Original Broadway Cast

Anyone Can Whistle (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

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Review

+Anyone Can Whistle, which opened on Broadway on April 4, 1964, and closed after only nine performances on April 11, remained, despite its failure, a memorable show in American musical theater history because of its songwriter, Stephen Sondheim, who went on to write some of the most important shows of the 1970s and '80s, and because of its score, which was preserved on this cast album. Columbia Records was only contracted to record the show if it played at least 21 performances, but company head Goddard Lieberson insisted an LP be made anyway, an early instance of the passion some people felt for the show. On-stage, it was experimental and, said its defenders, ahead of its time. Indeed, its satiric plot, concerning governmental corruption and the question of whether those diagnosed as insane are really saner than "normal" people, might have been inappropriate for the spring of 1964, months after the assassination of President Kennedy, and months before the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that led to the Vietnam War, but only a few years later it would have been very timely. On record, though, the three principals, Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury, and Harry Guardino, all movie actors making their Broadway debuts, had limited voices (particularly Guardino), the songs were impressive, especially "There Won't Be Trumpets" (actually cut from the show before the opening), "Everybody Says Don't," "With So Little to Be Sure Of," and the title tune. That was why the show lived on in people's minds for decades after it disappeared from the stage, unlike most Broadway flops. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Influenced By Original Broadway Cast

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