Paley Center Salutes Merman and West Side Story Sept. 29

News   Paley Center Salutes Merman and West Side Story Sept. 29
The Paley Center for Media – formerly the Museum of Television & Radio — will pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of West Side Story and the centenary of the late Ethel Merman Sept. 29 with a program entitled "Musicals on Television."
Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun
Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun

The sampling of musicals adapted for television includes salutes to Merman, whose centenary will be recognized in 2008; and West Side Story, which celebrated its 50th anniversary Sept. 26. The program will continue Sept. 30 with screenings of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and The Fantasticks.

The two-day event is presented in conjunction with the New York Theatre Festival.

The line-up of screenings follows:

Sept. 29
12:30 PM: "West Side Story at 50"
Includes the "Balcony Scene" with Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert as seen on "The Ed Sullivan Show"; a 1958 episode of "Look Up and Live," with director/choreographer Jerome Robbins and cast members; and a 1961 episode of "American Musical Theatre" with Stephen Sondheim. (90 minutes)

2 PM: "The Best of Broadway: Panama Hattie"
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Herbert Fields and B.G. DeSylva (television adaptation by Herbert Baker and supervised by Jule Styne). With Ethel Merman, Art Carney, Ray Middleton, Jack E. Leonard, Janis Carter, Neil Hamilton and Karin Wolfe. (1954; 60 minutes) 3 PM: Applause
Music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. With Lauren Bacall, Larry Hagman, Penny Fuller, Sarah Marshall, Robert Mandan, Harvey Evans and Rod McLennan. (1973; 105 minutes)

Sept. 30
3 PM: "Hallmark Hall of Fame: You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
Music, lyrics, and book by Clark Gesner, based on the Charles Schulz comic strip. With Barry Livingston, Wendell Burton, Ruby Persson, Mark Montgomery, Noelle Matlovsky and Bill Hinnant. (1973; 80 minutes)

4:45 PM: "Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Fantasticks"
Book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt. With Ricardo Montalban, Stanley Holloway, Bert Lahr, Susan Watson and John Davidson (1964; 50 minutes)

Ethel Merman, born Ethel Agnes Zimmerman on Jan. 16, 1908, made her Broadway debut in 1930 in Girl Crazy. She became one of the biggest Broadway stars of her era, a woman whose name became synonymous with the musical theatre. Her many other theatrical credits include George White's Scandals; Take a Chance; Anything Goes; Red, Hot and Blue; Stars in Your Eyes; DuBarry Was a Lady; Panama Hattie; Something for the Boys; Annie Get Your Gun; Call Me Madam; Happy Hunting; Gypsy and Hello, Dolly! Merman was nominated for Tony Awards for her performances in Gypsy and Happy Hunting and won the Tony for her work in Call Me Madam. She also received a Special Tony Award in 1972. Merman died Feb. 15, 1984.

West Side Story features a score by Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) and a book by Arthur Laurents. The musical opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre Sept. 26, 1957. It played 732 performances before closing June 27, 1959. Conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, the original cast included Larry Kert as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria and Chita Rivera as Anita. The classic Bernstein-Sondheim score boasts such tunes as "Tonight," "America," "Maria," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere." Subsequent revivals were presented at the Winter Garden Theatre (1960), City Center (1964) and the Minskoff Theatre (1980). The latter featured Josie de Guzman as Maria, Debbie Allen as Anita and Ken Marshall as Tony.

The Paley Center for Media is located at 25 West 52nd Street in Manhattan. Film tickets free with Paley Center admission; suggested donation is $10; seniors and students $8; children under 14, $5.

Chita Rivera and Liane Plane in <i>West Side Story</i>.
Chita Rivera and Liane Plane in West Side Story.
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