Carrie, The Golden Apple A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Fanny and Love Life were among rarely-heard but worthy Broadway scores proposed by members of Playbill On-Line for revival by the "Encores!" series at New York City Center in 1997 and beyond.
Several "Encores!" shows, including Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam and Cole Porter's Out of This World have been recorded. The most recent, Kander & Ebb's Chicago is moving to Broadway this fall.
Here is a sampling of the responses to the survey:
From Christopher P. Nicholson:
I'd like to see a revival of Cy Coleman's Wildcat. Granted, there has to be inherent suspicion of any musical where the featured song is written around the singing talents of Lucille Ball. But it's buried gem that deserves to be dusted off for another listen.
From Richard Ouzounian:
I'd like to see "The Golden Apple". . . it's the major "forgotten great" musical that I've NEVER had a chance to see. Has it been revived much (if at all) since the original production? What a great score! What a great setting! I'm dying to see if the whole thing really works. From Peddamoudi:
CARRIE CARRIE CARRIE . . . just because it is sooo underheard and so many people want to hear it. Some of the songs in this musical are QUITE beautiful and if they got Linzi Hatley and Betty Buckley to participate . . . they could get the much anticipated recording out. I think if they only do a few shows , and a recording it could be a great success!
From Gary Chartrand:
Some of the best and most popular of the recent revivals contain music composed by two American legends, Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim. Once, these two men worked on the same musical: Do I Hear a Waltz? My understanding is that this was a partnership that was not made in Heaven; however, despite this, the show contains some wonderful music and some extremely witty lyrics. I think this musical would be an excellent candidate for the Encores! series. I have always wanted to see this musical but I have never had the opportunity. Perhaps some day.
My three choices for the Encores! Series next season would have to be "The Golden Apple," "Love Life," and "Sherry!" I'll explain each choice.
I feel that "The Golden Apple" should be revived because it's truly a glorious score and one that was truncated on its original cast recording. What's there on the record (why isn't there a CD yet?) though, is so wonderful that it makes one eager the score in its completeness. Of course, its doubtful that anyone could quite erase the perfection of original cast members Kaye Ballard, Bibi Osterwald and Stephen Douglass (among others), but it's time that this show and score be given a complete recording and hearing.
Even more crucial is the resurrection of "Love Life," which never even received an original cast recording (though Nanette Fabray did sing two of its songs on "The Ed Sullivan Show," which should have be included on one of the Sullivan double CDs). I've heard the complete score from a live tape of the University of Michigan production, as well as Ben Bagley's recordings, and this complex, thrilling, lengthy score deserves another hearing in New York. And how wonderful it would be to finally have a cast recording of "Love Life"! Does anyone know that one of this show's songs ("Mother's Getting Nervous") has the same melody as the same year's "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" from "Kiss Me, Kate"? Well, all I can do is put my vote in for Encores! to choose this show.
After "The Golden Apple" and "Love Life," I would choose "Sherry!" Though its title number was included (and very well performed by Christine Baranski) on the first Varese Sarabande "Unsung Musicals" album, that's really only the tip of the iceberg of this show's score. Although I wouldn't put the "Sherry!" songs in the same class as my first two choices, the "Sherry!" score is mostly very catchy and I think that most show fans who haven't heard it would be very pleasantly surprised. And, like "Love Life," "Sherry!" was never recorded. Live tapes do exist, though, and they reveal that this musical deserves to be more widely known (however, as with the other shows, Encores! will have a tough act to follow finding a comparable cast to the original one, which included the divinely fabulous Dolores Gray).
From Carolyn Crapo
Let 'em Eat Cake. Aside from the terrific recording from Michael Tilson Thomas, which by next year will be ten years old, this is the most obscure musical to have such great songs, like "Mine," "Blue, Blue, Blue," and "Union Square." We also will just have suffered through a Presidential Election year and will need to laugh at it . . . actually, wait a minute . . . silly politicians? Irresponsible soapbox agitators? Irrational decisions by the Supreme Court? Entertainment spectacles like ball games deciding the nation's future? Friendly nations that won't repay their debts? It's all too fantastic, isn't it?? No one will believe it. Let's have BRIGADOON or LADY BE GOOD or something else that's more true-to-life.
Harold Rome's Fanny is one of the great unknown Broadway scores -- even though it ran close to two years in its original production. It's got stature, great duets, and the story still holds up. It's the closest thing to the contemporary "epic" musicals from the 1950s, besides Candide.
THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE: Rodgers and Hart meet Shakespeare. This delightful musical comedy, a huge success in its day, is too neglected. Wonderful songs, great laughs.
BLOOMER GIRL: An overlooked 'serious issue' musical from the 1940s. A extraordinary score featuring "Right as the Rain" and 'The Eagle and Me." A musical worth reexamining.
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN: Though the book to this show disregarded that the focus of the original Betty Smith novel was the character of young Francie Nolan, this musical features a glorious score. Featuring sharp lyrics by Dorothy Fields and atmospheric period flavored music by Arthur Schwartz. Far too neglected.
From Kelly Gionti
In the 1960s there was a musical version of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. I think Chaucer's work could be turned into a contemporary musical, there certainly is a lot of great characters and material. Or, they could redo the original B'way version. There are some great songs from the original, such as "What is it That Women Most Desire."
"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is a forgotten show that definitely deserves a second look. It has some terrific character songs that were originally done by Shirley Booth and a number of very pretty quasi-operatic songs sung by the other leads. It has a lot of nostalgic New York flavor and genuine heart that isn't seen much these days.
"Lady in the Dark" is a show with expensive production values and a somewhat dated book that boasts some legendary numbers as well as a great part for some leading actress. In a lot of ways, the music is still ahead of its time.
From Walt McGrath:
The Apple Tree: A perfect fit for Melissa Errico. up until now no one could have worn a part so perfectly fit to one musical actress. It's fun and a lovely score. it's been lost too too long.
What Makes Sammy Run a Good score...not great...but listen to it again and just see hear the LAWRENCE-MASSI duets and the Sally Ann Howes' solos. . . . .and the "Wedding of the Year" number!!! And, all tot sadly, "A Room Without Windows: has all but been forgotten.
Nine . . . A little young, I suspect, but what a beauty of a score and book. to little respect when it arrived...not by the public but by the producers. What ever happened to Shelly Birch????
From: Richard Gist:
"Annie Get Your Gun." Despite the politically incorrect and downright offensive references to Native Americans (which would have to be altered or eliminated), this is a musical worth its weight in gold, and one that could come even further alive with an updated staging. I particularly like the fact that there are so few Act Two reprises, a rare quality in its day.
From Brian P. Allen:
I would love to see the GRASS HARP revived with the original leads Barbara Cook and Karen Morrow. With a beautiful and fun score and these two dynamos on stage, it would be an evening to remember.
After the amazing performance by Betty Buckley of a scene from CARRIE during her recent concert, I think this show deserves a concert rendering and a recording.
BITTER SWEET, Noel Coward's operetta, is a wonderful score that deserves to be heard. The leading role is certainly juicy for the right woman (Melissa Errico?).
From Eric Nelsen:
I feel that 110 in the Shade would be a great musical to be revived! It has excellent music, and a great plot. It is done sooo little, that it would be great to see it be put on.
From Bill Gorin:
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN: Why not celebrate the 50th anniversary of this great show with an Encores! revival? Berlin's best show is not performed very much professionally, though I did see a great revival of it recently with Cathy Rigby. Why not stage a revival with Patti LuPone, who just put out an album of Berlin songs and included many from Annie??
Other possible Encores! shows: LUTE SONG, ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY, LOST IN THE STARS.
From Joe Bravaco:
Revive Jule Styne's DO RE MI. This show deserves a second look. It received nearly unanimous raves from critics, but was deemed to be a bit too dark in spots for audiences. There is a great score here and many of the GUYS and DOLLS revival cast might be interesting . . . although it would be difficult to fill the shoes of Nancy Walker and Phil Silvers, and no one has yet to sing MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY as beautifully as John Reardon . . . but hey, who would have dared replace Mary Martin in VENUS, but Melissa Errico seems to have come out all right. Yup, DO RE MI gets my vote. Order my tix now.
From Christopher French:
"PIPE DREAM," "ME & JULIET": Will anyone ever stage these Rodgers and Hammerstein classics that didn't make blockbuster status? It would be fantastic to hear some lesser-known songs from these geniuses of the musical theatre.
"THE ROTHSCHILDS": This Bock and Harnick score has some fantastic songs, and "In My Own Lifetime," would provide an incredible commentary on life today.
"CHESS": Though everyone seems to love the score, the book will keep it from seeing any major staged revivals anytime soon. Wouldn't it be great to hear RENT's Adam Pascal sing "Pity the Child"?
"The Golden Apple" -- it has a great score and has not been revived.
"Finian's Rainbow" -- it has a pleasant score and is highly unlikely to receive a staged revival at any time.
"Nine" -- again, it's a good score and a revival is not likely any time soon. It's recent, but so what??
House of Flowers -- because the score is legendary, but the book has been so vilified that it probably never be staged again.
High Button Shoes -- because no one ever seems to do this show and maybe an encores presentation would spark interest. It's a great community theater piece.
Carrie -- because it has a cult following and it would sell out immediately.
Love Life -- because there is no cast album and maybe this time they would have the sense to record the Encores! presentations, which don't have cast albums or severely abbreviated ones. The new Encores cast albums are great but they chose the three shows which are fairly well represented on disc. Lady in the Dark, DuBarry was a Lady, One Touch of Venus and Allegro seem to me to be more needing of new recordings.
My own favorite overlooked score is Coco. Because Katharine Hepburn's voice didn't do justice to the songs, many people think the music wasn't very good. I think it's a wonderful score, written by Andre Previn and Alan Jay Lerner.
1) Stephen Schwartz's "The Baker's Wife." Lately, many Broadway Divas (i.e., Lupone, Brightman, Buckley, Cook) have recorded one of the songs from this musical, "Meadowlark." This melodic, flowing song takes on a different meaning in the context of the musical (much like "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from "Gypsy" is a completely different song in context than when sung apart). The story line may be trite (but that didn't stop "DuBarry Was A Lady" from being revived!), but the music is awesome (perfect for a concert-style revival).
2) Wilson's "The Boyfriend," revived with Julie Andrews This would give Julie Andrews another chance to refuse a Tony!
3) Rodgers and Hart's "Babes in Arms." The music is reason enough to revive this. The songs include some of R & H's greatest hits: "My Funny Valentine," "I Wish I Were in Love Again," "Where or When," and "The Lady Is a Tramp."
4) Arlen and Capote's "House of Flowers." Revived off-Broadway once in 1968, this trite story is filled with some of Arlen's quaintest tunes, especially "A Sleepin' Bee," and "Two Ladies in de Shade of de Banana Tree."
From Geoffrey S. Greene:
Some of my dream choices for "revival" by the Encores series would include:
1. Marc Blitzstein's "Juno" - the musicalization of Sean O'Casey's "Juno & the Paycock" which flopped in 1959. This is, frankly, one of the finest musical scores to sink in a flop. While there is a tough to find Columbia cast album, it's essentially been forgotten, and that's a real shame. A first rate piece of musical drama.
2. Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner's 1976 disaster "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" also ranks high. Little snippets of this score have been recorded by many artists and sound intriguing. "Take Care of This House" seems to have found a life of its own. Interest can be further heightened since there was no cast album and Bernstein and Lerner both wanted the project forgotten. Bernstein later incorporated some of the score into his "Songfest," and if the Broadway score was anything like these excerpts, it must have been a doozy.
3. Jerome Moross and John Latouche's take on the Homeric legend, "The Golden Apple." This is another first rate score which is completely unknown in today's theater world. It was also one of the first musicals to be through-sung (which would be a decided plus for a concert staging).
4. John Morris' "A Time for Singing" which is a musicalization of Llewellyn's novel "How Green Was My Valley" and flopped big-time in 1966. This show has a serious (almost operatic) score and contains more music than many modern musicals.
Unfortunately, each of these choices, while artistically valid and challenging, is not particularly commercially enticing. The lesson of "Allegro" was 'don't be too obscure.' I think people want to have some perceived connection to this material. With that in mind, some more commercially appealing choices might be:
1. "Carnival" which while a big hit in 1960, is largely forgotten. It has a charming score, however, and the parts for the puppets are especially engaging (particularly if one wants to attract families).
2. "The Most Happy Fella" I know, I know....it just got done again on Broadway, but wouldn't you love to have a new recording with a real orchestra playing those Don Walker orchestrations?
3. Since Sondheim can apparently do no wrong these days (except maybe write a straight play), what about doing any of his flops? Wouldn't it be great to see "Assassins" done again - and how about having it transfer to a Broadway theater like it should have last time. A fresh look a "Merrily We Role Along" would be great too, although everybody and their brother has tried to make that play work. "Anyone Can Whistle" has recently been dusted off and rerecorded so that's out. "Pacific Overtures" would seem a reasonable choice.
From Davies & Murray:
FLOWER DRUM SONG -- Minor, but sweet R&H score, probably not destined for a full revival. Nice showcase for Lea Salonga in the Myoshi Umeki role?
HENRY, SWEET HENRY -- Cute story, score, with showcase parts for teenagers (where are Neva Small and Alice Playten today?).
HOW NOW DOW JONES -- The book (Dow Jones reaches 1,000) is laughable today. But the score, especially the Carolyn Leigh lyrics, is a clever one. Bring back Tony Roberts and Brenda Vacarro.
SHERRY -- The epitome of the "old fashioned" musical in the 60s. Dolores Grey was wonderful, but the show was overlooked in the wake of Melina Mercouri's ILYA, DARLING that season. Actually, both shows could do well in concert.
FINIAN'S RAINBOW -- This classic (and in its time radically pro-civil rights) hasn't been seen since the Lincoln Center revival. How about Martin Short as the Leprechaun?
KISS ME, KATE -- Lot's of rumors about a new mounting of this show, but no action yet (Kevin Kline, Bernadette Peters, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio?). The book is pretty hoary these days, with the "book within a book" story line so common back then. But the score is fun, and it contains some of Porter's raciest lyrics. Check out the full lyrics for "Always True to You..." and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare". Just do it!
FUNNY GIRL -- Surely someone is brave enough now to ditto Streisand. The show, which actually made a much better movie without so much cross cutting and flashbacks, could do well in concert. And such a lovely Jule Styne score!
KISMET -- Fun score, and also not seen since the Lincoln Center revival.
THE APPLE TREE -- Someone mentioned Melissa Errico for this. Sounds good to me. Very slender show, but with three showcase roles.
NINE -- This was essentially always a concert show. It would be dynamite for ENCORES!
From Gary Dooley:
DEAR WORLD because it has a terrific score and Angela Lansbury and Jane Connell are still around to recreate their original roles.
FLOWER DRUM SONG because no one ever revives it and it has a wonderful score AND it can finally be cast with real live Asians (after the Jonathan Pryce incident [with Miss Saigon] no one would dare do it otherwise).
HENRY SWEET HENRY -- because I've always wanted to see it.
From Michael Aman:
At the top of any list of musicals which should be revived-----The Golden Apple. How about going way back to "Jumbo" or more recent with "The Human Comedy?"
I'd also love to see "Fanny" or "Lost in the Stars" or "New Girl in Town."
Whichever treasures are chosen, I have faith in the consistent quality of these shows.