Saturday, April 27, 2013

So Long Radio Manilow - Hello "Harmony" at Alliance Theatre

"Radio Manilow" on iHeartRadio had been my regular office roommate since the day it debuted.  The station was a way to enjoy music and commentary from someone who knows far more than I ever will.  When I had to work in the evenings, I could turn the kids over to my husband, close the door and get down to business without feeling blocked in to my teeny tiny office.  And still be available to have good-nite hugs at bedtimes.

You learn a lot about someone by what's on their iPod and what they have to say about it.  I heard songs in a way I never would have imagined or figured out.  ("Eleanor Rigby" from the Beatles was in high rotation.)  I had a few "What in the f*ck is he thinking" moments. (that weirdo "Abadaba" chimp song that made me want to walk to Los Angeles and beat the hell out of someone.)  Some got me interested in music or other creations I never heard of.   Biggest was the theme from "I Want to Live" (1958).  It landed on Barry's play list because Gerry Mulligan played sax on it.  So I recognized and took interest in the picture when it made the play list on my local PBS station.

When you think of movies from the 1950s, it's either musicals ("Singin' in the Rain") or really bad science fiction, usually centered around something radioactive ("Them").  I learned from this picture how intense psychological dramas could be at that time, and how direct the commentary about sociopolitical topics.  The end of the picture is a blatant and realistic depiction of execution by gas chamber (sorry for the spoiler).  That would raise eyebrows even today.  Thanks to that song and commentary, I got a view of mid-century media that I never would have found.

The station couldn't last forever, but it's still a bummer that it had to shut down.  I got a lot out of it though, and I'm grateful it was up for the time that it was.

In other news, "Harmony" is finally ....  FINALLY.....  making it to the stage.  If that's not enough, it's going to debut right in my own backyard at Alliance Theatre.  As I'm getting the kids back to school, I'll be scanning the papers and blogs for major updates on rehearsals and show times.  Maybe we'll even luck out with a special guest visit to Jazz at the High.  A girl can dream.

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