St. Louis Woman (1998 Original New York Cast

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 ...
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/10/1998
  • Label: Decca Bdwy Mod Afw
  • UPC: 731453814820
  • Catalog Number: 538148
  • Sales rank: 333,951

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 II 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
Alan Silverman Mastering
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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