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Anyone Can Whistle (1964 Original Broadway Cast)
Stephen Sondheim, Angela Lansbury, Lee Remick
Anyone Can Whistle (1964 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1

Give credit (and thanks) to Goddard Lieberson and Columbia Records for preserving the original cast recording of Anyone Can Whistle despite a blink-and-you-missed-it run of nine performances in 1964. That's often blamed on...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Stephen Sondheim, Angela Lansbury, Lee Remick
Title: Anyone Can Whistle (1964 Original Broadway Cast)
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Release Date: 5/13/2003
Album Type: Cast Recording, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered, Soundtrack
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Style: Musicals
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 696998686021, 5099708686024

Give credit (and thanks) to Goddard Lieberson and Columbia Records for preserving the original cast recording of Anyone Can Whistle despite a blink-and-you-missed-it run of nine performances in 1964. That's often blamed on the challenging and confusing book, which features a Mayoress (Angela Lansbury) whose town is economically depressed until the fortuitous arrival of an apparent miracle. Unfortunately, the resulting influx of tourists clashes with 49 patients (known as "cookies") from a local mental hospital led by nurse Fay Apple (Lee Remick) when a traveling physician named Hapgood (Harry Guardino) arrives to sort things out. The score is fascinating early Stephen Sondheim and includes numerous songs that have become staples of Sondheim song collections: "There Won't Be Trumpets," the gentle title tune, "A Parade in Town," "Everybody Says Don't," and "With So Little to Be Sure Of." Almost exactly 31 years later, Anyone Can Whistle was recorded as a gala benefit concert, with 20 additional minutes of music and dialogue, an all-star cast including Lansbury and Bernadette Peters, and the excitement of a live performance. For heart, though, it still doesn't measure up to the original cast recording. --David Horiuchi

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CD Reviews

Simply delightful!
James Head | NC, USA | 05/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Simply put, ANYONE CAN WHISTLE is just delightful. It's a shame that it wasn't seen as such in its own day and time, because Sondheim's music and lyrics are first-rate.

Originally having opened on Broadway on April 4, 1964, the show quickly folded, closing on April 11, 1964 after only nine short performances. Why this happened is a mystery to me, but some attribute it to the time in which the show was extant, the perhaps confusing book by Laurents, and other factors. The key here is that each of these factors were less related to the show itself and more to the unchangeable things of the day. In the end, it's a great shame that ANYONE... closed; just have a listen to this CD and see for yourself.

Angela Lansbury, marvelous as ever, stars as Cora Hoover Hooper, the mayoress of a small town facing one problem after another. She laments how her "peasants" detest her in "Me and My Town." Along with her town council, she hatches a not-so-brilliant but strikingly humorous plan to revive the town's economy in "Miracle Song." In an effort to prove this "miracle" a farce, Nurse Fay Apple (played by Lee Remick) gathers her patients from the local sanitarium, in an effort to confront the Mayoress and out her scheme. J. Bowden Hapgood, a sham psychoanalyst, arrives on the scene and separates the town into groups, claiming that he can tell who is sane and who is crazy -- the only problem is, he refuses to tell anyone!

While a bit complex at times, and often goofy, ANYONE... has become a cult classic in spite of (and perhaps in part due to) it being a financial flop. Ahead of its time in many ways, it's a shame that even now, some forty years later, there has yet to be a true revival.

All-in-all, the vocal performances here are superb. Lansbury is deliciously devious as the Mayoress, Remick is strong and powerful as Nurse Fay Apple, and Harry Guardino is hilarious as the misguided Hapgood.

It's a shame that they don't make them like this anymore -- in spite of it not being a success in 1964, this is truly one of the most fascinating and funny scores that classic Broadway has to offer. Very highly recommended."
Gone but never forgotten
Mark Andrew Lawrence | Toronto | 01/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Goddard Lieberson was a genius! He knew how to translate this complex score to records and still make a listenable package! In fact when it came to recording flops it seems he took even greater care.It's easy to see why WHISTLE failed in 1964. It was totally out-of-step with the other hit musicals: HELLO DOLLY!, FUNNY GIRL, etc. Not that it was in any way inferior to these shows...quite the opposite. It was, if anything, too intelligent, and the score too complicated. That is why the recording stands up to repeated listenings. Still you can imagine your average middle-aged, middle class theatre going going out for intermission after the amazing song/scene "Simple" totally baffled! If they came back for Act Two (doubtful) they certainly did not hang around for Act Three. Yet they would have missed one of Sondheim's most beautiful songs: "With So Little To Be Sure Of." There's more gold in ths score: The title song is well know, but Lansbury's three solo's are wonderful especially "A Parade in Town." And the comic "Come Play Wiz Me" is great fun...though it sounds similar to the old Peter Sellers-Sophia Loren single "Goodness Gracious Me." Did Sondheim take his inspiration from that old comedy song or was it the other way around? No matter..both are fun!Then there are the extended musical scenes: "Simple", "The Miracle Song" and the ballet "The Cookie Chase."One person has wondered why "There's Always a Woman" was not recorded. The answer is simple: the song was dropped from the show long before opening night (although it was restored for the 1995 concert.) Lee Remick's "There Won't Be Trumpets" was also cut just before opening night. That it was recorded at all is a miracle. (The track did not make the original LP release, but is included on this CD.)As always, Sony has done a wonerdful remastering job. Sondheim's many fans will want to hear the composer's demo recordings of some of the dropped songs, but the key reason to get this Cd is the still wonderful original cast performances. True, none of the leads have truly outstanding singing voices, but they are so loaded with character that it hardly matters.Ther has always been talk of revising and reviving ANYONE CAN WHISTLE and when you listen to this cast album you'll understand why."
The soundtrack of my life!
Dvarg | Drammen Norway | 06/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is to me probably the best cast album ever. Its only flaw is that it is too short. They could have included "There's Always A Woman" to make the pleasure complete. Each single one of the tracks on this recording is an amazing gem. I recon everybody is familiar with the history and the plot of this legendary flop musical, so I just want to ensure you that there's no possible reason not to buy this record. ¨Angela Lansbury is particulary outstanding as Cora, and the reast of the cast is wonderful too, though I can't deny I prefer Bernadette Peters as Fay. But then again, who can compete with Bernadette?As opposed to the concert recording (which is more complete than this) the OBC recording benefits from a cleaner sound and not so messed up scenes. (I am also unable to get used to Madeline Kahn's voice on the concert recording...)The bonus tracks with the semi god Sondheim himself singing some demo tracks (including the extremely outstanding title song) and some cut stuff makes this a musical album something everybody should be obliged to own. I absolutely adore Anyone Can Whistle, and it it totally beyond my inagination why this was not an immediate success when it premiered."