A treasure trove of great songs from one of Broadway's top masters.
From the early 1940's through almost the mid 1990's, the great American songbook was represented by the fantastic music of Jule Styne. Broadway knew him for the music for "High Button Shoes", "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", "Bells Are Ringing", "Gypsy", "Funny Girl" and "Sugar". The shows are well remembered for the legendary stars who originated roles in them, or in "Gypsy's" case, its constant revivals. While other artists wrote the lyrics, without the music, these would be poems, not songs.
A great all star cast gets up there to reproduce moments from most of Hus shows, of course the four biggies. And while "Funny Girl" has yet to be revived on Broadway (due to the Oscar winning star's association with the part on stage and screen), the songs are classics that nightclub performers can't resist and more courageous theater companies outside of New York have revived.
There's a sense of irony with Linda Lavin performing "Some People" from "Gypsy", which she would do on Broadway just a few years later. Phyllis Newman and Hal Linden, original understudies, perform songs that they only got to do by default when the stars were out in "Bells Are Ringing". Still going in her 90's, Carol Channing reproduces two musical numbers from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", reminding us that she was more than just the eternal Dolly Levi.
Best of all, Styne is there, with movie lyricist partner Sammy Cahn sharing stories, as well as with Comden and Green who perform as well. Only a few shows of his are completely left out, but there are rarities here, too. Only Jerry Lewis fans might recognize "Every Street's a Boulevard" sung here by Chita Rivera, while the forgotten "High Button Shoes" gets honored with a bit of "I Still Get Jealous". I would have loved to have seen the Atlantic City Beach musical number fully staged, but alas, you can't have everything. As Styne said himself, if they sung em' all, they'd be there all night. Well, I disagree on that one. They'd be there a lot longer than that.
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