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.
11/10/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 227
One show today, Frank Loesser's WHERE'S CHARLIE?. Loesser wrote both music and Lyrics for this show, joining the list of men who wrote entire scores, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Stephen Sondheim and a few others. The score, especially "Once in Love with Amy", as sung and danced by Ray Bolger, was wonderful, but the show, although it played 792 performances and was written and directed by George Abbot and based on Brandon Thomas' CHARLIE'S AUNT was not praised. The show got 4 favorable reviews and 5 unfavorable reviews. But Bolger and the songs and the dances, by George Balanchine, kept it going for more than two years. I saw the show and loved it. Thanks to You Tube I've got most of the songs for you. Enjoy!
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11/3/19 MUSICAL THEATRE #226
One show today, Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner's LOVE LIFE, starring Nanette Fabray and Ray Middleton. I don't have any of the songs by the original cast, but thanks to Thomas Hampton's Kurt Weill on Broadway and Ben Bagley's Alan Jay Lerner Revisited I have most of the songs from the show for you to listen to. One of the best known songs "Green Up Time" is sung by Buddy Clarke and Dorothy Loudon gives us "Mr. Right" and "Economics". Enjoy!
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10/27/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 225
One show today, Villa-Lobos' operetta MAGDALENA, an unsuccessful musical that played 88 performances, to very mixed reviews, 2 raves, 1 favorable, 1 mixed, 2 unfavorable, and 3 pans. It starred a great cast, Irra Petina, John Raitt, Dorothy Sarnoff and Hugo Haas, and had opulent settings by Howard Bay, and costumes by Sharaff. I saw the show and loved it mostly for the music and singing and the gorgeous sets. Brooks Atkinson of the NEW YORK TIMES wrote that it was impossible to have much of an idea about the score because it was one of most overpoweringly dull musical dramas of all times. Well! I have most of the score from Act I from a poorly produced CD of 1988, starring Judy Kaye, George Rose, Faith Esham and Kevin Gray, with Jerry Hadley in a guest appearance, singing "Magdelena". Enjoy!
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10/22/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 224
Several shows today, not very successful, for various reasons. BALLET BALLADS, which received quite good reviews in the papers, only received 68 performances. It had music by Jerome Moross and lyrics by John La Touche. I have two songs for you thanks a lovely recording of the revue TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE, the lyrics and life on John Latouche. The 1948-1949 season started with SLEEPY HOLLOW, a failure based on Washington Irving's short story. I have nothing from that or from the next show, the successful HOWDY MR. ICE. A revival of SHOW BOAT followed, starring Carol Bruce. I have her singing "Bill" and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man". Then came the unsuccessful HILARITES, starrin Morey Amsterdam, but I have nothing from that. SMALL WONDER followed, and thanks to Ben Bagley and his Painted Smiles Revisited Series, I have two songs for you. Next came the unsuccessful HEAVEN ON EARTH. Nothing! But Villa-Lobos' MAGDELENA followed, unsuccsessful, but with a rich, wonderful score. I'll continue with MAGDELENA next week, but leave you with the opening scene and the closing on Scene 2's music. Enjoy!
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10/6/19 MUSICAL THEATRE #223
More INSIDE USA this week. Along with Beatrice Lillie and Jack Haley of the original cast, I have Pearl Bailey, Billy Williams and Buddy Clark sing seven more songs from the revue, music by Arthur Schwartz and lyrics by Howard Dietz, famous in the 1930's for BANDWAGON. INSIDE USA has several wonderful songs, such as "Haunted Heart" and "Blue Grass", although none to rteach the fame of "Dancing in the Dark" and "You and the Night and the Music". After INSIDE USA came a musical called "Hold It!". I have nothing from it and it wasn't very successful. A revival of Jerome Kern's SALLY followed,but it was also unsuccessful. "Look for the Silver Lining" is SALLY"S most famous song and I have for you from a performance of June 19, 2005 by ther Comic Opera Guild Kern Festival. Enjoy!
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9/29/19 MUSICAL THEATRE #222
In early 1948 both Maurice Chevalier and Billie Holiday (pictured), along with Cozy Cole and Slam Stewart, performed on Broadway in revues, Chevalier played 33 shows and Holiday played 6. Chevalier sang among a dozen or so songs his famous "Mimi", by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, from the film LOVE ME TONIGHT, with Jeannette Mac Donald, and "Valentina", which I've included on my program, and several songs, including "Strange Fruit", by Billie Holiday. After these shows, Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz's revue INSIDE USA opened, starring Bea Lillie and Jack Haley. I've included several songs from this show, including "Haunted Heart", but I'll continue with more songs from the show next week. Enjoy!
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9/22/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 221
Today I have two shows, LOOK MA I"M DANCIN', starring Nancy Walker and Noel Coward's TONIGHT AT 8:30, in a revival with Gertrude Lawrence but not Noel Coward. I only have one song from LOOK MA's original cast, Nancy Walker's very amusing "I'm the First Girl in the Second Row", but I have a few of Hugh Martin's songs from a recording made in 2000 by Original Cast Records. But I have Lawrence and Coward in several songs and a scene from TONIGHT. Enjoy!
to listen (59:13) or click here ......for download right click here
9/15/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 220
Today's show is all Gilbert and Sullivan, although I'll only play Sullivan's music the overtures to many of his operettas.After CRADLE WILL ROCK revival, Broadway hosted a festival of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, opening on the 29th of December, 1947. Thanks to You Tube I have the overtures to most of the operettas presented, THE MIKADO, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, IOLANTHE, HMS PINAFORE, THE GONDOLIERS, THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD and PATIENCE. The other operettas presented were COX AN BOX and TRIAL BY JURY. But I don't have those overtures, but I'm sure you'll love those I have. Enjoy!
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8/25/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 218
On October 30th, 1947 Edith Piaf opened her revue at the Playhouse Theatre for 44 performances. One of the really great vocalists in any language, she sang a dozen songs, but not "La Vie en Rose". I got six of the songs she performed that night from You Tube, including the wonderful "Mon Homme". If you tune into You Tube you will see some beautiful photos of Miss Piaf. She could really pose for the camera. Two other great performers opened after Piaf, Pearl Primus, in CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL, and Elaine Stritch in ANGEL IN THE WINGS. I have her performance of the song "Civilization" for you. Enjoy!
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8/18/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 217
ONLY one show today, Rodgers and Hammerstein's ALLEGRO. Not a successful show , short of a year, 9 months, although it had a huge advance box office. A show by Rogers and Hammerstein, which came after the huge success of OKLAHOMA AND CAROUSEL, with dances by Agnes De Mille, who had great success with BLOOMER GIRL and BRIGADOON, should have been greatly successful, but it wasn't. Was it ahead of its time or behind its time? It remains a noble experiment, song, speech, dance and choral responses to main characters, way out of line with current musical theatre. Perhaps the story told was too sentimental for the elaborate production, and perhaps the songs weren't good enough, but the show remained a favorite for both R&H and they hoped a successful version could be put together before they died. It didn't happen. and t took until 2009 for the first complete recording to be made by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization. Enjoy!
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8/11/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 216
The 1947-1948 season opened with three not too succesful shows, LOUISIANA LADY, MUSIC IN MY HEART, and UNDER THE COUNTER, but then a wonderful show HIGH BUTTON SHOES, with song by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, opened for a 727 performance run. It starred Phil Silvers, Nanette Fabray and Jack McCauley. But the highlight of the evening was the acclaimed comic ballet by Jerome Robbins. It got rave reviews and probably kept the show running for all those hundreds of performances. Enjoy!
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8/4/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 215
Gian Carlo Menotti's operas THE TELEPHONE and THE MEDIUM opened Mat 1st, 1947 at the Ethel Barrymore theatre, played 212 performances, brought opera to Broadway, had 4 rave reviews, 1 favorable, 1 mixed and 3 unfavorable reviews, and failed to make money for the investors.  Opera on Broadway?  Even  PORGY AND BESS didn't do too well when it first opened.  Apparently, for those who could deal with opera as drama, or as melodrama in the case of THE MEDIUM, enjoyed the thrillingly chilling piece of theatre,  After THE MEDIUM and THE TELEPHONE a revival of UP IN CENTRAL PARK, Sigmund Romberg and Dorothy Fields operetta played 16 performances at the City Center Theatre.  I have two beautiful performances by the great Barbara Cook, "Close As Pages in a Book" and "April Snow".  Enjoy!
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7/28/19 MUSICAL THEATRE #214
Today one show, and a beauty it is, Lerner and Loewe's BRIGADOON. I have three songs from the original 1947 cast, David Brooks, Marion Bell and Lee Sullivan. And more songs from the 1993 complete score recording, the EMI recording with Rebecca Luker and Brett Barrett, conducted by John McGlinn. There are so many lovely songs in this show, by the composers of MY FAIR LADY. I've included some of my favorites, "Come to Me Bend to Me", "From This Day On" and "The Heather on the Hill", but also some of the great dance music, dances choreographed by Agnes de Mille. Enjoy!
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7/21/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 213
Two revivals and one star performance in between. And FINIAN'S RAINBOW and BRIGADOON bracketing thee shows. One revival, starring Bobby Clark, was somewhat week successful. Victor Herbert's 1909 SWEETHEARTS. Lovely music and, of course, nothing to with Bobby Clark, whose performance probably was what made the revival somewhat successful, 289 performances. CHOCOLATE SOLDIER, the other revival was not as successful, although it has some beautiful songs and a libretto based on George Bernard Shaw's ARMS AND THE MAN. Maurice Chevalier had a one man show rather pleasantly placed between these revivals, entertaining theatre goers for 46 performances at the Henry Miller's Theatre. Next week BRIGADOON, Enjoy!
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7/14/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 212
One show today. E. Y. Harburg and Burton Lane's FINIAN'S RAINBOW, but three CDs containing complete scores, the original 1947 cast recording, with Ella Logan and David Wayne, the 2009 revival, with Cheyanne Jackson and Kate Baldwin, and the Irish Repertory Theatre revival, with Melissa Errico  and Malcom Gets.  This is a great score.  The first act contains five great songs, one after the other, including "old Devil Moon", "How Are Things in Glocca Morrra",  "Look to the Rainbow", "Something Sort of Grandish" and "If This Isn't Love".  Enjoy!
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6/30/19 MUSICAL THEATRE #211
One show today, even though it's really an opera, the unsuccessful economically but brilliant STREET SCENE, by Kurt Weill, Elmer Rice and Langston Hughes. I'm extremely fond of Weill and consider this show to be his finest work for Broadway. If you're interested in his earlier European music, Teresa Stratas has two CDs which Nonesuch has produced of many of his works with Bertold Brecht as well as a few selections form later efforts. Tragically, he died at 50 in 1950 only a few years from STREET SCENE's creation. He had yet to write LOST IN THE STARS and was working with Rice on their verssion of HUCKLEBERRY FINN. So be it! We can still enjoy the glorious scores he created for his other musiclals and operas.Enjoy!
to listen (59:56) or click here ......for download right click here
Two shows today, both unsuccessful, but both having excellent scores. TOPLITZSKY OF NOTRE DAME, score by Sammy Fain and George Marion, Jr., and BEGGAR'S HOLIDAY, score by Duke Ellington and John Latouche. One te songs from TOPLIZSKY, "You Are My Downfall" is extremely fine, I think, and most if not all of the songs from HOLIDAY are fine. Of course, Duke Ellington could not write an uninteresting song. And Alfred Drake who played the Macheath, the original Curly of OKLAHOMA, is a superb singer-actor. Enjoy!
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6/16/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 209 From Victor Herbert to Duke Ellington.
This program starts with "Gypsy Love Song" from Herbert's THE FORTUNE TELLER which, along with his THE SERENADE supplied the songs for GYPSY LADY, an unsuccessful attempt by Edwin Lester to produce a show using Melodies by a famous composer of the past, as he did with SONG OF NORWAY using new lyrics and book by Robert Wright and George Forrest. It ends with two songs by Duke Ellington and John LaTouche for an adaptation of John Gay's THE BEGGAR'S OPERA called BEGGAR's HOLIDAY. In between these two shows came Arthur Schwartz and Ira Gershwin's PARK AVENUE, an unsuccessful show with lovely songs, and Gershwin's last Broadway show, and another Katherine Dunham spectacle, with Eartha Kitt of all people. Enjoy!
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6/9/19 :MUSICAL THEATRE #208
Today is the first time for me to use a technique that involves streaming on Facebook as I do my Musical Theatre show. You can watch my face as I talk about the shows and play the music from the shows. I'll also try to show you the books and CDs I use. If you don't want to watch you can still listen to me on if you care to. SO! Today's show concludes my take on ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, Ethel Merman's very successful musical with Irving Berlin's songs, and continues with orson Welles' and Cole Porter's very unsuccessful show AROUND THE WORLD. It had Porter's quite mediocre score, although "Should I Tell You I Love You" is quite good. After ICETIME and TIDBITS OF 1946, Richard Taubner starred in a short lived revival of YOURS IS MY HEART . I give you both the German and English versions of "Yours Is My Heart Alone" sung by Piotr Beczala. Enjoy!
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6/2/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 207
After a revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Irving Berlin's great show ANNIE GET YOUR GUN with Ethel Merman and Ray Middleton stormed on the Broadway theatre. It received 4 rave reviews and 4 favorable reviews, and played 1,147 performances. It's been revived countless times and still plays today in some theatre someplace. In addition to the original cast recording, a John McGlinn complete score recording with Kim Criswell and Thomas Hampson was produced in 1993. Its most popular song "There's No Business Like Show Business" and many of its other songs have been recorded many times, including Barbara Cook's "I Got Lost in His Arms" which I have included here. Enjoy!
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5/26/19 MUSICAL THEATRE #206
I give you one more song from SAINT LOUIS WOMAN, "I Had Myself a True Love", in a wonderful performance by Barbara Cook, my very favorite Female vocalist. I know I use that word frequently, but Barbara is indeed a great performer. If you've never seen her perform, she's gone now, but there are several DVD's available, you're in for a great treat. After another revival of CARMEN JONES, Oscar Hammerstein's version of Bizet's grand opera CARMEN, Harold Rome's CALL ME MISTER opened to rave reviews and played over 700 performances. It starred former service men and women as well as those who entertained the troops. Betty Garrett, Jules Munshin, Bill Callahan, Lawrence Winters were the biggest stars in the show and went on to Broadway heights. Miss Garrett had the biggest hit in the show, "South America, Take It Away", and Lawrence Winters had my favorite song, "The Face on a Dime", a tribute to FDR. Enjoy!
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5/19/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 205
Today I"m devoting the entire hour to Harold Arlen an Jonny Mercer's show, SAINT LOUIS WOMAN (1946) and Arlen and Andre Kostelanetz's BLUES OPERA(1958), based on the music of SAINT LOUIS WOMAN, Neither was successful. But the music is among the best Broadway offers, with such songs as "Come Rain or Come Shine", "Legalize My Name" and "I Had Myself a True Love". I have some music from the original cast recording (1946), with Pearl Bailey, and the City Center Encores version (1988). I also include Barbara Cook's version of "I Wonder What Became of Me", a song which was cut from the original version of the show, although I can't understand why such a great song would be omitted. Enjoy!
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5/12/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 204
This week is devoted mostly to LUTE SONG Mary Martin's 1946 not too successful musical, only 142 performances. Miss Martin allowed herself to be dressed by Valentina while the rest of the cast was costumed by Robert Edmond Jones, who also designed the sets and received rave notices by the critics. The score, by Raymond Scott and Bernard Hanighan, contained a lovely song "Mountain High, Valley Low" and an amusing "See the Monkey" but wasn't all that exiting, unlike the score Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer wrote for SAINT LOUIS WOMAN, which only played 113 performances. But the songs! I do think the score is one of the best Arlen ever wrote. More next week. Until then enjoy the overture.
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This week I have to catch up with several omissions, one from the show POLONAISE, "The Next Time I Care" sung by Rose Ingraham, and several from THE DAY BEFORE SPRING, "A Jug of Wine", "I Love You This Morning", "This Is My Holiday", and "You Haven't Changed at All", thanks to Ben Bagley and his Revisited Series. I've also included three songs from WINDY CITY, a show that closed out of town, but was praised for its score, by Walter Jurmann and Paul Francis Webster. Jerry Hadley sings "One Alone" from THE DESERT SONG revived for 46 performances at the New York City Center. Enjoy!
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