E. Winter Tashlin

Showtunes Sing-Off: 'Whatever Lola Wants'

Filed By E. Winter Tashlin | August 18, 2012 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Damn Yankees, Eartha Kitt, Gwen Verdon, Molly Johnson, Natacha Atlas, Sarah Vaughan, showtunes, sing-off

I first encountered this song when 'Damn Yankees' came to Boston on the heels of a wildly successful 1994 Broadway revival. Being a young queer boy utterly disinterested in anything related to sports, damn_yankees.jpegnot to mention being doped up on a huge amount of anti-tic medication to prevent the symptoms of my Tourette from interfering with the show, 'Whatever Lola Wants' is about the only part of 'Damn Yankees' that stands out in my memory in any way. Well, that and that I really hate wearing ties.

However, it wasn't until I saw the inestimable Chiwetel Ejiofor's (best known to legions of geeks as the Operative from Serenity) rendition in 2005's 'Kinky Boots' that I really connected to the song in a solid way. It's possible that as I'd grown older I could better relate to its themes. On the other hand, I suspect it has far more to do with seeing it in the context of a fabulous black drag queen rather than a baseball-themed interpretation of Faust.

In the context of the original Broadway show, this is a song about fidelity and resisting temptation, Lola being the personal representative of the Devil. Personally, I choose to see it as a statement about embracing our desires, erotic or otherwise, and seducing, coercing, and badgering, our way into fulfilling those desires, whether it's a good idea or not.

So who out of the selections after the jump, do you think best embodied Satan's Seductress? If I missed a favorite of yours, be sure to mention them in the comments.

Gwen Verdon (from the film version)

Sarah Vaughan

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Eartha Kitt

Molly Johnson

Natacha Atlas

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