Monday, March 19, 2018

Happy Birthday, Phyllis Newman

Lift up your hearts, and wish a Happy Birthday to PHYLLIS NEWMAN, born on this date in 1933.

You know Phyllis Newman? Then you probably saw her on Broadway in "The Apple Tree," "On the Town," or "Prisoner of Second Avenue."

Maybe you remember her ebullient presence on otherwise slow-moving TV quiz shows such as "To Tell the Truth" and "What's My Line."

Did you know Phyllis Newman beat Barbra Streisand for a Tony Award? Do you care? Well, it's true. Newman's star turn in "I Can Get it For You Wholesale" was hot stuff way back when...back when the radio played songs your mother (or grandmother) would know.

The woman who was married to Adolph Green *Betty Comden was his writing partner, not his wife) sang satiric songs on "That Was the Week That Was," played a Russian spy on "Amos Burke Secret Agent," and capped the 70's with a one-woman show, "Madwoman of Central Park West," In the 80's she did appear on some soap operas and in films, though her main interest was and is theater charity work, notably "The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative." Talk about women's health...Newman's autobiography mainly chronicles the harrowing physical and emotional problems that came with cancer treatment and a double mastectomy. Unlike some "uplifting" tomes, this one's frank, factual, and pretty depressing, even if the "happy ending" is that she did come back and return to performing.

Like many actresses in Broadway musicals of her era, including Chita Rivera, Georgia Brown and Angela Lansbury, Phyllis Newman was on original cast album vinyl but rarely given a real shot at solo recordings. That field was dominated by the likes of Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney and the rest of the nightclub professionals. Still, when she did get a chance in front of a studio microphone to make an album or single, she didn't disappoint. Songs such as "Clouds" or "Those Were the Days" or "Your Mother Should Know" were easily within her range of both key and credibility.  

"Your Mother Should Know." Like "I'm Henry the 8th" the second verse is same as the first...

PHYLLIS NEWMAN Your Mother Should Know

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