taking the part created by Stritch). The Brits seemed to accept our gal's dry, deadpan delivery better than Americans, at least in the 70s. Her biggest UK success was as the star of the Britcom Two's Company, above, which earned Elaine a BAFTA nod. The show ran four seasons.
The first of Elaine's 3 Emmys was earned for this portrayal of
a feminist attorney defending Felicity Huffman (before she
became a Desperate Housewife), on Law and Order.
Though primarily known for her stage work, our gal had some success on screen, both large and small. 
Despite 6 decades on stage, Stritch only
became a national celebrity as this
recurring character on 30 Rock.

She appeared in the 1950s melodrama A Farewell to Arms, and she starred in a sitcom in the early 60s which was based on the stage play My Sister Eileen.  The majority of her screen fame, though, came late in her life, as she turned in hilarious performances as mouthy maternal figures. 
As Mia Farrow's mother in Woody Allen's
September, there was legitimate Oscar buzz.

She played Dyan Cannon's mother (Out To Sea), Winona Ryder's grandmother (Autumn in New York), and Jane Fonda's mother-in-law (Monster-In-Law).  Most famously, she played Alec Baldwin's mother in several episodes of TVs 30 Rock, earning five Emmy nominations for her performances in that sitcom, and winning in 2007.
The sheer longevity of Elaine Stritch's career means that she lost a few choice roles along the way.  She was in the very first Honeymooners sketch, above, before the thing became a full show.  She played upstairs neighbor Trixie.  Jackie Gleason recognized at once that Elaine's comic expertise would upset the balance of the show, and she was replaced.  Even more famously, Stritch auditioned for, and lost, the role in The Golden Girls which ultimately went to Bea Arthur.  If she had landed that role, the entire trajectory of her career would have been altered.
We are very glad Elaine Stritch continued to perform later in life.  Let's get to this week's clips! 
Our gal was known as a leading interpreter of Sondheim's
work. "Ladies Who Lunch" and "Broadway Baby" were both
signature tunes for Stritch. If she had been in the original
production of A Little Night Music, "Liaisons" might have
become another.

Yes, there are two, but this first one is quite short.  The most recent revival of A Little Night Music starred Catherine Zeta-Jones (who won the Tony) and Angela Lansbury.  When those stars departed, the producers stumbled upon a plan to keep the show running a while longer.  Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch assumed the mother/daughter roles in the show.  Here is about a minute of Stritch's performance as aging courtesan Madame Armfeldt;  the song illustrates Elaine's expertise with the "memory song," in which she can captivate an audience simply by telling a story.  The song was originated by the great Hermione Gingold:





The above performance was the last she was to give on Broadway, but she didn't give up. 
This recent documentary chronicles our star's
final few years in NY, in which she struggles
with memory loss and balance issues.

Elaine's last New York appearance was a week's engagement at her favorite cabaret, the Cafe Carlyle (I wrote about that here). She lived there, too;  she confessed to 60 Minutes that she began living in hotels when her diabetes became so severe, she needed to have someone within reach at all times.  When her health finally became so poor that even hotel staffers were not enough, Elaine left New York and returned to her hometown. She was only there a year or so before her death last week.

What a career our gal had. This week's Dance Party showcases Elaine Stritch's fine comic style, singing a Rodgers and Hart classic from A Connecticut Yankee.  Years ago, Danny Kaye's wife and beard, Sylvia Fine Kaye, hosted a series of programs for television, documenting some of musical theatre's enduring treasures.  This song is one.  This performer is another.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Dance Party: Dancing At The Prom

This week's Dance Party returns to its original roots: dance!
The BBC Proms is a summer concert series which has been a mainstay for the Brits since (get this) 1895.  Obviously, in those days, the only way to enjoy these musical dates was to attend them (often as a "prommer," a slang term loosely translated as a standing room ticket, or if you prefer the classical term, a groundling).  The Proms eventually found their way to radio and, naturally, to television.  Though most of the concerts showcase classical works, the Proms nowadays are likely to include popular music and showtunes.
Anna-Jane Casey's career includes several years in Cats,
Starlight Express, and Billy Elliot in the West End, as well
as numerous appearances in London's Chicago and the
Forbidden Broadway series.
Our star today is Anna-Jane Casey, and if you've never heard of her, you're not alone.  I had to research her myself.  While a busy actress in musicals in Britain, she is totally unknown elsewhere.  This week's Dance Party proves she is a talented and engaging musical theatre performer.

For our source material, who better than a Broadway legend?
Jerry Herman, here flanked by his original Mame and Dolly, has more than a few Tonys, including awards for his scores to both Hello, Dolly! and La Cage Aux Folles.  Speaking of the latter, La Cage not only won the Best Musical prize for its original production (beating out that year's Pulitzer Prize winner Sunday in the Park with George), the show also won the Best Revival Tony for both its returns to Broadway.  This week's Dance Party does not come from any of those shows.
Jerry Herman provides this week's Dance Party, from his score to Mack & Mabel.  Herman turned 83 years old last week, so it's understandable that his musical career these days consists only of revivals and various revues and tributes containing his existing material. Jerry's songs have graced the Dance Party a few times over the years.
Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur both won Tonys for these performances in Mame. Their big duet, "Bosom Buddies", has appeared twice in these pages. Go here to see them recreate the song at a Tony Award show, and go here for the rendition which appears in the disastrous film version of the show. Neither Lansbury nor Arthur appear in this week's Dance Party.

This is Karen Morrow, a leading interpreter of Jerry Herman's tunes.  She does not appear in this week's Dance Party either, but she did, here, when she belted the only memorable song to survive the train wreck which was Herman's Dear World.
This is Douglas Hodge, who does not appear in this week's Dance Party. When California's Prop 8 was making news, I took the opportunity to showcase the most recent revival of La Cage Aux Folles, for which Hodge won a Tony.
This is Tommy Tune, who also does not appear in this week's Dance Party. But when he did, his tribute included a video retrospective of his career which is really fun to watch.  And by coincidence, it features the same song which is showcased this week.
The BBC Proms are broadcast for the Brits to enjoy every summer, and every once in a while, a clip makes its way over the pond for the Yanks to enjoy.  "The Proms," by the way, is shorthand for "Promenade Concerts," a slang term also adopted by American high schools for their annual spring dance. This week's Dance Party is the grand finale to one of the BBC Proms, and features my favorite style of dance, the tap. Happy Birthday, Jerry Herman!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday Dance Party: Here's To The Lady Who's Staunch

This weekend, as we celebrate that revolutionary spirit of which so many Americans are proud, the Dance Party celebrates one of the true oddballs of the American musical theatre. 
Christine Ebersole as Little Edie Beale, in Grey Gardens.  There are many, many musicals out there based on films, but this appears to be the only one based on a documentary.
Grey Gardens, the musical, premiered Off-Broadway in early 2006 and despite lukewarm critical reception, transferred to Broadway later that year.  Two of the show's three Tony Awards are showcased in the clip below, as our star, Christine Ebersole, won for her performance, as did William Ivey Long for his costumes (the production's third Tony was won by Mary-Louise Wilson as Big Edie).
Though the musical as a whole was not enthusiastically received, the production at Playwright's Horizon transferred to Broadway on the strength of the two leading performances. Christine Ebersole and Mary-Louise Wilson dominated the second act of the musical, which was a recreation of the original documentary.  The first act was a flashback to the period when the Beales were High Society, and includes portrayals of Jacqueline Bouvier (later Kennedy), her sister Lee, and the young Joseph Kennedy.  Ebersole and Wilson both won Tonys for their work in Grey Gardens.
The musical chronicles the dysfunctional relationship between two society mavens, mother and daughter, both named Edith Bouvier Beale.  They were Jackie Kennedy's aunt and cousin, so when their reclusive lifestyle and dilapidated living conditions were reported by the National Inquirer in the early 1970s, they received national attention.  Grey Gardens became a documentary film in 1975 and has since gained cult status. 
 
The Beales are catnip to actresses. This 2009 TV film won the Emmy, as did Jessica Lange as Big Edie and Ken Howard as Phelan Beale, the patriarch who deserted his family and set their downward spiral in motion.

The actual Beales in the documentary. Frankly, the film
was difficult for me to get through (it took me 3 sittings,
and the thing is only 90 minutes long). I found these
women to be far more than merely eccentric, but
possibly delusional, with no ability to recognize
their true circumstances. Very hard to watch.

This week's star, Christine Ebersole, was already a Tony winner when she won again for Grey Gardens (her first award came for the revival of 42nd Street). 
Christine Ebersole (with the flowers) has had a long and varied career on stage and screen.  Here she plays a supporting role in Amadeus; she had a brief moment in Tootsie as well as many other films.  Her TV work includes a stint on One Life To Live, which earned an Emmy nomination.  She is currently in the cast of the TBS sitcom Sullivan and Son.
The inspiration for the song which was featured at the 2007 Tony Awards, and is this week's Dance Party, comes directly from the original documentary film.  As a preamble, take a look at this very short clip from the original, in which Little Edie explains the reasoning behind her "costume for today."

And now enjoy Ebersole's performance of the song which sprang from that brief encounter with Little Edie.  Yep, that costume is indeed revolutionary, but the real attraction of this clip is the quietly compelling performance of our star.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Dance Party: A Tapestry Of Rich And Royal Hue

Last week's Dance Party was inspired by the rather sad Tony losses of Tyne Daly and her Broadway show.  This week, then, it's only fair to celebrate one of the winners.
Jessie Mueller won the Tony last week, playing Carole King in Beautiful, which has supplanted Jersey Boys as Broadway's top jukebox musical. After a tryout in San Francisco, the show opened in New York in January; the reviews were fairly mixed, but Mueller's notices were glowing. Word of mouth was good, and the show eventually entered the Million Dollar Club (those shows which routinely gross over a million bucks a week).  Mueller's win as Best Actress in a Musical was assured when it was decided that Audra McDonald's performance was in a play, rather than a musical. 
I saw Jessie Mueller in her Broadway debut, less than three years ago, and since then, she has proven herself a substantial talent. 
Jessie won the Jeff Award (Chicago's
Tony) for She Loves Me, in a category in
which she was competing against her own
performance as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls.

She was already one of the leading ladies of the Chicago theatre scene (though success in the regions does not automatically mean equal success in New York) when she was pegged to play a supporting role in the revamped On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.
I saw Mueller's Broadway debut right before it closed. This revival of On A Clear Day... changed kooky protagonist Daisy into kooky gay boy David, who was the reincarnation of a female big band singer. Harry Connick, Jr. fell in love with her, but not him. The show was a major disappointment, but our Jessie emerged smelling like a rose, and earned a Tony nod to boot. I wrote about seeing this show here.
I also saw this performance, with Mueller unrecognizable as
the mysterious lady from Ceylon. The gent playing her twin
brother is Andy Karl, currently flexing his muscles as
Broadway's Rocky. I wrote about seeing this revival of The
Mystery of Edwin Drood here.
Our heroine's next Broadway gig was another revival, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  Following that limited engagement, she replaced Kelli O'Hara in Nice Work If You Can Get It.  In less than a year, she had three starring roles on Broadway.  This gal has been going places. 
Doesn't Matthew Broderick always look tired these days? But Jessie had another success, finishing out the run of Nice Work If You Can Get It. It was an ironic move for her, as one of her costars, Judy Kaye, had won the very Tony Award for which Mueller had been nominated earlier in the season for On A Clear Day. In another karmic twist, Jessie was replacing original leading lady Kelli O'Hara. A year later, the two of them would be competing for the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical.  O'Hara's show, The Bridges of Madison County, had already closed when Mueller won the award for Beautiful.
Last summer, NY's Shakespeare in the Park produced a dressed-down revival of Into The Woods, based on a recent British rethink. Here's Mueller as a decidedly dowdy Cinderella. The show did not make an anticipated move to Broadway, freeing our gal to feel the earth move under her feet as Carole King.
Jessie Mueller's current performance as Carole King has elevated her to the top tier of Broadway Leading Ladies, only a few years after arriving in New York. I have not seen Beautiful, but it would appear to have a long life, as long as Mueller stays with it. The show got even more publicity this week, when King's former husband and writing partner Gerry Goffin died.  Most of the songs in the score of Beautiful are written by the duo, including this week's Dance Party.
The buzz surrounding Beautiful: the Carole King Musical was strengthened by King herself, who rather coquettishly refused to see this musical depiction of her early life and career.  She even made the rounds of the talk shows, singing WITH the actress portraying her, but still claimed seeing the show would bring up too many sorrowful memories. She finally attended a performance in April, and surprised the cast onstage during the curtain call.  The crowd, and the cast, went wild. They launched into an impromptu rendition of "You've Got A Friend", which isn't even in the musical. It was a publicist's wet dream come true, as all the major news outlets covered the story. Box office receipts rose, and the show earned 7 Tony nominations.
This week's Dance Party comes from a performance given for the Today Show audience, and includes Mueller as King as well as actresses portraying the Shirelles. 
With the release of Tapestry,
King was no longer considered a songwriter in the back-
ground, she was now in the spotlight. The album spent 15
weeks at #1, and remained on Billboard's 200 chart for 40
years. The influence this album had on pop culture cannot be
overstated. Like other seminal records like Abbey Road,
Purple Rain, and Thriller, Tapestry will endure.

I have a lot of respect for Carole King, whose music became part of my life when her album Tapestry was released in 1971.  On it, she sang so many of the songs she had written for others;  the album was a smash and a defining moment of her career.  Apparently, Beautiful reveals the difficult time she had as an artist in the 50s and 60s, even as she was penning hit songs for the leading singers of the day.  I hope I can see the show before Mueller inevitably moves on, particularly since I have a personal connection to one of the performers.
Several years ago, I played Jacob (the father) in a DC production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The gent who played Joseph is the guy on the right, above, currently in the cast of Beautiful, playing one of the Drifters. I love the fact that Alan and his cohorts are joining the protest against the recent decision to dispense with the Tony for Sound Designers. It's no coincidence that the most recent Sound Design Award (and perhaps the final such award) was won by the sound designer of Beautiful.
So, at long last, please enjoy this week's Dance Party:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Dance Party: Andre's Mother and Sons

An aggressive promo campaign had
our star all over town, assuring us
that it was not an Aids play nor a gay
play, and the word "sequel" was
never uttered. Mothers and Sons is
actually all three.
The Tony Awards have claimed their first victim.  There are always some shows which are struggling at the box office but try to endure their weekly losses until Tony Time, when perhaps a big win will turn the tide and put the production into the black.  I saw Mothers and Sons during its preview period, several months ago, in a sparsely attended house.  The audience numbers never really improved, and the show has been grossing dismally for many weeks.  It received only two Tony nods, but they were biggies (Best Play and Best Actress in a Play), so I guess it's possible a win might have improved things.  The show lost both awards and announced they will be closing next week.
Mothers and Sons is Terrence McNally's 20th Broadway show, an achievement not many authors can reach, and it deserved a little better than it got.  I say "a little" because, while I was thoroughly entranced throughout its 90 minute length, it is not one of McNally's best works.
 
We never see the titular Andre; in each
scene, he's either just left the room
 or already dead.
In Mothers and Sons, the author revisits two characters he created way back in 1988, for a little 10-minute playlet included in an evening of Aids plays.  In 1990, he expanded that short piece into a 50 minute teleplay which was broadcast on PBS.  This was my first introduction to Andre's Mother.  The TV film starred two of my favorite actors at the time, Richard Thomas and Sada Thompson (I can prove my admiration for Sada, go here for my tribute written when she died). McNally won the Emmy for writing the script.
Richard Thomas played Andre's lover Cal, and Sada Thompson played Andre's mother, Catherine. Terrence McNally has written a sequel, of sorts, to this play in Mothers and Sons, in which Catherine suddenly appears in the New York apartment of her dead son's former lover. Fireworks ensue.
Mothers and Sons, as I mentioned, revisited the characters portrayed by Thompson and Thomas, 20 years later. 
Catherine and her dead son's former flame, Cal, have lived
20 years without communication. Andre's mother suddenly
appears at the NY apt. Cal now shares with his husband
and child.  He has moved on from Andre's death, she has
not.

(Actually, McNally has played a little bit with the time frame of these events to enhance the dramatic scope of Mothers and Sons.  He's made other changes as well:  in Andre's Mother, Cal is a writer, but 20 years later, in Mothers and Sons, he's a financial wiz married to a writer.  McNally is famous for tinkering with his plays even after they're finished.) 
The original Cal, Richard Thomas, came to
support the new Andre's mother.

He's attempting, I think, to examine how the lives of gays have changed in the past two decades, and nobody is better qualified to discuss that issue than McNally.  But his play comes off as a debate more than a dramatically satisfying piece, with no action happening onstage, as all the really dramatic moments in the play have happened 20 years ago. 

Tyne Daly as Catherine Gerard.
Sada Thompson as Catherine Gerard,
aka Andre's mother. The resemblance
to Daly is an unusual coincidence.
Still, Tyne Daly gives a very fulfilling performance as Catherine, so it's fitting that she star in this week's Dance Party.  I'm sure it will make up for her Broadway show closing next week.
Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly as Cagney and Lacey had a lock on the Best Actress Emmy.  The show ran 7 seasons, and in 6 of those years, the award was won by one or the other.  Daly won 4 times, Gless won twice.
I've changed my opinion of Daly's work over the years, as I've aged (and as she has).  I first became aware of her, as so many of us did, in Cagney and Lacey.  She was awarded the Emmy a whopping four times for that performance, which I have to confess I found to be a bit hammy. 
For 6 consecutive years, Sharon Gless
and Tyne Daly were nominated side
by side. Gless lost several years in a
row. She finally won in 1986 and
charmed the crowd when she
proclaimed "Tyne Daly is the most
relieved person in this room."

I was much more interested in the performance her costar Sharon Gless was giving, which seemed, to me, to be much more organic and natural.  I always felt I could see Daly make each and every acting decision, while I never saw Gless "acting."  Obviously I was in the minority, since Daly was honored so often for this role; Tyne's four Emmy wins as Lacey, and Sharon's two victories as Cagney, meant the duo dominated their category for half a dozen years.
Daly surprised everybody with her
unflinching portrayal of Mama Rose.

I've seen Tyne Daly onstage several times, and those performances have changed my mind about her work.  I am now a big fan and love her interesting choices.  I saw her performance in Gypsy and can attest that, though she did not sing as well as Ethel Merman or Angela Lansbury, her predecessors in the role, she nailed it.  She won the Tony in 1989.

Only a year or so after I saw Daly scorch the stage with "Mama's Turn," she appeared with the Long Beach Civic Light Opera, in a retooled version of the Michael Bennett flop Ballroom.  She played the role Dorothy Loudon owned in the short-lived Broadway production (I wrote about seeing that musical here);  in this new incarnation, the authors attempted to return to the source material, the TV film Queen of the Stardust Ballroom.  This revision did not take off as folks wished, and did not make a hoped-for transfer to better venues.  But once again, Tyne nailed the role.


Daly was almost unrecognizable as Maria Callas, she gave a
bravura performance. Master Class indeed.
Just a few years ago, Daly appeared in the Broadway revival of Master Class, earning another Tony nod for her portrayal of Maria Callas.  I saw the production and it compared favorably to the original Broadway production, which I saw years ago
This is my friend Clinton Brandhagen as the Stagehand, opposite Tyne Daly in Master Class. He played the role in DC and went with the show to New York. Daly did the show again in London. She won over the critics in all three cities who thought she was the most unlikely Maria Callas since Dixie Carter. During her time in Master Class, she developed a special bond with the playwright Terrence McNally, who offered to create a play specifically for her.  Mothers and Sons was the result. 
I suppose Tyne didn't stand much chance of winning this year's Tony, once it was decided that Audra McDonald's portrayal of Billie Holliday was in a play rather than a musical (despite the fact she sings over a dozen songs in her show).  I'm afraid McNally didn't have much hope of winning the award for his play either, not when the competition included Bryan Cranston's Broadway debut. 
Mothers and Sons will take its final bow next week, and though I've been a little harsh about it in these pages, I am sorry it was not a success. While being fairly inert, dramatically, it serves as a very good chronicle of how substantially gay life has changed in a single generation. In 1990's Andre's Mother, gay men deserted their homes and families for cities like New York, where they could live lives anonymous from their parents. Aids decimated the community while homosexuality was still viewed by most people as a degenerate disease. In 2014, gay couples live openly and freely, with legal marriages and families with children. Still, the plague-filled past haunts the survivors. Perhaps that will be the lasting influence of Mothers and Sons.
McNally is already moving on, rewriting one of his earliest plays for an allstar cast which will include Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, and Stockard Channing. 
Before his 4 Tonys,
McNally wrote this Off-
Broadway script. He is
updating it for a fall opening.

If Ms. Daly is depressed a bit about her show closing, I'm sure this week's Dance Party will make it all better.  It comes from one of those Boston Pops concerts which used to appear weekly on PBS, and our Tyne stars in it.  It's not the only time I have run across her singing a song written for a man, you haven't lived until you've heard her Tevye. (I'm not kidding, there is a recording of that oddity out there.) For today, though, here's our heroine as Prof. Harold Hill.