When it comes to YouTube, I wasn't exactly ahead of the curve. Lots of people told me about it, but I really didn't see the point of watching other people's homemade videos.
Then I discovered that people also post clips from old TV shows, and I've found that there's a lot of musical-theater-related stuff to enjoy on YouTube. Lately I've been having a blast watching old clips from "The Ed Sullivan Show," which was quite the Broadway booster in its day, frequently featuring performances from the latest the Rialto had to offer. There's even a DVD compilation of some of the best performances from Broadway musicals.
There are lots of clips from well-known shows to choose from, including numbers from shows that received TV broadcasts, but have so far not been issued on commercial DVD. Two of my favorites are Rosalind Russell singing "100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man" from Wonderful Town, and Lauren Bacall performing "But Alive" (AKA "the gay-bar scene") from Applause.
But there are also some fascinating obscurities to be found on YouTube. For instance, there are "Ed Sullivan Show" numbers from Destry Rides Again and Donnybrook. Although both shows are virtually forgotten, Ed refers to Destry as a "smash, roaring hit" and to Donnybrook as a "tremendous hit." The shows played 472 and 68 performances respectively, so neither really qualifies for such plaudits.
But the numbers are fascinating. From Destry, there's "Are You Ready, Gyp Watson?," featuring choreography that is unmistakable Michael Kidd. Later in the same clip, we have Dolores Gray singing the gorgeous Harold Rome ballad, "I Say Hello." The Donnybrook clip features flop queen Susan Johnson and Eddie Foy, Jr. performing the awkwardly staged but terrificly tuneful "I Wouldn't Bet One Penny," followed by a clarion-voiced Joan Fagan singing the show's opening number, "Sez I." Both songs are by composer/lyricist Johnny Burke.
Dear reader, what are your favorite musical-related YouTube clips? Anything fun that you'd like to share?