THEATRICAL THROWBACK THURSDAY: Mickey Rooney Sweetens SUGAR BABIES & Jokes With Judy
Today we continue BroadwayWorld's newest column, celebrating the classic clips from yesteryear featuring our favorite classic stage and screen stars, with a spotlight on a legendary movie musical leading man and Broadway icon byway of the hit later-in-life revue SUGAR BABIES, Mickey Rooney.
On The Sunny Side Of The Street
The top star in Hollywood for multiple years due to the gargantuan success of the ANDY HARDY film series, Mickey Rooney crafted a one of a kind career for himself over the course of his more than 70 years in show business. With his passing this week at the age of 93, now is an ideal time to turn our attention to his sole Broadway success via the hit vaudeville revue SUGAR BABIES, also starring movie musical royalty in the form of tap queen Ann Miller, and remember what made him such a formidable force in the entertainment industry.
SUGAR BABIES opened on Broadway in 1979 and ran for more than three years before later going out on the road once again with Rooney and Miller reprising their Tony Award-nominated roles in 1984. Clearly, even after a rough life - complete with a crippling gambling addiction and more than a few failed marriages - Rooney was still going strong despite it all. Proving that his indomitable spirit remained in full control decades after his time at the top, Rooney brought the daffy joy and winsome ways of his onstage turn to a whole new audience with his SUGAR BABIES stints - not just on Broadway, but around the entire country, as well, introducing his gifts to a whole new generation in the process.
Although Ann Miller was unquestionably a formidable match-up for the triple-threat in SUGAR BABIES, Rooney's pairing with another iconic leading lady may very well be what he is ultimately remembered for given their unmistakably electric chemistry and countless classic films that endure even to this very day- the one and only Judy Garland, highlighted here in this very column last week with our kick-off entry. GIRL CRAZY, BABES IN ARMS, STRIKE UP THE BAND - the list of classics the two contributed to the movie musical canon goes on and on.
So, take some time to remember the affable personality known around the world as merely Mickey and enjoy his Tony Awards performance from SUGAR BABIES alongside Ann Miller below.
As a special bonus, also take a peek at this delectable vintage clip with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney remembering their heyday as top teen stars as seen on THE JUDY GARLAND SHOW and recreating some unforgettable songs and star turns.
So, what is your absolute favorite Mickey Rooney performance to date? Furthermore, who was his ideal onscreen or onstage match-up, in your honest opinion? One thing is for certain: they don't make stars like Mickey Rooney anymore, and a more idiosyncratic and indelibly likable personality would be difficult to find, now or ever. A tip of the top hat - and a round of taps or two - to him.