Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! Anyone who knows me knows that there are few things I like better than a good musical comedy overture. Of course, everyone knows how majestic both the Gypsy and Mame overtures are, with scores by Styne and Herman respectively, but I want to share some of my favorites from the earlier decades that we’ve been covering on Musical Theatre Mondays.
01. GIRL CRAZY Overture (1930)
Composer: George Gershwin | Orchestrator: Robert Russell Bennett
One of the master’s finest scores of all time yields an overture that’s stuffed with standards. (As most Gershwin overtures are!) I dare you not to start dancing when they swing into “I Got Rhythm.” Who could ask for anything more?
02. ANYTHING GOES Overture (1934)
Composer: Cole Porter | Orchestrator: Hans Spialek
Porter’s strongest score of the ’30s produces a beautiful overture that remains one of my favorites — a perfect example of an overture that’s THRILLED to provide listeners with samples of its hits. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard this original version.
03. LADY IN THE DARK Overture (1941)
Composer: Kurt Weill | Orchestrator: Kurt Weill
As a musical play, Lady In The Dark doesn’t actually begin with the overture. Rather, the overture is played in place of the entr’acte at the top of the second act. This brilliantly climaxing piece of music is an excellent showcase of Weill’s music at his best.
04. BLOOMER GIRL Overture (1944)
Composer: Harold Arlen | Orchestrator: Robert Russell Bennett
Arlen has given us so many wonderful melodies, and “Evelina” is undoubtedly one of the most memorable. This overture gives us little tastes of this — the expected hit tune — before thrillingly launching into it 3/4 of the way through. Dreamy and romantic, this is a forgotten classic!
05. GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES Overture (1949)
Composer: Jule Styne | Orchestrator: Don Walker
It’s no surprise that this fun Styne score would produce an overture that’s light and bouncy. Perfect for dancing — and all your favorite tunes from the score are there. Even if you aren’t familiar with the GPB score, I’m sure you’ll recognize a tune or two.
Come back next Wednesday for a new Wildcard post! And tune in tomorrow for more Xena!