Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #9 (From THE BAND WAGON)

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I've been out of town for the last week, but still want to catch up on this as I find musicals so fascinating.  I always thought if I could do any acting it would be just musicals as I love the way the story and music intertwine.

Q1) Everyone is meant top be a part and I think this is by design that we can no longer act as a lone wolf.  It takes everyone, together to get things done and this musical number shows that.  It is meant to create the cohesiveness we've felt as a country and to encourage it to continue.  It is very different from past musicals, which seemed to often focus on one character.  Thinking specifically about Meet Me in St. Louis...while there is a family the main focus is on Judy Garland's character Esther.  Most of the music scenes focused on her singing, even if another character was there.

Q2) The characters are all dressed as if they were having a meeting at work.  It seemed to be showing them as equals versus different levels of society.  This was designed to again create cohesiveness, which was to inspire the watcher to continue this attitude of we are all in it together.

Q3) The characters all appear to be those who have worked in the entertainment industry and therefore feel most comfortable in the stage environment.  At this point while none of them is more famous than the other, though depending upon the show, it might change.

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1. As I watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, I notice they include and relate to each other as equals. In the beginning of the number, Oscar Levant, Jack Buchahan, and Nanette Fabray are trying to pull and convince Fred Astaire into playing a part. Once Fred Astaire is convinced, they all dance together, none of them really stealing the spotlight. All four of these individuals were extremely taleneted in very different areas, but instead of Fred Astaire taking over with a complex dance routine, or Oscar Levant stealing the show with a Tchaikovsky Concerto, they all do a fairly basic song and dance routine about what show business is really about.

2. I notice the costuming of the characters in this scene is very classic 1950s American. Jack Buchanan’s character wears an artists jacket, indicating he’s most likely in the creative side of show business, and Oscar Levant and Fred Astaire both wore classy suits, indicating they’re just regular American males of that time period. Nanette Fabray has on a fun 1950’s blouse and circle skirt, that looks professional and strong, but still showcases her femininity. She has low heels on, and she looks and acts very powerful.

3. I notice the staging and the interplay between the characters helps define relationships through each person singing a certain line. For example, Nanette usually sings the lines about the women, while the rest of the men will sings humerous lines that all go with their character in the film. 

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1. It's well thought out and each part plays into another part. 

2. The costumes color coordinate well and they do not outshine anyone else.

3. Everything was in the timing, everything ran together letting everyone have their moment.

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As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed?

  • There is great camaraderie throughout. As Jack Buchanan begins to sing, you can see Oscar Levant and the Nanette Fabray (RIP) look at Tony (Astaire) to be sure he is catching on. For the first two lines Astaire sings, he is still seated and still, seemingly, skeptical that there is anything in this proposed production for him. He finally stands up and fully joins in, signaling he is now convinced they can all work together and produce great "entertainment." In this number, all four are already working together as a team in singing, doing gags, etc. No one steps out for the type of solo/showcase you might have seen in earlier musicals. 

What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific.

  • The colors are all blues and grays so they match. It's another signal that they are already in sync. In most musical numbers, the "standout" wears brighter colors or something bright as part of their outfit to indicate they are the "star." Here, the "star" looks great in his pinstripe suit, but still blends in.

What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song?

  • Despite the props, the staging is a simple backstage with typical features you would expect to find in such an environment. I also noticed the gags add another layer to what defines "entertainment." The lyrics talk about everything from Shakespeare to "a Mr. Cohan." But those lyrics are paired typical vaudeville-comedy bits such as "who lit Buchanan's cigarette" and what's up with Levant and that ladder ?.

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As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed?

The interaction between all four characters is a unique one. I say this because they play off of each other. They just use the props to have fun with the other members. They weren't individuals in this scene they were a group. This was different from early musicals because instead of using peoples strengths, they were focusing on the group as a whole. 

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As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed?

Just reviewing all of the Daily Doses we've worked through to date, the most obvious difference is each of those involved a singer singing to someone - Petunia to Joe (or God?); Gene Kelly to Judy Garland, etc. This is a group singing to one person, all singing the same notes, words, etc in sync. 

As to how they relate to each other, I feel like they're using the same backstage formula that was introduced to us for the 40's Mickey and Judy shows. It's really "Let's Put on a Show!"

What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific.

They're all wearing muted colors - shades of blue and gray, with the exception of Nanette Fabray who's wearing a cream and black-and-white checked block pattern. It's still muted obviously, but different because women are different, right? I do notice the men all are dominated by the darker colors whereas Ms. Fabray is dominated by the cream of her outfit. From here, it's easy to see the cohesiveness as the men almost form a horseshoe of appropriate attire around her also appropriate clothing.

What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song?

Mr. Buchanan is leading those trying to convince Mr. Astaire to join the show. He tends to be positioned in the center of Ms. Fabray and Mr. Levant as they all urge Mr. Astaire to join them. Until he buys in, Mr. Astaire is the center of the other actors' attention. Then, he rises from the chair and joins them in lock step (with the few exceptions of Mr. Levant heading off screen.

 

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1.    As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another?

    For this, I turned the sound down on the video clip. So first, I noticed how close they stand, sing, and dance next to each other and how often they touch each other. Then I noticed how animated they are; their hand movements and facial expressions are so exaggerated. But in the end they are keeping each other positive and smiling.

How is it different from early musicals we have discussed?
  The early musicals were of individuals and not focused on a group of performers.

2.    What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific.

I noticed that the men, if not their full attire, has the color blue on, but also that Astaire was the most formally dressed, Levant was less formal, and Cordova was very casual. Astaire’s suit was highlighted with a white shirt, white cuffs, and a white hanky that pulled the white from Nanette’s outfit.

3.    What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song?

I noticed that the color scheme of the staging matched the costumes; the white chair, the red wall props, the red matching the red rose on Nanette’s costume. I also thought the interplay was physical enough to show that the characters had trust in each other, but I also felt that the touching looked like it helped keep them in balance and in line with each other.

 

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1. They are singing to each other and in a discussion as they sing the song. They are trying to persuade Fred what entertainment is or audition their ideas to him. Earlier musicals were about singing to the audience only and performing for an audience. Now the characters are part of the the performance.  

2. Buchanan is dressed as the full of himself actor with his terminology, rolling drippingly off the tongue. He is in blue with a smoking jacket look and ascot. Levant and Astaire are your more normal dressed polished professional musician and dancer. They are wear opposite colored ties and jackets, navy jacket the other navy tie, etc.. Nannette is wearing a dress that stands out with geometric squares, or the fill in the blank square, yet dress shirt type and beige. She has red hair so she could play the love interest or the girl who is stealing the lead away. They all have 

3. They are playful and convincing. They have a working relationship. They begin by working on Astaire until he comes into the group and act, sing, dance and use a show stopper at the end to the audience. 

 

 

 

  1. As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed?
  2. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific.
  3. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song?

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I think watching Oscar Levant in this scene gives the same enjoyment as watching Peter Lorre doing the "Siberia" number in Silk Stockings. They are non-dancers who look like they enjoyed the chance to deviate from their usual acting assignments. It's hard to take your eyes off of them.

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That's Entertainment is like an Anthem to all, like the Show must go one. The gang try to cheer Astaire character and get him to join the show. No matter what the show may be, it's in his blood and they know he'd be out of sorts if he back out now. As they sing, they include one another in all sorts of gags of the theater and full around like kids in a toy shop. Entertainer's entertain, even when they are off the stage. They each bring in their own self talents as well as those of their characters. Buchanan's pretentious satire theater elements, Astaire and Fabray's musical background of song and dance and Levant instrumental aspect from piano playing to comedic gags.

The costumes are not matching, elegant or top over the top. Actors in the theater dressed and act the part of theater goes. Everyday patrons, not dressing up to blend in with upper class or struggling to make ends meet. Its almost expectant of Astaire to be in his top hat, tails and bow ties, like in his previous musicals, but his attire as well as the rest suit the scene just right. But the characters in this film are dressed to their character arcs: Buchanan's dress with class and elegance befitting to his character; Fabray, the feminine character of the group, nice dresses and a few items of flare to stand out, but still show what class or title she has - married to a writer, so her outfit isn't jewels, fur coats and sequin dresses; Astaire sharp, yet relax, even though he is the star of the show, he dressed at his best but not expensive; and Levant - a writer, slacks and tweeds, just what a writer at that time would dress.

Buchanan - the head, director and holds himself at height (not just his height) trying to bring Astaire into the play to revive his career. He interacts with everyone, but has an tendency to step on others and change items to his enjoyment, that may not sit well with the others; Levant trying to please everyone with the rewrites and keeping his wife at peace; Fabray who at the beginning of the film is amour-ed with her husband til they have a fight because she sides with everything Buchanan says and not with her husband. And Astaire a strong, yet stubborn character is friends with all but can't put his self opinions to himself, but finally gets himself settled before the climax of the film.

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As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed?

  • They are inclusive of each other saying that together they make a great team.  One by themselves is not necessarily a show, but together they can tell all kinds of stories.  They are really telling a story in song, whereas, earlier musicals had a story and a song, but really two separate things.  

What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific.

  • Two of the men are in suits, and one is more casual jacket, the woman is dressed in what I would call a day dress.  It's not super fancy, but still beautiful.  They are all color coordinated.  Not exactly matching but it is easy on the eyes.  Gray  and blue with pops of red.  

What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song?

  • They are a team but when they are crossing their legs, they try to vy for the front, but they don't get upset.  It makes it funny.  

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Daily Dose# 9

  • As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed? The song shows that team spirit is not only reserved for sports but the entertainment industry as well. We could see that a dancer, a pair of playwrights and a dramatist could assemble together for a song. It is interesting to know that there isn’t a sign of inequality among the group as it consists of three men and a woman.     

 

  • What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. The attire of the group are in casual style. Fred and Oscar was in formal black and grey suits respectively. Nanette wore a pretty white sleeveless dress with grey shades and squares. Jack wore an actor’s attire with collar. It made him look elegant. But, that doesn’t keep them apart from doing the number.    

 

  • What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? We could see that Lester, Lilly and Jeff were singing to Tony in order to give him inspiration and a big morale boost. Afterward, Tony joins them to sing in an ensemble. This song reminds me of another ensemble song from an MGM musical which was released 3 years back: Annie Get Your Gun. The song goes like this...

         

 

 

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They are equally important as an ensemble. 

The costumes were everyday suits and dress, nothing stood out or was extreme and decorative or “flashy”.

No one is the star or focus of the scene. The scene showcased each of their talents.

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  1. They include each other than to let one be the spotlight. They sing as if they’re collaborating on an idea that can work out. Specifically on helping Fred Astaire’s Tony on his comeback on stage as it wouldn’t be possible without their help. Earlier films often puts one over the other in each performance.
  2. Despite being in the stage meant for a sophisticated dress up, they’re dressed casually of its time, Astaire and Levant’s suits being colored dark and grey, Fabray’s 50s style square pattern dress, and Buchanan’s director style suit as commonly worn for stage directors during that time. They don’t let their appearance get in the way of being a team and cooperate.
  3. This is a fun team-player song about the realities and joy of entertainment where any idea and work at a grander scale takes more than one person to make it a reality. Common details of them singing each verse on elements they pitch to each other, and references to previous works that make it possible (Cohan as a nod to Yankee Doodle Dandy). Also the part when Levant walks out of their company to let them do their time steps after Astaire gives him his hankerchief to take a break. Levant then throws it and they all playfully catch and throw it and the rest do their acts as a team. 

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Daily dose #9

1.     As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed?

Encouragement is the key word that comes to mind. Each is encouraging the other to share their ideas for a show and each gives the impression no idea is too small or dumb.   Saying, Come on! Come along! When we put our heads together…look how easily we create something! I love how they build on each other’s idea to create a better story. They dance together as if they have for years.

So many of the earlier musicals highlighted the individual actor and highlighted the strengths of the individual… Here it is a focus on the group of actors who are depending on each other. They even laugh at the friendly competition of who gets that foot forward first.

2.     What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific

The costumes are simple. No one costume draws more attention than the other. The costumes all seem “every day” in their nature. Business suits, leisure suit, day dress…

3.What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song?

As they throw their ideas out there they look closely at the others faces to see what the response is. I think part of the beauty here is each one of them KNOWS their place and fills it as though it HAD been planned

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1.  This is an ensemble piece; the characters work together toward a common achievement.  All are stars.  There is no one boy, girl or couple who takes over the story or stage production as in earlier musicals we have studied. 

 

2.  The styles of the characters' costumes are sensible - almost utilitarian.  The colors are less bold, yet they define the actors' roles.  The costumes seem to be created to help the characters blend as a group.

 

3. The players in this scene have a shared goal and exuberance for their work.  Both are emphasized by the interaction between them during the musical piece - they seem almost like a cheerleading squad.

 

 

 

 

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Great clip for demonstrating the theme of the lecture, down to the lyric, "Hip! Hooray! The American way!" By the end of the clip, you can't believe Fred Astaire hasn't busted out with a featured bit of dancing, the way we know he can. It is VERY lock step. And it stands out all the more because it is Fred Astaire "not busting out".

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Daily Dose #9

1.  In this scene of "That's Entertainment", the Nanette, Jack and Oscar are trying to convince Fred to look at the situation their way.  They sing closer to him, get in face, and then he reacts in a positive way and then feels and reacts and convince him to see things their way.  And he does!  Thankfully!  Then we get to enjoy his dancing and singing.

2.  Their costuming blends very well.  All a shade of light blue to gray coloring.  The style goes from very taylored (Fred) to a casual ( Jack) to a comfortable attire (Oscar) then to Nanette in a blend of their colors but with a 'splash' of red which makes her 'splash' out.

3. The way Oscar dances out of the scene so casually and we keep our eyes on the other three then becoming silly in their routine.  Makes me smile that they are having such a good time with one another.

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1. As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed?

This reminds me of Garland and Rooney "putting on a show." They all work together in this. It's a collaboration. No one stands out, not even Astaire. This is different from earlier musicals because many times you had one or two who were the lead with others more or less performing backup. 

2. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. Astaire is elegant as we would expect, but not "Top Hat" elegant. Fabray in her skirt is very defined as the female. Buchanan is in a coat and tie as a producer/director might be while Levant is more casual as a writer. They all blend, however, they are all a team.

3. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? They are funny and having fun. This is teamwork, showing what they bring to the table when they decide to put on a show.

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