1983 Off-Broadway Cast

Taking My Turn

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Taking My Turn was an off-Broadway musical revue put together by director Robert H. Livingston, composer Gary William Friedman, and lyricist Will Holt, the same team that had previously done The Me Nobody Knows. Like that show, which was based on the writings of ghetto children, Taking My Turn was inspired by the reflections of ordinary people, in this case, old people. In his liner notes to this album, Holt acknowledges the unusual nature of the concept and even reveals that Friedman's first reaction was that it was "a terrible, depressing idea." In fact, the creators were able to produce an ultimately uplifting, if sometimes sober work. They were helped by the revue format, which allowed for a series of contrasting vignettes rather than a plot that inevitably might have inclined toward tragedy. If one song touched upon the difficulties of getting old, the next could celebrate some aspect of it. But even more important to the show's success was its cast, which featured a trio of strong female performers among its eight participants: Margaret Whiting, the veteran pop singer; Cissy Houston, the veteran pop/R&B singer; and Marni Nixon, whose voice was more familiar than her name or face, since she had dubbed the singing of such movie actresses as Deborah Kerr (The King and I) and Audrey Hepburn (My Fair Lady). Just by giving these three talented performers something to sing, the songwriters had a good chance of success, and this they did. Soprano Nixon was given "Vivaldi," a song about enjoying the pleasures of Central Park in New York despite the notorious dangers; Whiting got "In April," a bitter reflection on the loss of a child; and Houston's showpiece was the gospel-styled "I Am Not Old." Beyond these, there were many entertaining songs written from a senior perspective, among them "Fine for the Shape I'm In," a humorous look at medical challenges; "Sweet Longings," which probably should have been titled, "Making Love at 60"; and "It Still Isn't Over," a long-term couple's celebration of their marriage. Opening at the Entermedia Theatre in New York's East Village on June 9, 1983, Taking My Turn was a success; it ran 345 performances and was taped for a television broadcast. In fact, technically this album is a TV soundtrack, not an original cast recording, though it satisfies the definitions of both terms. Originally released in 1984 on Broadway Ltd. Records, it was given a welcome CD reissue by DRG on August 8, 2000.

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