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Brush Up Your Shakespeare

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July 19, 2005

To list or not to list, there is no question.
As pale Diana now doth yield to Phoebus,
So would Stage Left fain glide upon the Ether
And take up now the KDHX mantle,
With Chuck Lavazzi, helmsman of our rigger,
His compass set in manner bold for Shakespeare.
On April 23rd was born our Will,
The Bard of Avon whom we honor still.

Yes, it's a Stage Leftover rebroadcast of my April 26th Shakespeare Birthday show, in recognition of the opening production of St. Louis Shakespeare's 2005 season, Henry V.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Movie Preview The Reduced Shakespeare Company Radio Show The Reduced Shakespeare Company Mr. T. IS Othello!
Just Like Romeo and Juliet Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 Michael and the Messengers This is from 1967 if memory serves. There was no actual "Michael" in the group, so members took turns being Michael.
Mystery Dance My Aim is True Elvis Costello Well, it starts with Romeo and Juliet, anyway.
Shakedown A Midsummer Night's Dream Zulma Diaz Puck rejoices in his capacity for mischief. Music and lyrics for this yet-to-be-produced rock musical (loosely based on the Shakespeare comedy) are by George Griggs.
Let's Fall in Love A Midsummer Night's Dream George Griggs, Jim Calder, David Singleton, Joseph R. Holland, III Since it's a rock musical, Bottom the other "mechanicals" have a band instead of a production of "Pyramus and Thisbe". As they play for the Duke's wedding, everybody dances and Puck has the final word.
Oberon and Titania Il Sogno London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas It's back to Elvis Costello, this time as a composer. Il Sogno (The Dream) is the score for a ballet based on A Midsummer Night's Dream. Costello wrote it for the Italian company Alterballetto.
Puck 2 Il Sogno London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas Puck shows his brasher and more spiteful side.
The Face of Bottom Il Sogno London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas Bottom and his fellow players try to rehearse but Puck changes Bottom in to a donkey and everyone scatters.
Balcony Scene - Tonight Leonard Bernstein's New York Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin; Orchestra of St. Luke's conducted by Eric Stern From West Side Story (1957) based, of course, on Romeo and Juliet. Interestingly enough, the show was originally to be titled East Side Story and was to concern a Jewish boy's star-crossed romance with an Italian Catholic girl.
Tonight (Quintet and Chorus) West Side Story (OC 1957) Chita Rivera, Larry Kert, Mickey Calin, Carol Lawrence, Company This occurs just before The Rumble, the violent dance sequence that concludes Act I.
Part 1 Shakespeare's Lost Comedie The Firesign Theatre Three Weird Cooks serve up some prophecies to Prince Edmund and the Archbishop of Pflegm; a ghost serves as a plot device; Edmund Edmund is served history's first exploding cigar.
Onion Radio News 33 The Onion's Finest News Reporting Doyle Redland Collectable Plate Industry Calls For Tragic Death Of Barbara Streisand. I can think of some other good nominees...
Part 2 Shakespeare's Lost Comedie The Firesign Theatre The Archbishop tries to cook something up with Marie; comic gravediggers try to exchange obscure jokes; Prince Edmund tries to boink Marie, which tries Edmund Edmund's patience; Edmund Edmund tries to take the Pflegmish crown in battle but by the time the dust settles, Prince Edmund is in charge. I think.
What a Piece of Work is Man Hair (OC 1968) Ronald Dyson and Walter Harris As it happens, these lyrics are also from Hamlet.
Rap Othello The Reduced Shakespeare Company Radio Show The Reduced Shakespeare Company It's Shakespeare's tragedy in under three minutes. Plus, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it!
Hamlet The Carthy Chronicles Martin Carthy Hamlet is longer than Othello, so Carthy takes just under five minutes. The song is by Adam McNaughton, who decided that you could tell the entire story of Shakespeare's play in three verses as long as nobody minded how long each verse is.
Hamlet Spaced out - The Best of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner William Shatner Shatner hyperventilates his way through (roughly) the first 2/3 of Hamlet's famous soliloquy. This is originally from his (in)famous Transformed Man LP.
A Great Actor Matching Tie and Handkerchief Monty Python's Flying Circus It's not just about remembering the words. You also have to get them in the right order.
Where is the Life that Late I Led? Kiss Me, Kate (OC 1949) Alfred Drake Kiss Me, Kate is a musical about a company producing a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew. Here Drake, as Petruccio, has fond memories of bachelorhood.
Brush Up Your Shakespeare Kiss Me, Kate (OC 1949) Harry Clark, Jack Diamond While hanging out backstage in hopes of "leaning on" a cast member with gambling debts, a pair of tough guys express their appreciation for The Bard.
He and She The Rogers and Hart CD Joan Morris and Max Morath; William Bolcom (piano) Originally from The Boys from Syracuse (1938) - a Rogers and Hart comedy that uses the plot (but only one line of dialog) from The Comedy of Errors - this song takes an ironic look at some "successful" marriages.
Darn that Dream The Broadway Musicals Cut-Outs Darius DeHaas The song is from Swinging the Dream (1939), a swing version of Midsummer Night's Dream with an all-black cast including Louis Armstrong, Butterfly McQueen and Jackie "Moms" Mabley. It only ran 13 performances. Today there'd probably be lines around the block waiting for tickets.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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