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1968; An Alphabetical Look and An Announcement

An alphabetical look at the shows in 1968.

This month, we’re going to take a look at the musicals (and one play) that showed in 1968 in alphabetical order. But first, we’d like to take a moment to thank our loyal Footlight customers. Most of you are regular customers and have been faithfully buying from Footlight for years, and some for over a decade. You who have been with us for so long may have noticed some ups and downs in our customer service lately. What you may not have known is that Bruce has been maintaining Footlight by himself for a little over fifteen years now and has brought in some help with not only website maintenance, but shipping and order handling as well! We are now here for you as a team to process orders and feedback in a timely manner. Thank you for staying with us through this transition period.

Canterbury Tales was a London import. I saw the original in London and really preferred that version even though George Rose and Sandy Duncan were very good in the Broadway cast.

Darling of the Day by Jule Styne and E.Y. Harburg is a show that I saw just before I was married and was very pleased to find that they did record the show despite the short run. It was Broadway’s introduction to Patricia Routledge. She was always great even though none of the shows she was in had substantial runs in this country. I actually thought Vincent Price was more than acceptable, though most people blamed the failure on him. I did not feel that he was the case.

The Education of Hyman Kaplan was written by Oscar Brand and Paul Nassau. Starring Tom Bosley and Barbara Minkus. It had some wonderful songs and was directed by George Abbot but it was a near miss. It opened on the night of the assassination of Martin Luther King and that seemed to have been a very unfortunate event.

George M!, A musical about George M. Cohan had performance by Joel Grey as the title character. I did not find the story that compelling. The well known songs, I was not interested in hearing again – the little known songs were little known for a reason.

Golden Rainbow by Walter Marks was known best for the song “I Gotta Be Me” which made enough money to keep Mr. Marks living high on the hog. It starred Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé. I missed this musical because of my insistence upon sitting in a really good seat which is never available at the Shubert’s box office but luckily they did most of the songs in a little book this last year at 54 Below so I count on having seen it. This short version starred Steve Lawrence’s son, David, and Debbie Gravitte. David Lawrence looked like Steve Lawrence but did not quite sound like him.

The Happy Time by Kander and Ebb starred Robert Goulet and David Wayne. It had a most appealing score but the story was not very gripping. Gower Champion was way too interested in showing photographs rather than having traditional sets.

Her First Roman by Ervin Drake was about Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. This is an early show that I was able to see in Boston and again in New York. Cleopatra was fairly well played by Leslie Uggams and Richard Kiley played Caesar. It never had an official recording but many years later it was recorded and is available at Footlight.

Here’s Where I Belong by Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman was based on East of Eden by John Steinbeck. The story was not as powerful as it had been in the movie and it closed opening night.

I am Solomon by Ernest Gold and Anne Croswell started in New Haven as “In Someone Else’s Sandals”. Again this one had a very short run because, despite the wonderful Dick Shawn and Karen Morrow, it was not enjoyed by the critics and thus closed. I sat in the balcony, watching the closing performance and I knew the songs had changed somewhat from the New Haven version. I particularly liked the orchestrations for the exit music but there were very few people in the balcony and before the exit music was over, everyone else but me had gone. Soon an usher came up to me and said “You gotta go”. This is unfortunately somewhat audible on my tape. Though it was not legal, I indicated by rolling my hand around like a tape that I was recording. So she then shouted to someone else “BRUNO, they don’t want to leave!”
Fortunately the exit music ended before Bruno got involved and I exited the Mark Hellinger theater.

Jacque Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris transferred to Broadway from off-Broadway and I did not bother seeing it on Broadway although I had much enjoyed it at the Village Gate off-Broadway.

Jimmy Shine was a play with music starring Dustin Hoffman. It had some folk songs written by John Sebastian but the show, despite Hoffman’s popularity, ended after a few months run.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Webber and Rice was their first hit and had, to me, a most appealing score.

New faces of ’68 was the last of the New Faces series which started in 1936 and had a moderate run at the Booth Theater.

Maggie Flynn by George David Weiss, Hugo and Luigi was a very old fashioned musical starring Shirley Jones, famous for her film musicals, and her husband, Jack Cassidy. Unfortunately the role of the husband was nothing like the typical Jack Cassidy role and I felt he was ill suited for the role. The song, “Mr. Clown“, was a bad choice for him.

Love Match by Maltby and Shire was a musical starring Patricia Routledge and Lawrence Guittard closed in California but it had a most appealing score and again the unfortunate Patricia Routledge as Queen Victoria.
We have two Love Match demos available here at Footlight and both come bundled with songs from other musical demos.
The first demo is included with a How Do You Do, I Love You backer’s audition. click here
The second demo is bundled with Mata Hari and How Do You Do, I Love You as well! click here

Promises, Promises was a big hit written by Burt Bacharach with a book by Neil Simon, starring Jill O’Hara and Jerry Orbach. I saw the preview in Boston and it worked well then but they added “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” which made it even better when it arrived in New York.

Your Own Thing by Hester and Apolinar was a moderate hit off-Broadway at the Orpheum and made an interesting cast album. It was purchased by the movies only to find out that they weren’t going to use the songs and they bought a Shakespeare story that was in the public domain and never made the movie.

Zorba was a thrilling out of town try out in New Haven. The opening “Life Is” was a sensational song and dance number. The original lyric was ‘life is what you do while you’re waiting to die’ when it was revived they thought that was too negative and took away “waiting to die”

We’ll give you a chance to buy The Education of Hyman Kaplan for the low price of $9.95

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