The other night my wife and I visited the basement of a local church to see the Rodgers & Hammerstein retrospective “A Grand Night for Singing”. Tickets were reasonably priced and it promised to be a night filled with many memorable tunes.
As I browsed the program while waiting for the show to begin I noticed one of the actors had appeared in a production of White Christmas. This is one of my favorite movies, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.
“I didn’t know there was a stage version of White Christmas,” I mentioned to my wife.
“Well, I guess there is.”
“I’m pretty familiar with musicals, and I wasn’t aware of it,” I replied, perhaps a bit more snootily that I should have.
“Oh, you’re pretty familiar with musicals, eh?” She sounded skeptical.
“In many circles I’m known as ‘Mr. Theater’,” I said.
She may have muttered something about “Mr. Idiot”, but I couldn’t hear clearly because the show was starting.
It was a fine production. They covered all the Rodgers & Hammerstein classics. It was like a jukebox musical, only the jukebox was from 1953.
The songs were sequenced to represent the path that love takes, from the hopeful optimism of “Hello, Young Lovers” to the self conscious doubt of “If I Loved You” to the settled familiarity of “Something Wonderful”. I was also happy to hear “I Have Dreamed” because this particular number was sung at Mr. and Mrs. Theater’s wedding.
I have a small quibble with the change of “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning” to a minor key, since it made Curly sound a little like a serial killer, but otherwise the performances were outstanding.
Afterwards, while walking home, my wife said “Well, what did you think?”
“I thought it was great, but I wish they had sung that song about walking down the street in your neighborhood.”
“You mean ‘On The Street Where You Live’?”
“Yeah. I really like that song.”
“Yes, it’s a lovely song. Too bad it’s by Lerner and Loewe, not Rodgers and Hammerstein.”
Then she added, unnecessarily, I thought, “Mr. Theater”.