All tagged Charles Strouse

Remembering Applause

Imagine setting out to write a musical based on one of the most celebrated screenplays of all time, only to find that you cannot secure permission to use it, but you can get the rights to write a musical based on the short story that that screenplay was based on. Are you confused yet? This is essentially what happened when Sidney Michaels (book), Charles Strouse (music) and Lee Adams (lyrics) encountered when writing the musical Applause. Applause is based on the 1946 Mary Orr short story “The Wisdom of Eve”, which was, of course, the basis for the 1950 20th Century Fox film and Academy Award winning Best Picture All About Eve

Charles Strouse in the House

The other day, I woke up and found myself humming songs from Annie (it may have had something to do with the use of “Tomorrow” in an insurance commercial), and realized that I adore so many of his melodies. Though he has had an up-and-down career on Broadway, his music is always infectious and the highlight of a show. I spent the better part of the day singing his songs while I cleaned the house, and then asked my readers on Twitter what some of their favorite Strouse songs are. I enjoyed listening to the ones you sent me and decided to make up a playlist of my favorite Charles Strouse songs. Hopefully, you will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed yours.

Bye Bye Birdie Live! Why This Is an EXCELLENT Idea!

Bye Bye Birdie opened on Broadway in 1960, a time when musical theatre began to move in new, more daring, directions. Bye Bye Birdie proved to be an innovative musical that introduced the idea of rock & roll music to Broadway audiences. Yes, the Charles Strouse (music) / Lee Adams (lyrics) score is mostly traditional musical theatre, but it did include three songs that were a pastiche of Elvis Presley-like numbers. Michael Stewart’s book is one of the most finely-crafted original stories ever to be shaped for Broadway: colorful characters, a compelling situation, a touch of ridiculous farce, romance, and a happy-ever-after ending. People often underappreciate how solid the story is because it seems so simple and easy, but the cause/effect relationship between characters and their actions is extremely complicated and well-justified. Marry this complexity of storytelling to a tuneful, often witty score, and Bye Bye Birdie really needs to be acknowledged for the fine piece of musical theatre that it is

The New Year’s Eve Musical: Close a Little Faster

With the end of 2015 almost upon us and the reassuring possibilities of 2016 ready to work their magic, I started thinking about musicals that place on December 31st as the world counts down to a new year. There are not many musicals that fit this distinction and the only one that instantly comes to mind is the notorious flop of 1983 called Dance a Little Closer, apparently so disastrous that it was nicknamed “Close a Little Faster.” As is the case with most hyperbolic statements, Dance a Little Closer wasn’t all awful. In fact, the score with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner has much to recommend and is, even at times, quite delightful.