Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Dance Party: Why Does He Have To Throw Like That?

The only baseball game I might attend is one which Al Hirschfeld would cover.
Forget the VP Debate.  The big news around the DC Branch this week was baseball.  Apparently, the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles are both still alive in their respective divisional playoffs, giving rise to hopes for what locals are calling a Beltway Series. 
Gwen Verdon does not star in this
week's Dance Party.

Catchy title, I guess, but not appropriate.  Washington has a beltway surrounding the city, so does Baltimore, but never the twain do meet.  If anything, a playoff series between the two teams should be called a Parkway Series, named after the Baltimore/Washington Parkway which connects the two cities.

And that is all I have to say about baseball. 
The boys from this week's Dance Party
I have no interest in competitive sports of any kind, and if I did, baseball would be waaaaaaaaay down the list. I still have crummy memories of my father dragging me to Atlanta Braves games, in hopes of getting me interested in some kind of sport.  Sorry, Dad, didn't happen.

But with baseball fever gripping the region (at least until tonight, when both teams are predicted to lose their respective games), it's fitting that America's Pastime take center stage on the Friday Dance Party. 
I love this caricature of Applegate in
Damn Yankees, created for my college chum
John Dantona, who is currently playing the role.

Damn Yankees, of course, immediately pops to mind, as baseball figures heavily in that story, but the musical has appeared twice in these pages: go here to see the most recent revival's showstopper, and go here to see yours truly in the most self-indulgent Dance Party ever.  So, we're tired of the Yankees, let's go to Little League instead.

Our clip comes from Falsettos, the musical from 1992 chronicling the complicated family dynamics of a gay man, his wife, son, and lover, plus the wife's second husband and a pair of lesbians from next door. 
Original cast of Falsettos
Composer William Finn won the Tony, as did the show's co-librettist and director James Lapine, but none of the performers you see below took away a trophy. 
Stephen Bogardus and Michael Rupert
as the lovers at the center of Falsettos.

Michael Rupert, the most nasally leading man in Broadway history (and I'm including Nathan Lane!) lost his award to Gregory Hines in Jelly's Last Jam, and his leading lady, Barbara Walsh, lost to Hines's costar as well.  Falsettos itself was nominated for the Big Prize, and lost it to that crowd-pleasing piece of fluff, Crazy For You.

Despite its small cast size and catchy score, Falsettos isn't revived as much as many other musicals.  It had a relatively short life on Broadway, but it remains well-respected, if seldom produced (at least, professionally).  AIDS takes center stage in the second act of the show, which dates the material considerably, but taken as a heartfelt, sometimes rueful examination of a certain kind of modern family, it still has something to say today.  And Finn's score contains some soaringly beautiful tunes, several of which have lived on in cabaret settings.  Singing actors love his songs.
This production was offered by the now-defunct Ganymede Arts in DC, directed by my old South Carolina buddy Jeffrey Johnson.  I wrote about seeing this particular production here;  it is the only time I have seen the full piece.
It's not by coincidence that Falsettos arrives here today, as this week also contained International Coming Out Day, and the 14th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard (on the 10th anniversary of that horrific hate crime, I wrote about it).  So, mixing gay days and baseball plays, enjoy this week's Dance Party: