Original Cast Recording- Annie Get Your Gun

And with this, we are done with our month long salute to Broadway. Overall, it went OK although I must say, I was unable to post what is my favorite musical Guys and Dolls.  Also painfully omitted is The Music Man which I already posted some time back  Other than that, here is this which has been all over this blog this month.  Well, saving the best for last with this original cast recording.

This has been the end of my month long salute to that old Broad, Broadway.  Despite really being sick of musical records this month, I learned something interesting about the evolution of musicals while doing this post.  You had the early 20th century musical theater in which you had either follies or songs that are separate and really highlight the performer rather than the story.  That is why I can name about a dozen Rodgers and Hart songs but none of their musicals (with the exception of Pal Joey but that is more because of the movie with Frank Sinatra).  Then you have the Golden Age of 1940-1964 with the book musical I have been mostly highlighting.  During this time as well as the last era, the songs were American popular music.  But the story’s and the musicals themselves were just as important.  Then finally in 1964, we saw yet another shift.  Rock and roll and other forms had pushed Broadway music out of the pop charts.  However, the works themselves had become bigger than ever.  This is still evident today as you can look at Les Miserables, Phantom of The Opera, Chicago, and so on, but would be pressed to name a song from any, despite the music is just as good as it ever was.  In short, it would seem the music and the overall work over the last century were on two different trajectories which existed together during that middle golden age. At least that is how I see it.

The original production which opened in 1946, ran 1,147 performances.  For more information, check out the video below as I am exhausted on the subject of Annie and musicals in general. I must again say, I got a lot of mileage out of these videos and found them quite enjoyable.

For a sample, I went with what is perhaps one of the greatest duets ever to grace the stage, not to mention one that I threw up several times this month, “Anything You Can Do”.

Satisfactory.  Another month done. No more Broadway for awhile.

Orignal Soundtrack Recording- Cabaret

I can almost taste freedom from what has been Donkey Show’s month long tribute to Broadway.  This record , the film adaptation of the Broadway musical, was in the collection of records I got from the estate of Big Al Pallister.

Cabaret was a revolutionary production when it hit Broadway in 1966.  With music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff, the production, based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel, Goodbye to Berlin, chronicled the rise of Nazi Germany against the backdrop of the Kit Kat Klub as well as two romantic story lines.  The story combined the club’s revue along with its society in a interweaving narrative, lead by the Master of Ceremonies, originated on Broadway by one Joel Grey.

Based on its success, the musical was adapted into a movie in 1972.  Grey remained in his role, but the parts of Sally Bowles and Brian Roberts were played by Liza Minnelli and Michael York (switching the nationalities of the actors from the musical).  A good chunk of songs from the stage were discarded and new songs, again written by Kander and Ebb were provided.

The movie made a superstar out of Minnelli for sure.  It also won 8 Oscars.  Director Bob Fosse pulled off the rare feat that year of winning the Triple Corwn of directing (an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony in that category). The following video has a lot of good information regarding the career of Fosse.

For a sample, I went with one of the new songs composed for the film, “Mein Herr”.

Nice little album.  Satisfactory. I realize I should probably state more about both the musical and the movie but I am really burned out at this point.

 

Bravo Pops Symphony Orchestra- Gigi/ My Fair Lady

Only three more posts for this Broadway salute.  This record was only a dollar.  It contains two works of the Broadway team of Lerner and Lowe, the film the dup composed Gigi, and perhaps their most famous work, My Fair Lady.  For the purposes of this post, we are going to pretend the Gigi side does not exist, despite the fact that the duo would covert the movie into a Broadway musical in 1973.

I posted the Original Cast Recording for My Fair Lady a couple months back and had a pretty lengthy write up so I am not going to rehash many of the specifics here other than the fact that it ran for 2,717 shows, which at the time (1956-1962) was the longest Broadway production.

On the last post,  I noted that I am not a huge fan of this piece.  That has not changed.  Still do not find it believable.  I mean Professor Henry Higgins clearly prefers the company of men.  

This album is credited to the Bravo Pops Symphony Orchestra under the direction of John Senati.  Senati, the orchestra and Bravo records did a series of musical albums in the late 50’s/ early 60’s.  Broadway musical albums that is.  I get that all music is musical.

But despite my feelings about this work, “The Street Where You Live” is still one of my favorite songs.  Here it is as a sample. 

Meh.  Could have used some vocals. Also, maybe at this point, I am just sick of listening to musicals.

Original Cast Recording- George M.

At last  My last week of riding this train wreck of a month I devoted to Broadway.  Not a bad idea to start but I am quite sick at this moment of listening to showtunes.  Also, not to bright of me to leave the works I am less familiar with to the end.  Oh well, lets burn thru these.  Here is this that I bought for $4, probably to dedicate some space to the subject matter.

 

And what better way to celebrate a month of Broadway than to pay tribute to its very own bard, George M. Cohan.  An Irish American born to vaudevillian parents in 1878, Cohan went on to write and perform in more than three dozen musicals, beginning with Little Johnny Jones in 1904.  An early pioneer in the book musical which most of these posts have been celebrating this month, Cohan wrote over 300 songs including “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, “You’re A Grand Old Flag”, “Over There”, “45 Minutes to Broadway’, and “Mary Is A Grand Old Name”.

Perhaps, Cohan is best known today (or last century) by his portrayal by James Cagney in the bio movie Yankee Doodle Dandy.  Cagney, who was a former vaudevillian and dancer, was a good fit for the role, although Cohan, an advisor to the film, preferred Fred Astaire.  Nevermind that the film was a good old dose of Hollywood bullshit of things that did not happen as true as they are presented.  It remains one of my favorites. Cohan himself, who was in ill health, would pass shortly after its release in 1942.  As tribute, he has a statue in Broadway.

This production, based on Cohan’s life, opened on Broadway in 1968 and ran for 433 performances.  Driven by actor Joel Grey, who was coming off the success of Cabaret, the music, of course was Cohan’s with the book by Michael Stewart, John Pascal, and his wife Francine. The cast also featured Bernadette Peters.

Reviews were mixed.  The book was called a mess but the directing work of Joe Layton as well as the performance of Joel Grey were generally praised.  Layton won a Tony for choregraphy for his efforts with this and a television adaptation was produced in 1970. Grey was nominated for a Tony but alas did not win.  Did you know Joel Grey is the father of Dirty Dancing‘s Jennifer Grey?  This is the fun fact I learned with this post.

Could have gone in many directions with this, but ultimatley decided to go with the Epilogue number, which is a medley of some of Cohan’s songs along with an audio of his famous signoff, “My Father Thanks You, My Mother Thanks You…..Etc”.

Not a bad little album.  Satisfactory.

New World Orchestra-WRC Production- The Sound of Music

Broadway month is getting closer to the finish line with this, which I bought for a dollar.  I guess a bought it to write a post on the influential Rodgers and Hammerstein production.

The Sound of Music was the last piece of work for the duo as Hammerstein would die of cancer nine months after its premier on Broadway (which was 1959).  Featuring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel in the leading roles, the story of the Austrian Von Trapp Family, the original production ran 1,443 performances and won five Tony’s including Best Musical.  A film version with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer followed in 1965 which itself won five Oscars.  Numerous revivals and production followed and most every song on this has become a standard over time.

I am not sure where this came from other than a reference to the WRC (World Record Club, a UK mail subscription record club) and some information on London productions.  I believe this came out in 1961.  The credits include music by   The New World Orchestra led by Jan Cervenka, with arrangements Bobby Richards and production by Cyril Ornadel.  As far as the principal actress/actors go, that would be two London performers, Adele Leigh and Ian Wallace, both currently deceased.  I am sure I could find something more out on this if I were so inclined, which today I am not.

For some reason, Sound of Music never really took off with me. I know, even with Julie Andrews in the movie version.  I think something about seeing her as a nun probably does not do it for me.  Well, however, I feel, this was a hughly popular musical and score and as a sample I went with ” My Favorite Things”  which served as a basis for his oft-cited jazz cover which served as the basis for the Door’s Robbie Kreiger’s “Light My Fire”.

As far as this album goes though, meh.  Nothing really radical or new on this.  Have not meh’d an album all month.  Feels kind of good.

Original Cast Recording- Fiddler On The Roof

This Broadway gem was $4. This is the second appearance of this production this month.  If you want to learn more about its legacy, I would suggest doubling back to that post, watching the video below, or just going straight to Google for your queries.

 

As the video so neatly states, Fiddler came out at a precarious time for musicals (1964).  With the arrival of the Beatles, rock and roll became the dominate force in popular American music.  Before this, pop music was musical theater.  It was a tectonic shift of sorts but as a result, musical theater would re-invent itself in the second half of the sixties as well as later decades. Anyway, despite this trend, the songs from Fiddler were a smash hit (along with the musical itself) and remain so to this day, a testament to their place in Broadway history.

Zero Mostel originated the role of Tevye on the stage.  However, during rehearsals, Mostel feuded with director/choreographer Jerome Robbins, due to Robbins testimony in front of the House on Un-American Activities Committee.  The original production also featured Maria Kanilova as Tevye’s wife Goldie as well as Bea Arthur as the matchmaker.

The show, which opened Sept of 1964,  was a massive success with a run of 3,242 shows, the first Broadway production to run over 3,000.  For awhile, it became the longest running show on Broadway. Today it ranks #16 of all time.  The production also won 9 Tony’s including Best Musical.  Numerous revivals and productions have been staged around the world as well.

For a sample, I went with what is probably my favorite song from the production and one that due to being an ensemble piece, does not make it on many of the Fiddler records I find.  That would be “Tevye’s Dream” whereas to convince his wife let their daughter marry the tailor, Tevye concocts a dream whereas their dead relatives come back from the dead to warn of ill consequences should their daughter marry the butcher.  Pretty macabre stuff.  Again,  there were a lot of great moments on this record but I fear a may not get another chance to post this song again.

Satisfactory record.

Orginal Cast Recording- Man of LaMancha

This little gem from the Great White Way was only $1.  It contains one of my favorite songs ( and perhaps one of Broadway’s greatest),which I post quite frequently on this blog, “The Impossible Dream”.  As a side note, despite many attempts, I have yet to finish reading the source material, Don Quixote.  I get hung up on Cardenio’s story.  It seems to bring the novel to a screeching halt to me.

Man of La Mancha, with book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion, and music by Mitch Leigh, was based on an earlier tele-play by Wasserman, titled I, Don Quixote, with no music.  The musical, set in a dungeon, tells the story of the author, Miquel de Cervantes telling the story of Quixote while awaiting trial by the Spanish Inquisition.  You know, a kind of play within a play thing. Apart from a double bass and flamenco guitars, no stringed instruments were used in the score.

Man of La Mancha opened after 21 previews in November of 1965.  With a run of 2,328 shows, and five Tony’s including Best Musical, it was pretty successful. The original production started Richard Kiley, Irving Jacobson, Ray Middleton, Robert Rounseville, and Joan Diener A touring production as well as numerous revivals followed (including one by Dr Sam Beckett on Quantum Leap).  A film version with Peter O’Toole was released in 1969.

Finally, the song “Impossible Dream” has become an enduring standard with many, many cover versions.

For a sample, I went with the Finale as I felt it tied up all the great musical numbers together.

Great little album.  Satisfactory.

Original Cast Recording- Jennie

 Broadway month just keeps rolling on with this that I bought for $2, although I can not remember why.  Perhaps it was because it was a little known piece from a stage legend.  Maybe I was hoping for a piece of gold to come out of this. Also try not reading this post in a Forrest Gump voice.

Jennie was the last major work from the team of Howard Dietz (lyrics) and Arthur Schwartz (music).  The two had paired to write songs for over a dozen or so musicals mostly in the 1920’s and 1930’s (pre-Oklahoma days).  Among their most famous songs perhaps are “Alone Together” and “That’s Entertainment”.

With a book by Arnold Schulman, the original intent was to base the story around the life of silent film star, Laurette Taylor. But as with many biographic productions of the 20th century, it strayed pretty far off from the source material and in the end, bore little resemblance to Taylor’s story.  Also, the production was produced by Mary Martin’s husband, and financed by the both of them.

Jennie opened in October of 1963 and closed after 82 performances in December of the same year.  Pre-Broadway tryouts were plagued with problems and although audiences and critics enjoyed the songs as well as Martin’s performances, they liked little else.

For a sample, I was pulled in a few directions.  I liked the dancing instrumental “Sauce Diablo”.  I also really liked “High is Better Than Low”.  Finally, here is the only song I know of about Seattle, “See Seattle” sung by Commando Cody, himself, George D Wallace.

Eh.  I could go both ways on this.  There was nothing that really jumped out as great but I did like several numbers and I posted three samples.  Satisfactory.

Vivian Blaine- Pal Joey/ Annie Get Your Gun

Broadway month just keeps going despite the fact that I am sick of it already. At least only two more weeks. I have had this album kicking around since about the sixth month I started this blog.  Big Vivian Blaine fan from her work on both the stage and film version of Guys and Dolls.

Blaine, born in Newark, NJ in 1921, originated the role of  Miss Adelaide, Nathan Detriot’s oft neglected girlfriend, on Broadway.  She also performed on other stage productions as well as films with a good repertoire of both under her belt.  Towards the end of her career, she had successfully transitioned to TV, with guest spots on various shows of the time. She would pass of heart failure in 1995 at age 74.

This is a collection of songs from two famous Broadway productions, neither of which were performed by Blaine.  First we have yet another appearance of Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun.  Next we have what is probably the most famous work of Rodgers and Hart, Pal Joey.  This is probably more due to the movie version with Frank Sinatra.  But note, as discussed in previous posts, before the rise of the book musical as the dominate force in musical theater, this would probably explain why the songs are more famous than the actual work.  Anyway, it opened in 1940 and with a run of ten months, it was the third longest running Rodgers and Hart production, despite mixed reviews.  At also featured a young Gene Kelly in the staring role of Joey Evans. On a side note, obviously this month, I have gotten a lot of mileage out of these American Musical segments and totally suggest checking them out.  Julie Andrews, I believe has been doing the narration.

But back to this album, here is a Broadway legend doing Broadway standards in a beautiful fashion.  Released around 1959ish? by Mercury, by what I believe was the height of her fame, the only complaint is that the record is too short.  I mean she hits the high point numbers of each work, but I wish she could have had more space to tackle the deeper cuts from both productions.

Oh, well.  For a sample, I went with Zip from Pal Joey. From Annie, I went with “There’s No Business Like Show Business”.  Honestly, I liked all the Annie selections, but I felt this was the best version of this song from all the albums, except maybe the original (which I believe I already posted a version on an earlier compilation).

Pretty good little record and I am a bit embarrassed it took me so long to post it.  Satisfactory.

Original Cast Recording- Hello Dolly

So somewhat already getting sick of the Broadway theme we are ding this month, but too late to change gears now.  This was $1.20.  Not really familiar with Hello Dolly as compared to other works I have put on this month.  I had an opportunity last night to watch the movie for some background but a romance between Barbara Streisand and Walter Matthau is a bit much for me to bear.

Hello Dolly was a musical with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Michael Stewart, all based on Thorton Wilder’s 1938 play The Merchant of Yonkers.  It tells the story of a matchmaker who tries to find a mate for a unmarried half-millionaire.  The producers had Ethel Merman in mind for the lead role who turned it down.  Ditto for Mary Martin.  After consideration of Nancy Walker, the role went to Carol Channing, who went on to make it her signature role.

After some rocky reviews in previews, the show was retooled and opened on Broadway on Jan 16, 1964.  It became a smash hit, running 2,844 performances, a record at the time.  In fact, despite the advent of rock and roll, ten Broadway productions in the 60’s would run past 1,000 performances,  Three of which would go over 2,000 Anyway, back to this, Hello Dolly won 10 out of 11 Tony’s a record until 2001.  Channing won for Best Actress in a Musical despite stiff competition between Streisand with Funny Girl.

And as inferred above, a film version which was directed by Gene Kelly, came out in 1969.  It would win three Oscars. As this still remains highly popular, various revivals have been performed through out the years including a 2017 run with Bette Midler.

The album was pretty darn successful as well, going to the #1 spot in the US.  The theme song has become a standard of sorts, is some part due to Louis Armstrong’s cover version, which knocked the Beatles out of the #1 spot in 1964. In 2002, this album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, although I am not too certain what that means.

But here is this, featuring Channing, David Burns, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jerry Dodge, and Eileen Brennnan. For a sample, I went with “Dancing” as it features most of the principles.

Not bad little record but not one pf my favorites .  But still…. satisfactory.