Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Little Bit of Broadway

I Remember Mama

First it was a memoir by Kathryn Forbes called Mama’s Bank Account. In 1944 it became a Broadway show (with Marlon Brandon in his Broadway debut as Nels). In 1948 it became a film (with Irene Dunne as Mama).In 1949 it moved to TV (as Mama) and ran until 1957. In 1979 it finally became a musical. It didn’t do as well as the previous incarnations, but was finally recorded in 1986 so we have Richard Rodgers ‘last show to listen to this afternoon.

Each version is pretty much the same – a family a family of Norwegian immigrants living in San Francisco in the early 20th Century. All the versions were described as “heartwarming” and “charming”.

Playwright, stage director and screenwriter Arthur Laurents died this week at the age of 93. His screen credits include Alfred Hitchcock’s The Rope, The Way we were with Barbra Streisand and The Turning Point. Broadway credits include Gypsy (both book and direction) West Side Story, Hallelujah Baby and La Cage aux folle. He kept busy until the end, with one of his last projects being the multilingual redo of West Side Story.

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