Richard RODGERS and
Oscar HAMMERSTEIN II
Original Broadway Casts:-
CAROUSEL and SOUTH PACIFIC
Ezio Pinza; John Raitt; Juanita
Hall; Mary Martin and Jan Clayton.
ASV CD AJA 5344
This is a very attractive and generous bargain two original Broadway
cast recordings for the price of one!
Carousel was the personal favourite of its composer, Richard Rogers.
Its easy to see why, all those wonderful songs and that extraordinary
almost-operatic 7½ minute Soliloquy in which Billy the anti-hero
Billy Bigelow imagines his unborn child first as a robust, mischievous boy
and then as a sweetly feminine little girl, prompting him to scheme (ultimately
causing to his death) to get money to give her a better lifestyle.
The two leads, Jan Clayton as Julie and John Raitt as Billy Bigelow sound
very like Shirley Jones and Gordon Macrae who starred in the underrated 1956
20th Century Fox film (with Barbara Ruick outstanding as the slightly
scatty but affectionate Carrie). Everybody remembers those haunting songs:
the sweet sentimental When I Marry Mister Snow (sung by Carrie
as played by Jean Darling and not by Julie as indicated in the liner notes);
the romantic duet for the leads "If I Loved You; the exuberant June
is Bustin Out All Over; the hauntingly lovely When the
children Are Asleep; the wistful Whats the Use of
Wondrin? (again mistakenly attributed to Carrie, when it is sung
by Julie); and that fine elegiac consolatory song, ruined by its adoption
by the soccer crowds, Youll Never Walk Alone.
The 1958 film of South Pacific wasnt a patch on the original
Broadway production with a distinctly underwhelming Mitzi Gaynor and an even
more underwhelming Rossano Brazzi, both completely overshadowed by
Broadways Mary Martin and Ezzio Pinza. Again, this show brimmed with
memorable songs: the exuberant A Cock-Eyed Optimist; Im
in Love With a Wonderful Guy, and There is Nothing like A
Dame; the sardonic Im Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My
Hair; the dreamy Bali HaI and, of course the two
love songs, Some Enchanted Evening and Younger than
A real treat