Thursday, July 16, 2009

Does Anyone Still Wear a Hat?

Jan Wahl Does!
You have seen her interview stars on KRON. You have heard her movie reviews on KCBS Radio. You have read them in the Examiner. But chances are, you have never glimpsed her in the same hat twice. Since moving to San Francisco to partake in the city’s “freedom, music, poetry, and history of rebels and eccentrics,” Jan Wahl has become one of our unique institutions.

I hope that you all witnessed her vast movie knowledge, unassailable comedic timing, flamboyant Mae West impressions, and signature hat at 42nd Street Moon’s We’re in the Money. If you missed it, you missed a great dame!
Moon Artistic Director Greg MacKellan and Jan had a grand time on stage discussing old Hollywood, mostly Pre-Code Hollywood.

It’s always nice when you can make a history lesson both informative and fun. With Jan quoting some classic lines from films before Hollywood’s Donna Reed-ification, our evening’s lecture definitely fell under “infotainment.”

As Jan recites Joan Blondell’s infamous line from Footlight Parade, “as long as there are sidewalks, you’ve got a job,” she instantly gives us a sense of the language and humor we lost due to the Motion Picture Code of 1930.

Jan and Greg quickly schooled us in some of the lost songs of the time period as well. After the history lesson finished, we got some examples of those lost songs.

Justin Torres and Sarah Kathleen Farrell sang of love, sex and salami in, “Breakfast Table of Love.” Darlene Popovic donned a tux for the gender bending, “I’m One of the Boys.” And while Alexandra Kaprielian espoused the virtues of “Marahuana,” Nina Josephs got in touch with herself with, ”I’m in Love with a Tune” — a tune written many years before Bernadette Peters would get in touch with herself on Saturday Night Live singing “Making Love Alone.”

I asked Jan why she decided to take part in 42nd Street Moon’s fundraiser. The answer was simple, “I believe in what they do… keeping the great music and musicals alive!”

Is this the only involvement we will be seeing from Jan? I don’t think so.

Jan has a brilliant idea for staging How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. She had this to say:

I would love to do a version of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying where the boys play the girls and vice-versa. I could help with the re-writing. I’d love to be in it, too. I could play even the lead... a girl climbing to the top in business, playing by the rules of the book. The boys would be secretaries and assistants… even sex objects... like in the original but reversed. The songs in it don’t take a good voice, mostly personality or even talk singing. It’s a wonderful play with some great music.

So Moonies, what do you think? Would this make an interesting addition to our repertoire? Leave a comment and let us know.

Oh, and now one of those pop quizzes I promised you!

What do the movies Victor/Victoria, Guys and Dolls, Mary Poppins, and Brigadoon have in common (other than being musicals)?

Leave your answer in the comment section. The first person to guess correctly will win a coupon for a free concession item and will be entered into future drawings for bigger prizes, including: Moon memorabilia; CD’s; tickets to Moon shows; and more!
(Photo: Rob Hatzenbeller, Jan Wahl, Robbie Cowan)


Sherry Smith said...

Well, all were MGM productions (Mary Poppins an MGM-Disney co-production). Do I get a cookie?
Sherry Smith, Berkeley

Michael Temlin said...

All four were nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Costume Design, but none of them won.

Ken Levin said...

Good guesses guys, not what I'm looking for...

Keep guessing!

Clifford said...

I know the answer, but I'll wait for someone else to say it before I do. =D

Also, the genderbent "How to Succeed" sounds absolutely ingenious...

Channing Thomson said...

They were all movies first and made into Broadway shows later.

Ken Levin said...

@Michael: Although that wasn't the answer I was looking for, you are correct (a nice little bit of detective work I must say!).

There maybe more than one winner this week!

@Channing: Good try! But Guys and Dolls and Brigadoon were both broadway shows before they were movies.

Interseting that the two Movies that were made into stage musicals both starred Julie Andrews... and I've heard rumors of a Princess Diaries musical. Julie has that magic music touch.

There is still another connection between those 4 movies though. Guess it and win our prize.

Come on guys, keep trying!

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ken Levin said...

Oh Tom, now you're just being silly... but to stop anyone else, I won't accept "What are four musical I haven't produced in my kitchen?" (a tip of my hat to Cliff Clavin.)

The answer will appear in Friday's blog.

Clifford said...

All of them were filmed entirely indoors.