How Now, Max Shulman

Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! This week I’m offering a sort of bonus Musical Theatre Monday, by recognizing Max Shulman — creator of the series we’re currently discussing on Sitcom Tuesdays — with one of the musicals for which he wrote the book: How Now, Dow Jones (1967), which claimed a score by Elmer Bernstein and Carolyn Leigh and a wacky plot about a stock announcer who purposely calls an increased Dow Jones Industrial Average to force her longterm fiancé to finally wed her (now that she’s secretly gotten pregnant with another man’s child). Good musical comedy fun, right? Well… it’s odd, but not terrible. In fact, here’s an an excerpt from an audio of the original Broadway production, likely during previews — Tony Roberts and company with the score’s biggest hit, “Step To The Rear.”

I’m offering access to that audio (mostly “songs only”) to subscribers who comment below to alert me of their interest, along with a copy of Shulman’s libretto. Just let me know!

 

 

Stay tuned for more Dobie Gillis and a new Wildcard Wednesday! And in two weeks, another Musical Theatre rarity!

12 thoughts on “How Now, Max Shulman

  1. I’d love the libretto and the live recording! I do already have the recording, but not in nearly this good of sound quality. By the way, from all sources I’ve seen, I think the live recording might be from 1968 and not previews, as in previews the song Where Are You Now was still in use. However, one source cites Crazy night Ballet as being taken out in Philadelphia and it’s here… Who knows? Thanks again for another fun post!

    • Hi, Shawn! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I too thought that the recording’s absence of “Touch And Go” dated it to later in the run, but prior to this post, I checked with a source — who knows better than I — and he maintains that the probability of this being recorded in previews is greater, given the context of the era (where collectors expressly sought to record new shows in case they wouldn’t get a cast album). Unsure, I hedged my bets with this post and put “likely during previews.”

      Since your comment, I’ve done some more research. The ballet remained in the production, in some form, throughout its entire run. I’ve also not found any indication that “Where You Are?” was heard in New York. (Do you have evidence to the contrary — a program from November at the Lunt-Fontanne?) If my source is correct, this audio would have to come at a time during New York previews after “Where You Are?” was scrapped, but before “Touch And Go” — which itself remained in the show only briefly — was added. I’m not sure that such a period ever existed, but right now it remains possible.

      At any rate, I welcome more information, and I have emailed you at your gmail address.

      • Hello!

        Upon further researching I’m even more confused! A song list from New Haven lists the Crazy Night Ballet, but this recording couldn’t be from there as it has several songs that are not heard on this recording. Plus, it has Where You Are and a totally different finale (found on Ovrtur.com).

        The Philadelphia tryout also has different songs including Take Me There, Where You Are, and Wall Street Hoedown. But this one also lists the ballet.

        However, the third and final song list (Broadway) lists all the songs on this recording…. EXCEPT the Crazy Night Ballet, which is not mentioned. However, it may be that it just wasn’t listed in the programs at all.

        Who knows? I would assume that you’re right, because that’s the only way that Touch And Go is not there.

        • The presence of “Crazy Night Ballet” is not a determining factor in dating this recording or a reason to be confused about it. Contrary to what Ovrtur says, the show’s ballet *was* in the opening night rundown (see Playbill.com’s scans for verification) and it’s also in the published libretto, unlike “Touch And Go.” I’ve also seen it in playbills from months later, unlike “Touch And Go.” In fact, I’ve not found any good reason to suspect it was ever cut — just likely cut down and restaged during tryouts.

          What we’re looking for is simply a Lunt-Fontanne playbill from late November/early December previews (or a trustworthy firsthand account) that confirms a performance where “Where You Are” was cut but “Touch And Go” was not yet added. If such a thing doesn’t exist, then my usually correct friend is wrong and this is a post-opening audio (from January/February/March 1968).

  2. Please send me a copy of the live recording and libretto. Thanks for sharing your treasures with the rest of us.

  3. I’d love to hear the live recording and read the libretto, Jackson. Beyond “Step to the Rear”, I don’t really know this show, but it holds a certain fascination for me because I worked with Anna Pagan, who was one of the chorus ladies in the number you’ve spotlighted. She also had a career as an actress and backup singer, and when I worked with her, she was an Animation Production Associate on “The Simpsons” (and, while I’m not here to plug my own projects, she also voiced a character for me on an independent short animated film I made). Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi, Greg! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I have emailed you at your earthlink address. I hope this brings you great memories of your friend!

  4. I’ve had the cast album of How Now Dow Jones for years, now, but really don’t know that much about it. I do know I love Brenda Vaccaro in anything she does! The Facebook group Broadway by Broadway (a group you may want to check out) recently
    featured this show. Please send!

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