Friday, June 13, 2008


For all those lovers of John Ford's classic paean to Ireland, The Quiet Man, with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, a musical version of the story came to Broadway in 1961 with a score by Oscar-winner Johnny Burke (he won for "Swinging on a Star" from Going My Way). Burke also wrote the 6 performance debacle Carnival in Flanders, which introduced the world to "Here's that Rainy Day" and Dolores Gray to her Tony (and the record for shortest run of any recipient in Tony history). The original Broadway production, which reverted to the original short story and not the film for its libretto, starred Art Lund as Sean (or John, depending on the source) Enright, Joan Fagan as Ellen Roe Danaher, Eddie Foy Jr as Mickeen Flynn and the ever-reliable yet flop-prone Susan Johnson as the Widow Carey. Oh, and none other than Philip Bosco as Will Danaher. Famed choreographer Jack Cole made his directorial debut. The reviews were mixed to positive, with the NY Times and Walter Kerr weighing in favorably, but it just didn't seem to muster up enough excitement and closed after 68 performances. The original cast album remains locked on LP; with no sign of an impending CD or i-tunes release in sight. (Fortunately, I have an LP to mp3 rip, but the quality isn't spectacular). Remember when a musical adaptation of a favorite film wasn't the formula? Frankly, neither can I...

Anyway, here on Ed Sullivan is Foy and Johnson in the charming duet "I Wouldn't Bet One Penny" followed by Joan Fagan's spirited rendition of the opening number (why it's second I'm not sure) "Sez I/If It Isn't Everything" assisted by the men, which is a sort of feisty Irish cousin to "Waitin' for My Dearie" from Brigadoon. The score is delightful, but it's "Sez I" that really stands out - your friend and mine, Peter Filichia, refers to it as "the greatest opening number you've never heard." I tend to agree. But of course, I'm also Irish (with the dual citizenship to prove it) so I may be a bit biased. I'm not big on the show's title though... but at least it wasn't The Quiet Man - THE MUSICAL. Well, now you can weigh in. Hopefully Decca Broadway might consider a release... especially for us Irish.

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