Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! In today’s post, I’m sharing some treats in relation to Company (1970), one of my favorite musicals, and Cheers (1982-1993, NBC), one of my favorite sitcoms!
Possibly my favorite Sondheim musical, Company centers around Bobby, a New York bachelor with commitment issues, and his assorted interactions with his various married friends. A true concept musical with thought-provoking characters, the original production of Company was directed by Hal Prince and starred Dean Jones, Elaine Stritch, Charles Kimbrough, Beth Howland, Donna McKechnie, and a host of other talented individuals. Today, I’m sharing some rare audio recordings of the original production! (Full recordings available for subscribed readers upon request!)
From the original Boston tryout, here’s an audio of the full cast with “Side By Side By Side/What Would We Do Without You?”, which originally occurred near the close of the second act instead of at the top, where it was eventually placed. (If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I’m particularly fond of this number.)
Here’s an audio of the original cast about a week into their original Broadway opening. This is Dean Jones with Bobby’s “Being Alive” and the original cast with the final scene as performed on May 2nd, 1970.
Larry Kert replaced Jones as Bobby near the end of May 1970. This particular recording with Kert, also of “Being Alive” comes from early 1971. (It is guessed to be from late March.)
In May of 1971, Stritch was replaced by Jane Russell. Here’s a very rare recording of Russell with “The Ladies Who Lunch.”
By the end of the year, Russell was replaced by Vivian Blaine. Here’s a live audio of her rendition of the same number.
Cheers (1982-1993, NBC)
This sitcom, perhaps my favorite series save I Love Lucy, centers around the personnel and patronage of the friendly Boston bar where “everybody knows your name.” Early seasons followed the on-again/off-again romance of ex-pitcher Sam Malone (Ted Danson) and intellectual waitress Diane Chambers (Shelley Long), while the later years developed into even more of an ensemble sitcom — with the introduction of Kirstie Alley as the bar’s new manager. Despite a rocky beginning, this Emmy darling produced 275 episodes over its eleven season run. (They’re all on DVD and available to stream on Netflix.) But there are a few scenes that maybe you haven’t seen…
This rare 12-minute “mini-sode” was produced in 1983 during the first season by the United States Department of Treasury to promote U.S. savings bonds. Not a laugh riot, but fascinating nonetheless!
This brief scene was aired ONCE on January 30, 1983 for the Super Bowl pre-game show. (Ken Levine, the writer of this scene, and many of the best Cheers episodes, runs a wonderful blog that’s worth checking out.)
And finally, here’s a fake alternate ending to the fifth season finale in which Sam and Diane decide to go through with their wedding and actually tie-the-knot.
Come back next Wednesday for another Wildcard post! And tune in tomorrow for more Xena!