All in Music That Makes Me Dance
An old school musical comedy that was not only a perfect star vehicle for an over-the-top leading lady, but also a fine example of a lost art of comedy filled with melody, romance, and pure joy, was the 1950 Broadway outing Call Me Madam. Starring the indelible Ethel Merman, and brimming with a parade of terrific Irving Berlin tunes, Call Me Madam may have had a corny plot, but it provided a night of carefree, escapist theatergoing.
Most musical theatre fans think of Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles when they hear the name Jerry Herman. For this beloved composer-lyricist of the Great White Way, these were his three megahits, each running for several years and each winning several Tony Awards. Hello, Dolly! was his the earliest of three, but what many of us forget (or, at least seldom talk about), was the musical that really brought Mr. Herman to our attention, 1961’s Milk and Honey.
The musical western isn’t exactly a commonplace subgenre of the Broadway musical. Only a handful of westerns have been crafted for the musical stage, with varying results. The best known is of course Oklahoma!, followed by Paint Your Wagon. Other than that, the only other Broadway musical western that enjoyed a healthy run was the 1959 also-ran Destry Rides Again. Based on the 1939 classic film of the same name, Destry Rides Again ran in a season that featured more celebrated titles such as The Sound of Music, Gypsy, and Fiorello!, and it’s charms were lost in that shuffle. Still, it managed a run of 472 performances, which in 1959 was a respectable (if not impressive) stay on the Great White Way.
It’s that time of year again, that three-day weekend celebration commemorating the That unofficial end of summer and officially celebrates hardworking labor in America. That’s right, it is Labor Day. In its honor, here is a playlist of Broadway showtunes that honor the men and women who keep the world spinning with their industry!