Pasadena Playhouse Revival Cast

Do I Hear a Waltz? [2001 Pasadena Playhouse Revival Cast]

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Do I Hear a Waltz? [2001 Pasadena Playhouse Revival Cast] Review

by William Ruhlmann

The 1965 musical Do I Hear a Waltz? is one of those Broadway failures that remains interesting largely due to the pedigree of its creators. It is based on a play by Arthur Laurents (The Time of the Cuckoo) about a middle-aged American spinster who finds romance on a vacation in Venice. Laurents, who had written the libretti for the musicals West Side Story and Gypsy, convinced Stephen Sondheim, the lyricist on those shows, to write lyrics only once again, even though he had moved on to being a composer/lyricist. Sondheim agreed because the composer was Richard Rodgers, former partner of the late Oscar Hammerstein II, who had been Sondheim's mentor. But the collaboration was not a happy one, and the show ran only 220 performances. The original Broadway cast album on Columbia Records was the only recording until this one. Of course, the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization had an interest in turning Do I Hear a Waltz? into a property that regional theaters and schools might be persuaded to take up, but it wasn't until 1999, according to the organization's head, Theodore S. Chapin, who provides liner notes here, that Laurents revised the book, and a regional production was undertaken in 2000, with the one here the second in 2001. In this excellent recording, featuring many strong-voiced performers (not the least of them stage veteran Carol Lawrence, who starred in West Side Story back in 1957, in a secondary role), Laurents' revisions cannot be appreciated, since only a little of the dialogue has been included. But the listener can apprehend anew the virtues and flaws of the Rodgers/Sondheim pairing. Actually, although Sondheim was Hammerstein's protégé, his work here is more reminiscent of Rodgers' earlier partner, Lorenz Hart, in his wit and wordplay. But his tone is modern, for 1965. Rodgers, on the other hand, has written some very familiar, if typically melodic music. A good example is "We're Gonna Be All Right," which has music that sounds like it could have been written in the 1920s, while Sondheim's caustic lyrics about marriage seem like a precursor to his similar work in his upcoming shows Company and Follies. In this version of the show, a cut song, "Everybody Loves Leona," has been restored, and it turns out to be a musical nervous breakdown for the main character, giving the show a darker, more serious feel. Alyson Reed handles it well, as she does the rest of her numbers, and her supporting cast is equally impressive. Laurents and the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization may have succeeded in making Do I Hear a Waltz? playable on the evidence of this recording, even if it remains a minor effort for both its composer and lyricist.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Do I Hear a Waltz?, musical
1 03:10 Amazon
2 Eddy Martin / Alyson Reed 03:40 Amazon
3 Carol Lawrence 02:39 Amazon
4 Eddy Martin / Alyson Reed / Jack Riley / Elmarie Wendel / Annie Wersching 03:37 Amazon
5 Alyson Reed 02:54 Amazon
6 Anthony Crivello / Alyson Reed 02:27 Amazon
7 00:27 Amazon
8 Anthony Crivello / Alyson Reed 02:41 Amazon
9 Eddy Martin / Jack Riley / Elmarie Wendel / Annie Wersching 00:46 Amazon
10 Carol Lawrence 04:05 Amazon
11 Anthony Crivello 03:14 Amazon
12 Carol Lawrence / Alyson Reed / Annie Wersching 05:22 Amazon
13 Annie Wersching 04:57 Amazon
14 Anthony Crivello / Alyson Reed 04:59 Amazon
15 Anthony Crivello / Alyson Reed 03:14 Amazon
16 Carol Lawrence / Eddy Martin / Alyson Reed / Jack Riley / Elmarie Wendel / Annie Wersching 03:55 Amazon
17 Alyson Reed 02:42 Amazon
18 Carol Lawrence 01:00 Amazon
19 Anthony Crivello / Alyson Reed 07:29 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick