All tagged Jule Styne

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.

Broadway Blip: Sugar

The 1959 Billy Wilder film Some Like it Hot is regarded by many to be one of the greatest film comedies of all time. Certainly the ingredients were in place for that to be so: a hilarious, comedy of errors screenplay, Wilder’s always spot-on, direction with carefully chosen tempoes, and a cast that featured Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis. There was also a lot of cross-dressing and that, coupled with the film’s final moment, made Some Like It Hot about as risqué and saucy as a film could be in 1959 and still get away with it. The idea of turning Some Like It Hot into a musical, on paper, certainly makes sense. You have larger-than-life characters who play in a band, an exotic locale (a Floridian resort hotel), and a situation that is guaranteed to make audiences laugh. It makes sense that Bob Merrill would come together with Jule Styne, as well as librettist Peter Stone, to try to make this property sing for the musical stage.