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1967

We’ll take a look at the shows that came out in 1967 alphabetically.

The first show alphabetically is Dumas and Son, This musical was written by Robert Wright and George Forrest and closed in California. We plan to offer a demo of Wright and Forrest singing the songs soon. This is a story about the man who wrote The Three Musketeers.

Hallelujah,Baby! by Jule Styne, Comden, and Green starred Leslie Uggams. It was allegedly rumored to have originally starred Lena Horne but she did not want to do the musical. Leslie Uggums gladly took her place and gave a wonderful performance. This show is also unique due to the fact that it’s the only show Jule Styne won a Tony Award for. He obviously deserved one for Gypsy and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Funny Girl. He joked about the show closing when he accepted the award.

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Henry Sweet Henry by Bob Merrill, despite being based on a popular film and having brilliant dances by Michael Bennett, failed to please the critics in the audience. I believe the roles played by Don Ameche and Carrol Bruce were especially uninteresting and the show came to a halt when the young people (notably Alice Playten) were not on stage.

The Original Broadway Cast version of Henry, Sweet Henry is available by clicking here.

Bob Merrill had told me that he had a friend who, when Funny Girl was playing in Philadelphia, had asked if he should invest in Funny Girl. Bob Merrill said that Funny Girl wasn’t going well and we wouldn’t suggest investing. The same investor asked if he should invest in Henry, Sweet Henry when it was out of town in Detroit and he said “Yes, I would invest in Henry, Sweet Henry” but it only ended up running a few weeks

The demo version of Henry, Sweet Henry (including The Happy Time demo) is available by clicking here. It includes many songs that were cut from the Broadway version.

How Do You Do I love You by David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr. was scheduled but only played a brief out of town tryout in Westbury. It starred Phyllis Newman and it revolved around her attempts to get married. Despite wonderful orchestrations by Jonathon Tunick and quite a few catchy songs, the show did not progress to Broadway.

How Now Dow Jones, by Elmer Bernstein (a famous film composer) and Carolyn Leigh, about the stock market and love relationships, had a semi-successful run and featured the popular song of the day “Step to the Rear” made popular by RCA recordings star Marilyn Maye. It was originally directed by Arthur Penn but he was replaced after Philadelphia and when I moved from NYC to Connecticut, it was the first show I saw at the Shubert Theater.

How to be a Jewish Mother  was another advice musical,with 5 or 6 songs by Mickey Leonard and lyricist Herbert Martin. The musical died out in Chicago and I happened to be on a visit to Milwaukee so I stopped in Chicago to see the show. It starred Molly Picon and Godfrey Cambridge. It was about the relationship between an older Jewish lady and a younger black man and how they bonded. It had a very brief run in NY.

Illya Darling by Joe Darion (who wrote the lyrics to Man of LaMancha) and Hadjidakis was based on the very successful Greek film, Never on a Sunday, starring Melina Mercouri. The music unfortunately sounded very undistinguished, like it was the same song playing many times over. When the show was in trouble, they asked Stephen Sondheim to write a song for the show, but it was never added. They said it was not good enough which I highly doubt.
When I first got a a tape recorder I was anxious to try it out in a theater. The tape recorder was too big to carry in a pocket so I asked my girlfriend if she had a big purse and she said yes. She however did not want to see a Broadway show. I cleverly asked her if she would like to see Marlene Dietrich. My girlfriend was German and naturally looked up to the performer. I left the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and was so excited to see how clear the recording was that I took it out of her purse and started to play it right in front of the theater. I’m pretty sure if Marlene Dietrich came out the stage door, she would not have been happy. But I as pleased because it was quite a good recording and I could make clear live recordings of other shows.

I was in Miluakee after seeing How to be a Jewish Mother and I read in Variety that Mata Hari by Martin Charnin and Ed Thomas was to close in Washington and not come into Broadway. I realized that I could go back to NY via Washington to catch a show. Unfortunately I had never been in Washington DC and got hopelessly lost and misdirected so that by the time I reached the National Theater it was too late to see the full show. I thought to myself that I could conceivably walk right in and see the second act at the very least. I went to a store to buy a bag to put the tape recorder in, waited for intermission and went back into the theater once the intermission was ending. I was really blown away by the music and I said “I have to see and record the first act”. Fortunately there was a Wednesday matinee so I went to a hotel and started to play the recording in my hotel room and I thought that this was just a miracle. That I was listening to such clear music that I’d always have in my possession was just an absolute miracle. I went to see the matinee and recorded the first act. I did not see a reason to record the second act again so I didn’t. I went back stage, back to the alleyway behind the national theater and started to play the tape of the first act and one of the actresses, Helen Ross, came up to me and said “Is that my show?!” I said probably, yes it is! She was happy and I told her I would make a copy of this for her and we became friends as she lived in NY.

Sherry (James Lipton and Lawrence Rosenthol) had a troubled out of town tryout. Morton Decosta was fired in Boston and Joe Layton took over. George Sanders, the original star was perfect. I knew from a recording someone else had made on a tape recorder. Sanders left the show in Boston because his wife was dying in Los Angeles. He was replaced by Clyde Revil, who while a very good actor, was not as right for the part as Sanders had been. The show was to have been recorded by RCA but they never did. Years later Robert Sher and I tried to record and James Lipton told us that the orchestrations were lost. I thought to myself we had found the orchestrations for Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the library of congress, maybe they would have something there and they did they had the orchestrations from the Broadway theater and a studio cast recording was made starring Nathan Lane, Bernadette Peters and Carol Burnett. It’s a wonderful recording and if you haven’t purchased it yet, I would advise you to do so.

Over the next several months, we’re offering a great price on the 1995 York Theater recording of Mata Hari for $9.95! 

1 thought on “1967

  1. Just an aside: The plot of How Now Dow Jones was: Boy loves girl, girl loves boy but boy, a broker, doesn’t want to get married. Finally, given an ultimatum by girl, he says he’ll marry her if the Dow Jones average ever hits the “ridiculous” high of 1,000! Girl then manipulatesd the market so it will!

    How could such a thrilling plot for a musical fail?

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