Monday, September 27, 2010

TEA FOR TWO AND I WANT TO BE HAPPY




Imagine being a songwriter with fewer than one hundred and ten tunes and having eighteen of them being considered as absolute standards of this industry by ASCAP. The composer? You may have never heard of him. His name was Vincent Youmans. But you most certainly heard of the absolute sensations of "Tea For Two" and "I Want to Be Happy" My dear friend Bill Lewis is appearing in "No No, Nanette" at Downey Civic Light Opera in October. One of his best known shows. Vincent wrote songs with the absolute legendary lyricists of his time including Oscar Hammerstein, Irving Caesar and Billy Rose. Composer Vincent Millie Youmans was born in New York City on September 27, 1898. Originally, his ambition was to become an engineer but then took a brief job in a Wall Street brokerage firm. In 1914, he joined the United States Navel and served during World War I. Returning to the States in 1918, Youmans began working on Tin Pan Alley first as a song plugger for TB Harms Company and then as a rehearsal pianist for famed composer Victor Herbert’s operettas. Eventually, Youman began writing and publishing songs and achieved his own success with several Broadway productions including Two Little Girls in Blue, Wildflower, Mary Jane McKane, No, No, Nanette, Oh, Please!, Hit the Deck, Rainbow, Great Day!, Smiles, Through the Years and Take a Chance.He also wrote the film score to that fabulous classic movie Flying Down to Rio, the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope vehicle. The score included the Academy Award nominated song "Carioca."Youmans also collaborated with the greatest songwriters on Broadway: Herbert Stothart, Otto Harbach, , Anne Caldwell, Leo Robin, Clifford Grey, Harold Adamson, Mack Gordon, BG De Sylva and Gus Kahn. His extensive catalog holds many of the great standards from the period, most notably “Tea For Two”, “Through the Years”, “The Carioca” and “More Than You Know!”. Other hits include “Wildflower”, “Dolly”, “Bambalina”, “Tie a String Around Your Finger”, “No, No, Nanette”, “I Want to Be Happy”, “Why, Oh Why”, “I Want a Man”, “The One Firl”, “Who Am I?”, “Great Day”, “Oh, Me! Oh, My!”, “Without a Song”, “Time on My Hands”, “Rise N’ Shine”, “Oh, How I Long to Belong to You”, “Orchids in the Moonlight” and “Music Makes Me”. Vincent Youmans died in Denver Colorado on April 5, 1946. He died penniless-- how sad! Rehearsals continue for "Edgar, Alan & Poe" though it looks like we have another drop out.My partner John will more than likely assume the role of "Edgar". I am beginning to believe that most wannabee actors are just that. The first conflict that comes along in their life and they must quit. This one quit partially due to modesty because the role requires the actor to be costumed in a black body suit. Now how a PHD candidate in Philosophy can have a modesty issue as trivial is that makes you begin to wonder how serious these wannabees really are. Oh well. Next time we interview these guys a whole lot more before casting them.

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