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 Posted:   Jan 18, 2019 - 3:33 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Charol Channing returned to "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" yet again in 1973. This time, it was in the show "Lorelei", which was a musical with a book by Kenny Solms and Gail Parent, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and music by Jule Styne. It was a revision of the Joseph Fields-Anita Loos book for the 1949 production "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and included many of the Jule Styne-Leo Robin songs written for the original.

Subtitled "Gentlemen Still Prefer Blondes," the show opens with the title character, "Lorelei" (Channing), a heavily-bejeweled, very wealthy widow, about to set sail on the SS Ile de France. The moment reminds her of a past voyage she took with her best friend and fellow showgirl "Dorothy Shaw" (Tamara Long), and in a flashback we relive their madcap adventures after Lorelei's plans to marry "Gus Esmond" (Peter Palmer) are derailed by his father and the two women sail from New York City to Paris and settle in at the Hôtel Ritz.

"Lorelei" premiered in Oklahoma City at the (6000 seat) Civic Center Music Hall and broke box office records after six straight days of performances sold out within 24 hours. The show then toured the country for nearly a year and earned a tidy profit. According to Steven Suskin, writing in Playbill, "Channing did great business in some places, and only so-so in others; the star pleased audiences, by and large, but the show didn't. If the show had impressive grosses along the way, it also had out-sized costs as they added songs and threw out songs along the way."

The musical opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on January 27, 1974, following 11 previews and closed on November 3, 1974 after 321 performances. Carol Channing was nominated for the 1974 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, losing to Virginia Capers for "Raisin."

"Lorelei" had two LPs produced by MGM. An "Original Cast Album" was recorded in 1973 at the start of the show's pre-Broadway tour. But since there were a number of changes made to the cast and to the show's musical numbers during the tour, it was decided to record a new "Original Broadway Cast Album" after the show opened on Broadway in 1974. The 2003 Decca CD release adds the missing numbers from the Original Cast to those of the Broadway Cast for a complete recording.

 Posted:   Jan 18, 2019 - 3:50 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In 1977, for whatever reason, Carol Channing tried her hand at country and western singing, in an album of duets with Webb Pierce appropriately titled "C&W". Plantation Records released the LP. Here is a sample:

 Posted:   Jan 18, 2019 - 4:20 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In 1994, Varese Sarabande released the album of Channing's "Hello, Dolly!" revival when it toured before its 1995 Broadway opening.

 Posted:   Jan 18, 2019 - 10:07 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Created by Jerry Herman and Larry Alford in 1981, the show "Jerry's Girls" originated as a modest presentation at Onstage, a nightclub located in the Theater District in midtown-Manhattan. The revue consisted of four actresses and Herman. Writing in the New York Times, John S. Wilson called it "a brilliantly lively and scintillating evening of cabaret."

After "La Cage aux Folle" opened to rave reviews two years later, producer Zev Buffman approached the pair and suggested they mount a full-scale, all-star version. On February 28, 1984, the expanded "Jerry's Girls" premiered at the Royal Poinciana Playhouse in Palm Beach, Florida, with Carol Channing, Andrea McArdle, and Leslie Uggams, backed by an all-female chorus, recreating scenes and songs from Herman's hits, including "Hello, Dolly!," "Mame," and "Mack and Mabel." "Jerry's Girls," the show's opening number set to the music of "It's Today" from "Mame," enumerated the many actresses who had appeared in Herman's shows over the years. The show then toured, playing at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater for six weeks in June 1984. The revue went on to play 1984 engagements in Kansas City, Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, Denver, Oklahoma City, and New Orleans. An original cast recording was released by Polydor Records.

 Posted:   Jan 18, 2019 - 11:34 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

ARCHY AND MEHITABEL has long been a personal favorite of mine, and I highly recommend seeking out the CD. Mehitabel is one of the great characters of American humorous literature, (as is Archy), and the score by the underrated Kleinsinger is wonderful.

 Posted:   Jan 19, 2019 - 3:48 PM   
 By:   RR   (Member)

Goodbye, Dolly.

 Posted:   Mar 4, 2019 - 6:21 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

One afternoon many moons ago I was strolling around the theatre district and came across "Lorelei" and was astonished to see a picture of Ms. Channing with co-star Peter "Li'l Abner" Palmer, my next door neighbor when I was an infant back in the 50s. Mr. Palmer & family used to have cook-outs attended by us and cast members of his current hit stage show. Just last week my oldest brother mentioned Stubby Kaye and "some other famous one" would be there (Julie Newmar?). Wow. Anyway, Mr. Palmer is well into his 80s and we're back to being "neighbors." We both live in the Tampa Bay area.

Thank you for posting that poster, Bob.

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