Original Touring Cast

Lorelei [Original Touring Cast]

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the musical with songs by Jule Styne and Leo Robin, made a Broadway star out of 28-year-old Carol Channing when it opened in 1949. With Hello, Dolly! behind her, Channing was even more of a Broadway star at 52 when she opened in Oklahoma City on February 24, 1973, in the touring production of Lorelei, which was actually a revised version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Here, an older and widowed Lorelei Lee introduced the story of her youth as a gold-digger in the Roaring Twenties, then stepped into a flashback that was really the old show, complete with familiar songs like "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and "A Little Girl From Little Rock." There were four new songs with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, replacing the deceased Robin. Audiences had to swallow the fiction that Channing was an enchanting young thing, and this they did with alacrity all over the country. Nevertheless, the show went through considerable changes during its yearlong tour before reaching Broadway on January 27, 1974. This cast album was recorded a week before the Oklahoma City opening, and therefore represents the show in its earliest form. (A modified version reflecting the tour changes appeared to accompany the Broadway opening.) The new songs are unimpressive, with the title song clearly intended to do for Lorelei what the title song for Hello, Dolly! did for that show, but not succeeding. Still, the old songs remain winning, and the cast, including Tamara Long and Lee Roy Reams as well as Channing, performs enthusiastically. Channing is, of course, a one-of-a-kind star, and while she is certainly more mannered than she was on the original Broadway cast album of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, that only means she is more the Carol Channing that audiences loved.

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