Sunday, May 03, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FANTASTIKS


Today is the 50th anniversary of one of the best musicals of all time. Yes, "The Fantastiks" premiered today at the Sullivan playhouse, Off Broadway, New York City. Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones proved you could take a giant story and play it in an Off-Broadway house to great success. It is also the birthday of Betty Comden. Together with Adolph Green they made Broadway history.Their stage work of the 1950s included the revue Two on the Aisle, starring Bert Lahr and Dolores Gray, with music by Jule Styne; Wonderful Town, a musical adaptation of the play My Sister Eileen with music by Bernstein; and Bells Are Ringing, which reunited them with Judy Holliday and Jule Styne. The score, including the standards "Just in Time", "Long Before I Knew You", and "The Party's Over", proved to be one of their richest. Comden and Green contributed additional lyrics to the 1954 musical Peter Pan, translated and streamlined Die Fledermaus for the Metropolitan Opera and collaborated with Styne on songs for the play-with-music Say, Darling.
In 1958, they appeared on Broadway in A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, a revue that included some of their early sketches. It was a critical and commercial success, and they brought an updated version back to Broadway in 1977.Comden and Green's Broadway work in the 1960s included four collaborations with Jule Styne. They wrote the lyrics for Do Re Mi, and the book and lyrics for Subways Are For Sleeping, Fade Out - Fade In, and Hallelujah, Baby! Their Hallelujah, Baby! score won a Tony Award.Comden and Green wrote the libretto for the 1970 musical Applause, an adaptation of the film All About Eve, and wrote the book and lyrics for 1978's On the Twentieth Century, with music by Cy Coleman. Comden also played the role of Letitia Primrose in that musical when original star Imogene Coca left the show. Comden and Green's final musical hit was 1991's The Will Rogers Follies, providing lyrics to Cy Coleman's music. Our rehearsal for "Little Bit Of Broadway" yesterday at the Fashion Square Mall's Community Room was very very good and very promising. All fingers and toes are crossed for the grand opening on Friday, May 8th at 8pm.