Who Can I Turn To?

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At one time, Anthony Newley was a huge star. Before he was 35 years old, he acted in, directed, and wrote the words* and music to two smash Broadway musical plays, Stop the World—I Want to Get Off!,  and The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd. Many of the songs from those two musicals became standards: “What Kind of Fool Am I?” and “Who Can I Turn To?” were covered by hundreds of singers. Newley used to enjoy saying that if he had never done anything else in his life, he could make a good living from the residuals of “What Kind of Fool Am I?” alone.

When he left the stage, he became a kind of parody of himself, as he played the Las Vegas venues, a glorified lounge singer. He never matched the heights of  his earlier years, and the memory of his success has faded over the years. But as you can see in the clip above from the Ed Sullivan show, Newley in his prime was one of the most distinctive, eccentric, talented, and influential artists of the 1960s. Click on the video to see a quintessential Newley performance.

Thanks to YouTuber gmulvein

*Reader Sandra Nordgren wrote in to correct us that it was Leslie Bricusse who wrote the words to the songs. Thanks, Sandra.

The Rule of Disorder

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Almost exactly a year ago, an old high school friend, Burt Rochelson, called me out of the blue and asked if I would audition for a part in a staged reading of his new musical play about Albert Einstein called The Rule of Disorder. The request was a surprise since we had last worked on a play together 45 years ago!  I don’t have a trained singing voice, and since the last time I sang publicly on stage was also 45 years ago, I was somewhat skeptical. But, anyway, I did it and it was a lot of fun.

The beautifully done musical score is by Jonathan Glickman, who in his spare time works for NASA as a rocket scientist. (Really!) Here is one of the lovely songs from the score, sung by real singers:

The play had won a musical play competition, and we performed it in the lobby of a beautiful old former vaudeville theatre in Patchogue, LI. Unfortunately, even though we were sold out, and got a very good response, we were funded only for that one performance, and the play didn’t get to be seen by a wider audience.

I had lunch with Burt yesterday (who, incidentally, among other things, happens to be a doctor, currently head of OBGYN at a major hospital on Long Island), and he was telling me about his current campaign to get the play seen by more people. He has been submitting it to the many different organizations around the country that produce musicals. It’s a difficult, tedious, and often arbitrary process, but a necessary one that musical creators have to go through. In the meantime, however, in between baby deliveries, he is working on other playwriting projects. So, if you know someone who knows someone who produces musicals…please let me know.