Often I wonder how I could have gone on for so long without knowing anything about Sondheim’s “Follies”. I only discovered it four years ago. Of all the songs from the show, Who’s That Woman is one of my favourites. A group of old showgirls and their former selves gather once more on the stage to do their signature number from thirty years ago.
I recognised Terri White as one of the women who was part of the ensemble of “Liza Live at Radio City”. Her potent voice is hard not to remember. I felt a bit sad when I learned of her misfortunes. Around 2009, she lived on a park bench in Washington Square in New York. Fortunately, a good Samaritan lent her a hand, and she could put her life together and continue her career in theatre.
There’s No Business Like Show Business – Ethel Merman
I’ve always been fond of La Merman. I’m unsure if she reminds me of my mother’s favourite cousin, Isabel, or if Ethel was the first diva I ever became aware of.
I’m sure I first saw her on a rerun of “The Lucy Show”, where she played herself but pretended to be someone else. In typical Lucy fashion, she tries to get Merman to perform in a PTA benefit or something like that; not only was I charmed by her, but what a set of pipes she had. Probably around the same time, I saw her on an episode of “That Girl” with Marlo Thomas. Again, she played herself doing some sort of show where Thomas’ Anne Marie had a walk-on. Once again, she charmed me.
There’s No Business Like Show Business– Ethel Merman … “If I’m the queen of disco, you are the Disco Diva”, Donna Summer told La Merman when they both met at the recording studio.
This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)– Natalie Cole
Turkish March – Zdenek Chabala & Turkish Philharmonic
Up With End Credits– Orchestra
We Go Together *– Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta
What Kind of Fool Am I *– Regine Velasquez
Whenever You’re Away From Me *– Gene Kelly & Olivia Newton-John … Here it was, a man who for almost 40 years had been the prime star of the American movie musical having one final dance on celluloid with the ever-so-charming Olivia Newton-John.
How often do we need to make up our minds until we finally get it right? Actually, will we ever get it right? We’re a product – or a victim, depending on how you see it – of the decisions we have made in our life. No master plan or supreme being is deciding how our lives will unfold, and if there’s one, you often feel he must be using contractors to run your life; or he’s just a cunt.
No, we and only we are responsible for how our lives take shape.
When you grow up in a non-English speaking country, like I did, sooner or later, the big hits of America or the UK make their way to your radio stations in your local language. That was the case with The Night Chicago Died. The Paper Lace hit made its way to Venezuela shortly after it topped the US and UK charts.
During October and November 1974, the Spanish version by Mirla Castellanos dominated the radio waves. The song was so popular that they even made a music video, which I believe is probably the first music video I remember watching. Every time I hear this song is 1974 all over again.
Opening Doors– Jim Walton, Lonny Price, Ann Morrison, Jason Alexander, Sally Klein … I believe I caused a good impression because four weeks later I was informed I had been selected. I had opened the first door that had remained open.
Partners of the Heart – Orchestra … A few seconds later my name rolled by … That was the very first time I had seen my name on a big screen.
Piano Merengue – Billo’s Caracas Boys
Rose’s Turn – Bernadette Peters … Here it comes from “Gypsy”, the ultimate I’ve-done-everything-for-you-little-ingrate-and-this-is-the-way-you-pay-me song.
Russian Movie/Good Times – Vanessa Williams, Howard McGillin, Brian Mitchell, Herndon Lackey
Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off – Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald
Back during the first weeks of the list I included “Just In Time” (See Week 4, #24). At the time, I told you about an independent study I had done during the summer of 1991. The idea was to write a series of scripts for a TV show to ease the integration of Central America refugee children into the American culture.
My scriptwriting professor at American University, John Douglass, helped me with the script treatment for the series; its basic premise and the places the plot could go. The series name was “Living In Monte Placer” or “Living in Mount Pleasant”, a mostly Latino neighbourhood in the District of Columbia. Each episode was to deal with many things, such as immigration issues, language barriers, and employment matters affecting the members of an El Salvadoran family, five adults and three kids. Among the supporting characters, there were three elderly tenants, an Italian immigrant, her husband, and an African American woman.