Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Original Broadway Cast

I don't know why, but I recently got to thinking about some of the remarkable theater I've seen over the years, particularly the original Broadway casts of some classic shows. To wit: Angela Lansbury in Mame. And Sweeney Todd. Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon in Chicago. Ben Vereen in Pippin. Elaine Stritch in Company. Glynis Johns and Hermione Gingold in A Little Night Music. The whole original cast of A Chorus Line. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in The Producers. As for straight plays: Alan Bates in Butley. John Lithgow in M. Butterfly. Katharine Hepburn and Christopher Reeve in A Matter of Gravity. George C. Scott in Sly Fox. Glenn Close, Laura Dern and Woody Harrelson in something called Brooklyn Laundry in LA. (And by the way, why don't actresses have names like Hermione Gingold anymore?)

And, while not original casts I was also lucky enough to have seen Ben Gazzara and Colleen Dewhurst in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (New York); Glenda Jackson and John Lithgow in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Los Angeles); Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst in A Moon for the Misbegotten; and Tyne Daly in a smashing revival of Gypsy. 

I saw a young actress named Olympia Dukakis in a play called Nourish the Beast in the Village in, oh... 1973?

I heard Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland sing I Puritani the Met, and Magda Olivero in Tosca in, of all places, Newark, NJ.

I saw Hair in West Berlin. In German.

And then there was that beautiful young man playing the Bach cello suites, in a light rain, on West 4th Street in Greenwich Village.

That's still one of my favorite performances. Ever.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. Your memories are amazing and fellow theatre lovers will so appreciate your trip down memory lane. I saw Jennifer Holliday in DREAMGIRLS among many other premieres. Thanks for helping me remember all the fun Broadway shows I have seen. I have hundreds of Playbills framed and on the walls of my den. Yours, Bratprince!