Artist-turned-reluctant playwright Maria Irene Fornes picked characters, locations and lines of dialogue from three stacks of shuffled index cards to write scenes for Promenade, a 1965 experimental musical. The original cast recording of the revised, expanded 1969 version of the show is now being released on CD by RCA Victor, Nov. 10.
The musical, which speaks about war, bureaucracies and the common man, won an OBIE for Fornes (Fefu and her Friends, Terra Incognita) and her collaborator Al Carmines. Carmines, a reverend who converted his choir loft at NYC's Judson Memorial Church into an experimental theatre for Promenade, wrote the music with Fornes providing the book and lyrics. The 1969 mounting moved to another theatre, christened "The Promenade" specifically for the show -- a name the venue has kept ever since.
The original cast featured Ty McConnell, Gilbert Price, Pierre Epstein, Alice Playten, Glenn Kezer, Margot Albert, Carrie Wilson, Shannon Bolin and Michael Davis. George S. Irving and Madeline Kahn (!) were replaced by Elliott Savage and Sandra Schaeffer before the cast recording was made.
The Promenade disc includes "Promenade Theme," "Unrequited Love," "Isn't That Clear?," "Chicken Is He," "A Flower," "The Moment Has Passed," "The Clothes Make the Man," "The Cigarette Song," "Two Little Angels," "The Passing of Time," "Capricious and Fickle," "Crown Me," "A Poor Man," "Little Fool," "Listen, I Feel," "I Saw A Man" and "All Is Well in the City."
Promenade originally ran 259 performances and was revived Off Off Broadway for 16 performances at the Theatre Off Park in 1983. -- By Christine Ehren