In Honor of ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY Entering the Twenty-First

Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! Approximately two weeks ago marked the official opening of the first ever Broadway revival of On The Twentieth Century, the 1978 musical comedy based on the 1934 film Twentieth Century. Written by Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Cy Coleman, the original production starred Madeline Kahn, John Cullum, Imogene Coca, and Kevin Kline. Kahn left the show after only two months, and she was replaced by Judy Kaye. Because it’s one of my favorite ’70s musicals, I want to share some live audio clips I have from the original production.


I’m sure many musical theatre lovers can relate, but when there are multiple productions and recordings of a show, there’s often one song that we use as an initial barometer to comparatively judge the cast and direction. It’s different for every show and every listener. (For instance, to judge various Evita‘s, I look to Eva’s solo in “The Art Of The Possible.”) For On The Twentieth Century, I use “Sextet,” not only because it’s musically pleasing to my ears, but because it features all of the principals. Below is a recording of the original cast on opening night.

Here’s a recording of the same number from several months later with Judy Kaye as Lily Garland.

Several months after the Broadway production closed, the cast (with several exceptions, including John Cullum) took the show on tour. Here’s a 1979 audio with Rock Hudson as Oscar Jaffe.

And just for fun, here’s the same song from a performance of the 1980 Original London Production with Julia McKenzie, Keith Michell, and Ann Beach.

Subscribe and comment below if interested in hearing any of the full performances excerpted above (including a recently obtained audio from the first 1978 preview in Boston, before the show was locked)!




Come back next Wednesday for another Wildcard post! And tune in tomorrow for more Xena!