Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Little Bit of Broadway

Sunday, October 2, 2011
4:30 - 6:00 pm

Half -Past Wednesday

Around the 1960’s there was a burst of musicals from fairytales – and one that only lasted 2 performances is the one we are listening to today. Half-Past Wednesday is the musical version of the Grimm fairytale Rumpelstiltskin. The 5 person cast told the story of a miller who makes a boast his daughter can spin straw into gold, unknowing that the king is very greedy. The daughter does it, with the help of a little green man who makes her a bargain – he’ll do it if she gives him her first born. She finally agrees, and goes on to marry the prince. Then the little man comes back to complete the bargain.

Who knows why it only lasted 2 performances, (April 6 and 7, 1962). But it was an early appearance of Dom DeLuise and, while it’s obviously not a lost classic (it doesn’t even have a wiki page), nevertheless, it’s a fun way to spend the afternoon.
Music: Robert Colby
Lyrics: Robert Colby, Nita Jonas
Book: Anna Marie Barlow
Basis: Brothers Grimm Rumpelstiltskin

A better known treatment of a fairytale is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s treatment of Cinderella. The story of the daughter of house, reduced to slaving away for her stepmother and stepsisters, was seen first on CBS TV in 1957. We are listening to the second TV production starring Stuart Damn and Lesley Ann Warren.

Once Upon a Mattress
Take the fairytale The Princess and the Pea, add in such wonderful entertainers as Carol Burnet and you have a delightful retelling of the story of a Queen who refuses to let her son get married. How does he succeed in winning a bride? That's what 1959's Once Upon a Mattress tells, with music by Mary Rodgers and lyrics by Marshall Barer.

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