Comscore

FUNNY FACE Score?

Mr. Nowack Profile Photo
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Legend
joined:2/2/14
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/28/14 at 05:27pm
Does anyone happen to know what state the full original score to the Gershwins' FUNNY FACE is in?

I know many (if not most) of their shows received full restorations, concert presentations and studio recordings in the late '80s and early '90s, but I've never heard of any such presentations for FUNNY FACE. In fact it's their only major score not to receive a studio recording by the Lenore Gershwin Elektra/Nonesuch series. Seeing that it contains some of the Gershwins' greatest hits, one would think it would have had some sort of restoration done.

The John Wilson Orchestra presented the overture as the opening to the 2012 "Broadway Sound" BBC Prom, but is this the original arrangement or a new version? I believe the studio cast recording of OH, KAY! had to be entirely re-orchestrated because the original charts were lost so perhaps someone did up a new arrangement?



Did money on the Lenore Gershwin funded project simply run out before they got to FUNNY FACE? Are the original orchestrations and arrangements simply lost? Did they just not care to restore it?

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Updated On: 7/28/14 at 05:27 PM
mjohnson2 Profile Photo
mjohnson2
Broadway Star
joined:11/2/13
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/28/14 at 10:45pm
I am also curious about this, but thank you for sharing that video, as it was a wonderful presentation of that piece of music. It sounds completely different than the one on the film recording, so I would bet it is probably reorchestrated for a larger symphony. Also, I believe that another show: LA LA LUCILLE never received a redo either, and it is incredibly difficult to find any music from that show.
Anything regarding shows stated by this account is an attempt to convey opinion and not fact.
Updated On: 7/28/14 at 10:45 PM
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broadwaybabywannabe2
Leading Actor
joined:11/9/11
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/29/14 at 11:44am
FUNNY FACE is truly one of the great movie musicals of the 50's...THINK PINK with KAY THOMPSON is such a hoot and so classy...one of those movie moments one never forgets...and when AUDREY HEPBURN runs down the steps holding that bright red evening dress with that chiffon shawl cloth which billows up high as she runs PURE MAGIC!
Rinaldo
Understudy
joined:5/5/09
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/29/14 at 09:42pm
Everybody here is probably aware of this, but the movie FUNNY FACE has nothing to do with the movie of that name, other than sharing a few songs (title song, S'Wonderful, Let's Kiss and Make Up).

I don't have my copy of Catalog of the Musical handy, but my memory is that most of the orchestral material has been lost. Sometimes they get found though, and that's 25 years old or more.
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ClapYo'Hands
Broadway Legend
joined:11/29/09
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/29/14 at 09:50pm
I'd love the movie to be adapted for stage. With Patti LuPone in the Kay Thompson role.
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Mr. Nowack Profile Photo
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Legend
joined:2/2/14
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/30/14 at 02:27am
Good to hear that it's definitely not culled from the movie in some way, as I know they've used film arrangements in the past because they full symphony they use for the Proms is a great deal bigger than the typical large Broadway orchestra, meaning a Broadway orchestration is too sparse.

As Rinaldo says, the movie is quite different both in terms of plot and score. I've actually never seen the whole thing, crime though that is for a movie musical lover, but I did love the bits I saw.

Sad to hear that the arrangements are likely lost. It's always a bit sad to know you'll never hear a song as it was first sung.
I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
dlh
Swing
joined:5/16/07
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/30/14 at 07:54pm
FUNNY FACE is no more "lost" than most of the other Gershwin musicals that have been restored. The reason it was not included in the Roxbury series in the mid 1990s is it's rights-encumbered. The Broadway production of MY ONE AND ONLY in 1983 started out as a revival of FUNNY FACE -- it was completely overhauled with a new script during troubled out-of-town tryouts. But because of the contracts in place, any performance of FUNNY FACE must now be approved by all the stake-holders in the Broadway MY ONE AND ONLY.

Since then, the only production of the original FUNNY FACE of which I'm aware was by San Francisco's 42nd Street Moon in 2000. That production used a full orchestration, possibly a reduction that had been created for licensing in the '30s or '40s (that's only a guess). So a reasonably authentic recreation of the original should be possible.

The arrangement played by John Wilson's Orchestra in that clip is by Don Rose. He orchestrated a set of Gershwin overtures for symphony orchestra in the '70s I think. It's not an accurate rendition of the 1927 Overture.

Caveat: almost all of this info is 2nd hand heresay.

Updated On: 7/30/14 at 07:54 PM
Mr. Nowack Profile Photo
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Legend
joined:2/2/14
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/30/14 at 08:53pm
dhl, thank you so much for that info! For some reason I had a feeling it wasn't the original arrangement, great though it is.

That's insane about the rights, but I guess it does make sense. I wish there weren't so many hoops to jump through to present it, then maybe a studio recording could be done. They should do this instead of LADY BE GOOD at Encores next year.
I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
mjohnson2 Profile Photo
mjohnson2
Broadway Star
joined:11/2/13
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/30/14 at 09:55pm
Mr. Nowack, though FUNNY FACE is "lost" and LADY BE GOOD has a studio recording, from what little I've heard of FUNNY FACE, LADY BE GOOD is a lot better, so I am glad that that is the score they are presenting.
Anything regarding shows stated by this account is an attempt to convey opinion and not fact.
yfs
Chorus Member
joined:11/1/13
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/30/14 at 10:10pm
Lady, Be Good is superior to Funny Face in most ways, I think, and I'm glad Encores! is doing it. What will be interesting is how much they do to "restore" the score. The Roxbury recording is fairly complete but not very authentic-sounding. and a few of the original orchestrations do exist. And I trust Rob Fisher, who is coming back to Encores! to do this one. I'm excited as a Gershwin fanatic, but concerned about how authentic it will really be. The original Funny Face, which I've read, seems like a poor follow-up to Lady, Be Good, though it has some great music.
Mr. Nowack Profile Photo
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Legend
joined:2/2/14
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/31/14 at 01:28am
Perhaps that's true about FUNNY FACE vs. LADY BE GOOD. The latter's score is pretty consistently wonderful, even the short ensemble numbers, but that may not be true of the large chunks of material that remains unheard of FUNNY FACE. Nonetheless, it was the score "He Loves & She Loves," "S'Wonderful" and the title song came out of, and it deserves to be heard at least occasionally in its original form.
I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
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henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/31/14 at 03:14am
The Bandwagon is another big MGM musical that has, other than partly the score, little in common with the show of the same name.

Yes, I know, Funny Face wasn't really an MGM musical. Yet, given Astaire, Thompson and half the Freed unit, it was heralded as "the only MGM musical ever made at Paramount."
Rinaldo
Understudy
joined:5/5/09
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/31/14 at 08:58am
"And I trust Rob Fisher"

I admire Rob Fisher enormously for all he's done, for Encores and elsewhere. But it should be reported that two of the Gershwin productions he presided over at Encores, Strike Up the Band and Girl Crazy, were among the most screwed-around-with "restorations" they've done. Songs out of order, assigned to the wrong character, different versions of SUTB shuffled together, and so on. No doubt this was done at the behest of the respective directors (or script adapters), but it shows that even Rob Fisher's participation is no guarantee of musical authenticity. I hope Lady, Be Good! does better.

It would actually be a first chance to show Encores! audiences the real sound and feel of a mid-1920s musical comedy. New Moon was a last gasp of operetta, SUTB was adulterated as noted, No No Nanette was done in the 1971 revision (a wonderful one, I admit), A Connecticut Yankee was done in a mixed version with the 1940s revival... so this could be a brand-new venture for the series, unlike anything they've done before.
Rinaldo
Understudy
joined:5/5/09
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/31/14 at 03:08pm
I've now found my copy of Catalog of the American Musical (198. Here's its information on the two shows:

Lady, Be Good!: The original piano-vocal score survives (never published), no parts, 8 full scores. The latter unfortunately don't include any of the songs we're likely to consider important (they are: incomplete overture, A Wonderful Party, The End of a String, We're Here Because, incomplete Finale I, incomplete Linger in the Lobby, Carnival Time, cut Seeing Dickie Home). The Nonesuch recording is upfront about which numbers use original scoring and which are modern routines (in some cases derived from a Goodspeed production). Tams-Witmark rented a reconstructed version with a reduced orchestration that did not include the 2 pianos.

Funny Face: As with LBG, a rental piano-vocal score survives, but no parts, only 2 full scores and they're for cut songs (When You're Single, Astaire's Nut Dance). Tams had a version (that was not yet available for rental, but this may have changed) with a different orchestration from the original (again, without the twin pianos).

So that's the state of materials, or was at that time.
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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/31/14 at 05:19pm


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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
FUNNY FACE Score?
Posted: 7/31/14 at 05:24pm




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