Sunglasses at Midnight
Russell Link presents a show that focuses on the history of the American Musical Theatre.
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1/19/20 MUSICAL THEATRE #236
Today Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson's great musical tragedy LOST IN THE STARS. The original cast included Todd Duncan, the original Porgy in PORGY AND BESS. I have his original cast performance of "Lost in the Stars", as well as Inez Mathews' "Stay Well" and Frank Roane's "Cry the Beloved Country" (the ttitle of Alan Paton's novel upon which this play is based);but most of the music you will hear today is from the 1993 Music Masters' CD, with the Orchestra of Saint Luke's conducted by Julius Rudel. This was Kurt Weill's last score; he died in 1950, having left some of his music for a projected musical version of HUCK FINN. Well, we can be glad we have LOST IN THE STARS. Enjoy!
to listen (58:58).....  click here ......for download right click here
1/12/20 MUSICAL THEATRE #235
After SOUTH PACIFIC there followed many shows, some more or less successful, but none as successful as SOUTH PACIFIC. HOWDY, MR. ICE OF 1950, Olsen and Johnson's (of HELLZAPOPPIN fame} FUNZAPPIN, and CABALGATA (later A NIGHT IN SPAIN) wer followed byIrving Berlin's MISS LIBERTY. But although Berlin wrote some charming songs and Robert Sherwood wrote the book, these great theatre men could not put together a winning show, only 308 performances. I have the overture and two songs from the show, sung by its star Eddie Albert. Then came KEN MURRAY'S BLACKOUTS OF 1949 (no songs) and several Gilbert and Sullivan revivals and Jean and Walter Kerr's revue TOUCH AND GO (also no songs). But finally a great musical appeared, Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson's LOST IN THE STARS. Next time I'll devote the entire hour to that great score. Enjoy!
to listen (58:59).....  click here ......for download right click here
12/22/19 MUSICAL THEATRE #234
Only SOUTHPACIFIC today, Act II. I'll be using the Reba McIntyre, Brian Stokes Mitchell Decca 2006 concert at Carnegie Hall recording. Act II included the great "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" song and just about my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein song "This Nearly Was Mine". I'll give you three versions of this song, Stokes Mitchell's version as well as Ezio Pinza's from the original cast and Giorgio Tozzi"s from the movie version. Enjoy!
to listen (58:59).....  click here ......for download right click here
12/15/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 233
One show today, and it's a great one, one of the greatest of all the Broadway musicals, SOUTH PACIFIC. It opened on April 7,1949, to Broadway's greatest advanced sales, and played 1925 performances. It starred Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza and included the great song "Some Enchanted Evening". I have a few songs from the original cast and some from the 2006 Decca recording of a concert performance starring Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Enjoy!
to listen (59:55).....  click here ......for download right click here
12/8/19 MUSICAL THEATRE #232
Several shows today. First an interview I'll read between Patricia Morrison (the original Kate in 1049) and Miles Kreuger (a New York City theatre reviewer) concerning why several songs were cut from the original production. I also have one of those songs, "A Woman's Career" sung by Katherine Hepburn. Then I have three songs from the review ALONG FIFTH AVENUE and one song from the review ALL FOR LOVE. Those four songs thanks to Scott Siegal's wonderful CD collection of "Songs of the Broadway Musicals of 1949".Then just before the opening of Rodgers and Hammerstein's great SOUTH PACIFIC (which I'll do next week) a revival of their great CAROUSEL I'll give you some of the songs sung by Bernadette Peters and Renee Fleming, who starred in the 2018 revival. Enjoy!
to listen (56:26) or click here ......for download right click here
12/1/19 MUSICAL THEATRE #231
Today I'll continue with Cole Porter's great musical KISS ME KATE with most of the music from ACT II. I'll use cuts from the original cast 1949 Columbia recording with Alfred Drake, Patricia Morrison, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang, and also from John McGlinn's 1990 CD of all the music, with Josephine Barstow and Thomas Hampson. This recording also contains all the songs that never mad it to Broadway. I'll no doubt spend some time next week with some more KISS ME KATE. I think this is one of the best musicals of all. Enjoy!
to listen (59:08) or click here ......for download right click here
11/24/19 MUSICAL THEATRE #229
One show today, and a great show it was, Cole Porter's KISS ME KATE.I saw the original production with Patricia Morrison, Alfred Drake, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang, and loved it. From the "Another Op'nin'. Another Show" to the finale, one great tune and great lyric followed each other. It started a life long love of Cole Porter for me. Indeed, before I commenced my history of Broadway, from 1924 to 1950, I traveled the Porter world from the beginning to the end, Broadway as well as Hollywood, with London and Paris as well. Today I played practically all the music from Act I, next week I'll do Act II as well as the songs that were cut from the original production. I'll be using the original 1949 cast album and the 1990 John McGlinn complete score album and thanks to Ben Bagley and his Revisited series the cut songs. I'll get them all, even if I have to go three weeks. Enjoy!
to listen (59:08) or click here ......for download right click here
11/17/19 MUSICAL THEATRE # 228
What a strange group of songs today, everything from Bobby Clark to a few songs from an unproduced Irving Berlin musical STARS ON MY SHOULDER, with Gian Carlo Menotti and Benjamin Britten in between. VARESE SARABANDE the real star of this program, thanks to Varese Sarabande's CD UNSUNG IRVING BERLIN, a two CD collection of 120 "unsung" Berlin songs. Liz Callaway, Harry Groener, and Christa Moore are among the many artists contributing to the success of this album. its amazing how many songs Berlin wrote in his decades od songwriting, so many of which have hardly be heard. Enjoy!
to listen (59:08) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (59:59) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (59:00) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (59:00) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (59:02) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (59:02) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (59:03) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (59:13) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (59:00) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (58:50) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (59:49) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (59:59) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (55:30) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (55:30) or click here ......for download right click here
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!
to listen (55:30) or click here ......for download right click here
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