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Show Boat revival? - Page 2



Show Boat revival? - Page 2

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Highland Guy
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Show Boat revival? #26
Posted: 4/12/20 at 11:27am

Yes.  A revival.

 

 

FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS
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Show Boat revival? #27
Posted: 4/12/20 at 11:54am

I feel like the almost one thousand performances of the Prince revival on Broadway preceded by a year in Toronto answers all questions about its continued popularity. That’s in the neighborhood of LCT’s South Pacific revival. Maybe to others 25 years seems longer than they do to me.
 
The plot was corny? So ridiculous. Just another silly story about miscegenation, addiction to gambling, desertion of pregnant wife and terminal alcoholism.


The reunion scene does not end with the two throwing their arms around each other and engaging in a deep kiss. It’s been 20 years and Magnolia has raised Kim successfully on her own, and the middle aged couple exchange a few awkward words.

I did not think that they were going to reunite as a couple. Perhaps everyone else made that assumption.

I would also point out that the reunion occurred as a result of the chance meeting of Ravenal and Julie. This brings some closure to the character of Julie and there is nothing sentimental about her fate.

Updated On: 4/12/20 at 11:54 AM
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Show Boat revival? #28
Posted: 4/12/20 at 2:44pm

All this talk of a "Show Boat" revival reminded me of Lonette McKee's magnificent portrayal of "Julie" - a role she was fortunate enough to play twice to great acclaim. First in the1983 Broadway revival directed by Michael Kahn which earned her a much-deserved Tony Award nomination. She then had the good fortune 11 years later to play the role again in Harold Prince's 1994 revival which originated in Toronto and then transferred to Broadway and ran for an impressive 947 performances. 

 

Show Boat revival?

Updated On: 4/13/20 at 02:44 PM
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Show Boat revival? #29
Posted: 4/12/20 at 3:12pm

Below is a review of Criterion's just-released Blu-ray edition of the 1936 film. I think there's an argument here to not mess too much with the original material. I honestly think most of us are smart enough to accept the work as being of its time.

For those who feel that revivals of shows need to be reworked and scrubbed for our times, I wonder why you're not advocating rewrites and edits of classic books, too?

https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/80139/showboat.html

Also, I realize that even the 1936 film took liberties with the material. If you really want to hear what the original was like in 1927, I would recommend this complete recording which is also available on many digital platforms.

https://www.amazon.com/Kern-Hammerstein-Frederica-Sinfonietta-Ambrosian/dp/B000I2ISLS/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=showboat&qid=1586718572&s=music&sr=1-3

 

 

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Show Boat revival? #30
Posted: 4/12/20 at 4:09pm

OlBlueEyes said: "I feel like the almost one thousand performances of the Prince revival on Broadway preceded by a year in Toronto answers all questions about its continued popularity. That’s in the neighborhood of LCT’s South Pacific revival. Maybe to others 25 years seems longer than they do to me.

The plot was corny? So ridiculous. Just another silly storyabout miscegenation, addiction to gambling, desertion of pregnant wife and terminal alcoholism.


The reunion scene does not end with the two throwing their arms around each other and engaging in a deep kiss. It’s been 20 years and Magnolia has raised Kim successfully on her own, and the middle aged couple exchange a few awkward words.

I did not think that they were going to reunite as a couple. Perhaps everyone else made that assumption.

I would also point out that the reunion occurred as a result of the chance meeting of Ravenal and Julie. This brings some closure to the character of Julie and there is nothing sentimental about her fate.
"

Plus, given that it played at the Gershwin (Uris?), a much larger theatre than the Beaumont, it was probably seen by 50% more people.  Prince directed several musicals that were too expensive to run...they closed earlier than they might have because of that.  This included Follies, Sweeney Todd, Candideu and Show Boat, off the top of my head.  I remember that SB was still playing to large audiences toward the end of its run; the problem was they a lot of the seats were discounted by then; couple that with the Very high but and it couldn’t sustain an even longer run.

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Show Boat revival? #31
Posted: 4/12/20 at 4:21pm

Interesting that both the 1983 and 1994 revivals played the very same theater. The 1983 revival played the theater when it was still known by its original name: Uris. When the 1994 played the theater it had already been re-named to the Gershwin.

 

In fact, the theater was re-named the Gershwin near the end of the '83 revival's run. The theater was re-named on June 5, 1983 and the show closed on June 26, 1983.

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Show Boat revival? #32
Posted: 4/12/20 at 11:14pm

MichelleCraig said: "Below is a review of Criterion's just-released Blu-ray edition of the 1936 film. I think there's an argument here to not mess too much with the original material. I honestly think most of us are smart enough to accept the work as being of its time.

For those who feel that revivals of shows need to be reworked and scrubbed for our times, I wonder why you're not advocating rewrites and edits of classic books, too?

https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/80139/showboat.html

Also, I realize that even the 1936 film took liberties with the material. If you really want to hear what the original was like in 1927, I would recommend this complete recording which is also available on many digital platforms.

https://www.amazon.com/Kern-Hammerstein-Frederica-Sinfonietta-Ambrosian/dp/B000I2ISLS/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=showboat&qid=1586718572&s=music&sr=1-3



Thanks for the review. I have that film on VHS and, unbelievably, it's been a long time since I've seen it. Time to upgrade, I guess. The part of Joe was written for Paul Robeson, but he actually missed the New York premiere and Jules Bledsoe was his substitute. There's a division of opinion over who sang "Ol' Man River" the best. Robeson took over the role beginning with the 1928 London premier and the 1932 Broadway revival.

And I found that three disc album on Amazon's music service. Had a hard time getting Alexa to pull out the right recording. I had forgotten that the original opening night production covers the first two disks and all the ancillary numbers written for the show on the third disk. "I Have the Room Above You" and "It's Getting Hotter in the North." 

Enjoyed the re-creation of opening night. Even the incidental music is memorable. Show Boat will be forgotten when Carmen and La Boheme are forgotten. 
 

 

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Show Boat revival? #33
Posted: 4/13/20 at 12:12am

In addition to Helen Morgan and Paul Robeson the 1936 movie also benefits from having a Magnolia (Irene Dunne) who could really sing. Dunne had a lovely voice and her recording of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is one of my favorites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn9hRlNkDB0

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Show Boat revival? #34
Posted: 4/13/20 at 12:50am

She's played the role on tour, as Hattie McDaniel had played hers in L.A. Almost all the leads had played their parts on stage. 

It's a magnificent film in most respects, offensive in a few areas. The miscegenation scene is well-handled and Robeson is treated with dignity, and the imagery in "Ole Man River" is powerful. But there are also embarrassing shots of black people rolling their eyes (in close-up, no less) and other such stereotypical/racist things. These two qualities jar against and contradict each other. I wonder if the negative imagery was second unit stuff James Whale had no control of.

It is unquestionably the best of the three versions, the truest to the stage show, and happily finally available on Blu-ray. 

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Show Boat revival? #35
Posted: 4/13/20 at 12:02pm

poisonivy2 said: "In addition to Helen Morgan and Paul Robeson the 1936 movie also benefits from having a Magnolia (Irene Dunne) who could really sing. Dunne had a lovely voice and her recording of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is one of my favorites:
 

Rolling your eyes is a negative black stereotype? I never knew that. I thought that white people rolled their eyes also when indicating disbelief of a statement that they had just heard.

Thanks for the link. I guess that they don't have or can't show the clip in the film Roberta (in which she had top billing over Fred and Ginger) although clips of about every other song are up there.

 

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Show Boat revival? #36
Posted: 4/13/20 at 1:02pm

joevitus said: "She's played the role on tour, as Hattie McDaniel had played hers in L.A. Almost all the leads had played their parts on stage.

It's a magnificent film in mostrespects, offensive in a few areas. The miscegenation scene is well-handled and Robeson is treated with dignity, and the imagery in "Ole Man River" is powerful. But there are also embarrassing shots of black people rolling their eyes (in close-up, no less) and other such stereotypical/racist things. These two qualities jar against and contradict each other. I wonder if the negative imagerywas second unit stuff James Whale had no control of.

It is unquestionably the best of the three versions, the truest to the stage show, and happily finally available on Blu-ray.
"

In 1936 I think minstrel show type entertainment was still popular and the movie  does have a rather unfortunate blackface number.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0RZOvs_7ZM

But overall the 1936 movie tackles the issues of race much more honestly and organically than the later MGM film IMO.

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Show Boat revival? #37
Posted: 4/13/20 at 1:15pm

OlBlueEyes said: "poisonivy2 said: "In addition to Helen Morgan and Paul Robeson the 1936 movie also benefits from having a Magnolia (Irene Dunne) who could really sing. Dunne had a lovely voice and her recording of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is one of my favorites:


Rolling your eyes is a negative black stereotype? I never knew that. I thought that white people rolled their eyes also when indicating disbelief of a statement that they had just heard.

Thanks for the link. I guess that they don't have or can't show the clip in the film Roberta (in which she had top billing over Fred and Ginger) although clips of about every other song are up there.


"

Not the same kind of rolling. And yes, it's a pretty common stereotypical image of the era.

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Show Boat revival? #38
Posted: 4/13/20 at 1:16pm

poisonivy2 said: "joevitus said: "She's played the role on tour, as Hattie McDaniel had played hers in L.A. Almost all the leads had played their parts on stage.

It's a magnificent film in mostrespects, offensive in a few areas. The miscegenation scene is well-handled and Robeson is treated with dignity, and the imagery in "Ole Man River" is powerful. But there are also embarrassing shots of black people rolling their eyes (in close-up, no less) and other such stereotypical/racist things. These two qualities jar against and contradict each other. I wonder if the negative imagerywas second unit stuff James Whale had no control of.

It is unquestionably the best of the three versions, the truest to the stage show, and happily finally available on Blu-ray.
"

In 1936 I think minstrel show type entertainment was still popular and the movie does have a rather unfortunate blackface number.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0RZOvs_7ZM

But overall the 1936 movie tackles the issues of race much more honestly and organically than the later MGM film IMO.
"

Agree completely.

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Show Boat revival? #39
Posted: 4/15/20 at 1:47am


But overall the 1936 movie tackles the issues of race much more honestly and organically than the later MGM film IMO."

Louis B. Mayer wasn't well known for his social conscience. 

Since Lonette McKee was brought up and many are thinking of Rebecca Luker, whose husband Danny just wrote an article describing his harrowing experience with Covid-19, we have preserved the joyful sounds of "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" from the Prince Revival. 

Lonette McKee, Rebecca Luker, Gretha Boston and Michel Bell

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Show Boat revival? #40
Posted: 4/15/20 at 5:17pm

Curious you'd say that. When on the first day of shooting, the cast of Cabin in the Sky was refused service at the studio commissary, Mayer invited them to dine in his private dining room, and the very next day the commissary was permanently desegregated. 

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Show Boat revival? #41
Posted: 4/15/20 at 6:17pm

I think Louis B. Mayer was very conservative and believed in presenting an idealized version of America. Show Boat's recurring broken relationships and marriages and "miscengenation" (thank god we don't use that term anymore) didn't fit with MGM's outlook. 

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Show Boat revival? #42
Posted: 4/15/20 at 7:26pm

This I agree with, and maybe it's what Ol' Blue Eyes meant, and I misunderstood. 

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Show Boat revival? #43
Posted: 4/16/20 at 2:16am

No. Louis B. Mayer was a very bad guy.

 

Long before Weinstein there was Louis B. Mayer, who co-founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios in 1924. Mayer, the ground zero of this kind of abuse, had means, motive, opportunity and that critical piece of the puzzle: the whip. If women didn’t comply, he’d threaten to ruin their careers or those of their loved ones. Sound familiar?

Back in the Golden Age, having gay actors associated with movie studios would have been terrible for public image. So not only were they required to stay closeted; they also had to let the studios arrange marriages for them.

Two of Judy Garland’s six husbands were closeted gay men. One of them was actor / director Vincente Minnelli, who married four women throughout his life. The other was Mark Herron, who maintained a relationship with fellow actor Henry Brandon before, during, and after his marriage to Garland.
 

Then there was William Haines, who made no effort to hide the fact that he lived with a male partner. In 1933, his star power started fading and his movies weren't the box-office draws they once were. So Louis B. Mayer demanded that Haines marry a woman for the sake of studio profits.

Haines refused, left MGM, and became Hollywood's most in-demand interior designer. He and his partner, Jimmy Shields, remained together until his death in 1973.

 

In 1942, Lena Horne became the first African-American actress to land a studio contract. In an era when black actors were typecast as slaves, servants, primitives, and other unpleasant stereotypes, Horne was the first to be portrayed as glamorous.

But dressing her up and parading her about was as far as MGM went. They weren’t about to give her the roles or recognition she wanted.  Horne desperately wanted the role of a mulatto singer in the musical Show Boat (1951), but the role went to white actress Ava Gardner instead.

 

The biggest teen idols of their time, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland made nine movies together from 1937 to 1943, starting when she was 15 and he was 17. MGM had them working nonstop, wrapping up one movie and filming another almost immediately.

Every morning they were given amphetamines to boost their energy. At night they were knocked out by sleeping pills, but woken up four hours later and given more amphetamines. Garland even claimed they would work 72 hours in a row

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Show Boat revival? #44
Posted: 4/16/20 at 1:12pm

This has nothing to do with your first statement "Louis B. Mayer wasn't well known for his social conscience" which is a totally different issue from whether he was a terrible person or not.

I'm amused you thought you could school me in MGM history, though.

Updated On: 4/16/20 at 01:12 PM
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Show Boat revival? #45
Posted: 4/16/20 at 1:32pm

All the old movie moguls were pretty "bad guys" but wasn't Louis B Mayer actually considered one of the more decent? I think Darryl Zanuck and Harry Cohn were considered way worse personally. 

Judy Garland in this interview (long after Mr. Mayer was dead) said that she liked "Mr. Mayer". Go to 6:53

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8MZiIa5Qyc

Anyway, the 1951 musical suffered from miscasting. Kathryn Grayson and Ava Gardner just weren't right for their parts.

 

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Show Boat revival? #46
Posted: 4/16/20 at 7:29pm

poisonivy2 said: "All the old movie moguls were pretty "bad guys" but wasn't Louis B Mayer actually considered one of the more decent? I think Darryl Zanuck and Harry Cohn were considered way worse personally.

Judy Garland in this interview (long after Mr. Mayer was dead) said that she liked "Mr. Mayer". Go to 6:53

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8MZiIa5Qyc

Anyway,the 1951 musical suffered from miscasting. Kathryn Grayson and Ava Gardner just weren't right for their parts.


"

You may be right, Ivy. This story about Cohn would be hard to believe except that it has been reported in so many places.

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/1999/03/sammy-davis-kim-novak-dating

I've tried to pick reliable sources for this. This is from Slate:

It is no secret that MGM in Hollywood’s Golden Age was controlling, and that it was worse for women. “When he signed his actors and actresses to a contract, Mayer maintained, he bought them: They were his, body and soul,” writes Clarke. “Most of the stars, particularly the women, might as well have worn a sign saying ‘Property of M-G-M.’ Having sex with the female help was regarded as a perk of power, and few women escaped the demands of Mayer and his underlings.” According to Anne Edwards in an earlier biography, Judy Garland: A Biography, other gossip linking Mayer and Garland, beyond inappropriate touching, was never confirmed: “For most of her life Judy denied any such liaison.” But as Edwards also acknowledges, “It is a widely accepted fact that he had a penchant for very young girls and that he was possessed of an acute God complex which made the young women he felt he had created the most attractive to him.”

https://slate.com/culture/2020/01/judy-movie-fact-fiction-garland-biopic-historical-accuracy.html


Edit to no one: It was a good film by MGM's standards. Kathryn Grayson could sing and was popular. It included both dance numbers for Marge and Gower Champion (have you ever heard of anyone else named Gower?). "Life Upon the Wicked Stage" and "I Might Fall Back on You." Ava Gardner had star power, although Lena Horne seems like a natural for the part and she could act and not just be an exhibit.

According to George Sidney, MGM executives wanted Dinah Shore to play Julie. Sidney tested Shore but she "wasn't right" according to the director. So he tested Ava Gardner miming to a Lena Horne track and Gardner was cast.

It introduced the show to millions and it went down easy.  It received a rave review from the Times and favorable comparisons with the 1936 film mostly because of the Technicolor and the costumes that showed that technology off. When it came to comparing the players from both films, the 1936 fared much better.

I think Lonette McKee was terrific in the "Can't Help Lovin' That Man." Her playfulness with Queenie.
 
 

Updated On: 5/6/20 at 07:29 PM
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Show Boat revival? #47
Posted: 4/16/20 at 8:41pm

I've read that story about Kim Novak and Sammy Davis Jr. Also biographies of Rita Hayworth make it clear how awful Harry Cohn was. Darryl Zanuck's 4 pm specials were also infamous.

AFAIK Louis B Mayer was more obsessive about controlling his stars' public image, and presenting them as the kind of wholesome personalities they usually weren't. 

Anyway, the 1936 film also has the benefit of Hattie McDaniel. What a wonderful actress.

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Show Boat revival? #48
Posted: 4/17/20 at 4:19am

Turnabout is Fair Play or Whatever

Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man

Irene Dunne, Helen Morgan, Paul Robeson, & Hattie McDanell

Paul Robeson looks like he's ready to tee off at the 1st hole of the Country Club.

Probably no one will ever watch this clip, but I wanted to include Frederica von Stade, who sang Magnolia in John McGlinn's 3 CD set. The great thing here is that she's not miked. I have been made to understand why they use mikes in shows, but do Audra and Kelli and Kristin need them in concert? Maybe it would be too hard on their voices. Lately they have dropped the mike for a song or two. Audra, at her January, 2019 concert with the New York Philharmonic, which was recorded and released as an album, dropped the mike for Summertime and it was glorious 

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=xYNWf-izk3w&list=RDxYNWf-izk3w&start_radio=1&t=1&t=1

Updated On: 4/17/20 at 04:19 AM
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Show Boat revival? #49
Posted: 4/17/20 at 10:05am

Yeah, no. 

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Show Boat revival? #50
Posted: 5/23/20 at 2:12pm

My casting picks for a remake of Show Boat would be: 

Lily James as Magnolia Hawks and her daughter Kim (as an adult) 

Lady Gaga as Julie LaVerne 

Zac Efron as Gaylord Ravenal 

Viola Davis as Queenie 

Sterling K. Brown as Joe 

Tom Hanks as Cap'n Andy