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Me and Juliet

1 rating: 3.0
An album by Bill Hayes, Isabel Bigley, Joan McCracken, Mark Dawson, Oscar Hammerstein II, Ray Walston, and Richard Rodgers
1 review about Me and Juliet

a minor Rodgers and Hammerstein work in a very major key

  • Aug 29, 2008
ME AND JULIET was one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's least successful works, opening on Broadway in 1953 and running for only ten months, despite favourable reviews and a highly talented cast (led by Isabel Bigley, Joan McCracken and Bill Hayes).

The score for this show didn't yield as many hit tunes as did the previous (and later) Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, yet standouts would surely include "Marriage-Type Love" (recycled for the 1958 London production of "Cinderella"); and "That's the Way It Happens" (which later found a second life as part of the score for the 1996 Broadway re-working of "State Fair").

The cast of ME AND JULIET was led by Isabel Bigley, fresh from her acclaimed starring role of mission-doll Sarah Brown in the original cast of "Guys and Dolls". Playing her love interest was a fresh-faced young man named Bill Hayes (who'd later find another kind of fame on the daytime soap "Days of Our Lives" opposite his real-life wife Susan Seaforth Hayes).

Also appearing in the show was the talented dancer/comedienne Joan McCracken (from the original casts of "Oklahoma!" and "Bloomer Girl"), in her last major stage role. In 1947 she'd attempted to break into movies; and did find considerable acclaim playing Babe in 1947's "Good News, though audiences sadly never quite warmed to her. Credited with helping to kick-start the career of Bob Fosse (she was later "replaced" by Gwen Verdon); McCracken passed away from heart and diabetes-related illnesses in 1961, at the age of 44.

Following a recent public domain CD reissue on the UK-based Flare label, this official DRG re-release of the cast album features some choice bonus tracks, highlighted by a fascinating recorded interview, where Columbia Records president Goddard Lieberson quizzes composer Richard Rodgers on his amazing career; plus Perry Como's fun cover versions of "Keep It Gay" and "No Other Love".


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