Another great package from Sepia
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 04/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This great-value disc from Sepia comprises the 1954 original London cast of CAN-CAN, with the little-known gem WEDDING IN PARIS.
CAN-CAN opened at the Coliseum in October of 1954 and ran for a solid 394 performances. Irene Hilda took over the role of La Mome Pistache from Lilo, and she was joined by talented Edmund Hockridge with up-and-comer Gillian Lynne as Claudine.
Irene Hilda wisely does not try to emulate the singular voice of Lilo, nevertheless she makes the songs her own. Her dynamite and delicious rendering of "Live and Let Live" may very well be her crowning glory. She also beautifully carries "Alle-vous En" and turns "I Love Paris" into a smokey torch ballad. Edmund Hockridge is at his best with "It's Alright with Me" and Gillian Lynne is delightful with "If You Loved Me Truly". Lynne would later become one of the theatre's foremost choreographers.
WEDDING IN PARIS opened at the Hippodrome in April of 1954 and ran for 411 performances, amazing considering the actual show has slipped into relative obscurity. The score by Hans May and Sonny Miller is lively and lovely, with Susan Swinford and Evelyn Laye in great roles. Standout numbers include "In the Pink", "It Only Took a Moment" (not to be confused with the ballad from HELLO DOLLY), "A Man is a Man" and "Strike Another Match". Anton Walbrook co-stars in a rare musical role with Jeff Warren. Both were fresh from the London run of CALL ME MADAM (that recording can be found on Sepia's "Irving Berlin in London").
The disc concludes with 5 additional selections sung by Edmund Hockridge. Another stellar release from Sepia!"
Wedding in Paris a Delightful British Musical
Bruce K. Hanson | Petersburg, VA | 12/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had never even heard of Wedding in Paris before I received it as a gift a few montns ago. While the orchestrations have that brassy Broadway sound of the fifties and are not quite distinquished, the score by Hans May and Sonny Miller is original with songs that are very pleasing to the ears indeed. Yet, my favorite numbers are those charmingly "spoken" by Anton Walbrook: "Always Young", and "Strike Another Match". However, the rest of the cast sound great in songs that leave you humming after only one playing. Susan Swinford, Jeff Warren, and Evelyn Laye are excellent singers and more than serve this little known musical. Well, at least little known in the states.
Perhaps that's the beauty of the Sepia record company; they present so many rare recordings that deserve to have a second life on CD. Add to that great graphics and the unbelieveable sound that they digitalize from the original 78s. The musical opened in 1954 at the London Hippodrome and stayed for a healthy run of 411 performances.
Along with Wedding in Paris is another charming cast album, Cole Porter's Can-Can. This show has never been one of my favorite Cole Porter scores (due in a large part to the horrible screen version) so I was surprised how much better it sounded than I remembered. I love the Overture with its grand Can-Can section as well as some of the quieter moments such as George Gee and Alfred Marks singing "Come Along with Me", Irene Hilda's "Live and Let Live" and "I Love Paris". In fact Irene Hilda sounds every bit as good (if not better) than the star of the Broadway cast album. Edmond Hockridge is good too in his numbers and what a looker he was! In fact, the singer provides his own memories to the liner notes. Sepia has been kind enough to include Hockridge's version of "My Boy Bill" from Carousel in which he played Billy Bigelow. Can-Can opened at the Coliseum in 1954 and played for 394 performances."