This week’s Two for Tuesday songs are dance-themed Broadway, and later movie, songs.
Shall We Dance from The King and I
I Could have Dance all Night from My Fair Lady
Shall We Dance is a 1951 show tune from the 1951 musical, The Kind and I. The song was written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. It begins as a back and forth conversation between Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam as Anna thinks over the dinner party she’s just been to. Unbeknownst to Anna, the king is listening, and he becomes more and more fascinated with what she’s singing about. He breaks into her sung-aloud thoughts. They banter about the meaning of love, which leads Anna to teach the king how to polka.
It’s a lively dance number, and we see clearly that they are falling in love. We also realize that their love will remain unrequited and unspoken. The YouTube clip is from the 1956 film version starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr. Brynner does his own singing. Ms. Kerr lip-synced with Marni Nixon providing the doing the singing.
An interesting side note about Marni Nixon. She was known as a ‘ghost singer’ for several actresses in other musical films, such as:
Natalie Wood in West Side Story
Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady
Marilyn Monroe’s high notes in Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Deborah Kerr, again, in An Affair to Remember
Sophia Loren in Boy on a Dolphin
Rita Moreno in Tonight in West Side Story
I Could have Danced all Night is a song from the musical, My Fair Lady. The music was written by Frederick Loewe and the lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. Eliza Doolittle expresses her excitement after having experienced an impromptu dance with her tutor, Henry Higgins. Julie Andrews originated the role of Eliza Doolittle on Broadway. It was the 1964 film version of My Fair Lady in which Marni Nixon dubbed for Audrey Hepburn as singing Eliza.
Both songs share the delightful theme of dancing and singing about dancing. These songs are simply marvelous.
These videos have Marni Nixon singing both Anna and Eliza.
Until we meet again,