Okay, now that I'm in Berlin, you've likely noticed that -- since I'm sort of swamped with the IFA tech trade show -- I do try to keep posting, and so I like to put up stories here about Berlin. And so it is today, as well, of course. So, here's another story about Berlin -- though this one perhaps a bit different, since it's Irving Berlin.
Back on the fourth of July, I wrote a story here about a quintessential flag-waving Irving Berlin song, "This is a Great Country, was the last original Irving Berlin song heard in a musical on Broadway. And as such, a great way to go out.
It turns out that while I was correct in spirit, I wasn't correct in reality. What I was thinking of was the last original Irving Berlin musical, which was Mr. President. But as a new reader here -- who we shall refer to as R -M, because that's how the comment is signed, and who are we to argue? --belatedly noted, Irving Berlin actually wrote a new song for the 1966 revival of Annie Get Your Gun. Not only that, but R-M said that it was a quintessential Irving Berlin song and a great way to go out. And so it is.
The song is "Old-Fashioned Wedding." And what makes it such an Irving Berlin song is its use of counterpoint, something he loved to write -- and write so wonderfully -- in songs such as "You're Just in Love" and "Play a Simple Melody," among others.
So, here, is the last original Irving Berlin song heard on Broadway, albeit in a revival. This video is from a revival of that revival, this done in 1999 with Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat (yes, from The Dukes of Hazzard), with a short version of "Old-Fashioned Wedding." It's from the 53rd Tony Awards, and don't mind the subtitles from Japanese television, which is clearly where this video was posted from.
As a bonus, if you'd like to hear the original and full version of the song from that 1966 Lincoln Center revival with Ethel Merman -- re-creating her original role from the 1950 production -- here it is. This is from the TV production done a year later, with Merman and Bruce Yarnell, who had also starred in the Lincoln Center revival.
This TV production is infamous for apparently being lost to the ages. Only one video that I'm aware of exists, which I posted here a while back. But here's the audio of "Old-Fashioned Wedding," which includes Ethel Merman going hilariously (and it sounds intentionally) Ethel Merman-crazy at the 3:39 mark.
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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