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The Dress Circle: British Musicals Without Broadway Transfers

We’re featuring British musicals that played in the West End but never made it to Broadway on this week’s Dress Circle (2/20 7:00 p.m.). The four musicals that we’re featuring this time include “La Cava,” “Matador,” “Good Companions,” and “Bernadette.”

“La Cava” was a musical based on a novel by Dana Broccoli entitled “Florinda” that took place in 8th century Spain. Lyrics were by Broccoli and music by John Claffin and Laurence O’Keefe.

“Matador” was in the West End for a short time in 1991 and was based, very loosely based, on bullfighter Manuel Benitez (El Cordobes). Music and lyrics were by Mike Leander and Eddie Seago, and the production featured some excellent Flamenco choreography (sadly difficult to reproduce on radio) and a brilliant performance by its lead, John Barrowman.

“The Good Companions” is probably “too British” to make the transfer as it’s about a touring theatre troop called the Dinky-Doos who are stranded in “the provinces” after their manager absconds with their funds. Music for this show is by Andre Previn and lyrics by Johnny Mercer and featured excellent performances by John Mills and Marti Webb.

Our final show was “Bernadette” which was later called “The People’s musical” because it made it to London’s West End through crowdsourcing. Music and lyrics for this musical that was a bit about Bernadette of Lourdes and more about her friend whose boyfriend is killed on a plant hanger by her friend’s alcoholic father were by Maureen and Gwyn Hughes.

For a variety of reasons, you’ll not be seeing these shows in New York, and we’re happy to be bringing a bit of them to you on this week’s program.

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Ted Otten is co-host of The Dress Circle
Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.