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Introducing the Blog!

Welcome to the Footlight blog!

This is a blog of the owner of Footlight Records, Bruce Yeko. I have been going to the theater for 58 years. I have two Guinness type records. I have seen every new musical that opened on Broadway for the past 50 years. I have produced 124 cast albums, which is more than any other individual. I will be discussing my theater-going experiences and would be happy to talk about any particular show you are interested in.
We will be offering special deals to people who read this blog.

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1971

70, Girls, 70 was a Kander and Ebb musical that had many problems. The idea of casting 70 + year old actors proved to be a problem as one of them actually died. Actor David Burns in fact died on stage of a heart attack during the out-of-town tryouts in Philadelphia.
Actors in the show appeared to have trouble with some of the more active scenes. A specific scene comes to mind, one where the actors are breaking into a store, that highlights how much they seemed to be exerting themselves. It just looked to me that the actors could not handle that kind of activity.
The replacement for David Burns was Hans Conreid and he was nothing like David Burns. I managed to see the first preview in Philadelphia and was lucky to have seen David Burns before he died. The show hired a new director but closed after a couple weeks of performances.
Despite the mishaps that the physical show had, the cast album is very good.

Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death by Melvin Van Peebles was an all black musical and not in the tradition of your typical Broadway show. Many of the numbers were very jazzy and it was strange to see on Broadway. There never has been a CD but we may put one out sooner or later.

Ari by Leon Uris and Walt Smith was a musical based on the novel “Exodus” that didn’t sound like a terrible idea but it certainly was. Mr. Uris, who wrote the original book and screenplay, decided that it should be a musical. While skiing, he met somebody playing in a local bar and decided he would be the perfect composer for Ari. He was not. It was an embarrassing show. I saw the first preview and could not believe what I was seeing.
I did not see the final version that didn’t open in New York because I was in London at the time. I did manage to grab a program and I saw new songs written by other people. I asked Phil Lang, who orchestrated the music, who those people were and he told me that because they put money into the show they got to write a song or two.
We have the demo available for purchase at Footlight.

Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope by Micki Grant is a much more traditional black musical that people enjoyed for a fairly lengthy run.

Next is the Earl of Ruston. This is a musical created by Peter Links about himself and growing up in the South. There was no reason for this to be on Broadway because he did not have a very interesting life. He managed to write some songs and the songs were co-written by C. C. Courtney It closed opening night. There is an LP and we may put that out for people who just want everything.

Follies by Stephen Sondheim was of course a monumental musical in the history of theater,. Produced and directed by Hal Prince and co-directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett. Dorothy Collins and Alexis Smith were ideal as the two female leads. In all the subsequent productions of this show, no one has really matched these two women. I was at the first preview in Boston and seemingly everyone I know was also there (they tell me they were there, they could not all have been there). The show was even better when it opened in New York but never did make its money back even after a tour.

Frank Merriwell was a musical by Skip Redwine. This was a limited budget musical that looked cheap and was not highly entertaining but it could have been worse. It closed after a handful of performances.

Godspell, by Stephen Schwartz moved from off- Broadway to Broadway and had a very successful run. It’s been made into a movie and then revived and performed all over the country in the last fifty years.

Grass Harp, a Truman Capote Story, didn’t succeed as a musical. Claibe Richardson was on board for music and, despite really good songs and good performers such as Barabara Cooke and Karen Marrow, it just didn’t have an interesting story. My friend, Ben Bagley, wound up recording the show and putting it out on his label.

Grease was another very successful show that started off Broadway. It premiered at the Eden Theatre (formally known as the Phoenix Theatre). The show had been done in Chicago but was considerably different by the time it appeared in New York off-Broadway. I went to the first preview and there was a fifty percent discount if you came in tennis shoes. At that point I did not own any tennis shoes so I borrowed a pair from my brother in law who is not the same size foot. So I went to the box office in my regular shoes, my loafers, and put on the sneakers I was carrying. I realized that when I was in front of the box office that they couldn’t tell I was wearing sneakers so I just said I was and they just gave me the ticket. Some of the actors were coming out after rehearsal and they said “when are you going to see the show” I said “tonight” they said “please not tonight! We’re not ready!” and I said I already had my ticket so I was going. I did not care for the off-Broadway version that I saw that night but the version that moved to Broadway was a lot more appealing.

Inner City by Helen Miller and Eve Merriam was labeled a “ghetto” musical and had a very appealing rhythm and blues songs. It ran for a few months.

Jesus Christ Superstar, Webber-Rice, started as a concept album from England. Despite there being good songs I somehow did not think I would enjoy the show so I waited until the end of the run from two years later and I found that I was wrong and that it was an excellent production in edition to the songs being good.

Lolita, My Love – a musical by Alan Jay Lerner and John Barry, of James Bond fame. Started in Philadelphia (and I was there!) and Alan Jay Lerner came out and begged us to be kind because things might go wrong. He was afraid the show may have to be stopped, it was not stopped and although there were fascinating songs, the songs are problematic because of the subject matter of an older man and an underage girl. They fired the Lolita I saw and hired a slightly older, but still underaged, girl in Boston and the show closed there. There are two recordings that we have, one live from boston and recently we put together a composer demo and more songs by pop singers – we highly recommend this score.

No No, Nanette by Irving Caesar and vincent Youmans, this was a revival of the 20’s show that had been a big sensation. They gave it a more up to date feel. They rewrote the book and reorchestrated it to make it sound like the 60’s. I knew nothing about the show prior to seeing the tryout in Boston and was pleasantly surprised how it worked well in 1971. It went on to have a long run in NY with Ruby Keeler, Bobby Van, and Patsy KElly. It made a wonderful recording and was done in London and on tour.

On The Town, by Bernstein, Comden, and Green, was a revival of the 1945 musical. Even though it had really good stars, like Burnadette Peters, Phillis Newman, something was missing. It managed to play for a few months but it was disappointing.

Prettyebelle by Styne and Merrill – On the way back from a California vacation, I found that Prettybelle was going to close in Boston and caught the closing performance. I certainly appreciated the music, but the show was a show that should never have played in Boston because the subject matter was totally inappropriate for a typical Boston audience. Ten years later the idea of recording the musical was mentioned to Jule Styne. He then got all excited and said that we should call Angela because he had her California number. She was not in California but we found that she was making the movie of the Pirates of Penzance. She was reached on set and of course came to the phone for Jule Styne. Despite the face that there was a big misunderstanding about the payment to Angela, we still got the recording with Angela and most of the cast.

Soon by Joseph M. Kookolis and Scott Fagan was a musical about the record industry and had an unbelievable cast of soon-to-be-famous people such as Barry Bostwick, Peter Allen, Richard Gere, and Nell Carter. It was a bitter tale of the record industry and did not appeal to the critics or the audience and closed opening night.

To Live Another Summer and Pass Another Winter was an Israeli musical that I remember almost nothing about but it was recorded on LP.

Two Gentlemen of Verona (Galt MacDermot and Jean Guare) was loosely based on Shakespeare but was more in the spirit of Hair. It started as a summer musical in Central Park and moved to the St. James for a fairly long run and was even taken to London. Broadway people disliked this show because it beat out Follies for best musical.

Wild and Wonderful by Bob Goodman was a small musical that starred Walter Willison and was supposed to have starred pop singer Julie Budd. During rehearsals, Julie felt that being in this musical was not a good idea and she quit. They then had to postpone the opening to find another singer. The show closed opening night. It was orchestrated by the great Luther Henderson. I asked him during the first preview that I saw why a few of the songs weren’t orchestrated and just had piano and it had turned out that they didn’t have the money to pay him.

W.C. by Al Carmines was done as a tryout in the Guber, Ford and Gross tent shows in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Long Island. It starred Mickey Rooney and featured Burnadette Peters. I saw an early preview in Massachusetts on a Wednesday matinee and it was sparsely attended. Mickey, who was at a low point in his career, was bored and while the show was going on, he sat with the audience, chatting with members while others were performing. I did enjoy some of the songs but Mickey did not give it much effort. I then decided to see the closing performance a couple months later on Long Island. This was a packed house and, to his credit, Mickey Rooney rose to the occasion and gave an inspired performance. It was still determined that the show would not be able to run in New York and was never done again. We did a recording of the principle songs with Al Carmines singing along with the score. They do a great job singing the songs and there are some other songs from Al Carmine’s musicals.

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1970

Applause by Strouse and Adams is the first musical of 1970. This Bacall musical, based on the movie “All About Eve” was a triumph for all concerned and ran for a few years.

Billy Noname by Johnny Brandon
This off-Broadway cast musical had a successful run by the veteran English song writer Johnny Brandon. He was a good friend of mine and a talented songwriter.

Click here if you’d like to check out the original cast album we have of Billy Noname.

Company by Stephen Sondheim and George Firth was another musical triumph for director Harold Prince and all involved. Elaine Stritch became famous for her cast album recording of The Ladies Who Lunch and was featured in the famous documentary of the making of the album. The Jonathon Tunick orchestrations were perfect for this vehicle and Dean Jones was wonderful in the lead role. A new gender-bending version starring Patti Lupone is sure to come to Broadway after a recent success in London.

"Cry For Us All" by Mitch Leigh

Cry for Us All by Mitch Leigh was a show that I saw at the world premier in new haven. There was a snow storm at the time but I managed to survive the hour and fifteen minute trip through the blizzard to find a show that had some rousing tunes, yes, but was more like an opera than a musical comedy. It had Joan Diener break her neck and still sing a long aria. This happens in opera but not in musicals. I was asked to review Cry For Us All by a friend of mine who had a local radio show talking about Connecticut musicals. She was not able to get to New Haven so I told her my review over the phone. The show only ran a handful of performances but fortunately was recorded and we have a few copies by Kritzerland left.
Click here to see our listing for Cry For Us All.

Gantry by Stanley Lebowsky and Fred Tobias premiered in Boston and had the movie star Robert Shaw play the famous evangelist, Elmer Gantry. Rita Moreno also performed in the musical. Despite quite a few good tunes it closed opening night in New York.
We include a demo version of Gantry with demo versions of Something More and Pleasures and Palaces on our site. Click here if you’d like to see the listing that includes Gantry.

The Last Sweet Days of Isaac by Cryer and Ford, starring Austin Pendleton, had a lengthy run off Broadway. The show was revived in the 90’s by the York Theatre along with another show by Cryer and Ford called Shelter and recorded by us on Original Cast Records.

Look to the Lilies by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn starred Shirley Booth and was based on the very successful movie Lillies of the Field which starred Sidney Poitier. The musical never went out of town (which usually a bad sign). The title song was very appealing. There were some other very good songs, but there were also a handful of songs that just felt like they didn’t really belong in a top flight Broadway show. The show was scheduled to be recorded by Warner Brothers who had never done a top flight cast album, and it stayed that way as they did not record this.

Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen by Stan Freeman and Franklin Underwood, produced by Herman Levin, had two hits: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and My Fair Lady. Herman Levin had an unsuccessful musical, The Girl Who Came To Supper, and this show was also unsuccessful and never had a cast album until Robert Sher and I. We attempted to record the show about twenty years ago in Los Angeles. The Original lead, Kenneth Nelson (who had been the boy in The Fantasticks) was criticized for playing an Asian role. This was based on the play and movie The Teahouse of the August Moon and the roles had been played by Caucasian actors, particularly Marlon Brando in the movie. By 1970, this was no longer acceptable. There were pickets that said there rats in the theater.
For the recording we chose B.D. Wong but Robert Promised Mickey Rooney who had a small part star billing in the album credits and B.D. Wong declined to do the recording. We then chose the Philippines born actor Lou Diamond Phillips, but there were still problems. One problem after another ensued and it appears that this recording will unfortunately never be issued. The original orchestrations by Phil Lang were blamed as being one of the problems and the score was completely reorchestrated by Irwin Kostal. It is a shame that this will never be released as I felt the first twenty minutes of this show were my favorite twenty minutes in any show ever.

The Me Nobody Knows by Gary William Friedman and Will Holt was a big hit off-Broadway. It played for several years at the Orpheum Theatre and there are still talks of reviving it in the near future.

Minnie’s Boys by Hal Hackady and Larry Grossman was a musical about the Marx brothers. It featured the unlikely lead Shelly Winters as the mother of the story. The main reason for this seems to have been that Groucho said she looked like his mother. It deserved a better fate as the boys who played the Marx brothers were perfect and such songs as Mama, A Rainbow and Where Was I When They Passed Out The Luck? were among my all time favorites. The show only ran a few months.

Purlie by Gary Geld and Peter Udell was a surprise hit and ran for a couple years on Broadway. As usual I went to the theater to see the first preview only to be told that they were not giving an official performance. I expressed disappointment as I had driven 55 miles each way and the box office man said that I could just go sit in and watch the dress rehearsal. This was not a problem for me whatsoever as they seemed to get through the entire show without any problem and I saved ticket money. Melba Moore singing I Got Love was a thrilling experience and all the gospel-type songs were extremely well done. It was shown on television after the show closed and we feature a DVDR of that.
Purlie is the special sale we’re offering to readers over the next few months for a special price of $12.95.
Purlie the TV cast is available by clicking here.

The Rothschilds by Bock and Harnick ran for two years and won a Tony Award for Hal Linden who played Meyer, his big song was “In my Own Lifetime) was the centerpiece of the show. It unfortunately was the last show that Bock and Harnick were to write together.

Scarlett by Harold Rome started in Tokyo as a sort of Japanese Gone With the Wind and was intended to come to Broadway eventually. When it was first done in Japan, it was done in two parts. Each part was four hours long, and each ran for six months respectively. I remember talking to Lehman Engel, the musical director at the time, about how I could get a hold of the two LP set and he provided me with a very long and complicated address but I was able to get 10 LPs in 1970. Years later it was reissued on CD by DRG records and we have a few copies of this interesting score. In my opinion, it actually sounds much better in Japanese than in the English recording.

Two By Two, available here.

Two by Two by Martin Charnin and Richard Rodgers was based on Noah and the Ark. It starred the huge movie star Danny Kaye who had not been in a full Broadway production in almost 30 years. The world premier was in New Haven and after I got there I decided to eat at the fanciest restaurant down the street. I was surprised that Danny Kaye and his wife, Sylvia Fine, were also eating at the restaurant. I never had dinner at the same place as a star prior to seeing him in the show. The show was quite enjoyable in New Haven but shortly after it opened in New York, Danny broke his leg and decided to continue performing but in a wheelchair where he did many things that were very unlike Noah. It annoyed many people who saw the show to see him make jokes out of character. Still, the score is well worth hearing or purchasing

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An Alphabetical Look at the Musicals of 1969

I saw the world premiere of 1776 ( London cast version available by clicking here) in New Haven. It was quite a different show in its first tryout. The composer came from the world of pop and rock and the score had a definite rock feel to it with the arrangements by Eddie Sauter. It was greatly improved in New York when it was given a more traditional orchestration. There was also a number that probably only lasted a performance or two where Ben Franklin and a few other men from the congress go to a whore house.

Billy was written by Barry Manilow’s manager, Ron Dante. It was based on the story of Billy Budd and it took place on a ship. At the world premiere, the ship would not rotate but they did the musical without the ship moving so I’m sure it was somewhat different. “It Ain’t Us That Makes The Wars But It’s Us That Does The Dying” was a particularly good song. I would probably have seen the show again to see what it was like to see the ship moving but the show closed opening night.

Another big flop was Big Time Buck White by Oscar Brown Jr. . This musical starring Cassius Clay (also known as Mohammad Ali) didn’t have very good songs unlike the very good songs Oscar had written for a show in Chicago, Kick and Co.. Big Time Buck White also closed opening night.

Celebration by Schmidt and Jones started as a workshop at the small theater they owned called Portfolio. There it was fairly successful. However when they moved it to a Broadway theater it lost a lot of its charm. Still, there are some wonderful songs on the cast album.

Coco by André Previn and Alan Jay Lerner is most remembered because it was Katharine Hepburn’s musical debut. She played Coco Chanel and pretty much talked the songs. There is a wonderful youtube video that was from the Tony Awards and the choreography by Michael Bennett is unbelievable. Kate insisted on touring the show so the producers would get their money back. I particularly liked the song “Always, Mademoiselle”. André Previn died just a week ago, may his soul rest in peace.

Dear World by Jerry Herman starred Angela Lansbury had a very attractive score, especially the title song. But somebody decided that Angela should have really garish makeup and that kind of turned me off to it. The story about finding oil under Paris was also a turn off because of how unbelievable it was.

Jimmy by Bill and Patti Jacob was Jack Warner’s idea to do a musical about the famous New York Mayor, Jimmy Walker. The idea of a doing a story about a colorful mayor had worked with Fiorello but this did not work. I wondered why Jack Warner would have chosen Bill and Patti Jacob rather than well known song writers. He also picked Frank Gorshin who was not a good singer but was instead picked on the merits of his nightclub imitation of James Cagney (whom Jack Warner loved). This didn’t seem like a great way to pick a lead performer to me. Julie Wilson had a few good songs. I met Patty Jacob about fifteen years ago and she had gotten married and changed her name but she also changed her first name which seemed odd.

Lysistrata was a play with Melina Mercouri with a handful of songs by Peter Link. It had a moderate run.

1491 by Meredith Wilson was scheduled to come to New York from California but never made it. It was about Christopher Columbus. We have recently discovered a very interesting and rare tape of Meredith Wilson singing the score which you can find if you click here.

Oh Calcutta was a musical about sex with some rock songs. It had a very long run off-Broadway because of tourists from around the world seeing the show and not needing to understand anything but enjoying the nudity.

Oklahoma by Rodgers and Hammerstein had a major Broadway revival and is the best version I have ever seen. It starred Christine Andreas and Harry Groener. This is the show that Richard Rodgers was willing to pay to record rather than Mama because he said the recording would make money.
We have several versions of this musical available for you to take a look at:
Oklahoma from the Royal National Theater
Oklahoma! a 75th Anniversary Edition
Oklahoma! the 1980 London Cast

Red, White and Maddox, a musical by Don Tucker, was a spoof about the governor of Georgia. It probably was funny if you lived in Georgia where they first did the show but was not that funny on Broadway, although it had a TV production which might be on Youtube but no cast album.

Fig Leaves are Falling (the live and demo version is available by clicking here) by Allan Sherman and Albert Hague was directed by George Abbott and had Dorothy Loudon (who was of course wonderful). Barry Nelson, who played the husband who has eyes for his secretary, was not much of a singer. When they cast him in another musical, the Act with Liza Minnelli, they didn’t let him sing even a note.

The last show, Megilla of Itzik Manger was a musical from Israel that didn’t for some reason have a cast album on Club View records.

As a special thanks to our Footlight customers who also read the blog, we’ll be offering 1491 for $12.95 ! Just follow this link and the album is on sale!

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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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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!