Kritzerland to Release CARNIVAL Album in May
On April 21, 1961, Broadway audiences and critics fell head-over-heels in love with the new musical Carnival. Produced by David Merrick and adapted from the MGM film Lili by Michael Stewart (from the screenplay by Helen Deutsch, itself adapted from a Paul Gallico short story entitled The Man Who Hated People), the show was directed and choreographed by Gower Champion and had a tuneful and memorable score by Bob Merrill. The critics raved - in the Daily News, John Chapman wrote that Carnival was "enchantment from the moment the houselights go down." And so it was, pure enchantment, despite its darker elements - it ran on Broadway for 719 performances, and had a best-selling original cast recording (which debuted at number one on the Billboard chart) and "Love Makes The World Go Round" became a much-sung song, covered by many of the popular singers of the time. Carnival was nominated for seven Tony Awards, winning two (one for Alberghetti - in a tie with Diahann Carroll - and one for Will Steven Armstrong's scenic design). The show had a successful national tour, as well.
It was a no-brainer that such a successful show would receive a London production, and so it did in 1963, opening at the Lyric Theater in February, after playing short engagements in Leeds and Glasgow. Champion's staging was recreated by his long-time associate, Lucia Victor, and the cast included Sally Logan, Michael Maurel, Bob Harris, Shirley Sands, Francis de Wolff, Reg Lever, along with James Mitchell recreating his Broadway role. Just prior to opening, the original London cast recording was made, in hopes that the show would repeat the success it had on Broadway. Alas, that was not to be the case - the show ran only thirty-four performances. Why London didn't embrace the show is anyone's guess.
The London cast album is a delight, and features a few little bits not found on the Broadway cast albuM. Merrill's words and music shine, as do the performances - it's just a wonderful score, musically and lyrically, and wonderfully presented. Bob Merrill began his songwriting career in the pop world, writing such hits as "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd Have Baked A Cake" (with Al Hoffman and Clem Watts), "Mambo Italiano" (recorded by Rosemary Clooney), and his huge hit novelty song "(How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window." He also wrote a chart-topper for Jimmie Rodgers, the infectious "Honeycomb." He made his Broadway debut as composer and lyricist with New Girl In Town, a musical version of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, which starred Gwen Verdon, which was followed by Take Me Along. He provided lyrics to Jule Styne's music for the smash hit, Funny Girl, which yielded several songs that would go on to become standards. As composer/lyricist he also wrote Breakfast at Tiffany's, Henry, Sweet Henry, and The Prince of Grand Street. With Styne, he also provided lyrics to Sugar, Prettybelle, and The Red Shoes.
The London cast recording of Carnival was mastered from the original album master tapes housed at EMI in the UK. Interestingly, some of the song titles are slightly different on the London recording and we've opted to use those so that we match the way they were listed on that original LP jacket.
This release is limited to 1000 copies only. The price is $19.98 plus shipping.