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 Posted:   Apr 25, 2014 - 8:45 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Thomas:

I fell in love with "Dear World" as soon as the original Broadway cast album was released, although these days only listen to a few of the songs on my big Broadway playlist. You really should let me email you a couple of songs to sample!

I was tempted to buy the Robert Goulet "Brigadoon," mainly because I always loved his album "On Broadway," and was thrilled when they paired it with "On Broadway II" on CD not that long ago -- I made an interesting playlist in which I would have Robert's version of a song followed by either the original or a cover by someone else. And I've long adored the "Annie Get Your Gun" he did with Doris Day in the early 1960s -- what a delight it is on CD, and both of them are perfect.

Incidentally, I've mentioned elsewhere that several years ago I saw Goulet at our Music Center doing "Camelot," but as Arthur, not Lancelot, and it was so dull that I left at intermission. But some of his delicious recordings live on! I'm listening to his "If I Ruled The World" right now!

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 25, 2014 - 9:06 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

"Dear World" works better as a recording than it did onstage. I saw it twice, first when it was trying out in Boston, then later in New York. Angela Lansbury gave a remarkable performance in the title role, eccentric and endearing, leading to her second Tony award.

But the score seemed to be filled with one extended march after another, and the production had big sets, large chorus, multiple characters, all of which drained away the charm from the original Jean Giraudoux play, on which it was based. It probably would have made a charming chamber musical, but, overblown as it was, it just seemed to lumber along.

Because of Lansbury's previous smash hit, "Mame," there was a huge advance sale for "Dear World," and it coasted along on the strength of all the theatre parties from what is referred to in Manhattan as the "bridge-and-tunnel crowd," i.e. people from areas outside the city. As I recall, it only ended up running a few months.

It's the recording that has lasted, with many lovely songs. "I've Never Said I Love You" is kind of a power ballad, but it's still beautiful, and stands in for a monologue by the same character in the original script. "The Tea Party" transforms a quirky scene from the play into an endearing musical sequence.

"The Madwoman of Chaillot" is one of those diaphanous Gallic confections that somehow never manage to survive English translation, one of a number of similar plays from the 40's and 50's that just seem to have defied transference to Broadway. Several others, like Jean Anouilh's "Ondine," which was a vehicle for Audrey Hepburn on Broadway, or "Time Remembered," carried more charm than substance, and never transferred to the screen. The only one of these to have had much life outside of France was Anouilh's "Waltz of the Toreadors," which not only enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic, but was also filmed, with Peter Sellers. (It was also musicalized, with an unmemorable score, starring Len Cariou, no less, and performed here in San Diego, at the Old Globe Playhouse, though, mercifully, it seems to have gone no further.)

But "Dear World" lives on, if only for the quality of its score. (Although, personally, I prefer Herman's score for his other major flop, "Mack and Mabel.") There was even a recent production of "Dear World" in London, a premiere for them, in that it had never been performed there; as I recall, it was genially received, but not with any kind of overwhelming enjoyment. Which is about par for the course for "Dear World."

But, fortunately, we still have the recording.

 
 Posted:   Apr 25, 2014 - 9:28 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

..

 
 Posted:   Apr 29, 2014 - 11:07 AM   
 By:   gsteven   (Member)

I've just discovered the cast recording for DOGFIGHT, from last year. Based on the 1991 film of the same name, the subject matter is dark (humiliation), yet there are surprisingly sweet elements too. A young songwriting team in their 20s have created a tuneful score (after season after season of recycled vintage and pop-song scores and the ongoing Disney re-inventions, I thought I would never hear such an engaging original score for a stage musical again) and Lindsay Mendez as Rosie has one the best voices I've heard in a stage musical in a long time.

 
 Posted:   Apr 29, 2014 - 3:34 PM   
 By:   Gary S.   (Member)

 
 Posted:   Apr 29, 2014 - 4:51 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

Thomas:

I immediately bought the original cast "Mame" as soon as it was released on CD decades ago. I think my favorite Jerry Herman show, on records, is "Dear World." And, as you probably noticed, my copy of the newly released MASTERWORKS BROADWAY Shirley Jones/Jack Cassidy collection is on its way to me.


I certainly agree with the above statements! I saw MAME, twice with Lansbury, and it was a highlight of my theater-going experiences. DEAR WORLD passed me by, but I have always loved its score. My friend did a production of it, last year, in London, but I was unable to attend.

Speaking of cast recordings, I have been going through the very limited recordings of shows I did. I did tons of shows, just don't have very much memorabilia from them. Here is a number from the American premiere production of AMBASSADOR, in Philadelphia. The show opened a few months later (with a completely different cast), on Broadway.

https://soundcloud.com/johnm_001/the-right-time-the-right-place

 
 Posted:   Apr 29, 2014 - 11:16 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)




http://www.myplaydirect.com/masterworks-broadway?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=masterworksbroadway.com&cid=lg:q5r


Received it today. My immediate reaction is that I barely recognize Shirley Jones and the arrangements for most of the 12 songs are painfully dull. Just listen to the arrangements of the "Annie "Get Your Gun" that Doris Day and Robert Goulet recorded a couple of years later to hear how these songs should have been arranged. Even Bob Hope and Shirley Ross' version of "Two Sleepy People," recorded decades earlier, has more whimsy and life in it than does this version of it. (It gives me no pleasure to post these reactions to it, because I truly wanted to love it.)

 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2014 - 5:07 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

Oh dear, that's disappointing Ron.

Gary, what's that 'Chaplin' OBC like? It's another I've had in my Amazon Wish List for some time now. I have the David Pomeranz CD of his 'Little Tramp' musical from some years back which I enjoy, have been wondering if this is in similar vein?

 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2014 - 5:19 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

Speaking of cast recordings, I have been going through the very limited recordings of shows I did. I did tons of shows, just don't have very much memorabilia from them. Here is a number from the American premiere production of AMBASSADOR, in Philadelphia. The show opened a few months later (with a completely different cast), on Broadway.

https://soundcloud.com/johnm_001/the-right-time-the-right-place


I'm not familiar with that show (I just looked it up on Wiki), but I enjoyed that number. Very catchy, thanks for posting. Seems the show itself wasn't very successful.

 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2014 - 11:33 AM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

The show was successful for us, but we were summer stock, and had patrons and built-in audience, for the most part. It was not a success on Broadway. Nothing spectacular about it, but an entertaining couple of hours, for sure.

Here's another couple clips from a show I did in 1969, A TREE GROW IN BROOKLYN. Loved this show! We were the first group to do it, after the original production closed on Broadway. They had no orchestra parts for the score, so in exchange for our musical director creating them, we got to do the show for free. We added the song, "Tuscaloosa", which was cut from the original production (you can hear it in the overture), and cut the song, "Don't Be Afraid", because our director felt there were too many somber tunes. It was a very lavish production, and audiences loved it.

http://soundcloud.com/johnm_001/overture-ill-buy-you-a-star

https://soundcloud.com/johnm_001/payday

 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2014 - 5:07 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)


Intrigued by the fact that the new Broadway musical - “A Gentleman’a Guide to Love & Murder” received 10 Tony nominations this week, I checked the show’s website and found that this is actually a musical version of the classic Ealing comedy - “Kind Hearts & Coronets”, which just happens to be one of my all time favourite movies.

It’s actually based more on the Roy Horniman novel that the movie itself was based on.

The score is delightful, sung by some glorious voices. Notably: Bryce Pinkham,Lisa O’Hare, Lauren Worsham & Jefferson Mays....the latter playing the eight roles that Alec Guinness played in the movie.

It’s kind of a “Gilbert & Sullivan meet Oscar Wilde & Edwin Drood”. Great FUN !

Needless to say, i’ve downloaded the Cast album from Amazon and absolutely love it.

Give it a try....and I think you will too !



Here’s the trailer....

http://youtu.be/Ih_leBr6DlE



 
 Posted:   May 1, 2014 - 12:15 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

 
 
 Posted:   May 1, 2014 - 10:38 PM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

Speaking of cast recordings, I have been going through the very limited recordings of shows I did. I did tons of shows, just don't have very much memorabilia from them. Here is a number from the American premiere production of AMBASSADOR, in Philadelphia. The show opened a few months later (with a completely different cast), on Broadway.

https://soundcloud.com/johnm_001/the-right-time-the-right-place


I'm not familiar with that show (I just looked it up on Wiki), but I enjoyed that number. Very catchy, thanks for posting. Seems the show itself wasn't very successful.



I saw "Ambassador" when it was trying out on Broadway. It starred Howard Keel and Danielle Darrieux, and had a lot of charm, though, in the last analysis, I simply don't recommend the novels of Henry James as source material for musicals.

Unfortunately, the only recording available for years was an lp of the London cast, which had several songs not in the Broadway production, and, not until the advent of, shall we say, "private" recordings was I able to hear the Broadway version. Which, by the way, featured a young Andrea Marcovicci, who later made a name for herself as a chanteuse on the supper club circuit. She had a lovely, woebegone lament, called "Love Finds the Lonely," which was on the London lp.

The show did not do well, and, apparently, the composer, discouraged at the poor reception to his score, reputedly committed suicide.

Welcome to the theatre...

 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 10:03 AM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

I never saw nor heard any other production, other than the one I was in.

 
 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 10:10 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

"Ambassador" opened in London at Her Majesty's Theatre, in October of 1971, and ran for 86 performances.

After a production in Philadelphia, which may be the one you were involved with, it was re-written again, and opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, in November of 1972, but only ran for 29 performances. That's where I saw it.

Wikipedia has the above information, plus a partial cast, and a list of the musical numbers.

 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 11:06 AM   
 By:   That Neil Guy   (Member)

I really enjoyed this interview with Sheldon Harnick.

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/30/308276626/at-90-fiddler-lyricist-tells-his-story

 
 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 1:15 PM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

There's a new 2-CD set of many of his "trunk" songs, from various sources, sung by skilled, experienced singers, many with Broadway credentials.

One I'm particularly curious about is "The Pears of Anjou," written for Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's soon-to-be-newly-divorced wife, in "Rex," with music by Richard Rodgers. At the time, it was rumored to be quite good, though it was cut, presumably because the feelings of Henry's soon-to-be-divorced wife weren't as important to the storyline of the show.

I actually saw "Rex." It wasn't bad. But it suffered comparison to the BBC's "Six Wives of Henry VIII," and seemed superficial in comparison. The score was enjoyable, though not in the same league as what Rodgers had previously composed for shows with Oscar Hammerstein II. (Although, even a few of those, like "Pipe Dream" and "Me and Juliet, aren't exactly as memorable as their best work, either.)

"Rex" starred the more or less moody Nicol Williamson, who got more notoriety for slapping a chorus boy during the curtain call than he did for the show. (Apparently, the offense was that he had said, "Well, that's a wrap!," but Williamson had heard something like, "Well, that's all crap!" Williamson was brought up on charges with Actors Equity, and had to make a public apology during another, later curtain call during the run. But it ended up not running very long....)

I'll say one thing for Rodgers, though. You've got to hand it to him for hanging in there. He kept on trying, right to the end. And that's more than can be said for a lot of creative people.

Also in the cast was one Glenn Close, who played Henry's daughter Mary, later in history to be known as "Bloody Mary," though her role in this was innocuous enough. So innocuous, in fact, that I remember practically nothing of her performance, other than recalling someone with her character's name, singing a ditty with Penny Fuller, who played young Elizabeth.

Yet another failure of a show with a misguided concept.

(Sadly, Rodgers was to have several failures with misguided concepts: "Two by Two," starring Danny Kaye, about Noah and the Ark, and "I Remember Mama," his last produced show, which starred Liv Ullman, who one would have thought perfectly cast, though in the show, she was ungainly and didn't sing very well. I saw both of those, too, more's the pity.)

 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 8:45 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

"Ambassador" opened in London at Her Majesty's Theatre, in October of 1971, and ran for 86 performances.

After a production in Philadelphia, which may be the one you were involved with, it was re-written again, and opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, in November of 1972, but only ran for 29 performances. That's where I saw it.

Wikipedia has the above information, plus a partial cast, and a list of the musical numbers.


Yes, the Philadelphia production was the one I was in, and the US premiere of the show.

 
 
 Posted:   May 3, 2014 - 9:11 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

There was an lp of the London cast. Did you get it?

From what I've read about it, the score as presented on the lp was probably closer to your production. Several numbers from that were cut, prior to the Broadway opening.

I'm surprised you weren't aware of it. Although, on the other hand, it didn't last long, and I don't think it had much publicity, apart from announcing the 2 stars, both of whom did good work.

 
 Posted:   May 3, 2014 - 1:42 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)


The LP looked like this....



 
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