The Lyric Stage: June 25 - Highlights from John McGlinn's Superb Recording of "Showboat"
In 1988 John McGlinn assembled an A list cast from opera and Broadway to record as much of the surviving music from the 1927 musical Show Boat that he could find- music that was cut from the original production, music written for the movie versions and music added to revivals. The result is a sprawling nearly four hour three CD set that not only succeeds in his purpose but that is also musically superb - catching the lyricism and propulsive brassiness that defined the Broadway musical for decades, and this week on The Lyric Stage he we have selections from that recording of Show Boat.
Edna Ferber's novel Showboat was published in 1926 and the musical was on Broadway in 1927, a very short period of time to put together such a collaborative project. (Edna Ferber allegedly had never heard of showboats until 1924). Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's musical softens the plot considerably - Captain Andy does not drown and Ravenal does not die before the ending, for example. It is unabashedly sentimental with the the three generations of the family coming back together at the end with the timeless Mississippi River as the backdrop.