It was 1967 and Hello, Dolly! had been running for 3 plus years.
Betty Grable's stint as Dolly Levy was ending, and
King David (Merrick) wanted to give the show a "shot in the arm".
Was it HIS idea to do an all-Black cast,
starring Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway?
Bam! as Emeril used to say...it ran for 3,000 more performances.
Lena Horne and Eddie Anderson...
in the 1943 film version of Cabin In The Sky.
Originally on Broadway in 1940,
with Ethel Waters (who made it into the movie, as well).
We'll hear "Honey In the Honeycomb," with Miss Lena,
and "Taking A Chance On Love," with Ethel.
Tony Award Winner Nell Carter,
one of the stars of Ain't Misbehavin',
which hit Broadway in 1978.
Fats Waller's (and friends') music proved a huge success,
with Tonys and Drama Desk Awards to prove it!
Accolades also went to Richard Maltby, Jr.,
director, for allowing the music to hold center stage.
Also starring: Ken Page, Armelia McQueen, Andre DeShields, and Irene Cara.
Harry Belafonte and Miss Lena
collaborated on an album of Porgy and Bess selections,
done in 1959...
Loving that caftan, LH!
Leslie Uggams was 24 when she captured the lead in
Lena Horne had been slated for the role,
but she deemed the material racist.
She needn't have worried; despite a bubbly score by
co-star Robert Hook helped keep the material on track,
if less edgy than originally hoped.
Best Musical of 1967.
Hello, Dolly! and Funny Girl were playing just down the street,
but over at the Majestic, Golden Boy was pushing the envelope.
Sammy Davis, Jr. was singing along to a jazzy, urban score
(Charles Strouse/Lee Adams)
about black life on "127th Street".
Based (loosely) on a Clifford Odets' story...
we'll hear "Colorful."