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Transcript
1967
10
WHO'S PINKUS? WHERE'S CHELM?
London run: Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre, January 3rd (10 performances)
Music: Monty Norman
Lyrics & Book: Cecil P. Taylor & Monty Norman
Director: Charles Marowitz
Choreographer: Tutte Lemkow
Musical Director: Jack Nathan
Cast: Bernard Bresslaw (Izzy Pinkus), Nancy Nevinson (Rachel Pinkus), David Lander (Rabbi),
Anita Lockwood, Stanley Platts
Story: Set in Chelm, the town of fools in Jewish folklore, it charts the progress of Issy Pinkus from poverty to
affluence, from self-neglect to self-respect. At first he is Public Idiot No. 1, unable to get a job even on a
building site, so he sets off for the neighbouring town of Mazeltov to make his fortune. En route he discover
that “a man must follow his heart otherwise he stops being a man”, and equipped with this information, he runs
rings round the local rabbi and business tycoons and becomes a great success.
Notes: This was a “Brechtian” type musical where the songs interrupt the action to comment on the previous
scene or repeat the action in a stand-alone song and dance item. The director, Charles Marowitz, was known for
his experimental approach to theatre.
110 IN THE SHADE
London run: Palace Theatre, February 8th (101 Performances)
Music: Harvey Schmidt
Lyrics: Tom Jones
Books: N. Richard Nash
Director: Joseph Anthony
Choreographer: Agnes de Mille
Cast: Stephen Douglas (Bill Starbuck), Inga Swenson (Lizzie Curry) , Ivor Emmanuel (File)
Songs: Lizzie’s Coming Home, Poker Polka, The Rain Song, Old
Maid, Everything Beautiful Happens at Night, Simple Little Things,
Wonderful Music
Photo by Houston Rogers
Story: This is the story of Lizzie Curry, a spinster living on a ranch
in the American southwest, and her relationships with File, the local
sheriff – a careful divorcé who is afraid of being hurt again. The
area is suffering from a drought, when along comes a charismatic
con-man, Bill Starbuck, who claims to be a rainmaker who can
bring relief to the drought-stricken area. Lizzie falls for him and
they are about to run away together when File at last reveals his
love for her. She decides to accept him and settle for the quiet
life—and at that very moment the heavens open.
Notes: In adapting his play “The Rainmaker” into a musical, Nash
has remained very faithful to the original, although many of the
interior scenes were moved outdoors to allow for the introduction of
a chorus of townspeople for ensemble numbers and dances. Many
of Jones' lyrics come directly from Nash's play. The music and
lyrics were created by the same team that wrote “The Fantasticks”
Inga Swenson & Stephen Douglas
1967
11
WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE SAY SOMETHING?
London run: Arts Theatre, February 14th (12 Performances)
Music: David Allen
Lyrics & Book: David Baxter
Director: David Calderisis
Cast: Stephen Moore (Webster), David Baxter (Trebor), Susan Baxter (Girl)
Songs: Isn’t She a Lovely Child, Baby the Good Times Are Coming at Last, I’m the Kind of Girl, I’m in Love,
The Only Good Thing,
Notes: Not a musical, but a three-hander “play with songs”. It seems to have come and gone within two
weeks despite being chosen by Plays & Players for a full-text publication in their April 1967 issue.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
London run: Her Majesty's, February 16th (2,030 Performances)
Music: Jerry Bock
Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick
Book: Joseph Stein
Director-Choreographer: Jerome Robbins
Musical Director: Gareth Davies
Producer: Harold Prince & Richard Pilbrow
Cast: Topol (Tevye), Miriam Karlin (Golde), Cynthia Greville (Yente),
Paul Whitsun-Jones (Lazar Wolf). Sandor Eles (Perchick),
Rosemary Nicols (Tzeitel), Jonathan Lynn (Motel), Caryl Little (Chava)
Songs: Tradition, Matchmaker Matchmaker, If I Were a Rich Man, To Life,
Sunrise Sunset, Miracle of Miracles, Anatevka
Note: Based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem,
this was a musical offering neither attractive
costumes nor pretty scenery, and yet its theme of a
people vainly trying to preserve tradition in a
changing world proved to be enormously popular.
On Broadway it became the longest-running show
up to that time. Topol and Miriam Karlin played
the leading roles in London for the first year, and
then were replaced with Alfie Bass and Avis
Bunnage. Alfie Bass remained with the show for
the rest of the run, with occasional temporary
replacements by Les Goudsmit. Avis Bunnage
stayed a further eighteen months and was replaced
by Hy Hazell. Sadly Hy Hazell suddenly died ,
aged 48, after ten months in the role. Avis
Bunnage returned for the remainder of the run.
Topol & Miriam Karlin
Photo by Zoe Dominic
Story: Set in 1905 in Czarist Russia, the story focuses on Tevye the milkman, his wife, Golde and their three
daughters in the Jewish village of Anatevka. The eldest daughter, Tzeitel, marries a poor tailor even though
Tevye had promised her to the rich, middle-aged butcher, Lazar Wolf. The second daughter, Hodel, marries a
young revolutionary who is sent to Siberia. The third daughter, Chava, marries outside the faith. At the play's
end the police destroy the village during a pogrom and Tevye and what's left of his family are forced to begin a
new life in America.
1967
12
OLIVER (1st Revival)
London run: Piccadilly Theatre, April 26th (331 Performances)
Music, Lyrics, Book: Lionel Bart
Director: David Phethean
Musical Director: Michael Moores
Producer: Donald Albery
Cast: Barry Humphries (Fagin), Marti Webb (Nancy), Martin Dell (Bill Sykes), Paul Bartlet (Oliver),
Leslie Stone (Artful Dodger), Tom de Ville (Mr Bumble), Pamela Pitchford (Widow Corney),
Glyn Worsnip (Mr Sowerberry)
Notes: See New Theatre, June 1960 for original London production.
THE DESERT SONG (5th Revival)
London run: Palace Theatre, May 13th (383 Performances)
Music: Sigmund Romberg
Lyrics: Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein, & Frank Mandel
Director: Joan Davis
Choreographer: Virginia Courtney
Musical Director:
Cast: John Hanson (Pierre Birabeau), Patricia Michael (Margot Bonvalet),
Tony Hughes (Bennie Kidd), Lita Scott (Azuri), Dermod Gloster (Sid el Kar),
Raymond du Parc ( Capt Paul Fontaine), Carol Dorée (Clementina),
Doreen Key (Susan)
Songs: The Desert Song, The Riff Song, Romance, One Alone, One Flower Grows
Alone in Your Garden, I Want a Kiss, It, The French Marching Song.
Story: In North Africa the French occupying forces are striving to capture the Red Shadow, who is the leader
of the Riffs, an outlaw band of Moroccan tribesmen. The famous renegade is in love with Margot, but she is
infatuated with Pierre Birabeau, the handsome son of the French Governor. Margot is captured by the
mysterious Red Shadow and eventually falls in love with him,
although she does not know his identity – his face is always hidden
from her. However, the Red Shadow is himself captured and
imprisoned by the governor's soldiers, and only then does Margot
discover the Red Shadow is really Pierre in disguise. All ends
happily.
Photo by Dezo Hoffmann Ltd
Notes: The original London production had been at Drury Lane in
1927, and due to its enormous popularity it was revived in the West
End in 1931, 1936, 1939 and 1943. From the late 1950s onwards the
actor-singer John Hanson had headed a semi-permanent UK touring
company presenting “The Desert Song” and other popular operettas.
He had played the Red Shadow over 600 times before finally
bringing his company into the West End.
It was inevitable that the critics would sneer at the “provincial”
scenery, costumes and production, and a fair bet that more than one
of them would go for “No Great Sheikhs” as a title for the review,
but John Hanson was enormously popular with the coach-party trade,
and he succeeded in filling the vast Palace Theatre for the best part of
a year.
John Hanson
1967
13
QUEENIE
London run: Comedy Theatre, June 22nd (20 Performances)
Music: Ted Manning & Marvin Laird
Lyrics & Book: Ted Willis
Director: Arthur Lewis
Choreographer: Leo Kharibian
Musical Director: Leo Mole
Producer: Bernard Delfont & Arthur Lewis
Cast: Vivienne Martin (Queenie) ,Kevin Colson (James) , Bill Owen (Tom),
Simon Oates (Dick), Paul Eddington (Harry)
Songs: Here is the Key of the Door, We’re Gonna Be Dead and Gone, Special Kind of Man, How Does He
Look in the Morning?, Excuse Me for Speaking My Mind.
Story: This was the ballad tale of a young widow, the landlady of the Queen of Sheba public house, and her
attempts to re-marry. She has her heart set on James, her barman, and to try and get him to propose to her, she
pretends to take on a succession of three “trial” husbands: Tom, Dick and Harry. A sub-plot involves the love
affair of a much younger couple.
Notes: This “ballad-opera” began life as a short TV play – claimed to be the first ever play written entirely in
verse. The musical adaptation retained the rhyming couplets in an attempt to re-create the “ballad” feel.
However, the critics claimed the effect was similar to an exceptionally bad pantomime script. The show failed
after 20 performances.
ANNIE
London run: Westminster Theatre, July 27th (156 Performances)
Revived February 1st 1968 ( 242 Performances)
Music: William L. Reed
Lyrics & Book: Alan Thornhill
Director: Henry Cass
Choreographer: Denny Bettis
Musical Director: Ray Cook
Cast: Margaret Burton (Annie Jaeger), Bill Kenwright (Bill Jaeger),
Donald Simpson, Norman Ghent, Angela Richards.
Songs: I Don’t Like Your Hat, It Fair Takes Your Breath Away, I Keeps Myself to
Myself, Who’s the Dictator Jim Parks?, We’re Going to Shake the Country, A
Basinful of Revolution.
Story: The life story of Annie Jaeger, an early member of the Moral Rearmament Movement, was the subject
of this musical, starting with her leaving her comfortable home surroundings in 1930s Stockport, and coming to
London to spread her message of moral rearmament amongst the people of the capital.
Notes: With its preachy message and parable-like scenes and songs, it was clearly not aimed at the ordinary
theatre-going public, but specifically at supporters of the Moral Rearmament Movement. It turned out that
there were more supporters than one might have thought: after a four and half month run, it was withdrawn for
the planned Christmas show at the Westminster, and then revived in February 1968 for a further six month run.
There were a few minor cast changes for the 1968 production.
1967
14
SWEET CHARITY
London run: Prince of Wales Theatre, October 11th (476 Performances)
Music: Cy Coleman
Lyrics: Dorothy Fields
Book: Neil Simon
Director: Bob Fosse, restaged by Lawrence Carr
Choreographer: Bob Fosse, reproduced by Robert Linden
Musical Director: Alyn Ainsworth
Photo by Tom Hustler
Producer: Bernard Delfont & Harold Fielding
Cast: Juliet Prowse (Charity), Rod McLennan (Oscar) ,
John Keston (Vittorio Vidal) Josephine Blake, Paula Kelly, Fred Evans,
Songs: Hey Big Spender, If My Friends Could See
Me Now, There's Gotta Be Something Better Than
This, Rhythm of Life, I'm a Brass Band, I Love to
Cry at Weddings
Rod McLennan & Juliet Prowse
Story: Charity Hope Valentine works as a dime-adance hostess at the Fan-Dango Ballroom. Her trusting, romantic nature gets her
involved with an Italian screen star, Vittorio Vidal, and with a “square” named Oscar
whom she meets when they are stuck in an elevator at the 92nd Street “Y”. Later they
also get stuck on a Coney Island Ferris wheel. Though Oscar promises to marry
Charity, he backs out, and she returns to the Fan-Dango, living “hopefully ever after”
Notes: Based on Fellini's film “Nights of Cabiria”, the South-African born actress Juliet
Prowse gained a great personal success in the London production.
MRS WILSON’S DIARY
London run: Criterion, October 24th (175 Performances)
Music: Jeremy Taylor
Lyrics: John Wells
Book: Richard Ingrams & John Wells
Director: Joan Littlewood
Cast: Bill Wallis (Harold Wilson), Myvanwy Jenn (Gladys Mary Wilson),
Bob Grant (George Brown), Peter Reeves (Gerald Hoffman),
Sandra Caron (Audrey Callaghan), Johnny Lyons (Jim Callaghan),
Carl Forgione (David Frost), Kevin Smith (President Johnson)
Unknown credit
Songs: Here I Kneel, Who Are the Bastards Now?, The Terrible Mr Brown, Why
Should I Worry?, Harold and Me
Bob Grant as George Brown
Notes:: This was a piece of gentle political satire based on the on-going lampoons in
the fortnightly magazine “Private Eye”. It was not really a musical – it was a satirical
play laced with some rather funny songs. It originally opened at the Theatre Royal
Stratford on September 21st and quickly transferred.
THE BOY FRIEND ( 1st Revival)
London run: Comedy Theatre, November 29th (365 Performances)
Music & Lyrics : Sandy Wilson
Director: Sandy Wilson
Choreographer: Noel Tovey
Musical Director: Grant Hossack
Producer: Michael Codron
Cast: Ann Beach (Hortense), Cheryl Kennedy (Polly Browne), Tony Adams (Tony),
Nicholas Bennett (Bobby van Husen), Frances Barlow (Maisie),
Marion Grimaldi (Mme Dubonnet)
Notes: See Original London production, Wyndham’s, January 1954
1967
15
A PRESENT FROM THE CORPORATION
London run: Fortune Theatre, November 30th (3 performances)
Music: John Gould
Lyrics: David Wood
Director: David Wood
Musical Director: John Gould
Cast: Terence Brady (Graham Slater), Julia McKenzie (Maggie Slater), John Gower, Gay Soper,
Michael Boothe, Sam Walters.
Story: Graham Slater and his wife Maggie move to a Northern town, where Graham has been appointed
Cultural Officer. They are met with a very cold response from a community that feels “arty, fancy” ideas from
the south are not welcome.
Notes: The original production ran for two weeks in rep at the Swan Theatre, Worcester. The local
theatregoers loved the show so much they contributed towards a fund to bring the show to London's Fortune
Theatre for a three performance “showcase” in the hope it would attract a management to take on the show and
give it a full West-End production. Sadly, no management was interested.
THE FOUR MUSKETEERS
London run: Drury Lane, December 5th (462 Performances)
Music: Laurie Johnson
Lyrics: Herbert Kretzmer
Director: Peter Coe
Choreographer: Donald MacKayle
Musical Director: Derek New
Producer: Bernard Delfont
Cast: Harry Secombe (D'Artagnan), Jeremy Lloyd (Porthos), Glyn Owen (Athos),
John Junkin (Aramis), Stephanie Voss (Constance), Elisabeth Larner (Milady),
Kenneth Connor (King Louis XIII)
Songs: A Little Bit of Glory, Think Big, What Love Can Do, Nobody's Changing
Places With Me, Give Me a Man's Life
Notes: The show was in trouble from the start: there were many re-writes and several cast changes and walkouts during rehearsals, including opera star Joyce Blackham, replaced at short notice by Elizabeth Larner. A
great deal of money had been lavished on the production, but the critics found the sets (Sean Kenny) ugly and
impractical, the costumes (Loudon Sainthill) dull. The dialogue was said to be infantile, the music a total mishmash of inappropriate operatic
numbers for Harry Secombe and
silly, sentimental or comedy
numbers, none of which seemed to
belong together. The only merit
was Harry Secombe himself, and
his presence in the cast managed to
keep the show afloat for fourteen
months.
However, it never
recovered its costs and ended up
with a loss of £50,000.
Harry Secombe & Elizabeth Larner
Photo by John Timbers
Story: D'Artagnan, a countrified gentleman, achieves all his deeds of daring by pure accident. Coming to
Paris in search of his beloved Constance, he meets up with the three musketeers of Dumas's story – except here
they are drunken and lecherous rioters – and then he is asked to go to Baden-Baden to retrieve a diamond from
the Queen's former lover (a necessary act if the Queen is to be saved from disgrace and scandal). The bumbling
adventures and mishaps all manage to end up bringing praise, success and a brave reputation to a man who is,
at heart, a good-natured country bumpkin.
1968
16
YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN
London run: Fortune Theatre, February 1st (116 Performances)
Music & Lyrics: Clark Gesner
Book: “John Gordon” (Clark Gesner)
Director: Joseph Hardy
Choreographer: Patricia Birch
Musical Director: Peter Martin
Producer: Bernard Delfont & Harold Fielding
Photo by Tom Hustler
Cast: Gene Kidwell (Linus), David Rhys Anderson (Charlie Brown),
Courtney Lane (Patty), Gene Scandur (Schroeder), Don Potter (Snoopy),
Boni Enten (Lucy)
Songs: My Blanket and Me, Book Report, T.E.A.M., Suppertime,
Happiness
Gene Scandur & Courtney Lane
Notes: This is an average day in the life of Charlie Brown, based on the
comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles Schulz. Charlie flies his kite, writes a
book report for school, plays baseball, and meets up with his friends, the
piano-playing Schroeder, the bossy Lucy, the blanket-loving Linus and
the goggled canine Snoopy who imagines he’s the Red Baron. It managed
just over a three month run.
CABARET
London run: Palace, February 28th (336 Performances)
Music: John Kander
Lyrics: Fred Ebb
Book: Joe Masteroff
Director: Harold Prince
Choreographer: Ron Field
Producer: Harold Prince & Richard Pilbrow
Cast: Judi Dench (Sally Bowles), Barry Dennen (MC), Kevin Colson (Clifford),
Lila Kedrova (Fraulein Schneider), Peter Sallis (Herr Schultz), Richard Owens (Ernst Ludwig)
Songs: Willkommen, Don’t Tell Mama, Tomorrow Belongs to
Me, Two Ladies, If You Could See Her Through My Eyes,
Cabaret, The Money Song
Story: A bitter evocation of Berlin in the 1930s just as the Nazis
are coming to power, this is the story of Sally Bowles, an aspiring
but untalented English actress working in a seedy nightclub. She
is involved in a doomed romance with a visiting American writer,
Clifford Bradshaw. The story is told in tandem with performances
at the Kit-Kat Club, presided over by a leering, sinister Master of
Ceremonies.
Photo by Zoe Dominic
Notes: The original book was based on the “Berlin Stories” by
Christopher Isherwood, and on John van Druten’s stage-play
version of the stories, “I Am a Camera”.
The musical
significantly changed the nationality of the leading man from
British to American, presumably for an “international” market.
This was another show which did so much better in New York
than in London: the Broadway show ran 1,165 performances
compared to London’s 336.
Judi Dench
1968
17
CANTERBURY TALES
London run: Phoenix, March 21st (2,082 Performances)
Music: Richard Hill & John Hawkins
Lyrics: Nevill Coghill
Book: Nevill Coghill & Martin Starkie
Director: Martin Starkie & Vlado Habunek
Choreographer: David Drew
Musical Director: Gordon Rose
Cast: James Ottaway (Chaucer), Nicky Henson (Squire, Nicholas, Alan, Damian),
Pamela Charles (Prioress, Prosperina), Jessie Evans (Wife of Bath, Old Woman),
Gay Soper (Alison), Kenneth J. Warren (Miller, Gervase, Pluto),
Wilfrid Brambell (Steward, Carpenter, January), Trevor Bannister,
Daniel Thorndike
Songs: I Have a Noble Cock, There’s the Moon, Some Call it Love, I’ll Give My Love a Ring, Love Will Conquer
All, If She Has Never Loved Before, April Song.
Notes: Based on Professor Nevill Coghill’s translation of Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, the show primarily uses
four of the tales: “The Miller’s Tale” (two students competing for an affair with the carpenter’s wife); “The
Merchant’s Tale” (the wife of a rich old man cheats on him with the young Squire); “The Steward’s Tale” (multiple
bed-hopping in the house of the Miller) ; and “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” (a witch turns into a beautiful young girl to
please an amorous Knight.) This was another example of how American and British musicals could differ: over
2,000 performances in London, and just 121 when the show flopped on Broadway
in 1969.
MAN OF LA MANCHA
London run: Piccadilly Theatre, April 24th (253 Performances)
Music: Mitch Leigh
Lyrics: Joe Darion
Book: Dale Wasserman
Director: Albert Marre
Choreographer: Jack Cole
Musical Director: Denys Rawson
Producer: Donald Albery
Cast: Keith Michell (Don Quixote), Joan Diener (Aldonza),
Bernard Spear (Sancho Panza), David King (Innkeeper), Alan Crofoot (Padre),
Peter Arne (Dr Carrasco), Olive Gilbert (Housekeeper)
Songs: Little Bird, It’s All the Same, Dulcinea, I Really Like Him,
Golden Helmet of Mambrino, The Impossible Dream.
Notes: The show was adapted from Dale Wasserman’s TV play “I, Don
Quixote”, which itself was based on the novel by Cervantes. It had a very
long run in New York, playing 2,328 performances, almost ten times as
long as the London run! In the Broadway production Richard Kiley
played Quixote and gained great personal success. (He also appeared in
a London revival – see June 1969) . Joan Diener came from America to
repeat the role she had played in the original production.
Bernard Spears and Keith Michell
Photo by Anthony Crickmay
Story: There are two threads to the story: the first deals with Cervantes
and his imprisonment for debts during the Spanish Inquisition, the
second deals with the adventures of Don Quixote that Cervantes tells his
fellow-prisoners. Most of the adventures deal with the Don’s love for the
servant girl, Aldonza – whom he calls his Dulcinea – and his battles to
save her honour. At the end, as the old man lies dying, he manages to
convey to the girl his belief in dreaming the impossible dream.
1968
18
I DO! I DO!
London run: Lyric Theatre, May 16th (115 Performances)
Music: Harvey Schmidt
Lyrics & Book: Tom Jones
Director: Gower Champion (restaged by Lucia Victor)
Musical Director: Ian MacPherson
Producer: H. M. Tennent Ltd
Cast: Anne Rogers, Ian Carmichael
Songs: I Love My Wife, My Cup Runneth Over, Love isn’t Everything,
Nobody’s Perfect, The Honeymoon is Over, Where are the Snows?, When
the Kids Get Married, Roll Up the Ribbons
Story: With a cast of just two people, the show covers 50 years in the life of a married couple, Agnes and
Michael, from their wedding day to the day they move out of their house. In between, they bring up a family,
quarrel, threaten to break up, reconcile, plan for a life
without children in the house, and reveal in song
exactly what they mean to each other.
Photo by Angus McBean
Notes: Adapted from Jan de Hartog’s 1951 play “The
Fourposter”, a musical with a cast of just two was an
enormous risk, though the New York production was
helped by having two of Broadway’s biggest stars in
the show – Mary Martin and Robert Preston. It ran for
560 performances.
Perhaps Anne Rogers and Ian Carmichael did not have
the same pulling power in London, where the show
was regarded as over-sickly and rather dull. It has
become part of theatre folk-lore for the moment when
during Act Two there was an offstage knock on the
door, and a voice cried out from the front stalls “For
God’s sake let them in – whoever it is!”
Ian Carmichael & Anne Rogers
CINDY
London run: Fortune Theatre, May 30th (29 Performances)
Music & Lyrics: Johnny Brandon
Book: Joe Sauter & Mike Sawyer
Director: Alexander Bridge
Cast: Geraldine Morrow (Cindy Kreller), Johnny Tudor (Lucky), Kalman Glass (Irving Kreller),
Hy Hazell (Zeuida Kreller), Dudley Stevens (Chuck Rosenfeld)
Songs: Once Upon a Time, Is There Something to What He Said?, A Genuine Feminine Girl, Cindy, Think
Mink, Tonight's the Night, If You've Got It You've Got It, Got the World in the Palm of My Hand
Story: This was a version of the Cinderella story, which had done quite well in New York but did not succeed
in London.
Notes: Originally an off-Broadway success in 1964, written by British performer Johnny Brandon (who had
moved to the USA after appearing several West End shows, including a featured star role in “Love From
Judy”). The English production played a week of previews at the Palace Theatre Westcliff and moved into the
Fortune. The critics hated it and it managed a run of just 29 performances.
1968
19
GOLDEN BOY
London run: Palladium, June 4th (118 Performances)
Music: Charles Strouse
Lyrics: Lee Adams
Book: Clifford Odets & William Gibson
Director: Arthur Penn, re-staged by Michael Thoma
Choreographer: Donald McKayle , re-staged by Jaime Rogers & Lester Wilson
Musical Director: Shepherd Coleman
Cast: Sammy Davis (Joe Wellington), Gloria de Haven (Lorna Moon),
Lon Satton (Eddie Satin), Mark Dawson (Tom Moody), Louis Basile (Roxy Gottlieb),
Frank Nastasi
Songs: Night Song, Everything’s Great. Don’t Forget 127th Street, Lorna’s Here, This is the Life, While the
City Sleeps, I Wanna Be With You
Story: Joe Wellington, a Negro-American, is a young man determined to get out, get rich and make it to the
top. Despite his family’s objections, he turns to boxing as a means of escaping his ghetto roots. He crosses
paths with Mephistopheles-like promoter Eddie Satin and eventually betrays his manager Tom Moody when he
becomes romantically involved with Tom’s white girlfriend, Lorna Moon.
Notes: The original play by Clifford Odets told of an Italian-American, Joe Bonaparte, a sensitive would-be
surgeon, fighting in order to pay his way through college, but careful to protect his hands from serious damage
so he could achieve his goal of saving the lives of blacks ignored by white doctors. In an ironic twist, the hands
he hoped would heal kill a man in the ring. The story was altered to reflect the situation at the onset of the
Civil Rights era. This was the first book musical to play the Palladium following its medium success on
Broadway. It closed in London after four months. On the second night Sammy Davis walked out half-way
through the show, claiming he was too upset to go on because of that day’s assassination of Senator Robert
Kennedy. His understudy took over. Sammy Davis received a very bad press for this and it was said this had a
serious effect on future ticket sales.
THE DANCING YEARS (3rd Revival)
London run: Saville Theatre, June 6th (52 Performances)
Music: Ivor Novello
Lyrics: Christopher Hassall
Director: Joan Davis
Choreographer: Kenneth Tillsen
Musical Director: Robert Probst
Producer: Tom Arnold
Cast: David Knight (Rudi Kleber), June Bronhill (Maria Zeigler),
Cathy Jose (Grete Schöne), Moyna Cope (Cäcile Kurt),
Nicholas Hawtrey (Franzl), Robert Crewsdon (Prince Charles Metternich)
Songs: Waltz of My Heart, I Can Give you the Starlight, My Dearest Dear,
Wings of Sleep
Story: The story begins in 1911 at an inn outside Vienna where poor Rudi Kleber and operetta star Maria
Ziegler meet and fall in love. Three years later their bliss is shattered as a result of a misunderstanding and
Maria leaves Rudi and marries a Prince Charles. In 1926 they meet again and discover that they are still in
love, but they decide to separate for the sake of their son, who mistakenly believes the Prince to be his real
father. Their paths cross again in 1938, following the German “Anschluss” with Austria. Rudi has been
arrested for opposing the Nazi regime, but Maria manages to get him released.
Notes: The original production had opened at Drury Lane in March 1939, and was forced to close after 187
performances when war was declared in September of that year.
1st Revival: Following a provincial tour, it returned to the Adelphi Theatre in London in March 1942, and ran
for 969 performances, again forced to close because of increased bombing activity.
2nd Revival: It undertook yet another provincial tour, returning for the third time to the Casino Theatre in March
1947 for 96 performances, followed by yet another tour. All in all the show had run almost consecutively for
ten years.
1968
20
THE STUDENT PRINCE (3rd Revival)
London run: Cambridge Theatre, June 8th (9 months)
Music: Sigmund Romberg
Lyrics & Book: Dorothy Donnelly
Director: Leslie Branch
Music Director: Derek Taverner
Cast: John Hanson (Karl Franz), Barbara Strathdee (Kathie),
George Hancock (Dr Engel), Kenneth Henry (Lutz),
Clare Herbert (Princess Margaret), Colin Thomas (Capt. Tarnitz),
Richard Loring (Detlef)
Songs: Golden Days, Come Boys Let’s All be Gay Boys, Drinking Song,
Deep in My Heart Dear, Serenade, Just We Two, Gaudeamus Igitur
Story: Set in 1860 , Crown Prince Karl Franz of Karlsberg has been
promised in marriage since childhood to the Princess Johanna. His
grandfather, King Ferdinand, sends him to Heidelberg University where
Barbara Strathdee and John Hanson
he will live incognito like a regular student, under the watchful eye of a
kindly mentor, Doctor Engel, and his snooty valet Lutz. At the University Karl falls in love with a waitress, Kathie,
who works at the Inn of the Three Golden Apples. They consider eloping, but Karl suddenly becomes King and
must return and honour the arranged marriage with Princess Johanna (who is also in love
with another man, Captain Tarnitz). He returns to Heidelberg two years later but
discovers that youth cannot be recaptured and the past must be left in the past, although
his true love will always be Kathie.
Notes: The original novel “Karl Heinrich” by Wilhelm Meyer-Forster was adapted into a
play called “Alt Heidelberg”, and Rudolf Bleichman’s English translation was a big hit
in New York around 1900. In 1924 Dorothy Donnelly and Sigmund Romberg turned it
into the longest-running Broadway musical of the 1920s (608 performances). The
London production at His Majesty’s Theatre opened on February 3rd 1926, but closed
after 96 performances. It was said to be “too German” and too close to the end of the
Great War for London audiences, although a subsequent UK tour was extremely
successfully. It saw London revivals in 1929 and 1944 (Stoll Theatre), and this, the 3rd
revival was a revised version including some extra songs.
LADY BE GOOD (1st revival)
London run: Saville Theatre, July 25th (156 Performances)
Music: George Gershwin
Lyrics: Ira Gershwin
Book: Guy Bolton & Fred Thompson
Director: Hugh Goldie
Musical Director: Ed Coleman
Cast: Lionel Blair (Dick Trevor), Aimi Macdonald (Suzie Trevor) ,
Joe Baker (J. Watterson Watkins), Joe Chisholm (Jeff), Patyrick Rose (Jack Robinson),
Raymond Clarke (Bertie Bassett), Pauline Garner, Elizabeth Connor
Songs: Fascinating Rhythm, The Half of It Dearie Blues, Hang on to Me, Juanita, Swiss
Miss
Story: Dick and Suzie Trevor are a brother and sister dancing act who are rejected from the vaudeville circuit but
manage to continue their career by entertaining at the homes of wealthy friends. Along the way Suzie pretends to
be a Spanish heiress in order to claim a large inheritance, but she is found out. Somehow she and Dick come into
some money anyway, and she manages to save Dick from a disastrous marriage to a gold-digger.
Notes: The show was originally specially created for Fred and Adelle Astaire, who played it on Broadway from
December 1924 and then came with the show to London’s Empire Theatre from April 14th 1926 . It ran for 326
performances. (The song “The Man I Love” was cut from the original production)
Photo by Dezo Hoffmann
Producer: Bernard Delfont & Emile Littler
1968
THE BEGGAR’S OPERA (Revival)
21
London run: Apollo Theatre, September 12th (32 Performances)
Music: Trad (arranged David Turner)
Book: John Gay
Director: Toby Robertson
Producer: Richard Pilbrow & Harold Prince
Cast: Peter Gilmore (Macheath), James Cossins (Peachum),
Hy Hazell (Mrs Peachum), Jan Waters (Polly),
Angela Richards (Jenny Diver), Frances Cuka (Lucy Lockit)
Notes: This was a “modernised” version, with completely new
dialogue and up-to-date musical arrangements and had been first
produced at the Edinburgh Festival. It was generally liked by the
critics and the cast was highly praised, but lasted a few weeks
only .
VIVA! VIVA!
London run: Arts Theatre, September 18th (17 Performances)
Music & Lyrics: William Thacker & Trevor T. Smith
Book: Ian Lindsay
Director: Ian Lindsay
Choreographer: Doremy Vernon
Musical Director: Gerald Gouriet
Cast: Julia Stanton (Sofronia), Nerys Hughes (Dona), Donald Layne-Smith (Nicomaco),
Gerald Moon (Pyro), Alec Bregonzi (Friar)
Story: The original story told of a father and son, both enamoured of Clizia, a ward in their home. (Clizia never
actually appears). The father plans to marry her off to one of his servants who can then be forced to share her
with his master. The son wants to marry her himself but his mother will not permit it since Clizia is an orphan
and her family background is unknown, thus making her an unsuitable wife. The mother, disgusted with her
love-sick husband, substitutes a male servant for the bride at the wedding, thus humiliating her husband when
he tries to bed the “bride”. Clizia’s father suddenly appears, proving she is of noble birth, and can therefore
marry the son.
Notes: Adapted from Machiavelli’s “Clizia”, this version was described by one critic as “lust of the lavatory
and codpiece variety” and another said “Like a dutiful mortuary attendant I stayed to the end”. It came off very
quickly.
HAIR
London run: Shaftesbury Theatre, September 27th
(1,198 Performances)
Music: Galt MacDermot
Lyrics: Gerome Ragni & James Rado
Director: Tom O’Horgan
Choreographer: Julie Arenal
Musical Director: Derek Wadsworth
The London “Tribe”
Unknown credit
Producer: Robert Stigwood,
David Conyers & John Nasht
1968
22
HAIR
London run: Shaftesbury Theatre, September 27th (1,198 Performances)
Music: Galt MacDermot
Lyrics: Gerome Ragni & James Rado
Director: Tom O’Horgan
Choreographer: Julie Arenal
Musical Director: Derek Wadsworth
Producer: Robert Stigwood, David Conyers & John Nasht
Cast: Paul Nicholas (Claude), Oliver Tobias (Berger), Michael Feast (Woof),
Peter Straker (Hud), Annabel Leventon (Sheila), Linda Kendrick (Jeannie),
Marsha Hunt (Dionne)
Songs: Aquarius, Ain’t Got No, Frank Mills, Where Do I Go, Easy to be Hard,
Good Morning Starshine, Let the Sunshine In.
Story: The emotional turmoil of the Vietnam War Years co-incided with the “Flower-Power” generation of
hippies and their anti-war, anti-draft, anti-Establishment, anti work-ethic, and their pro-drugs, pro-anarchy,
and, above all, pro free-sex philosophy. A group of New York hippies including “Rinso-white” Berger, black
Hud, gay Woof, campaigning Sheila, pregnant Jeannie and others fail to persuade Claude to reject the USA
army draft, and they see their dreams of love and peace shattered when Claude is brought back from Vietnam
in a coffin.
Notes: Very much a piece of its time, this self-styled “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” was a significant
milestone in the history of musical theatre. On September 26th 1968 British Theatre Censorship was finally
abolished after nearly 400 years. Bang on cue, the following night saw the opening of “Hair”. For the first
time ever on the English stage the performers regularly used a whole range of four-letter words and ended the
first half by throwing off their clothes and dancing naked.
Photo by Michael Butler
However, more than that, the show gave voice to a whole new generation of young people, and its anti-war
message was powerful
and influential. Each
performance ended
with the audience
invited onto the stage
to dance along with the
cast for up to another
hour or so. The show
was a consistent sellout, and plans were
being made for a
special party to
celebrate its 2,000th
performance.
However, during the
night following the
1,998th performance
the ceiling of the
theatre collapsed into
the stalls. The theatre
closed and the show
came to an abrupt end.
(See June 1974 for the
first revival)
Paul Nicholas
as Claude
1968
23
MAN WITH A LOAD OF MISCHIEF
London run: Comedy Theatre, December 9th (25 Performances)
Music: John Clifton
Lyrics: John Clifton & Ben Tarver
Book: Ben Tarver
Director: Tad Danielewski
Cast: Leon Eagles (Innkeeper), Julia McKenzie (Wife), Paul Dawkins (Nobleman),
Valentine Palmer (Manservant), Lady (Roberta d’Esti)
Songs: Wayside Inn, Rescue, Once You’ve Had a Little Taste, Hulabaloo-balay, Come to the Masquerade,
Make Way for My Lady.
Story: A tale of romance and intrigue set in a country inn in early 19th century England. A coach accident
forces four travelers to spend the night at the inn: a lovely Lady and her maid, and a handsome Nobleman and
his manservant. The Lady turns out to be a former actress who has become a royal mistress and has decided to
run away from her lover, the Prince. The nobleman thinks he could earn some money and royal favour if he
returns the Lady to the Palace. After much intriguing by the Innkeeper and his wife, the Lady ends up in love
with the manservant, and after a series of complicated misunderstandings they determine to lead a life together
free from the false pride and the foppish posturing of their shallow society.
Notes: Based on the 1924 play by Ashley Dukes, this small-scale musical had a successful off-Broadway run of
241 performances. It was compared in style to “The Fantasticks” and its somewhat “twee” humour did not
appeal to British audiences.
MR AND MRS
London run: Palace Theatre, December 11th (44 performances)
Book, music & lyrics: John Taylor
Director: Ross Taylor
Choreographer: Norman Maen & Ross Taylor
Musical Director: Derek New
Producer: George W. George & Frank Granat
Cast: John Neville (Henry Gow), Honor Blackman (Doris),
Hylda Baker (Mrs Rockett), Liz Edmiston (Elsie), Alan Breeze (Albert Godby)
Songs: Millions of People, Happy
Family, I Want to Dance, Big Wide
World, If the Right Man Should Ask
Me, Give Us a Kiss
Photo by Reg Wilson
Notes: These were two separate musicals. “Mr” was adapted
from Noel Coward’s “Fumed Oak” about the hen-pecked Henry
Gow who finally asserts himself,. “Mrs” was adapted from
“Still Life” which had earlier been the basis for the film “Brief
Encounter”. The adaptations were by Ross Taylor.
These intimate and much-loved one-act plays were expanded
and blown-up in a way that proved they did not need nor want
the musical and stage treatment they got. They were updated and
and vulgarised, and came in for a great deal of criticism. The
show lasted just 44 performances.
Alan Breeze & Hylda Baker
1968
24
THE YOUNG VISITERS
London run: Piccadilly Theatre, December 23rd (63 Performances)
Music: Ian Kellam
Lyrics & Book: Michael Ashton
Director: Martin Landau
Choreographer: Malcolm Clare
Musical Director: Alexander Faris
Producer: Martin Landau
Cast: Alfred Marks (Mr Ashford/Mr Salteena), Jan Waters (Miss Ethel Monticue),
Vivienne Ross (Nancy/Bessie Topp), Anna Sharkey (Maud/Rosie Topp), Frank Thornton (Butler) , Tom Chatto
Songs: Daisy Ashford’s Written a Book, First and Last Love, My Young Visiters and Me, The Kitchens at
Rickamere Hall, An English Gentleman, Crystal Palace, Belted Early, In Love with the Girl I See.
Photo by Houston Rogers
Story: The musical opens with a Prologue announcing that Daisy Ashford has written a story, and her family
members then assume the characters in this story of “The Young Visiters”. In the story, the lovely Miss Ethel
Monticue is pursued by Mr Salteena, who is not quite a gentleman, and his persistence takes them through the
surroundings of Rickamere Hall even
up to Buckingham Palace. However,
Mr Salteena is ultimately obliged to
settle for the hand of the maidservant,
Rosie Topp.
Notes: Based on the book written in
1919 by the nine-year-old Daisy
Ashford. Its gentle, delicate child-like
style was a bit lost in a large theatre,
and it did not run very long. However,
it did have something of an after-life in
smaller venues, especially as a family
show around Christmas times.
Frank Thornton (Butler) and Anna
Sharkey (extreme right)