Do I Hear A Waltz?-reassesment

twogaab2
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Do I Hear A Waltz?-reassesment#0
Posted: 10/3/03 at 11:39am
Just listening to "Do I Hear A Waltz"-new LA recording. Very good (original voices better). Would have really liked to have seen this production. Here is a show that should be done by concert companies (Encores are you listening?) In spite of all the original tension and resentments in the original company (ask E. Allen) the show itself remains a beautiful testament to what COULD have been one of the great colaborations of ALL musical theater (Sondheim-Rogers). Does anyone else feel the same way about this show? Are there any others that you may feel this way about that also have troubled histories that you feel should be reassessed?

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re: Do I Hear A Waltz?-reassesment#1
Posted: 10/3/03 at 12:12pm
DO I HEAR A WALTZ? has some really ravishing melodies. It really needs another look.

Another musical I'm curious about is Michael Bennett's BALLROOM. I never saw the show, but I'd love to hear from people that did and what they thought of it.
"Christ, Bette Davis?!?!"
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re: re: Do I Hear A Waltz?-reassesment#2
Posted: 10/3/03 at 6:40pm
I love the score from Waltz & would love for it to be shot as a movie in Venice

As far as Ballroom, I saw it & enjoyed it. It came on the heels of A Chorus Line & critics, as they usually do, wanted to take him down a peg & panned the show. It was visually stunning.
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by LA does that mean the Carole Lawrence recent production? and i love the BALLROOM concept as well. Some regionals have done it, believe it or not, with Tyne Daly. Can't picture that at all.
Will: They don't give out awards for helping people be gay... unless you count the Tonys. "I guarantee that we'll have tough times. I guarantee that at some point one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life..."
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re: Do I Hear A Waltz?-reassesment#4
Posted: 10/3/03 at 7:09pm
Hi. I too enjoy DIHW, and believe it's underrated. A reassessment is definitely appropirate in my humble opinion. Even a less than stellar Sondheim-Rodgers collaboration is a higher quality work than what passes for Broadway calibre musicals in today's crazy market driven, but historically accurate get-'em-in-the-seats-quick-before-you-have-to-refund-the-ticket-price producing mentality.

Yours for a better Broadway!

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re: re: re: Do I Hear A Waltz?-reassesment#5
Posted: 10/3/03 at 10:53pm
I saw the original productions of both shows. DO I HEAR A WALTZ? was really quite lovely. My only complaint was that Elizabeth Allen was too young and attractive to be Leona. I had a hard time understanding why this gal had problems getting men interested in her.

The sets were unique--all scrims that gave everything a watercolor appearance. I also recall a beautiful lighting effect as the three women sang "Moon In My Window": the water of Venice's Grand Canal seemed to be reflecting on the wall of the palazzo they were looking out from. The music, of course, was marvelous.

Wouold it make it as a movie today? Naw. When you stop and think about it, this is a story about a middle-aged woman losing her virginity. It would seem almost comical by today's standards.

As far as BALLROOM was concerned, I liked the show very much. Michael Bennett's choreography was striking. But this was a "lady's musical" and did well at matinee performances, but died at the evening shows. Hetero men were bored by it. Then again, hetero men tend to be bored with everything except their remote controls.
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As a hetero male, I resemble that remark. I liked Ballroom a lot & think it deserved a better fate
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I never saw the show but I do have the recording and I believe it ranks with the best of Rodgers. I love the opening, when the music suggests the awakening of a woman to love and hope. Perhaps one day I'll see the show. If not, the cast album gives many opportunities to paint a show right in your mind!!!

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As an Italian, I have visited Venice many, many times. I have NEVER stepped into the Piazza San Marco without hearing "Someone Woke Up" in my head. Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and Sondheim and Rodgers captured the wonder of a 1st visit to that remarkable place in their song. However, the lyric in my head usually comes out: "Look they've even painted the damned sky/Just so Dollypop could come here and cry" Yes, gentle readers, the unique ambiance of Venice does bring tears to my eyes every time I visit. What is more breathtaking than sailing down the Grand Canal from Santa Lucia Island and catching your first glimpse of the spires of the Campanile and the Cathedral of San Marco basking in the sunlight? It's overwhelmingly beautiful.
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Dollypop

Beautifully put!

Also, having worked with Rodgers, I am almost sure that, being the romatic that he was (yes!!!), he also fell in love with the melody to Someone woke up.

Miriam
Every movement has a meaning--but what the hell does it mean!
Updated On: 10/4/03 at 09:46 AM
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i so want to see Venice and Florence. DOLLYPOP if i cast U as Widow Levi will U take me next time? but recall what happened here in Texas when a male tried to play Reno Sweeney...the rights house CLOSED THE SHOW DOWN. We may have to wait until the property goes public domain...
Will: They don't give out awards for helping people be gay... unless you count the Tonys. "I guarantee that we'll have tough times. I guarantee that at some point one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life..."
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Barry and I are going to Florence for Christmas.

My favorite Venice memory was a slightly drunken walk back to my hotel room at 2:00 am after a long and merry dinner accompanied by three of my equally tipsy colleagues. While walking across a nearly deserted Piazza di San Marco, with the majority of the cafes closing for the night, we heard a squeaky little five-piece dance band across the piazza by a cafe that was about to close. They were playing "Alexanders Ragtime Band". It was absolute magic.
"Christ, Bette Davis?!?!"
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lucky Barry. What is that sort of decadent film set in Venice (which looks amazingly lovely but somewhat sinister)...it has Walken, Mirren, one of the Redgrave younger girls, Rupert Everett...COMFORT OF STRANGERS maybe? Rupert tells her he wants to invent a "****ing machine" that will constantly keep her being penetrated and Walken tells his Italian friends that Everett is his new whore...scary but intriguing film. Hard to watch, despite being so incredibly beautiful.
Will: They don't give out awards for helping people be gay... unless you count the Tonys. "I guarantee that we'll have tough times. I guarantee that at some point one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life..."
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Tex - stop! You'll give Barry ideas. It's bad enough that he has this lovely fantasy of "I can't wait till we're in Florence, LcZ! You'll take me to the Uffizi and San Marco and the Brancacci Chapel and show me around then I'll go to the baths while you go home and make a freshly cooked Tuscan meal waiting for me when I come back to the apartment! Won't that be fun?"
"Christ, Bette Davis?!?!"
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Hmmm....Texas Two Step, you present me with an interesting proposition. Of course, I am craving to play Dolly, but Tams Witmark approved a male Dolly when Danny La Rue played the part in London a few years ago.

Of course, If I were to play Dolly, I'd have to have John Goodman as my Horace and Eric McCormack as Cornelius AND I'd have to wear the original Freddy Wittop costumes.

Are you still interested?
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Dolly...sorry for the late reply, just figured out how to use the Search function to find references when i so infrequently visit here now.

Very interested in you as Dolly, and had the privilege of seeing the Wittop designs in a museum display at University of Georgia...Wittop attended and taught some master classes as well as giving public lectures...what a fascinating man, and what a career he had. So sorry to hear he passed away.
Will: They don't give out awards for helping people be gay... unless you count the Tonys. "I guarantee that we'll have tough times. I guarantee that at some point one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life..."
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LOVE the score for DO I HEAR A WALTZ?! The song "What Do We Do? We Fly!" is as true toay as it was in 1965!
Praying Decca Broadway will put "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope" on CD!
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Do I Hear A Waltz?#17
Posted: 1/2/05 at 12:19am
I rather love the score. Sure it isn't the greatest, but songs like "Moon in my Window" "We're Gonna Be Alright" and "Someone Woke Up" are wonderful.
As the then Broadway Bulldog (now Jose') said, this show, though flawed, is much better than most of the crap on Broadway today.
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Do I Hear A Waltz?#18
Posted: 1/2/05 at 1:08am
I think Mary Rodgers put it best, when she referred to DO I HEAR A WALTZ? as the ultimate "Why?" musical.

I agree that the score has its charms, but THE TIME OF THE CUCKOO wasn't a property that particularly benefitted from musicalization.
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Do I Hear A Waltz?#19
Posted: 1/2/05 at 1:15am
agreed Veuve.

why it needed to be done in the first place is beyond me...

I was watching an interview with Sondheim the other day, and he attributes Do I Hear A Waltz?'s failure as a musical to Richard Rodgers becoming to frightened to revise the score. He said that as Richard got older, he became afraid that "the well would run dry" so rather than fix the errors/problems in the score, he refused to dip his brush back in the well.

interesting.

Sondheim said that the score is 90% there, but falls short.

I would have to agree.
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Do I Hear A Waltz?#20
Posted: 1/2/05 at 1:26am
Exactly, paradox.

DO I HEAR A WALTZ? is, nowadays, probably remembered more for the legendary Sondheim/Rodgers fueds than anything else. Surely a large part of Sondheim's recollections are tainted by the fact that he was a bit resentful of having to take the perceived "demotion" from being a composer/lyricist to simply a lyricist.

But there's nothing wrong with the score for WALTZ?, other than the fact that it should have never existed in the first place.

Leona is a character that simply shouldn't sing. She's trapped in a dull, unmusical life. She's searching for her "waltz," and can't find it. It doesn't make a lot of sense to have her singing along the way.
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Do I Hear A Waltz?#21
Posted: 1/2/05 at 2:07am
But it wasn't a demotion...

It was Oscar Hammerstein's dying wish for them to collaborate.

I think they could have collaborated on a better piece though, perhaps the feuds would still occur, but I'm sure it would work better, simply because the piece suits musicalisation better than Waltz?.

Oscar told Sondheim to collaborate with Rodgers if they found the right piece. Perhaps they were a little too eager after Oscar's death...

And your right about Leona. Why does she sing?

And I think that the score is nearly there, but it lacks something...
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Do I Hear A Waltz?#22
Posted: 1/2/05 at 4:49pm
I saw the LA production...and it was an amazing show... it looked really beautiful on the Pasadena Playhouse stage... Roy Christopher did the sets...(he does the academy awards and lots of TV) and they were really beautiful. It was great to see Carole Lawrence.. (I was amazed by her comic timing) and Anthony Crivello underplayed his role with perfection...

And the score is quite lovely..... but the book is problematic... I think the problem is the source material...

A lonely lady goes to Venice and compromises her ethics by having an affair with a married man... and we are supposed to be happy for her because she has chosen to live... to experience life

It just seemed sad. Not that I am a prude... my ethics don't resemble hers at all...lol

But it is the conflict of this piece... and I therefore think it fails.

I am surprised though that this production was not moved to NYC...even in the roundabout season.... I think enough people enjoy it and would want to see it
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Do I Hear A Waltz?#23
Posted: 1/2/05 at 4:54pm
Reviving it for the score alone is worth it - either full fledged revival or Encores
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Do I Hear A Waltz?#24
Posted: 1/2/05 at 7:19pm

Interesting side note: "Choreographic Associate" Wakefield Poole later worked (as a director, I think) in the gay porn industry.

The cast recording of the Pasadena production has to be one of the worst show albums I've ever heard, with the actors and the conductor fighting each other on the tempos every measure of the way. An embarassment.


BALLROOM didn't work for three basic reasons:
1) Ballroom dancing requires touch dancing between partners and is not presentational to the audience.
2) The score is undistinguished and forgettable.
3) Dorothy Loudon's character settles for "50% of him (her man) than 100% of anybody else"---since you wouldn't have respect or sympathy for a character like that in real life, why should you in a musical?
A most unsatisfying show.

Updated On: 1/2/05 at 07:19 PM