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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Debbie Reynolds: Singin' in the main

click to enlarge debbiereynolds-1.jpg

(Photo courtesy Caren West PR)

Yes, I totally concede that Debbie Reynolds is about as un-alt-weekly as it gets. It doesn't get any more white-bread than this. But still, to quote a music writer down in New Orleans (who otherwise had very little profound things to say), don't miss the legends.

And here's a chance to catch a big one: Debbie Reynolds performs Friday-Saturday (April 11-12) with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, with both shows at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $33-$58. Try www.atlantasymphony.org or call 404-733-500.

As TCM's Robert Osborne told me recently, the stars from Hollywood's Golden Age are truly a dying breed. They represent an unparalleled period in filmmaking when production values were matched by storytelling and acting. They were, as they say, all of a piece. I was never much of a fan of musicals until I saw clips from the 1974 retrospective That's Entertainment (which Osborne believes sparked the whole notion of "classic movies"), when I saw Reynolds, Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor splashing their way through Singin' in the Rain. (I still reserve the right not to "get" Donald O'Connor; what's the attraction?)

Reynolds possesses one of those clean, almost sickly sweet voices that has aged pretty well over the years. Here's a clip from one of her signature tunes, "Tammy."

Check out the original version …

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/BgFg2Tm5_wE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Now here's a clip from a more recent performance (check it how she references the fact it was recorded while she was pregnant with Carrie Fisher) …

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/yqKysOJIJP8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

A bit rushed, as one commenter posted, but not bad for a woman who, just last week, turned 76.

And of course lots of people remember her as Grace's mom in "Will & Grace" …

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/fygqmToMs2k " width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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