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Prettybelle

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RSrichie
Understudy
joined:5/12/04
Prettybelle
Posted: 8/9/14 at 02:46pm
Just discovered the plot to the Julie Styne 1971 musical Prettybelle which starred Angela Lansbury: an alcoholic redneck widow tries to undo her deceased bigoted sheriff husband's wrongs by letting minority men rape her! LOL you can't make this **** up! It never made it to Broadway (can't imagine why). Did anyone actually see it?
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tazber
Broadway Legend
joined:5/10/05
Prettybelle
Posted: 8/9/14 at 02:57pm
There are some posters here who have told stories about seeing the show. I'd have to do a search but I don' recall vitriol, but rather a sense of bemusement at the absurdity of it all.

I know the OBCR is one of those great "lost" scores and has many devotees, including myself.

But yea, I can only imagine how awful this must have played.
....but the world goes 'round
Nick Murphy
Chorus Member
joined:3/17/10
Prettybelle
Posted: 8/9/14 at 03:28pm
I saw the show several times at the Shubert Theatre in Boston. It was first to have been presented by The David Merrick Arts Foundation as an experimental work in New York. Merrick didn't do the show and Alexander H. Cohen took it on as a Broadway musical staged by Gower Champion. Angela Lansbury gave the most dazzling performance. She never failed to be both hilarious and deeply moving throughout the absurd premise and plot. Several very good songs and supporting performances but it was never fated to be a Broadway show. It was not excruciating to watch. Just mind boggling. And you didn't mind because of Ms.
Lansbury
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Junior Babcock
Swing
joined:7/26/14
Prettybelle
Posted: 8/9/14 at 04:23pm
Saw it in Boston and loved it. Unfortunately it died there on March 6, 1971. Left the Shubert Theatre, however, singing the "No Tell Motel" song. Since acquiring the CD I've discovered there were other gems in the Style and Merrill score.
Jarethan
Understudy
joined:2/10/11
Prettybelle
Posted: 8/9/14 at 07:14pm
I left humming the title song, which was sung by someone playing a guitar, essentially a folk song.

The entire thing was very professional and Lansbury was great, as always. She had a number 'When I'm Drunk' which I remember loving, mainly due to her performance. I seem to remember some sort of ballet-ish number which was pretty embarrassing. I do not remember anyone else in the cast other than her (and the folksinger) who I don't think had a speaking role,

I remember the scenery as being spartan, and the costumes were utilitarian.

I remember not being bored. The story was actually pretty ambitious, just did not work. Despite that, I was surprised that it closed out of town, if for no other reason than her performance. She very well could have won a Tony for it, because the winner I am pretty sure was Helen Gallagher in what was really a supporting role. But people a lot smarter and older than me presumably felt that it would be a disaster, if not for her, then for Gower Champion and, I think, Bob Merrill.
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Mr. Nowack
Broadway Legend
joined:2/2/14
Prettybelle
Posted: 8/9/14 at 08:35pm
It sounds bizarre to me, but the songs are great! It's miraculous they ever even got recorded.

My favorites are "I Met A Man" (how can you beat a song prominently featuring a mellophone and tambourine??) and that rousing 11 o'clock number "When I'm Drunk I'm Beautiful." The title song is lovely as well.

I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
Updated On: 8/9/14 at 08:35 PM
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JayG 2
Stand-by
joined:12/19/12
Prettybelle
Posted: 8/10/14 at 07:48am
Prettybelle was an absolutely fascinating musical with a very good score,a tremendous staging, and a performance by Lansbury that many say would have won the Tony over Alexis Smith.
When Cohen decided to close it, Merrick offered to buy it from him and bring it to another tryout town before coming to Bway, but he was Cohen's nemesis, so Cohen refused (fearing he would turn it into a hit)
and closed the show. It was really a bizarrely brilliant work and a pity NYC theater fans never got a chance to see it and judge it for themselves.

 
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