All for Four, and Four for All
Having discussed the writing of The Wild Roses yesterday, in the spirit of The Three Musketeers though with women, it got me thinking about the stage musical, The Four Musketeers. I saw the show as a kidling in London at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1968, and wrote about it here and here, with a couple of its entertaining songs.
The show starred my fave Harry Secombe (who I wrote about...here -- which is where I told my story about meeting Sir Harry backstage at The Four Musketeeres and recording a brief interview with him at his prompting). It was a very loose adaptation of the novel by Dumas, as much as farce as anything. (How could it not be, when you have Harry Secombe -- a burlesque clown from the Goon Show, built like a squat fireplug -- playing d'Artagnan.)
The show was a big hit, running 462 performances, though it never came to the United States. (Among other things, Sir Harry told me, it had a massive set, near-impossible to travel with and too expensive to re-build.) What it also had was a wonderfully fun, rambunctious score with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer (who a few years later would go on to write the English translation for Les Miserables) and music by Laurie Johnson (best known for his theme to the original British TV series, The Avengers, as well as movie scores for Moonraker and Dr. Strangelove, as well as the London musical Lock Up Your Daughters, written with Lionel Bart.)
I'll post a few songs ver the coming days, but this one is the scene when D'Artagnan meets the three Musketeers -- Athos, Aramis and Porthos. At first, as I recall, they wanted nothing to do with this country bumpkin, but he comes to the eye of the Crown they suck him to him and decide to befriend him. Which leads to this song, "If You Are Looking for a Man." (And you'll note that, coming from Mr. Kretzmer, these are very smart, clever lyrics, overloaded with inner rhymes.)
11/12/2013 01:44:15 pm
It was fun to read your article...it brought back memories. I was cast to play the Queen of France when it first started. Peter Coe hired me against my better judgement. I am an American married to an Englishman and I thought I had no business being in this musical without a British accent. he was insistent and altho it didnt last, I did stay throughout rehearsals..even dress rehearsals until Peter sent me a note backstage asking me to deliver my lines with a German accent!!! So, in fact I was supposed to act like Marilyn Monroe and sound like Marlene Deitrich...I burst into tears. I loved Harry...he was wonderful to me....but , I bowed out of the show and they replaced me immediately with a British girl from a dance lineup. I am sure Mr. Coe was just wanting a bosomy blonde to play the part...I was mainly a singer and I thought this was going to be my big break. I was heartbroken and embarrassed...I never quit anything in my life. But I do have pictures of me with Harry and the other musketeers. I am back in the states now s till with my Engish husband, a retired standup comic, Wish I had a cd of the show. thanks for the memories....Jan Brinker Wodehouse
5/15/2014 01:34:27 am
11/12/2013 03:28:35 pm
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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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