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The Dress Circle: Songs from TV Musicals - Part 2

We’re continuing our look at television musicals on this week’s Dress Circle (3/19 7:00 p.m.) with a look at four more scores from 1957, 1958, and 2000.

From 1957, we have a bit of a rarity that used musical themes by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov adapted and arranged by Clay Warnick and Mel Pahl. The musical is “The Adventures of Marco Polo” and stars Alfred Drake as the titular character and Doretta Morrow as his love.

The second score from 1957 is an adaptation of the Medieval folktale “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” which turned to the music of Edvard Grieg for its score which was arranged by Pete King and featured lyrics by Hal Stanley and Irving Taylor. When it premiered on NBC, it was the first “television film” to do so and was extremely well received. From this score, we’ve scheduled three songs by the Piper himself, Van Johnson, and one for Kay Starr who played one of the mothers mourning the loss of her child to the Piper who was not paid his due.

Our 1958 score came from the pen of Richard Adler who went on to write shows with other collaborators as well as by himself after the death of his collaborator, Jerry Ross in 1955 at the age of 29. Adler wrote a musical adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” on his own. From this cast, we’ll hear from Jeanne Carson who was Jo and Rise Stevens who was Marmie. They’ll be joined by Florence Henderson, Zina Bethune, Bill Hayes, and Roland Winters.

The most recent score so far comes from the pen of Stephen Schwartz and is another take on the story of Pinocchio. “Geppetto” appeared on ABC television on 7 May 2000 and was originally planned as a reunion for Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews. Sadly, Andrews was undergoing her vocal chord surgery at the time, so the cast ended up being quite different. As Geppetto, we’ll hear from Drew Carey, and he’ll be joined by Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the Blue Fairy. Other members of the company on this program include Terron Brucks, Alan Zachery, and Matt Zarley.

Thank you for your response to the first of these programs, and the response has been so positive that we’re looking into doing a third to round out the month. We hope you’ll join us this week.

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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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