Sunglasses at Midnight
Russell Link presents a show that focuses on the history of the American Musical Theatre.
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8/19/17  MUSICAL THEATRE # 128
Tonight I'm finishing my memories of Barbara Cook with "This Nearly Was Mine" and "It's Not Where You Start". We'll probably hear more from her for she made great recordings of so many Broadway show tunes and left us with large collection of her performances.  Back to our chronological sequence; there were a large number of Gilbert and Sullivan revivals in the thirties and following ON YOUR TOES there were 15 revivals, including COX AND BOX from which I'm including the Overture.  Then came the revival Ralph Benatzky's THE WHITE HORSE INN and Cole Porter's RED, HOT AND BLUE, starring Ethel Merman, Bob Hope, and Jimmy Durante.  I've included Merman's 1936 recordings of her four big numbers: "Down in the Depths", "It's Delovely", "Ridin' High", and "Red, Hot and Blue".  Enjoy!
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8/12/17 BARBARA COOK MEMORIES
This program is devoted to Barbara Cook, who died last week at the age of 89.  Her career began in the early 50s in the short lived musical FLAHOOLEY, continued with shows like CANDIDE, THE MUSIC MAN, and SHE LOVES ME.  But it was in her later years as a cabaret singer that she made a lasting impression on so many, including me, giving so much pleasure, singing into her 80s, in small clubs as well as Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House. I've included songs as early as her 1951 recording of "He's Only Wonderful" to her 2004 recording of "This Nearly Was Mine".  In my opinion her voice was even more glorious in 2004 than it was in 1951. Peace, Barbara.
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8/5/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 127
Two shows tonight, the first MURDER IN THE OLD RED BARN, had songs by Richard Lewine and John Latouche, but the show also included some oldies, "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" and "Happy Days Are Here Again".  Performances by John McCormack, of the first song, and Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland, of the second song, are presented here.  The next show was ON YOUR TOES, with 315 performances, was quite successful. Starring Ray Bolger and Tamara Geva, it contained the ballet "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue", performed here in a 1936 recording by Paul Whiteman. George Balanchine was the choreographer of this ballet and "La Princesse Zenobia".  George Abbot wrote the book and also directed the show.  Several wonderful Rodgers and Hart songs were in the show:  "Glad To Be Unhappy", "There's a Small Hotel", and "Quiet Night".  Enjoy!
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7/29/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 126
Tonight, thanks to Ben Bagley and his Painted  Smiles Revisited Series, I have a few more songs from the GEORGE WHITE SCANDALS OF 1936, including Dorothy Loudon's rendition of "I've Got to Get Hot ".  A third edition of CONTINENTAL VARIETIES, starring Lucienne Boyer, only played 9 performances, but Miss Boyer again sang many songs of her repertoire; here I have a 1935 performance of "Hands across the Table". And to conclude this program I have some songs by Ira Gershwin and Vernon Duke from THE ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1936.  Thanks to a revival of the FOLLIES by City Encores in 2000 we have the entire score, using restored orchestrations by Steven Bowen, and starring Howard McGillan, Ruthie Henshall, and Christine Ebersole.  Enjoy!  The caricatures are of the original cast, including Fanny Brice.
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7/22/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 125
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!
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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".
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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