Okay, this is yet another remarkable treat..
There are a number of legendary cases where the original star of a hit Broadway musical was not chosen to recreat that role when the show was made into a film. And near the top of that list is Angela Lansbury, who leaped to major stardom in the stage musical of Mame, but was passed by for the movie, even though she'd had a long career in films. And so her legendary performance was lost forever.
Until now. Sort of.
This is only the audio, but here is the ENTIRE production of Mame during its national tour that Angela Lansbury starred in. Several members of the original Broadway cast re-created their roles for the tour, as well, notably Jane Connell, who played Agnes Gooch, and Charles Brawell who was Beauregard. Somewhat surprisingly, Beatrice Arthur didn't do this tour as Vera Charles. Instead, it's played by an actress I've never heard of, Anne Francine.
This particular performance too place in Los Angeles at the Civic Light Opera. The sound quality isn't great, a bit tinny, but quite listenable.
The show had opened on Broadway in 1966, and this was recorded in 1968, so it's Angela Lansbury at her peak. Obviously, listening to this for 2-1/2 hours isn't for everyone. But it's easy to listen to however much of it you want and just jump around to the songs.
(While I think the treat of this is to hear the dialogue, since the songs are preserved on the cast album, here are a few road marks for those who prefer to jump to the musical numbers. At the very least, try to listen to some of the lead-ins to them. "Open a New Window" starts around 22:30. "My Best Girl" begins around 45. "We Need a Little Christmas" starts at 54:30: "Bosom Buddies" starts at 1:29. And Dialogue leading into "If He Walked Into My Life" begins at 2:01. Oh, and The Big Title Song starts at 1:10:30.)
Is it as good as having the full video? Hardly. But as far as anyone knows, that's just not going to happen. However, to have this full audio production...well, as the song says, we think it's just sensational. Mame.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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