Sunglasses at Midnight
Russell Link presents a show that focuses on the history of the American Musical Theatre.
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7/22/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 127
Three shows for this program!  JUMBO, the first show from them since 1931, included an elephant, Jimmy Durante, and several wonderful R&H songs: "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", "Little Girl Blue", and "My Romance".  MAY WINE, a Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II operetta, ran for 213 performances, but did not contain any great songs, but I've included three songs that are quite lovely, especially "Dance My Darlings", although Ben Bagley's arrangement  truly indicates that he, as he claims, "is incurably insane".  The last show is GEORGE WHITE"S SCANDALS OF 1936, using Ray Henderson's last Broadway show tunes (he did return in the early 40s. I've included Douglas Sill's charming rendition of "Cigarette". Enjoy!
to listen (57:53) or click here ......for download right click here
7/8/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 124
This program is devoted to Cole Porter's 1935 musical JUBILEE. In spite of a wonderful score, a cast including the very popular Mary Boland, and a book by Moss Hart, the show was not a success. Even the excellent song "Begin the Beguine"  was not a success at first.  I have a fine performance of that song by Thomas Hampson as well as several songs from the show sung by Cole, among them the delightful "The Kling Kling Bird on the Divi Divi Tree". One day someone will, hopefully, record the entire score using the original orchestrations; until then enjoy the recordings we do have, especially when they are performed as beautifully as Mabel Mercer's "When Loves Comes Your Way".
to listen (58:55) or click here ......for download right click here
7/1/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 123
This program is devoted to George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward's PORGY AND BESS. It was not a success when it first opened in 1935, running only 124 performances.  Opera or what?  Should it be performed on Broadway or in an opera house?  That question seems stupid now; it's just a great piece of theatre with some of Gershwin's most thrilling melodies. I've got performances by a few of the original cast members, Abbie Mitchell, Todd Duncan, and Anne Brown as well as Leontyne Price, William Warfield, and Lawrence Tibbett. And a really grand performance of "My Man's Gone Now" by Sarah Vaughan.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:59) or click here ......for download right click here
6/24/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 122
One show for this program:  AT HOME ABROAD, a revue by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz.   This show starred Beatrice Lillie, Ethel Waters, Eleanor Powell and Reginald Gardiner; I'm delighted to be able to bring to you quite a few songs sung by the original cast. Some of the recordings are not of the greatest quality, but they are good enough to be able to understand the words fairly well.  And there is a recording of Ethel Waters singing "Theif in the Night"  that is quite good.  If you've never heard Beatrice Lillie, there are several here that should amuse you very much.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:20) or click here ......for download right click here
6/17/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 121
Tonight I'll begin with music from the disappointing twenty week run of THUMBS UP, a show which included one of Vernon Duke's best songs, "Autumn in New York".  The song was the closing number of this revue, sung before a background of moving screens showing pictures of Manhattan.  Another big hit was James Hanley's "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart", made popular later in the 30's by Judy Garland.  Songs from a revival of THE GREEN PASTURES, a revue entitled PARADE, and EARL CARROLL'S SKETCH BOOK OF 1935 complete the program.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:52) or click here ......for download right click here
6/11/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 120
Today's program commences with the first Arthur Schwarz Howard Dietz musical comedy.  Their previous endeavors, quite successful, were revues, the most famous of which was THE BANDWAGON. They weren't as successful with book shows; however, REVENGE WITH MUSIC, starring Libby Holman, contained two of their loveliest songs, "You and the Night and the Music" and "If There Were Someone Lovelier Than You".  Some songs from Lew Brown and Harry Akst's musical, thanks to Ben Bagley and his Revisited Series, CALLING ALL STARS completes the program.  I've also included a few songs from Schwartz's 1930 London musical HERE COMES THE BRIDE. Enjoy!
to listen (57:40) or click here ......for download right click here
6/3/17  MUSICAL THEATRE # 119
Tonight's program is devoted to Cole Porter's great 1934 show ANYTHING GOES, possibly Porter's best show, unless it's KISS ME KATE.  Anyway, best or second best, it has some of his best songs, including the title song, "I Get a Kick Out of You", "You're the Top" and "Blow Gabriel Blow", all of which were introduced by Ethel Merman and are sung by her in this program.  I've included practically every song from the show, sung by Patti Lupone, Howard McGillan, Helen Gallagher, Susanna McCorkle and Mr. Porter, whose rendition of "Anything Goes" is a total pleasure.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:49) or click here ......for download right click here
5/28/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 118
This show returns to London for a 1933 musical NYMPH ERRANT, which never appeared on Broadway, and which only had a modest run on London. Porter regarded this show as one of his favorites, if not his favorite, and I can see why, for the score is wonderful, surely right up there with his best.  I've been able to access three of star Gertrude Lawrence's songs and one of Elizabeth Welch's for you.  Two CD's, the 1990 recording of the entire score, and YOU'RE THE TOP: COLE PORTER IN THE 1930'S, give us more songs to delight us, including Porter's rendition of the wonderful "The Cocotte".  Enjoy!
to listen (57:58) or click here ......for download right click here
5/20/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 117
Several shows tonight:  THE GREAT WALTZ, with a book by Moss Hart and Johann Strauss Jr. and Sr. music; CONTINENTAL VARIETIES, starring Lucienne Boyer, from which I have three songs she sang, "Si Petite", "Sans toi" and "Parlez-moi d'amour";  a revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's PATIENCE, with D'Oyly Carte artists, Martyn Green, Derek Oldham, and Daryl Fancourt; the wonderful CONVERSATION PIECE by Noel Coward, starring Yvonne Printemps, singing "I'll Follow My Secret Heart";  and the Ray Henderson and Ted Koehler SAY WHEN, from which I have "Let's Take Advantage of now, sung by Margaret Whiting and "When Love Comes Swinging Along".  Enjoy!
to listen (59:04) or click here ......for download right click here
5/14/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 116
Revivals of Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas again!  But this time the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, starring Martyn Green, presented the operettas; ten masterpieces in all, opening with THE GONDOLIERS.  COX AND BOX and PRINCESS IDA were included along with the more familiar MIKADO, H. M. S. PINAFORE, RUDDIGORE, YOEMEN OF THE GUARD, TRIAL BY JURY, IOLANTHE and THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE.  You Tube has an enormous quantity of Gilbert and Sullivan and so I've been able give you quite a few Martyn Green performances. Enjoy!
to listen (55:57) or click here ......for download right click here
5/6/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 115
Tonight I'm continuing the Harold Arlen E. Y. Harburg revue LIFE BEGINS AT 8:40.  Thanks to Ben Bagley and Blossom Dearie, David Burns, Estelle Parsons , and Helen Gallagher we can enjoy some songs we heard last week in different arrangements and several not included last week.  I'm also playing four songs from Jerome Kerns' London 1934 musical THE THREE SISTERS.  It was never brought to Broadway but it is, according to Gerald Bordman, Kerns excellent biographer, one of his best scores.  Enjoy!
to listen (57:09) or click here ......for download right click here
4/29/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 114
Tonight's program is devoted to the 1934 revue LIFE BEGINS AT 8:40, with songs by Harold Arlen, E. Y. Harburg and Ira Gershwin.  Most of the music tonight will come from a PS Classics recording of the complete score , starring Kate Baldwin, Philip Chaffin and Rebecca Luker, produced by Tommy Krasker in 2010.  There are quite a few wonderful songs in this show, including "Let's Take a Walk around the Block", "You're a Builder Upper" and "Fun to Be Fooled".  In addition to the performances from the CD, I've included, thanks to You Tube, a few 1934 performances, not by original cast members, but by Ethel Merman and the Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:09) or click here ......for download right click here
4/22/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 113
Tonight's program includes some songs from Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's 1934 COTTON CLUB PARADE, the 24th edition.  This revue is not, of course, a Broadway show, but with songs by these great theatre song writers the score should be heard.  And what songs: "Ill Wind", "As Long As I Live" and "Here Goes".  I have recordings by Maxine Sullivan, Jimmy Lunceford, and Harold Arlen, singing "Ill Wind".  And back to Broadway, after the Gilbert and Sullivan revivals, a few more revivals:  THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER, BITTER SWEET, and Victor Herbert's THE ONLY GIRL.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:09) or click here ......for download right click here
4/15/17 MUSICAL THEATRE #112
After a short run of Virgil Thompson's FOUR SAINTS IN THREE ACTS, to a libretto by Gertrude Stein, there was again another run of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas:  THE MIKADO, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE , TRIAL BY JURY, H. M. S. PINAFORE and IOLANTHE. I  have a wide range of G&S performance styles for songs from these operettas: Kenny Baker, Kevin Kline, John Reed, Thomas Allen and Maureen Forrester, from a late '30s film of THE MIKADO to a Stratford, Ontario, Shakespeare Festival performance of IOLANTHE.  Oh!  Miss Stein's famous lines from FOUR SAINTS: "Pigeons on the grass alas" and "When this you see remember me."  Enjoy!
to listen (58:54) or click here ......for download right click here
4/6/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 111
One revue closed the year 1933, BLACKBIRDS OF 1933, and another opened the year 1934, ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1933-1934. BLACKBIRDS, although it starred Bill Robinson, was unsuccessful, 25 performances, while the FOLLIES was quite a bit more successful, 182 performances. From BLACKBIRDS I have three songs, one sung by Ethel Waters (she was not in the show), "I Just Couldn't Take It".  From the FOLLIES, which starred Fanny Brice, I have several songs by Vernon Duke and E. Y. Harburg, and a Baby Snooks skit with Fanny Brice.  The skit, "Be Kind to the Animals", was not from the FOLLIES, in which Fanny introduced her famous Baby Snooks character; it was from a later radio program.  I've also included a gorgeous recording of "Water under the Bridge", a Duke-Harburg song, sung by Tammy Grimes.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:40) or click here ......for download right click here
3/31/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 110
Tonight's program is devoted to Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach's lovely ROBERTA.  The songs in the show include the haunting "Yesterdays", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "You're Devastating", "I Won't Dance" and "I'll Be Hard to Handle". I've included only one original Broadway cast member, Tamara, singing "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"; however, Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are included singing songs from the 1935 movie version. Billie Holliday, Gordon McCrae, Kim Criswell and Jason Graae are among the performers of the other songs.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:22) or click here ......for download right click here
3/24/17 MUSICAL THEATRE #109
This show is devoted entirely to George and Ira Gershwin's LET 'EM EAT CAKE, with a book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind.  The music you'll hear is primarily from the 1987 Michael Tilson Thomas recording of the score as orchestrated by Russell Warner. The original orchestrations have not survived and with the financial help of Mrs. Ira Gershwin this version exists.  The show was not as successful as its predecessor OF THEE I SING, only playing 90 performances, but the songs are grand Gershwin. There's much to enjoy here, so ENJOY!
to listen (58:31) or click here ......for download right click here
3/19/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 108
This program continues with a great performance of "Suppertime " by Ethel Waters from AS THOUSANDS CHEER, the Irving Berlin revue.  I've also included another Ethel Waters performance, not from AS THOUSANDS CHEER, but from her movie version of A MEMBER OF THE WEDDING, "His Eye Is on the Sparrow", a beautiful tribute to her artistry. The next show was an English version of the ever popular DIE FLEDERMAUS, the Strauss operetta, called CHAMPAGNE SEC. It starred Peggy Wood and Kitty Carlisle.  I've included a few songs and the overture.  And then came the Gershwin's LET 'EM EAT CAKE, not as successful as its predecessor OF THEE I SING.  I've included the overture today and will continue next week with more music from the show.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:49) or click here ......for download right click here
3/12/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 107
This afternoon's show is devoted to Irving Berlin's AS THOUSANDS CHEER, the very successful 1933 revue starring Ethel Waters, Marilyn Miller, Clifton Webb and Helen Broderick.  Mos Hart wrote the skits and Hassard Short directed.  It ran for 400 performances at the Music Box Theatre.  The revue was held together by the clever idea to introduce each scene with a headline; so the headline for Ethel Water's great "Suppertime" was UNKNOWN NEGRO LYNCHED BY FRENZIED MOB and "Easter Parade" was headlined by ROTOGRAVURE SECTION.
These two songs are sung by original cast members Ethel Waters and Clifton Webb.  Enjoy these songs and quite a few more.  A great score!
to listen (59:30) or click here ......for download right click here
3/3/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 106
Tonight's program contains songs from three revivals, Balfe's THE BOHEMIAN GIRL, including the lovely "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls", beautifully sung by Jessye Norman; and two Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE and YEOMEN OF THE GUARD.  Music from three more shows are included:  MURDER AT THE VANITIES, HOLD YOUR HORSES, and AS THOUSANDS CHEER.  The last show featured a great score by Irving Berlin and skits by Moss Hart; it was very successful, playing 400 performances.  Ethel Waters was one the stars; I've included two of her songs, "Heat Wave" and "Harlem on My Mind".  More from this show next time. Enjoy!
to listen (57:00) or click here ......for download right click here
A dear friend and a superb musician died on February 17th.  I was privileged to have been a member of the Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus during the first years of the chorus' life.  Singing with Barbara, developing a friendship with her and with so many of the wonderful men who sang with the group , was one of the best parts of my life.  This is a memory of her and her music that I would like to share with her many friends and admirers.  The accompanying photograph was taken by Richard Wicka; also attached is a link to a conversation she and Richard had as a part of his Five Minute Conversation series. (  It is a joy to have her words to share with you.
to listen (57:27) or click here ......for download right click here
2/21/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 105
This program contains some very contrasting music.  A production of Kurt Weill's THE THREEPENNY OPERA, in English, was followed by a series of revivals of several Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, MIKADO, IOLANTHE, HMS PINAFORE, and PATIENCE, interrupted by the opening of a revival ofthe Gershwins' OF THEE I SING .  I've gathered for you some wonderful recordings, from Louis Armstrong's "Mack the Knife"  to a 1932 recording of a medley of songs from OF THEE I SING.  Along with several G and S numbers performed by the great D'Oyly Carte company, this should enjoyable; I hope you find it so.
to listen (58:27) or click here ......for download right click here