Music and Lyrics by
Henri René and His Orchestra
Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein 2nd
Henri René and His Orchestra
R C A Victor...LSO 1505...33 1/3 LP...Stereo
Good - Original paper (Red Seal Sound Spectaculars of '59) sleeve - open at top and bottom
Record: Plays and tracks very well - Very, very little noise...$5.00
1) Overture - Orchestra
2) Make Believe - Howard Keel and Anne Jeffreys
3) Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man - Gogi Grant
4) I Have the Room Above - Howard Keel
5) Nobody Else but Me - Gogi Grant
6) Ol' Man River - Howard Keel
1) You Are Love - Howard Keel and Anne Jeffreys
2) Bill - Gogi Grant
3) Where's the Mate for Me - Howard Keel
4) Why Do I Love You - Howard Keel and Anne Jeffreys
5) Till Good Luck Comes My Way - Howard Keel
6) After the Ball - Anne Jeffreys
It is always a little hard to realize that SHOW BOAT is more than thirty years old. In one version or another we seem never to be without it and audiences cheer it just as enthusiastically today as they did when it first opened. What makes for this apparent timelessness? By modem standards the story might be considered contrived, with no fewer than three cases of improbable coincidences in the second act. Some of the wheezes were stale even when it was originally presented and its ending is slightly anticlimactic. But such criticisms hardly matter. SHOW BOAT is a romance we all want to believe in because of its well-drawn characters, its colorful, nostalgic locales and, above all, its soaring music.
Transferring Edna Ferber's popular novel into a musical was Jerome Kern's idea. He had had his fill of lightweight, musical comedies and was delighted to find a story that was strong enough to carry a more ambitious score. Oscar Hammerstein 2nd, with whom Kern had collaborated on "Sunny," was enthusiastic about the project, and together they talked Florenz Ziegfeld into producing it. After much delay, SHOW BOAT opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 27, 1927 and became an immediate critical and popular success. Its now almost legendary cast included Charles Winninger, Norma Terris, Howard Marsh, Helen Morgan and Jules Bledsoe, and the musical chalked up a run of 572 performances before setting out on tour.
The score for SHOW BOAT has been called the greatest collection of songs ever assembled for one show, and there is certainly substantial evidence to support this view. The duets between Magnolia and Ravenal, from the innocent sentiment of love at first sight in Make Believe to their more mature emotions in You Are Love and Why Do I Love You, are skillful creations perfectly suited to the characters who sing them. The tragic Julie's two variations on a theme, Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man and Bill, are laments that are dramatic without being mawkish in their espressions of blind devotion. (The latter ballard, incidentally, stems from a song that Kern and P. G. Wodehouse wrote for a 1918 musical called "Oh, Lady! Lady!," but it was but it was dropped before that show reached New York.) Ravenal's character is revealed through three solos: the self doubting Where's the Mate for Me, the swaggering Till Good Luck Comes My Way, and the tender I Have the Room Above which dates from the second film version in 1936. Another song not part of the original score is the jaunty Nobody Else but Me, a philosophical item written for the 1946 Broadway production.
But if there is one song that stands out in this collection of riches it is Ol' Man River. In search of a number that would tie the sprawling plot together, Hammerstein wrote a lyric about the resignation and helplessness a Negro feels as contrasted with the power and indifference of the mighty Mississippi. Mated to Kern's eloquent setting, Ol' Man River has a significance and compassion rarely found in the music of the Twenties, or, for that matter, in any music. It is, of course, another reason why SHOW BOAT is a vessel that was made to last.
The distinction of starring in more cinema re-creations of Broadway musicals than any other actor easily goes to Howard Keel. In addition to appearing as Gaylord Tavenal in M-G-M's 1951 edition of SHOW BOAT, his robust baritone has also been heard in "Annie Get Your Gun", "Lovely to Look At" (the movie title of "Roberta"), "Kiss Me, Kate", "Rose-Marie" and "Kismet." Mr. Keel's first appearance on the professional stage was in 1945 as Billy Biglow in "Carousel". This was followed by the lead in "Oklahoma!"
Anne Jeffreys began her professional stage careet four years and about thirty movies after her film debut. This was in the title role of "Tosca" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and she subsequently appeared on Broadway in such fondly remembered musicals as "Street Scene," "My Romance" and "Kiss Me, Kate." Miss Jeffreys and here husband, Robert Sterling, have had their own television series, "Topper," and have sung in night clubs throughout the country.
Herni René, who conducts this modern version of SHOW BOAT, has created all the brilliant arrangements as well. Though born in New York, Mr. René was educated in Europe and at an early age became director for two of the largest motion picture studios on the Continent. He returned to the United States in 1936 and had been one of RCA Victor's leading arrangers and conductors ever since.
Copy righted by Radio Corporation of America, (RCA) 1959 Produced by Dick Peirce
GOGI GRANT and HOWARD KEEL
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