Musicals

All posts in the Musicals category

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Fred Astaire

Published June 24, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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The essence of cool suave in an every man’s persona, Fred Astaire lit up dozens of enjoyable musicals for a stretch of over twenty years.

His final role in the film adaptation of Peter Straub’s powerful Ghost Story, meanwhile, saw him adding a nice helping of contemplative sorrow to the spooky proceedings.

Of course, this celluloid ease was put to grand display in The Gay Divorcee, one of the classics that he made with Ginger Rogers, his most notable dancing partner. Cole Porter’s Night and Day may have been sung better by others, but it never looked more grandly elegant.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Dorothy Lamour

Published May 20, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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The glorious Dorothy Lamour was probably best known for the multiple Road pictures that she did with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (and for the vibrant wraparound dresses that she wore in them) in Hollywood’s golden age. There, and in other brightly filmed projects, she often burst into inventive song. Anthology buffs, though, probably know her best as the doomed Martha Spruce in the Old Chief Wooden’head episode of Creepshow 2. Thankfully, she had a much more colorful (and happier) role in Cecil DeMille’s grandiose The Greatest Show on Earth.

Lamour, who also appeared in the fun  1975 television terror Death at Love House also showed some new generation teens how to sell a production number in 1964’s Pajama Party.

Saying sarong…and until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Horror Mash-up: Maureen O’Hara and Maria Ouspenskaya

Published April 28, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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The scarlet streaked Maureen O’Hara began her career in such gothic offerings as Jamaica Inn, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and the classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame, both featuring her mentor Charles Laughton. Famed as an acting teacher, the luminescent Maria Ouspenskaya is best remembered for the spooky warnings that she gave to the unfortunate Lon Chaney, Jr. in the original The Wolf Man. Reprising that favored role in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Ouspenskaya also gave a humorously vibrant performance in the Universal shocker The Mystery of Marie RogetDance 2

Thankfully, these two dynamic forces met face-to-face in the 1940 romantic-comedy musical Dance, Girl, Dance. Here, O’Hara is the strong willed Judy O’Brien. Longing for a career as a professional dancer, O’Brien’s extreme pride finds her turning a blind eye to true offers of help while establishing herself as a joke act in burlesque – setting up her rival, Bubbles, played with sharp intent by Lucille Ball, for applause.

Ouspenskaya, meanwhile, plays O’Hara’s loving movement mentor, Madame Lydia Basilova. They two have a tender and affectionate relationship, one that is cut short when tragedy removes Basilova from the scene…just as she is about to help launch O’Brien on a true artistic journey.

lucille danceDirected by Dorothy Arzner, one of the few female directors working in Hollywood’s Golden Age, this truly enjoyable outing, nicely, has several moments of feminist intent. The last act, in particular, features a truly fiery O’Hara, excelling as O’Brien blasts society’s double standards with pointed fervor.

But, overall, this is simply just a fun romp wherein,  unsurprisingly, Ball nearly steals the show here with her snappy demeanor. But , importantly, it is O’Hara and Ouspenskaya  who decorate it with visual significance and real heart.

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Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Portia Nelson

Published April 8, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

portiaFor generations of children the scariest thing about the distinguished Portia Nelson was probably the fact that her decisive Sister Berthe didn’t like Julie Andrews’ lovable Maria in the 1965 film version of The Sound of Music. But Nelson’s friendship with author Tom Tryon actually resulted in a role with even more haunting consequences. Cast as Mrs. Rowe in the atmospheric film version of Tryon’s The Other, this eclectic artist found herself as a part of the cinematic universe of one of the most popular horror novels of the early ‘70s.

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But Nelson, who was also an influential author and songwriter, was perhaps best known for her work in the cabaret. Her beautiful soprano voice, which deepened adroitly with age, was nimble enough to find subtle meanings in the songs she sang, allowing listeners to, as her most popular lyrical composition attested, “make a rainbow” in their minds.

Nelson, whose poem Autobiography in Five Chapters is a notable tool for those in recovery, also battled cancer for many years. Ever the warrior, she, ultimately, lost her life to the disease, at the age of 80, in 2001.

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Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Alexis Smith

Published December 18, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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Not many can say that they were romanced by Humphrey Bogart and killed by Jodie Foster, but the classically beautiful, smoky voiced Alexis Smith can wear both of those cinematic crowns with pride.  As the proud Cecily Latham in The Two Mrs. Carrolls and the even prouder Mrs. Hallett in The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, she truly helped create celluloid magic.

And while her death by cellar door in the twisted and macabre Little Girl is certainly memorable, fans of a certain set will surely find her take on Stephen Sondheim’s Could I Leave You from Follies much more compelling by far.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Jackson Headlines Musical Horror Story

Published December 15, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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There is nothing that a gay dude loves more than a diva. Well, maybe there’s…but s-h-h-h…I can’t talk about that here. Anyhow, in my book, if anyone could take on Jessica Lange in the Chicago theater community, it’s the divinely eclectic Caitlin Jackson. Nicely, she seems to be doing just that with her role of Reverend Mother in The Cowardly Scarecrow Theatre Company’s Ryan Murphy send-up Musical Horror Story Exorcism.

From all glimpses, this production promises to offer a bit of blood, a lot of humor and, well, Ms. Jackson (pictured, right, in the photo)! There are only 3 performances left – Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 15-17th, at the Charnel House, 3421 W. Fullerton, in Chicago. So throw all of your bad habits onto the CTA (or however you get about in this unholy city) and head on over!

More information is available at: https://www.facebook.com/CSTCINC.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies by: Lauren Bacall

Published September 26, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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She had one of the most distinctive speaking voices of all time and the irreplaceable Lauren Bacall also used those smoky tones to subtle singing effect in such Broadway musicals as Applause and Woman of the Year.

Best known for her alluring performances in a series of noir classics with (her beloved, first husband) Humphrey Bogart, Bacall jumped on the early ‘80s slasher bandwagon by playing a theatrical diva whose life and limb (and sequin suits) were threatened by a smooth and menacing stalker (of the self loathing variety) in the underperforming (but twisted and enjoyable) The Fan. lauren-bacall-fan-2

Of course, here she is in complete control, singing I Wrote the Book (to a devoted Wayne Newton and others) from Woman of the Year, a role that won her a second Tony award.

 

…and if that doesn’t make you want to do a soft shoe, in the afterlife, with an old school diva…then nothing will.

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Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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