I'm Still Here: The Essential Elaine Stritch on Disc

By Ben Rimalower
15 Feb 2014

 

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Show Boat – 1993 Toronto Revival Cast

In the 1994 revival of Show Boat (recorded pre-Broadway), Elaine Stritch is said to have served as, if you'll pardon the pun, something of an anchor. Unfortunately, all that she sings on the cast album is "Why Do I Love You?" and even that was only added to beef up the previously non-singing role for the star. Still, she sings the song with rare vulnerability and, as always, makes a lasting impression.

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Pal Joey – 1952 Broadway Revival Cast 

Although Elaine Stritch's role of Melba Snyder in Pal Joey amounts to little more than a cameo, it includes the great song "Zip." For those only familiar with her rendition in Elaine Stritch at Liberty, it may be odd to hear it without her interspersed commentary. What's really odd is the fact that Pal Joey first opened 11 years earlier without Stritch; "Zip" sounds so much like it was written and conceived for her. Melba's ironic portrait-in-song of Gypsy Rose Lee's intellectual ennui whilst stripping is the perfect vessel for Stritch's one-of-a-kind dry delivery. It's also fun to hear the Merman in her voice from this period since we know where she was half an hour before showtime.

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