Barbra Streisand's Broadway debut!
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 08/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE features an energetic score by Harold Rome, but is still best-remembered for being the Broadway debut of a promising young Brooklyn belter by the name of Barbra Streisand. Streisand had been performing her act at the Bon Soir and Blue Angel clubs, but had never set foot on a Broadway stage until she landed the supporting role of Miss Yetta Tessye Marmelstein in WHOLESALE. Streisand met her future husband Elliott Gould, who played the male lead - Harry Bogen - in the show. The story is set in the New York garment district circa the late-1930s, where Harry asipres to climb to the top of the ladder of success, and doesn't care if his real friends get hurt along the way.
The rest of the cast is sensational: Bambi Linn (Dream Laurey in OKLAHOMA! on film), Marilyn Cooper (WEST SIDE STORY's original Rosalia) as Harry's love interest Ruthie, Harold Lang (the original Bill Calhoun in KISS ME KATE) and Lillian Roth (70 GIRLS 70). Standout numbers include, of course, "Miss Marmelstein", but also enjoyable are Marilyn Cooper's "Who Knows?" and "A Funny Thing Happened". Sound quality is crisp and clean. Highly-recommended."
A FINE SCORE FROM HAROLD ROME, BROADWAY'S FORGOTTEN (?) COMP
J. T Waldmann | Carmel, IN, home to the fabulous new Regional Perf | 09/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"from the liner notes: "At the age of 22 Jerome Weidman had his first novel published, I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE, which has long been admired as one of the finest first novels of our time. F. Scott Fitzgerald paid it the accolade 'a break-through into completely new and fresh literary terrain; a turning point in the American novel.' (Of the author) Ernest Hemmingway . . . said, "He writes just a little better than anybody else that's around."
On March 22, 1962, what Weidman describes as ". . . the story of Harry Bogen, a boy who went wrong because there was nothing in the observable world around him to prove that the values by which that world functioned were wrong" would open at the Shubert Theatre with music and lyrics by Harold Rome. I ran for a disappointing 300 performances.
Set in New York's garment district of 1937, this musical is about as Jewish as any musical can be. Jewish melodies, klezmer, a bar mitzvah celebration, a Jewish mother singing "Eat a Little Something" - Harold Rome's music, in my opinion, enhances the Jewish-ness of the show better and more subtly than the score for the better-known and more-successful "Fiddler on the Roof," which would come two years later. And here's a switch: most of the cast members are actually Jewish! (Bambi Linn - who so beautifully danced "Laurie" in the movie version of "Oklahoma" was born Bambina Linnemeir in Brooklyn.)
No, Harold Rome is no Irving Berlin or Cole Porter or Stephen Sondheim, but he is a far better writer of theatre music than he is given credit for. Of the eleven reviews and musicals for which he wrote both music and lyrics, five - "Pins and Needles," "Call Me Mister," "Destry Rides Again," "I Can Get It for You Wholesale," and a remastered London cast recording of "Wish You Were Here" - are currently available on CD. Broadway cast recordings of "Fanny" and "Wish You Were Here" are going for well over $100 each on the used market; "The Zulu and the Zayda" (1965) with Ossie Davis was released only as a Columbia LP. Perhaps someone will dig up the master tapes and re-issue it. "That's the Ticket" (1948) closed out of town in Philadelphia, but a 2002 concert staging by Musicals Tonight is available on Original Cast Records.
My recommendation is to forget everything you've heard about Streisand's stealing the show and how Barbra and Elliot Gould met and married and procreated, etc. Just sit back and enjoy the show. They don't write them like this anymore."
Enjoying an old musical
David Landy | Seminole, FL, USA | 09/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1962 was the year I ended my high school education and started my college education, majoring in Theatre. It was also the year Babb's first musical was on Broadway. I really loved the entire show, the music was wonderful and the lyrics were to die for.
I saw the original movie on television a few weeks ago, a straight play, and thought how wonderful it could be converted into a broadway musical, and by golly, they did.
The entire cast was just great and I would recomend this CD to any musical comedy buff.
I wish Amazon would offer a spell check"