Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse|
Leave It To Jane (1958 Off-Broadway Revival)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
A PRINCESS THEATRE JEWEL -- GREAT FUN . . .
J. T Waldmann | Carmel, IN, home to the fabulous new Regional Perf | 07/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"LEAVE IT TO JANE was the fourth in a series known as "The Princess Theatre Shows," with texts by Guy Bolton, lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse and music by Jerome Kern, which ". . . represented for the times a radical departure from the kind of musicals then popular on Broadway. The Princess Theatre Shows dispensed with a large apparatus to concentrate on intimate and informal entertainment with small casts and no stars. In place of production numbers, humorous skits and chorus-girl lines, these musicals concentrated on sophistication, witty dialogue, amusing incidents that rose naturally from the context of the play, charming music and a distinctly American personality of plot and characters." (from The Complete Book of Light Opera by Mark Lubbock)
In 1959, The Sheridan Square Playhouse revived Kern's 1917 musical gem, and the Strand Records released the original cast recording. The source of this excellent 1997 remaster is the original Strand master tapes. (An original cast "double header" including OH, KAY! also exists, but the sound quality is inferior. It appears that the CD was made from a noisy LP, not the master tapes. However, it does have superior liner notes.) In keeping with the philosophy of The Princess Theatre, the show was scored for piano, clarinet, percussion, and banjo, but this recording features an expanded orchestration by Art Harris. And what a delight it is to hear them, a jazzy wind ensemble and multiple banjos -- exactly right for Kern's score. "The Siren Song," " Sir Galahad," "Cleopatterer," "There It Is Again," and the title tune did not become standards, but while you're listening, you'll be thinking that this song sounds an awful lot like "Life Upon the Wicked Stage" and that one like the intro to "Make Believe." Kern was working with ideas that would reach maturity ten years later at the Ziegfeld Theatre.
The simple plot revolves around Jane Witherspoon (nicely sung by Kathleen Murray), her friends "Stub" Talmadge (Angelo Mango) and Bessie Tanner (Jeanne Allen), and their attempt to convince All-American half-back Billy Bolton (Art Matthews) to play for their school and thereby win the big Thanksgiving football game against their arch rival. Pretty slim stuff, but at least it was an attempt. The fully-fleshed out book musical would also became a reality with that same show at the Ziegfeld, the ground-breaking SHOW BOAT.
LEAVE IT TO JANE is a great recording, and I urge you to rush out and buy it. Although Amazon.com claims it is out of print, David Cunard at AEI Records assures me that this is not the case. I purchased my copy on-line from Tower Records. I suggest you do the same.
P.S. This recording also features George Segal as "Ollie Mitchell, a sophomore."