Yesterday, I waxed poetic about the wonderful, but little-known British actor Anton Rodgers, who sang the Oscar-nominated song, "Thank You Very Much," in the movie musical, Scrooge, based of course on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I mentioned that I first became aware of him as a little kid when my folks back the original London cast album of the great musical, Pickwick, starring Harry Secombe. As much as Secombe overwhelmed the show and was its heart, my parents always -- for 40 years -- would get all misty at just the mention of Anton Rodgers. He played a supporting role as Alfred Jingle, the fast-talking, charming con man with a clipped way of talking whose escapades carry much of the plot through the show.
When Pickwick went to America, Secombe, of course, starred, but most of the cast was new. But one of those who traveled with it was Anton Rodgers, who made his Broadway debut with the musical. (Also, as whimsy would have it, a musical based on a story by Charles Dickens.)
Pickwick got revived in 1993 at the Chichester Festival, with Harry Secombe recreating his starring role, and was such a huge hit that it went to the West End for another successful run. The new cast album is wonderful, with Secombe in great voice despite being 30 years older and 72, and beautifully recorded on CD, as well as having a lot of additional material. But two things notably are lacking, and at the top of the list is no Anton Rodgers. Here, then, from the original cast album is Anton Rodgers as Alfred Jingle explaining to the members of the Pickwick Club, honestly and openly (up to a point) about who he is.
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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