Saturday, March 29, 2008


Today indeed was interesting for Broadway history. The first thing is that today is the anniversary of Kander and Ebb's Woman Of The Year and the second is a very odd little musical that Charles Strouse and Lee Adams attempted on this date in 1966. It lasted all of one hundred and twenty seven performances. Interesting to note that Linda Lavin played the ingenue and Lesley Ann Warren played Lois Lane. The plot revolves around Superman's efforts to defeat Dr. Abner Sedgwick, a ten-time Nobel Prize-losing scientist who seeks to avenge the scientific world's dismissal of his brilliance by attempting to destroy the world's symbol of good. Additionally, Superman comes into romantic conflict with Max Mencken, a columnist for the Daily Planet newspaper, who resents Lois Lane's attraction to Superman.
The show opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on March 29, 1966. The production received generally positive reviews, but failed to catch on with the theater-going public and closed on July 17, 1966 after 129 performances. The main theme is the peril of moral relativism; as the song "We Need Him" puts it, "when the world's moral standards grow murky / we need him.
Photo stills can be seen in the documentary "Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman," as well as footage from the TV version.On May 14, 2007, the Reprise! program in Los Angeles presented a concert version of the musical with Patrick Cassidy his father's old role as Max Mencken, Cheyenne Jackson Superman, Jean Louisa Kelly as Lois Lane, Richard Kindas Dr. Sedgwick, and composer Charles Strouse in a special appearance as Perry White, at the Ralph Freud Theatre on the campus of UCLA.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Well put on a Happy Face for on Monday, April 7th at 8pm there will at long last be the return for about a week of Tony Westbrook from New York City. What an amazing voice! What an incredible friend and even co-writer he has been. It all started with an album project called "Highway To A Dream" the first CD put out by Creative Horizons. Tony made those wonderful songs come alive. With the equally amazing Tim Doran at the keyboard, Tony brought life to those songs recorded in an old studio in Glendale no longer standing. I dare you to listen and not cry at some of these songs: especially "If You Really Want To Know", "I'll Be Faithful" and he was the first artist to record "Wherever You Go There You Are" which is now part of the musical that Tim Doran and I wrote together called "The Traveling Companion" Tony,Tim Doran and the amazing will of Almighty God are the reasons I am still a songwriter! Then better news! I received a confirmation e mail from Terry Snyder and now there will be the reunion of Westbrook & Snyder on the same evening. Hopefully Tim will be able to join us and the magic evening will be complete. The songs to be sung will include the song that I have dedicated to Tony-- its called "There's A Little Bit of Broadway In All of Us" and a patriotic tune called "Some Gave All"-- in the vein of a song we all wrote together called "Sad Day For The USA" way back in (dear me) 2001. The third song will be "Let Go, Let God!-- a title that really fits my life and Tony's and if we get lucky a song from "The Traveling Companion" -- but that one is up in the air-- as we may opt for a rock tune or a spoof for Judge Judy called "Nothing Says I Love You Like A Lawsuit!-- inspired by a couple on the People's court who in real life and on on the program were suing each other, fiercely --even though they said they still loved each other-- just as fiercely- Judge Judy looked up at them and quirked to the audience "Well, nothing says "I love You" like a lawsuit""== the light bulb-- there was an idea for a song.
Well we will make the final choices after the first two in a few days. But to have both of these amazing gentlemen back together in a recording studio is going to pure magic. These guys are that good. More later!

Monday, March 17, 2008


Today is indeed Saint Patrick's Day: the day of great feasting and drinking and grand celebrations and the day that I always telephone my boyhood friend Andy Alum. I have not missed one Saint Patrick's Day in forty years: a pretty good record. And so I raise my glass to my friends Tim Doran and Tony Westbrook (you look marvelous, darling) and my new writing partner John Nugent who has finally found (after a six month search) a great job with a music publisher thanks to Tim Doran.

As for Saint Patrick, himself: just in case you didn't know here's the low down on his life and times:St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints. Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461. Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone's Irish.
There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his real story. Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.
As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.
During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote
"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."
Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britain, where he reunited with his family.
He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more." He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years. Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.
Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message. Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).
Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461. He died at Saul, where he had built the first church. Why a shamrock? Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time. In His Footsteps: Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Today we celebrate two birthdays. The first is for the very much alive Stephen Schwartz who turns sixty years old today. I wrote him a very nice "happy birthday" note and he responded personally. That was a very classy thing to do. Of course, Mr, Schwartz has had an amazing comeback these last seven years with smashes like "Wicked" playing all over the place. Today would also have been the birthday-- the 100 birthday, no less of the late great funny man, Lou Costello. What an amazing and brilliant comedy mind and talent. I remember seeing all the great Abbott & Costello Costello comedies as a kid. My favorite was "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" which co-starred Boris Karlof, Lon Chaney and of course Bela Lugosi. John and I had three entries for the ASCAP musical theatre workshop today which we hope they will select at least one of these for us to showcase in late April. They are "Sevenly", "The Runaway Heart" and "A Little Bit of Broadway"-- all fingers and toes crossed. I haven't been this proficient in writing in a long long time! John Nugent goes for a great job interview tomorrow-- so all fingers and toes crossed for that one too. It's getting a little busier at work--thank goodness! Well, until next time!

Monday, March 03, 2008


Well we had a reading of one of our shows this past Sunday. It was "The Ghost Who Saved Broadway" the song that "One Last Miracle" comes from. Everybody loved the premise and the characters, but we need to curt about 40 minutes from the show to make it acceptable to audiences. It was a beautiful day and Keith and Karmyn and Lori and the group all got together and read the show and we played what songs we had. So there it is: a great lesson learned again. In all honesty this was the first reading I had done of this show for a whole lot of years and so it was good to finally flesh out the story and the dialogue. And John and i took time to plant two roses in our garden. One was the "Carol Burnett" rose and the other was named in honor of Pope John Paul II. We shall see how well they grow and thrive in the California sun. And oh yes, thank you Tony Westbrook-- first for being the first to record "One Last Miracle and second for the wonderful list of things in his blog today. What a great list of goals to aim for each and every day. And a very big thanks to Tim Doran who brought "One Last Miracle" to life with his brilliant orchestration of the song many years ago. A great day --still cherished! Amazing still-- and always. thanks Tim. And oh yes-- after many years I saw Richard Sherman of the Sherman Brothers-- his brother Bob has now retired to London and paints--though he istill writing some lyrics.