All tagged Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury is a treasure of the American Theatre. Though she was born in London, she has enjoyed a long and auspicious career on American soil, first as an actress in the old Hollywood movies system in films such as Gaslight, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Harvey Girls, and also as a television star for 12 seasons of Murder, She Wrote. It is, however, for the Broadway stage that Lansbury has been her most daring and sparkling. Today, we celebrate the Broadway musicals that starred Angela Lansbury.
Bob Merrill’s collaboration with Jule Styne on the musical Funny Girl was a successful one that led to an even greater success when it was turned into a film. How exciting it was, then, for fans of Broadway to receive the news that the duo that gave us “People”, “I’m the Greatest Star”, “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and “The Music That Makes Me Dance” would be joining forces again, this time to create a musical that would star Angela Lansbury. The subject for their project was the 1970 novel Prettybelle: A Lively Tale of Rape and Resurrection by Jean Arnold (Merrill adapted the book for the stage). For the stage, the title was shortened simply to Prettybelle, and it would prove to be one of the most beloved flops of all time, closing out of town before it ever hit a Broadway stage.
Have you ever wanted to see a completely accurate biopic about composer Jerome Kern? Well, don’t expect to find that in the 1946 MGM film musical Till the Clouds Roll By, a fictional telling of the life of Kern with a few facts thrown in to keep it honest. No, there is a better reason to see the movie Till the Clouds the Roll By. The film is who’s who of MGM’s finest talents singing some of the best songs from the Jerome Kern songbook. Each musical sequence is cleverly staged and full of eye-popping opulence.
Broadway musicals and strong leading ladies walk hand in hand. Since the inception of the Broadway Musical, an actress who can command attention and generate box office revenue through her personality and talents is a sought after commodity. Somewhere along the way, the Broadway Musical Diva emerged and theatre fans became obsessed. I decided to examine each decade of musical theatre (starting with the 1920s) and weigh contributions, reviews, awards, career escalation, and the other je ne sais quois that make an actress unique and decipher who was the most-valuable player of that ten year span. Part of my rules for writing the piece was that no actress could appear on the list more than once, though many of these talented ladies’ careers span several decades. Read on and enjoy. I look forward to your comments and debates.