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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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1973: An Alphabetical Look at the Musicals of 1973

A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim I saw the premier performance in Boston at the Colonial Theatre and even from the opening chorus numbers I realized it was a very special evening. The music was that enjoyable to me. 

Cyrano is by Anthony Burgess and Michael J. Lewis. Christopher Plummer made this a memorable musical as he played a most convincing Cyrano. This was the only singing he did except for (of course) in the movie The Sound of Music. 

Gigi by Lerner and Loewe was, in my opinion, the best movie musical ever. It was not however the best Broadway musical as everything about the Broadway show paled in comparison to the movie. The Broadway Gigi, Karen Wolfe, had no particular charm or appeal. Alfred Drake played Maurice Chevalier’s character Honore LaChaisse unfortunately at the end of his singing career and lacked the charm that Maurice brought to the movie. Frederick Loewe, the composer, was unwilling to write any new material and a few unused melodies did not do much for this version and was an ultimate flop. 

Gone With The Wind by Harold Rome was scheduled to come to Broawday in 1973 but did not. We recommend the Japanese “Scarlett” available at Footlight over the now out of print Gone With the Wind from London. The English lyrics are subpar and the Japanse singing is very beautiful. 

Holiday by Cole Porter was a failed attempt to transfer to Broadway what again had been much more successful as a motion picture (this time a non-musical film movie). It was an early example of a jukebox musical where the songs do not particularly fit into the musical. It closed opening night with no recording.

Irene by Tierney and McCarthy was a revival of a 20’s musical that achieved more success in 1973 due to Debbie Reynolds and Gower Champion being cast. 

Molly by Jerry Livingston took so long to get to Broadway that one of the composers died along the way. The idea of a musical based on Molly Goldberg as originally performed by Gertrude Berg on radio and television. Gertrude was not a singer and so Kaye Ballard was chosen to replace her on stage in what was to be her only starring Broadway role. She did what she could with the part but the story they told was not very interesting and the music was in most cases disappointing. No recording was ever made of this musical.

Nash at Nine by Milton Rosenstock and Martin Charnin and Ogden Nash was an attempt to do a revue of verse mainly already written by Ogden Nash. It had a certain charm but was not a Broadway worthy musical especially with E.G. Marshal, a very good straight actor with no particular singing voice. Again no recording was ever made. 

Up next is Rachael Lily Rosenbloom written by disco writer Paul Jabara. Until the terrible 2016 musical “Disaster” appeared at the Nederlander Theatre, this musical was by far the worst musical I ever saw. It took 40 years to make a worse musical. I attended the first preview and after a few jokes about stupid Oscar movie titles there was nothing else entertaining about the entire show. The original idea had been to star Bette Midler. But even though she was a friend of the book writer she was not that good a friend that she wanted to stop her rising career and they were stuck with Ellen Greene. Ellen Greene has this distinction of appearing in two musicals that closed during previews. Ellen is only as good as her material. Paul Jabara called me and said, years later, “I hear you record every show” to which I replied, “Not the shows that I don’t like”. 

Raisin by Judd Woldin and Robert Brittan was a terrific adaptation of the play Raisin in the Sun. The play continues to be performed to this day. The show had wonderful songs and touching performances and even won some awards but the musical has never been done again except for a few small regional productions. The demo is available here at Footlight.

Seesaw by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields was a fairly popular version of the play Seesaw. In Detroit it starred Lainie Kazan who was not a dancer. She was replaced by Michelle Lee who was quite charming in the part. This was a big Michael Bennett dance musical and featured Tommy Tune doing a big dance with balloons called “It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish”. 

Smith by Dean Fuller and Matt Dubey started off-Broadway at the same theatre that starred “The Best Little WhoreHouse In Texas”. The plan was for this show to get good reviews and move to Broadway. It got decent reviews but not strong enough ones to raise the money to bring it to a Broadway house. It was orchestrated by Jonathon Tunick. I once spent a few hours talking to Mr. Tunick about his career and he expressed great love for the songs in this show. I loved the idea of the show. The hero, Don Morray, meets a pretty girl and attempts to talk to her and she responds in song saying that she will only talk to him if he sings everything. He initially finds this very difficult as he is just an ordinary man who is not used to singing ever but he is willing to do it to be part of this girls life. No recording exists of this. 

The Pajama Game, by Adler and Ross, was a revival of the 50’s hit again directed by George Abbott with a cast of Hal Linden, Barbara McNair, and Cab Calloway. Cab wasn’t right for this particular part. Barbara McNair. None of them were particularly great for the parts and none of them were as good as the original people in the show from the 50’s had been. The show only ran a couple months. 

Tricks by Jon Jorey and Jerry Blatt was based on a Moliere play and started as a small regional production. It certainly should never have been booked into the huge Alvin Theatre and closed after 8 amount of performances. No recording exists. 

More Than You Deserve was a musical by Jim Steinman that played the Papp Public Theatre was like a M*A*S*H set to music and has some wonderful that Steinman used when he wrote his songs for Meatloaf. We feature another Jim Steinman show, The Confidence Man for sale here at Footlight. 

Shelter by Cryer and Ford was another show that should not have been at a Broadway house and it ran only a few performances. Shelter was revived along with songs from another Cryer-Ford musical, The Last Sweet Days of Isaac. We recorded the York Theatre production of this and highly recommend it. 

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1972 Musicals

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To the Forum was a revival of the Sondheim 1962 musical. Phil Silvers, who had originally been announced to do the original Broadway version, was finally able to take on the lead role after playing Marcus Lycus in the film. While this would seem to have been a good idea it just didn’t seem to click. It didn’t have a profitable run and thus was not recorded.

Ambassador London cast version available here– had been fairly successful in London but the Broadway version was never recorded. Our products are the first time it was ever recorded on CD. The version we carry contains pop songs and newly written songs as well.


Cherry was a musical version of the 1955 play “Bus Stop” by William Inge. This was to have played at the Palace Theatre. There was even a huge sign announcing its arrival but it never came.


ClownAround
by Moose Charlap was an arena show that was slated to play Madison Square Garden I believe. It was directed by Gene Kelly. The actors never sang but they lip synced to a recorded soundtrack which RCA made into a cast album. But when the show closed all the copies were destroyed so it was one of the rare records of this period, although today it is easily purchased and is on Masterworks.


Different Times
by Michael Brown Jr. had a very brief run on Broadway and was quite hard to find but we have put it on a CDR if you click the link here.


Comedy by Hugo, Luigi, and Weiss was to be a show sort of in the style of Commedia dell’arte. With more skillful people involved it might have succeeded but it didn’t. It never left Boston where I saw it.


Don’t Play Us Cheap
, by Melvin Van Peebles, was a black musical that did not translate to a Broadway audience. It was on LP but has never been transferred to CD.

Dude by Galt McDermott and Gerome Ragni, is available on our site if you click here.
This was the follow up to Hair that closed opening night. Hair had been praised as just being a lot of fun and not being much about anything. The same could have been said about Dude but they did not enjoy dude the way they had their predecessor. MacDermott had a copy on LP and Original Cast records issued the LP on CD with bonus tracks from another recording by Salome Bay.


Grease
had not done that well downtown at the Village. It transferred to Broadway and became much more successful. Now it is one of those things that’s played everywhere.


Halloween by Mitch Leigh and Sidney Michaels was another show scheduled for Broadway that never arrived. It was done in Florida with Barbara Cook in the lead role. She was replaced and the show was done in Bucks county where I saw it and a lot of what went on did not make any sense whatsoever. Despite a few good songs it still would never have had a shot on Broadway.


Hard Job Being God by Tom Martel was a rap musical at the Edison hotel and it was made into a cast album but everything about it was lackluster.


Heathen by Eaton Magoon Jr. was a Hawaiian set musical that closed opening night. I went to a backer’s audition just to hear the score. During this time I found out that it was going to preview and open during a period that I would be in London seeing musicals so I called the producers and pretended to be interested in giving them investment money. I asked if I could see a run through which I knew was planned for the day and they told me “sure”. I came and they greeted and treated me in a very courteous way. They weren’t quite ready to start but told me to sit and wait. Fifteen minutes later, another person not-so-courteously came up to my wife and I and said they were sorry but we’d have to leave. Lucia Victor, the director, did not want any outsider to see the show (she obviously knew how bad it was). So I asked the assistant if we could sit in the balcony where it’s dark and no one would know we were there and they replied “well don’t say I gave you permission, but you probably could.”
We went upstairs and sat for what seemed like a long time and Doris, my wife at the time, said “I don’t think they’re ever going to do the show.” But it was too late to see another Broadway show and I decided to wait.
Finally we heard an orchestra tuning up.
“They are going to do the show!”
Two minutes later somebody came and started walking up the mezzanine and I was sure we were going to get kicked out again. Instead, to my surprise, this person did not know that Lucia did not want us there and treated us like we were very welcome. The show was played without stopping just for us!
I really loved that moment and I loved a lot of the score.
The live recording is not perfect in fidelity but it is very entertaining!

Hurry, Harry by David Finkle, Bill Weeden was another show that closed opening night. One of the starts, Mary Bracken Philips, told me that Steven Schwarts, a friend of hers, wanted to see the show but she didn’t want him to. She was embarrassed so she asked the box office person to tell him there were no seats available which was far from true.
We have recorded a few of the songs and they probably will be on a future “Lost Broadway” album.


Lost in the Stars by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson was a revival and it did not last.


Mama (I remember Mama) starred Celeste Holm and Jill O’Hara. It was scheduled for Broadway and we saw the show in Buffalo. The score by jack Clifton had some very nice numbers. You can purchase Mama on our site by clicking this link. It had some decent songs but it was decided not to bring it in and it closed in Buffalo.

Man of Lamancha moved to Broadway from The Village, had a successful run and as a result has been done many times. We have the only complete recording of the entire show from the London cast. Purchase by clicking this link.

Mary. C. Brown was a sort of hippie musical by Dori Previn, the wife of Andre Previn and pop singer. It tried in Los Angeles but made no sense and did not come to NY as planned. It was only on CD from an LP with Dori singing the score herself.

Mother Earth by Terry Tennille, who was famous for being part of Captain & Tennille, was an environmental show and encouraged people to not ruin what mother earth had planned. A noble idea, but not a good musical and closed in a few performances.

Pippin by Stephen Schwartz had a very successful run and has been done many times, including the 2013 version which is available if you click this link.

Promises, Promises, This was a show that I saw the opening tryout for in Boston. It only got better. It was a huge hit in New York. We have a few copies left of the very rare London cast with Betty Buckley. Click here to check it out.

Sugar (Some Like It Hot) by Julie Styne and Bob Merrill starred Robert Morse and Cyril Ritchard and was not as good as it should have been but did manage to run a year and make a profit for David Merrick. We have a few copies left of the Kreitzerland remix of the score. If you click this link it’ll take you right to it.

That’s Entertainment by Dietz and Schwartz was a revue of the hits with terrific arrangements by Luther Henderson. It played the Edison Hotel which was considered to be Broadway where it was not favored by the composers and closed quickly. Unfortunately no recording exists.

Selling of the President was by Jack O’Brian (who is now a famous director) and Bob James (a famous jazz performer). This was a musical that was booked into the Shubert Theatre, maybe the most desirable New York location, and it just was not interesting. A number of the songs were commercials about Terminex. It had Pat Hingle who certainly wasn’t a singer and Karen Morrow who was a singer and was not given a song of her own. The Shubert became available very quickly.

Via Galactica by Galt Macdermott and Christopher Gore was a sci-fi musical that initially opened at the Uris Theatre (now called the “Gershwin” theatre). This was directed by Sir Peter Hall who had never directed a musical and never did again. It starred Raul Julia and was laughable in its sci-fi elements. It closed opening night. But you can listen to it by clicking here.

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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!