Monday, December 24, 2012

Dark Monday • Christmas On Broadway

Mame Best Little Whorehouse In Texas
Annie White Christmas

Tonight there is a special post for Dark Monday, the post I dedicate to the Broadway and movie musicals on a night when, in the days of yore, when Broadway took the night off. When they did this, it was the only day of the week the nights were turned off, hence the title 'Dark Monday'. Through the years there have been several Christmas-themed songs from the stage and screen, and I am going to offer up just a couple. I will begin with what might be the most obvious choice of the post. When 'Mame' opened on Broadway in 1966, it certainly had some great talents contributing. The musical was based on the book and Broadway play 'Auntie Mame', which eventually became a movie starring Broadway star Rosalind Russell. The lead character is a charismatic and combustible character,based on novelist's Patrick Dennis' real life aunt. The musical was brought to life with a stellar case, including Angela Lansbury. Here is Angela singing "We Need A Little Christmas" off the original cast album.

Back in 1978, a little-known show opened on Broadway, telling the story of the Chicken Ranch, a legal brothel in Texas. With music and lyrics by Carol Hall, 'Best Little Whorehouse In Texas' was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for Henderson Forsythe and Carlin Glynn, respectively. There is a moment in the show when the house madame sing a beautiful ballad, which went on to be one of the long-lasting impressions from the show. Enjoy this version of "Hard Candy Christmas" sung by the star of the movie version, Dolly Parton.

The next show features Music by Charles Strouse amd Lyrics by Martin Charnin. The musical 'Annie came to the Broadway stage in 1977, telling the story of a young orphan girl at the time of the Great Depression. While it gave us the ultimate Broadway song in "Tomorrow" and one of the most delicious character in Mrs. Hannigan. Here is "A New Deal From Christmas" being performed as part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.

While it took decades before the Broadway musical to be made inspired from the Paramount Pictures holiday classic, White Christmas. That 1954 film was, in fact, inspire by the 1942 Paramount musical, 'Holiday Inn'. Both films featured the music of the great Irving Berlin, and much of the scores were included in the 2004 Broadway version running for the holiday season. But in this clip, we see Bing Crosby sing the song, which I think appeared in the 1942 film. Nonetheless, enjoy "White Christmas"!

Enjoy your Christmas!

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