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July 9, 2000

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Not Necessarily the Muny

Maud Essen joins Amy for a left-of-center look at some of the music you can hear at The Muny this season.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Somewhere Blue Valentine Tom Waits From the Muny’s season opener: West Side Story. Book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; produced by Harold Prince. Broadway premiere September, 1957.
Somewhere (Ballet) West Side Story (OC 1957) Larry Kert (Tony), Carol Lawrence (Maria) The dance sequence that goes with the song.
We Kiss in a Shadow Out on Broadway (OC 1996) Tracy Collins, Eddie Webb Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote this song for The King and I. Given a new slant--sung by two men--in Scott Miller’s New Line Theatre production, which premiered in St. Louis March 1996 & was revived August 1996 at the late lamented St. Marcus Theatre. "A sweetly rewarding and happy surprise" (Riverfront Times)
Maria Sound of Music (OS 1965) Nuns Chorus (singers not listed in credits!) Opens tomorrow at the Muny. Music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Directed by Robert Wise from a screenplay by Ernest Lehman. Opened in March 1965; the musical, starring Mary Martin, premiered in 1959.
Maria West Side Story (OC 1957) Larry Kert (Tony) Separated at birth??
Sisters . . . Songs from the Girl Singer: Rosemary Clooney Rosemary & Betty Clooney (real-life sisters) with Paul Weston & his Orchestra This was originally released in 1954. The song is from White Christmas, by Irving Berlin, the fourth offering at the Muny this season. The prospect of a white Christmas while sweltering in a St. Louis July is pretty funny all by itself. Rosemary Clooney was part of the quartet of singers featured in the 1954 movie--Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen were the others. Apparently Bing & Danny donned drag to sing this number during a break in filming; someone turned the camera on, and voila! It’s in the movie
Puttin’ on the Ritz Irving Berlin in Hollywood Clark Gable Another Irving Berlin number, this one from Idiot’s Delight (MGM 1939). Seems an appropriate title for the theme of today’s show . . .
Puttin’ on the Ritz Mel Brooks: Original Soundtrack Music composed by John Morris Gene Wilder & Peter Boyle From Mel Brook’s classic Young Frankenstein (1974). Another show-biz connection (it’s such a small world)--Gene Wilder previously had starred in The Producers with Zero Mostel, who starred in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (the next show at the Muny!) on Broadway and on film.
White Christmas A Creole Christmas Allen Toussaint A wonderfully different rendering of the title tune from White Christmas.
Lovely . . A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (OS 1966) Annette Andre & Michael Crawford Stephen Sondheim’s delightfully silly musical, with book by Bert Shevelove & Larry Gelbart (who later wrote M*A*S*H episodes). Opened on Broadway in 1962 (produced by Harold Prince). The 1966 movie was directed by Richard Lester (Three Musketeers). Michael Crawford went on to star in Phantom of the Opera .
Lovely A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (OS 1966) Zero Mostel & Jack Gilford Yup. Reprise of the love ballad. Don’t ask--the plot's hysterically convoluted.
Bless Yore Beautiful Hide Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (OS 1954) Howard Keel The stage version of this follows Forum on the Muny stage. Lyrics by Johnny Mercer and music by Gene de Paul. This song pretty much sums up the attitude of the movie. Stanley Donen, who went on to do Singin’ in the Rain with Gene Kelly, directed.
Moses Supposes Singin’ in the Rain (OC 1984) Tommy Steele and Roy Castle The final show of the Muny season is another unusual venture that went from screen to stage, instead of the other way around. Movie premiered in 1952 with Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds; stage version came out in 1984. Story and screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green; music by Nacio Herb Brown and lyrics by Arthur Green.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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