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The Dress Circle: Raiding the Classics, Part 2

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We’re raiding the classics once again on this week’s Dress Circle (7/25 7:00 p.m.), but this time, we’ll be sampling five musicals not compiled by Wright and Forrest.  This week, we’ll hear music from the catalogues of Georges Bizet, Edvard Grieg, Antonin Dvorak, Jacques Offenbach, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.   Oscar Hammerstein, II looked to Bizet’s opera “Carmen” and updated it to the American south for “Carmen Jones.” 

Based on a poem by Robert Browning, the team of Hal Stanley and Irving Taylor joined forces with composer Pete King to adapt the music of Grieg for the 1957 film of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” starring Van Johnson, Claude Raines, Lori Nelson, and Kay Starr.  

The previous year, London’s West End saw Sally Ann Howes starring in “Summer Song” which had lyrics by Eric Maschwitz with the music of Dvorak adapted by Bernard Grun.  

In 1961, Broadway saw a comic take on the Greek tale of Lysistrata based on the music of Offenbach.  Yip Harburg’s “The Happiest Girl in the World” starred Cyril Ritchard, Dran Seitz, Janice Rule, and Bruce Yarnell. 

Finally, we’ll look at an adaptation of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov in another 1957 television musical, this time starring Alfred Drake and Doretta Morrow.  “The Adventures of Marco Polo” was adapted by Edward Eager, Clay Warnick, and Mel Pahl. 

Join us, and once again, see how many themes you can recognize by these five much-loved composers.  

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.
Ted Otten is co-host of The Dress Circle