Show tune fans have arcana to look forward to Nov. 23, when cast albums of How Now, Dow Jones (1967) and Your Own Thing (1968) get re-released on CD, by RCA Victor.
How Now, produced by David Merrick, was a musical comedy satire (the idea of lyricist Carolyn Leigh) about a young man who promises to marry his girlfriend when the stock market hits 1,000. Music was by Elmer Bernstein, the film composer who found the collaboration with Leigh to be contentious. He would later write Merlin and not return to Broadway.
The show starred Tony Roberts (known as "Anthony"), Marlyn Mason, Brenda Vaccaro and Hiram Sherman (who won a Tony Award).
The show begat at least one hit, despite its brief 220-performance run: "Step to the Rear."
George Abbott directed. The book was by Max Schulman. Gillian Lynne (later of Cats fame) choreographed. Lyricist Leigh wrote Wildcat and Little Me with Cy Coleman. New liner notes are by Peter Marks. Your Own Thing was a loose rock musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night that ran a solid 933 performances at Off-Broadway's Orpheum Theatre, beginning Jan. 13,1968.
The book was by Donald Driver, with music and lyrics by Hal Hester and Danny Apolinar (he played rocker Danny in the show). The show concerned siblings Viola and Sebastian being separated in a shipwreck and Viola disguising herself as a man in order to get into a rock group in Ilyria, where she lands. Shakespeare's Olivia owns a disco, Orsino is now Orson, manager of a rock group called Four Apocalypse. Obscure today, the rarely-revived show was hot in its time. It won the Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.
The show starred Leland Palmer as Viola, Tom Ligon as Orson, Marcia Rodd as Olivia (on the recording) and Rusty Thacker as Sebastian.
The score includes "The Flowers," "Come Away, Death," "I'm On My Way to the Top," "What Do I Know?," "The Now Generation," "The Middle Years," "Don't Leave Me," "Your Own Thing," "Young and In Love," and more.
-- By Kenneth Jones