All in Music That Makes Me Dance

A First Raitt Musical: The Broadway Career of John Raitt

One of the Golden Age of Musical Theatre’s signature leading men was John Raitt. Possessing a rich, powerful singing voice (a golden baritione), good looks, and a touch of bravado, Raitt starred in two Broadway musicals that would be enormous successes in their day. John Raitt wasn’t immune to the occasional flop, and he certainly wasn’t the star of a multitude of musicals. He was, however, a personality as much as he was a performer, and today I take a look back at the career of John Raitt and revisit the shows he starred in on Broadway.

Determined to Remember the Broadway Merman

Ethel Merman is one of the great divas of the Broadway musical. Known for her earth-shaking singing voice full of gusto and volume, Merman spent decades as the go-to star for Broadway musical comedy. Though she often found work on television and in film, it was on Broadway, where no amplification was required for her voice to carry over an orchestra, that Merman was her most effective and memorable. Today, I celebrate the stage highlights of Merman’s Broadway musical career. 

Beatrice Arthur: The Greatest of the Vera Charles

I happen to be an enormous fan of the musical Mame. I find it so incredibly joyous and tuneful, full of bright humor and characters that are so much fun. My love affair with Mame, believe it or not, started with a high school production I saw back in the 1980s. I knew nothing about the show at all (I was 16 at the time and just starting on my journey into the world of Broadway musicals). When I left the theatre, I knew I had to own the original cast album as soon as possible (unaware that I was that it starred the incomparable Angela Lansbury and my favorite TV actress (Maude AND The Golden Girls) Beatrice Arthur in a scene-stealing supporting role. A few days later, I went with my stepfather to a used record store (he was a D.J. at a local radio station and always looking for old records). I, as I usually did, wandered off to the “Movies and Shows” section of shop. There I found, not one, but two records of Mame: the original Broadway cast album and the Lucille Ball movie soundtrack. We won’t get into the latter (perhaps a discussion for another day), but the former soon became my most played album for at least a year.