Great Broadway Musicals series concludes

Sep 12, 2018
Russ Tamblyn, right, beloved to local “Peyton Place” fans, and Richard Beymer share a Jets moment in the film adaptation of “West Side Story.” They worked together again in television’s “Twin Peaks.”

Camden — Michael Paul Lund of Serendipity recordings will present the final installment of The Great Broadway Musicals series of music-illustrated lectures Sunday, Sept. 23, at 2 p.m. at the downtown Camden Public Library. The first two installments were very well attended.

Lund of Lincolnville, who has lectured on music and the arts all over the East coast, will play recordings from the works discussed, interspersed with informative and entertaining remarks, making for an enlightening and enjoyable 90-minute program (with an intermission).

“My Fair Lady”

The program will include “My Fair Lady,” Lerner & Loewe's beloved show whose original run, starring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison, lasted an historic six years at New York's Mark Hellinger Theater. It produced such hits as “I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face,” “On The Street Where You Live,” “The Rain In Spain,” “Wouldn't It Be Loverly,” “With A Little Bit Of Luck” and more.

Singer Vic Damone, who died in February, was a friend of Lund. Damone’s biggest Columbia Records hit, selling more than 2 million copies, was "On the Street Where You Live." Lund will share a story of how that song and Damone's recording of it, produced by Mitch Miller, came about. Also involved was a very young John Williams who, back in the 1950s, was Damone's pianist and conductor. Lund also will also discuss how Andrews was dropped from the movie version, replaced by the non-singing Audrey Hepburn … and he will reveal who sang for Hepburn.

“West Side Story”

This Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim collaboration is a classic that changed the entire flavor of Broadway in 1961 after it opened at the Winter Garden Theater. The show’s songs include “Tonight, Tonight,” “Something Coming, Something Good,” “Maria,” “One Hand, One Heart,” “I Feel Pretty” and more.

Sondheim did not particularly like doing collaborations; but instead preferred writing both the words and the music himself. He wrote just the words/lyrics with both Bernstein ("West Side Story") and Richard Rodgers ("Do I Hear A Waltz"). On both counts, he had a total success, especially “West Side Story,” where “his lyrics simply rose to such lofty inspiring heights,” said Lund. “Then, of course, the quasi-symphonic music that Bernstein wrote for ‘West Side Story’ was groundbreaking!”

“South Pacific”

This Rodgers & Hammerstein gem, staring Mary Martin and Enzio Pinza, had a fabulous run on New York's Great White Way at the Majestic Theater. It has been revived countless times since. The show features “Happy Talk,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Dites Moi,” “This Nearly Was Mine,” “There Is Nothing Like A Dame,” “Bloody Mary is The Girl I Love” and more.

Martin had dozens of Broadway successes over a period of decades and was a sweetheart of the Great White Way. Pinza, however, was a novice at the time, enjoying instead an operatic career as a lead bass at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and houses around the world. As the male lead in “South Pacific,” he and Martin set Broadway on fire, Lund said, and gave Rodgers & Hammerstein one of their biggest Broadway blockbusters. The hit songs from this show went on to be recorded by hundreds of vocalists and still are today.

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