How Many Strings? None!

Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday! This month, we’re celebrating a show that opened 60 years ago last week — the fascinating No Strings (1962), Richard Rodgers’ first score following the death of his long-time collaborator Oscar Hammerstein II. A romantic comedy, No Strings was also notable for its star casting: Richard Kiley and Diahann Carroll, who won a Tony Award for her work — the first Black actress to be so honored.

Although this interracial coupling was not addressed directly in the text of Samuel A. Taylor’s book, a mature romance between two adults who mutually part before the curtain falls made their love story seem sophisticated, and while Rodgers’ efforts (he wrote both music and lyrics) may have longed for his old partner’s intelligence, the show offered several great tunes, including “The Sweetest Sounds,” “Loads Of Love,” and “Be My Host.” In fact, Rodgers’ score was also rewarded by the Tony voters (over How To Succeed and Milk And Honey), as was director Joe Layton’s fresh choreography. Here’s a clip of the original company on Ed Sullivan.

Of course, the Original Broadway Cast recording is a “must” — and the 1963 London Cast album is a nice complement — but if you’re a subscriber eager to enjoy this show in performance, comment below to alert me of your non-commercial interest, for I’ve got a live audio of the 2003 Encores! production, starring James Naughton and Maya Days. (This is your chance to hear most of the book!) It doesn’t quite make the case for No Strings like the original cast and crew, but it’s worth having nonetheless — and in the meantime, here’s an excerpt.

 

 

Come back next month for another musical rarity! And stay tuned for more sitcom fun!

14 thoughts on “How Many Strings? None!

  1. Although I attended the Encores” “No Strings”, I enjoy hearing it again, especially after the latest disappointing Encores. Very grateful to The Ed Sullivan show for preserving so many Original Broadway casts.

  2. I have a connection to No Strings! One of the original cast members is Ann Hodges who is famous in my area as the star of countless productions of Mame and Dolly. I never got a chance to work with her, but she was a personal friend (and drinking buddy!) of mine. Sadly, we lost her last September (and I don’t drink anymore). Since I know next to nothing about the show, I look forward to hearing the recording! Thanks again, Jackson!

  3. Hi Jackson
    This request is a little late as somehow your email did not reach me so I looked back at your older posts. “No Strings” is a favorite of mine. I did not see the original production but saw the first touring show and acquired the original cast album. It would be a pleasure to hear the whole show again. Please send.

    Thank you.

    Donna

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