Miss Mary Martin

Okay kids, this post is going to be a little bit out of order, because the video comes last. Trust me, it’s worth the wait, and you are going to want to watch this one.

Where to begin? I guess we begin, as so many good stories do, with Mary Martin. For those cretins who aren’t familiar with Mary Martin’s resume, she was one of the biggest stars of the post-war generation. She rocketed to stardom when she introduced Cole Porter’s scandalous ode to playing the field, “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” She went on to create the leading roles in South Pacific, The Sound of Music, I Do! I Do!, Peter Pan… you get the idea. However, outside of the televised version of Peter Pan, she left very little video record of her performances. And because she didn’t have the oversized personality of an Ethel Merman, she hasn’t (yet?) had the camp after-life of many of her contemporaries. Even before she passed away, Forbidden Broadway’s best knock on her was the song “Larry Hagman’s Mother,” in which she lamented that her son’s fame had eclipsed her own.

Of course, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Mary Martin. In college, I even made an all Mary Martin mix tape for my friend Peter, in part because if there’s anyone in my extensive network of friends who might appreciate Mary Martin as much as I do, it would be him. At the time, though, I lacked a couple of important Mary Martin albums, such as her Hi Ho Mary Martin Sings and Swings album (the swingin’est set of Disney tunes you’ll ever hear) and Jennie, the flop musical in which she played an actress loosely based on Laurette Taylor. Of course, I have since filled those holes in my collection.

I’ve been listening to Jennie this week, in part because I promised BFG I would make her a disc of theater songs she should add to her repertoire that she might not already know. She’s an alto, and I figure every alto should have a Mary Martin number or two in her bag of tricks, and no one really needs to sit through another rendition of “Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair” in a cabaret.

Mary’s big number in Jennie is “Before I Kiss The World Goodbye.” I thought it might make a nice title for a post about bucket lists or something, so I went fishing on YouTube to see what I could find. And boy, did I catch a a big one:

http://www.youtube.com/v/gd7E_ks27kU?fs=1&hl=en_US

Yes, folks, that is a machinima drag queen vamping to Mary Martin’s recording of “Before I Kiss The World Goodbye.” Seriously, the internet has everything. We should just lock up and go home, because there’s nothing left for us to create. Which sort of circles back to the message of the song, now, doesn’t it?

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About itsdlevy

I live in Brooklyn with my cat, Rhoda Morgenstern. I work in Manhattan as the marketing director for a Jewish non-profit organization. I spend too much time at the theater and at brunch and especially at 54 Below. Find me on Twitter (and pretty much anywhere else) as @itsdlevy.

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