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Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

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Mr. Nowack
Broadway Legend
joined:2/2/14
Broadway Legend | Joined: 2/2/14

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

#1
Posted: 4/26/17 at 12:50am

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

It opened on this day 50 years ago at the Martin Beck Theatre.

The show was an original concept by Arthur Laurents, following an African American woman (played by Leslie Uggums) on journey for success in the face of pre-Civil Rights era America. Supporting roles were played by Allen Case, Robert Hooks, and Lillian Heyman. None of the characters aged despite the timespan of the show covering the entire first half of the 20th Century.

In addition to Laurents writing the book, the direction was by Burt Shevelove with a score by June Styne and Betty Comden & Adolph Green. William and Jean Eckart did the sets, with costumes by Irene Sharaff and the music was orchestrated by famous arranger Peter Matz (who worked with Barbra Stereisand in her early years as well as Liza Minelli and many others). The imaginative poster design was by Hillary Knight.

The show would go on to win Best Musical in 1968, and holds the distinction of being the first musical to have closed by time it won the award. Granted these were the days when a late April opening pushed you to the next season, and the show still had a respectable run of 293 performances.

Laurents revised the show in 2004 trying to restore an edge that he claimed Uggums portrayal killed in the original production, but this version never made it to Broadway.

Publicity/Rehearsal Shots:

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

 

Irene Sharaff costume sketches:

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

 

Production Photos:

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

 

In the recording studio:

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

 

On the Ed Sullivan Show:

 

On the 1968 Tony Awards:

 

Part of the Best Musical Retrospective in 1971, with a lovely intro by host Angela Lansbury:

 

Did anyone see it, either in 1967 or 2004? Do you think the show still could have relevance today?

Keeping BroadwayWorld Illustrated
TheSassySam Profile Photo
TheSassySam
Broadway Star
joined:6/21/16
Broadway Star | Joined: 6/21/16

I have a soft spot for, "Now's the Time." It seems this show has been practically forgotten. 

Jarethan
Broadway Legend
joined:2/10/11
Broadway Legend | Joined: 2/10/11

I LOVED this show.  It wasn't perfect, but it had so much pure entertainment. She Sure Didn't Get It From Me remains on of the biggest show-stoppers in my life-time of theatre going,  it was pure joy.  The major positives for me were Leslie Uggams, Lillian Heyman, the score and the choreography.

Uggams had a number of terrific songs, from ballads to belting show-stoppers.  

It was a very ambitious show that had a problematic book with too much emphasis on an interracial relationship that fell flat.  Probably not helped by the fact that the male, Allen Case, was terrible, his solo was terrible, and it just wasn't convincing.

I often think of this show and it's great second half.  I have always thought that someone should try to rework the scripts and try a small scale revival.

markypoo Profile Photo
markypoo
Broadway Star
joined:9/16/05
Broadway Star | Joined: 9/16/05

I was lucky to have seen the touring company when it played the Studebaker in Chicago in what I think was 1968-69 sometime.

Diana Sands, Julius La Rosa (!), Adam Wade, and Theresa Merritt starred.

markypoo Profile Photo
markypoo
Broadway Star
joined:9/16/05
Broadway Star | Joined: 9/16/05

I was lucky to have seen the touring company when it played the Studebaker in Chicago in what I think was 1968-69 sometime.

Diana Sands, Julius La Rosa (!), Adam Wade, and Theresa Merritt starred.

CarlosAlberto Profile Photo
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
Broadway Legend | Joined: 6/29/10

Happy 50th Anniversary to HALLELUJAH BABY!

#6
Posted: 4/26/17 at 12:59pm

I spotted Billy Dee Williams in one of the production photos. He replaced Robert Hooks.

I've read the show was originally offered (or written for) Lena Horne who turned it down.

Leslie Uggams is a force to be reckoned with and 50 years later she is still very much in "the game" via her roles in Deadpool, Empire and the HBO telefilm, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

 

Updated On: 4/26/17 at 12:59 PM
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Ado Annie D'Ysquith
Broadway Legend
joined:12/1/14
Broadway Legend | Joined: 12/1/14

Damn, Leslie Uggams was in DEADPOOL?! You learn something new every day.

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