Dolce Far Niente

Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday! This month, I’m offering (to subscribers) a digital copy of a live 1962 audio recording taken from the National Tour of Meredith Willson’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1960), which first premiered on the Great White Way 57 years ago this month. Both Tammy Grimes and Harve Presnell play the roles they originated on Broadway. As always, subscribe — if you haven’t already — and comment below for access to this rarity.

Molly Brown is one of those shows that’s better remembered by its 1964 film adaptation (starring Debbie Reynolds), which took, ahem, liberties with the original work — most of them, arguably, not for the better (like axing the score’s most melodic number, “Dolce Far Niente”). The Broadway production, despite having a perhaps limited number of delights in comparison to Willson’s earlier effort, seems a much more satisfying entity, thanks mostly to the Tony-winning Grimes. Sample her charm in this excerpt of the audio — here’s “I Ain’t Down Yet.”

And just for fun, from the May 28, 1961 broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show, here’s Grimes and Mitchell Gregg with the score’s richest piece, the aforementioned “Dolce Far Niente” — one of my favorite Golden Age songs. So romantic!



Come back next month for another Musical Theatre rarity. And tune in tomorrow for more Wings!