Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Today I ended up going down a rabbit hole reading about Sugar Babies. I knew of the show, but didn't know the show until this morning. The YouTube clip of Ann and Mickey at the Tonys is nothing short of incredible. Folks love to throw around the phrase "you couldn't do that today" about everything from Blazing Saddles to The Office, but you really couldn't do Sugar Babies today, simply because we don't have talent that sells itself like that. Heck, even in 1979, you'd be hard-pressed to find two leads that fit the bill as well as Miller and Rooney. Red Skelton (a former burlesque performer), would've been perfect in the male lead, but who could top Johnnie Lucille's extreme individuality? They revived the show in London a decade later and performed at the Royal Variety, but it's clearly a British audience and British production values. There's nowhere near the pizazz (the mystique!) or the wild love from the audience that comes on Broadway. Any available clips are worth checking out. 

Side Note: This is allegedly the show where Ann, tired of burning a hole in the ozone layer with hairspray, commissioned two wigs made of wire that she would wear every night. Later on, while doing summer stock, a beam fell and hit her on the head; it would've killed her if she weren't wearing such course ha'r. Irma eat your heart out!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a teenager I worked at a summer stock theatre and got to spotlight Sugar Babies for 4 weeks. That was a fast paced show. Most musicals you just do the spot for a song. Not this one. My light was hardly ever off. Best cue was picking up a head shot on a guy jumping in from the wings in total darkness. 

We had the privilege of having Rudy Tronto star in and direct our production. He sketch directed and understudied Mickey in the original Broadway production. I dont know why but I should have asked if he had any good Ann stories.

This was back in 1997 and we got lots of bus groups of older people in during the summer. A show perfect for them. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/9/2020 at 8:24 AM, Luvsbway said:

When I was a teenager I worked at a summer stock theatre and got to spotlight Sugar Babies for 4 weeks. That was a fast paced show. Most musicals you just do the spot for a song. Not this one. My light was hardly ever off. Best cue was picking up a head shot on a guy jumping in from the wings in total darkness. 

We had the privilege of having Rudy Tronto star in and direct our production. He sketch directed and understudied Mickey in the original Broadway production. I dont know why but I should have asked if he had any good Ann stories.

This was back in 1997 and we got lots of bus groups of older people in during the summer. A show perfect for them. 

"Sugar Babies" on paper certainly didn't have mega-hit written all over it.  I saw it on tour with Ann & Mickey and it was great.  This was well into the 80s.  Vaudeville was ALIVE!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/8/2020 at 10:04 PM, Freddie2 said:

Today I ended up going down a rabbit hole reading about Sugar Babies. I knew of the show, but didn't know the show until this morning. The YouTube clip of Ann and Mickey at the Tonys is nothing short of incredible. Folks love to throw around the phrase "you couldn't do that today" about everything from Blazing Saddles to The Office, but you really couldn't do Sugar Babies today, simply because we don't have talent that sells itself like that. Heck, even in 1979, you'd be hard-pressed to find two leads that fit the bill as well as Miller and Rooney. Red Skelton (a former burlesque performer), would've been perfect in the male lead, but who could top Johnnie Lucille's extreme individuality? They revived the show in London a decade later and performed at the Royal Variety, but it's clearly a British audience and British production values. There's nowhere near the pizazz (the mystique!) or the wild love from the audience that comes on Broadway. Any available clips are worth checking out. 

Side Note: This is allegedly the show where Ann, tired of burning a hole in the ozone layer with hairspray, commissioned two wigs made of wire that she would wear every night. Later on, while doing summer stock, a beam fell and hit her on the head; it would've killed her if she weren't wearing such course ha'r. Irma eat your heart out!

Who's "Johnny Lucille"?  

Too bad there wasn't a video recording of Sugar Babies made for TV.  The only way to attempt to capture it properly would have been with a live theater audience.  Sugar Babies ran long enough on Broadway that surely there were replacements for Ann & Mickey.  Do you know who they got?  Vanda Barra & Sid Gould, maybe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Neil said:

Who's "Johnny Lucille"?  

Too bad there wasn't a video recording of Sugar Babies made for TV.  The only way to attempt to capture it properly would have been with a live theater audience.  Sugar Babies ran long enough on Broadway that surely there were replacements for Ann & Mickey.  Do you know who they got?  Vanda Barra & Sid Gould, maybe?

Johnnie Lucille Collier was Ann Miller’s given name, a fact I think I learned here on the Lounge. I agree that a taped production would’ve been great, and I wonder if there are bootlegs that exist. Their Tony Awards scene was great enough to make me really dig into the show. From what I was reading, I think there were replacements at some point or for some period of time (at least for Ann), but for the most part it looks like Miller and Rooney did that show a lot and made big bucks for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Neil said:

Who's "Johnny Lucille"?  

Too bad there wasn't a video recording of Sugar Babies made for TV.  The only way to attempt to capture it properly would have been with a live theater audience.  Sugar Babies ran long enough on Broadway that surely there were replacements for Ann & Mickey.  Do you know who they got?  Vanda Barra & Sid Gould, maybe?

Carol Channing and Robert Morse did the first national tour after Ann and Mickey opened on Broadway. It didn’t last long. The second tour starred Ann and Mickey and did big business. I don’t think there was ever a period where Ann and Mickey both left the show. One would take a break (like when Ann went to do her Love Boat episodes) and the other would carry on with a temporary replacement. Fill-ins for Ann included Helen Gallagher and Carol Lawrence. Rip Taylor and Joey Bishop were among Mickey’s replacements. There was a reading a few years ago for a possible Broadway revival starring Tony winners Beth Level and Michael McGrath. Two talented individuals, but not big names. It never went any farther than a reading. I could see Martin Short doing well in this. 
 

The Lincoln Center Library did record the show with Ann and Mickey and it’s in their archives. I watched it there and it was great fun!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Freddie2 said:

Johnnie Lucille Collier was Ann Miller’s given name, a fact I think I learned here on the Lounge. I agree that a taped production would’ve been great, and I wonder if there are bootlegs that exist. Their Tony Awards scene was great enough to make me really dig into the show. From what I was reading, I think there were replacements at some point or for some period of time (at least for Ann), but for the most part it looks like Miller and Rooney did that show a lot and made big bucks for it.

There is a clip of Ann’s opening number from a bootleg on YouTube. It’s poor quality with audio dropouts, but it gives you a taste of Ann in the show. 
 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe it's the poor quality of the video, but that number looks like it could be something out of an MGM musical during Ann's heyday. Late 50s/early 60s isn't really old, but it must've been nice for performers "of a certain age" to be in the spotlight again doing what they did best. Martin Short is a perfect modern casting idea; maybe someone like Donna Murphy for the female lead?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/4/2020 at 8:35 PM, HarryCarter said:

 

I loved this. Although true pantyhose were actually invented and mass produced in the late 50s. She does have a point though. I could never figure out why tights were full length but they couldn't figure out how to basically make sheer tights. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...