Decca Broadway has plumbed its vaults to remaster, repackage and re-released four Broadway show albums, with new liner notes and original album cover art for Destry Rides Again, Call Me Madam, Stop the World — I Want to Get Off and Lost in the Stars.
The discs, released May 15 are:
• Ethel Merman, singing 12 songs from Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam, her hit vehicle, with studio guests Dick Haymes, Eileen Wilson and Gordon Jenkins and his orchestra and chorus. The CD is not quite a cast album but a "songs from" recording. Merman was under contract with Decca and did not perform on the RCA original cast album of the 1950 tuner; RCA was the show's producer and plugged Dinah Shore as the lead into the original cast recording. The disc also includes selections from Cole Porter's Panama Hattie, another Merman vehicle. Listen for "Let's Be Buddies," "My Mother Would Love You," "I've Still Got My Health," "Make It Another Old Fashioned, Please." The notes are by Show Music editor Max Preeo.
• Andy Griffith starring as the gun-shy sheriff in the 1959 musical, Destry Rides Again, with a score by Harold Rome (I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Wish You Were Here). Set in the Wild West, the show was drawn from the Max Brand story and the films it inspired. Dolores Gray co-stars as Frenchie, with Scott Brady, Jack Prince and Libi Staiger. The David Merrick production ran 473 performances (or 472 depending on which notes are correct).
• Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson's 1949 musical, Lost in the Stars, adapted from Alan Paton's novel, "Cry, the Beloved Country." Set in South Africa, the story concerned separated family members, love, apartheid and racial strife. Porgy and Bess star Todd Duncan played Rev. Stephen Kumalo. The cast included Inez Matthews, Sheila Guyse, Herbert Coleman, Frank Roane, Julian Mayfield and Guy Spaull. The musical ran 273 performances on Broadway, and would find its way into opera houses in the coming years. The title song may be the score's most famous number. • Anthony Newley became a star for Stop the World — I Want to Get Off, the tale of a white-faced Chaplinesque Everyman named Little Chap, whose story is told from birth to death. Newley and Leslie Bricusse shared book, music and lyric credit. Songs from the show include "What Kind of Fool Am I?" and "Once in a Lifetime." The 1962 cast album has been out of print for more than a decade, according to Decca. Anna Quayle co-stars. Liner notes are by the late Newley and Merrick. Newley directed the conceptual tour-de-force. The show opened on Broadway in 1962 and ran 555 performances. Merrick had seen the show in provincial England and bought the American rights.
— By Kenneth Jones