My fascination with movies and movie stars began because I was an obnoxious child who began reading early. Or because of parental neglect. You be the judge.
I started reading at about 4 years of age and would read every chance I got. One of those chances was at the grocery store because I hated grocery shopping and pitched a fit as soon as we got there. In order to keep the peace, my mother would just drop me off at the movie magazines and let me blissfully enjoy the gossip about which stars were in a “trial marriage,” whose actual marriages were on the rocks, and who was having a secret baby. I didn’t quite understand any of those stories, but I found them exciting and could have sat there all day reading about Sandra Dee & Bobby Darin, Annette & Frankie, and Liz & Eddie (& Dick). One day I was reading a section on celebrity birthdays when I realized that that very day was the 21st birthday of my TV idol. I was so thrilled by this that I turned to the adult standing next to me and blurted out, “TODAY IS ANNETTE FUNICELLO’S BIRTHDAY!” and she just looked at this small and kind of weird child and said, “Uh…. okay….” and walked away.
Renate plunked me down in front of the TV a lot in the evenings. Those were the days of Monday Night at the Movies, Tuesday Night at the Movies, Wednesday, Thursday, etc. and I saw a wide variety of 40s and 50s films, dramas, comedies and musicals.
My cabaret show, “Oh, to be a movie star!” draws upon these early influences. I have collected songs over the years, not specifically from movies but about them and their now-legendary stars. The show features familiar music such as Elton John’s “Candle in the wind” (which Ryan is singing) and obscure songs I’ve run across over the last 20 years including “Humphrey Bogart” by Leiber & Stoller and “Poem” by Christopher Berg (which begins with the immortal line, “Lana Turner has collapsed!”).
The show will be at a wonderful old movie house, the Times Cinema at 5906 W. Vliet in Milwaukee, on Sunday, May 3 at 7pm. It will be followed by a showing of another of my favorite “X Night at the Movies” chestnuts, Singin’ in the rain. The cost is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. I will be accompanied by Ryan Cappleman, pianist and baritone.
I really hope that we have a good turn-out. Performing this show back in February was a dream come true and it’s a good show that allows me to share my love of music and my love of movies.