All tagged Jule Styne

Remembering Hazel Flagg

Helen Gallagher is an actress who came very close to being one of Broadway musicals’ biggest stars, on a par with Mary Martin, Ethel Merman, or Gwen Verdon. Always one of the standout supporting players in such musicals as High Button Shoes, Make A Wish, and Pal Joey, for which she won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. It was inevitable that she would ultimately land a starring role in a Broadway musical that would launch her career into the stratosphere where it belonged. That vehicle, for all intents and purposes, should have been the 1953 musical Hazel Flagg wherein Gallagher played the title character.

Remembering Subways Are For Sleeping

Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green were frequent collaborators in creating Broadway musicals. Sometimes there partnerships yielded hits like Bells Are Ringing, sometimes the product was a cheerful “also ran” like Do Re Mi, and sometimes the show simply struggled to find an audience. One of these musicals that failed to ignite, despite offering a delightful score and a compelling premise, was the 1961 Subways Are For Sleeping.   

Determined to Remember the Broadway Merman

Ethel Merman is one of the great divas of the Broadway musical. Known for her earth-shaking singing voice full of gusto and volume, Merman spent decades as the go-to star for Broadway musical comedy. Though she often found work on television and in film, it was on Broadway, where no amplification was required for her voice to carry over an orchestra, that Merman was her most effective and memorable. Today, I celebrate the stage highlights of Merman’s Broadway musical career. 

Broadway Blip: The Red Shoes

Bob Merrill’s final foray into the world of the Broadway musical was for the ill-fated stage adaptation of the classic film The Red Shoes. Jule Styne was working on the project with book writer and lyricist Marsha Norman who had scored quite the artistic success a year earlier with The Secret Garden. When Styne found himself in need of some additional and revised lyrics for the project, he reached out to his old collaborator (and show doctor) Bob Merrill and brought him in to help salvage The Red Shoes. He agreed to do so under the pseudonym Paul Stryker.