Monday, January 08, 2007

Alive!

YouTube is proof that God exists.

And he LOVES musical theatre!!!!

A few years ago, my friend Peter gave me a bootleg tape of a musical that... well... let's just say that the first time I heard it - - Hell, the first time ANYONE hears it - - the first thought that comes to mind is, "No fuckin' way. This is a joke, right?"

It's the same feeling I had the first time I saw the SOUTH PARK episode with Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo.

Yeah, that explains it, doesn't it? It was THAT feeling.

Jaw open. Eyes glazed over. Uber-shock & awe.

The musical was APPLAUSE! It's the classic Bette Davis film ALL ABOUT EVE set in 1970 (the year the musical opened on Broadway) starring Lauren Bacall in the role Bette made famous - - Margot Channing.

Now, if ALL ABOUT EVE set in 1970 made you flinch, these next few tidbits might induce an epileptic seizure.

Margot's dresser, named "Birdie" in the movie and played by Thelma Ritter, was changed into a male character named DeWayne. And being a great Broadway star's dresser, the character of DeWayne was gayer than a clutch purse on Tony night.

So naturally, the night Margot meets the homely Eve Harrington...

...Eve, Eve, little Miss Evil... who will later try to steal her career AND her boyfriend...

...if you don't know the movie, I can't help you... you must be living in a Red State or something...


...anyway, the night Eve meets Margot is the Opening Night for Margot's new Broadway play and instead of going to the after-party, she convinces DeWayne to let them tag along with him...

...to a gay bar... naturally...

That doesn't sound too very frightening, I know but to a Broadway audience in 1970 - - only one year after Stonewall - - it must have felt just this side of OH, CALCUTTA.

But in 2007, it almost sounds like the perfect fit for a musical.

Broadway Star + Back-stabbing Ingenue + Gay Bar Filled with Dancing Boys = THE ULTIMATE SHOWTUNE!

But when you add in Bonnie Franklin, a song called FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT where everyone sings a car horn sound over and over ("Eh-eh-eh"), and Bacall speak-singing a rickety score and towering over the rest of the cast and nearly every set piece, it's got CARRIE: THE MUSICAL written all over it.

And yet somehow, the show really works and is a hundred times more entertaining than some green chick screaming about defying gravity or a pasty-faced white boy dancing around with a fake guitar surrounded by dancing dog-clowns telling us that the times, they're a changin'.

And even though we're 37 years past the Opening Night of APPLAUSE and my bootleg tape of the show is no longer in my possession, we've been blessed with YouTube, which can show us just how glorious an opening number set in a gay bar can be...



Glorious. APPLAUSE manages to be sublime AND ridiculous AT THE SAME TIME.

"Partly Jane Fonda and partly Jane Austen," indeed.

8 comments:

Lance Noe said...

OK, so i think that wins for the gay dancing contest you were having!

Lance Noe said...

by the way, how do you add video? i can't figure it out! speak slow and don't use big words, i am from tennessee!

Stephen said...

Lance - Yes, The Winner and All Time Champion of the Gay Dancing Contest goes to Lauren Bacall and homos performing ALIVE! from APPLAUSE. Hands down. No contest.

And I will email you today with instructions on how to insert a YouTube video into your blog posting. It's so easy, I can do it - - remember, I'm from the same holler you was raised in! Well... one Wal-Mart over...

Lance Noe said...

I can't wait for you to insert! i have been praying for that since i met you back in, yes, i am going to say it, 1994! oh yes i said it, my friend we are officially old and tired! oh, i am harkening back to a time when the tennessee shakespeare festival still exsisted, ron mcintyre fender was not a monk washing homeless peoples feet, marta was fucking that guy from nashville with the big nose, you still hated jason, whats his name, nick la near was affectionatly called "lick my rear!" i left you foolish, "i like you do you like me notes." oh they days were good and plenty! we were young and never for saw the world was not a stinking cease pool of vomit filled with unobtainable men who would break our hearts, steal our money and fuck our friends. The world was alive with sound of music and it was not from a 60's rock idol whos lyrics no one understands! god bless the 90's!

Sorry for my ramble!

Stephen said...

Sorry for the ramble!?!?! Preach it, brother. You speak THE TRUTH!!!

Oh, I'll insert, baby. It will be worth the wait. :)

Ronnie McIntyre Fender is now a monk?!?!? Who is running Oak Ridge?!?!?

Nick LaNear... ah, yes... I wonder what that pickle kisser is up to...

And speaking of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, can you believe that a huge pop song actually samples LONELY GOATHERD. What the fuck!?!?!

Lance Noe said...

Ok so the dish is thus.....

tennessee shakespeare still exsist on paper but since the park is gone so are they. they perform now for free in some little square outside for tennessians on lawn chairs, it all seems sad to me but glass houses.

ronnie has not been at oak ridge since 1995 - 6. his last show was jesus christ superstar which i saw and was PHENOMENAL (did i spell that right, WHATEVER - LIKE YOU KNOW!) short break for ronnie moment. was at the cast party with ronnie and a breeze blew through the magnolia tree we were sitting under and he exclaimed, "why does the air suddenly smell like CUM! who the fuck is getting laid at my party!" then an adorable young slip of a thing walked by and said, "oh Ronnie!" to which ronnie replied, "hey, little boy. Wanna fuck a sissy?" i have never forgotten that line and i say it all the time; but i digress.

anyway, he felt called to the church and so he started going more often getting more involved and more involved and then one night he woke up and said he heard the voice say "come to me ronnie and i will come to you." and he joined a monastary in chattanooga and is as happy as i have ever known him. I have pics if you would like to see him. he is quite famous in the monk world apparently and is great at his job.

P.S. in case you missed the memo, I LIVE IN KOREA!!!!!! i don't know nothin' bout no pop songs!

Stephen said...

Lance - Thank God for you! YES I would LOVE pictures of Ronnie. And an email address if monks actually have access to email (What the Hell do I know?)

I had forgotten that line of Ronnie's, "Hey, little boy. Wanna fuck a sissy?" I do believe that needs to be on my next t-shirt!

Yes, I know you're in Korea. How is Kim Jong-il? :)

Stephen said...

Lance - What is your email address? Email me at stephen.rader@gmail.com and I'll tell you how to insert (a video) and much, much more. :)