Bells Are Ringing

gleek4114
Broadway Star
joined:5/24/13
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 03:07pm
This show is going on at a comunity theatre near me and tickets are cheap. Is the show any good? I'm thinking about going to see it and from what I have read it sounds very interesting and comical. Thoughts?
daredevil
Stand-by
joined:8/17/05
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 03:31pm
the show is very much of its time (late fifties) and was created as a vehicle for the late (and great) Judy Holiday. If performed well and directed by a director who does not push the material, it could be a fun evening. It's clever, and never mean spirited. and the music, while not great, is enjoyable. It will never be
confused with a major musical, but again, if done well, in the spirit it was created in, it could be an evening
of fun.
SweetLips
Broadway Star
joined:1/23/13
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 04:52pm
I was cast as the male lead in the first ever amateur production[Australian]so my memory is clouded in false importance but it was certainly a fun/bright/humorous/clever and colourful production.As it is a musical from an era when musicals were of a 'type' I feel you should expose youself to it,don't be too critical and accept it for what it is--all of the above.Have fun-I am sure you will leave the theatre with a smile on your face.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 08:37pm
Obviously, it's very dated since it deals with an answering service. (Yes, I know they still exist for doctors, but not like in the show.)

And personally, I don't think any Jule Styne score is "minor".

But daredevil is right that it's very much a vehicle show. Whether it's any good depends entirely on who is cast as the lead.
wonkit
Broadway Legend
joined:9/30/08
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 08:37pm
I LOVE the songs in this show. (Of course, all I know is the film.)
Dollypop
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 08:44pm
Answering services are still used. I know for a fact my ophthalmologist uses one. Some churches do, too.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
jv92
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/05
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 08:58pm
Yes! Resoundingly! I mean, you could be seeing a really lousy production, and BELLS ARE RINGING does depend a great deal on two charismatic leading players, but the score is probably my favorite Jule Styne score next to GYPSY, and I think it's the Comden and Green show that best sums up their work and collaboration: zany, silly humor with lots of wit thrown in, and a lot of warmth and tenderness.

I think BELLS ARE RINGING is a standout among the 1950s George Abbott-style musical comedies, and I think it's better than the ACTUAL Abbot shows of that period: PAJAMA GAME, DAMN YANKEES, et al .





Updated On: 11/30/13 at 08:58 PM
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 09:13pm
Yes, Dolly, I acknowledged that a few answering services are still in use. But I doubt they leave wake up calls. And actors don't depend on them as in BELLS ARE RINGING; they have voice mail.

wonkit, the film is pretty faithful to the stage show (at least as I remember it). There is a very funny song, "Is it a Crime?" that was cut, but it's basically a one-joke song.
OlBlueEyes
Understudy
joined:5/31/10
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 10:34pm
I saw the Encores! version three years ago that starred Kelli O'Hara. The sweet but lonely woman who takes the calls grows very close to many of the service's clients on the phone. One of them is a writer who is having a lot of trouble writing. They meet and fall in love, but she feels that his world is too sophisticated for her. But love will conquer.

Meanwhile you have the caricatured New York police who believe the service is a front for an "escort service" and the caricatured petty gangsters who are using the service to take bets on horses. Not much meat there.

It is very rooted in the fifties, but can still be fun if the principals are talented. Dean Martin was a good choice for the film because he played for laughs.

The score produced two standards, "Just in Time" and "The Party's Over". The Encores' production was just OK. Ben Brantley, who like most critics goes easy on Encores because the series is a gem but is financially shaky, followed his usual path of showing some gentle negativity towards the production but spending half of his review praising Kelli O'Hara.
someone.else's.story2
Leading Actor
joined:3/18/07
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 11:19pm
I think the show is adorable and has some great songs! Yes, it's somewhat dated but it's a fun capsule of the 1950's. Totally worth seeing, in my opinion.
I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being. ``oscar wilde``
gleek4114
Broadway Star
joined:5/24/13
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 11/30/13 at 11:25pm
Ugg I'm so sad! It's only playing through tomorrow and something unexpected has come up so it looks like I'm going to miss it! Hopefully I can see it sometime soon it just won't be the one this weekend. It sounds very interesting and comparable to shows like Anything Goes, Modern Millie, The Producers, and Noises Off all of which I love. Overall the show sounds farce like which I find very enjoyable.
LuminousBeing
Broadway Star
joined:12/27/08
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 12/1/13 at 12:37am
I also had the good fortune to see the show at Encores! and had a very delightful evening. I'd definitely recommend you go if the tickets are affordable and you have the time! :)
SweetLips
Broadway Star
joined:1/23/13
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 12/1/13 at 12:52am
GLEEK--Bells are Ringing is nothing like the shows you have mentioned that you like.Seeing you as you missed your local production--rent the movie-this way you will actually see who it was written for-Judy Holliday[Judith Tuvim-1921-1965].

Updated On: 12/1/13 at 12:52 AM
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 12/1/13 at 01:25am
It's a vehicle show that was written for a particular performer. When it was revived with Faith Prince, it fell flat as a pancake. (No disservice to Ms. Prince, but it didn't work.)



BroadwayEd
Updated On: 12/1/13 at 01:25 AM
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 12/1/13 at 08:17am

"And personally, I don't think any Jule Styne score is "minor". "

You go Gaveston! Least of all one that includes Just In Time and The Parties Over (two major hits which became enduring standards) as well as a simple love ballad as moving as Long Before I Met You and a comedy song as winning as I'm Going Back.
TimesSquared
Featured Actor
joined:2/2/10
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 12/1/13 at 01:51pm
Personally, I love Bells Are Ringing. Its success depends on the direction and casting, of course. For all her comedic chops and mechanically perfect double takes, I don't think Faith Prince had the necessary warmth and vulnerability. Kelli O'Hara was better than I would have imagined, but a far cry from the type of unique, off-beat performer required to pull off Ella Peterson. It's one of those shows, like Funny Girl, so identified with its original star that it seems impossible to cast the leading role well. (However, the Encores version did have a great Jeff in Will Chase and a terrific supporting cast.) the original orchestrations and vocal arrangements, which I think Encores used, are fantastic.

The book is firmly rooted in its period, but that, for me, is not a liability if the direction honors the style and tone in which it was originally presented. I don't think the Broadway revival or Encores really got those right.

As for the score, I think it's wonderful. Aside from "The Party's Over", and "Just in Time", there are the lovely ballads "Long Before I Knew You" and "Better Than a Dream", catchy production numbers like "I Met a Girl" and "Independent", and Ella's adorable "Perfect Relationship" and classic 11 o'clock number "I'm Going Back". The clever opening number "Bells Are Ringing", performed as a commercial for the answering service complete with its over-the-top, 50s voice over announcer, sets the whole goofy, breezy tone of the show.

Having seen John Rando's new On The Town, I think he's a director who could make this show work. As for Ella, I think Helene Yorke, who's about to play Olive in Bullets Over Broadway (and could very well end up a Tony winner by the end of the season), might be brilliant.

Updated On: 12/1/13 at 01:51 PM
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 12/1/13 at 07:38pm
henrik, you know I agree. "I'm Going Back (to the Bonjour Tristesse Brazier Company)" is one of my all-time favorite 11 o'clock numbers--even though it's actually a spoof of such songs.

(Clue for those who don't read French: Bonjour Tristesse can be translated "Hello, Heartbreak", an example of how the show mixes broad comedy with sly wit.)

Historical note (which henrik knows): Comden and Green started out performing in clubs with Judy Holliday so they knew every nuance of her talent and wrote the show precisely for her. But I've even seen a high school production or two where a lively performer carried the show with aplomb.
wonkit
Broadway Legend
joined:9/30/08
Bells Are Ringing
Posted: 12/1/13 at 11:12pm
That's "Bonjour Tristesse Brassiere Factory" -

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