Saturday, May 30, 2015

Silk Stockings...hanging by a garter!

 Silk Stockings appeared on Broadway in 1955,
Cole's last staged musical.
He'd go on to write the music for the movie musicals,
High Society and Les Girls,
but his Broadway days were over.
He passed away in 1964.
 The critics were kind to Silk Stockings,
which starred two leads who'd never even sung,
let alone trod the Broadway boards.
Don Ameche, seated on the left, watching his Hollywood star wane,
 jumped at the opportunity to do theatre.
Hildegard Knef (anglicized to "Neff") was a German film star,
brought to the U.S. by David O. Selznik.
After her relative success as Ninotchka in this show,
she returned to Europe, eventually finding a career in singing.

 More Hildegard...she may be phoning a script doctor!
Previews of the show were "troubled" to say the least.
Writer/Director George S. Kaufmann walked off the job due to 
disagreements with the producers.
Abe Burrows (Guys and Dolls) was hired to re-write,
Cy Feuer (one of the producers) stepped in as director.
Exhaustion, accidents, even measles hit the cast and crew...
almost no one got out alive.

 Gretchen Wyler, in her Broadway debut in this show,
played Janice Dayton, America's Swimming Sweatheart.
We'll hear her singing "Stereophonic Sound."

 Don and Hildegard recording the original cast album.
The latter wrote a vivid backstage account of the
making of Silk Stockings, in her auto-biography,
which is entitled "The Gift Horse." 
Still in print? Yup!

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