And Now For The Answers…

And now for the answers…

1.  Knickerbocker Holiday, “September Song”, Pieter Stuyvesant.   Supposedly, Walter Huston asked composer Kurt Weill to write a little something for the old bastard to sing.  Weill complied with one of his most famous songs.  Over the years, there have been many interpretations of this song, but Huston’s version remains canonical.

2.  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “I Want it Now!”, Veruca Salt.  The first lines show what an ignoramus Veruca really is.  Her song reaches the limits of greed and megalomania, but which of us doesn’t have a little bit of  Veruca?  British actress, Julie Dawn Cole owns this song.

3.  Nymph Errant, “The Physician”, Evangeline.  This 1933 Cole Porter musical was silly, controversial, and quite risque, but today it’s all but forgotten.  When Evangeline is asked by a eunuch from a Turkish harem whether she has ever been in love, she replies that when she had the measles she saw a doctor, and then the song.  “The Physician” tells of Evangeline’s ridiculous bewilderment in learning that the physician liked all her parts, but never her “as a whole.”  The rest can be imagined.  It was originally sung by British star Gertrude Lawrence.  In 1989 a complete recording of the score was issued on EMI/Angel.  The song was performed by Lisa Kirk, who was criticized for being “too arch.”  Other songs in this racy musical include:  “Solomon”(performed by chanteuse Elizabeth Welch), and “Si Vous Aimez les Poitrines”(performed by Liliane Montevecchi and the Stephen Hill Singers).  The musical is quite a hoot.

4.  Doctor Dolittle, “When I Look in Your Eyes”, Doctor Dolittle.  He sings this strangely haunting song to Sophie the Seal before casting her into the sea.  Phillip Schofield gives a poetic interpretation in the London version, and Friedrich Schoenfelder adds a quiet intelligence to his rendition in the German version, but Rex Harrison’s wistful, reflective version remains a classic.  This is one of British composer Leslie Bricusses’s more poignant songs.

5.  Silk Stockings, “Satin and Silk”, Janice Dayton on Broadway, Peggy Dayton in film.  This song is full of double entendres, which the censors tried to prune away in the film.  But they missed a couple of lines!  Gretchen Wyler played a more intense Janice Dayton, while Janice Page in the film took the role with high spirits, and a casual, somewhat teasing sexuality.

6.  Doctor Dolittle, “Beautiful Things”, Matthew Mugg in film, Emma Fairfax in London stage version.  The next line is:  “But life is full of beautiful things.”  Together these lines epitomize my philosophy of life.  Sarah Jane Hassell sings a moving version of this song, but Anthony Newley’s highly emotional interpretation gets the nod.

7.  The Boys From Syracuse, “What can you do with a Man”, Luce, wife of Dromio of Ephesus, and Dromio of Ephesus.  The musical is based on Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors with superb lyrics by Lorenz Hart, and music by Richard Rodgers.  Stanley Praeger and Bibi Osterwald from the 1953 recording are the “ideal” couple.

8.  Strike Up The Band, 1927 version, “The Man I Love”, Joan Fletcher and Jim Townsend.  Rebecca Luker and Brent Barrett perform this song at its highest level.  The 1990 version on Elektra Nonesuch is the version to have.

9.  Camelot, “I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight”, King Arthur.  Richard Burton’s performance probably can’t be equaled, although Richard Harris tried in the film and on stage with different Gueniveres.  Richard Burton had the distinct advantage of working with Julie Andrews on Broadway.

10.  You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, “Happiness”, Charlie Brown and cast.  Snoopy’s bark begins this piece of stage magic in which all of the characters are drawn together as if by enchantment through the stillness of the night.  Charlie Brown’s lines end the song, and the subsequent reiteration of the musical’s title by Lucy , ends the play.  Gary Burghoff provides that special innocent quality required of Charlie Brown.

About Robert M. Weiss
From an early age, I've taken great pleasure in reading. Also, I learned to play my 78 player when I was quite young, and enjoyed listening to musicals and classical music. I remember sitting on the floor, and following the text and pictures of record readers, which were popular in the 1940s and 50s. My favorites were the Bozo and Disney albums. I also enjoyed watching the slow spinning of 16s as they spun out tales of adventure. I have always been attracted by rivers, and I love to sit on a boulder with my feet in the water, gazing into the mysteries of swirling currents. I especially like inner tubing on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Since my early youth, I've been interested in collecting minerals, which have taught me about the wonderful possibilities in colors and forms. Sometimes I try to imagine what the ancient Greeks must have felt when they began to discover physical laws in nature. I also remember that I had a special passion for numbers, and used to construct them out of stones. After teaching Russian for several years, I became a writer, interviewer, editor, and translator. I continue to delight in form, and am a problem solver at heart.

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