Thursday, September 10, 2015

One Touch of Venus

Marlene Dietrich dropped out of the show calling it "too sexy and profane." Stage fright seems more likely. She was replaced by Mary Martin. Martin had made a splashy Broadway debut in 1938 singing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" in Cole Porter's Leave it To Me. Her legendary moment in Venus came when she sat on a chair on an empty stage and crooned the song "That's Him." The brassy comedy suddenly had a heart and the audience was spell bound.

A film and TV broadcast have faded from memory and the show is seldom revived. Kurt Weill purists have dismissed this slight show for a lack of politics. However if you squint at this gentle  farce there is social commentary to be found. Venus inspires more fear than lust from those around her and is dismayed by the lack of romance in the modern world.

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