The Broadway musicals included in the latest set of releases include Pal Joey, House of Flowers, Candide, Anyone Can Whistle and Nine, which is currently enjoying a revival at the O’Neill Theatre. Each title has been digitally remastered, and all packaging contains new liner notes and rare archival photographs. Additionally, bonus tracks have been added to all of the releases.
House of Flowers, which features a score by Harold Arlen (music) and Truman Capote (lyrics), boasted a cast that included Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll, Juanita Hall, Ray Walston and Geoffrey Holder. In addition to such tunes as “A Sleepin’ Bee” and “Don’t Like Goodbyes,” the CD also includes bonus tracks of “Mardis Gras Waltz” (Percy Faith and his orchestra), “Two Ladies in the Shade” (Enid Mosier), “Ottilie and the Bee” (Truman Capote) and “A Sleepin’ Bee” (demo recording by Capote).
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s Pal Joey opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Christmas night 1940 with a cast that included Vivienne Segal and Gene Kelly. That production went unrecorded, but in 1950 a studio cast was assembled — including original star Segal — to record the musical. The company also featured Harold Lang, Barbara Ashley, Beverly Fite, Kenneth Remo and Jo Hurt. The new release features such Rodgers and Hart tunes as “I Could Write a Book,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” “Zip,” and “Take Him” as well as two bonus tracks: Vivienne Segal, talking to Mike Wallace on the CBS radio show “Stage Struck,” recalls Lorenz Hart’s promise to write her a show and then sings “Bewitched” and Lang sings “I Could Write a Book,” aired on the CBS television show “Shower of Stars.”
The New York Philharmonic’s rendition of Candide’s Overture is the bonus track on the new Candide recording, which features the Leonard Bernstein-Richard Wilbur score. Lillian Hellman wrote the book for the comic operetta based on Voltaire’s satire, which included additional lyrics by John Latouche and Dorothy Parker. The cast boasted Broadway legend Barbara Cook as well as Max Adrian, Robert Rounseville, William Olvis, Boris Aplon, William Chapman and Irra Petina. Song titles include “The Best of All Possible Worlds,” “It Must Be So,” “Glitter and Be Gay,” “I’m Easily Assimilated” and “Make Our Garden Grow.” Cook also supplies liner notes, writing, “And then there’s Bernstein’s brilliant score. How fortunate I am to have been one of the first singers to bring it to life. In just a few years it will be fifty years old, but when you hear it you’ll know it will live forever.”
Maury Yeston’s Nine — now playing the O’Neill with Antonio Banderas, Chita Rivera, Jane Krakowski, Mary Stuart Masterson and Laura Benanti — won the 1982 Tony Award for Best Musical when it originally played Broadway’s Forty-Sixth Street Theatre. The premiere cast starred Raul Julia as Guido Contini, and the women in his life included Karen Akers, Anita Morris, Shelly Burch, Taina Elg and Liliane Montevecchi. Yeston, whose melodic score includes such charmers as “My Husband Makes Movies,” “Be Italian,” “The Bells of St. Sebastian,” “Simple,” “Be on Your Own” and “Unusual Way,” supplies new liner notes for the expanded CD: “Apparently it has become something of a tradition with reissues of cast albums to embarrass the authors by including their early demos or outtakes from the scores,” writes Yeston. “I have furnished three selections to accomplish this objective. Here, direct from my 1970’s home 4-track TEAC (and then transferred onto a vinyl LP) is the demo explanation and recording of ‘Germans at the Spa’ (performed by me singing all the parts, a sound described by my family as The Maury Tabernacle Choir). Back then, I thought this might be the opening of the show. This is followed by the earliest demo I ever did of ‘Unusual Way,’ in which the first and third verses are very different. . . Finally, the Casanova sequence, which was extensively developed in older drafts, consisted of this included earliest version of ‘The Grand Canal.’” The final recording in this latest batch of releases is the short-lived Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents musical Anyone Can Whistle, which featured a cast led by multi-Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury with Lee Remick, Harry Guardino, Gabriel Dell, Arnold Soboloff, James Frawley, Peg Murray, Don Doherty, Sterling Clark, Harvey Evans, Larry Roquemore and Tucker Smith. Although the musical played but 21 performances at the Majestic Theatre in 1964, the Sondheim score contained several thrilling songs: “Me and My Town,” “There Won’t Be Trumpets,” “Anyone Can Whistle,” “Everybody Says Don’t” and “With So Little To Be Sure Of.” In addition to new liner notes by Richie Ridge, the CD will also include five bonus tracks featuring piano and vocals by composer Sondheim: “I’m Like the Bluebird,” “The Lame, The Halt and the Blind,” “Come Play Wiz Me,” “Anyone Can Whistle” and “With So Little To Be Sure Of.”
Since its inception in March 1998, the Columbia Broadway Masterworks series, which received a 1999 Drama Desk Special Recognition Award — has released expanded editions of these musical theatre titles: My Fair Lady; Barnum; Li'l Abner; Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris; Oklahoma!; Cabaret; Kiss Me, Kate; On the Town; My Fair Lady; Camelot; The Sound of Music; Oh, Kay!; Girl Crazy; South Pacific; Annie; West Side Story; Gypsy; Cinderella; No, No, Nanette; Flower Drum Song; Mame; Sweet Charity; Show Boat; A Chorus Line; Company; A Little Night Music; Best of Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight!; Finian's Rainbow; Kismet; Pajama Game; Bye, Bye, Birdie; Bells Are Ringing and Fiddler on the Roof.