Reviewed by Joe Regan Jr.



Mark Milano, a singer with a long history of political and social activism especially with AIDS protests and social reform internationally, presented a wonderful show Friday, February 8th at the Laurie Beechman Theatre for HealthGap, an organization that promotes wide access to HIV/AIDS treatment both stateside and internationally.  Milano did enormous research and featured rare videos in his presentation.  He had superior musicians:  Daniel Rein, music director and pianist, Alan Albagli on bass, and his brother from Chicago, Dean Milano, on guitar.  The show focused on trunk songs, songs that were originally written for other media or productions, sometimes used, and sometimes re-written to fit a production years later –  songwriters Dietz and Schwartz, Rodgers & Hart, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, and Milano found amazing clips to show us.

Milano, a handsome rugged man with a very pleasant voice, opened with two of the most known:  Jerry Herman’s “Show Tune” re-written for Mame’s opening number “It’s Today,” and the three versions of Rodgers & Hart’s “Blue Moon,” showing us clips from “Manhattan Melodrama” and singing the lyrics to “My Prayer,” the second version before it was converted into “Blue Moon.”  One of the most unusual that I did not know about was “You’re All the World To Me,” Astaire’s dancing on the ceiling number from “Royal Wedding.”  After showing us Astaire’s clip, there was a clip form “Kid Millions” of a young Nicholas brother singing “I Want To Be A Minstrel Man” with the Goldwyn girls, including young Lucile Ball.

Another rare clip was from the London production of “South Pacific” of “Younger Than Springtime” with a song entitled “Suddenly Lovely,” removed because Josh Logan hated it and re-written and resurrected as “Getting To Know You” in “The King and I,” at Mary Martin’s suggestion.  Another song which was written for that scene entitled “My Friend” was sung as a duet by Milano with a soprano guest.  On every number, the lost and known ones, Milano sang the rare verses.  There were the ‘dummy’ lyrics written for “I Got Rhythm,” and a different lyric sung by Paul McCartney on Ed Sullivan on what later became “Yesterday.”  He stated the most notorious trunk song or re-written song composer was Jule Styne and we watched a clip from “Gypsy” with Russell singing in her own voice “You’ll Never Get Away From Me,” stating how furious Sondheim was when he discovered it was also in the TV production of “Ruggles of Red Cap.”  Not only that one, but also “Betwixt and Between” which became “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”

The special dirty lyrics to Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top” (including “King Kong’s penis”) were actually written as a gift to Porter by Irving Berlin!  And there was a clip for an industrial show that demonstrated that Martin Charnin resurrected a song called “Replay” for Annie’s “Tomorrow.”

Milano’s encore was not a trunk song, but a wonderful “Mas Que Nada” which showcased his great musicians.