2/9/59 THROUGH 3/19/60 452 PERFORMANCES The Costa Mesa Playhouse in Costa Mesa, California known for mounting lesser-known, unique, and obscure musicals had a successful revival in June 1981. Original Cast: Gwen Verdon, Richard Kiley, Bette Graham, Patrick Horgan, Cynthia Latham, William LeMassena, Joy Nichols, Doris Rich, Leonard Stone, Ralph Sumpter Director and Choreographer: Bob Fosse Producer: Robert Fryer and Lawrence Carr Musical Director: Jay Blackton Orchestrations: Philip J. Lang and Robert Russell Bennett Scenic Design: Rouben Ter-Arutunian Lighting Design: Jean Rosenthal
REMNANTS OF THIS MUSICAL ARE VERY DIFFICULT TO FIND, AND THE SONGS, ALTHOUGH WINNING THE TONY FOR THE YEAR, ARE NOT MEMORABLE. HERE ARE A COUPLE OF THOSE WE WERE ABLE TO LOCATE. IT WAS OBVIOUSLY NOT A YEAR FOR GREAT BROADWAY MUSICALS!
"THE UNCLE SAM RAG"
"ERBIE FITCH'S TWITCH"
"TWO FACES IN THE DARK"
"JUST FOR ONCE"
1960 BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IT WAS A TIE!!! "THE SOUND OF MUSIC" and "FIORELLO"
FIORELLO IS THE STORY of the rise to power of New York's Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, a man who cleaned up New York politics singlehandedly.
THE LEAST FAMOUS OF THE TWO MUSICALS, IT RAN FROM 11/23/59 THROUGH 5/9/61 FOR A TOTAL OF 795 PERFORMANCES AND IS NOT ALWAYS LISTED ON INTERNET PAGES THAT SUPPLY INFORMATION ON BROADWAY MUSICALS (Some called it a fluke winner; OTHERS SAY IT NEEDS A REVIVAL. FROM THE SAME TEAM THAT GAVE BROADWAY "FIDDLER ON THE ROOF")
SOME MUSICAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS SHOW
THE OTHER HALF OF THE TIE HAS BECOME ONE OF THE TOP TEN MOST POPULAR BROADWAY SHOWS OF ALL TIME, AND THE MOVIE HAS BECOME AN ANNUAL FAVORITE ON TELEVISION
Composer: Richard Rodgers Lyricist: Oscar Hammerstein II Librettist: Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse
Broadway Premiere Theatre: Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, Mark Hellinger Theatre Opening Night: Nov 16, 1959 Total Performances: 1443 Original Cast: Mary Martin, Theodore Bikel, Patricia Neway, Kurt Kaszner, Marion Marlowe, Lauri Peters, Brain Davies, John Randolph, Nan McFarland, Joey Heatherton Director: Vincent J. Donehue Choreographer: Joe Layton Producer: Leland Hayward, Richard Halliday, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II Musical Director: Frederick Dvonch Orchestrations: Robert Russell Bennett Scenic Design: Oliver Smith Costume Design: Lucinda Ballard Lighting Design: Jean Rosenthal
Broadway Revival Theatre: Martin Beck Theatre Opening Night: Mar 12, 1998 Total Performances: 533 Cast: Rebecca Luker, Michael Siberry, Patti Cohenour, Fred Applegate, Matthew Ballinger, Andrea Bowen, Ann Brown, Patricia Conolly, Dashiell Eaves, Gina Ferrall, Natalie Hall, Martha Hawley, Ryan Hopkins, Timothy Landfield, Jeanne Lehman, Jan Maxwell, Gannon McHale, Ashley Rose Orr, Reno Roop, Tracy Alison Walsh, Sara Zelle Director: Susan H. Schulman Choreographer: Michael Lichtefeld Producer: Hallmark Entertainment, Thomas Viertel, Steven Baruch, Richard Frankel and Jujamcyn Theaters Musical Director: Michael Rafter Orchestrations: Bruce Coughlin Scenic Design: Heidi Ettinger Costume Design: Catherine Zuber Lighting Design: Paul Gallo The show is based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Many songs from the musical have become standards, including the title song "The Sound of Music", "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and "Do-Re-Mi". It has had numerous revivals and was adapted as a 1965 film which won the Academy Award, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
1961 "BYE BYE BIRDIE" OPENED APRIL 14, 1960 CLOSED OCTOBER 7, 1961 607 PERFORMANCES
Bye, Bye, Birdie is one of the perennial favorites of the American musical theater, and the first Broadway musical to take on the phenomenon that would end the era of classic American musicals, rock 'n' roll. It was the first big musical hit of the 1960s, opening on April 14, 1960, and running 607 performances. Since a large part of the cast of characters are teenagers, it is a perennial choice for school productions.
It was also a totally unexpected hit. The producer, Edward Padula, had been a stage manager. The librettist, Michael Stewart, was a television writer. Lee Adams, who wrote the lyrics, was a writer for Time Magazine. Composer Charles Strouse was a rehearsal pianist. The best known name was Gower Champion, beginning his outstanding career as a director and as a major choreographer, but up till then had only been known as a dancer.
The story was original, inspired by Elvis Presley's induction into the US Army. The cast was full of unknowns and partly-knowns, many of whom became stars through their participation in the play. Dick Van Dyke, as Birdie's manager, showed exceptional versatility as he danced, acted, and sung well, and with impeccable comic timing. Paul Lynde, as then exasperated Mr. McAfee (father of the girl on whom Birdie is to give his well-publicized "One Last Kiss") found immediate fame and a lifelong career in stressed-out of off-beat character roles. Chita Rivera, as Van Dyke's love interest, confirmed the status she had gained in the second female leading role of West Side Story, and Dick Gautier also began his career as the spoiled and loony Conrad. The stage veteran Kay Medford stole every scene with her hysterical portrayal of Dick Van Dyke's poisonous mother.
Champion kept the pace moving rapidly, with fresh, youthful-seeming dance numbers. A memorable touch was a depiction of the quicker than lightning teen-aged telephone gossip network, with each teen on the phone in his or her own modular box. (Was this set design the inspiration for "Hollywood Squares," a TV quiz program in which a surprising number of the cast eventually participated?) The musical had, in fact, very little actual rock 'n' roll in it. Some of its music suggests the rhythms and simplicity of the music, but mostly it is jazzy and exuberant show music of the era. The big hits of the show were "A Lot of Livin' to Do" and "Put on a Happy Face." The comedy song "Kids" is memorable and not infrequently is still performed.
The film of Bye, Bye, Birdie was successful, but fell short of the standards of the play. Van Dyke repeated his role. Janet Leigh replaced Rivera as his love interest, and sexy Ann-Margaret replaced Susan Watson as Kim McAfee, whose appearance of innocence had made her high school romance credible and provided a point of conflict when she is selected to kiss Birdie on national television. The film's biggest mistake was to make Van Dyke's awful mother human, casting the dignified Maureen Stapleton in place of Medford and even giving her a romantic subplot.
The original Broadway production was a Tony Award-winning success. It spawned a London production and several major revivals, a sequel, a 1963 film and a 1995 television production. The show has become a popular choice for high school and college productions
DICK VAN DYKE FROM THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY PRODUCTION
"The Telephone Hour" from the movie of the show
One of the other major songs from the musical, "KIDS (What's The Matter With Kids, Today)"
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