A Broadway Musical

A Musical about a Broadway Musical

Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, (12/21/1978 - 12/21/1978)

First Preview: Dec 08, 1978
Opening Date: Dec 21, 1978
Closing Date: Dec 21, 1978
Total Previews: 14
Total Performances: 1

Category: Musical, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Messrs. Nederlander

Produced by Norman Kean and Garth H. Drabinsky; Associate Producer: Maria Di Dia

Originally presented at the Theatre of the Riverside Church

Music by Charles Strouse; Lyrics by Lee Adams; Book by William F. Brown; Music orchestrated by Robert M. Freedman; Vocal arrangements by Donald Pippin; Dance arrangements by Donald Johnston

Production Supervised by Gower Champion; Co - Choreographer: George Bunt

Scenic Design by Peter Wexler; Costume Design by Randy Barcelo; Lighting Design by John De Santis; Sound Design by Abe Jacob; Hair Styles by Ronald De Mann; Associate Scenic Design: Hal Tiné

General Manager: Weiler / Miller Associates

Production Stage Manager: David Rubinstein; Stage Manager: Judy Binus

Conducted by Kevin Farrell; Musical Supervisor: Donald Pippin; Assistant Conductor & Keyboards: Tim Stella

Production Coordinator: Barbara-Mae Phillips; General Press Representative: Jeffrey Richards Associates and Warren Knowlton; Dance Captain: Calvin McRae; Advertising: Ash / LeDonne; Photographer: Martha Swope; Casting: Julie Hughes and Barry Moss

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Opening Night Cast

Sydney AndersonRichie Taylor's Lawyer
Theatre Party Associate
Gwen ArmentRehearsal Pianist
Nate BarnettPoliceman
Warren BerlingerEddie Bell
Maris ClementSmoke & Fire Back-Up Singer
Theatre Party Associate
Prudence DarbyEnsemble
Don Edward DetrickEnsemble
Loretta DevineSmoke & Fire Back-Up Singer
Theatre Party Associate
Gwyda DonHoweStephanie Bell
Sharon FerrolEnsemble
Anne FrancineShirley Wolfe
Michael GallagherRichie Taylor's Lawyer
Scott GeraldsEnsemble
Maggy GorrillEnsemble
Jackée HarryMelinda Bernard
Smoke & Fire Back-Up Singer
Tiger HaynesSylvester Lee
Leon JacksonEnsemble
Reggie JacksonLouie
Carleton JonesEnsemble
Patti KarrMaggie Simpson
Christina Kumi KimballKumi-Kumi
Michael KubalaEnsemble
Irving Allen LeeJames Lincoln
Larry MarshallRichie Taylor
Robert MelvinMale Dancer Two
Jo Ann OgawaRichie's Secretary
Karen PaskowEnsemble
Martin RabbettMale Dancer Three
Larry RileyLonnie Paul
Albert StephensonMale Dancer One
Big Jake
Alan WeeksStan Howard
Marilynn WinbushEnsemble
Brad WitsgerEnsemble

Swings: Calvin McRae and Valarie Pettiford


music by Charles Strouse; lyrics by Lee Adams

ACT 1 Sung By
Broadway, BroadwayNew Kids in Town, Policeman and James Lincoln
A Broadway MusicalEddie Bell, James Lincoln, Lonnie Paul, Melinda Bernard, Stan Howard, Maggie Simpson and Ensemble
Smoke and FireStan Howard, James Lincoln, Kumi-Kumi and Ensemble
LawyersEddie Bell, Stephanie Bell and Richie's Lawyers
Yenta PowerShirley Wolfe and Associates
Let Me Sing My SongRichie Taylor
A Broadway Musical (Reprise) Eddie Bell, Stephanie Bell, James Lincoln, Shirley Wolfe, Maggie Simpson, Lonnie Paul, Stan Howard and Ensemble
ACT 2 Sung By
The 1934 Hot Chocolate Jazz Babies RevueSylvester Lee, James Lincoln and Ensemble
Let Me Sing My Song (Reprise) Richie Taylor and Friends
It's Time for a Cheer-Up SongStan Howard, Maggie Simpson, Lonnie Paul and James Lincoln
You Gotta Have DancingMaggie Simpson, James Lincoln and Ensemble
What You Go ThroughStephanie Bell and Eddie Bell
Don't Tell MeEddie Bell
TogetherJames Lincoln, Eddie Bell and Staff


New York Daily News: "In search of a Broadway musical"

"A Broadway Musical," which opened last night at the Lunt-Fontanne, is a musical about the birth pangs of a Broadway musical, and boy! does "A Broadway Musical" need work.

Actually, the show's problem is intrinsic, and all the tinkering that has been done since it began its tryout run at Riverside Church (a less costly substitute for New Haven) with other leads and another director-choreographer seems to have been to little avail. (My program even listed a duet in the first act that was omitted, and failed to include one added to the second.)

And that's too bad, because "A Broadway Musical" contains some nice things, especially its songs that, while by no means great, are far and away the most professional and attractive heard so far this season, though I realize that's not saying much.

It's a show that would eat its cake and have it, too. A young black Ohio playwright, an innocent, has his work accepted by a Broadway producer who, figuring black musicals are the "in" thing, subverts the author's intention. Instead of a play about a basketball fix somehow meant to show the exploitation of of blacks, it becomes a big-beat basketball musical with an egocentric rock star in the lead and a bevy of pom-pom girls for a chorus.

Now where do you go from there? The playwright's unhappy, the star walks out, the theater-party advance vanishes, and the Washington press murders the show. So you close it, of course. But no. In a finish worthy of the much-worthier film classic "Forty-Second Street," the playwright, up to now mainly a disturbed observer on the sidelines, turns out to be a terrific singer-dancer, and...happy ending.

Although William F. Brown's book is impossible, allowing for a cynically amusing line or two, Charles Strouse's score and Lee Adams' lyrics are frequently engaging, especially in the second half. That opens with the show's fleetest number, "The 1934 Hot Chocolate Jazz Babies Revue" done to a turn by Tiger Haynes and a clutch of old-time Cotton Club-like "ponies" in a nostalgic, bare stage number excellently conceived by Gower Champion. Champion, who staged the entire show, has gotten the most out of it, even his use of a high-stepping Tiller routine being delightfully apt.

"You Gotta Have Dancing" follows soon after, with singer Patti Karr leading the large ensemble in the show's big production number. And a bit later comes an attractive duet (originally written, I believe, for "Applause," that earlier Strouse-Adams show-biz musical), a love song made up of show-review quotations and sung by the producer, Warren Berlinger, and his wife, Gwyda DonHowe, both of whom (especially Berlinger) deliver sound performances.

Irving Allen Lee as the playwright, Larry Marshall as the rock hero, Alan Weeks as the jivey composer, and Anne Francine as the theater-party booker are other assets.

Peter Wexler's basic set - pipes and spotlights and a moving Times Square illuminated ribbon sign (remember?) announcing each scene - seems drearily familiar. But Randy Barcelo's costumes are okay. I wish I could say the same for Abe Jacobs' sound, but the players are miked so that their voices seem to be coming down a stairwell.

This season is still in bad need of a Broadway musical.

New York Daily News

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