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The Dress Circle: Stage and Screen Overtures

We’ve lined up a selection of overtures from stage and screen on this week’s Dress Circle (4/9 7:00 p.m.) that are some of our favorites.

From the world of the “silver screen,” we have to works written for non-musical films during the Golden Era of Hollywood when some of the epics were afforded overtures and even intermission or entr’acte music. They’re “Mutiny on the Bounty” featuring music by Bronislaw Kaper and “Ben Hur,” the epic scored by Miklos Rozsa. Our musical film overture is the wonderful opening for “High Society” which featured music by Cole porter (which possible arranging and orchestration help from Conrad Salinger and/or Nelson Riddle, but neither was given credit.)

Some of the musical overtures were chosen because they make us happy like Jerry Herman’s “Mack & Mable,” “Allegro” By Richard Rodgers, Jule Styne’s “Gypsy, and Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide.”

Two were chosen because they represent something a little different and were innovative (but they also make us happy!)

Burt Bacharach introduced an “orchestra choir” in “Promises, Promises,” and for the first time, audiences heard performers (and the overture) supported by an invisible quintet. Stephen Sondheim put his quintet of singers, often called the Liebeslieder Singers, on stage to comment on the action during the show. Through subsequent versions of “A Little Night Music,” the opening that consisted of the vocal “overture” and the lilting “Night Music” have morphed into one piece, and in the 2008 revival we found a wonderful amalgamation of the two in to one lovely opening.

We’re all about starters on this week’s program, and we hope you’ll join us for the fun.

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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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