Saratoga

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Cohen
SARATOGA was a flop on Broadway in 1959, but you'd never guess that from this brassy and full-bodied first-time-on-CD original cast album. Written by Oscar winners Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, collaborators on 1946's likewise underappreciated "St. Louis Woman," this saga of two New Orleans fortune hunters who join forces only to end up joined together is based on Edna Ferber's novel SARATOGA TRUNK. Starring fabled Hollywood baritone Howard Keel and Carol Lawrence ("West Side Story"), SARATOGA features a delicious score, steeped in Crescent City jazz and blues, affording the large cast ample opportunities to strut their stuff on "I'll Be Respectable," "Goose Never Be a...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Cohen
SARATOGA was a flop on Broadway in 1959, but you'd never guess that from this brassy and full-bodied first-time-on-CD original cast album. Written by Oscar winners Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, collaborators on 1946's likewise underappreciated "St. Louis Woman," this saga of two New Orleans fortune hunters who join forces only to end up joined together is based on Edna Ferber's novel SARATOGA TRUNK. Starring fabled Hollywood baritone Howard Keel and Carol Lawrence ("West Side Story"), SARATOGA features a delicious score, steeped in Crescent City jazz and blues, affording the large cast ample opportunities to strut their stuff on "I'll Be Respectable," "Goose Never Be a Peacock," "Getting' a Man" and the romantic "Why Fight This?"
All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Both members of the on-and-off songwriting team of composer Harold Arlen and lyricist Johnny Mercer had spotty records on Broadway, finding much greater success in Hollywood and on the hit parade. But in 1959, when the two were in their mid-fifties, they were both coming off theatrical successes with other collaborators, Arlen with E.Y. Harburg on Jamaica, Mercer with Gene de Paul on Li'l Abner. Reuniting, they embarked on a musical adaptation of Edna Ferber's best-selling 1941 novel Saratoga Trunk, about a pair of fortune hunters traveling from New Orleans to Saratoga, NY, in 1880. Rock Hudson was first announced for the male lead, but dropped out and was replaced by Howard Keel, who was well known for movie musicals but relatively inexperienced onstage. The female lead was Carol Lawrence, who was coming off her success in West Side Story. In what was probably the key mistake of the production, Morton DaCosta, a veteran director but a novice writer, not only staged the show, but also wrote the libretto. Oscar Hammerstein II demonstrated with Show Boat in 1927 that it was possible to construct a successful show out of one of Ferber's rambling novels, but DaCosta could not follow his example. The result was a run of only ten weeks, sadly marking the last Broadway opening night for either Mercer or Arlen in their lifetimes. Other shows by these writers, notably St. Louis Woman, their other collaboration, and Arlen's House of Flowers, have lived on among theater buffs due to the cast albums that demonstrated the quality of their scores. Saratoga too was recorded, but a similar cult has not formed around it. It is clearly the work of talented, craftsmanlike writers and bears many of the characteristic traits of Arlen and Mercer, including Arlen's feel for bluesy, jazzy melodies and Mercer's often clever turns of phrase. Curiously, the best songs are given to singers other than the principals, among them the witty "Gettin' a Man," sung by Odette Myrtil and Carol Brice; the caustic "The Men Who Run the Country" a song that remains disturbingly timely, sung by a male chorus; and "Goose Never Be a Peacock," which is reminiscent of "A Sleepin' Bee" from House of Flowers, sung by Brice. But there are no real breakout songs, and the score comes off more as a bunch of good numbers that never quite add up to a coherent show. Thus, this is an album for completists -- aficionados of Arlen, Mercer, Keel, or Lawrence, or those who collect cast albums -- but not general music fans.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/6/2000
  • Label: Rca Victor Broadway
  • UPC: 090266369027
  • Catalog Number: 63690

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 One Step, Two Step (2:33)
  2. 2 I'll Be Respectable - Carol Lawrence (1:40)
  3. 3 Gettin' a Man - Carol Brice (2:44)
  4. 4 Why Fight This? - Howard Keel (3:09)
  5. 5 Petticoat High (2:44)
  6. 6 A Game of Poker - Howard Keel (2:13)
  7. 7 Love Held Lightly/A Game of Poker (Reprise) - Howard Keel (3:45)
  8. 8 Saratoga: Duet - Howard Keel (1:44)
  9. 9 Countin' Our Chickens - Howard Keel (2:01)
  10. 10 You or No One - Howard Keel (1:55)
  11. 11 The Cure (2:27)
  12. 12 The Man in My Life - Carol Lawrence (2:21)
  13. 13 The Men Who Run the Country (2:30)
  14. 14 Goose Never Be a Peacock - Carol Brice (3:21)
  15. 15 Dog Eat Dog (0:50)
  16. 16 The Railroad Fight (2:00)
  17. 17 Finale (1:41)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Carol Lawrence Track Performer
Howard Keel Track Performer
Ensemble Track Performer
Carol Brice Track Performer
Technical Credits
Bob Bollard Producer
Herbert Greene Vocal Arrangements
Ernie Oelrich Engineer
Edward Cole Liner Notes
Jerry Arlen Musical Director
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