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There’s nothing little about Yanci de la Roz’s portrayal of Jane in ‘Baby Jane’ parody


Little Jane 03On stage through July 9 at Lab Theater is a cool, campy parody of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. It’s a very funny spoof of the 1962 movie that pitted aging Hollywood legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford against each other. Newcomer Yanci de la Roz portrays Baby Jane when she was a cute, precocious vaudeville performer back in 1917. Although her time on stage is limited, she’s endearing in the role, particularly as she belts out in little girl voice her shrill, high-pitched version of the maudlin ballad “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy.”

Little Jane 01The song was actually a parody of old music hall songs of yesteryear. It was written by Frank De Vol and Bob Merrill. They’re the songwriters who wrote the lyrics for Funny Girl and a couple of songs from the 1950s you may have heard once or twice: “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” and “If I Knew You Were Coming I’d’ve Baked a Cake.” But the little girl who played young Jane in the film, Julie Allred, didn’t sing the ballad. Instead, the filmmakers dubbed in the voice of a singer by the name of Debbie Burton. It was Burton who teamed with Bette Davis in the rock single duet “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” It was released as a promotional single, with Burton’s rendition of “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy” Little Jane 04on the flipside. An instrumental version of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” can be heard in the movie.

When Davis appeared on the Andy Williams Show, she sang “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” In a tribute to the movie on its 50th anniversary, NPR’s Fresh Air said “few horrors in the film are as scary as [the clip of Davis’ performance].”

June 19, 2017.




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