Theater legend Julie Andrews on one of her funniest moments on stage, as interviewed by the Inquirer's Ruben Nepales:
“In ‘Camelot,’ we had a big English sheepdog. He was horribly neurotic and unfortunately, every time he got onstage, he was so nervous and neurotic that he would dump all over the stage (laughter). You can imagine—if you were in ‘Camelot,’ you have long sleeves, trains and wimples. It can get pretty messy if you were not careful. One day, when the dog’s dump was all over the stage, the gentlemen wrapped their sleeves around their arms and got off the stage. I was left on the stage. I began to sing, ‘Tra la!/It’s May!/The lusty month of May!/That lovely month when ev’ryone goes/Blissfully astray.’ There I was swinging gaily. I tried so hard to keep a straight face but I couldn’t.”
What a funny image--Ms. Andrews skipping gingerly over dog poop while swathed in regal finery as Queen Guinevere!
Alan Jay Lerner's words in "The Lusty Month of May," set to Frederick Loewe's music, are a throwback to a time when the craft of lyric-making for musical theater produced witty, sparkling verbal confections, the likes of which are rarely heard nowadays. Outside of Stephen Sondheim, no one writes quite like this anymore:
Tra la! It's May, the lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev'ryone goes blissfully astray
Tra la! It's here, that shocking time of year!
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear
It's May! It's May, that gorgeous holiday
When ev'ry maiden prays that her lad will be a cad!
It's mad! It's gay, a libelous display
Those dreary vows that ev'ryone takes, ev'ryone breaks
Ev'ryone makes divine mistakes
The lusty month of May!...
La la! It's May, the lusty month of May!
That darling month when ev'ryone throws self-control away
It's time to do a wretched thing or two
And try to make each precious day one you'll always rue
It's May! It's May, the month of "Yes, you may"
The time for ev'ry frivolous whim - proper or "im"
It's wild! It's gay, a blot in ev'ry way
The birds and bees with all of their vast amorous past
Gaze at the human race aghast
The lusty month of May!
Of course, those very English words became even more enchanting when a young Julie Andrews wrapped her lovely voice (and that accent!) around them. Here, listen:
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