Hooray for Hapgood: Anyone Can Whistle Will Get Complete Two-Disc Recording

News   Hooray for Hapgood: Anyone Can Whistle Will Get Complete Two-Disc Recording
Stephen Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle, his cult flop from 1964 that has resurfaced in concerts and revivals in recent years, will get its first "complete" recording this summer from Jay Records.

The two-disc set, part of Jay's "Complete Original Masterworks" series, will be the complete score — "all songs, dances, overtures, entr'acte and underscoring," John Yap of Jay Records told Playbill On-Line. A July release is expected.

The recording will have "quite a bit of dialogue, but alas, not the complete libretto," Yap said. "There will be no cut material — such as the dropped song, 'There's Always a Woman' — either, but it will have the complete 'Don't' Ballet' (which comes in the middle of 'Everybody Says Don't') as well as the complete 'Cookie Chase' and others. I believe that there will be at least 30 to 40 minutes of previously unrecorded music."

Anyone Can Whistle, a highly original, absurdist-flecked romance, was the second Broadway score for Sondheim as a composer-lyricist (after A Funny Thing Happened...). The new recording's musical director is John Owen Edwards. Principal players are Maria Friedman (Nurse Fay Apple), Julia McKenzie (Mayoress Cora Hoover Hooper) and John Barrowman (Hapgood). The musical's librettist, Arthur Laurents, will play The Narrator.

There are already two recordings of the score: The original cast, which Columbia was visionary enough to preserve despite the short run, and a 1995 benefit concert with Bernadette Peters and Madeline Kahn (offering the first recording of some of the material).

A London staging opened in January at the Bridewell Theatre under the direction of Arthur Laurents. It includes a reshaped book and songlist. Reviews were not good for the London staging. A production in Los Angeles begins Feb. 18, with the same reshaped book and score (sanctioned by Sondheim and Laurents) but together by a separate creative team. The quirky show, which closed after nine performances in 1964, now has a cult following thanks largely to its original cast album.

For more information, visit www.jayrecords.com.


The new L.A. staging opens Feb. 21, after previews that begin Feb. 18, as a guest production at the Matrix Theatre. Carole Black produces, Michael Michetti directs (and also adapted the three-act work into two acts), Larry Sousa choreographs and Darryl Archibald is musical director. The company totals 18. The set is said to be inspired by Andy Warhol.

The staging is billed as the "U.S. premiere of the first sanctioned revision of the original 1964 Broadway musical, approved by Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim."

Misty Cotton will play Nurse Apple, one of the apparently sane characters in a mad town where a corrupt Mayoress (played by Broadway character actress Ruth Williamson) creates a fake miracle to bring in tourists. When the local asylum is unlocked, the tourists mix in with the "cookies" and the town council can't tell one from the other. A hero named Hapgood (played by John Bisom) challenges the Mayoress and falls for Apple. In 1964, the show took shots at conformity, mental health, war, politics and other subjects, ending up a rueful and somewhat absurdist satire of the modern world.

Composer-lyricist Sondheim's score includes "There Won't Be Trumpets," "With So Little to be Sure Of," "Me and My Town," "Miracle Song," "A Parade in Town," "See What It Gets You," "Everybody Says Don't" and the title song, among others.

Cotton is a 2002 Ovation Award-winner for Lead Actress in a Musical (Side Show). Her credits include Ellen in Miss Saigon on Broadway and Eponine in the national tour of Les Misérables. Williamson's Broadway credits include Eulalie Shinn in The Music Man, Gen. Cartwright in Guys and Dolls; Epic Proportions and Little Me.

In the original, Hapgood was played by Harry Guardino, Apple by Lee Remick and the Mayoress by Angela Lansbury.

Designers are Evan Bartoletti (set); Steven Young (lighting); Rebecca McCabe (costume). Richard B. Warsk is production supervisor.

The cast also includes Ira Denmark, Joe Hart, Jay Willick, Peggy Billo, Andrew Boyle, Lizz Carter, Jennie Fahn, Daniel Gibson, Chil Kong, Roy Leake, Jr. Matthew McCray, Randi Pareira, Sierra A. R. Rein, Peter Sham and Virginia Weber.

The Matrix Theatre is at 7657 Melrose Avenue. Performances continue to May 11. Tickets range $15-$38. For information, call (818) 788-5659.


Visit the Anyone Can Whistle website at www.anyonecanwhistle.com.

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