All tagged George Abbott

Remembering Call Me Madam

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. 

Broadway Blip: The Boys from Syracuse

Rodgers and Hart musicals always included a delicious sense of fun and their 1938 comedy The Boys from Syracuse was no exception. Based on William Shakespeare’s 1594 play (his shortest) The Comedy of ErrorsThe Boys from Syracuse features one of Rodgers and Hart’s most-enduring score with such gems as “Falling in Love with Love,” “Sing for Your Supper,” “This Can’t Be Love” and “What Do You Do with a Man” as standouts. 

Broadway Blip: Pal Joey

The composing team of Rodgers and Hart had a reputation for putting together fun and witty musical comedies. Rodgers’ music sparkled with infectious melody while Hart’s lyrics were clever and bursting with wild use of rhyme. It wasn’t until their 1940 collaboration of the musical Pal Joey that the team ventured into edgier territory. Based on John O’Hara’s series of short stories that were published in The New YorkerPal Joey is both the crowning achievement of the duo’s partnership and a benchmark in advancement of serious musical theatre storytelling. 

Broadway Musical Time Machine: Looking Back at The Pajama Game

One of the most-popular musicals of the 1950s and one that was subsequently performed by almost every high school and community theatre, and that featured a popular Richard Adler and Jerry Ross score, is The Pajama Game. The story of labor at a Midwestern pajama factory on the verge of union strike (in an effort to get a 7 ½ cent raise) spoke to the average working American. Complicating matters, of course, is a romance that breaks out between the factory’s new superintendent and the head of union grievance committee. In the end, everyone gets what they want.