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Wildcat "revival"


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For one night anyway. This is the 50th anniversary, almost to the day. I believe it opened December 16, 1960 (but maybe it was the 19th). If this wasn't right around Christmas, I'd go. Does anyone live close enough to NYC to make it?

 

Allison Case, Robert Cuccioli, Beth Fowler, Luba Mason, Lenny Wolpe Set for Wildcat Benefit

By: Dan Bacalzo · Nov 12, 2010 · New York

 

Beth Fowler<br> (© Joseph Marzullo/Retna)

Beth Fowler

(© Joseph Marzullo/Retna)

Allison Case, Beth Fowler, and Lenny Wolpe will join the previously reported Robert Cuccioli and Luba Mason in Theatrical Gems' benefit presentation of the 1961 musical Wildcat, to be presented at 7pm on Sunday, December 19 at the Julia Miles Theater. Proceeds will benefit the Actors Fund. Jacob Shoesmith-Fox directs the production, which will feature musical direction by Steven H. Taylor.

 

The show, with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, and book by N. Richard Nash, tells the story of a frontier woman named Wildcat Jackson (Mason) who arrives in a border town in the American southwest with dreams of striking oil and, with the help of her sister Janie (Case), eccentric new friend Countess Emily O'Brien (Fowler), and the local hermit Sookie (Wolpe), tricks foreman Joe Dynamite (Cuccioli) into helping her.

 

Tickets are $25 and can be reserved by emailing tickets@theatricalgems.org.

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I am going to try to go, but I'm not positive at the moment. I've always wanted to see a production of Wildcat. Reportedly, the title song and "That's What I Want for Janie" were cut from all subsequent productions, which is kind of a disappointment because they are two of my favorites.

 

Has anyone ever heard of anyone doing an amateur production of Wildcat before? Here's one:

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I would love to see this. The music is great but the book (by Richard Nash) had real problems. When Lucy took ill, the show couldn't survive without her.

 

When Universal Studios Hollywood had their Lucy exhibit, it contained handwritten notes from Desi - making suggested script changes to WILDCAT. Whenever I'd go (I

only live about ten minutes away), I would love to read those notes. He really was a genius, and I would marvel at how insightful his notes were. I'm a

dramaturg and filmmaker and I see script notes all the time from movie stars, and his story sense impresses me more than anyone I've ever worked with. Clear, concise

and dead-on. :desi1:

 

 

 

 

:)

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I would love to see this. The music is great but the book (by Richard Nash) had real problems. When Lucy took ill, the show couldn't survive without her.

 

When Universal Studios Hollywood had their Lucy exhibit, it contained handwritten notes from Desi - making suggested script changes to WILDCAT. Whenever I'd go (I

only live about ten minutes away), I would love to read those notes. He really was a genius, and I would marvel at how insightful his notes were. I'm a

dramaturg and filmmaker and I see script notes all the time from movie stars, and his story sense impresses me more than anyone I've ever worked with. Clear, concise

and dead-on. :desi1:

 

Any idea where I can research these quoted 'changed' from Desi? I'd LOVE them for my chronology! Not that we need a 'testament' to his genious; but, it would assist in the verification of same..... thanks if you need to reply to me privately....

 

Regards, JK :)

 

 

 

 

:)

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And speaking of Wildcat revivals, WHO do you think had the title role in the July 1962 Cedar Grove, NJ Meadowbrook Dinner Theater production of "Wildcat"?? :lucydisgust:

 

I'll give you hints:

 

"Who's the one with an OVER-SUPPLY?..."

and more bluntly

"You bet your boobies that's who....."

and even MORE bluntly

"Speaking of tit-fire, who else would it be?..."

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Could this be the Mamie Van Doren production? They should have cast her in this production. I would have loved to see what she would wear.

You're right! But I'm sure they changed some of the songs to suit her: "Stacked Hope" "El Brassiere-o" and of course "Titty, Titty Toes"

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  • 3 weeks later...

I went to the show tonight. I think it's wonderful that this company produced this show. It was pretty much a staged reading of the musical. It was extremely clear that there was very little rehearsal time. The cast was holding their scripts in their hands the entire time. Luba Mason, who played Wildcat, hardly looked up when singing a song, which I think really hurt her performance. Robert Cuccioli, who played Joe Dynamite, lost his place in the script a couple times. The two also forgot a section of "Give a Little Whistle." I know Joe Dynamite's real name is McClinchy, but is he supposed to speak with an Irish brogue? The orchestra consisted of a piano and drums. You haven't lived until you've heard the Wildcat overture performed like this! There was limited choreography. Lucy once said that there was never a tougher role in a play than Wildcat Jackson. From this production, you did not get that feeling at all. I really think you need someone like Lucy to make the show really work. I overheard the director say to someone that he deliberately hired someone completely unlike Lucille Ball to play Wildcat. The music from the show is, of course, outstanding, but the book! N. Richard Nash shouldn't have taken any offense at Lucy bringing Bob and Madelyn in. The show needed them. I would have loved to have seen Lucy play the role her way. The standouts were probably Beth Fowler as Countess Emily O'Brien and Lenny Wolpe as Sookie. The first act was really long, close to one hour and forty-five minutes. The second was only forty-five. This production added "That's What I Want for Janie" back in, but "Wildcat" was not. There's a lot of non-Wildcat stage time. I can imagine the audince seeing the original production were getting antsy waiting for Lucy to come back onstage. From what I overheard from other audience members tonight, it sounds like they did not like the show. I think it's great, however, that this production company took a chance and put this show on. Paula Stewart recorded a special message that will be on the production company's website. I will post it when it is up.

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I went to the show tonight. I think it's wonderful that this company produced this show. It was pretty much a staged reading of the musical. It was extremely clear that there was very little rehearsal time. The cast was holding their scripts in their hands the entire time. Luba Mason, who played Wildcat, hardly looked up when singing a song, which I think really hurt her performance. Robert Cuccioli, who played Joe Dynamite, lost his place in the script a couple times. The two also forgot a section of "Give a Little Whistle." I know Joe Dynamite's real name is McClinchy, but is he supposed to speak with an Irish brogue? The orchestra consisted of a piano and drums. You haven't lived until you've heard the Wildcat overture performed like this! There was limited choreography. Lucy once said that there was never a tougher role in a play than Wildcat Jackson. From this production, you did not get that feeling at all. I really think you need someone like Lucy to make the show really work. I overheard the director say to someone that he deliberately hired someone completely unlike Lucille Ball to play Wildcat. The music from the show is, of course, outstanding, but the book! N. Richard Nash shouldn't have taken any offense at Lucy bringing Bob and Madelyn in. The show needed them. I would have loved to have seen Lucy play the role her way. The standouts were probably Beth Fowler as Countess Emily O'Brien and Lenny Wolpe as Sookie. The first act was really long, close to one hour and forty-five minutes. The second was only forty-five. This production added "That's What I Want for Janie" back in, but "Wildcat" was not. There's a lot of non-Wildcat stage time. I can imagine the audince seeing the original production were getting antsy waiting for Lucy to come back onstage. From what I overheard from other audience members tonight, it sounds like they did not like the show. I think it's great, however, that this production company took a chance and put this show on. Paula Stewart recorded a special message that will be on the production company's website. I will post it when it is up.

 

Thanks for the review of this production, HC. If it was a benefit, here's hoping they release some recordings onto iTunes. You've got me very curious about the overture now. A piano and drums? That's it? I can see that working for Hey, Look Me Over, Tippy Tippy Toes, That's What I Want For Janie, and What Takes My Fancy... but perhaps not for numbers such as One Day We Dance, Corduroy Road, and certainly not El Sombrero. Have you been to any other productions put on by this theatre company? From the other articles I read, it didn't indicate it was more along the lines of a stage reading but perhaps it was a given to regular patrons of Theatrical Gems. With limited choreography and rehearsal, did they put any effort into the sets and/or costume designs?

 

What did Paula have to say for herself?

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Thanks for the review of this production, HC. If it was a benefit, here's hoping they release some recordings onto iTunes. You've got me very curious about the overture now. A piano and drums? That's it? I can see that working for Hey, Look Me Over, Tippy Tippy Toes, That's What I Want For Janie, and What Takes My Fancy... but perhaps not for numbers such as One Day We Dance, Corduroy Road, and certainly not El Sombrero. Have you been to any other productions put on by this theatre company? From the other articles I read, it didn't indicate it was more along the lines of a stage reading but perhaps it was a given to regular patrons of Theatrical Gems. With limited choreography and rehearsal, did they put any effort into the sets and/or costume designs?

 

What did Paula have to say for herself?

 

It was only a piano and drums. The overture was quite a mess. This is only the second production put on by Theatrical Gems. The founder and the show's director is 23 years old! I think that's kind of impressive. Their first was the shortlived 1962 Irving Berlin musical that originally starred Robert Ryan and Nanette Fabray/Fabrary. There were absolutely no sets. There was a small oil rig erected towards the end of the show. The stage was filled with about two dozen folding chairs and the whole cast sat onstage the whole time. There were no costumes to speak of. A few cast members wered dressed up for the fiesta that precedes "El Sombrero." There were a few sombreros as well.

 

They had Paula's message playing on a laptop in the lobby during intermission, but no one could hear it. They said they will be uploading it to the website.

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It was only a piano and drums. The overture was quite a mess. This is only the second production put on by Theatrical Gems. The founder and the show's director is 23 years old! I think that's kind of impressive. Their first was the shortlived 1962 Irving Berlin musical that originally starred Robert Ryan and Nanette Fabray/Fabrary. There were absolutely no sets. There was a small oil rig erected towards the end of the show. The stage was filled with about two dozen folding chairs and the whole cast sat onstage the whole time. There were no costumes to speak of. A few cast members wered dressed up for the fiesta that precedes "El Sombrero." There were a few sombreros as well.

 

They had Paula's message playing on a laptop in the lobby during intermission, but no one could hear it. They said they will be uploading it to the website.

 

 

Well.. the important thing is you survived!

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HC: Thanks for your insightful review. I was hoping someone would attend.

There probably wasn't a venture Lucy took on that relied more on her expertise to carry the whole load than "Wildcat", and who could blame her for wanting out of it? I saw a production by a little theater group in San Francisco and was also surprised that the book was as weak as it was. That's what the critics said in 1960 of course, but I thought maybe they were just carping at "Wildcat" because there was so much high quality (or at least better) productions running simultaneously (Sound of Music, Gypsy, Camelot, My Fair Lady, Music Man, Unsinkable Molly Brown, many more---it was a great time for Broadway!) It's a testament to Lucy's draw, stage presence and technique that she was able to make a go of "Wildcat".

The SF production ended the first act early, I think after "Whistle". What I found odd about the 2nd half is that so much time was taken talking about Joe's girl back home Angelina, who it turns out was a figment of his imagination. (Did that come through in this production?) And yes the SF Joe did speak with an Irish brogue.

I don't know what Nash was going for or how the Wildcat character may have changed with Lucy involved, but the SF production seemed like the first performance of an out of town tryout that had a lot of kinks to be worked out. The whole Angelina aspect was a bit darker than was appropriate. It was like two completely different shows in one. Nash is lucky someone like Lucy was even interested in this work. Though he griped later that Wildcat was supposed to be a woman in her 20s, Lucy on stage conveyed enough youth that that was not the problem.

"Wildcat" is one of the very FEW Broadway musicals that has a completely original story not based on another work or an actual event or person. I guess constructing a musical from scratch is harder than it looks.

The positives of Wildcat consist of Lucy AND the wonderful score. The cast album is Broadway at its best. It's one of those recordings that is so great it's hard to imagine the show wasn't better. (Others in this category: "Dear World" "Mack and Mabel" "70 Girls 70" and Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along")

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HC: Thanks for your insightful review. I was hoping someone would attend.

There probably wasn't a venture Lucy took on that relied more on her expertise to carry the whole load than "Wildcat", and who could blame her for wanting out of it? I saw a production by a little theater group in San Francisco and was also surprised that the book was as weak as it was. That's what the critics said in 1960 of course, but I thought maybe they were just carping at "Wildcat" because there was so much high quality (or at least better) productions running simultaneously (Sound of Music, Gypsy, Camelot, My Fair Lady, Music Man, Unsinkable Molly Brown, many more---it was a great time for Broadway!) It's a testament to Lucy's draw, stage presence and technique that she was able to make a go of "Wildcat".

The SF production ended the first act early, I think after "Whistle". What I found odd about the 2nd half is that so much time was taken talking about Joe's girl back home Angelina, who it turns out was a figment of his imagination. (Did that come through in this production?) And yes the SF Joe did speak with an Irish brogue.

I don't know what Nash was going for or how the Wildcat character may have changed with Lucy involved, but the SF production seemed like the first performance of an out of town tryout that had a lot of kinks to be worked out. The whole Angelina aspect was a bit darker than was appropriate. It was like two completely different shows in one. Nash is lucky someone like Lucy was even interested in this work. Though he griped later that Wildcat was supposed to be a woman in her 20s, Lucy on stage conveyed enough youth that that was not the problem.

"Wildcat" is one of the very FEW Broadway musicals that has a completely original story not based on another work or an actual event or person. I guess constructing a musical from scratch is harder than it looks.

The positives of Wildcat consist of Lucy AND the wonderful score. The cast album is Broadway at its best. It's one of those recordings that is so great it's hard to imagine the show wasn't better. (Others in this category: "Dear World" "Mack and Mabel" "70 Girls 70" and Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along")

 

Great post! The Angelina plotline was pretty dark, but I found the whole production kind of dark overall. Joe is pretty rough towards Wildy. There's one scene in which he slaps her and at least twice he grabs ahold of her and she cries, "You're hurting me!" I would assume this came off better with Lucy. It's completely unlike Ricky spanking Lucy. After one of the times he grabs her is when they declare their love for each other. In this production at least, you can't really figure out how they could do so.

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HC: Thanks for your insightful review. I was hoping someone would attend.

There probably wasn't a venture Lucy took on that relied more on her expertise to carry the whole load than "Wildcat", and who could blame her for wanting out of it? I saw a production by a little theater group in San Francisco and was also surprised that the book was as weak as it was. That's what the critics said in 1960 of course, but I thought maybe they were just carping at "Wildcat" because there was so much high quality (or at least better) productions running simultaneously (Sound of Music, Gypsy, Camelot, My Fair Lady, Music Man, Unsinkable Molly Brown, many more---it was a great time for Broadway!) It's a testament to Lucy's draw, stage presence and technique that she was able to make a go of "Wildcat".

The SF production ended the first act early, I think after "Whistle". What I found odd about the 2nd half is that so much time was taken talking about Joe's girl back home Angelina, who it turns out was a figment of his imagination. (Did that come through in this production?) And yes the SF Joe did speak with an Irish brogue.

I don't know what Nash was going for or how the Wildcat character may have changed with Lucy involved, but the SF production seemed like the first performance of an out of town tryout that had a lot of kinks to be worked out. The whole Angelina aspect was a bit darker than was appropriate. It was like two completely different shows in one. Nash is lucky someone like Lucy was even interested in this work. Though he griped later that Wildcat was supposed to be a woman in her 20s, Lucy on stage conveyed enough youth that that was not the problem.

"Wildcat" is one of the very FEW Broadway musicals that has a completely original story not based on another work or an actual event or person. I guess constructing a musical from scratch is harder than it looks.

The positives of Wildcat consist of Lucy AND the wonderful score. The cast album is Broadway at its best. It's one of those recordings that is so great it's hard to imagine the show wasn't better. (Others in this category: "Dear World" "Mack and Mabel" "70 Girls 70" and Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along")

 

Great post! The Angelina plotline was pretty dark, but I found the whole production kind of dark overall. Joe is pretty rough towards Wildy. There's one scene in which he slaps her and at least twice he grabs ahold of her and she cries, "You're hurting me!" I would assume this came off better with Lucy. It's completely unlike Ricky spanking Lucy. After one of the times he grabs her is when they declare their love for each other. In this production at least, you can't really figure out how they could do so.

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