FLASH FRIDAY: Turkey Times Three & Gravy
Stuffed to the gills with excitement, energy and electricity, today we are taking a look at one of the most iconic Broadway numbers of the 1960s, originating in the 1968 Burt Bacharach/Hal David score for PROMISES, PROMISES - currently in a smash-hit revival at the Broadway Theater on Broadway starring Sean Hayes, Molly Shannon, as well as Kristin Chenoweth and Tony Goldwyn (both of whom have contributed InDepth InterViews to BroadwayWorld this year) - and featuring some of the most effervescent and unforgettable choreography of all time courtesy of Michael Bennett (in the first two clips), here is a special post-Thanksgiving edition of FLASH FRIDAY featuring "Turkey Lurkey Time" in three distinct iterations! One thing we can all be thankful for when it comes to the preservation of history (and it being available oh-so-conveniently at our fingertips) is YouTube. Tom Turkey might have gone away, but Broadway babies will be right at home with this Bennett brilliance on display.
Everyone Gather 'Round The YouTube
First, in this clip from the 1969 Tony Awards, the original Broadway cast of the PROMISES, PROMISES performs the ingenious choreographic showpiece, led by Donna McKechnie, Baayork Lee and Margo Sappington. To watch the number build from a thrown together office party secretaries' ditty to an all-out jubilant extravaganza of music, movement and energy - and how subtly and deftly that effect is achieved and enacted - is the mark of the mastery implicit in the work of Michael Bennett. Also, be sure to check out the two-part BroadwayWorld InDepth InterView: Donna McKechnie where we discuss this, as well as Ms. McKechnie's other work with Michael Bennett on COMPANY, A CHORUS LINE and much, much more. This is as good as it gets. Be thankful it exists on video - and in such a crystal-clear HD remastering!
If one helping just isn't enough - and is it, ever? - here we have a second look at the iconic "Turkey Lurkey Time" as performed on the Ed Sullivan Show with the replacement Broadway cast. We also get the special treat of a short snippet of Neil Simon's biting book and a small introductory section of the Bacharach/David rock n roll Christmas ditty "Merry Christmas" featured in the show. While this may be a sleeker, slicker and more well-polished technical presentation of the material - from sound to sets to camera shots to set-ups and beyond - the palpable vivacity of the Tony Awards clip is just impossible to beat, or even match. These ladies - Juliane Stites, Barbara Sharma and Baayork Lee (again) - certainly come close and give it their all!
Lastly, we have a clip from Todd Graff's seminal 2003 movie-musical CAMP - a true precursor to GLEE in many ways, much as FAME was to a generation before that - featuring a truly hilarious, but quite persuasive, take on the notoriously difficult song. While these nubile young women traverse the treacherous choreography a bit trepidatiously - and it has been considerably toned-down and simplified from the Bennett original - the wow effect is certainly evident in full by the time the infectious "Jingle Bells" concluding segment of the three-part song (four, if you count the instrumental dance and vocalization break). Alana Allen, Dequina Moore, and Tracee Beazer certainly work it! Check it out!
Since "Turkey Lurkey Time" itself is really 3 and ¾ songs in one, here is the gravy on top of today's Flash Friday with a short sneak peek clip from the new Broadway revival of PROMISES, PROMISES directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford.
And for dessert, we have a high-voltage portion of the recent Encores! concert staging of PROMISES, PROMISES with a particular emphasis on the rock n roll side of the Bacharach/David score and groovy Bennett choreography, recreated here (and amended, in part) by Rob Marshall.
That's all for this week. Please remember that if you have discovered a particularly thrilling, unique, bizarre or hilarious Broadway-related clip to please send us a line at the link below. Until next week…