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You're No Good

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August 1, 2001

A celebration of villany on the musical stage. Boo, hiss!

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
You’re No Good What Makes Sammy Run? (OC 1964) Bernice Massi, Steve Lawrence Music and lyrics by Ervin Drake, book by Stuart and Budd Schulberg, based on the latter’s novel of the same name about Sammy Glick, an ambitious copy boy who schemes his way to the top in Hollywood in the 1930s. This was the Broadway debut of nightclub singer Lawrence.
The Way Things Are I Can Get It For You Wholesale (OC 1962) Elliott Gould Music and lyrics by Harold Rome, book by Jerome Weidman, based on his 1937 novel of the same name. Elliott Gould plays Harry Bogen, the Sammy Glick of New York’s Garment District.
Oh, What a Son of a Bitch I Am Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? (OS 1969) Anthony Newley, Stubby Kaye, Ron Rubin Anthony Newley plays an egocentric playboy actor. Hmmm.... In this song he celebrates his lack of scruples, aided by his writers. Music is by Newley, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer.
Take Him Pal Joey (Studio cast 1950) Vivienne Segal, Beverly Fite Music Richard Rogers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, book by George Abbott (not credited) and John O’Hara, based on a series of his short stories that originally appeared in The New Yorker. Segal sings this role (Vera Simpson) in both the 1940 original and 1952 Broadway revival productions of Pal Joey. They’re talking about Joey Evans, a classic heel.
I Shall Miss You Baker Street (OC 1965) Martin Gabel Music and lyrics by Marian Grudeff and Martin Jessel (with additional, un-credited music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, best-known for Fiddler on the Roof) and a book by Jerome Coopersmith loosely based on A Scandal in Bohemia. Despite lavish production values and direction by Harold Prince, the show was not a great success, running only 313 performances. In this song, Moriarity gloats over what he believes will be Holmes’ impending demise.
McCavity Cats (OC 1982) Wendy Edmead, Donna King, Company Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-smashing hit, based on poems by T.E. Eliot. Eliot was a Holmes fan and the poem is an obvious parody of Moriarity.
Falcon in the Dive The Scarlet Pimpernel (OC 1997) Terrence Mann Music by Frank Wildhorn (The Civil War, Jekyll and Hyde) and book and lyrics by Nan Knighton. Here Chauvelin, the unscrupulous henchman of the infamous Robespierre, sees himself as a falcon hunting the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Stars Les Miserables (OC 1987) Terrence Mann The fanatical and rigid policeman Javert justifies his persecution of Jean Valjean.
The Ballad of Booth Assassins (OC 1991) Patrick Cassidy, Victor Garber, Marcus Olson Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman. The Balladeer (Cassidy) tells the tale of one of American history’s most infamous villains.
Captain Hook’s Waltz Peter Pan (OC 1954) Cyril Ritchard During west coast tryouts, the original score for Peter Pan (by Mark “Moose” Charlap and Carolyn Leigh) was augmented by additional songs by Jule Styne (music) and Betty Comden and Adolph Green (lyrics). This is one of the latter.
Stepsisters’ Lament Cinderella (OC 1957) Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley Music by Richard Rogers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. This is actually the original soundtrack recording of a live CBS-TV broadcast from March 31st, 1957. It has been frequently re-broadcast and has been revived twice: in 1964 with Lesley Ann Warren in the title role and in 1997 with Brandy and Cinderella and Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother.
Gaston Beauty and the Beast (OC 1994) Burke Moses, Kenny Raskin Music and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, book by Linda Woolverton, based on her script for the 1991 animated film. Gaston is the handsome, dim and basically evil villain of both the piece.
Be Prepared The Lion King (OC 1997) John Vickery, Tracy Nicole Chapman, Stanley Wayne Mathis Music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, based on the 1994 animated film. Scar (Vickery) warns his hyena henchmen to be prepared from some skullduggery.
Was I Wazir? Kismet (OC 1953) Henry Calvin, Male Chorus Music and lyrics by Robert Wright and George Forrest (based on themes by Alexander Borodin), book by Charles Lederer and Luther Davis, based on a popular 1911 play of the same name by Edward Knoblock. The Grand Wazir, like Mr. Applegate in Damn Yankees, reminisces about past villainies.
Those Were The Good Old Days Damn Yankees (OC 1955) Ray Walston Music and lyrics by Jerry Adler and Richard Ross (The Pajama Game), book by Richard Bissell (not credited), George Abbott and Douglas Wallop, based on the latter’s then-popular novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. Here, “Mr. Applegate” (a.k.a. Satan) waxes nostalgic.

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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