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ladymoviebuff

Rodgers & Hammerstein

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Ahem, MrsL. Flower Drum Song is by Rodgers and Hammerstein (no wonder you like it!). And there are plenty of wonderful, struggling composers out there; wishing they could find a good producer and an audience...

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Hey Sandy!

How are you?

No, Ms. Leigh never did "Pipe Dream" though she was probably right for it, unlike Julie Andrews who was also up for it! The late and wonderful Judy Tyler starred in it along with Helen Traubel and William Johnson.Ms. Tyler was tragically killed in an auto accident in 1957, having just completed "Jailhouse Rock" with Elvis Presley.

"Pipe Dream" was a rare Rodgers and Hammerstein flop. It ran about 6 months. It opened on my birthday, November 30th in 1955. I really like the score, also.

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Wow, I had no idea that Wagnerian soprano Helen Traubel ever did Broadway. What a great opportunity to see her as Fauna in Pipe Dreams. I understand that both Judy Tyler and Bill Johnson died soon after the show closed, so Ms. Traubel wore charms and garlic to ward off an alleged "Pipe Dream Curse".

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Hi Jack.

Did you ever read Traubel's autobiography? Very entertaining, as I recall.

Apparently, Miss Traubel was extremely unhappy in "Pipe Dream" and actually gave her notice several months into the short run. The RCA CD is still available, I believe. William Johnson died suddenly in 1957 at 41, I believe, the same year that Judy Tyler died. She was 24 !

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Weirdly enough, I knew that Helen Traubel was in Pipe Dream, but had no clue who else was in it. I did know that it was considered one of R&H's flops. Although a six month run hardly seems like a flop to me! But compared to their other shows, six months is a short run.

 

Two years ago I put together a R&H revue for the summer drama camp that I direct. I re-read all their shows, searched through all the scores. I had to find songs that were kid and teen friendly. So, nothing from Pipe Dream made the cut.

 

Sandy K

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And there are plenty of wonderful, struggling composers out there; wishing they could find a good producer and an audience...

 

Sadly these days the big corporations have too much of a say in what gets produced in Broadway, especially the Disney Co. Where is the next Rent? :(

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Did they do Showboat?

 

That's an older post, but it doesn't appear that anyone responded. Richard Rodgers did not compose SHOW BOAT, that was Jerome Kern. However, Oscar Hammerstein II, did do the lyrics. I've never been a tremendous fan of any of the screen versions of SHOW BOAT. They're all lacking in one area or other; but, I loved the London revival, in 1971 and the most successful of all the productions, the 1994 Broadway revival, which was just magnificent.

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Show Boat is one of the true perennials of movie musicals, having been adapted more times than any R&H musical, including the 17-minute abridged presentation in Till the Clouds Roll By. It is also a very sympathetic portrayal of the plight of African-Americans in a not too distant point in American history.

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My favorites are slightly different between film and stage.

 

For films:

 

The Sound of Music- the perfect blend of what make the stage musical so successful, and a cinematic masterpiece. All the changes from stage to film, were perfectly rendered to enhance the film-going experience. As fresh today as it was in 1965. Julie Andrews and the entire cast are definitive in their roles.

 

Flower Drum Song - again, changes from the stage version enhance the piece as a film. A wonderful cast and a wonderful score. Alfred Newman's orchestrations are superb.

 

Carousel - really wonderful on-location photography, and a couple of added scenes to flesh-out the characters. Shirley Jones is definitive as Julie Jordan.

 

On stage:

 

South Pacific - it contains all the elements of a perfect musical. Intelligent book, perfectly rendered songs, and interesting setting.

 

The King and I - another great example of the perfect blend of story and songs. Wonderful setting and characters that are engaging and engrossing.

 

Of course, all their musicals, whether they be stage, film or television are better than anything being produced, in the last 30 years or more (with the exception of RAGTIME).

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I actually got to see the Showboat revival with Gavin McLeod and Anita Gillette...

The set was a true marvel of engineering...

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SHOW BOAT is just so much better on stage. Or at least when compared with what they've done with it, on film, thus far.

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It does have more appeal in a stage setting. There are so many

 

well developed characters with their own songs, but I do have a fondness

for the Grayson/Keel film, mainly because it was my first viewing

of the entire musical, either on screen or on stage...

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No, Show Boat on stage is OK but it doesn't even begin to compare with the movie versions. I feel about it the same way I felt about On the Town -- you can put it on today, but to get a real feel for what the show was like at a time closer to when it was originally written, you simply can't beat the movie adaptations. Not to mention that they are much more accessible.

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Hi John - When it comes to "Showboat", my favorite version has always been the 1936 James Whale film version with Irene Dunne, Helen Morgan, and Paul Robeson. The only thing that bothers me about the film is that they cut "Why Do I Love You?". Other than that, I always thought it was the closest I would ever get to seeing the original Broadway version. The screenplay by Oscar Hammerstein II is superb and one of the new songs written for the film "I Have the Room Above Her" is haunting and beautifully shot. I think Helen Westley and Charles Winnegar are also exceptional. As for the 1951 version, I always thought Howard Keel (the only baritone I've heard playing Gaylord Ravenal) gives an extremely sensitive performance and William Warfield's voice is glorious. (I've read that the "Ol Man River" scene in the 1951 version was actually directed by Roger Edens and not George Sidney). I am looking forward to the release of the DVD with the 1929, 1936, 1951 versions intact. I've only seen stage versions at Jones Beach Theater in the 1960s or 1970s (can't remember) and the version on Broadway with Elaine Stritch as Parthy. The 1936 film version is still my favorite. Just my preference. I'd love to understand why you don't care for the film versions?

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Guess you must be looking forward to the TCM showing of the movie, too?

 

It's too bad the complete Show Boat DVD set won't be out until 2008, apparently. But I think it'll be worth the wait! :)

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Actually, very excited. Like you, I'm a big fan of the movie versions of "Showboat". I also love the short version in "Till the Clouds Roll By". I'ts a shame we have to wait until 2008 for the DVD to come out with all three versions.

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You never got the "Complete Show Boat" collection on laserdisc?

 

It's probably still available if you look on eBay, the only catch is having a laserdisc player. Won't be as good as the DVD but the picture quality is far better than VHS. :)

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Oooh, I'm jealous! I do have the most recent dvds of The Sound of Music, Oklahoma! and State Fair. The picture and sound quality is just gorgeous!

 

Oklahoma! is my favorite R&H musical, both the stage and the screen versions. It's deeper than most people think. The coming of age story of a state and a girl (Laurey).

 

Sandy K

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I enjoyed Oklahoma, too.

I thought Gloria Grahame was excellent in her secondary role, and it made me

wish she had done more comedies.

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