Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The "What? They Did Musical Theater?" Mix (Vacation Repost)

Well, I'm off visiting my family in Illinois for most of this week. Tune Ins will still happen on T/Th as scheduled (those are easy to write ahead of time) but the rest of this week, we'll be reposting a few of my most popular blogs ever.

This particular one was first posted on November 11, 2011.

In the middle of a Star Trek conversation with a friend last week, I mentioned that Brent Spiner (Data from TNG) was a musical theater guy. This led to a discussion of famous celebrities who had done musical theater but weren't really known for it. And I thought, "Oh, right. I've always wanted to make a mix like that."

Initially the plan was to make an "I Didn't Know They Could Sing" mix, intending to include people who had released solo albums or been in bands, but as I started collecting songs, I ended up focusing mostly on cast recordings, so I decided, whatever, I'd just make it about the theater people. Also, when I pulled the list together, all but one of them were guys, so I kicked the one female performer off in favor of a slightly more unified theme. (Sorry, Glenn Close, people are going to have to look up your Sunset Boulevard performances on their own.)

So! Not a lot of commentary here - mostly just the tracklist and links. And, actually, I don't physically own all these songs yet, so no downloadable mix (yet). In the meantime, listen to the songs provided on YouTube.

1. "Rosie" from Bye Bye Birdie, performed by Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation)
I first discovered Brent Spiner was a singer when I heard him in the 1997 Broadway revival cast of 1776, where he played John Adams. He's also released a CD of jazz standards called "Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back," so if you liked this, check that out.

2. "Marry Me a Little" from Company, performed by John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood)
I knew John Barrowman from musical theater long before I started watching Doctor Who. I had seen clips of him in the Sondheim revue Putting It Together (which is where this performance comes from), and then I discovered some of the clips from his Sunset Boulevard. He's also released several CDs.

3. "Sweet Transvestite" from The Rocky Horror Show, performed by Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Most of the cast of Buffy got to sing in the musical episode from season six, but Anthony Stewart Head was a musical theater person long before that, with performances in Rocky Horror, Pirates of Penzance, Chess, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

4. "Not the Boy Next Door" from The Boy From Oz, performed by Hugh Jackman (Wolverine from X-Men)
Most people are aware of Hugh Jackman's musical theater prowess now - he's sung while hosting award shows and there are all sorts of jokes made about the fact that he's both an action movie star and a Broadway singer. But for anyone who wasn't aware of it... here he is at the Tonys with Boy From Oz (he won Best Actor in a Musical that year).

5. "Put on a Happy Face" from Bye Bye Birdie, performed by Jason Alexander (George Costanza from Seinfeld)
I find Jason Alexander's voice to be oddly soothing. This particular clip is from the 1995 TV cast of Bye Bye Birdie, but he's also had plenty of theaterperformances as well. He even won the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in Jerome Robbins' Broadway in 1989.

6. "Why Can't the English?" from My Fair Lady, performed by Jeremy Irons (Scar from The Lion King...and a lot of other things)
Jeremy Irons has indeed done a fair amount of musical theater. Here he carries on the Rex Harrison tradition of speak-singing Professor Henry Higgins' songs, but he's also been in productions of A Little Night Music and Camelot.

7. "Show People" from Curtains, performed by David Hyde Pierce (Niles Crane from Frasier)
I have to admit, I have never seen even one episode of Frasier. So I only ever knew David Hyde Pierce from Spamalot and Curtains. Well, and A Bug's Life. Here he is at the Tony Awards.

8. "Children Will Listen" from Into the Woods, performed by Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya. You killed his father. Prepare to die)
Mandy Patinkin's kind of a big deal in musical theater land. Among other things, he starred in the original casts of Sunday in the Park With George, Evita, and The Secret Garden. I've never been a huge fan of his (his voice is a style I've never been fond of) but he most definitely belongs on this mix.

9. "Guido's Song" from Nine, performed by Antonio Banderas (everybody knows who he is, right?)
Besides playing Che in the movie version of Evita, Antonio Banderas was also in the 2003 revival cast of Nine, which got him nominated for a Tony. He's set to play the title role in the Broadway revival of the Kander and Ebb musical Zorba, opening... uh... sometime. Wikipedia said fall of 2011, but that is nearly over, so not sure what's happening with that.

10. "Try to Remember" from The Fantasticks, performed by Jerry Orbach (Lennie Briscoe from Law & Order)
Jerry Orbach was also kind of a big deal in musical theater world. He originated this role in The Fantasticks, Chuck in Promises, Promises, Julian Marsh in 42nd Street, and Billy Flynn in Chicago. At least he got to sing when he voice Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast.

11. "Half As Big As Life" from Promises, Promises, performed by Sean Hayes (Jack McFarland from Will & Grace)
And here's another celebrity in the role that Jerry Orbach originated. I actually got to see this production in New York and while Sean Hayes is not a terribly strong singer, he was a very likable protagonist and was definitely fun to watch in the role. He was nominated for a Tony for this part.

12. "Is Anybody There?" from 1776, performed by William Daniels (Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World)
I only watched Boy Meets World once or twice ever, so William Daniels was always John Adams to me. He reprised his Broadway role in the 1972 film version of 1776 and is fantastic. He's not really much of a singer, but does an amazing job portraying the character.

13. "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls, performed by Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen from The O.C.)
OK, I don't watch The O.C. either, but apparently that's where a lot of my friends know him from. I knew him as the coma guy from While You Were Sleeping. But back before that, he was in the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls with Josie de Guzman, Nathan Lane and Faith Prince in 1992.

Two links here because the first one has video, which I think is so much more fun with this song, but the quality isn't great. The second link is the cast recording version. Jesse Tyler Ferguson sings my very favorite song from this show, playing an easily distracted young child who comes from a large family. This song always makes me laugh, and he does a great job with it.

And that's my mix! I'm sure I'll eventually think of more, so there might eventually be a part 2, but I figured this was a good introduction to some people who I always associate with musical theater, but nobody else does. Heh.

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