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October 6, 2004

For the fall pledge drive, a sampler from the 5-disc set Broadway: The American Musical, featuring the greatest hits of nearly 90 years of American musical theatre. It's a companion piece to the PBS mini-series of the same name which airs October 19 - 21.

PLAYLIST
Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Fascinating Rhythm Broadway: The American Musical (2004) Fred and Adele Astaire, George Gershwin (piano) Recorded in 1926, this one if from the Gershwin brothers' first hit, Lady Be Good (1924). It made Fred and Adele Astaire Broadway's leading song and dance team and featured Cliff ("Ukulele Ike") Edwards who at the time was a vaudeville headliner.
Lost in the Stars Broadway: The American Musical (2004) Todd Duncan This is from Lost in the Stars, a musical adaptation of Alan Paton's novel Cry, the Beloved Country about tragedy and redemption in apartheid South Africa. The show had music by Kurt Weill and book and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson. It opened on 10/30/1949 and ran for 273 performances. It became part of the repertory of the New York City Opera in 1958 and was revived in 1972 with Brock Peters in the Todd Duncan role of the black minister Stephen Kumalo.
Night Song Broadway: The American Musical (2004) Sammy Davis, Jr. This one is from Golden Boy. The script, by Clifford Odets and William Gibson, is based on Odets' 1937 drama of the same name about a young boxer trying to break out of poverty. The original character of Joe Bonaparte, and Italian-American, was changed to Joe Wellington, an African-American, and marked Davis' musical theatre debut. The show opened on 10/20/1964 and ran for a respectable 569 performances but has never been revived. The score is by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams (Bye Bye Birdie, Applause).
You're the Top Broadway: The American Musical (2004) Ethel Merman, Orchestra conducted by Johnny Green This classic is from Cole Porter's Anything Goes, which opened on 11/21/1934 and ran for 420 performances - quite a respectable run at the time. The original book by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse about a group of oddball characters on an ocean liner facing a bomb threat had to be re-written in rehearsal when the S.S. Morro Castle went down in flames off the New Jersey coast with the loss of over 125 lives. Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse re-wrote it, dropping the bomb threat but keeping the oddball characters and the result was a major hit that was filmed in 1936 (with Merman and Bing Crosby) and revived in 1962 and again in 1987 (when it actually ran longer than it had in 1934).
Come Follow the Band Broadway: The American Musical (2004) Jim Dale, Ensemble This aggressively upbeat number opens Act II of Barnum (1980), which presents a fictionalized account of the life of P.T. Barnum, done as a series of circus acts. The supernaturally energetic and multi-talented Jim Dale played the title role. The cast included Glenn Close as his wife Chairy. Barnum had a score by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Michael Stewart and a book by Mark Bramble. The show ran for 854 performances and was the first musical to pay the newly renovated Fox Theatre here in St. Louis.
Defying Gravity Broadway: The American Musical (2004) Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel In this dramatically charged Act I finale from Wicked (2003) Elphaba (Menzel) rejects The Wizard of Oz - who she sees as a corrupt dictator - and drives a wedge between herself and her friend Galinda (Chenoweth). Elphaba will later become known (unjustly) as the Wicked Witch of the West. The book by Winne Holzman is based on Gregory Maguire's novel of the same name; music and lyrics are by Stephen Schwartz. Wicked opened on 10/30/2003 and is still running today [10/6/2004].


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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