The 1953 MGM motion picture Lili already seemed like a musical, even though the film contained only two songs, most notably "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo." Perfect, then, to translate the film to the Broadway stage, which is exactly w... more »hat Michael Stewart (Hello, Dolly) and composer-lyricist Bob Merrill (lyricist for Funny Girl and countless pop tunes, including "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window") did in 1961, winning the N.Y. Critics Circle Award for their efforts. Anna Marie Alberghetti made her Broadway debut in the Lili role (which had been Leslie Caron's film debut), with Jerry Orbach taking over for Mel Ferrer as the lame puppeteer, and Kaye Ballard in Zsa Zsa Gabor's role as the magician's mistress. Of course, the musical needed its own "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo"-- and that came in the form of "Love Makes the World Go Round." Nothing else in this sweet score matches that classic, although Carnival does remain an old-fashioned charmer. The CD release includes previously unreleased tracks, including numbers performed by Merrill himself, as well as covers by Mel Torme and Richard Chamberlain. --Bill Holdship« less
The 1953 MGM motion picture Lili already seemed like a musical, even though the film contained only two songs, most notably "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo." Perfect, then, to translate the film to the Broadway stage, which is exactly what Michael Stewart (Hello, Dolly) and composer-lyricist Bob Merrill (lyricist for Funny Girl and countless pop tunes, including "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window") did in 1961, winning the N.Y. Critics Circle Award for their efforts. Anna Marie Alberghetti made her Broadway debut in the Lili role (which had been Leslie Caron's film debut), with Jerry Orbach taking over for Mel Ferrer as the lame puppeteer, and Kaye Ballard in Zsa Zsa Gabor's role as the magician's mistress. Of course, the musical needed its own "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo"-- and that came in the form of "Love Makes the World Go Round." Nothing else in this sweet score matches that classic, although Carnival does remain an old-fashioned charmer. The CD release includes previously unreleased tracks, including numbers performed by Merrill himself, as well as covers by Mel Torme and Richard Chamberlain. --Bill Holdship
"This musical adaptation of the movie "Lili"---itself an adaptation of the dark love story "Love Of Seven Dolls"---is a wonderful tale of unrequited love set in the colorful world of a traveling carnival. The songs are delightful and the cast a very talented group of people. Anna Maria Alberghetti is Lili, the childlike young woman who enchants the bitter puppeteer Paul, adeptly portrayed in this version by Jerry Orbach. Their two voices, hers sweet and clear and his strong and virile, are well-suited to their conflicting roles as the innocent gamine and the cynical and damaged man who cannot show her the love he feels except through his puppets. The shallow and opportunistic magician is charmingly done by James Mitchell, while his world-weary assistant is done by the delightfully brassy Kaye Ballard. One of the best characters is Paul's assistant Jacquot, who functions almost as a conscience to the bitter puppet master. In this original Broadway production, Jacquot is done by the small but very talented Pier Olaf. Add a small group of gifted supporting players and a solid production, and the result is a delightful excursion into a love story that blends reality and fantasy.The story unfolds in the songs. The listener is introduced to the carnival(Opening), to the magician and his assistant(Direct From Vienna), then to Lili(A Very Nice Man), and Paul and Jacquot(I've Got To Find A Reason). Jacquot, realizing that Lili has a crush on the undeserving magician and that the broken Paul has an attraction to her, begs Lili to leave the carnival and go home. Lili tells him she is too far from home(Mira) and wants to stay near her beloved Marco the Magnificent. Marco keeps up his efforts to seduce Lili but is thwarted(A Sword And A Rose And A Cape). His upset assistant keeps threatening to leave but admits to the carnival manager her addiction to the scoundrel(Humming). Marco convinces the manager to hire Lili on and she's delighted(Yes, My Heart); Paul, however, remains cynical and hateful, while secretly lamenting his inability to show kindness except through his puppets(Everybody Likes You). When Lili accidently ruins the carnival's grand finale, she is fired and decides to end her life. Paul, secretly frightened for the poor waif, calls out to Lili through his puppets. They interact with her as though they are alive and she sings for them(Love Makes The World Goes Round). She becomes part of their show and is a delight to audiences with her childlike interaction with Paul's dolls(Yum Ticky, The Rich, Beautiful Candy). Paul, meanwhile, grows more enchanted with the girl but realizes that she fears him(Her Face). He subdues his own pain to expand her role in his show, pleasing Jacquot(The Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris). Eventually, however, Paul cannot contain his jealousy and is vicious to Lili, who cannot bear his harsh treatment(I Hate Him). Marco, who strings poor Lili along shamelessly, seduces Rosalie to steal a contract from her for a prestigious show(Always, Always You). He then promises to take Lili with him as his new assistant. Paul catches on to the scheme; he destroys his puppet stage and admits his true feelings for the sweet unspoiled young woman(She's My Love). Lili awakens to the truth about Marco and turns her back on him, preparing to leave the carnival. However, the puppets call out to her, pleading with her to stay, bargaining with her and offering gifts. All of a sudden, Lili realizes that the tenderness the puppets have shown her really flows from the hurt man behind the curtain. Still afraid to show his feelings openly, Paul flings his puppet to the ground, but Lili cradles the doll to her heart, showing him that she loves him, too. They embrace and go together after the carnival, to a future full of hope and healing(Finale).This CD is well recorded, considering the poor quality of the master tapes, and includes bonus tracks recorded by Bob Merrill, J.J. Johnson, Paul Smith, Richard Chamberlain and Mel Torme. However nice the bonus tracks are, the best performances are by the original cast. Alberghetti's sweet voice is clear, used like an instrument to convey her character's innocence. Orbach's strong baritone is rich and masculine, even a bit rough around the edges at times, like Paul himself, and he does a wonderful job of coming up with different silly voices for the puppets. This is a very sweet and charming production. We highly recommend this as an excellent example of musical theater."
A gorgeous Broadway show
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 02/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"CARNIVAL is a gorgeous Broadway musical based on the MGM musical "Lili". "Lili" was adapted by Helen Deutsch from Paul Gallico's story.The musical CARNIVAL is essentially a showcase for the amazing talents of Anna Maria Alberghetti, as Lili herself. Alberghetti has the most interesting voice I have ever heard, and was a child prodigy with her huge vocal range. Just listen to her soaring voice in "Beautiful Candy" (where she hits a high-C), "A Very Nice Man", "I Hate Him" and "Mira".The story of CARNIVAL is Lili's tale; the charming orphan happens upon a troupe of performers from a travelling circus, and joins the act. The lame puppeteer Paul (Jerry Orbach) unwittingly hires her, and she ends up performing with his puppets in a charming show that ends up as the circus' star attraction.Adding to the cast are Kaye Ballard, Henry Lascoe, Pierre Olaf and James Mitchell.A fantastic under-rated musical which was recently revived in the City Center's Encores! series, starring "The Princess Diaries" Anne Hathaway as Lili.A charming recording which features bonus tracks from composer Bob Merrill as well as lovely cover-versions from Richard Chamberlain, J. J. Johnson and Mel Torme."
chip petroff | 05/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A magical creation that both was part of the proud succession of hit Broadway musicals in the 1950s and 1960s and has a special quality all its own, "Carnival" is a memorable show that is too little known today and awaits rediscovery (and a major, full-scale New York revival). Rarely has a musical captured the mystery and enchantment of live performance as movingly and ingeniously as this multifaceted theatrical gem.Adapted from the film "Lili", "Carnival" goes its source material one better by virtue of Bob Merrill's memorable score, best known for "Love Makes the World Go 'Round" and filled with delightful, often uniquely beautiful songs and numbers, truly without a dud among them. And the story, apparently based in part on the real-life relationship between Burr Tillstrom and Fran Allison of "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" fame, provides the basis for a Broadway book of rare literary merit.The cast is the stuff of legends.Fans who know the great Anna Maria Alberghetti only through her delicious comic turn as the Mafia don's wife in the film "Friends and Family" may not be familiar with her accomplishments as a singer. Alberghetti originally made her mark as a child prodigy operatic soprano, and she created the role of Lili on Broadway when still barely out of her teens. Her combination of grit and vulnerability, part woman, part adolescent, combined with her gorgeous singing voice, make her Tony-winning performance a classic. Suffice it to say that the supporting cast includes Jerry Orbach, in his original glory days as a musical theater leading man, and the marvelous all-around entertainer Kaye Ballard, and you'll get some idea of the depth of talent on display here.For the score, the touching story and Anna Maria Alberghetti's indelible performance, "Carnival" is a must for everyone who cares about musical theater."
An Imaginative Pleasure
chip petroff | 05/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had a chance to become familiar with Carnival last summer, and this consistently melodic, varied, and interesting soundtrack never grows old. Especially (but certainly not exclusively) if one sees the stage production, this music has an incredible capacity for combining fantasy and poignancy in ways that allow me to lose myself in the music. From lush, rich songs like "I've Got to Find a Reason" and "Mira" to colorful numbers such as "A Sword and a Rose and a Cape" and "Humming," this album does not contain a single weak link. Particularly catchy tunes include "Yum Ticky Ticky Tum" as well as "A Very Nice Man," and the centerpiece of the show, "Love Makes the World Go Round," is utterly sweet and touching. Anna Marie Alberghetti brings both fluidity and precision to the role of Lili, and is well matched by the surrounding cast in terms of artistic merit. The aural quality of this CD is quite clean and rich for its age, and the bonus tracks are worth hearing as well. Anyone should give Carnival a chance, it is a beauty."
chip petroff | 11/26/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I uncovered this gem in my local library, only to discover what a neat musical it is! I've never seen it performed onstage, which is too bad--the music is great! Ms. Alberghetti has such a nice, "legit" voice, contrasting with the hilariously bawdy, strong Kaye Ballard ("Humming" is probably one of the best overlooked songs in this genre!). Another thing I really liked was Jerry Orbach's singing--he has two angry, difficult songs, and does a masterful job with both. To sum up, this is a fantastic album for anybody who likes old-style musical theatre. It's not slickly produced, but it is well-sung good music that tells a compelling story."