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Seesaw

inception Profile Photo
inception
Stand-by
joined:11/2/13
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 03:54am
Pal Joey made some comments in the thread about Matthew Morrison taking over the lead in Finding Neverland about Seesaw, which reminded me of some questions I had but didn't want to thread jack.
1) I wonder if anyone here saw the original production, and has any memories/comments?
2) There is a small photo on the cover of the cd of Tommy Tune walking down a staircase with balloons, and I know this is a dumb question, but his leg is bending forward at the knee... how did he do that?
...
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 04:46am
Um, I'm sure this is a dumb answer, but my legs bend forward at the knee, too.

Do your legs bend and, if so, how?

(On topic, I didn't see the show, but I have always loved the album. It sounds like two shows, however, the intimate, essentially 2-character story from Gibson's play, TWO FOR THE SEESAW, and some other, bigger show about life in NYC.)
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 05:04am
Oh, I looked up the photo and I see what you mean. But I can't enlarge it enough to see what he is doing. (I owned that cover for years and never noticed anything odd about his legs.)

I then looked though hundreds of photos and though Tune has very long legs, they only seem to bend in the usual way.

I think the photo in question is just Tune kicking as he descends the stairs, but because the photo is tiny and his legs are very long, it produces the effect you describe. Someone here will know.

Here is another BWW discussion of the show:

http://www.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.php?thread=931691



Updated On: 9/4/14 at 05:04 AM
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 07:13am
It wasn't a bad show, but it had the appearance of a cut and paste job. It's really a small story, and the production numbers seemed like just so much filler, including Tommy Tune's big number. Some of the songs were cute, like Welcome to Holiday Inn and We've Got It. Overall, the score is fairly pleasant, with some clunkers thrown in.

A major problem was the ugly design-- a real eyesore. It neither lent itself nor contributed to a cheery, fun-filled evening.



Updated On: 9/4/14 at 07:13 AM
brucebossa Profile Photo
brucebossa
Understudy
joined:5/27/14
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 10:20am
I saw the original with Michelle Lee and quite enjoyed it - however, it had several numbers that seemed to be just thrown in like "Spanglish" and "Ride Out The Storm" which almost seemed to be added to have cast diversity (and to show the diversity in New York City I guess). One focused on the Hispanic/American mix in NYC and "Ride Out The Storm" had a black lead singer as I recall. Don't even remember how they tried to make them fit the plot.

I then saw the tour several times because I had friends in it. They really had re-written it and actually took out those two numbers! It really helped focus on the plot (Lucie Arnaz was the lead). I went to Indianapolis to see the tour once and got to hang out at the cast's motel swimming pool with Tommy Tune and Lucie. Great memories... and maybe that's one of the reasons I am fond of the show. And especially the re-written tour version.
MartyO49 Profile Photo
MartyO49
Chorus Member
joined:10/6/03
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 11:25am
The Tommy Tune Balloon number "It's not where you start but where you finish" was the highlight for me. The production numbers were better than the numbers for the leads. I wonder what it would have been likee with Lainie Kazan?
eperkins Profile Photo
eperkins
Broadway Star
joined:5/21/07
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 04:21pm
Anita Morris alone was worth the price of admission. And although several of the numbers, like "Spanglish," were certainly out of left field, the choreography and dancing were terrific. I also rather liked the set - by Robin Wagner. It was simple, but evocative of New York, and used a lot of projections.
ray-andallthatjazz86 Profile Photo
ray-andallthatjazz86
Broadway Legend
joined:8/2/05
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 05:02pm
I love this cast recording so much! (I probably said the same thing in the other thread). It definitely has clunky moments, but I actually like "Spanglish" for how out-of-left-field it feels even in the album, and I think Michelle Lee is sensational in the recording. There's just something really charming to it. Every year I wait for Encores! to announce they are doing it, and every year I'm disappointed they're not.
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
CarlosAlberto Profile Photo
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 05:11pm
I love NOBODY DOES IT LIKE ME. Such a great song!
tazber Profile Photo
tazber
Broadway Legend
joined:5/10/05
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 07:30pm
The best song in the show Carlos.

I also love Poor Everybody Else and Welcome to Holiday Inn.
....but the world goes 'round
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 08:31pm
I love the score, and find the show and its history fantastic, and my grandma used to always talk about Tommy Tune's balloon number (I think Bennett let him choreograph both of his numbers--prob partly due to lack of time.) But, I'm also shocked Encores! hasn't done it. It has a mostly terrific score (I admit, I simply don't understand Spanglish--something about the melody always alludes me,) great dance numbers they could easily re-stage (Tune at least could help,) and great casting abilities--and let's face it, there's no chance it would get an actual major revival.

As a kid, obsessed with the director choreographers, I always thought it was interesting that Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields teamed up on two shows -- Sweet Charity for Fosse and (closing shortly before she died,) Seesaw. Of course Bennett inherited the score (I believe it was all there by the time he took over,) whereas Fosse was instrumental in their composing of Sweet Charity, but still... Bennett also brought in Sweet Charity's Neil Simon to help re-write the book, though their are conflicting rumours about how much he did. And he persuaded Wagner to change the scenery from realistic to stylized--perhaps inspired by working with stylized sets for Company and Follies. Fosse's New York City musical/Bennett's New York City musical. The original team must have been upset though (Grover Dale still got co-choreography credit, something apparently Bennett insisted on even though none of his stuff remained--)

And of course, a well known fact is Poor Everybody Else was written for Sweet Charity but cut (I'm not sure if it made previews,) because Gwen found it too hard to sustain those long notes while dancing in the second half of the show--so it was replaced with I'm a Brass Band and ended up in Seesaw.

I'd love to hear The Party's On Me--the new song for the National Tour.

And of course, it was Michael Bennett's first solo directing credit.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 08:42pm
Will nobody answer the OP's question about the photo of Tune dancing down the stairs?

** SPOILER ALERT **

For those who saw it, didn't the emphasis on ethnic diversity in NYC sort of undercut Jerry's decision to dump Gittel because their backgrounds are too "different"?

And what about the lyric, "Thank you, Jerry Ryan" in "I'm Way Ahead"? What is she thanking him for? Teaching her about anti-Semitism?

** END SPOILER **
Mr. Nowack Profile Photo
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 09:08pm
"Spanglish" is a bizarre number, but I love love love the rest of the cast album so much. Even the silly group numbers "My City" and "Ride Out The Storm." I especially love the counterpoint number "Poor Everybody Else" / "In The Late Great State Of New York" and the duet "In Tune."

All the small numbers seem to be the most successful, which makes me wonder what it would be like if they revised the show to concentrate more on the central couple and less on the whole city and diversity or whatever they were trying to do.

Sortof like THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG - mainly a two person show with a small greek chorus type of thing? That would cut out the Tommy Tune character, but I'm not sure how essential he is to the plot (I really only know the cast album).

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Updated On: 9/4/14 at 09:08 PM
Rinaldo
Understudy
joined:5/5/09
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 09:21pm
"It sounds like two shows, however, the intimate, essentially 2-character story from Gibson's play, TWO FOR THE SEESAW, and some other, bigger show about life in NYC." I think that's pretty much it. Both shows were entertaining in their different ways, so it was possible to have a very good time at it, given some indulgence for the way it was split. The big Tommy Tune number was barely motivated at all (likewise for his whole character, really), and yet it was undeniably hugely entertaining -- the Michael Bennett touch.

For me, the most enjoyable aspect of "Spanglish" is realizing that this little loud-voiced kid is the eminent award-winning actor Giancarlo Esposito.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 09:34pm
Maybe this thread should be merged with the "revisal" thread. LOL.

I have seen a small-cast revisal of 110 IN THE SHADE that worked beautifully.
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 11:11pm
I always thought, besides Lee's performance, the aspects the critics praised the most though were the big, overblown numbers. Still, I *could* see the main story, with their character songs, reduced to an intimate one act.
inception Profile Photo
inception
Stand-by
joined:11/2/13
Seesaw
Posted: 9/4/14 at 11:58pm

Thank-you Gaveston and everyone else for your comments.

Here is the cover image of the album from the wikipedia page. It is a bit small to make out what I was asking about. I know Tommy Tune is pretty tall already, but I wonder if he was perhaps on some sort of stilts during that number which bent forward - though that would be pretty risky to use walking down stairs.

...
mjohnson2 Profile Photo
mjohnson2
Broadway Star
joined:11/2/13
Seesaw
Posted: 9/5/14 at 02:59am

My good camera isn't working, so I had to use my phone, but this is the best image I could get of him from my LP. It makes him look like he is in blackface. Wait, I've never seen the show. IS he in blackface?

Anything regarding shows stated by this account is an attempt to convey opinion and not fact.
Updated On: 9/5/14 at 02:59 AM
tazber Profile Photo
tazber
Broadway Legend
joined:5/10/05
Seesaw
Posted: 9/5/14 at 04:29am
....but the world goes 'round
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Seesaw
Posted: 9/5/14 at 04:31am
Broadway Musicals - the coffee table book has another photo of him in thatnumber, and he's certainly not in black face. Can't help you with the knee though
ray-andallthatjazz86 Profile Photo
ray-andallthatjazz86
Broadway Legend
joined:8/2/05
Seesaw
Posted: 9/5/14 at 11:06am
Taz, "Poor Everybody Else" is fantastic. I particularly love the way it comes back in at the end of the "Chapter 4, Number 1909" number. It's pure joy. "Welcome to Holiday Inn" is a lot of fun, and I remember being shocked that those lyrics were part of a musical like that. It's quite bold, and Michelle Lee sells it like no one else. And yes, "Spanglish" is bizarre, but that's why I like it, there's a WTF-ness to it that I find charming.
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
tazber Profile Photo
tazber
Broadway Legend
joined:5/10/05
Seesaw
Posted: 9/5/14 at 11:25am
There are days when for no reason I'll start singing:

Gotta lump in my throat
For poor everybody else


....but the world goes 'round
Deena Jones
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/03
Seesaw
Posted: 9/5/14 at 11:59am
Michele Lee is playing tonight and tomorrow night in Provincetown! Hope to see her.
JayG  2 Profile Photo
JayG 2
Stand-by
joined:12/19/12
Seesaw
Posted: 9/5/14 at 12:10pm
Seeesaw was a terrific musical in the old Broadway tradition. Lots of flash and style and a catchy score containing some terrific songs by Coleman with clever Dorothy Fields lyrics. Were a few numbers extraneous? Sure, but were the terrific? Definitely, so who cared. If they are cut in future productions, it probably makes sense because the genius of the three choreographers involved in the original staging cannot be duplicated by anyone working today.
Michele Lee was magnificent. Funny, warm, and heartbreaking. She deserved the Tony Award that year. Why she never did another B'way musical is beyond me. I saw the show several times, once when she was out - and it wasn't the same show. So Seesaw probably needs a gifted triple threat star, Like Lee, and a great director/choreographer, like Bennett, to reach the exhilarating heights that it achieved in its B'way production.

 
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