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Greenwillow (1960 Original Broadway Cast)
Frank Loesser
Greenwillow (1960 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

Greenwillow is a little-known Frank Loesser gem in the Broadway bucolic mode, a genre that includes his own Most Happy Fella, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma, and Lerner and Loewe's Brigadoon. This recording has become ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Frank Loesser
Title: Greenwillow (1960 Original Broadway Cast)
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Drg
Release Date: 5/23/1995
Album Type: Cast Recording
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Musicals, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 021471900620

Greenwillow is a little-known Frank Loesser gem in the Broadway bucolic mode, a genre that includes his own Most Happy Fella, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma, and Lerner and Loewe's Brigadoon. This recording has become something of a cult classic, perhaps because it stars Anthony Perkins (yes, the Psycho guy) in the lead role of Gideon Briggs. Perkins has a light but pleasant tenor that he uses to great effect, especially on his haunting solo "Never Will I Marry." Greenwillow has a lovely score with some particularly fine ensemble singing. This is a surprisingly subtle show that is sometimes dismissed by critics as a bit of pastoral fluff, but if you listen to it carefully you will discover that it is one of Loesser's finest works. --Michael Simmons

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CD Reviews

Frank Hoffman
fhoffman86 | 04/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Interesting in large part for the performance by Tony Perkins, fresh from his career-defining (in both the good and bad senses) role in Hitchcock's "Psycho" -- a very different work than "Greenwillow," obviously. At the time, apparently, many considered this play to be more of a lesser gem than a "Loesser gem" -- and this recording was not held to be as good as the best live performances. Some fascinating background and history of this show can be found in Charles Winecoff's biography of Perkins, titled "Split Image" -- including the reaction of his fellow cast members to seeing "Psycho" all together one evening and how that affected the next performance of "Greenwillow." Also worth noting that it was during this production that Perkins met Grover Dale, with whom he subsequently had a mostly closeted romantic relationship for about six years."
A delightful surprise
(4 out of 5 stars)

"All I could recall, musically at least, of Tony Perkins was his bit of froth "Moonlight Swim" which was on the hit parade when I was a teenager in the 1950s. Certainly, I had never heard of "Greenwillow" until I read Winecoff's biography of Perkins. It rather whetted my curiosity and, I have to say, I was not disappointed with the CD when it arrived. The music is a lovely, rather nostalgic glimpse (for me at least) of the musical genre of the late 50s. A worthwhile addition to my collection."
J. T Waldmann | Carmel, IN, home to the fabulous new Regional Perf | 09/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"To be honest, I've long avoided GREENWILLOW, partially because I was apprehensive about hearing Tony Perkins sing, but mostly because it was the great Frank Loesser's only Broadway failure. Obviously - so I surmised - the score wasn't up to the standards of WHERE'S CHARLEY?, GUYS & DOLLS, THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, and HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS. How wrong I was.

Loesser's score for GREENWILLOW is a major achievement, weaving lovely ballads like "Summertime Love" (recorded by the likes of Eddie Fisher, Harry Belafonte, Bud & Travis), "Never Will I Marry" (Linda Ronstadt & Barbra Streisand, to name a few), and "Faraway Boy" with clever novelty numbers like "Could've Been a Ring," "The Sermon," and "Clang Dang the Bell (Baptism of a Calf)" and the pastoral "The Music of Home." Loesser also takes a stab or two at organized religion with "He Died Good" and "What a Blessing," sung by the Rev. Birdsong (Cecil Kellaway): "What a blessing to know there's a devil, and that I'm but a pawn in his game/That my impulse to sin doesn't come from within, and so I'm not entirely to blame."

Based on the popular novel by B.J. Chute, GREENWILLOW is a ". . . lyrical and poetic fable . . . [that] tells of the romance between young Gideon Briggs, who walks in the shadow of a family curse and vows never to marry, and Dorrie, the orphan girl he loves." ('s Book Description) If the whimsical town of Greenwillow reminds you of BRIGADOON or the folk-like melodies recall THREE WISHES FOR JAMIE or FINIAN`S RAINBOW, what the heck. All I can say is that GREENWILLOW is a true original and, next to MOST HAPPY FELLA, Loesser's finest score.

Ellen McCown (SEVENTEEN) is a delightfully sweet Dorrie; William Chapman (CANDIDE) an operatic Rev. Lapp; Pert Kelton (THE MUSIC MAN) a hilarious Gramma Briggs; Lee Cass (THE MOST HAPPY FELLA) a humorous Thomas Clegg; and the aforementioned Cecil Kellaway (Oscar nominee for "Luck of the Irish" & "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner") a spry and earthy Rev. Birdsong. But the major surprise is Anthony Perkins. He's actually very, very good. (Incidentally, he was filming "Psycho" while GREENWILLOW was in rehearsal.)

Additional praise for Don Walker's lush orchestrations and the uncredited choral arrangements. It's unfortunate that the present economic reality of Broadway prohibits orchestras and choruses of the size common in the 60s. Today's musicals suffer because budgets dictate only 16 singer/dancers on stage and synthesizers instead of "real" instruments in the pit - a major reason why most modern revivals seldom sound as good as the originals.

Anyway, GREENWILLOW is a musical gem, and I heartily recommend it.

PS. An interesting side bar: Although GREENWILLOW was released as an RCA Victor LP, my copy is by Columbia Special Products. Just how long has the merger of the two giants been in the works? Let's hope Sony/BMG re-releases the complete MOST HAPPY FELLA as part of their Masterworks/Broadway series, far superior to the 1992 revival currently in its catalogue.

And when in the world will there ever be a release of WHERE'S CHARLEY?"