Happy 50th Anniversary to HIGH SPIRITS

Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

It opened 50 years ago today, running 375 performances.

It's one of my all-time favorite cast albums, though I don't think I'll ever see an actual production (maybe someday it'll play ENCORES!).

The following posts are all production photos with the original Broadway cast featuring Bea Lillie, Tammy Grimes, Edward Woodward and Louise Troy:





I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Updated On: 4/7/14 at 12:25 AM
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14


I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Updated On: 4/7/14 at 12:26 AM
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Star
joined:2/2/14


Sorry for so many posts, I don't know how to properly embed multiple images into posts but really wanted to share the production photos.

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Updated On: 4/7/14 at 12:33 AM
mamaleh
Broadway Star
joined:5/11/04
Thanks for those marvelous images. That show was before my time, too, but I love the OCR, especially "Home Sweet Heaven" and "What in the World Did You Want?" Also hoping for Encores! one day.
WOSQ
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/03
A slight damper;

I saw a production at the Berkshire Playhouse in the late 90s. It was only then that I realized why Elvira has that showstopper in Act Two (Home Sweet Heaven?). The character doesn't have that much to do in Act Two so they gave her a stand alone song that has nothing to do with anything. You can't have your top-billed star standing around back stage for the better part of Act Two so give her something about nothing.

I don't know what the trouble was, but Gower Champion (straight off the triumph of Dolly) was brought in at the last minute to focus the show. The opening was delayed about a week.

Also Lillie was showing even then major symptoms of the Alzheimer's that took her intelligence and wit away 20+ years before her death. She was spoon-fed her lines in Thoroughly Modern Millie by Julie Andrews and George Roy Hill.
"If my life weren't funny, it would just be true. And that would be unacceptable." --Carrie Fisher
Demitri2
Broadway Star
joined:3/25/05
Thank you so much for posting all those wonderful pictures Mr. Nowack. They brought back such wonderful memories for me. As a kid I was given the privilege of choosing what shows my family would see on my birthday and Christmas. While my parents would choose the mega hits like DOLLY, FIDDLER and FUNNY GIRL, I for some reason gravitated towards the lesser grossing shows. As a result I got to see musicals like BAJOUR, FLORA THE RED MENACE, HENRY SWEET HENRY and THE APPLE TREE.

But HIGH SPIRITS was by far my all time favorite musical. I loved everything about the show. I had never heard of Beatrice Lillie before but she was truly one of the funniest people I've ever seen on stage. I recall just the raise of an eyebrow and a dead pan look could send the audience into gales of laughter. Another hilarious moment was her well rehearsed curtain call. Every time she would take a bow, the curtain would come down and then go up again finding her in a totally different pose. My favorite was when the curtain came up for the fourth or fifth time. She had her back to the audience and slowly turned around only to be startled that there was still someone in the house. She was a true clown in every sense of the word.

I also fell in love with Grimes that evening. I had listened to the OC album before seeing the show and wondered how my favorite number of hers, HOME SWEET HEAVEN, would be staged. To my surprise it couldn't have been done simpler. It was just Grimes stage right standing alone in front of the curtain down in one with a follow spot on her. It couldn't have worked better.

I'm rather confused though with statements in WOSQ's post. First off regarding Grimes' second act showstopper HOME SWEET HEAVEN. Granted it didn't advance the plot but as a character song it reinforced Elvira's "devil may care" character by naming the kind of company she kept on the other side. For me it fit perfectly within the show and kind of explained how wonderful the surroundings were in the after life and what fun it would be for both Charles and herself if he were to join her there. Even if it meant killing him.

And as far as Lillie suffering major symptoms from Alzheimer's during the run, there was absolutely no evidence of the disease during the performance I saw towards the end of the show's run. In fact she was sharp as a tack and no lines appeared to be missed. If anything she seemed to be at the top of her game (and accomplished enough to be nominated for the best actress in a musical Tony that year). Curious to know your source. I do recall once reading rehearsals were difficult for her but through rote she was able to memorize her lines without a problem. I never heard of anyone reporting otherwise who saw her in the show. And if her memory was truly that impaired at the time, I'm really surprised she was able to do a Paper Mill Theatre production of HIGH SPIRITS after it closed on Broadway.

Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Love the cast album. Absent a full scale revival, needs to be on Encores.
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
I wouldn't knock Encores! taking a crack at it, but, having seen the original, NO ONE will ever do what Ms. Lillie did -- she was one of a kind. BTW, I saw Ms. Lillie walking down the street on Wilshire Boulevard while finishing up Thoroughly Modern Mille. I had the nerve to speak to her; she was quite charming and showed no signs of being "not all there." Additionally, she appeared on several talk shows around the same time. Maybe they did have to "help her along," but Lillie was notorious (delightfully so) in straying from the script. I still miss her.
BroadwayEd
ErinDillyFan
Broadway Star
joined:7/14/06
Thanks for the photos.

I love the OCR.

I am working hard to get a local community theater to do it for the 2016-17 season. I have been submitting it for a few years and got myself on the selection committee.

Two years ago I saw a less than mediocre production at another community theater.

Updated On: 4/8/14 at 02:01 PM
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
I've always found Tammy Grimes to be an acquired taste. She's always struck me as left-of-center.
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
How about a revival with Angela L in the Bea Lillie role?
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.