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On the Twentieth Century

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All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
The 1978 Broadway musical On the Twentieth Century is an adaptation of Twentieth Century, the 1932 straight play and comic farce by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur in turn based on the unproduced play The Napoleon of Broadway by Charles Bruce Millholland about Oscar Jaffe, a flamboyant theatrical producer on his uppers, who boards the 20th Century Limited train for a cross-country trip during which he hopes to lure his former protégé, the film star Lily Garland, also on board, back to the stage, and thereby return to solvency. The 1934 film version directed by Howard Hawks, and starring John Barrymore and Carole Lombard, was a classic, and lyricist/librettists Betty ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
The 1978 Broadway musical On the Twentieth Century is an adaptation of Twentieth Century, the 1932 straight play and comic farce by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur in turn based on the unproduced play The Napoleon of Broadway by Charles Bruce Millholland about Oscar Jaffe, a flamboyant theatrical producer on his uppers, who boards the 20th Century Limited train for a cross-country trip during which he hopes to lure his former protégé, the film star Lily Garland, also on board, back to the stage, and thereby return to solvency. The 1934 film version directed by Howard Hawks, and starring John Barrymore and Carole Lombard, was a classic, and lyricist/librettists Betty Comden and Adolph Green transfer much of its tone to the musical. They are well suited to do so, as veterans of sketch comedy and also the screenwriters of the similarly toned movie musical Singin' in the Rain, another send-up of Hollywood. This is broad comedy requiring larger than life, over the top performances, and it gets them from John Cullum, channeling Barrymore, and Madeline Kahn, who is both a remarkable soprano and a remarkable comedienne. Another veteran is composer Cy Coleman, although he has not worked with Comden and Green previously. Coleman is a highly adaptable writer, and he mixes operetta with some '30s jazz styles effectively in his music. This is not the sort of show that an audience is going to think much about after leaving the theater, and this is not a cast album of songs that will be memorable outside the context of the show. But when it's going on, the show works like gangbusters, and the album serves as a good souvenir.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/19/1991
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 074643533027
  • Catalog Number: 35330

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Judy Kaye Vocals, cast
David Horowitz Vocals, cast
Rufus Smith cast
Joe Wise Track Performer
Keith Davis Track Performer, cast
Karen Gibson Vocals, cast
Madeline Kahn Vocals, Track Performer, cast
Susan Cella Vocals, cast
George Coe Track Performer, cast
John Cullum Vocals, Track Performer, cast
Imogene Coca Vocals, Track Performer, cast
Carol Lurie Vocals, cast
Gerald Teijello Vocals
Dave Vogel Vocals
Melanie Vaughan Vocals, cast
Kevin Kline Vocals, Track Performer
Craig Lucas Vocals, cast
George Lee Andrews Vocals, cast
Peggy Cooper cast
Stanley Simmonds Track Performer, cast
William Burke cast
Charles Rule Vocals, cast
David A. Vogel cast
Hal Norman Vocals, cast
Kenneth Hilliard cast
The Orchestra Track Performer
Mel Johnson Jr. cast
Technical Credits
Cy Coleman Composer, Producer
Betty Comden Composer, Lyricist
Mike Danner translation
Didier C. Deutsch Engineer
Paul Gemignani Director, Musical Director
Adolph Green Composer, Lyricist
Frank Laico Engineer
Vladimir Meller Mastering
Hershy Kay Orchestration
Harold Prince Director
Tim Tiedemann Remastering
Tom Carlson Liner Notes
Floriana Bivona-Lockner translation
Genevieve Haines translation
Ted Brosnan Remixing
Ken Mandelbaum Liner Notes
Clive Barnes Liner Notes
Stanley Tonkel Engineer, Remixing
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Classic Broadway

    Music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green is classic Broadway of the late 70's. This is a Broadway show which led the way to greater shows with effects from Director Harold Prince, (AKA: The Prince of Broadway). The effects of a train on a Broadway stage was unforgetable, and will be hard to replicate again. truly a Broadway classic. Thanks to Sony for keeping this classic alive.

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