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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #13 (From GYPSY)

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In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical?

I think the scenery stays true to classic form pulling in the audience with lots of colors and bright active backgrounds. It foreshadows chaos with so many people on stage so many different types of acts and the conflict between the boss and the announcer.
 

This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress.

She made a grand entrance which is very classic for early musicals. A flare for the dramatic and the sole focus on her. It tends to showcase the one instead of the many.
 

Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not).

The song is a bit demanding. Its as if you would hear and see the performance and be sold without question. I think the act itself is cute but it actually reminds me of "Anything you can do, i can do better" Only to be out staged by their mom. By her dramatic entrance and demands for attention.

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  1. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical?
    This clip looks back at the musicals that we have seen in the backstage show-how-the-musical works like in Singin' in the Rain or Bandwagon but it also looks ahead in the visual appearance of the movie - it isn't as showy and colorful or as glamorous as musicals used to be.
     
  2. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress.
    She is doing a fabulous job as the quintessential stage mom, forcing her girls to make a buck and to live out some romantic notion of continuing what she tried to achieve.  You don't question her in the role, so she is obviously doing her job and not "acting" but just assuming the role. 
     
  3. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not).
    No, I don't see anything particularly edgy or subversive - the costume and the synchronized tapping is perfectly child-like.  The fact that it is changed to Gypsy's sexy song later is wonderful!

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1. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical?

This is such a great vehicle for the saga of Vaudeville v Burlesque. The opening is all the little kids with there cute, appropriate outfits, working clarinet concertos and song and dance. You see the slightest deviation from that with our little balloon girl. Mama Rose seems to know what is coming, but denies it right up through and into Louise's transformation into Gypsy. That she refers to all the service clubs (Elks, Odd Fellows and the like) shows that old fashioned "you scratch my back" mentality. 

2. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress.

I will admit, that while I enjoy this performance of hers, it is not my favorite Russell film. "The Trouble With Angels" is a fantastic, yet little known film set in a girls' convent school. Her early control of every situation as Rose is wonderfully scattered to bits by the time she get's to "Rose's Turn". You see throughout the film how things she used to manage because decidedly unmanageable. From June, to the boys, to Herbie, the girls and finally Louise; each very manipulated piece of her life slips away. She needed to be completely torn down, before she could have her come back and her sable coat.

3. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not).

Oh my glory, but I am obsessed with Sondheim lyrics! The man can certainly turn a phrase and you can spin it, turn it upside down, read it forward and back and come up with 2000 interpretations. This song starts as Louise's downfall and becomes her triumphant battle cry as the movie progresses. He cleverly takes somewhat innocent words and fills them with so much double entandre that it will make your head spin. You see this in his later writing and his clever word play. The song is always played to the precenium; even when Louise uses it. classic vaudevillian staging, turned on it's head for burlesque.

 

 

 

 

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1. This scene ha all the hallmarks of the classic musical with its big costumes, colors, and in your face singing. This scene also has the disrutive qualities that come starting in the 1960s. The acting deals with more real issuses such as getting ahead and even the backdoor deals that go on in the field of entertainment and the real word. You atart to see the tensions start that were going on at that time in the 1960s. 

2. She knows when to come in on the cue to give maximun effect for the scene. Most classically trained actresses and actors learn that as part of their craft and nine times out of ten hit that timing spot on. 

3. You have a little girl who is singing about doing what it takes to entertain you. Personally the high pitch and nasally voice is annoying and may have been meant to be that way. The song itself is disruptive because it does not have that smooth feel of musicals that we saw in the late 1920s to 1959. Very indicative to the time. 

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Well it takes a look at the behind the scenes of a vaudevillian performance. It starts to set up a "future" musical number.  It also displays the rush of children trying to become the next Shirley Temple.

Rosalind Russell's performance as she barges in demanding attention screams stage actress. She quickly grabs your attention with the fast talking, over the top stage mom performance and you can't help but just stare at her in awe. Her stage skills flawlessly transition over to the screen with the theme of the 60s musicals.

While the girls are singing the lyrics seem more innocent and sweet but as performed as an adult could have a more provocative meaning. 

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It hearkens to the backstage musicals of the late 20s and early 30s...it's an audition, but not adults.  It's children and this was the time when Shirley Temple (and wannabes) came from.  It also foreshadows the end of Vaudeville/Burlesque as forms of popular entertainment.

On film it's (to me at least) the entrance of the star and she tells us she's going to be loud and push- the ultimate stage mother.  Miss Russell probably enjoyed this role and wanted to make it her own, as she was probably compared to Ethel Merman.  Here timing is wonderful, a holdover from her stint as Auntie Mame.

The song as done by the children is cute and innocent.  But the song evolves into a suggestive number when Gypsy becomes a star.  

 

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This scene from Gypsy reminds me of the backstage musicals of the 30's and 40's.

Rosalind Russell stole every scene she appeared in, in this movie. Such a talent! She is the ultimate stage mom. 

The song comes off as being innocent and cute with the little girls performing. They are like little performing robots going through the motions like their mother taught them but it wasn't particularly entertaining and that is probably why the people conducting the audition didn't pay much attention to them. Then again, Mama Rose steals the show so all attention is on her.

 

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     Rosalind Russell comes out like the star she was then.  Experienced, and able to upstage everyone else, not just because of her part, but who she was.  She is much better than Ethel Merman who mostly used her loud voice for everything.

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1. This scene looks like many of the early classical musicals we've discussed. Vaudeville is represented in the staging and costumes, and even the way the scene is filmed where the performers are straight to camera is reminiscent of an earlier time period. At the same time, it looks ahead to new disruptions that we know will happen in the movie musical. Mama Rose herself personifies the disruption. She literally barges in and the tide turns. Also, the lyrics in the song point to a trend where musicals are going to appeal to more of a niche audience going forward.
 

2. Rosalind Russell commands your attention. She steals the scene and the show! She has incredible stage presence. Her traditional stage training, and the fact that she's a film actress, add to her credibility. 
 

3. Sondheim's lyrics are sly, subversive, and edgy. "Baby" June sings, "Let me entertain you" and "I'll do some kicks/tricks." The fact that a little girl is singing these lyrics and doing high kicks and cartwheels make them seem innocent when they really aren't makes them sly, and the staging adds to the subversion. Sondheim's lyrics would've been edgy for the time period--especially compared to the lyrics in the musicals of the 1950's.

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Daily Dose #13:

1) The scene looks backward to musicals on how the song is staged and the type of song that is sung which sounds old-fashioned. As for how it looks ahead, I would say based on how the other characters respond to the song, particularly how Mama Rose is introduced.

2) Mama Rose's introduction is rather striking. She comes in full force, direct, strong, commanding attention which makes sense from her Broadway background.  She appears to have the presence of a Broadway actress.

3) I think the song is sly in terms of how the lyrics are trying to give a special message to the office in terms of the setting of the scene.

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1. This begins in the style of a classic backstage musical- we're seeing the audition process - except it's children, not adults. It's looking backwards by showing us a 'backstage musical', it's already looking forward by focusing on youth. We're also not seeing full songs - if you watch a Broadway Melody or a Golddigger's movie, they were rarely interrupted mid-song - the song was always sung  through - In that way we're also seeing disruptions. We're seeing more real-life, people putting their kids to work, and people not getting jobs. we see (a la 42nd st) some preferential treatment - balloon girl has the job before she's even done anything. Also, there's not the same youthful excitement of "Let's Put on a Show" that we saw in the 30's an 40's. 

2. Roz commands the scene as soon as she enters the room. She enters as Mama Rose does when Gypsy is performed on stage, but it doesn't have the same effect, because we're not actually in the theatre as she walks down the aisle. Rose defines "Stage Mother' to a tee, she is in charge, her children are really merely pawns. Russell was a stage performer and although she was also a movie actress, there's just something about how stage performers hold themselves, enunciate, and draw all the attention to themselves - we see that here. 

3. The lyrics of Let Me Entertain you do exactly what they're meant to do. As performed by children it's simply an innocent song - I'm up here singing and dancing, look at me type song. Like any child may say to their parents. The kids sing the song with a literal meaning  - I will do some kicks - and she kicks her leg, I will do some tricks - and she does a little trick with her hands.  When we hear the song later, as sung in a burlesque house by a woman stripping it is suddenly full of double entendre - doing kicks and tricks and making a person smile now has a totally different meaning.  Sondheim's cleverness at lyrics is amazing. He is a wordsmith.    As staged the scene is disruptive because Mama Rose comes busting in. As a movie viewer our attention is totally pulled away from the performance of the song because the camera is now following Rose, not the children. 

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1 hour ago, Reedevits said:

1. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical?

This is such a great vehicle for the saga of Vaudeville v Burlesque. The opening is all the little kids with there cute, appropriate outfits, working clarinet concertos and song and dance. You see the slightest deviation from that with our little balloon girl. Mama Rose seems to know what is coming, but denies it right up through and into Louise's transformation into Gypsy. That she refers to all the service clubs (Elks, Odd Fellows and the like) shows that old fashioned "you scratch my back" mentality. 

2. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress.

I will admit, that while I enjoy this performance of hers, it is not my favorite Russell film. "The Trouble With Angels" is a fantastic, yet little known film set in a girls' convent school. Her early control of every situation as Rose is wonderfully scattered to bits by the time she get's to "Rose's Turn". You see throughout the film how things she used to manage because decidedly unmanageable. From June, to the boys, to Herbie, the girls and finally Louise; each very manipulated piece of her life slips away. She needed to be completely torn down, before she could have her come back and her sable coat.

3. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not).

Oh my glory, but I am obsessed with Sondheim lyrics! The man can certainly turn a phrase and you can spin it, turn it upside down, read it forward and back and come up with 2000 interpretations. This song starts as Louise's downfall and becomes her triumphant battle cry as the movie progresses. He cleverly takes somewhat innocent words and fills them with so much double entandre that it will make your head spin. You see this in his later writing and his clever word play. The song is always played to the precenium; even when Louise uses it. classic vaudevillian staging, turned on it's head for burlesque.

 

 

 

 

The Trouble with Angels is one of my favorite movies, along with its sequel.  

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  1. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical?  showing the children younger and the headaches and heartaches of traveling and growing up.  
     
  2. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress.  I LOVE HER!   She just takes over a scene and a stage!  S
     
  3. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not).  I recall the lyrics "I want your spirits to climb" as she shows some leg as being very edgy.  The whole song is very sly with the lyrics.  

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A show within a show is always a classic musical setting- auditions with a chance for stardom. Mama Rose disrupts this as she barrels down the aisle and continues to break up the rhythm of the number.

Rosiland Russell is able to take over the scene with her entrance. Her theatre experience works to help he make everything bigger and over the top and her fast paced dialogue from previous movies works well too.

The lyrics work well because they are used over and over in the film and yet in each version they take a different meaning until it culminates in the strip tease.

 

 

 

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1)   This scene from "Gypsy" looks backward as it is set in a theatre, which is the setting for many traditional backstage musicals. This scene is reminiscent to the early portion of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" where the action also takes place in a theatre. It looks ahead as the actors talk over each other's lines, which is something that would never have been considered a few years before. This is something which had taken hold on Broadway with more realistic acting in the post war era.

2)   The coarseness of Mama Rose is seen right at her entrance. She is not a very likable character; she is brash, pushy, rude over opinionated with an elephantine persecution complex ("If we only had better management", she bellows as if it is not her fault). We see later in the film that Mama Rose is an overbearing, pathetic stage mother who pimps out her daughter Louise in order to fulfill her own feckless dreams of stardom. (Full Disclosure: I really love Roz Russell's portrayal and I consider the role of Mama Rose to be the musical theatre's equivalent to Lady Macbeth)

3)   The singing voice of Baby June could peel the bark off a redwood as it is that bad. That said, having a little girl sing a song that will later be sung by her stripper sister is unnerving to say the least. 

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Love seeing Morgan Brittany as Baby June. I also enjoyed Karl Malden in this film. Rosalind Russell is the ultimate stage mother but really wants to be the star. You can tell she really loves being out on that stage. This number seems more like a novelty number in this clip.

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2. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell's entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress.

Rose is a ruthless stage mother who thinks her daughters are entitled to stardom and won't rest until her dream (not theirs) comes true. She takes control of the theater the moment she enters the scene.

 

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There is definitely a grittiness to this clip that we haven't seen in other backstage musicals. Even though the film resembles, on the surface, a traditional musical in the older style, we can quickly see that it's quite different. It doesn't have the same type of gloss, and feels more realistic than the musicals that came before. 

I just really enjoyed Rosalind Russell sweeping in and taking over. She just takes charge and steals the scene! 

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Mama Rose's entrance is a Sherman tank coming down the aisle as she abruptly takes over the entire stage.  She quickly disarms the director, takes over his job and instructs the conductor on what to play for her performing daughters.  Her hat sits atop her head like the lid of the tank as she adroitly pops the balloons of the competing girl. She is the mother of all stage mothers disrupting the performance which is about to put burlesque onstage, a revolution for musicals that harks back to the sexuality of the pre-code era.  We leap from the Vaudeville era to the sexual revolution of the 1960s before we can catch our breath.  Even Mama Rose isn't ready for this one. Natalie Wood single-handedly liberates women long before the Women's Movement with a lot more charm than the bra-burners had.

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this scene has the look and feel of a 40s or early 50s musical. i like the fact that Rosalind Russell just shows up and and takes over and the little bubble girl is little risque because we have seen the bubble dance but only with adults even if don.t see her dance just looking at her  we can imagine. 

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Posted (edited)

1.  The scene looks backwards to classical musicals / ahead to new disruptions that will happen

Backwards: It deals with a new and struggling artist waiting to be discovered on the Vaudeville stage.  There is focus on only one person Baby June - who has the talent and wants to be a star - even though Natalie Wood is dancing with her, she is invisible, just a partner.   Vaudeville stage, orchestra, props, song is part of the scene.

Ahead:  This is not a disruption.  Ahead the focus will be more chaotic, the songs will be focused to record sales, and it will be more focused on youth and the future as opposed to the past.

2.  Rosalind Russell walks in the theatre as if she just left for lunch - she owns it.  She first starts telling her children to smile and sing louder so the back of the house can hear her.  She walks onto the stage with moxie.  First speaks to the Malden who is the main host of the show.  Then she puts her attention to the orchestra - conductor and arranger.  After that comes the person in charge of lighting.  She is oblivious to anyone else as they are not important enough.  She understands the dealing behind the pre-chosen Balloon girl.  She knows the ropes, goes right to the person in charge of decisions, not afraid to say she will go to the press. Knows she has won because without taking another breath the music begins and the spotlight goes on.
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3.  “Let Me Entertain You” The underlying message is there but a child is singing it which changes the connotations slightly as she is doing a simple dance routine. With the age and routine she will simply entertain the audience and everyone will have fun.  However, it changes to being racy and has a whole other meaning when Gypsy becomes a stripper. It is staging at this time and not disruptive.  In my dancing school at recital when I was around 13 we sang and did a musical comedy dance routine and it as fun.

Edited by PatriciaH
spelling error

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I'd like to start off by saying I just love this movie. The stage is set for a try out in Vaudville , with Karl Malden dressed as the clown figure for the children to feel comfortable. The "Gangster" father with the threat, and Karl Malden standing up to him, also showing complete frustration by quitting. The mass confusion, of the children being cut off in the middle of the audition. The girls trying to do their act, being interrupted, but trying to move forward. 

Mama Rose bursting in the scene with her dominant take no prisoner's demeanor. No one is going to tell Mama Rose her girls have to wait!!! Her fast talking wit keeps Karl Malden wondering what the hell is going on here. Mama Rose changing the subject with the mention that her dad was an "Elk".. Mama Rose is oh so sutle pulling the thumb out of Louise's mouth ?

The lyrics of the song when sung by little girls doing gymnastics and trying to do ballet seems harmless, however as we know from the progression of the film things start to turn around. 

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1.  This scene looks more realistic and real life in the way the actors move and act instead of the magical/mystical and precisely choreographed movements of musicals prior. 
 

  1.   Rosalind Russell's entrance was a strong character and showed she was not afraid to share her character and won't let other's boss her around.  This was a new way of acting in musicals.
     
  2.    The song in the scene could be used to tell that audience that Rosalind is entertaining us with how she was acting, and the song was used to slyly say that this was what was happening on screen.  The scene was disruptive, but in a way that used to show emphasis on Rosalind's character.

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1. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical?

In a way, it pays homage to the backstage musical first developed in The Broadway Melody (1929) and 42nd Street (1931) by highlighting the whole aspect of vaudeville and how the conception of modern show business started. It also shows it's colors as a modern musical by trying to push the envelope with subject matter, even at the very beginning! For example, as seen in the clip, we are first introduced to the characters and world of vaudeville by quietly observing a rehearsal and audition process for a small kiddie sideshow. As we watch the comings and goings of each act, we naturally come across an act made up of two adorable little girls known as "Baby June and Co." As they warm up for their performance, it's made quite apparent that the audition is rigged for a little balloon girl act, who's going to get the top spot. By the time the girls get a chance to showcase their performance, it's quite clear that they've been extensively coached and don't exactly exhibit much talent anyway. Just as we think they're about to get thrown out along with all the other rejects, in comes their exuberant stage mother, in all her glory, as she commands the entire aspect of the situation. Here, in the opening scene, we already see the implications and nuances of the effects and aspects of stardom, the pressures to perform well, the desperation to be the center of attention, and the plight of child exploitation. We also have a chance to see the foreshadowing of what is to become of young Louise by watching Mama Rose make an attempt to burst the little balloon girl's bubble both literally and figuratively.

 

2. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress.

Honestly, I rather liked Rosalind Russell's portrayal of Mama Rose in this film, especially her entrance. When we're first introduced to her, we see her as forceful, commanding, and clearly domineering as she takes control of the entire situation all while wearing a smile. In a way, the fact that she manages to maintain a smile and essentially pleasant tone while she's steamrolling you, makes her even more endearing and also implies a more sinister undertone as well. It also give way to the implications of her as a master of manipulation and over-all predatory nature. That being said, I think the aspect of those connotations and layers of the character really showcases Russell's talent as an actress as well as her traditional training. In her portrayal, we do see some of the aspects of her more classic roles that she previously played, but we also see the air of desperation that she gives to the character as she vicariously lives through her children in order to achieve stardom. Which was not an uncommon thing amongst most stage mothers. (Natalie Wood was also a victim of an over-bearing stage mother as well.) And, we can see it on full display in Russell's depiction. 

 

3. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not). 

There's obviously a double implication in Sondheim's word-play and lyricism. It can either be interpreted as innocent and playful or as sly and subversive as well as edgy. It all really depends of the way the song is portrayed and how the audience perceives it. For instance, if a child were to sing and tap dance to this, like in the scene, it would be viewed as care-free and pure. If an adult were to perform this more suggestively, whether overtly or by implication, it would be seen as provocative and possibly even shocking. Of course, in context of the film, it showcases the evolution of the character of Louise as she goes from a doe-eyed innocent and transforms into a stripper and burlesque queen, Gypsy Rose Lee.  

 

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  1. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical?  This is set in early 20th century.  Also it's reminiscent of some of the auditions in "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" (1938).  The tryouts seem to be for a vaudeville show which dates it.  Rosalind Russell's character is very aware of all the lighting and sound techniques and communicates like a director with the technicians and musicians who seem to understand perfectly what she is directing.  The child is not talented but very rehearsed and coached to be professional.
     
  2. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress.  I like Rosalind Russell's humor (especially in Roughly Speaking (1945) the vacuum cleaner salesman scene).  She seemed comfortable breaking into the scene and being the center of it although her delivery was somewhat slower than in "His Girl Friday" (1940).  She had to make her voice carry from the back of the theatre.  She knows her "mark" as she interacts with each of the other performers in rapid succession.
     
  3. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not).   Rosalind Russell makes a comment to the lighting man about Baby June that "every move little movement has a meaning of it's own".  I believe that is roughly what Dr. Ament said about Marilyn Monroe in "Heat Wave" from "There's No Business Like Show Business" (1954).  Having the other girl play a boy counterpart was a little like watching Tatum O'Neal in "Paper Moon" (1973).

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