St. Louis Woman (1998 Original New York Cast

St. Louis Woman (1998 Original New York Cast

ST. LOUIS WOMAN is a forgotten 1946 musical written by two giants of the genre, composer Harold Arlen and lyricist Johnny Mercer. The creators of this 1998 revival went to painstaking lengths to recreate the score's lost arrangements and orchestrations, and the results are electrifying. R&B star


ST. LOUIS WOMAN is a forgotten 1946 musical written by two giants of the genre, composer Harold Arlen and lyricist Johnny Mercer. The creators of this 1998 revival went to painstaking lengths to recreate the score's lost arrangements and orchestrations, and the results are electrifying. R&B star Vanessa L. Williams and Charles S. Dutton star in this saga of horse racing, Superstition, and jealous love set in turn-of-last-century St. Louis. The composers use a rich palette of American folk idioms to color their tale, and the lovely score boasts standards like "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home," both deliciously warbled by Williams, as well as "I Had Myself a True Love," sung by Helen Goldsby. This entertaining release should open a new lease on life for ST. LOUIS WOMAN.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
St. Louis Woman is a perfect example of the kind of "lost" musical championed by New York's City Center Encores! series, which presents concert versions of vintage shows featuring full scores, abbreviated books, and minimal staging. Primarily due to an inferior libretto by Arna Bontemps (based on her horse-racing novel, God Sends Sunday) and Countee Cullen (who died just before the start of rehearsals), St. Louis Woman was a flop, running only 113 performances, despite an excellent score by composer Harold Arlen and lyricist Johnny Mercer. But it made a star out of Pearl Bailey (even though she did not have the starring role), and a pop hit emerged from it, "Come Rain or Come Shine." Nevertheless, it might have been forgotten completely had not Mercer, the co-founder of Capitol Records, arranged for the label to record a collection of its songs as its first cast album. Along with "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home," "Legalize My Name," and "It's a Woman's Prerogative" (the last two sung by Bailey) entered the canon of Arlen-Mercer classics. Arlen tried to expand the show into an opera, Free and Easy, which had a disastrous tour of Europe at the end of the 1950s. After that, nobody tried to revive a show that had failed twice, and only the short 1946 cast album preserved the score. The 1998 Encores! production, starring Vanessa L. Williams and Charles S. Dutton, finally restored the score and its long-lost orchestrations, and Mercury Records, Williams' label, did well to record it. Unlike Bailey, Williams does have the starring role (originally intended for, but never played by, Lena Horne) and thus the opportunity to sing "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home." But Helen Goldsby, in the second female lead, also makes an impression singing "I Had Myself a True Love," "I Wonder What Became of Me," and the vengeful "Sleep Peaceful, Mr. Used-to-Be," and Yvette Cason, in the third female lead originally occupied by Bailey, makes a feast out of the earthy numbers "Legalize My Name" and "It's a Woman's Prerogative." The whole score is well-sung, and the Coffee Club Orchestra, playing the original orchestrations, is excellent. More than 50 years later, there is finally a definitive version of one of Harold Arlen's greatest musical works, all the more valuable to have on record because it remains unlikely that anyone will revive it as a stage show.

Product Details

Release Date:
Decca Bdwy Mod Afw

Related Subjects


  1. Act 1. Overture
  2. Act 1. Li'l Augie Is A Natural Man
  3. Act 1. Sweeten' Water
  4. Act 1. Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home
  5. Act 1. I Feel My Luck Comin' Down
  6. Act 1. I Had Myself A True Love
  7. Act 1. Legalize My Name
  8. Act 1. Cakewalk Your Lady
  9. Act 1. Come Rain or Come Shine
  10. Act 1. Chinquapin Bush / Lullaby
  11. Act 1. Sleep Peaceful, Mr. Used-To-Be
  12. Act 2. Entr'acte
  13. Act 2. Funeral Scene: Prelude
  14. Act 2. Leavin' Time
  15. Act 2. Come Rain of Come Shine (Reprise)
  16. Act 2. It's A Woman's Prerogative
  17. Act 2. Ridin On The Moon
  18. Act 2. I Wonder What Became Of Me
  19. Act 2. Least That's My Opinion
  20. Act 2. Come On Li'l Augie
  21. Act 2. Come Rain or Come Shine

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Vanessa Williams   Vocals
Ralph Burns   Performing Ensemble
Jay Berliner   Banjo,Guitar
Kamau Adilifu   Trumpet
Martin Agee   Concert Master,Concert Mistress
Dennis Anderson   Clarinet,English Horn,Oboe,Tenor Saxophone
Dave Bargeron   Trombone,Tuba
Belinda Whitney-Barratt   Violin
John Beal   Bass
Shelton Becton   Vocals,Ensemble
John Campo   Clarinet,Bassoon,Bass Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone
Yvette Cason   Vocals,Track Performer
Victor Trent Cook   Vocals
Glenn Drewes   Trumpet
Lawrence Feldman   Clarinet,Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Barry Finclair   Concert Master,Concert Mistress
John Frosk   Trumpet
Jack Gale   Trombone
Jill Jaffe   Viola
Jeanne LeBlanc   Cello
Ron Oakland   Concert Master,Concert Mistress
Suzanne Ornstein   Violin
Bobby Osborne   Ensemble
Wendell Pierce   Vocals,Track Performer
John Redsecker   Drums
Albert Regni   Clarinet,Flute,Alto Saxophone
Clay Ruede   Cello
Marilyn Reynolds   Concert Mistress
Russ Rizner-French   French Horn
Mitsue Takayama   Viola
Roger Wendt   French Horn
David Omar White   Ensemble
Frederick Zlotkin   Cello
Aloysia Friedmann   Concert Mistress
Thad Wheeler   Percussion
David Blinn   Viola
Maura Giannini   Concert Mistress
Robert Fisher   Musical Direction
Kimberly Michaels   Ensemble
Grace Paradise   Harp
Joseph Thalken   Piano,Cello
Xin Zhao   Concert Master,Concert Mistress
Laurie Williamson   Vocals,Ensemble
Red Press   Clarinet,Flute,Alto Flute,Piccolo,Alto Saxophone,Multi Instruments
Ashley Horne   Concert Mistress
David White   Ensemble
Coffee Club Orchestra   Performing Ensemble,Track Performer
Joseph Webster   Vocals,Ensemble,Track Performer
Stanley Wayne Mathis   Vocals,Track Performer
Jesse Means   Vocals,Ensemble
Amy Jo Phillips   Vocals,Ensemble
David White   Ensemble
Charles S. Dutton   Vocals
Chuck Cooper   Vocals
Reginald Pindell   Vocals,Ensemble
David Dean White   Vocals
Rob Fisher   Musical Direction
Helen Goldsby   Vocals
Vanessa L. Williams   Vocals
Victor Trent Cook   Vocals
Yvonne Cason   Vocals
A.J. Baptiste-Cassell   Vocals
Roberta Gumbel   Vocals
Thursday Farrar   Vocals
Tavia Riveé Jefferson   Vocals
Kimberley Michaels   Vocals
Sheryl McCallum   Vocals
Wayne Pretlow   Vocals
Sherrita Durán   Vocals
Iris Fairfax   Vocals
Richard Hobson   Vocals
Robert Osborne   Vocals
David White   Vocals
Jillian Hervey   Vocals

Technical Credits

Vanessa Williams   Quotes Researched & Compiled
Arna Bontemps   Book
Hugh Fordin   Producer
Johnny Mercer   Lyricist
Jack Viertel   Liner Notes
Cynthia Daniels   Engineer,Engineering
Edward Jablonski   Liner Notes
Margery Greenspan   Art Direction
Nedra Neal   Choir Preparation
Robert Fisher   Liner Notes
Countee Cullen   Book
Rob Fisher   Producer,Liner Notes,Musical Director
Emily Grishman   Liner Notes
Rob Fisher   Liner Notes

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