Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Harold Arlen, E. Y. Harburg, Celeste Holm|
Bloomer Girl (1944 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
E. Y. "Yip" Harburg (best known for writing lyrics for "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" and The Wizard of Oz) was famous for his strong leftist convictions, and nowhere are they more in evidence than in Bloomer Girl. The s... more »
E. Y. "Yip" Harburg (best known for writing lyrics for "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" and The Wizard of Oz) was famous for his strong leftist convictions, and nowhere are they more in evidence than in Bloomer Girl. The show, which opened in 1944, was set in 1861 and tackled (in a lighthearted mode) subjects as serious as the emancipation of both women and slaves. As usual, the women eclipsed the men: star Celeste Holm projected saucy intelligence as Evelina, the bloomer girl of the title, while Joan McCracken provided exuberant comic relief. Bloomer Girl is decidedly a minor show, but it does have two absolutely lovely numbers, "Evelina" and "Right as the Rain," which boast some of Arlen's most delicious melodies and fully belong in the musical-theater canon. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
Similarly Requested CDs
Excellent and undeservedly forgotten
Tommy Peter | Baltimore, MD United States | 06/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While Bloomer Girl was a hit in its day, solidifying the stardom of Celeste Holm and enjoying some radio airplay and a 1950s TV version with Barbara Cook, no one seems to remember it much today, and they stage it even less than much. It appears that the book is weak by today's standards, and the costume requirements may be a bit much for most theaters today (Supposedly one of Celeste Holm's hoop skirts had to be lowered onto her by a crane backstage!), and the emphasis on Agnes de Mille-style ballets (Including a famous one in which women wait for their men to come home from the Civil War) might make the show somewhat dated today. But whatever the problems are that keep Bloomer Girl largely out of production, the score is not one of them. As evidenced by this delightful original cast recording, Harold Arlen's lilting and eminently hummable melodies are expertly set to sharp lyrics by E.Y. "Yip" Harburg that seem surprsingly modern in their viewpoints on sexual and racial equality (Long before either cause was fashionable). While this cast is not always the most technically polished, they do perform with great charm and warmth. Fresh from her scene-stealing as Ado Annie in the original Oklahoma!, Celeste Holm graduates to the lead role of the strong-willed Yankee Evelina (Who, though she of course falls in love with the leading man after some resistance, appears to get *him* to convert to her ways of thinking, rather than the other way around). Holm reveals a much more sumptuous vocal range than she probably ever exhibited before or since, but still tackles the role with the assurance and spirit that characterizes her best-loved work. She is well-matched by David Brooks (Who plays Jeff Calhoun, the Souther gentleman who courts Evelina, and would later originate the role of Tommy Albright in Brigadoon) in the duets "Evelina" and "Right as the Rain." Joan McCracken, a well-regarded dancer who had also first gained attention in the Oklahoma! chorus line but later lost many career oppurtunities-and her husband, Bob Fosse-to Gwen Verdon and drifted into obscurity, is a vivid presence here with her two numbers, "T'morra T'morra" and "Never Was Born." Dooley Wilson (Sam in the film Casablanca) plays Pompey, a slave whom Evelina and Jeff Calhoun conspire to help escape, and he makes a soulful cry for freedom with "The Eagle and Me." Yes, he's warm and genial enough to keep the middle-class 1940s Broadway audiences from feeling too threatened, but his deep conviction is clear. (The emphasis he puts on the final word is particularly haunting) Composer Arlen also appears on the album in a section of the chorus number "Sunday in Cicero Falls" and for his own solo (Taking over from a chorus member), "Man for Sale."Needless to say, this score is very welcome in its CD reissue, which also features bonus tracks of Bing Crosby and the Russ Morgan orchestra recording songs from the show. While this may not be the most recognizeable title to leap out at you from Amazon or your local CD store, I nevertheless urge you to buy it, as you are likely to be pleasently surprised."
Celeste Holm in a largely-forgotten musical
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 11/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Celeste Holm sounds fabulous in this largely-forgotten musical, now re-issued as part of the new selection of releases from Decca Broadway.BLOOMER GIRL was Holm's first musical after creating the role of Ado Annie Carnes in the original Broadway production of OKLAHOMA! (which starred Alfred Drake and Joan Roberts). BLOOMER GIRL also featured fellow OKLAHOMA! co-star Joan McCracken as the comic lead and choreographer Agnes De Mille, creating the now-legendary "Civil War Ballet".BLOOMER GIRL's rich score includes the lilting "Evelina" and the lullabye "Satin Gown and Silver Shoe" for Ms Holm to sing in her unmistakable vocal style.Decca Broadway has done a great job restoring the original session tapes of the 1944 recording. There is a large amount of crackle and background hiss and some minor dropouts, but with the limitations of the analogue format, this goes with the territory. A highly-recommended recording for Broadway fans."
Slavery and the Civil war inspired this popular 1944 musical
Mark Andrew Lawrence | Toronto | 05/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"BLOOMER GIRL was huge hit when it opened on Broadway in 1944 and ran for over two years. Decca recorded the original cast album as one of their largest 78 RPM sets (8 records) granting some of the longer numbers the luxury of two full sides. For the Lp reissue, the first part of "Sunday in Cicero Falls" was eliminated. It has been restored for this CD reissue.The score by Harold Arlen (who makes a couple of vocal apperances on the records, substituting for chorus member Alan Gilbert) contains "Right as the Rain", "The Eagle and Me" and the charming "Evelina." Therev are a couple of less interesting tracks ("Welcome Hinges", "Never Was Born" and "The Rakish Young Man with the Whiskahs.") but on the whole it's a pleasant score.The show is largely forgotten today because it was never filmed, and while there was TV production in the 1950s, the broadcast revealed a rather dull book.Decca's transfer from the original 16" glass-based transcriptions sounds quite good."