Big Spender/Gotta Get a Gimmick

So you think you know music? Maybe so, but we are pretty sure you’ve never heard the hits the way Bethesda Little Theatre’s going to serve them up in Songs I Never Get to Sing, our new original production running May 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. (For tickets and more information click here: http://www.blt-online.org/html_bltg/html/index/PayPal.html or call 202-796-3431.) A woman singing “The Impossible Dream” and “Mr. Cellophane”? Yes! A man crooning “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Ladies Who Lunch”? You’ve got the idea! In our blog series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers to discuss a sampling of the songs they’ll be presenting; today we’re going to explore how the guys are doing with their mashup of “Big Spender” from the musical Sweet Charity and “Gotta Get a Gimmick” from Gypsy.

Q: Is this your first foray into burlesque performance?
Justin: Well, um, yes, to be honest. Once we get to use the boas and our respective props, I think it will come together!
John: Yes.  I’ll let you know how it went after I’ve counted my earnings.
Arthur: Technically, no!  When I was with the Charleston Stars performing group, the ladies in our group decided to do a take-off of the Budweiser Commercial “Ladies Night.” It was a complete role reversal with one of the ladies playing the bartender and the guys playing the ladies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEa42JqBbnM). We opened our show with the Kool and the Gang song “Ladies Night.”

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Q: Taking on these two together is not at all… intimidating, is it?  
Justin: Not at all.

John: I am always game for an adventure, but there are some colleagues I would prefer not to see in the audience.

Arthur: It’s not intimidating… it’s hilarious! I think it will get a lot of laughs. It reminds me of when we used to do Kamikaze Karaoke. Guys had to sing girls songs and girls had to sing guys songs. Whatever song was picked for you, you had to sing it with all the gusto of the original artist. I remember doing the song, “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” by En Vogue (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2RKb1R7jM0)

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Q: What are you enjoying most and what are you finding most challenging?
Justin:
I can be a vamp and a stripper in the same number.  So what’s not to like?

John: (Are they different questions?) Walking with a sexy sway tops my list.

Arthur: The challenging part is not laughing during the rehearsal. I’m also having a challenge hitting one of the notes in “Gotta Have a Gimmick.”

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Q:  What diva will you be channeling on opening night?  

Justin: Yikes!  Depends on the song!

John: Julie Andrews.

Arthur: Lady Day – Billie Holliday

Luck Be a Lady

So you think you know music? Maybe so, but we are pretty sure you’ve never heard the hits the way Bethesda Little Theatre’s going to serve them up in Songs I Never Get to Sing, our new original production running May 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. (For tickets and more information click here: http://www.blt-online.org/html_bltg/html/index/PayPal.html or call 202-796-3431.) A woman singing “The Impossible Dream” and “Mr. Cellophane”? Yes! A man crooning “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Ladies Who Lunch”? You’ve got the idea! In our blog series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers to discuss a sampling of the songs they’ll be presenting; today we’re going inside the song, “Luck Be A Lady” from the musical Guys and Dolls.

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Q: Karen, can you describe what you’re trying to do with the choreography for this one and where you drew your inspiration for the choreography? 

Karen: To keep with the theme of singing songs we never get to sing, I wanted the female cast to perform this as if we were the gamblers straight out of Guys and Dolls.  We are actually doing the same choreography I created for a production of Guys and Dolls back in 2008.  I’m not sure if I should be revealing my secrets, but I draw inspiration for my choreography by watching YouTube videos from community plays and show choirs.  Sometimes it gets me nowhere, but often times it gives me a great starting point!

Q: Frank Sinatra just seemed to own this song – but have you come across other versions you’d recommend? (and why?)

Cathy: I’d say, Jessica’s! She is singing the Sky part and she has taken it and made it her own. I think the audience will love it!

Sandy: I think that Jessica, who is singing the lead in our production, is fabulous and I can’t wait to hear the audience’s reaction to her interpretation and to the entire ensemble number.

Leslie: I’ve only ever heard the Frank Sinatra version, but Seth MacFarlane did it in concert and I love his voice!

Melissa: I know of the Barbra Streisand version! I enjoy her change in the word play. If you listen carefully to her version she changes some of the words (“sister,” etc.). I really enjoy her sound and this version makes you see this song in a different point of view.

Karen:  I actually like the Broadway/movie version better [than Sinatra’s].  I think it has more energy and I like the ensemble backup.

Jessica: I like the 1992 Broadway revival version. Sky (Peter Gallagher) manages to pay homage to Sinatra while still making the song all his own.

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Q:  Is this truly a song you never get to sing?

Karen:  No, not really.  After all, Barbara Streisand recorded it.  I’d say it is more of a song I never get to perform as a group number.

Sandy: I always thought this was a fabulous group number and it never occurred to me to ever be a part of it because it’s such a male-oriented song, especially with reference to gangsters.

Melissa: I don’t think so. Gender doesn’t matter. Anyone can make this song a masterpiece, within a masterpiece that is (since this song is already a goodie!)

Cathy: Actually, I have sung the crapshooters part before with another group I perform with, so no, not really. What can I say, I’ve never been known to be one to worry about if the gender is correct for me when I choose a song.

Leslie: I would never have thought to choose “Luck Be a Lady” as a song I never get to sing, but it is the most memorable song from Guys and Dolls, so I’m glad we get to do it!  I like the hats we wear.

Jessica:  To be honest, I’m not really sure. “Luck be a Lady” has been covered by more than a few female artists (most notably Barbra Streisand in her 1993 Back to Broadway album), so it’s had its fair share of gender-bending. It’s definitely a song I personally have never sung before though, so maybe that counts?

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Q:  What associations does this song have for you?

Sandy: I have been in two productions of Guys and Dolls, one where I was in the ensemble and another where I played Adelaide.

Leslie: The high school I teach at did Guys and Dolls for the annual musical about eight years ago.  The students did a really good job with the dancing and singing!

Melissa: When I think of this song I think of my time back in high school because my high school did Guys and Dolls and I was in it. I really enjoyed being in that show!

Karen:  In addition to us reusing my choreography from 2008, I also reused it in 2013 with another community theater company.  I’d say I’m getting a lot of mileage out of this routine!

 

Q: Who can forget Robin Williams transforming into an elderly British nanny to this song – is it too late to work Mrs Doubtfire into this somehow?!

Cathy: Wow! That’s right! I had forgotten that! Can you imagine a bunch of Mrs. Doubtfires dancing to Luck Be A Lady?!

Leslie: I had forgotten that!  I looked up the video clip and it’s still funny.

Jessica: You know, with a few tweaks Mrs. Doubtfire would have made an excellent horror film. Potential for a remake?

Melissa: That scene is a classic! Maybe if we convince Karen we can still fit that in! If we were to do that we would have to do the opposite, have a women transform into an elderly British man!

Karen: I’m saving that for the roadshows!

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Someone In the Crowd

Have you heard? Bethesda Little Theatre (BLT) is putting on “A Swellegant, Elegant Party” June 29 and 30 and July 1 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center! For tickets and more information call 202-796-3431, email bethesdalittletheatre@gmail.com, or go to the website www.blt-online.org.  In our series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers for their take on some of the songs they’ll be presenting in their original musical revue and a peek at how they’re preparing for showtime!  Today we’re going inside the song, “Someone in the Crowd” from the Oscar-winning movie musical La La Land.

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Q: What similar personal experiences does this song recall for you? 

Marissa: I think just living in DC, this song is applicable to everyone. Networking is everything in this city and literally anywhere you go, you could run into someone who works where you work, or works where you want to work. It’s a small world and this city makes it seem even smaller.

Michelle:  I’ve definitely had nights where I didn’t really feel up to going to a party, but knowing my friends were going was a good motivator.  So I would throw on a dress and go to see them.

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Q: Briefly describe any gig you ever got through a romantic connection? From someone you met at a party?

Lauren:  I don’t think I’ve gotten a gig from someone I’ve met at a party (so far!). I have definitely received opportunities from people I’ve met though previous organizations or groups. That’s how I heard about this production with Bethesda Little Theatre, after all!

 

Q: How will the swirl of the party be recreated in this production? 

Marissa:  Laura has done a great job of keeping us moving in between numbers and mingling with different people throughout the party. She’s also created some really neat little story lines among different people that leave the audience wanting more :-).:

Michelle: Stephanie picked some cute moves that mix freezing and slow motion and Lauren’s ballet training.

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Q: What’s the most fun part of being in/learning this number?

Marissa: It’s with a great group of girls who each bring something unique to the number.

Michelle:  It’s a great group! Vanna and I have been in BLT shows together, and getting to work with Lauren and Marissa for the first time is a lot of fun.  And of course, Stephanie is a great choreographer and great to work with.

Lauren: I really enjoy singing this song. In addition to singing it, I’ve found it fun learning the choreography with the other girls in the number.

 

Q:  Would you ever live in LA (again)? Why or why not? 

Michelle: I think living in LA could be fun in the short term.  The beaches and weather are beautiful and I love sushi.

Lauren:  I’ve never lived in L.A., and at this point in my life, I don’t see myself living there. I want to live in an environment that has all four weather seasons! Also, I hear traffic is even worse there than it is here, so I’m fine without that.

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Q: What’s the hardest thing to pull off in this number?

Michelle: The piece is a lot of fun and remembering all the dance moves and the harmonies is the challenge.

 

Q: Scientific polls of random friends seems to indicate that people either love or hate La La Land.  Is La La Land a great musical/movie?

Marissa: I haven’t actually seen it! I know that’s crazy but the snippets I’ve seen, I’ve loved 🙂

Michelle: Hmmm, I had mixed feelings.  I definitely liked the dance numbers and thought the acting was really good.

Lauren:  To put it lightly, I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of the movie after seeing it in theaters. After singing and dancing to “Someone In The Crowd”, though, I can safely say I’ve grown to appreciate and enjoy this particular song from the movie. So maybe with repeated exposure, I could grow to like the rest of the movie, too!

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Let’s Be Bad!

Have you heard? Bethesda Little Theatre (BLT) is putting on “A Swellegant, Elegant Party” June 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and July 1 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center! For tickets and more information call 202-796-3431, email bethesdalittletheatre@gmail.com, or go to the website www.blt-online.org.  In our series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers for their take on some of the songs they’ll be presenting in their original musical revue and a peek at how they’re preparing for showtime!  Today we’re going inside the song, “Let’s Be Bad” from the TV show Smash.

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Q: This is a big, bad, brassy number from a TV show I’d never heard of – had you heard of it? What additional preparations are you undertaking on your own, apart from rehearsal time? 

Karen: I absolutely loved Smash and washed it faithfully.  Not only did I love the premise of the plot—Marilyn Monroe from the glory movie days—but I loved the musical numbers…especially the dancing.

Michelle:  I adored Smash.  Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee are beyond talented, and it’s fun to do a 1920s-style number from the TV show.  There’s a lot to remember in this dance, so I’ve been practicing with the video and Karen’s dance notes.

Sandy: I absolutely was hooked on the show Smash. It told the story of putting together a Broadway musical with all the juicy backstage stories and the characters of the actors. I usually rehearse all my dance numbers at home after rehearsal nights with BLT.  Although it’s late, I’m wound up and ready to go, plus then I’m really ready to sleep.  So far for the dance numbers Karen has been generous to have a rehearsal at her house and two rehearsals at a dance studio with mirrors – very helpful.

Lauren:  This is from a TV show?! I didn’t know that either. I thought Smash was a movie! Needless to say then, no, I had not heard of it before this. Other than our usual rehearsal time, I’ve definitely been singing this song on my own and running through the choreography in my head. We did also add a few extra dance rehearsals with the ladies in this number to make sure we all get it before showtime!

Cathy:  I loved this show!  I still miss it!  It had wonderful music and dancing. It ended far too soon.  As far as additional preparation, we have spent time outside of our regular rehearsals together to work on the dance. I have also spent a lot of time in front of a rehearsal video in my living room.

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Q:  How do you get yourself in the “bad” frame of mind before walking on stage? 

Karen: I pulled from the many other numbers I have performed in this genre, such as Chicago and Thoroughly Modern Millie.  The ‘20s seems to have been quite an exciting time!

Michelle: Well the costumes certainly help!  Wearing red sequins and fringe is perfect for the “bad” frame of mind, and I love that Karen’s choreography includes classic 1920s moves like the Charleston.

Sandy:  Since Smash was the story of Marilyn Monroe and this is just a cutesy roaring ‘20s number, I just think of those aspects. Of course, the costumes will help a lot.  We’re all wearing sparkly red costumes.  Best of all the choreography puts us in the “bad’ state of mind.

Cathy:  It’s got be the red flapper dresses we are wearing! They are enough to put you in the mood!

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Q:  What’s the most fun part of being in/learning this number?

Karen: I love the genre…a bit of Charleston, and a bit of ‘20s posing, shoulder shrugging, and flirtatious eye rolling.

Michelle:  Working with the show’s main dancers!  I learn a lot from them and I love Karen’s fun combinations, especially the Bob Fosse-style poses.

Sandy: Personally I love dancing jazzy numbers and getting to kick my legs. Being the oldest dancer, I feel such joy still being able to do it.

Lauren:  I love dancing, so the most fun part to me of being in this number is being able to dance!

Cathy:  It has to be that I get to dance with these wonderful ladies! We are all working hard and enjoying the reward of getting it “right.”

 

 

Q:  What’s the hardest thing to pull off in this number?

Karen: Remembering the words of the song at the same time as remembering the dance moves.

Michelle: There are a lot of details to remember, and we gotta put a lot of energy into it so the audience is excited about Act Two!

Sandy:  All the different hand circles.

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Q:  What’s the audience going to love most about this number?

Karen: This number is such a “feel good” number and we’re having a LOT of fun!!!  And that is contagious!  What’s not to love?

Michelle:  Our Director Laura picked a bunch of different songs from different times and different styles.  I love this song from Smash because it’s from a recent TV show, but has a lot of the elements I love from the 1920s.

Sandy:  It’s fast and fun and from another era.

Lauren:  The flapper dresses we get to wear! At least, that’s one of the things I like most about this number.

Cathy:  What’s not to love!? It’s fun, sassy, and has the red dresses!

 

Q:  What’s the silliest blooper that’s happened so far while rehearsing this number?

Karen: When I was teaching the number, I repeatedly kept saying “Let’s Be Friends” instead of “Let’s Be Bad.”

Michelle: Too many for me to count.  This is my first time learning choreography in two years, so I’ve made plenty of mistakes in rehearsal.

Sandy:  With my dyslexia I sometimes go the opposite way until it’s pointed out – oops!

Lauren:  There was a low-hanging chandelier in the room we often rehearsed this dance in. Even though it was always there, we seemed to forget that it was there each time we rehearsed and constantly smacked our hands against this fixture. We will feel like we have so much space performing without it onstage!

Awkward Pause

Have you heard? Bethesda Little Theatre (BLT) is putting on “A Swellegant, Elegant Party” June 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and July 1 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center! For tickets and more information call 202-796-3431, email bethesdalittletheatre@gmail.com, or go to the website http://www.blt-online.org. In our series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers for their take on some of the songs they’ll be presenting in their original musical revue and a peek at how they’re preparing for showtime! Today we’re going inside the song, “Awkward Pause” from the 2012 musical First Date.

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Q: What awkward dates does this song remind you of? What did those dates lead to for you?
Arthur: I’m not sure what you mean by awkward dates. Of course there have been awkward moments in my life. I remember the first date I went on when I was stationed in Maine long before I met Carole, I met this young lady in who lived in Westbrook, ME. It was a planned date to Orchard Beach in Portland, ME. I picked up my date in my brand new 1976 Mustang II. It did not go well.
John: Unsurprisingly, my first date was the most awkward. Many years later, my best friend married my first date, who (despite my preference) still occasionally reminds me of how awful it was.
Shereth: I had a date in high school where a guy took me to the movies, and I made an excuse to go to the bathroom and left out another door, never to see him again. I never dated in high school or much in college, but I have been married 38 years after thinking I’d never get married!

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Q: What do you love most about learning this number?
Arthur: The interesting thing about learning this number are some of the words that would be awkward to sing in public, even though this song was sung on the Broadway stage. Such phrases as “get caught soliciting a prostitute” and “catching a mild STD” being sung by someone who has a Doctorate in Theology and teaches Sunday school. We tried to come up with different words, but that didn’t work so we kept the original lyrics.
John: I love the take-off on the Simon & Garfunkel harmonies for the “Sounds of Silence”. It is a great musical pun.
Shereth: It’s different. I like the music more than the words.

Q: What is most challenging about learning this number?
Arthur: Memorizing the words and the timing are always the most challenging for any song. Figuring out what facial expressions to make while singing has been a challenge too.
John: Any imitation of Simon & Garfunkel’s precision is very challenging.
Shereth: The most challenging is that I never heard of it, but it’s kinda fun to sing.

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Q: What do you like about the musical First Date?
Arthur: I’ve never seen the musical First Date so I don’t really have any opinion about the musical. I can only assume that it was a funny musical.

John: I enjoy the preceding dialog, which encourages me to display my extraordinary powers of social awkwardness.
Shereth: Never heard of it til this song. I think it’s too “modern” for me.

Q: Anything else you want to add?
Arthur: I’m looking forward to performing this number and doing it well. Hopefully, I will help convey the message of the of song that there are things that make us go “HMM? That was awkward!”
John: During the song, please keep in mind that our deer-in-the-headlights look is deliberate
Shereth: This year has been the most challenging for me, because my songs are duets and have to be precise. I look forward to it all coming together for everyone.

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Well, Did You Evah?

Have you heard? Bethesda Little Theatre (BLT) is putting on “A Swellegant, Elegant Party” June 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and July 1 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center! For tickets and more information call 202-796-3431, email bethesdalittletheatre@gmail.com, or go to the website www.blt-online.org.  In our series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers for their take on some of the songs they’ll be presenting in their original musical revue and a peek at how they’re preparing for showtime!  Today we’re going inside the song, “Well, Did You Evah,” a Cole Porter comic masterpiece memorably performed by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby in the 1956 classic movie High Society.

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Q: This male duet was apparently added at the last minute to the movie High Society when someone realized stars Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra would otherwise not sing together.  Did the movie makers miss a trick in not having the same genius idea as BLT in making it a male-female quartet?

Justin: The original is terrific. But the song does work well as a quartet.

Marissa:  Frank Sinatra + Bing Crosby was the greatest trick of all.

Martin:  I think the number works for us with four people.  If I had Bing and Frank in the cast, I might let them perform it by themselves.  But probably not.

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Q: Let me guess – Martin is Frank Sinatra and Justin is Bing Crosby?? 

Cathy: Funny, I think of it the other way around. Not sure what the others think.

Justin:  It depends on the day!!

Q: Question for each of you: If you could be reincarnated in a prior life as Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, or Louis Armstrong, who also graces the movie — whom would you pick? Why? 

Cathy: I don’t have clue! They were all so talented in different ways and you have their personal life to consider.  It would be Frank and Bing for their voices, but I wouldn’t have wanted their lives. Like I said, no clue!

Justin: I never answer questions like that!!

Martin:  Even though I do the ‘Bing Crosby croon’, I definitely am Frank.  Who wouldn’t want to be the greatest male pop singer of all time?

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Q: How do you make the 1950s jokes work in 2018?

Justin: Classic humor always works

Martin:  Funny jokes just work, regardless of the time period.  (I went shopping for camouflage pants, but couldn’t find any.)

Q: What do you love most about learning this number? 

Cathy:  Learning the waltz portion where we trade partners a few times in the span of about 16 measures.  It made for some crazy partnering and laughs.

Justin:  Doing a fun song with three terrific singers and performers

Marissa:  the people! Cathy, Justin, and Martin are absolutely great and so fun to work with. Additionally, singing anything from this era is always fun.

Martin:  I enjoyed staging (and performing in) the number most.

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Q: What is most challenging about learning this number? 

Cathy:  The spoken parts.  With four in the number it is not just back and forth conversation but a real conversation in a group.  Then you have to get in your words quickly as the song keeps moving!  For me that has been the hardest part.

Justin:  Getting the waltz right!

Marissa:  Getting the speaking parts to land in rhythm.

Martin: The waltz section.

Q: How do you feel about classic movies? Had you ever seen High Society before being assigned to sing this number and would you recommend it to someone who hasn’t seen it? Why or why not? 

Cathy: I LOVE classic movies! While I had seen High Society it has never been my favorite, but still towards the top of the list.  I think to see Frank and Bing perform together is always a treat, so yes everyone should see it once!

Justin:   I haven’t seen the film. So I can’t say.

Marissa:  haven’t actually seen High Society but I plan to make time for it after the show! I love classic movies – I only first watched White Christmas this past Christmas (I know, it’s a little late in life to just have seen it…) and I absolutely adored it. I think something similar will happen when I finally get to watch High Society.

Martin:  I love all movies – classic, comedy, action, drama, crime, musicals.  I love them all.  I’d recommend the movie if only because the music is Cole Porter’s.

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Q: Anything else you’d like to add that I haven’t covered? 

Cathy: Just to say that when you think you know a song you should try to perform it.  All of a sudden it’s a different song than you thought it was!

Bethesda Little Theatre’s New Musical Revue

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“Let’s Not Talk About Love” Covers All the Bases, by Christina Ling

“Let’s not talk about love,” Cole Porter once implored, and who would disagree with the master?  But the Bethesda Little Theatre (BLT) will be singing its heart out about love, the theme of its new musical revue, scheduled for four showings March 24-26 at the Bethesda Writer’s Center.

Celebrating its 35th season of bringing Broadway to the Beltway, BLT’s new show draws from the best of seven decades of American musical theater tradition – with a nod to jazz, pop, and the 60s British Invasion – to sing about young love, parental love, romantic love, unrequited love and – of course – love gone wrong.

“Cell Block Tango is actually about love gone very, very, wrong,” Director Martin Bestimt clarifies for anyone who may not be familiar with the butcher-block humor of the musical Chicago’s classic number – one of his favorites in this revue.

Music director Jeff Hayes has put an Andrews Sisters spin on Duke Ellington’s jazz standard “I’m Beginning to See the Light” for the show and coached the company through an infectious mashup of the Temptations’ “My Girl” with Mary Wells’ “My Guy”.

From “Annie Get Your Gun” to “Hamilton”, “The Producers” to “La La Land” and more, the hits about happiness, heartbreak, and longing just keep coming in this compelling revue that covers love in all its bittersweet variety.  Numbers from Steven Sondheim’s “Company,” his groundbreaking rumination on the pros and cons of married versus single life in New York City, round out the show.

Whether or not you’re wrapped up in the thing that’s known as romance, this witty and lighthearted romp is just the ticket.

The Bethesda Little Theatre presents “Let’s Not Talk About Love” at the Bethesda Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD, 20815:

Friday, March 24, 8:00 p.m.

Saturday March 25, 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Sunday March 26, 2:30 p.m.

Tickets at http://www.blt-online.org

Love For a Child

There is nothing quite as special as a parent’s love for a child.  You can’t have a show about love and not address this aspect.  Ironically, some of the people singing the songs about parental love aren’t parents, so we went to the experts for their inside take!

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Cathy McCoskey, John Spouge, Carolyn Oxenford   Photo by Leslie Blaha

What advice have you given your children about love?

Shereth: My husband and I waited a long time to decide to have children, so when we found out that I was pregnant, it was absolutely a miracle! As far as advice, there isn’t any. You just hope that you do a good job, and  the rest falls into place. I always wondered what she would look like as an adult, and, of course, she is beautiful and talented!

John:  Love gives life meaning.

Alice:  I have always practiced by example what I wanted my son to learn. So regarding love, I have been patient, affectionate, gave hugs and kisses, expressed my pride (and sometimes frustration and disappointment), but always showed that I loved him.  I have always been honest with him. I remembered lessons from my parents, and did pattern a lot of what I did for Brendan, as they had done for their 4 kids.  But since Brendan was an only child,  he benefited from some adjustments!!! Now, I reap the benefits. He gives me the biggest, most loving hugs, and always tells me he loves me before hanging up the phone.

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Alice Smyth    Photo by Leslie Blaha

What song best represents the relationship between you and your children?

Alice:  The one song that expresses a lot of what I feel is the one in Act 1, “If He Walked Into My Life,” that Michelle is singing.  There are many songs that I sang to Brendan and now I sing with Brendan (which is a thrill) or he sings to me!!. However,  because of our lifestyle and the way I most always included Brendan in being a part of Michael’s life as a professional pianist, my life in the theater world and our lives as a performing family, I totally identify with every word in that song from “Mame.”  It really touches my heart and she sings it beautifully!

John: “Dear Theodosia” embodies the feeling of wonder that every parent has at giving life to a child. My father’s last words to me (and to one of my sisters) were “I love you.” To give my children the gift that my father gave me, I always say “I love you” to them instead of “Goodbye.”

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Shereth Gilson    Photo by Leslie Blaha

Love Gone Wrong

Love can be splendid!  But love can also be heartbreaking and in some cases, love can be extremely damaging.  Take “Cell Block Tango” from the musical “Chicago,” for example.  Let’s see what our talented dancers had to say about this kind of love!

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Sandy Gorton, Cathy McCoskey, Karen Fitch, Christina MacAllister, Laura Holmes   Photo by Leslie Blaha

Have you ever had a “love gone wrong” experience?

Sandy:  Oh sure!  But you can’t put it in print!

Jenna:  I was cleaning up during the last five minutes of a college sculpture class and half-listening to a classmate say to our group he had preview tickets to a new movie that weekend. Free movie? Sure! I met up with the crew that Saturday afternoon. “The crew” ended up being just me and him. I was surprised. He was not. I sat through the entire movie mentally retracing my steps trying to calculate how I ended up on an accidental date. I remember the ice cream flavor I ordered after the movie, but not his name.

Laura: No more than some simple hurt feelings in college.  I’ve been with my husband for 28 years – I think that means that “love has gone right!”

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Sandy Gorton, Jenna Briggs, Laura Holmes, Karen Fitch, Cathy McCoskey, Christina MacAllister    Photo by Leslie Blaha

What was it like learning such a complicated dance number?

Jenna:  Musical theater – with a difficult number or two – is my favorite kind of brain/body challenge. You have to have all the singing/dancing/acting plates spinning at the same time, plus work to charm the audience. Karen knows how to choreograph a song to make everyone look good, so it’s been a blast to learn!

Laura:  Mind boggling.  It may look simple, but trying to remember each different shoulder roll or hand position is murder!

Cathy: It’s exciting to learn something that is challenging.  It is beyond doing the right moves.  It is getting all the rhythms, the style of the dance, the correct flick of the hand at the right time, and so on.  That being said, it will be a relief when there is more muscle memory involved.

Sandy: It was mind boggling even for me and I’ve done a lot of dancing, because in this number there is a lot going on at once. It’s also sexy, funny and powerful. It’s a reminder that men better watch out what they say or do to women.

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Cathy McCoskey, Sandra Gorton, Karen Fitch, Jenna Briggs, Christina MacAllister, Laura Holmes    Photo by Leslie Blaha

My Guy…My Girl!

“My Guy” and “My Girl” were both released in 1964 through the Motown label.  What better way to celebrate love than with a mashup of these two classic standards?

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Justin Cunningham and Jenna Briggs Photo by Leslie Blaha

What song best represents your relationship with your guy or girl?

Christina: My guy and I are both song freaks – this mashup is probably a pretty good one for us. (And as a May birthday girl, I’ve always had a particular soft spot for My Girl 🙂

John: Cell Block Tango. You don’t want to -ahem- mess with my wife, or my two daughters, for that matter. It’s a tough household!

Jenna:  ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ – This was the first slow song of the night at my best friend’s wedding and the first song my guy and I ever danced to. We had only been dating about 2 months and I already knew this song summed us up

Arthur: Actually, the song that represents my relation with my girl is “Unchained Melody.” This song helped me win our first cruise to the Bahamas and it is the song that I would often sing to Carole when I returned from a 110 day deployment to the middle of no-where. “Oh, my love, my darling, I’ve hungered for your touch a long lonely time! And time goes by so slowly and time can do so much. Are you still mine?   I need your love. Oh, I need your love. God speed your love to me!

Karen: Frank Sinatra’s “All The Way.”  There’s nothing more fulfilling than giving your love to someone 100 percent.

DSCN0459Alan Barnett and Karen Fitch, Photo by Penni Barnett

Leslie: I love sappy songs, and the one I chose for our wedding dance was “Your Love” by Jim Brickman because it talks about how love isn’t about all the symbols (flowers, rings, gifts), it’s just being with the one you’ve chosen.  But the song that describes my guy is “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” cuz he’s the exact opposite of me and I love every bit of it!

Why should people come see the show?

Karen: There’s something for everyone:  pop, standards, broadway, songs you know, and songs you’ll enjoy for the first time.  But best of all, the show will be performed by a talented group that LOVES to entertain!

Arthur: People should come see our show because we are singing about Love from all aspects. 1 Corinthians 13 talks about Faith, Hope and Love, But the greatest of all three is Love. There are more songs written about Love then you can imagine and while we are not singing all of them we are singing some really good ones. Finally, they should come as see our rendition of My Girl/My Guy which I feel they will really enjoy. It’s not the Temptations, but we least have some of the moves!

Leslie: It’s such a great variety of songs this year – I always learn a new favorite and I know the audience will too!

John: We have a talented cast and a wide variety of ambitious numbers. The group has only improved since last year.

 Jenna:  Come see the show because there’s a prize for correctly guessing the number of sequins on the cast’s costumes. (Correct answer: Never enough!)

Christina: People should come see the show because everyone needs a little love – and Broadway – in their lives!

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Karen Fitch, Jenna Briggs, Leslie Blaha, and Christina Ling    Photo by Penni Barnett