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Everything posted by miliosr

  1. Bel Air Classiques has released the double bill from March 2016 consisting of the opera Iolanta and the ballet The Nutcracker on a two disc set. I've only had time to watch the first disc and will report back in full when I've had time to watch the second disc. But here's a funny taster until then. Iolanta segues immediately into the party scene of The Nutcracker, in which the sujet Daniel Stokes, dressed in a brown argyle sweater and tan slacks, plays one of the party guests. At the end of the party scene, the guests leave only to return a short time later in more menacing form. When we see the Boy in the Brown Argyle Sweater again, the corps dancer Simon Le Borgne is playing him instead of Stokes. (We see Le Borgne in close-up at 2hrs 3mins and full body at 2hrs 5 mins.) At 2:06:02, we see Le Borgne again only now he's wearing a mustard-colored vest and brick-colored slacks. At 2:06:18 -- 16 seconds later -- when we see Le Borgne once again, he's back to wearing the brown argyle sweater and tan slacks. Holy Continuity Errors, Batman!
  2. miliosr

    Andy de Groat Has Died

    Another performance of "Fan Dance":
  3. Benjamin Millepied has posted on his Instagram account that Andy de Groat has died: And an excerpt from his "Fan Dance":
  4. miliosr

    Royal Ballet 2018-19 season

    I've been thinking about this post for a while and it home again today with the news that former Birmingham Royal Ballet and Royal Ballet principal Miyako Yoshida will be retiring this year at the age of 54 (!): https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190130_27/ In her very long career, did she ever do any contemporary dance at all? If not, does that explain (at least in part) her amazing longevity?
  5. Composer Michel Legrand has died just shy of his 87th birthday. His impressive list of credits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Legrand#Film_scores My favorite song of his (Legrand wrote the music and Marilyn and Alan Bergman wrote the words):
  6. miliosr

    Andy de Groat Has Died

    Andy de Groat's obituary has appeared in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/obituaries/andy-de-groat-dead.html
  7. I tried posting this in my original post but it disappeared into the ether. Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Ann Miller and Della Reese together. And the Merm "sings" her signature song to Van Johnson!
  8. miliosr

    Royal Ballet 2018-19 season

    Thiago Soares has announced that the 2018-19 season will be his last as a full-time Principal. (He will be a guest Principal next season but doesn't specify what that will entail):
  9. As cruel as this may be, I imagine the vast majority of people, upon hearing this news, would say, "Who's Carol Channing?" Outside of musical theater devotees, Channing's portrayals of Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi have long since been eclipsed by the portrayals of her movie counterparts, especially in regard to "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and "Hello Dolly". Perhaps Channing fell victim to the phenomenon Van Johnson talked about at the end of his very long life -- living long enough to see your fame disappear.
  10. miliosr

    Jose Manuel Carreno

    I didn't see this mentioned elsewhere . . . Dancing Times in the UK has been discussing dance in Mexico in recent issues. The December 2018 issue devotes space to Ballet de Monterrey (BDM), which is now directed by Jose Manuel Carreno. The magazine quotes Carreno: "I think Monterrey has very traditional tastes, and the classics fill the theatre, so we are bringing them back, despite the fact that we also have contemporary works in the repertoire." The current season includes Phantom of the Opera (by Cuban Alberto Mendez), The Nutcracker, La Fille mal Gardee (Alicia Alonso version) and Don Quixote. http://www.balletdemonterrey.com/directorartistico/
  11. A friend of mine gave me a 2-CD set titled Music Inspired by The Great Gatsby - 48 Tracks That Defined the Roaring Twenties. One of the tracks on the set is George Olsen's 1927 version of "The Varsity Drag" from the musical Good News. Here's the Olsen version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivfy2AInsZw And the 1930 movie version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9FJ-NLM8Xs And the 1947 movie version with June Allyson and Peter Lawford: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObpRtEgIc0Q I give the 1930 version the edge for the galumphing Pre-Code ridiculousness of it all! Whatever version you prefer, have a Happy 4th of July. Be free! Be happy!!
  12. Female on the Beach with Natalie 'Lovey Howell' Schafer pimping out Jeff Chandler is definitely tasty! It's interesting to compare Female on the Beach (with Joan Crawford and Jeff Chandler) to Daddy Long Legs (with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron) given that they both came out in the same year (1955) and revolve around May-December relationships. Daddy Long Legs presents its older man-(much) younger woman relationship as a fairy tale with singing and dancing. Meanwhile, Female on the Beach presents its older woman-(somewhat) younger man relationship as a sordid tale of desperation, prostitution and murder. Even the age gap is telling: 32 years separated Astaire and Caron while Crawford and Chandler were only 15 years apart.
  13. miliosr

    Job posting for artistic director

    She's the Roz Russell of Releve , , ,
  14. Oh God - Torch Song! That really kicked off Joan Crawford's 1950s camp phase which included other overripe specimens such as Johnny Guitar (1954), Female on the Beach (1955) and Queen Bee (1955). Worst of all, she would be reduced to taking a supporting role in 1959 with The Best of Everything. (She's great in it, though.) The big comeback in 1962 still lay in the future!
  15. I love researching things like this! During the life of Leslie Caron's seven year contract with M-G-M in the 1950s, she made nine pictures. What follows are the pictures. release dates, male co-star(s) and their ages, and Leslie Caron's (LC) ages at the time: 10/04/51 - An American in Paris - Gene Kelly (39) - LC (20) 11/27/51 - The Man with a Cloak - Joseph Cotten (46) - LC (20) 06/06/52 - Glory Alley - Ralph Meeker (31) - LC (20) 03/26/53 - The Story of Three Loves - Farley Granger (26) - LC (21) 07/10/53 - Lili - Mel Ferrer (35)/Jean-Pierre Aumont (42) - LC (21) 03/21/55 - The Glass Slipper - Michael Wilding (42) - LC (23) 05/04/55 - Daddy Long Legs - Fred Astaire (55) - LC (23) [Note: LC loaned out to Fox.] 05/09/56 - Gaby - John Kerr (24) - LC (24) 05/15/58 - Gigi - Louis Jourdan (36) - LC (26) Average of LC's male co-stars: 35 LC's average age: 22 Your useless Hollywood factoids for the day!
  16. This Christmas I managed to secure a copy of Film Score Monthly's 2005 2-CD treatment of Bronislau Kaper's score for M-G-M's 1955 release, The Glass Slipper, featuring Leslie Caron as Cinderella and Michael Wilding as The Prince. (Age gap between Caron and Wilding: 19 years) Roland Petit and his Ballet de Paris were also on hand. Petit & co. appear to have been based in Hollywood at this time as they would travel with Caron to the Fox lot in the fall of 1954 to contribute to her next picture, Daddy Long Legs with Fred Astaire. In any event, Kaper's score for The Glass Slipper, like his score for Caron's 1953 vehicle, Lili, is so beautiful and tuneful. It's been described as a musical that only lacks lyrics and now I believe it. Best of all is the movie's theme, "Take My Love," which repeats in many different treatments throughout the score. Disc 1 contains all of the music from the original movie soundtrack. Disc 2 contains many alternate versions/outtakes of the same music. Over two hours of music! I would highly recommend this but beware: This release is long out-of-print and listings on Ebay are pricey. I got "lucky" with a "cheap" buy of $50.
  17. I think it was recently-named etoile, Valentine Colasante, who referred to Paquette as the gold standard of partners. I always think Ganio should be nearing retirement age and then I realize that he's not that old. Madame Lefevre nominated him as etoile when he was 20!
  18. miliosr

    Best and Worst Ballet of 2018

    Best: In best Ruby Keeler fashion, Matthew Ball replacing the injured David Hallberg in the second act of Giselle after getting a call at home to get to the theater.
  19. Farewell videos with Karl Paquette, who retires tomorrow night:
  20. Well, sometimes they were trapped in a director's conceit, as in the fashion show sequence from Lovely to Look at: Mervyn LeRoy directed the main portion of Lovely to Look at but Vincente Minnelli was drafted to direct (or overdirect, as the case may be) the climactic fashion show sequence. The liner notes to the Lovely to Look at CD reveal that Minnelli was supposed to film the fashion show in three days but ended up taking three weeks. The Champions' second big dance in Give a Girl a Break comes close to the expansive feel of their "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" dance in Lovely to Look at in that they're taking full advantage of the soundstage. It's the third of three dream sequences in the following clip and starts around 6:55:
  21. This Christmas season, I've been listening to the soundtrack of Lovely to Look at, which Rhino Handmade put out in 2003 in a limited edition of 2005 copies. Lovely to Look at was M-G-M's 1952 remake of Roberta featuring Kathryn Grayson, Red Skelton, Howard Keel, Marge and Gower Champion and Ann Miller, and was the second of three musicals the studio made in the early 1950s with the singing team of Grayson and Keel. (The other two being Show Boat [1951] and Kiss Me Kate [1953].) The Jerome Kern songs are so tuneful and Rhino did a superb job with the remastering of the entire soundtrack. My favorites on the CD and in the film are Marge and Gower Champion dancing to "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes": And a little bit later in the film, Kathryn Grayson singing the same song:
  22. The December 1970 issue of After Dark has a lot of content related to ABT, including an ad for its December 22 - January 10 season. Here's what the company and repertory looked like way back when: Principal Dancers Men: Erik Bruhn/Royes Fernandez/Ted Kivitt/Bruce Marks/Ivan Nagy/Michael Smuin/Gayle Young Wome: Eleanor D'Antuono/Carla Fracci/Cynthia Gregory/Toni Lander/Natalia Makarova/Mimi Paul/Lupe Serrano/Sallie Wilson The Season December 22: Special performance of Giselle "introducing Natalia Makarova with Erik Bruhn December 23-27: Coppelia December 29-January 10: A Rose for Miss Emily (premiere - Agnes de Mille) Ontogeny (premiere - Dennis Nahat) Schubertiade (premiere - Michael Smuin) Les Patineurs (revival - Frederick Ashton) Miss Julie (revival - Birgit Cullberg) "Plus 10 Repertoire Favoriites" That was the ABT world that was 48 years ago!
  23. Even by M-G-M standards, the plot for Give a Girl a Break is slight. At only 80 minutes, it takes a while to get going and it ends abruptly. But, the movie justifies itself if you stick with it until the middle section arrives: At roughly the 35 minute mark, there's a dialogue scene between Bob Fosse and Debbie Reynolds as they walk along the East River with the United Nations headquarters and the Chrysler building in the background. (Actually, it's all a painted backdrop.) The Fosse/Reynolds theme, "In Our United State," plays as an underscore. Fosse then sings "In Our United State" and he and Reynolds dance to it. This is followed by a brief vocal reprise by Fosse of "In Our United State" after he walks Reynolds back to her apartment. The action shifts to Marge Champion's penthouse apartment where Gower Champion pays her a visit. The scene moves to the penthouse courtyard (how is Marge Champion's character affording all this?) and the Champions launch into the exciting rooftop "Challenge Dance". (The dancing/singing scenes with the Champions, Fosse and Reynolds takes about 10-15 minutes.) At the 55 minute mark, there are three successive dream sequences featuring Bob Fosse, Kurt Kaznar and Gower Champion: In the first sequence, Fosse and Reynolds perform the "Balloon Dance" to their theme, "In Our United State". In the third sequence, Gower Champion "sings" "It Happens Ev'ry Time". (In reality, Bill Lee - the male Hollywood counterpart to Marni Nixon -- dubbed for Champion. The dub is noticeable because Bill Lee had a much more robust voice than Gower Champion,) The Champions then perform a beautiful duet, which is -- in my opinion -- the second best thing they did at M-G-M after their "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" duet in Lovely to Look at. All told, there's about 25 minutes of really stellar dancing surrounded by much more modest material.
  24. Does Valley of the Dolls count as a Christmas film? After all, Fox did release it in December of 1967. And it does have snow in it . . .
  25. I rewatched Give a Girl a Break this weekend, which was first released in December 1953. I last watched it two years ago when Debbie Reynolds died. Here's what I wrote then: "In honor of Debbie Reynolds, I rewatched Give a Girl a Break today. It's no classic but it's better than its reputation. It takes forever to get going but it hits its stride about a third of the way in with the very catchy song, "In Our United State". The first version is sung by Bob Fosse and danced by Fosse and Reynolds. The second version is a vocal reprise by Fosse. The third version is an instrumental version that under pins the "Balloon Dance" with Fosse and Reynolds. (It's a pity Film Score Monthly has never done a full release of the score since, in addition to these three versions, there are various orchestral and piano versions that are threaded throughout the movie.) Also, quite good are the "Challenge Dance" sequence with Marge and Gower Champion and the lavish "It Happens Every Time" (again with the Champions). Less good is "Nothing Is Impossible," a comic number for Gower Champion, Fosse and Kurt Kaznar, which strains for comedy and never gets there. (It's also the only number in the movie with Gower Champion and Fosse dancing -- too briefly -- together.) The "Puppet Master Dance" with Kaznar is just cruel as poor Kaznar has to stuff his ample physique into a pair of lavender-colored tights and pink ballet slippers. Cruel, I say! The finale -- "Applause, Applause" -- with Gower Champion and Reynolds is OK in a garish 50s way but it would have been better if it had been reconceived to include Marge Champion and Fosse as well. Like I said -- no classic. But the tuneful score and the dancing of the Champions, Reynolds and Fosse make for an agreeable enough time. It's also offers an interesting glimpse of what the next generation of movie music performers at MGM would have looked like if the studio system hadn't crumbled so rapidly at MGM between 1953-55." I stand by what I wrote then although I must admit that the score has grown on me with each viewing. (Watching the movie while wearing headphones really helps with appreciating the score.) There are so many wonderful treatments of "In Our United State," "Give a Girl a Break" and "It Happens Every Time". Truly, this is a neglected film score that deserves the full release treatment. The Ira Gershwin estate would appear to agree with me: http://gershwin.com/publications/give-a-girl-a-break/