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The Dress Circle: Songs from TV Musicals - Part 1

We’re looking to some nostalgia on this week’s Dress Circle (3/12 7:00 p.m.) as we begin a series of programs looking at musicals written specifically for television.

This program looks at two musicals that aired in 1957, two that aired in 1958, and one that aired in 1967.

The first from 1957 are “Ruggles of Red Gap” by Jule Styne and Leo Robin which stared Michael Redgrave, Peter Lawford, Jane Powell, and Joan Armstrong. The second is a version of “Pinocchio” by Alec Wilder and William Engvick that starred Mickey Rooney as title character and Gordon B. Clark as Geppetto. We’ll also hear a song performed by Stubby Kaye from this score.

Wilder and Engvick are on the program twice. This time, the show is “Hansel and Gretel,” and the stars of this program were Barbara Cook and Red Buttons. The other 1958 musical came from the pen of Cole Porter, and it’s his take on “Aladdin.” This is one of our personal favorites, and we particularly enjoy the performance of Cyril Ritchard as the treacherous magician and two of his songs, “Come to the Supermarket (in Old Peking)” and “No Wonder Taxes Are High.” We’ve also got songs by Aladdin and the Princess (Sal Mineo and Anna Maria Alberghetti) and Dennis King.

1967 is represented by “Androcles and the Lion” with words and music (and a stellar cast) by Richard Rodgers, Taking the role of Androcles was Norman Wisdom with his long complaining wife played by Patricia Routledge. Noel Coward takes a turn as Caesar, and Ed Ames gets an inspirational song entitled “Follow in Our Footsteps.”

There was a time when there were many new musicals appearing on television, and we’re hoping to help everyone relive those times through the next few programs.

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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.
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