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Subject: Re: Jones and Schmidt (was Very Warm for May (was Renee Fleming))
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 12 Jun 2018 12:10:05 -0400

text/plain (128 lines)

I've done "Celebration" also, and I think it's a remarkable, if very eccentric show. But I 
agree - it definitely has a more raw "off-Broadway" feel to it. It shares a lot of "Hair's" 
sense of zeitgeist - and ironically, Hair (which started off-Broadway) is a much more raw 
show in all ways - but Hair was also much more direct and immediate in its message, 
while Celebration is actually more of an adult cousin to The Fantasticks in terms of its 
sense of theatricality and allegory, etc. I think audiences "got" what Hair was about, like it 
or not, but not so much Celebration. 

And indeed, Celebration had no "stars" - the closest would have been Susan Watson, who 
played the original Kim McAfee in Bye, Bye Birdie - but she would become a slightly 
bigger name only after Celebration, when she played the title role in the 1972 mega-
revival of No, No, Nanette. I tend to imagine if the original cast of The Fantasticks went 
on to do Celebration (since the roles are allegorically comparable) - Jerry Orbach as 
Potemkin, Rita Gardner as Angel, Kenneth Nelson as Orphan, Tom Jones as Rich...THAT 
might have been an audience draw...

But oh, that wild, creative orchestration - including 3 percussionists - one third of the full 
band (wonderful use of xylophone and vibes - listen to the percussion "rants" in the song 
"Bored" for instance - really fun). I can't think of any other show of that era that sounds 
like that one does. Very cool stuff. 

And where else, especially pre-1970's, would you ever get to hear a line in a Broadway 
show like "I haven't had an erection in 25 years - what do you think of that?" ;-)

On Tue, 12 Jun 2018 12:54:34 +0000, Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]> 

>"Celebration" is one of those shows that could have been a big hit 
>off-Broadway but was completely wrong for a Broadway house. All of their 
>shows require serendipity and a certain ineffable magic to succeed, and 
>the right casting--Jerry Orbach in the original Fantasticks, Mary Martin 
>and Robert Preston in "I Do! I Do!"
>They also did "Grover's Corners," a musical version of "Our Town." As 
>far as I know, it only had one production near Chicago--it was supposed 
>to move following the try-out, but Mary Martin, who was to play the 
>Stage Manager, was diagnosed with cancer and had to drop out. The 
>producers were also spooked by the idea of a musical where everyone is 
>dead in the end. The rights reverted to the Wilder estate (which had 
>supposedly come to expect "Hello Dolly"-level royalties from any 
>I'm saddened by Schmidt's passing, but am finding great joy in 
>re-discovering some of their works.
>------ Original Message ------
>From: "Jay & Ralph" <[log in to unmask]>
>To: "Rich Lowenthal" <[log in to unmask]>
>Cc: [log in to unmask]
>Sent: 6/11/2018 11:08:43 PM
>Subject: Re: Very Warm for May (was Renee Fleming)
>>I am fond of: Celebration by Schmidt & Jones.
>>I was involved in a production in 1971.
>>I once re-edited the video of PD in Pag to the song "Where Did It Go?"
>>Most found it quite humorous.
>>----- Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>Harvey Schmidt was also included in the Tony's memorial tribute. He 
>>>Jones will always be remembered for The Fantasticks but I've enjoyed
>>>their other works as well--anyone (else) remember "I Do! I Do!"?
>>>Tom Jones is of course also well known as a Welsh singer, and as the
>>>lead character in a novel by Fielding.
>>>------ Original Message ------
>>>From: "Jon Goldberg" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>>Sent: 6/11/2018 9:39:53 PM
>>>Subject: Re: Very Warm for May (was Renee Fleming)
>>> >But of course how times have changed. If "110" were premiering now, 
>>> >would probably
>>> >have been called "The Rainmaker: The Musical." I liked when 
>>> >would strive to
>>> >come up with their OWN titles, and not just make a commercial nod to
>>> >the original
>>> >source. (Interesting to note that all the new Tony-nominated musicals
>>> >this season were
>>> >simply given the name of their most relevant/famous source material -
>>> >but the revivals all
>>> >had their own original titles. Times really have changed.)
>>> >
>>> >And by the way, the wonderful Harvey Schmidt who write the score for
>>> >"110" (and who of
>>> >course is best known for the score to "The Fantasticks"), passed away
>>> >at the end of
>>> >February this year. His writing partner, Tom Jones, is still with us.
>>> >
>>> >
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