Charlie and Algernon

Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Charlie and Algernon#1
Posted: 6/17/14 at 7:07pm
Read news of the passing of Daniel Keyes who wrote the short story "Flowers for Algernon" (and the longer novel). And, in reading, I learned there was a musical version of the story with music by Charles Strouse. And Michael Crawford played Charlie on the West End. I had no idea, but then it only played 12 previews and 17 performances on Broadway. This suggests it wasn't very good, but it was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Score. (Ok - it was 1981 and the other nonminees were Woman of the Year (winner) and Copperfield and Shakespeare's Cabaret - so two more shows I am not familiar with).
So, I'm intrigued and will now commence a search for sound clips, and other information.
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Broadway Legend
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Charlie and Algernon#2
Posted: 6/17/14 at 7:20pm
There's a London cast album on CD.
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Charlie and Algernon#2
Posted: 6/17/14 at 8:58pm
I've got that cast album, though I don't remember now where I bought it. It might have been at the late lamented Colony. It's interesting to listen to -- some of the songs are good, some not so good, but they do a pretty good job overall of capturing Charlie's mental rise and fall and accompanying emotions.
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Mr. Nowack
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Charlie and Algernon#3
Posted: 6/17/14 at 9:04pm
I love a lot of the songs on the London cast CD, although some of them blur together and sound very similar. Alice/Miss Kinnian's numbers ("No Surprises," "His Name Is Charlie Gordon" and "Some Bright Morning") are probably my favorites. A lot of them are sad, but that fits in with the storyline.

I hear it was heavily altered on its way to Broadway, and judging by the song list on IBDB the London CD probably doesn't reflect the Broadway score very well. I wonder if there is an "unofficial" recording of the Broadway score out there...
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Charlie and Algernon#4
Posted: 6/17/14 at 11:48pm
The London recording is such poor quality. But I'm still glad it exists.

There is a lovely and haunting ballad called "Whatever Time There Is" and a great number for Charlie called "The Maze".

amazon has copies of the cd for around $15.00, but I think it's officially out of print.
....but the world goes 'round
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Charlie and Algernon#5
Posted: 6/18/14 at 5:56pm
I saw the Broadway production and, despite some lovely songs (as others have noted) as well as strong performances by P.J. Benjamin and the trained rat, I was largely bored.

The creators of the stage musical never solved the underlying problem that the source material deals with Charlie's INTERNAL changes and is essentially non-dramatic. Charlie gets his procedure, raises his IQ and then watches helplessly as the effect of the procedure fails.

No action, no external conflict that can be embodied on stage. (And I suspect the adapters felt their hands were tied, since EVERYONE in those days had read the source material in middle school.)
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Charlie and Algernon#6
Posted: 6/18/14 at 7:56pm
I too saw it and thought it mostly dull, too. My biggest memory is how I got in - I pretended that I was the boyfriend of one of the producers. I must have been convincing as they gave me house seats.
ARTc3 formerly ARTc. Actually been a poster since 2004. My name isn't Art. Drop the "3" and say the signature and you'll understand.