Musicals

All posts in the Musicals category

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Dietz and Schwartz

Published August 18, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Composed for the 1931 Broadway show The Bandwagon, Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz’s classic tune Dancing in the Dark has found its way into many films, including a self titled offering in 1949 starring William Powell. Of course, many of these movies feature the song with an emphasis on its classic, moody jazz tones – much like this live version by the irreplaceable Sarah Vaughan.

The gloomier implications of its title, though, have helped this distinguished number find a home in a number of horror projects including 1988’s Twice Dead and 1995’s Lord of Illusions. Nicely, the version in the latter film was dominated, ominously, by avant garde singing sensation Diamanda Galas.

Meanwhile, Dietz and Schwartz, whose other well known compositions include That’s Entertainment and I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plans, are given a nice career overview at https://masterworksbroadway.com/artist/howard-dietz-and-arthur-schwartz/.

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Barbara Cook

Published July 7, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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She was one of the queens of the Broadway stage and the cabaret circuit. But the multi-talented Barbara Cook also took a turn towards the gothic as one of Hitchcock’s famously conflicted blondes in the A Little Sleep episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Long considered to possess one of the sweetest, nuanced soprano voices, Cook was a 2011 Kennedy Center Honoree and, appropriately, received many other honors (including a Tony Award) before her death in 2017 at the age of 89.

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Jane Summerhays

Published May 12, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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One of Broadway’s true treasures, Jane Summerhays also brought her vital energy to Let the Games Begin, a third season episode of the George Romero created anthology series Tales From The Darkside.

Of course, Summerhays frequently gave veteran theater goers the chills. Who can forget her amazing work with Ann Miller in Sugar Babies and Eartha Kitt in The Wild Party? No one, that’s who!!!

Nicely, the footage below shows her in her prime from the original production of A Chorus Line.

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Anita Ellis

Published April 22, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Anita Ellis

Providing the ‘40s singing voice for everyone from MGM’s Vera Ellen to the stunning Rita Haworth, the versatile Anita Ellis earned her terror pedigree by having her vocals included in the 1964 horror cheese fest The Flesh Eaters. The sister of Larry Kert, the gay actor-singer who found acclaim in the original stage production of West Side Story, Ellis eventually courted success as a jazz singer in her latter day career – even though a particularly vicious form of stage fright often robbed her of her voice.

Still, her talent and skill will forever reverberate in numbers such as this.

Meanwhile, a more complete biography of this magnificent performer is available at https://www.oldies.com/artist-biography/Anita-Ellis.html.

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Shirley Jones

Published March 31, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Roles in Oklahoma, Carousel and The Music Man pegged the exquisite Shirley Jones as one of America’s true sweethearts. Glossy production numbers on variety specials, like the one below, only enhanced that image.

But every performer has a dual nature. Jones, who won an Academy Award for playing a lady of the evening in Elmer Gantry, has been nicely showing hers in such latter day horror productions as Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th and Zombie Night. If that isn’t proof of her full bounty of talent then I don’t know what is!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Ann Miller

Published March 24, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Her powerful Mulholland Drive landlady may have uttered the line “Ten bucks says you’re Betty,” but the divine Ann Miller, whose amazing career spanned decades, was always one in a million.

Movie buffs will always be grateful to the eccentric David Lynch for immortalizing Ann at the end of her career with a role in his mysteriously gothic masterpiece, but he was not the first auteur to take delight in Miller’s powerful presence. Dance maverick Busby Berkeley, long admired by such genre legends as Joe Dante and John Landis, provided this tap dancing marvel with one of her most captivating and original production numbers in the fun musical Small Town Girl.

Miller, long a believer in extraterrestrial powers – her final book was entitled Tapping into the Force, died at the age of 80 in 2004. But to her devoted fans and dedicated celluloid buffs, this expressive dynamo will live on forever!

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Horror Mash-Up: Fay Wray and Farley Granger

Published March 23, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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As with many superstars, Mary Astor and Constance Bennett among them, King Kong’s expressive Fay Wray found herself playing mothers of grown daughters onscreen far too soon. Nicely, Wray finds plenty of moments to bring a sense of charm and joy to her Mrs. Gordon Kimbell – no first name given!!! – in the 1953 MGM musical Small Town Girl.

Mothering musical sensation Jane Powell as she romances Farley Granger’s society playboy (while simultaneously wrangling her way through the rest of her loved one’s strong personalities), Wray is able to show moments of exasperated tenderness over her brood’s foibles and eccentricities while providing evidence that she is the force that keeps her family on the right track. Small Farley

Terror celebrants, meanwhile, will be pleased to see Wray, whose other horror credits include Doctor X and Mystery in the Wax Museum, share a scene or two with Granger. Granger, who proves here that he was one of the most striking presences in the Golden Age of Hollywood, is well known for his work in Hitchcock’s homoerotic masterpieces, Rope and Strangers on a Train. Besides that amazing contribution to the legacy of dark cinema, this eclectic specimen appeared in a variety of Giallo enterprises (So Sweet, So Dead, Something Creeping in the Dark, What Have They Done to Your Daughters?) and enlivened the beloved 1981 slasher The Prowler, which is highlighted by Tom Savini’s gruesome effects work.

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