Sunday, July 18, 2010

Loud as a Chanticleer

This is (for now) one of the few flop musical clips from the Ed Sullivan Show that's still online, after had to divest itself of all its Sullivan material. (Of course the copyright owners have no apparent intention of making anything available except a few select clips from hit shows.) It's Lucille Ball and Paula Stewart performing the big hit from Wildcat, written by N. Richard Nash (The Rainmaker), directed by Michael Kidd, with a score by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh.

The cast album of Wildcat is one of the ones I listen to a lot despite the fact that the singing is very unpleasant to listen to: specifically, Ball can't sing, and while she at least tries to sing the notes (which puts her one up over Katharine Hepburn or Rex Harrison), the result can't really be said to do justice to them. Still, this is one of only two scores the great Coleman/Leigh team wrote for the theatre -- Little Me is the other -- and while they were better suited to pop than theatre, there is nothing like the combination of Coleman's nervous, rambling, constantly "busy" music with Leigh's colloquial, laid-back, yet brilliantly-rhymed lyrics. Encores! really ought to do this show (with someone who can sing better than Ball).

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