I recently I posted about YouTube, and the plethora of musical-related videos one can find therein. Reader Scot Colford, co-author of the Just Giblets blog, tipped me off to BlueGobo.com, which is sort of a YouTube for musicals, with clips from the Tony Awards, "The Ed Sullivan show," the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parades, and other sources. (Much obliged, Scot.) Lots and lots of good stuff here, and once I figure out how to post, I hope to be adding stuff from my extensive collection. Here are some clips on BlueGobo that you simply don't want to miss:
Little Shop of Horrors: When the DVD for the movie version of Little Shop first came out, it contained a black-and-white version of the original ending. You know: the one in which everybody dies, as they do in the stage version of the show. After the studio showed the movie to preview audiences, they said it was too much of a downer, so the studio re-shot the ending and made it all happy and nice nice, essentially destroying the movie, and removing whatever satirical intent it may have had. Well, apparently producer David Geffen never signed off on releasing the DVD with the original ending, and when he found out about it, he promptly ordered a recall. Of course, this made what few copies that actually got out into the hands of the general public instant collector's items, and these precious gems periodically sell on eBay for big bucks. Well, if you've always wanted to see what that original ending was like, it's now just a mouse click away.
The Will Rogers Follies: On the Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit CD, Gerard Alessandrini refers to Thoroughly Modern Millie as "the worst best musical ever." Much as I admire Alessandrini and his work, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with him. My nominee for that ignominious distinction would have to be The Will Rogers Follies, which won the 1991 Tony Award over two vastly superior shows -- The Secret Garden and Once on This Island -- and one show that would become far more successful, at least financially, Miss Saigon. Although these other shows have, to varying extents, survived in regional and international productions, Will Rogers is virtually forgotten. But the show did receive a television broadcast in Japan, probably because the original show was produced "in association with" Japan Satellite Broadcasting Inc. Although Will Rogers as a whole didn't really work, there was a lot of great stuff in it, mostly thanks to director/choreographer Tommy Tune. BlueGobo has two clips from the Japan airing, including the terrific opening number "Will-A-Mania" and the act-one finale. You can see the best number from the show -- "Favorite Son," which the cast performed on the Tony Awards broadcast -- over on YouTube.
Buck White: One of the greatest musical-theater oddities of all time, Buck White starred Cassius Clay. That's right: Muhammad Ali. It played 7 performances in 1969. The cast performed "We Came in Chains" on "The Ed Sullivan Show" after the show had closed. The number speaks for itself, but it's interesting to note that Muhammad Ali wasn't all that bad as a singer. Of course, we know he had his own stunning sense of theatricality, but he could also carry a tune. Go figure.