Help Support
« One From Column A...

One From Column A...
by "The Real A"

These weeks are going by way too fast! It seems like I just finished last week's column. So, how many of you made Wacky Noodles? C'mon, 'fess up, The Real A wants to know. I got such a craving for them, that right after I finished the last column, I went and made a pound of them. I then proceeded to eat the entire pound. I then proceeded to sit on my couch for eight hours, unable to move. I was so bloated I resembled the Broadway production of Jekyll & Hyde. But enough about me.


Have you noticed how many times the issue of John Travolta playing The Phantom comes up? At least once a week, just like this column. And then people discuss it ad nauseum just as if they hadn't discussed it the other fifty times. So, where do these rumors come from (rumors are a pet peeve of the A)? Well, first and foremost they come from publicists who want their client's names in the papers. They come from authors who are trying to keep Hollywood interest in their projects. They come from fans. Sometimes someone will overhear their pool man saying something. And of course it all gets printed as if it were really going to happen. Rumors of The Phantom movie have been circulating since 1993. It was definitely going to be made in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 1997 they said definitely going to be made, AND with John Travolta. Only one problem here... No Script. No Director. Now, concievably John Travolta could show up on a set (oops, no set designer) and start shooting the movie without benefit of script or direction, but then there'd have to be a Cameraman. Point being: Even if this were to happen, even if all the deals could be worked out, the earliest you'd be seeing this movie would be Christmas 1999. When you point this out to people, they say, "but it was in the paper!" The day after I posted that 1776 was not moving, The Post in NY printed that it was moving. I received much mail, castigating me for my heinous error. In response I only had two words to say to everyone: The Post. The following day the New York Times printed that the transfer wasn't happening. Did The Post say "we're so sorry we printed incorrect information"? Of course not. They simply say "that's what our sources told us". What sources? "Privleged information". Fully 80% of what The Post prints is incorrect.

The latest in this unending series of rumors concerns Arnold Schwarzenegger going in to The King and I. Now, there is about as much chance of this happening as there is for Mel Gibson doing a revival of The Red Shoes. And yet people talk about it as if it were a possibility. Apparently Arnold saw The King and I. Oooooooh. Apparently the producers would love it if Arnold would do the show. Why wouldn't they? Does it mean that Arnold will do the show? Yes, he goes into it on the 12th. Of Never. In a recent column, Liz Smith said Arnold is constantly trying to reinvent himself, hence he is not ruling out the possibility of theater or musicals. I would suggest that if Arnold really wants to reinvent himself he should do Hello, Dolly! Now, that I'd pay to see! Well, I think you get the point here. Just because you read it doesn't mean it's true. By the way, I hear in the film version of Side Show that Barbra Streisand will be playing both of the Hilton Sisters. But you didn't hear it here.

The War of the Words

You are not going to believe this! Those two bad boys have been at it again. They simply will not stop! I have tried to mediate this feud to no avail. Just when you thought it was All Quiet On The Western and Eastern Front, Sir Andrew fires this off:

Don't cry for me Stephen Sondheim,
For I am wealthy, and I'm immortal.
I wrote Evita and I wrote POTO,
I'm a Mercedes - you're a DeSoto.

I know we've both had Madonna,
And we've shared Mandy and Barbra Streisand.
When they sing my songs, they sell so many,
When they sing your songs they don't sell any.

Don't cry for me Stephen Sondheim,
My Cats has nine lives, yes, it's still running.
When is the last time you had a hit, Steve,
Why don't you face it, it's time to quit, Steve.

Well, if you thought our pal Steve was gonna stand still for that, you just don't know our Steve. He immediately fired back:

Andrew is boring,
When he tries to write,
Andrew is terrible.
I end up snoring,
His stuff is so trite,
Really unbearable.
Have you listened to Cats???
It's really awful,
It should be unlawful
To Finish Some Hats.
That's a Lloyd Webber show!!!
It's truly dismaying
That they're always playing
Wherever you go...

No more Webber,
Please no more.
Keep the musical alive,
Keep it healthy, let it thrive,
Let that happy day arrive
When we'll all ignore...
All the Phantoms,
All the Sunsets,
All the song and the dance,
All the pussies who prance,
On those fun sets...
All the critical standards that one sets,
Well, what for?

All the Joseph's,
All the Aspects...

No more.

And The Real A says no more to these two giants of The Musical Theatre. The Real A says Give Peace A Chance. C'mon, people now, smile on each other. We Are Family.

Letters... We Get Letters...

Ooooh, we had lots of mail this week. The Real A loves lots of mail. It makes me feel all warm and gushy, and a warm and gushy A is a beautiful thing.

Rob says that both David Letterman and I use "Letters... We Get Letters" and is sure we both stole it from the same place. Correct! It is from the 50s TV variety program The Perry Como Show.

Jessica wants to know what happened to the musical that Sondheim was working on entitled Muscle. Muscle was meant to be one act of an evening of two one-act musicals. The other was by William Finn and I believe was called Health, if my memory doesn't fail me. After a reading, Sondheim decided that he didn't think Muscle was working and abondened the idea.

Daniel has brought to the A's attention that eight ounces is, in fact, a half pint, not a pint. So, if anyone made Wacky Noodles and used a pint of sour cream, well, let's just say you had a few too many unnecessary fat grams. Not to mention that it might have tasted somewhat poopy.

Laura had several questions about The Real A. Like would you recognize me if you saw me? The answer to that question is, yes, of course you would. Unless you didn't. In which case you won't. Is the Real A animal, vegetable or mineral? All three, depending on the day. And finally, what does The Real A do for a living? I can only tell you this: I love what I do. I wouldn't want to do anything else.

Last week's trivia question brought several incorrect answers, and way too many correct ones. You people really know your Sondheim. There is no fooling you. The answer to what song in what play did Sondheim only write the music for (not the lyrics) is Twigs, by George Furth, who provided his own lyrics to the song Hollywood and Vine, which was sung in the show by Sada Thompson. The show, by the way, was directed by Michael Bennett.


What famous playwright was so enamored of Sondheim and his game playing, that he used Sondheim's love of games in a hit play. Name the play, the author and the play's original working title.

Now, I know that some of you may think that question is too easy, but I'm letting it stand because, for those who don't know, I think the answer will be interesting. For those who need a tougher question, here it is:

In the film The Last Of Sheila, written by Sondheim and Anthony Perkins, the first scene takes place at a big Hollywood party. As people exit the house, a piano player noodling a song can clearly be heard inside at the party. What song is he playing?

Send all guesses to me at Here is your assignment for the upcoming week. The Real A likes to respond to topics. Since I don't really get to respond to posted topics, please send me topics that interest you, so that I can respond to those topics. Have I used the words "respond" and "topics" enough times? Whatever is on your mind, whether Sondheim related or not, but preferably about the musical theater. In other words, post to me and I will respond to your topic. Respond. Topic. Certainly two of my favorite words.

Well, that's it for this week. Next week I'm sure I'll have the chance to respond to whatever topic you post to me about. You think "topic" I'll think "respond".

Until next week, I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be...

Yours, yours, yours, yours, yours.

The Real A

« Features



Recently Overheard...
Assassins is about how society interprets the American Dream, marginalizes outsiders and rewrites and sanitizes its collective history. "Something Just Broke" is a major distraction and plays like an afterthought, shoe horned simply to appease. The song breaks the dramatic fluidity and obstructs the overall pacing and climactic arc which derails the very intent and momentum that makes this work so compelling...”
- Mark Bakalor

Follow the thread...

“I found [the Sondheim Celebration's Company] to be completely delightful. Almost all of the numbers excited and energized me, and most of the scenes were about as pitch-perfect as you can get. I just sat there with a big smile on my face the whole show.

Which is not to say that it is perfect...”
- popcornonmyknees

Follow the thread...

Explore the rest of the Finishing the Chat Community Forum

Music, Books & More
Elaine Stritch
With three hand-held cameras, one major theatrical milestone and nearly nineteen hours of footage, this rare and intimate look with Original Cast Album - Company is a must for any Sondheim fan.

DVD: $26.96
VHS: $24.95

One of Sondheim's most beloved works is sure to be Sunday in the Park with George, available on DVD, video tape, and CD.

CD: $13.99
DVD: $25.49
VHS: $19.98

Nathan Lane
All Sondheim completists are sure to now own the first complete recording of The Frogs coupled with Evening Primrose. Do you?

CD: $18.97

Browse additional merchandise...


© 1994-2004 hijinks design. All Rights Reserved. | Site design and hosting by hijinks design.