Morosco Theatre, (5/03/1981 - 5/03/1981)

First Preview: Apr 21, 1981
Opening Date: May 03, 1981
Closing Date: May 03, 1981
Total Previews: 15
Total Performances: 1

Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Leased and Operated by Lester Osterman

Produced by Stuart Ostrow; Produced in association with T.A.T. Communications Company

Originally produced in London for Stoll Productions, Ltd. by Jack Gill

Music by Monty Norman; Lyrics by Julian More; Book by Monty Norman and Julian More; Musical Director: Elman Anderson; Music orchestrated by Dave Lindup, Roy Moore, Ray Cook, Alec Gould, John Owen Edwards and Grant Hossack; Dance arrangements by Timothy Graphenreed; Additional orchestrations by Arthur Harris; Vocal arrangements by Ray Cook

Directed by Jonathan Lynn; Musical Staging by George Faison

Scenic Design by Saul Radomsky; Costume Design by Franne Lee; Lighting Design by Tharon Musser; Sound Design by Otts Munderloh; Associate Scenic Design: John Kasarda; Projection Design by Wendall K. Harrington; Hair Design by Lyn Quiyou

General Manager: Joseph Harris and Ira Bernstein; Associate Gen. Mgr: Peter T. Kulok; Associate to Messrs. Harris / Bernstein: Nancy Simmons

Production Stage Manager: Phil Friedman; Stage Manager: Perry Cline; Technical Supervisor: Jeremiah J. Harris

Musical Supervisor: Stanley Lebowsky; Orchestra Consultant: Mel Rodnon; Associate Conductor: Irving Joseph

Casting: Johnson-Liff Associates; General Press Representative: John Springer Associates; Dance Captain: Maureen Moore; Advertising: Ash / LeDonne; Photographer: Martha Swope

By arrangement with The Cambridge Theatre Company, Ltd.

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Opening Night Cast

Gary BeachGary
Dead End Kid
Rabbi Kotchinsky
U.S. Immigration Officer
Talking Picture Star
1st Newsboy
Rudy Vallee
Busby Berkley Tenor
Flower Seller
Fat German
Gestapo Officer
Press Photographer
Member of Big Band Vocal Group
2nd Newsboy
Prisoner-of-War Guard
U.S.O. Entertainer
Academy Awards Singer
Alvin Burns
Israeli Dancer
Russian Singer
Johnny Bakuba
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan's Spokesman
Benedict Rickenbacker
Leader of Liverpool Pop Group
British Trades Union Leader
Bonny's Singing Partner
Jeff GoldblumJeff
Mr. Shapiro
Rocco the Shoeshine Boy
Talking Picture Star
Louis Da Rosa
French Crooner
Street Trumpeter
Fat German
Member of Big Band Vocal Group
U.S.O. Entertainer
Israeli Dancer
Russian Singer
Lee Pyong-Do
Liverpool Pop Group Drummer
Timothy JeromeTimothy
Moony Shapiro
Mr. Woo
Fat German
U.S.O. Entertainer
Senator "Beanpole" Pickles
Judy KayeJudy
Reverend Mother
Mrs. Shapiro
Mrs. Kleinberg
Salvation Army Girl
Talking Picture Star
Torch Singer
Another Torch Singer
Busby Berkley Girl
Fat German
Member of Big Band Vocal Group
U.S.O. Entertainer
Israeli Dancer
Liverpool Pop Group Singer
Sheila O'Toole
Annie McGreeveyAnnie
Mary Cassidy
Mae Feldman
Astrid Kalmar
Talking Picture Star
Dolly Ralston
Busby Berkley Girl
French Music Hall Singer
Fat German
Member of Big Band Vocal Group
British Comedienne
U.S.O. Entertainer
Bonny Van Heysen
Debbie Stellman
Israeli Dancer
Russian Singer
KGB Officer
Magda Gyor
Liverpool Pop Group Singer
Philip HoffmanBack-up Singer
March of Time Announcer
Audrey LavineBack-up Singer
Brenda PressleyBack-up Singer

Standby: Christopher Chadman and Maureen Moore

Understudies: Philip Hoffman, Audrey Lavine and Brenda Pressley

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1981 Best Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Monty Norman and Julian More


music by Monty Norman; lyrics by Julian More

ACT 1 Sung By
East River RhapsodyGary and Company
Talking Picture ShowJeff, Judy, Annie and Gary
Mister DestinyJudy
Your Time Is Different to MineJudy
Pretty FaceGary, Annie and Judy
Je Vous Aime, MiladyJeff
Les HallesAnnie
Olympics '36Company
Nazi Party PooperTimothy
I'm Gonna Take Her Home to MommaAnnie, Judy, Jeff and Gary
The Girl in the WindowJudy
April in WisconsinGary
It's Only a ShowGary
Bring Back TomorrowGary
Songbook (Reprise) Company
ACT 2 Sung By
Happy HickoryAnnie
When a Brother Is a Mother to His SisterTimothy
Don't Play That Lovesong Any MoreTimothy
Happy Hickory (Reprise) Company
Lovely Sunday Mornin'Annie and Gary
Rusty's Dream BalletJudy and Jeff
A Storm in My HeartGary, Annie, Jeff and Judy
The Pokenhatchit Public Protest CommitteeCompany
Happy Hickory (Reprise) Company
Happy Hickory (Reprise) Gary, Annie, Judy and Jeff
I AccuseAnnie and Judy
Messages IJeff
Messages IIGary
I Found LoveAnnie, Judy, Jeff and Gary
Don't Play That Lovesong Any More (Reprise) Judy
Golden OldieTimothy
Climbin' (Reprise) Annie, Gary, Jeff, Judy and Timothy


New York Daily News: "So take the songs, for instance, please!"

Moony, to be sure. And loony, too. That's "The Moony Shapiro Songbook," a monumentally silly mini-musical burlesque - there are just five players, three men and two women - that came to the Morosco last night. At the risk of sounding sententious, I offer the writers a motto: A lousy song is like a malady. "The Moony Shapiro Song book" is steadfastly devoted to lousy songs. By the dozen.

It is an English musical, which explains a great deal, but not everything. "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine" came from London also, but was made fit for American consumption by strenuous revamping and magical new staging.

The title character is a recently-deceased pop songwriter being honored with performances of his published works, which included many hits, and "trunk," or unpublished, songs. Born Michael Moony of uncertain fatherhood in an Irish backwater, he adopted the other name on emigrating to America and the Lower East Side to be adopted by a comic Jewish couple (considerably toned down, I'd wager, from their London equivalent).

His career is traced (as, say, a Porter or Berlin anthology might) from an "East River Rhapsody" in a 1926 "Follies" to talkies, Broadway book musicals and, with changing times and tastes, to protest songs, rock, and his eventual death at 69 due to electrocution by his synthesizer.

The titles alone indicate the root problem. "Your Times Is Different From Mine" (a 1932 number concurrent with Rudy Vallee's "My Time Is Your Time"), "Don't Play That Love-song Anymore, Sam" and "April in Wisconsin" suggest astonishingly ill-timed flops rather than hits, and the quality of the songs composed by Monty Norman (music) and Julian More (lyrics) amply confirms this impression. They're not funny-dumb songs, just dumb ones.

Until the show takes a curious turn toward the finish. After having sat through unrelieved junk numbers, interspersed with tiny scenes outlining the pilgrim's nutty progress, for well over an hour, the show takes on a faintly satirical edge in the latter part of the second half with a Yankee-go-home "Korean" duet followed by a protest number, in turn giving way to the simple and plaintive rendering, by Judy Kaye, of "Don't Play That Love-song Anymore," a no music-maestro-please caramel that has been used for a running gag up to now, and that for the first time in the evening approximates the affectionate nature of Sandy Williams' song spoofs for "The Boy Friend."

Then Timothy (Moony) Jerome lets loose with "Golden Oldie," a dizzy tribute to advanced age; the cast becomes a tousled-haired and choreographed rock group in "Climbin'" (another lousy song, but loud); and the lanky and limber Jeff Goldblum grinningly prances his way through "Nostalgia," whose lyrics evoke bitter images. Too late to change course now, though, even with sharply original pieces, which these are not.

In song and story (Norman and More also wrote the book), the show attempts the impossible task of poking fun at side-by-side-by-songbook musicals by presenting us with a fictitious tunesmith wholly lacking in originality, and whose rise to fame and fortune follows formula movie plots. The end result is neither funny (bar a joke or two) nor musically entertaining. Just vapid. English.

In addition to the personable and gifted Goldblum, who also serves as narrator (he can't sing, though, not that it matters much here, and somebody should have told him how to pronounce "Wodehouse"), and the vocally expressive Kaye, the cast is made up of Annie McGreevey (she does a Vera Lynn bit), Gary Beach (he's allotted a "Hollywood Evergreens" medley), and the aforementioned Jerome who, while generally agreeable, makes a lousy Rudy Vallee in a song called "Meg," for "megaphone."

Between them, director Jonathan Lynn and choreographer George Faison have kept the stage in lively motion. Saul Radomsky's simple scenic effects (projected backgrounds for a mostly bare stage), Franne Lee's costumes, Tharon Musser's lighting, and Elman Anderson's conducting of the small band are all courageous efforts. The show itself is inane.

New York Daily News

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