Sunglasses at Midnight
Russell Link presents a show that focuses on the history of the American Musical Theatre.
Contact Russell via email. He would love your feedback.
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
2/26/17 SOME MEMORIES OF BARBARA WAGNER
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. (http://www.hotftv.net/five-min-series/video-archives/barb-wagner/not-about-you.mov)  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
2/17/17 CELEBRATING TWO GREAT ARTISTS:  MARIAN ANDERSON AND LEONTYNE PRICE
I'm diverting from my usual schedule to spend an hour with these two great artists.  Both women, although they had magnificent voices, suffered from our tragic racist culture, making their careers difficult, to say the least.  So, this being the month of their births, Miss Anderson was born in1897, Miss Price celebrated her 90th birthday a few weeks ago, I decided to have an hour devoted to their music.  And this is also Black History Month.  So be it!  Enjoy the beautiful music!
to listen (59:23) or click here ......for download right click here
2/12/17 MUSICAL THEATRE #104
A few more songs from the Gershwins' PARDON MY ENGLISH and a few more songs from Irving Berlin's FACE THE MUSIC start today's program.  Then a song from Sigmund Romberg's unfortunate MELODY is followed by several songs from STRIKE ME PINK, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson's revue starring Jimmy Durante; however, no songs from Durante, although there are lovely performances of songs from the show thanks to Ben Bagley's Revisited series and Scott Siegal's BROADWAY BY THE YEARS series.  Enjoy!
to listen (59:00) or click here ......for download right click here
2/3/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 103
This program is devoted to the Gerswin's PARDON MY ENGLISH, the least successful musical in their careers, only playing 43 performances.  However, the musical had quite a few excellent songs, including "Isn't It a Pity", sung here in a lovely performance by Sarah Vaughan.  A recording o the complete score was produced by Roxbury Records in 1994, conducted by Eric Stern, starring John Collum; I've included a few songs from that album.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:54) or click here ......for download right click here
1/29/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 102
Thanks to Ben Bagley and his Painted Smiles recordings, his Revisited series, we can hear music that not many other music producers have recorded.  So I am able to bring to you a lovely medley of songs from MUSIC IN THE AIR, from Jerome Kern Revisited Vol. III, and songs from WALK A LITTLE FASTER, a revue that starred Beatrice Lillie and Bobby Clark, that were featured in Bagley's  Vernon Duke Revisited Vol.II.  This show included one of the great songs from the Broadway musical world, "April in Paris", here performed by Dawn Upshaw.  Enjoy
to listen (59:22) or click here ......for download right click here
1/22/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 101
Today's program includes four more songs from TAKE A CHANCE, all of them by Vincent Youmans, most of them cut from the show by opening.  But thanks to William Balcom, Joan Morris and Robert White we have three of these songs. Mary Martin gives us the fourth song, "I Want to Be with You".  THE GAY DIVORCE, with Cole Porter's songs and starring Fred Astaire without Adele, opened to poor reviews, but caught on eventually because of "Night and Day", sung here by Fred Astaire, who also sings two more songs from the show.  I've also included the rousing "I Still Love the Red, White and Blue", sung by Ann Hampton Calloway", thanks to Ben Bagley, who recorded dozens of Porter's songs in his Revisited series.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:58) or click here ......for download right click here
1/15/17 MUSICAL THEATRE  #100 
Three shows are featured today: THE DUBARRY, a German operetta, in English, starring Grace Moore; GEORGE WHITE'S MUSIC HALL VARIETIES, starring Harry Richman; and TAKE A CHANCE, starring Ethel Merman.  Wonderful songs from these three shows, including "I Give My Heart", sung by Grace Moore; "I Love a Parade", sung by Harry Richman; and "Eadie Was a Lady", sung by Ethel Merman.  Karl Milloecker, Harold Arlen, Vincent Youmans, and Richard Whiting are the composers of these songs, with lyrics by B. G. De Sylva and Ted Koehler. Enjoy!
to listen (59:25) or click here ......for download right click here
1/8/17 MUSICAL THEATRE  #99
Today's show is Jerome Kern's MUSIC IN THE AIR.  It was  very successful on Broadway and was also a London success, featuring Mary Ellis, who sings "I've Told Every Little Star"in a 1932 recording. The show was revived in 1951 on Broadway with Jane Pickens and Dennis King.  Miss Pickens made a recording of songs from the show with Al Goodman and his Orchestra, but without King. I've included several of her performances as well as a really wonderful recording of the most popular song from the show, "The Song Is You", by Thomas Hampson.  Enjoy!
to listen (59:10) or click here ......for download right click here
1/1/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 98
This show is dedicated mostly to the music of Harold Arlen and the lyrics of Ted Koehler.  In the early 30's Arlen and Koehler produced many wonderful songs, especially for the COTTON CLUB shows, including such songs as "I've Got the World on a String", "The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea", and "I Love a Parade".  Arlen also wrote a great song for THE EARL CARROLL VANITIES OF 1932, "I've Gotta Right to Sing the Blues" which I have in a performance by Kate Smith.  A good many of the COTTON CLUB songs are sung by Maxine Sullivan.  And finally there is a performance by Ethel Merman of "Satan's Little Lamb" from NEW AMERICANA and a Jay Gorney and E. Y. Harburg song from the same show, "Brother Can you Spare a Dime", in a performance by Max Morath.  Happy New Year!
to listen (59:40) or click here ......for download right click here
12/20/16 MUSICAL THEATRE #97
Can you believe the title of this next show?  HOT-CHA, or LAID IN MEXICO.  It starred Bert Lahr and Lupe Velez and had songs by Lew Brown and Ray Henderson; thanks to Ben Bagley and his Painted Smiles Revisited Series I have four songs to share with you.  Also thanks to Bagley I have two numbers from SHOW BOAT, revived in 1932;  Bagley's songs are from the 1983 revival, featuring Karla Burns. A song from BALLYHOO OF 1932 and several songs from Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz's FLYING HIGH, a revue starring Clifton Webb and Jean Sargent, complete this edition of the music of Broadway's Golden Age.  Enjoy!
to listen (59:35) or click here ......for download right click here
12/11/16 MUSICAL THEATRE # 96
FACE THE MUSIC, Irving Berlin's 1932 musical, marks his return to Broadway after several years o absence. He joined up with Moss Hart, who wrote the book, and George S. Kaufman, who directed the show, to produce a success, which ran for 165 performances. The only really popular song from the show is "Soft Lights and Sweet Music", which is performed by Bing Crosby in a 1932 recording. But "Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee" and "I Say It's Spinach and the Hell With It" are wonderful fun as are most of the rest of the songs in the show. In 2007 City Center of New York produced a concert version of the show in it's Encore Series, and DRG released a CD in that same year. Enjoy!
to listen (59:35) or click here ......for download right click here
12/4/16 MUSICAL THEATRE # 95
A revival of Reginald DeKoven's 1891 operetta ROBIN HOOD opened on January 27, 1932. The song "O Promise Me" became one of the most popular songs from this period and has lasted for over a century, thanks to weddings. Following ROBIN HOOD Vincent Youman's THROUGH THE YEARS opened but had terrible reviews and closed after 20 performances in spite of a truly beautiful score, including "You're Everywhere", "Drums in My Heart" and the title song, performed in this program by Judy Garland. Maurice Chevalier had a short intimate song recital which on February 9, and included the wonderful "Valentine". ENJOY!
to listen (59:35) or click here ......for download right click here
11/29/16 MUSICAL THEATRE # 94
This program consists of two extremely different shows, the operetta THE FIREFLY, a revival if the 1912 opening; and the Pulitzer Prize winning musical OF THEE I SING, by the Gerswins and George S, Kaufmann. From THE FIREFLY I have a 1912 performance "When a Woman Smiles"  and two songs performed by Allan Jones, from the 1938 movie version. From OF THEE I SING I have, among some thirties performances, a few, including the Overture, from the 1987 recording conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, using the original orchestrations. Enjoy!
to listen (58:30) or click here ......for download right click here