As stated in Matthew Algeo's book "Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Roadtrip", "Harry and Bess Truman saw this stage play in New York in 1953 at the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Jacquelyn McKeever ...
Joseph Buloff ...
...
Jordan Bentley ...
Cris Alexander ...
Jack Fletcher ...
Night Club Patron
Michele Burke ...
Helen Wade
Ted Beniades ...
'Speedy' Valenti
Isabella Hoopes ...
Mrs. Wade
Ray Weaver ...
Shore Patrolman
Gene Carrons ...
Violet
John Wheeler ...
Officer Lonigan
Don Grusso ...
Fireman
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Storyline

As stated in Matthew Algeo's book "Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Roadtrip", "Harry and Bess Truman saw this stage play in New York in 1953 at the Winter Garden Theater on Broadway. It was written by Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov, with music by Leonard Berstein and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Wonderful Town is the story of two sisters from Ohio who move to New York City in search of fame and fortune in 1935." "... The most uproarious and original musical carnival we have had since Guys and Dolls. Six Tonys. Written by Jude Peeling Kirkner

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Release Date:

30 November 1958 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rosalind Russell, Cris Alexander, Jordan Bentley, Ted Beniades, Isabella Hoopes, Dort Clark and Michele Burke all reprise the roles they created on Broadway. See more »

Connections

Version of My Sister Eileen (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Conversation Piece
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Sung by Rosalind Russell, Jacquelyn McKeever, Cris Alexander, Dort Clark and Sydney Chaplin
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User Reviews

 
The Great Rosalind Russell
30 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This 1958 TV special aired about 5 years after Rosalind Russell starred in and won a Tony award for the Broadway musical based on the MY SISTER EILEEN book. The show ran for 16 months.

Russell plays Ruth Sherwood, an aspiring writer who moves from Ohio to Greenwich Village with her would-be actress sister Eileen. There, they sisters meet all kinds of kooks as they try to make it in the big city. Will the girls succeed? Will they find love? Or will they pack up and go back to Ohio? The music for this show was written by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. By today's standards the production on this TV special is pretty bad. The sets all look like cardboard. But once you get past that and the music starts and Russell makes her first entrance, you forget all about the shoddy look.

Russell has several great numbers in this show. She duets with Jacquelyn McKeever (as Eileen) on "Ohio." She then solos on "One Hundred Easy Ways," a wry song about losing men. Russell closes out Act 1 with the boisterous "Conga!" with a bevy of Portuguese sailors. In Act 2, Russell stops the show with the amazing "Swing," a production number that sees Roz go from square to hep, with the help of the local kooks. At age 47, Russell kicks up her heels in this terrific song-and-dance number. Russell and company close the show with the hilarious "Wrong Note Rag" at a club where Eileen has gotten a job.

Russell is nothing short of a whirlwind of song and dance and her usual drop-dead retorts. Sydney Chaplin is solid as her love interest. McKeever is also good as Eileen. Others in the cast include Cris Alexander, Jack Fletcher, Dort Clark, and Jordan Bentley as "Wreck." Despite the rough condition of the surviving tape from 1958, this show is just mesmerizing. It's a rare chance to see a great performance by a great star. WONDERFUL TOWN was never made into a movie despite its smash hit status on Broadway (where it also won a Tony for best musical of 1953).


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