Monday, March 2, 2009


One of my facebook friends in New York went to the new production of Pal Joey, which is one of my all-time favorite shows. It's terribly anachronistic, trapped in the forties and all but defines a period piece. But from that it derives its undeniable charm. Set in a burlesque house in the Tenderloin, women are dames, mice, or broads.

The heart of the story is a triangle between nightclub singer Joey (Sinatra in the film), his wealthy cougar (Rita Hayworth) and the nice chorus girl (Kim Novak). As if there would actually BE a nice chorus girl in burlesque houses in the Tenderloin. Joey's mantra is "treat a dame like a lady and a lady like a dame".

For this scene- the respected society matron is exposed as a former burlesque queen by Sinatra at a charity event she is chairing. She is asked to do one of her old numbers. Add over the top sets, Rita Hayworth clearly loving the number (despite the dubbing), Hermes Pan choreography, a knockout of a Jean-Louis gown which doubles as a weapon, and wonderfully faux intellectual lyrics by Rodgers and Hart, which were updated from the stage version.

I have read the works of Plato, translated most of Cato
Zip! I am such a scholar
I don't care for Whistler's Mother, Charley's Aunt or Schubert's Brother
Zip! Had to make a dollar

Here is the charming result. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mrs. Prentice Simpson:


Miss Janey said...

"Dress that doubles as a weapon"

love it.

Doralong said...

I's a true classic!