Sunglasses at Midnight
Russell Link presents a show that focuses on the history of the American Musical Theatre.
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1/20/18 MUSICAL THEATRE #148
Believe it or not, two swing versions of Gilbert and Sullivan's THE MIKADO opened within days of each other, THE SWING MIKADO and THE HOT MIKADO.  Neither was very successful, but THE HOT MIKADO was transferred the New York World's Fair in Flushing, Queens, for a longer run. Thanks to Scott Siegal and his Broadway by the year series, I can offer some songs from THE HOT MIKADO and SING FOR YOUR SUPPER, "Papa's Got a Job" and "Young Man with a Horn".  THE STREETS OF PARIS was one of the biggest hits of the season, running for 274 performances, starring Bobby Clark, Abbot and Costello, Jean Sablon and Carmen Miranda, who stopped the show nightly with her performance of "South American Way", by Jimmy McHugh and Al Dubin.  I have her 1939 recording of this song as well as a few others from this show.  Enjoy!
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1/14/18 MUSICAL THEATRE #147
STARS IN YOUR EYES, with music by Arthur Schwartz and lyrics by Dorothy Fields , starring Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante, had a run of 127 performances, not bad but not good for all that talent.  The songs are excellent, especially the poignant "I'll Pay the Check" and "Just a Little Bit More" and Merman sings them beautifully.  One song with Merman and Durante singing, "It's All Yours", is included, thanks to Ben Bagley; it is included in his Arthur Schwartz Revisited album and Bagley notes that the recording was a gift to him from Merman. Perhaps it was recorded during a performance or rehearsal.  It is a treasure for it is the only performance I've come across of the two of them together.  I've ended this program with a few songs sung by the late Barbara Cook to lyrics of Dorothy Fields, a sort of tribute to both ladies.  The photo of Merman to your left shows her in a pensive mood than her usual more outgoing ones.  Merman wasn't the most pleasant person (Ben Bagley, after praising her as a great performer, says that in real life she was a bitch).  But she could sing and these recordings show that had the ability to really put a song across beautifully.  Enjoy!
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A revival of BLOSSOM TIME, Sigmund Romberg's tribute to Franz Schubert's music, played for 19 performances.  Later it was made into a movie, starring Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy ;  I've included their recording of "Song of Love", set to a theme from Schubert's UNFINISHED SYMPHONY.  Noel Coward's SET TO MUSIC opened in the midst of a great revival of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas on January 18, 1939 and starred Beatrice Lillie.  I've not included any G&S music today, but I do have a wonderful recording of Lillie singing "I'm So Weary of It All" and thanks to Ian Bostridge I've included several songs from both SET TO MUSIC and an earlier Coward revue WORDS AND MUSIC, a London revue from 1932 that the Broadway revue was based upon.  Enjoy!
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12/30/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 145
One show tonight, Rodgers and Hart's 1938 THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE, based on Shakespeare's COMEDY OF ERRORS.  There are two excellent recordings of this show:  the 1963 Off- Broadway production, issued on a CD in 1993 on Angel Broadway Classics; and the City Center Encores! 1997 revival, issued on DRG.  The latter recording has a great deal more music than the former, and it boasts orchestrations based on the original 1938 music by Hans Spialek.  There are quite a few wonderful songs in this show, including "Falling in Love with Love", "This Can't Be Love", "You Have Cast You Shadow on the Sea" and "Sing for Your Supper", a great show stopper song in the original cast by Muriel Angelus, Wynn Murray and Marcy Westcott.  A photo of these three ladies in included in today's announcement, but unfortunately I can't find a recording by them.  Still, the version I have included gives a pretty good idea of the song's success.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:24) or click here ......for download right click here
12/16/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 146
One show today, Cole Porter's LEAVE IT TO ME, starring Victor Moore, Sophie Tucker, William Gaxton, and Tamara.  But the big sensation of the show was Mary Martin, singing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy", and starting her off on her long career a a great Broadway star.  The show features some other wonderful songs, "Tomorrow", "Most Gentlemen Don't Like Love", "Far, Far Away" and "Get Out of Town".  I don't have any of the original cast, except Martin, to sing these songs, but I do have Lena Horne and Kay Ballard among others singing most of the songs from the show.  Enjoy!
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12/3/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 142
One show today,  Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson's KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY.  All the music today is from Ghostlight's 2011 recording of the January 25 and 26 concert produced by the Collegiate Chorale.  The cast includes Vincent Garber Kelli O'Hara BenDavis and Bryce Pinkham.  I played recordings of the most popular songs from the score last week; this week I'll be concentrating on the less familiar songs and choruses.  Anders on's lyrics are amusing and provocative, and in this age of Trump seem to be quite pertinent.  In "The Ballad of the Robbers", the introduction to Act II, it is noted, with some irony, that the real crooks are all on the outside.  So be it! This is a fascinating score.  Enjoy!
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11/26/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 141
I have music from three shows today: HELLZAPOPPIN , SING OUT THE NEWS, and KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY.  Thanks to You Tube I have two cuts from the 1941 movie version of this 1938 Olsen and Johnson revue, HELLZAPOPPIN.  Also from You Tube I have two versions of the hit of SING OUT THE NEWS, "FDR Jones", one from the Mills Brothers and on from Hal Kemp and his orchestra.  And from Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson's KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY I have several songs, including Walter Huston's version of "September Song" and Judy Garland's version of "It Never Was You".  Enjoy!
to listen (58:54) or click here ......for download right click here
11/12/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 140
One show this afternoon, Cole Porter's least successful show, and his least favorite show, YOU NEVER KNOW.  He had had a tragic accident, one which left him unable to use one leg, and possibly was under such duress that his songs suffered, and were not up to his usual standard, that is according to some critics.  Several of his songs, which I have included in this show, were cut from show and were replaced by a few other composers and lyricists.  The show only ran for 78 performances, in spite of a cast that included Clifton Webb, Libby Holman, and Lupe Velez.  A 1991 revival at the Pasadena Playhouse, starred Kristin Chenowith, Donna McKechnie, Harry Groener and David Garrison; I have included some songs from that production's cast album. 
to listen (57:59) or click here ......for download right click here
11/5/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 139
Just one show today, Rodgers and Hart's I MARRIED AN ANGEL.  This was a pretty successful show, Joshua Logan's first musical theatre show, including a dances by George Balanchine and starring his soon to be third wife, Vera Zorina.  It also starred Dennis King, Vivienne Segal and Audrey Christie.  And it was made into movie musical with Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.  Thanks to Ben Bagley and his Revisited Series, Bobby Short, Kristin Chenowith, Dawn Upshaw, Paula Lawrence and Patti Page I'm able to present to you almost all of the songs from the show as well as two that were cut because, according to Ben Bagley, Vera Zorina, although she could dance, couldn't carry a tune.  So be it! Enjoy!
to listen (58:51) or click here ......for download right click here
10/28/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 138
Tonight I'm catching up with a song from Harold Rome's PINS AND NEEDLES that I wasn't able to give you last week: Ruth Rubenstein's rendition of "Chain Store Daisy".  I'm also including another version of "God's Country" from Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's HOORAY FOR WHAT sung by Judy Kaye.  The main show tonight is Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz's BETWEEN THE DEVIL featuring their beautiful "I See Your Face Before Me" as well as "Triplets" and "By Myself".  I'll start Rodgers and Hart's I MARRIED AN ANGEL with a lovely recording by Bea Wain of the title song, but next week I'll probably devote most of the hour to that show. 
to listen (57:48) or click here ......for download right click here
10/21/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 137
Two shows tonight:  Harold Rome's PINS AND NEEDLES  and Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg's HOORAY FOR WHAT.  Some songs from PINS AND NEEDLES, sung by Milly Weitz, "Nobody Makes a Pass at ME", and "Sing Me a Song of Social Significance", sung by Kay Weber, both from the original cast, accompanied  by Harold Rome.  A third song, "Sunday in the Park", sung by Michael Vita.  I've included quite a few songs from HOORAY FOR WHAT, thanks to Ben Bagley and his Harold Arlen Revisited album.  And finally a wonderful recording by Barbara Cook of "Buds Won't Bud".  Enjoy!
to listen (58:57) or click here ......for download right click here
10/15/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 136
Today's show is the 1937 Rodgers and Hart's I'D RATHER BE RIGHT, starring George M. Cohan as FDR, although Cohan loathed FDR.  Rodgers didn't help for he wrote music that was not at all in Cohan's style.  Moreover, Cohan didn't appreciate Hart's lyrics. So!  The show, written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, the authors of the Gershwins' hit OF THEE I SING, should have been another hit but only ran for 290 performances, not too bad, but not a hit. I have several songs from the show, including one that was (sadly) cut, "Everybody Loves You", but I have nothing by Cohan. Staying with R&H I'm adding some songs from two films, Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald's LOVE ME TONIGHT (1932) and Al Jolson's HALLELUJAH, I'M A BUM! (1933).  Enjoy!
to listen (58:23) or click here ......for download right click here
10/08/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 135
This program, thanks to Ben Bagley and his Revisted Series of Broadway composers, allows me to revisit THE SHOW IS ON with three more songs, one by Hoagy Carmichael and two by Vernon Duke, with lyrics by Ted Fetter.  Ben also gives us two more songs by Duke from an unproduced 1954 show DILLY, which I'll no doubt never get to, unless I live to 100. I'm very fond of Duke and so many of his songs are not known, so here are some to listen to.  Also this program includes two songs from Marc Blitzstein's powerful show THE CRADLE WILL ROCK and one from Arthur Schwartz's VIRGINIA. Enjoy!
to listen (58:11) or click here ......for download right click here
10/1/17 MUSICAL THEATRE #134
One show today, Rodgers and Hart's BABES IN ARMS, which in spite of great reviews got off to a shaky start.  But because all other musicals playing at the time closed, BABES was the only musical on Broadway and eventually racked up 289 performances.  The 1990 New World Records recording of the show is a wonderful performance that stars Gregg Edelman, Judy Blazer, Jason Graae and Judy Kaye, with Evans Haile conducting the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.  The sound is excellent and there is a very informative booklet accompanying the CD that offers a history of the show, a synopsis, the lyrics to the songs, and finally a fascinating essay, by Theodore Chapin, about the orchestrations used in this album.  If you can get this CD I highly recommend it. Enjoy what I cab offer here.
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9/16/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 133
The very successful revue starring Bea Lillie and Bert Lahr, THE SHOW IS ON, was the last show of 1936. The score was mostly composed by Vernon Duke, but the big hit was Hoagy Carmichael's "Little Old Lady", and I have a recording of the song by Hoagy.  In February 1937 Franz Lehar's operetta FREDERIKA opened; it starred Dennis King and was sung in English, but I have three songs in German, including the exquisite "Warum hast du mich wachgekusst", sung by Erika Koth.  Two months later came a very successful Rodgers and Hart show BABES IN ARMS, which included the great "Where or When" as well as "Johnny One Note", "The Lady Is a Tramp"  and "My Funny Valentine". Enjoy!
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9/10/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 132
One show today, Noel Coward's TONIGHT AT 8:30, which opened in London on January, 1936, and in New York in November of the same year.  It played for 118 performances and would have played longer but Coward became ill and had to close the show.  He and his great co-star Gertrude Lawrence were able to record several of the songs from the show, including "Has Anyone Seen Our Ship", "Play, Orchestra, Play!", and "You Were There", all quite wonderful songs.  I close this program with several of Miss Lawrence's later successes from LADY IN THE DARK and THE KING AND I as a tribute to one of the great performers of the last century.  Enjoy!
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9/2/17 9/2/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 131
This program is devoted to one show, Kurt Weill and Paul Green's JOHHNY JOHNSON.   The show was not too successful, playing only 68 performances and receiving not too en couraging reviews.  The opening night audience was extremely enthusiastic, but that didn't help the box office.  The music tonight is from a 1956 performance released on CD in 1987 on Polydor, starring Burgess Meredith, Evelyn Lear, Lotte Lenya and Thmas Stewart, with the original Kurt Weill orchestrations.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:43) or click here ......for download right click here
8/26/17 MUSICAL THEATRE # 130
This program continues with music from Cole Porter's RED, HOT AND BLUE, including some songs that were cut from the Broadway production.  The lovely "Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye", sung here by Susannah McCorkle, was inexplicably cut;  it's a quite lovely song.  I've also included several songs from Kurt Weill and Paul Green's JOHNNY JOHNSON. This was Weill's first Broadway show and it wasn't well received ; however, it included some excellent songs, one of which, "Johnny's Song", is included here in two very different versions, one by Jeff Harnar and the other by Thomas Hampson.  Enjoy!
to listen (58:14) or click here ......for download right click here
8/19/17  MUSICAL THEATRE # 129
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!
to listen (59:54) or click here ......for download right click here
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.
to listen (58:42) or click here ......for download right click here
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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