Wednesday, September 05, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Alexis Smith

Artist:Alexis Smith
Song:Story of Lucy and Jessie
Album:Follies: Original Broadway Cast

Alexis Smith had a long acting career in films and TV. But her biggest success was when she won a Tony for her performance in the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical Follies. Alexis never did a movie musical. She was born Gladys Smith June 8, 1921 in Penticton, BC. She was discovered while attending college and signed with Warner Bros. After some uncredited bit parts, Alexis made her starring debut in the 1941 film Dive Bomber. It was the first of her four films starring with Errol Flynn including Gentleman Jim. She also starred in the 1945 film Conflict with Humphrey Bogart, the 1946 film Night and Day with Cary Grant and the 1949 film Any Number Can Play with Clark Gable. When her film career dried up in the late 50s, she had already appeared on TV and appeared with her husband Craig Stevens (Peter Gunn) in the 1955 touring company of the musical Plain and Fancy. Alexis wasn't that active in the 60s so it must have been a surprise when she turned up on Broadway in Follies. Sondheim wrote the words and music and Alan Goldman wrote the book. Hal Prince directed and Michael Bennett choreographed as he did in the Sondheim show Company. The show is about the death of vaudeville and the lives of three aging Follies girls and their husbands. Stars were Alexis Smith, John McMartin, Dorothy Collins, Gene Nelson and Yvonne DeCarlo. Story of Lucy and Jessie is one of Alexis' two big numbers. It's right at the end of the show. Alexis won a Tony and the show won 7 Tonys. Hal Prince stupidly made a deal with Capitol Records to take a show that should have been on 2LPs and edit it to one LP. Capitol added two songs including Story of Lucy and Jessie when they released it on CD. Obviously it never should have been edited in the first place. Follies has been revived many times, most recently earlier this year in Los Angeles. Alexis Smith was nominated for another Tony for the 1978 musical Platinum. She also returned to films and had a recurring role in the TV series Dallas in 1984 and then the same character returned in 1990. Alexis Smith died of brain cancer on June 9, 1993 at age 72. She was married to Craig Stevens for 49 years. Here's Alexis Smith performing Story of Lucy and Jessie in Follies 1972.

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