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Did anyone ever see "High Spirits" from 1964 ?

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David10086
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I was just reading the book "Nothing Like A Dame..."  by Eddie Shapiro, and in his interview with Carol Channing she mentions an actress named Bea Lillie was starring in a musical called "High Spirits" that season. I Googled it and read the synopsis - sounds rather 'fun' for a musical. I have a few questions..

1. DId anyone here ever see the original, and if so - how was it? 

2. I know it had a rather short run, but it was up against some big competition that season: "Hello Dolly" and "Funny Girl". Has it ever been revived in the past 50+ years?  Would it be something to be revived today?

 

Not sure why this musical piqued my interest, but any info on this would be great. (I love hearing opinions and histories about older musicals such as this,)

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Did anyone ever see #2
Posted: 5/18/19 at 9:19pm

I was only 10 when HIGH SPIRITS opened and lived far from NYC, so, no, I didn't see it.

But the OBCR is a delight, if you can find it. Amazon sells used copies for around $45, IIRC.

Yes, it used to be revived all over the country as it is a relatively small-cast musical and is adapted from the very popular play, BLITHE SPIRIT.* I don't mean revived in NYC, necessarily, but in regional, stock and community theaters everywhere else. I doubt it is done so often nowadays, but it certainly had a "second life" after the Broadway run.

* Thanks to The Other One for reminding me how to spell "blithe".

Updated On: 5/18/19 at 09:19 PM
The Other One
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Gaveston, Ms. Danner is Blythe but the "Spirit" is "Blithe."

It doesn't seem to have been done anywhere in ages.  I wish Encores would do it.  I would love to see a production.

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^^^^ I do love me some Blythe Danner. I guess even more than I knew.

Can you believe I actually looked up the spelling before I typed it? That's the last time I trust google!

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#5
Posted: 5/18/19 at 11:06pm


 

Updated On: 5/19/19 at 11:06 PM
bk
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Did anyone ever see #6
Posted: 5/19/19 at 12:19am

I was in the West Coast premiere in 1965.  It's a wonderful show with a wonderful score - it's VERY book-heavy, almost the play with some cuts and the songs added in.

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Someone in a Tree2
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Did anyone ever see #7
Posted: 5/19/19 at 11:22am

HIGH SPIRITS' score is one of the first musicals I fell in love with for an odd reason. I spent my 15th year (1971-72) in Israel as an exchange student. Pretty lonely year where my one weekly escape was to take the bus down to the American Embassy library in Tel Aviv to sign out LP's of Bway shows and books on American set design, of which they had a shocking good collection. 

Tammy Grimes' HIGH SPIRITS and Barbara Harris' ON A CLEAR DAY were my favorite ladystars in my favorite shows of that year. Nothing will dim Tammy Grimes singing "Love Me While You May". 

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David10086
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Did anyone ever see #8
Posted: 5/19/19 at 12:00pm

Thanks everyone for the musical memories. It sounds like a fun musical, and something in need of a revival. WIth the right cast, it could be a surprise hit. 

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Did anyone ever see #9
Posted: 5/19/19 at 3:37pm

I can't remember the year or who was in it but I DO remember when I saw it in the Princess Theatre in Melbourne Australia that Noel Coward was there watching it from the box.

I had the LP and adored Tammy Grimes.

Yes to all the above EXCEPT I saw Noel Coward at Sail Away

Updated On: 5/19/19 at 03:37 PM
Dollypop
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Did anyone ever see #10
Posted: 5/19/19 at 3:47pm
I saw the original and loved it. Didn't realize Bea Lillie was going through age-related problems during it.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
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Did anyone ever see #11
Posted: 5/19/19 at 5:26pm

Welcome back Dollypop!

Hope you are well!

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Did anyone ever see #12
Posted: 5/19/19 at 7:08pm

Dollypop said: "I saw the original and loved it. Didn't realize Bea Lillie was going through age-related problems during it.
"

What kind of age-related problems (I didn't read that) ?

It was interesting to read that she, Channing and Streisand became good friends at the time their shows were running, and would meet for dinner at Sardi's 'in between shows', according to Channing. They would each say to each other, 'You're going to win the Tony', 'No, you're going to win the Tony'....

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Did anyone ever see #13
Posted: 5/19/19 at 8:27pm

I saw this.  Lillie was top billed, so they gave her more time on-stage than in the original and gave her a couple of songs with chorus that added nothing to the show.  Louise Troy had the thankless role of Ruth and made it quite clear why Charles would have preferred Elvira.  Walter Kerr wrote of Tammy Grimes that she "strides right, strides left, and then strides right again," which was an accurate description of the staging for her "Home Sweet Heaven."  By and large I didn't think the songs were strong, which was a shame because if I remember correctly they were by Blaine and Martin.