The Craptacular: Remedial Queens: More Loesser Than You Can Handle

Originally published on The Craptacular.

Loesser

With two of Frank Loesser’s biggest hits returning in the form of simultaneous all-star concerts, last week New York experienced a rare treat for Classic Broadway lovers and the ClaBro-curious alike. Wednesday – Sunday, Encores! gave us the quasi-operatic romance The Most Happy Fella with Laura Benanti, Cheyenne Jackson, Shuler Hensley, Heidi Blickenstaff, Jay Armstong Johnson and… yeah, basically everyone The Craptacular has ever written about. Then, on Thursday, Carnegie Hall exploded with the musical comedy excitement of Guys and Dolls, starring Nathan Lane in the role that made him famous, along with Patrick Wilson, Sierra Boggess, Megan Mullaly, John Treacy Egan, Len Cariou and Judy Kaye.

Frank Loesser was unique among Golden Age songwriters for a number of reasons: his earliest hit songs were written for the movies, marrying his lyrics to tunes by Jule Styne, Hoagie Carmichael, Burton Lane and others. In the mid-1940s, he began writing his own music, leading to his first Broadway show, the hit Where’s Charlie, and his Oscar-winning song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” (Please, if you want to debate the perceived rapey-ness of this song, do it in the comments of someone else’s post.) Continue reading

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Fynsworth Alley: Liz Callaway: Feelin’ Groovy

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.

Liz CallawayLiz Callaway is about to release her first new album in over five years, a collection of songs from the 1960’s called The Beat Goes On. This album will join Liz’s two other solo efforts in the Fynsworth Alley catalog, Anywhere I Wander, a Frank Loesser tribute, and The Story Goes On, an eclectic collection of theatre songs, ranging from Sondheim to Berlin and more. Liz came to the recording world from Broadway, where she appeared in the original casts of Merrily We Roll Along, Baby, and Miss Saigon, before joining the cast of Cats for five years as Grizabella. You may also recognize her voice from her many animated roles, including Anastasia and The Swan Princess. Lately, Liz has been touring the globe, both with her sister Ann Hampton Callaway (in their show “Sibling Revelry”) and on her own.

Her new album, The Beat Goes On, will be available exclusively on the Fynsworth Alley website beginning Februrary 5th, with pre-orders starting on January 22nd.

DL: You were the first vocalist to record an album with Bruce. How did that happen?

LC: He actually just wrote me a letter and introduced himself. He was with Bay Cities at the time, and he just said he wanted to know if I wanted to record an album of Frank Loesser music for him. And it’s funny because I at the very end of my time with Miss Saigon, I had thought, “Boy, I would sure love to do an album,” but I had no idea how to go about getting one made. And I had even said to my husband that this should be a goal of mine, when this letter came. So I was spared the grunt work! I met Bruce, and we hit it off.

And then it was a matter of Bruce sending me tapes of songs he liked, and finding a musical director, and that was it. Continue reading