A Surprise (and Patriotic) Musical Theatre Monday!

Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday! I thought it would be appropriate to bump our monthly musical entry to the first week instead of the third, for it’s only fitting to celebrate July 4th, American Independence Day, with some Of Thee I Sing (1931) festivities.

We covered this Pulitzer Prize-winning Gershwin piece back in October 2014, but at the time, I only offered up one rarity for subscribers — a live recording of the 2006 Encores! concert (which is still available, by the way). Today, I have some additional treats to offer, including an (untracked) audio of the 1998 Opera North production that aired on BBC radio (it’s better than the Encores! audio, to be perfectly frank). Subscribers who are interested in a copy should kindly comment below! Here’s an excerpt from that audio — ’tis the title tune.

And I also have a video of the complete 1972 TV production that starred Carroll O’Connor, Cloris Leachman, Jack Gilford, and Michele Lee. It’s a real TV affair, with appearances from Jim Backus, David Doyle, Herb Edelman, Jeannine Riley, Jesse White, and Ted Knight. I’ve shared the soundtrack, but never the full video! (Subscribers, please comment below if interested!)

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Below is an excerpt of the starry duo with “Mine,” originally from Let ‘Em Eat Cake (1933).

 

 

Come back tomorrow for more Dream On! And tune in on the third Monday in August for more Musical Theatre rarities!

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26 thoughts on “A Surprise (and Patriotic) Musical Theatre Monday!

  1. Another great read! Could I please have the audios and the video? Thank you! I love seeing your articles in my inbox every time!!!

  2. I have fond memories of watching the TV production when it first aired and, even then, thinking that O’Connor must have had plenty of clout to insist that CBS finance and produce a special based on a classic musical of some 40 years earlier. (I still have the soundtrack LP….somewhere…)

    I’d love to see it again, as well to hear the BBC production. Thanks!

  3. Hi Jackson! I’m thrilled to get a copy of “Of Thee I Sing” on Video!
    Please send me that and the 1998 Opera North production, too. This
    is one of my very favorite shows by my very favorite composer! You’re
    the greatest!

  4. Thank you so much for this fascinating entry! I wrote a biography of Lois Moran, who of course originated the role of Mary Turner, and when I was doing my research I wrote to Cloris Leachman, inquiring if she had had any contact with Lois in her preparation for her own interpretation of Mary. I also sent a cover of a TV magazine with Cloris’s “Of Thee I Sing” on the cover for autographing. I was surprised when Cloris wrote back and said she “had never even heard of Lois Moran”! And she declined to sign the TV magazine but did sent another inscribed 8×10 glossy. I got the impression that she does not have the fondest feelings for her involvement in this particular revival.

    • Hi, Richard! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      By all accounts, Cloris Leachman is a one-of-a-kind person. However, I think I can understand her lack of enthusiasm when engaging in discussion about this production — it’s shot like a 1970s variety show and filled with sitcom actors (who are not far removed from their most famous TV roles); “kitsch” is the kindest word we could use to describe it!

  5. I would definitely love to see the Of Thee I Sing TV production. I’m so glad I was finally able to see the George C. Scott Crucible, which I remember from my childhood, thanks to your blog.

  6. Wow, that’s amazing that you have the full video. I would love to see it. Definitely seems to have that kitschy 70s sitcom style to it, but the fact that there’s any sort of filmed performance of this material at all is certainly worth celebrating. Happy belated 4th and thanks for this treat!

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