VIDEO: BWW's 12 Days of Christmas with Guest Editor Richard Jay-Alexander; Day 3 - It's Great to Be Back on Broadway from Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
BroadwayWorld.com is, once again, celebrating the Holiday Season with a special 'countdown' which will reveal some favorite holiday-themed performances! For the 5th Anniversary of this Exclusive Feature, we've invited director/producer Richard Jay-Alexander to be our first-ever Guest Editor, to share with us HIS holiday favorites. His list will be composed of holiday songs and boasting performances with artists we know and love from Broadway and beyond. We'll bet that this countdown will surely get you into the holiday spirit, as the big day rolls around on December 25th, but we won't forget Chanukkah and Kwanzaa either. This is sure to be a 'Must Check-In Daily' event to see what's on RJA's list, while we wish you Happy Holidays from all of us at BroadwayWorld.com!
If you've been joining us for BWW's 12 Days of Christmas video features, on this 3rd day, the choice was easy and obvious for me. Tonight, for the first time ever on a stage, MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL will be staged and performed, benefitting the The Actors Fund. The very special event takes place this evening at 7:30 pm at The Gerald W. Lynch Theatre at John Jay College (524 West 59th Street). For more info, and how to get tickets, click here.
The cast includes Douglas Sills in the title role, Klea Blackhurst (Radio Gals), Janet Dacal (Wonderland, In the Heights), Tony Award nominee Tony Sheldon (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), with two-time Tony Award nominee Joshua Henry (Violet), Tony Award nominee Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde), Erik Altemus (Pippin) as well as Tony Award nominee Jeff Blumenkrantz (A Class Act), John Bolton (A Christmas Story), Jennifer Cody (Shrek), Don Darryl Rivera (Aladdin), Matthew Scott (Sondheim on Sondheim), two-time Tony Award nominee Christopher Sieber (Matilda the Musical), Betsy Wolfe (Bullets Over Broadway) and many others.
The song we're showcasing today is called "It's Great to Back on Broadway" and seems to be a crazy non-sequiter OPENER for the TV Holiday Special, MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL. This off-beat opener was used to explain that the character of Quincy Magoo is actually portraying a character in a production supposedly on Broadway.
It's a classic, especially for MY generation, but, interestingly, because of its seemingly non-association to the A CHRISTMAS CAROL classic story telling, the song was eventually cut, also allowing for more commercials. This was the first animated holiday program ever produced specially for television. It debuted in 1962. Jim Backus voiced the now legendary Mr. Magoo, as well as other famous names, including Morey Amstersdam and Broadway's Jack Cassidy. The story was billed as 'freely adapted' from Charles Dickens' tale, by Barbara Chain, and what gave it 'instant classic' status was the fact that the score boasted music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Bob Merrill who had penned FUNNY GIRL. It played annually through the 60s, 70s and into the 1980s, and was released on VHS in 1994 and finally on DVD in 2001.
You can now see the cut 'opening sequence' here... and we wish everyone participating in tonight's concert stage version a huge success and, hopefully, will become the beginning of a new annual tradition. The adaptation for tonight's stage version was done by Tim Pinckney.
We dedicate day 3 to BC/EFA's Tom Viola, who we know loves this number.