Friday, 1 March 2013

Top Hat on Stage

Yes that show again!! I went again yesterday afternoon specially for the matinee as they had a question and answer session with Irving Berlin's daughter Linda Emmett after the show which came included with the ticket, being me I wasn't going to let such an opportunity pass by!!
I can't say I learnt much from the Q&A Session, except that I know more about Irving Berlin than I realised haha! Although I was unaware that he headed an army unit for 'This is the Army' in Italy during ww2 after D.Eisenhower saw the show in London and gave the go ahead to go and perform for those fighting on the front line (I'm also not entirely sure how I never knew he wrote that song, i've loved it for longer than I can remember!)
I will admit i didn't actually ask any questions, however when Follow the Fleet was mentioned with 'Get Thee Behind Me Satan' being one of Linda's favourite songs I did venture the information that of course that song was originally written for Ginger to sing in 'Top Hat' which she didn't know, so nice to think that she learned something!! I then mentioned about how when 'Follow the Fleet' was released in the UK in 1936 the word 'Satan' wasn't allowed to be used and so the word was cut from the song creating some very wierd cuts and can be viewed in the extras on the UK dvd release.
This led to her reminiscing of the first time she saw Top Hat on screen, in Paris before ww2 and then having the privilige of seeing it after it had been restored again in Paris, sounded amazing i'd love to see Top Hat (and indeed all of Ginger and Fred's movies) on the big screen!
Someone addressed me afterwards as 'The Irving Berlin Expert', I was kind enough to reply no, just Fred/Ginger related information!!

It was also the first time I'd seen the new cast, although Gavin Lee who replaced Tom Chambers as Jerry was off sick with a chest infection so they had the fabulous Alan Burkitt who also understudied Tom and who is an amazing dancer, I saw Alan play Jerry last year on the recommendation of one of the stewards and he is definitely my fave 'Top Hatter'!! Kristen Beth Williams (seen till recently in 'Nice Work if You Can Get It' on Broadway) was really good, but i'll hold passing judgement until I have seen her again, at least another 3 times as that's how many times I saw Charlotte Gooch who she replaced! (I saw Summer Strallen in the role 10 times..)

I was disappointed to find yet again that information about Ginger's film debut year was incorrect, however they have promised to correct it on the reprint, I also mentioned it to Kenny Wax, the show's producer and he said that he'll see Ted Hartley who wrote the article that includes the incorrect info in the next week or so and get it changed. I was kind enough to suggest that Ted Hartley may have been referring to Ginger's debut year of dancing on screen with Fred as the article is entitled 'RKO's Happy History with Top Hat' although if so it still needs clarification! Its about time Ginger was given the full respect and credit that she deserves after all and I find it sad that its not always the case


  1. get after them, Kat!!! :-) We'll get everyone on the same page concerning required Ginger knowledge sooner or later, right?

    One of these years, I'll get to see this show...I swear i saw something somewhere that said it is either coming to the US, or is actually already here somewhere... hmmmm...

    Here's hoping!

    KIG, Kat!

  2. I do believe you're right about it going to the US, i'm pretty sure I heard that there are plans in the offing for it to go on tour, I heard that direct from the producer so indeedy here's hoping!

    They took it more seriously than when I pointed it out last April, asked what page it was on and everything.. I pointed it out to Kenny Wax in the hope it sticks :-)
    Apparently someone else had questioned various spelling mistakes so they'll have to make changes sooner rather than later..

  3. Good for you! Don't let them forget about the mistake. Ginger deserves to have the information right and so does anyone who buys the program! You are a real insider now, so if anyone can get them to get it right, it is you. I'm glad you made it to the show. How many times have you seen it now? KIG!

  4. I feel more bad for everyone who's bought the programme trusting that the information that they are reading is correct, you'd think Ted Hartley would be clued up, they clearly employ the wrong people ;)

    Too many times would possibly be the right answer, 15 is also the right answer :o keeping with the once a month viewing for the time being, however i seem to have converted Ian to the idea of a cross country Amtrak trip!! (watch this space!)

    1. Maybe they need to hire you to do their copy-editing. How do you drop a hint like that one?

      Egads! The boy is brave, LOL! You said he likes trains so he will see a lot of them.

    2. The guy selling programmes suggested i asked them for a job, Alan Burkitt suggested i asked for a discount hehe, Kenny Wax told someone i was their number 1 fan!! I like to be remembered ;)

      I'm getting itchy feet for Amtrak travel, we're looking at San Francisco-Chicago which would mean going through Omaha (although i don't see a detour to Independence happening) and then on to Washington DC, he seems to think i'd do an overnight in Chicago though, that i always get sick in that place doesn't yet seem to have sunk in!