Hello, Mr. Chips
Alas, as I noted here the other day, I haven't yet digitized my cast album of The Good Companions, so I don't have access at the moment to posting any of John Mills' songs from that musical. However, I do have the album from another of his London musicals. It was a 1982 stage version of the movie musical, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, written by Leslie Bricusse (who as fate would have it, was the fellow who also adapted for the stage his movie musical Scrooge, which has been floating around these parts recently). In a nice bit of whimsy, 43 years earlier John Mills had been in the original 1939 movie that starred Robert Donat. He played one of the students, Peter Colley, when he returns to the school as an adult.
Though best known as an Oscar-winning actor for Ryan's Daughter and legendary film star -- going back to Great Expectations, Hobson's Choice, and so much more -- (not to mention father of actresses Hayley and Juliet), he was quite a good and affectionate singer. In fact, he had a wonderful supporting role in the TV production of Cats, where he only sang one song but was a joy with "Gus: The Theater Cat."
The stage version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips is a bit surprising because songwriter dropped quite a few songs (including perhaps the most rousing, "London is London) and added a great many. This is one of the new songs, "Take a Chance." It's not one that Chips sings all much in it, but I like it so much -- with a charming tune, but most especially really clever lyrics and impressive rhymes. It's sung by his good friend Max Staeffel (played here by Nigel Stock), a German teacher at the school, who is trying to convince the shy, reticent Chips to branch out from his cloistered, orderly life. But as the song develops, Chips starts to get the point and joins in.
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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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