A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine

Original Cast

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A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine Review

by William Ruhlmann

A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine was one of those unlikely musical theater hits. As librettist/lyricist Dick Vosburgh puts in his liner notes to the original Broadway cast album, few could have dreamed that he, "a Marx [Brothers] obsessed New Jersey-born comedy writer living in England, would adapt [Anton Chekhov's play] The Bear as a musical in the [Marx Brothers'] Night at the Opera style, find a man capable of both playing the 'Chico' [Marx] role, and of writing the music [Frank Lazarus], open in a tiny off West End theater..., see it transfer to the West End..., win a couple of awards..., and wind up a Broadway hit directed and choreographed by Tommy Tune...." (Opening at the Golden Theatre in New York on May 1, 1980, the show ran a healthy 588 performances.) The adaptation to which Vosburgh refers takes up the second, "A Night in the Ukraine," portion of what is actually a two-part musical revue with little in the way of plot. The first half is a tribute to and parody of Hollywood set at Grauman's Chinese Theatre and performed by some starstruck ushers that includes a musical recitation of the famous code that censored films of the 1930s to the 1950s and a lengthy medley of songs by movie tunesmith Richard A. Whiting ("Ain't We Got Fun," etc.). That isn't the only interpolation; Jerry Herman of Hello, Dolly and Mame fame contributes three songs, among them one in which a Jeanette MacDonald soundalike questions the manhood of one "Nelson (Eddy, of course). The six-person cast handles the material well, even if David Garrison isn't quite convincing as Groucho Marx, and the album, as the stage production did, works well as a small, two-piano musical effort that is both affectionate and mocking toward Hollywood's golden age.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 04:33 Amazon
2 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 03:52 Amazon
3 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 03:21 Amazon
4 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 03:16 Amazon
5 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 12:22 Amazon
6 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Jerry Herman / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 05:05 Amazon
7 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 03:00 Amazon
8 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 02:17 Amazon
9 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 04:06 Amazon
10 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 04:16 Amazon
11 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 03:32 Amazon
12 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 03:51 Amazon
13 John Beal / Allen Cohen / Robert Fisher / David Garrison / Peggy Hewett / Frank Lazarus / Priscilla Lopez 01:00 Amazon
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