Thursday, June 12, 2008

Great article on Broadway's legendary Charles Strouse

I think a lot of people are like me: they have a soft spot for composer Charles Strouse. My favorite Strouse score isn't Bye Bye Birdie, Applause or Annie, God knows, but the magnificent Rags. And on the train I've been reading my reviewer's copy of his new autobiography, Put On a Happy Face, and I just happen to stumble on Rob Kendt's great blogpost-slash-TDF interview with him. Check it out. A terrific read.

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Zev Valancy said...

I saw a production of Rags some years back and just hated it--I've never thought there was much of interest in the score. Is it worth checking out apart from the not-so-great production I saw?

And my favorite Strouse score, by a lot, is "Golden Boy" I don't think anything else he wrote approached it for soulfulness and intensity. God what gorgeous music. Why isn't that one revived these days? Is the book troubled? Just the lack of a Sammy Davis Jr. these days?

Leonard Jacobs said...

You're nuts. Children of the Wind, though it's really a cheesy song at this point, always makes me cry. Blame it on the Summer Night and Uptown (to a lesser extent) and especially, especially Wanting are some songs I adore. I actually think Rags contains Schwartz's best lyrics to date.

Zev Valancy said...

I mean, part of the problem is the book's utter failure to integrate even the good songs in--WHERE does the title song come from? Bella's introduced, does nothing, sings a fabulous song, and disappears. Result? Negligible. So maybe it's worth checking out as a CD. I still remember it being awfully poppy and cheesy for my tastes. And of course there's the "Fiddler" issue--what other show covering remotely similar ground (and this is basically a sequel) could compete?

But hey, in the "flops unjustly believed to be beter than you might think" category, at least "Rags" is way better than "Side Show"!