Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! With coverage of Jerome Kern’s musical comedy scores of the 1910s being highlighted on Musical Theatre Mondays, today’s post is a virtual jukebox of songs from a few of the scores that won’t get the full-scale treatment — either because Kern’s contributions were few or because so little of the score is available.
01) “Some Sort Of Somebody” from Miss Information (1915) [L: Elsie Janis]
This comedy starring Elsie Janis as a telephone operator who tracks down a jewel thief only had a few songs, one of which was this neglected gem, which was added a few months later into the premiering Very Good Eddie (1915), from which it became a big hit. The rendition above is by Nancy Andrews and Harold Lang.
02) “365 Days” from Theodore & Co. (1916) [L: Clifford Grey]
A British musical comedy with contributions by both Kern and Ivor Novello, this one never made it over to the states, and judging by the score, Kern’s melodies are on par with his efforts from the Princess Theatre shows of the same era. The score’s best number, this rendition is by Kevin McMahon and Gordon Goodman.
03) “My Castle In The Air” from Miss Springtime (1916) [L: P.G. Wodehouse]
Kern’s additions to this imported British score were few (four to be exact), but they left more of an impression than the bulk of the other numbers, which were composed by Emmerich Kalman. This production’s real claim to fame is being P.G. Wodehouse’s first substantial American musical theatre work. Above is Hal Cazalet.
04) “If (You Only Care Enough)” from Toot-Toot! (1918) [L: Berton Braley]
A little over a month after the premiere of Oh, Lady! Lady!! (1918), this production, with a score by Kern and poet Berton Braley opened. A non-Kern interpolation was the show’s highlight, but this Kern ditty made stars of both Louise Groody and Bill Kent. The above cut is from the Lost Broadway and More: Jerome Kern album. (But it here).
05) Medley from Head Over Heels (1918)
As Bolton and Wodehouse were working on the next Princess Theatre show, Kern was going it without them. His last full score of 1918, this production’s book and lyrics were by Edgar Allan Woolf. Too little has been recorded to adjudicate the work properly, but many of the selections can be heard in this medley from the Operetta Foundation.
Come back next Wednesday for another Wildcard post! And tune in on Monday for another Jerome Kern musical!