The timeless music of The Leo Robin Songbook remains fresh today. The songs have been immortalized by Hollywood and Broadway in films and on the stage. The songs written by Leo Robin from his collection in The Great American Songbook continue to be used in movies today.
The outstanding contributions Leo Robin has made to The Great American Songbook are celebrated time and again with contemporary covers by artists such as Bill Evans, Michael Feinstein, Megan Hilty, Diana Krall, Rod Stewart, Beyoncé and Madonna.
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Breaking News: Ashley Lee from the Los Angeles Times just broke this amazing story “Leo Robin never got his Walk of Fame star. Now his grandson is fighting for it”
Happening Now on The Web
Madonna’s adoring fans sing-a-long with her to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” on Rebel Heart Tour
A concert special on Showtime of Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour features the iconic superstar as she performs in packed arenas around the globe. The concert features new hits and beloved classics including “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin that was first introduced in the 1949 Broadway show Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The concert showcases Madonna’s signature visual theatrics, exquisite costumes and awe-inspiring choreography creating an astonishing arena show celebrated by fans around the world. For your enjoyment, click on the image to view Madonna’s adoring fans sing-a-long with her to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” at a concert on the Rebel Heart Tour.
Seth MacFarlane’s new album In Full Swing receives lofty praises
Grammy-nominated artist Seth MacFarlane’s love affair with standards continues with his fourth album, In Full Swing, set for release on September 15 on Verve Label Group/ Republic Records. The album was highly acclaimed by many critics. In a review on August 18, 2017 by the Music News Desk on broadwayworld.com, the album receives lofty praises for Seth MacFarlane’s rich, expressive baritone voice, his masterful selection of upbeat tunes from the era and brilliant arrangements that “make familiar songs new again.” One of the tracks on the album is “A Kiss Or Two,” a tune from the smash 1927 Broadway show Hit the Deck, written by Leo Robin (W), Clifford Grey (W) and Vincent Youmans (M). For your enjoyment, click on the image for a view of a critical acclaim of Seth MacFarlane’s new album In Full Swing, a look at his passion for singing, a magical musical moment of him singing “A Kiss Or Two” and more.
Ariana’s marvelous jazz version of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” at Tiffany & Co.’s party
Ariana Grande was the entertainment at Tiffany & Co.’s party to celebrate its renovated Beverly Hills store on the night of Thursday, October 13, 2016. Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner, Kate Hudson, Halle Berry, and more watched her perform some tracks from Dangerous Woman, and then the most appropriate throwback track: “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” made iconic by Marilyn Monroe from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953. Ariana shared the special moment on Instagram. “Because what else do you sing when you’re singin at @tiffanyandco ?,” Grande put it simply on Instagram. For your enjoyment, click on the image to view Ariana’s marvelous jazz version of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” at Tiffany & Co.’s party and during a jam session, as well, and much more!
Mini-film created by Parisian Cartier, “king of jewelers”
In a mini-film created by Parisian Cartier, “king of jewelers,” British singer-songwriter Karen Elson channels Marilyn Monroe, as she is surrounded by a bevy of suitors and sings the song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” recalling scenes from the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. This iconic standard was written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin and was first introduced in the 1949 Broadway show. To view this Cartier mini-film, click the image:
Happening Now on The Great White Way & Stage
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill opened on Broadway at Circle in the Square during April 2014. The play takes place in March 1959 in South Philadelphia where Billie Holiday is performing in a run-down bar, recounting some events in her life, during one of her last performances before her passing in July 1959. Directed by Lonny Price, the production starred Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday and featured Shelton Becton as pianist Jimmy Powers. Lady Day originally premiered in 1986 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, and played both off and on Broadway. McDonald will reprise her role as Lady Day in the West End at the Wyndham’s Theatre, from June 17, 2017 through September 9, 2017. To access more details of the opening on Broadway and debut at the West End along with The Journey of Billie Holiday and more, click on the image:
The world premiere of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, based on Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 beloved motion picture, will play at Boston’s crown jewel Emerson Colonial Theatre this summer of 2018. The pre-Broadway engagement features a book by John Logan, direction by Alex Timbers and choreography by Sonya Tayeh. The film Moulin Rouge starred Nicole Kidman in an Oscar-nominated turn as Satine and Ewan McGregor as Christian. Dates and venue for the Broadway run of Moulin Rouge! The Musical will be announced. Set in Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France at the turn of the century, Moulin Rouge! The Musical tells the fictional story of an ambitious, lovesick writer, Christian (Aaron Tveit), and a dazzling, entrancing chanteuse, Satine (Karen Olivo). Their lives collide at the Moulin Rouge with its many characters including the host of the Moulin Rouge, Harold Zidler (Danny Burstein). As in the film, Moulin Rouge! The Musical celebrates some of the greatest popular music of the last 50 years like “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” To access more details of the show, click on the image:
The Play Spatz and Engel Celebrates Marlene Dietrich’s and Edith Piaf’s Friendship
The play Spatz and Engel tells a merely known story about two of the most famous divas of the twenty-first century. The stage play is filled with music, many humorous, tragic and moving moments about two of the biggest chanteuse of all time. The play Spatz and Engel, which means The Angel And The Sparrow, focuses story wise on this friendship. A range of songs – among both the biggest hits of both of them and hidden treasures – have been concretely integrated into the plays dramaturgy and benefit the act. One of these songs is a gem — “Awake in a Dream,” composed by Frederick Hollander with lyrics by Leo Robin — first featured in Desire, a 1936 romantic comedy-drama film starring Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper, and produced by Ernst Lubitsch. To learn more about this story about Marlene Dietrich’s and Edith Piaf’s friendship and view Marlene Dietrich singing and playing piano to “Awake in a Dream” with Gary Cooper gazing at her, click on this image.
Happening Now On The Town in New York
Smart Blonde Celebrates Judy Holliday‘s Life
The New York premiere of Willy Holtzman’s Smart Blonde, starring Andréa Burns as Judy Holliday, opens at 59E59’s Theater B on March 16 for a limited engagement and runs through Saturday, April 13, 2019. Memory and song converge as the “dumb blonde” with a genius IQ charts her experiences from Greenwich Village to Broadway and beyond in the new off-Broadway musical. To learn more about how Judy Holliday began her show business career in Greenwich Village as part of a nightclub act called The Revuers and get a sneak peek of the show Smart Blonde with highlights including the cast singing and dancing to the song written by Nacio Herb Brown and Leo Robin, “It’s All for Art’s Sake,” click on the image.
Megan Hilty in Concert Live From Lincoln Center
Stars in Concert shines the spotlight on the iconic leading lady Megan Hilty in Concert Live From Lincoln Center by PBS on May 24, 2019. Filmed in the beautiful Appel Room overlooking Central Park, this powerhouse vocalist celebrates the musical traditions of Broadway and beyond, performing signature songs, such as “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” that have shaped her life, accompanied by a world-class band. To view her passionate rendition of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” click on this image.
Feinstein and Ebersole will take a summer stroll through classic standards
Michael Feinstein, ambassador of the Great American Songbook and two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole introduce a program of duets and medleys from the Golden Age at the New York theater district nightclub that bears Feinstein’s name, Feinstein’s/54 Below. Feinstein and Ebersole will take a summer stroll through classic standards such as “Thanks for the Memory,” in a resplendent celebration of the Great American Songbook. This show is part of Feinstein’s/54 Below’s Summer 2018 concert series: Duo Shows at 54! From partners to siblings to co-stars and beyond, these evenings will celebrate the special collaboration of two artists brought together. To access more details of this cabaret show held at Feinstein’s/54 Below, click on the image:
The 92nd Street Y Celebrates The Classics of Leo Robin
The 92nd Street Y celebrated Songbook Classics By Unsung Lyricists with a wonderful ensemble of actors from Broadway shows and an orchestra on May 6, 7 and 8, 2017. Many of the popular standards penned by songwriter Leo Robin were covered including “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Bye Bye, Baby” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The show was exquisite with its mission to pay special tribute to all the great songwriters who went out to Hollywood and created some of the greatest songs ever written. Leo Robin moved from New York, where he was working on Broadway shows, to Hollywood where he wrote some of the most memorable scores for films and became the Dean of Lyricists in Hollywood. The 92nd Street Y honored Leo Robin on many occasions over the years and he attended “The Lyrics and Lyricists: Lyrics For Film” Program when it presented an evening at The 92nd Street Y in 1982 to honor Leo Robin’s unforgettable contribution to musical film. To access more details of this event held at the 92nd Street Y, click on the image:
Leo Robin’s ode to New York and it’s nightlife with “Night in Manhattan”
A throwback track — “Night in Manhattan” — was released June 30, 2017 on the new album, titled after the song, Night In Manhattan (Songs about New York – Original Recordings 1932 – 1936). The album Night In Manhattan is an eclectic collection of eleven songs about the New York experience. Leo Robin’s journey in New York where he wrote songs for Broadway gave him a perspective so that he can emote a view of what being in New York truly feels like. The melody and lyrics of the song “Night in Manhattan” are evocative and of haunting beauty. The song has a rhumba rhythm and the powerfully evocative lyrics of Leo Robin is his ode to New York and it’s nightlife. For your enjoyment, click on the image to take delight in Leo Robin’s ode to New York and it’s nightlife with “Night in Manhattan” and view much more.
Happening Now On The Shoreline in Florida
Delray Beach Playhouse presents Thanks for the Memories! – The Songs of Leo Robin
The historic Delray Beach Playhouse, located on beautiful Lake Ida, has been known for its exceptional community theater offerings since it was established in 1947. The Playhouse continues its highly popular Musical Memories Series, hosted by Artistic Director Randolph DelLago, and the series leads off with the show Thanks for the Memories! – The Songs of Leo Robin. this October 15-24. “Leo Robin wrote his first Broadway show in 1926, and he continued writing great songs for Broadway and Hollywood for the next three decades!…“Thanks for the Memory” for Bob Hope, he also created signature songs for Hollywood legends like Jeannette MacDonald (“Beyond the Blue Horizon”), Tony Martin (“Hooray for Love”), Perry Como (“Prisoner of Love”) and Bing Crosby (“June in January” and “Love in Bloom”). Elvis Presley even had a hit with his song “Blue Hawaii.”…Marilyn Monroe…with “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” To access more details of this special event held at the Delray Beach Playhouse, click on the image:
Happening Now on Television
Hulu’s True Crime Drama The Act Blends Reality and Fantasy Worlds — like Gulliver’s Travels Featuring the Song “Forever”
The Act is a true crime drama web television series that premiered in eight parts on March 20, 2019, on Hulu. The first season is based on the real life of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, who was accused of abusing her daughter by fabricating illness and disabilities as a direct consequence of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Joey King portrayed Gypsy, while Patricia Arquette played her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard. Disney like stories, princesses and fairy-tale ideals played a large role in Dee Dee and Gypsy’s lives. There is a scene where Gypsy watches the movie based on Jonathan Swift’s 18th century novel Gulliver’s Travels that contains the song “Forever,” composed by Ralph Rainger with lyrics by Leo Robin. To learn more about this story and view the scene with the song “Forever,” click on this image.
The Masked Singer is a reality singing competition television series on Fox. It features celebrities facing off against one another with one major twist: each singer is shrouded from head to toe in an elaborate costume, complete with full face mask to conceal his or her identity. Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke serve on the panel and play detective, alongside host Nick Cannon. To access more details of this show and view the Kitty performing “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” during “The Battle of The Sixes: The Final 6” on The Masked Singer, click on this image.
The Fox Show Simpsons featured a parody of the song “Thanks for the Memory”
In episode 13 of season 31 of the Fox hit show the Simpsons, entitled Frinkcoin, which aired on February 23, 2020, Homer hangs out with the Frink. The Simpsons, an animated sitcom on the Fox Broadcasting Company, is a satirical depiction of working-class life, epitomized by the Simpson family. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition. “Thanks for the Currency” is a parody of the song “Thanks for the Memory,” composed by Ralph Rainger with lyrics by Leo Robin. To access more details of this episode including the performance of the song “Thanks for the Currency,” click on the image:
Marvel’s critically acclaimed melodrama Agent Carter
The award winning television show Glee features “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”
The Fox musical comedy-drama television series Glee has become a bona fide cultural phenomenon since its debut. The hit show starred Melissa Benoist for her portrayal of Marley Rose and Alex Newell for playing the transgender student Unique Adams. The show has received prestigious honors and singlehandedly made glee clubs cool again. A memorable episode, the fifteenth, known as Girls (and Boys) on Film, during Season Four on the hit television show Glee features “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” originally made famous by Marilyn Monroe in 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, with a clever injection of Madonna’s “Material Girl.” To view this scene of the wonderful performance by the Glee Club, click on the Image:
Happening Now on The Movie Scene
Uprooted, a documentary about the history of Jazz Dance from Transmission, LLC, is a cinematic exploration of the art form of jazz through movement. Jazz Dance, with its history rooted in enslaved peoples, is a metaphor for struggle, resistance and acceptance. The film highlights the diversity of its practitioners within an examination of American history; paying homage to its lineage, while celebrating its many re-interpretations and inspiring the dancer of tomorrow to keep the art form alive. Marilyn Monroe performs the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and song plays under montage of footage and interviews describing qualities of jazz dance. To access more details of this film including the iconic performance by Marilyn with insightful analysis, click on the image:
All-female superhero team in Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (“Birds of Prey”) is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics team Birds of Prey. Birds of Prey is named for DC Comics’ premiere all-female superhero team. The highly anticipated film features a scene that may look familiar because you’ve seen the sequence that inspired them, from Marilyn Monroe’s performance of the musical number “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” composed by Jule Styne with lyrics by Leo Robin, in 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Birds of Prey is scheduled to hit theaters on February 7, 2020. To access more details of this film including the film’s trailer, click on the image:
Variety reports Oscar-Winning Songwriter “Leo Robin Helped Usher In the Golden Age of Song in Film”
On September 30, 2019 Variety, the premier source of entertainment news, featured an article by Ray Trakin, titled, “Thanks for the Memory: How Leo Robin Helped Usher In the Golden Age of Song in Film.” In his crisp and inimitable style, Mr. Trakin tells about when Leo first came to Hollywood, “In 1928, Robin was recruited by Hollywood as a certified “hit-maker” at the dawn of the sound era, hired by Paramount Pictures, and paired with Richard Whiting […] for the studio’s first musical, “Innocents of Paris,” released in 1929, which also marked the American debut for French crooner Maurice Chevalier. Mr. Trakin credits Robin with helping turn Hollywood into what it is today with “his legacy (that) just happens to define the modern sound era of motion pictures.” To access more details about the article by Roy Trakin, click on the Image:
George Clooney’s satirical dark comedy “Catch-22” on Hulu
Catch-22 is a satirical dark comedy miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Joseph Heller. The series stars George Clooney, who is also an executive producer and director for two episodes. The events occur in the Mediterranean theatre of World War II. The film makers frequently select the music with lyrics written by Leo Robin for these period films. In this film is the popular wartime song “No Love, No Nothin’” performed by Rosemary Clooney, composed by Harry Warren with lyrics written by Leo Robin. To access more details of this film including a portion of a review from RollingStone about the music and see the scene with the song “No Love, No Nothin’,” click on the Image:
A Rainy Day in New York features Marilyn Monroe classic “Bye Bye, Baby”
A Rainy Day in New York is a 2019 romantic comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen. It stars Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna, and Liev Schreiber. The film follows the romantic exploits of a young college student (Chalamet) on a weekend trip in his hometown of New York City, trying to further bond with his college girlfriend (Fanning) while she is in the city to interview a famous film director (Schreiber). A Rainy Day in New York features Marilyn Monroe classic “Bye Bye, Baby.” To find out more details about the film and view the scene in the film A Rainy Day in New York with the song “Bye Bye, Baby.”
James Kent’s period melodrama The Aftermath
The Aftermath is a 2019 drama film starring Keira Knightley, directed by James Kent and written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Rhidian Brook. The Aftermath is set in postwar Germany in 1946. In the aftermath of World War II, a British colonel and his wife are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction. In this period film, there were two songs chosen with lyrics written by Leo Robin including the popular song “No Love, No Nothin'” performed by Ella Mae Morse, composed by Harry Warren, and the jazz song “Hi-Ya Love”, composed by Ralph Rainger. To access more details of this film including a portion of a review from The Guardian about the setting of this period and see a couple of scenes with these songs, click on the Image:
In Matias Bombal’s Hollywood, film critic Matias Antonio Bombal reviewed Woody Allen’s Cafe Society, a story taking place in the 1930s Hollywood. Matias Bombal praises that “the entire soundtrack is joyfully filled with the exquisite musical taste of Woody Allen.” He is particularly fond of the “scene with Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin’s 1934 song “June in January” (for) adding just the right support to finish the total effect of the moment. It occurs as Bobby gets to know Veronica one late evening in a jazz club in New York.” “June in January” is a popular song introduced in the 1934 movie Here Is My Heart by Bing Crosby. The Crosby recording, a number #1 hit on Brunswick Records, has since has become a popular standard, recorded by many artists. To access more details of this review by Matias Bombal of the movie Cafe Society, click on the Image:
In the Tribeca Film Review appearing in Variety, film critic Nick Schager reviewed A Kind of Murder, an adaptation of acclaimed suspense author Patricia Highsmith’s 1954 novel The Blunderer, where he proclaims”Biel and Bennett fulfill their light/dark archetypes with relative aplomb, the latter seducing Walter by crooning ‘I Can’t Escape From You’ in a licentious subterranean jazz club.” “I Can’t Escape from You” is a song written by Leo Robin and Richard A. Whiting which was first introduced by Bing Crosby in the 1936 Paramount film Rhythm on the Range. To access the complete review by Nick Schager of the movie A Kind of Murder, click on the Image:
Todd Haynes’ Academy Award-nominee Carol
In a recent review by Stephanie Zacharek, a film critic, she proclaims that “Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin’s sweet nectarine of a jazz standard “Easy Living” figures, in a glancing yet potent way, in (Academy Award-nominee) Carol…Even though the lyrics speak of contentment — “Living for you is easy living/It’s easy to live when you’re in love” — the melody has a wistful glow about it, a suggestion that while there’s no such thing as living easy, the dream of doing so is very real.” To view this poignant scenes and access the complete review by Stephanie Zacharek of the movie Carol and much more, click on the Image:
John Crowley’s critically acclaimed Brooklyn
John Crowley’s critically acclaimed drama Brooklyn premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and features a collection of recordings of Irish classics including “Zing a Little Zong,” a popular song written by Harry Warren and Leo Robin. This standard was first introduced and performed by Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman in the 1952 film Just for You. To access a review by Ken Hanke of the film Brooklyn and much more, click on the Image:
Happening Now on The Web (continued)
Count Your Blessings with “The Lullaby Of The Lord” and Good Tidings with “Winter, Winter”
May you and your family be blessed on this Thanksgiving Day and throughout the rest of the year! Thanksgiving is all about a time for being grateful and for counting all of our many blessings! Hoping your Thanksgiving is filled with blessings and joy! We remember Small Town Girl, a 1953 romantic comedy musical film directed by László Kardos and starring Jane Powell, Farley Granger and Ann Miller with music by Nicholas Brodszky and lyrics by Leo Robin and the dance numbers choreographed by the legendary Busby Berkeley. There is a memorable scene with the church choir, where Jane Powell & ensemble sing the “Lullaby Of The Lord.” On this special day of thankfulness, for your enjoyment, click on this image for a magical musical moment of Jane Powell & ensemble performing “The Lullaby Of The Lord” from Small Town Girl and other Christmas & faith songs.
Our hearts are filled with gratitude on this Veteran’s Day as we honor all the brave men and women who sacrificed so much so that we could have a better life and a country to call home. Today we recognize all our distinguished veterans whose service has allowed our nation to prosper and has allowed us all to live in freedom. Millions of Americans have sacrificed much to help protect us and the cause of freedom since 1776 and gave it in service to their nation. Gen. George Washington, in his farewell address to his officers in New York in 1783, said, “I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.” This makes us remember the 1946 musical film Centennial Summer, directed by Otto Preminger, where a tale of a family, dominated by young ladies, living in Philadelphia at the time of the Centennial Exposition in 1876. Click on the mage for a memorable musical moment of a chorus ensemble of the high-spirited “Centennial – Long Live Our Free America,” written by Jerome Kern and Leo Robin, from Centennial Summer, with other patriotic songs by Leo Robin.
Happening Now on Books at Amazon
From a tender scene from Leo McCarey‘s Make Way for Tomorrow, a 1937 film about an elderly couple who are forced to separate when they lose their house and none of their five children will take both parents, there is a memorable poem written by Leo Robin — “Are You Afraid.”The director McCarey believed that it was his finest film and when he accepted his Academy Award for Best Director for The Awful Truth which was released the same year, he said “Thanks, but you gave it to me for the wrong picture.” For another tender moment, there is a new book, Days of Blessing by Karen MacDowall Haggerty, that gives remembrance to this poem by Leo Robin. To find out more on this enjoyable and heartwarming novel, go to amazon.com or click on this image: