Bing Crosby and Julie Andrews in the CBS production High Tor, based on the 1937 original play by Maxwell Anderson and musicalized by Arthur Schwartz. Evening Primrose has a score by Stephen Sondheim and on Nov.16,1967
A haunting mediation of timeless love set in upstate New York was perfect for Anderson’s special gifts and the play was a hit. Arthur Schwartz had conceived it as a tv musical and deluxe casting was offered. Bing Crosby and Julie Andrews, both wonderful singers, don’t set off sparks though both are fine individually. Set an upstate New York setting, sort of an upstate “Brigadoon”; the connection between a 1950’s Manhattanite and 18th century maiden just did not work as a musical. Anderson’s lyricism is fine as prose as in the play, but in song he can be hit or miss.What survives is an interesting failure graced by two major figures in the 20th century. Also on the cd is Stephen Sondheim’s Evening Primrose. This also has problems from story to musical. Sondheim’s score is not one of the problems! Two of the songs “I Remember” and “Take Me to the World” have since become standards in his canon.