Salad Days [Original London Cast] [Selections]

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Julian Slade's musical Salad Days may be a whimsical trifle, but it also became the longest-running British musical in history after it opened in London on April 5, 1954, chalking up 2,283 performances over five-and-a-half years. It tells the sketchy story of two recent graduates of Bristol University who face the challenges of career and matrimony while encountering various kooky characters and singing some engaging songs. A magical piano that makes people dance and a flying saucer figure in the unlikely goings-on, but it's all in fun. The original cast album was released on Oriole Records, featuring a cast that included John Warner and Eleanor Drew in the starring roles, accompanied only by a piano and drums. Some attempt was made to re-create the storyline by including dialogue in between the fun, catchy tunes. As of 2005, the album was in the public domain in Europe, and several reissue labels have put out unlicensed versions of it mastered off old vinyl copies. The one issued by the Forum label in 2008 adds the original cast recording of another hit British musical of the same year, Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend, which preceded Salad Days into the West End by less than three months, opening on January 14, 1954, and running a comparable length, 2,084 performances, or, over five years. This deliberately tongue-in-cheek story set in the south of France in the '20s traces the shenanigans of a group of British girls at a finishing school. Again, the 10" HMV Records cast LP, copied by Forum, presents the score as played on piano and drums, sung by the original cast, including such favorites as "A Room in Bloomsbury," "It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love," and the title song.

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