Wonderful Town ~ 11.30.58 ~ CBS-TV ~ Rosalind Russell, Jackie McKeever, Sydney Chaplin, Jordan Bentley
- Rosalind Russell ...Ruth Sherwood
- Sydney Chaplin ...Robert Baker
- Jacquelyn McKeever ...Eileen Sherwood
- Joseph Buloff ...Mr. Appopolous
- Dort Clark ...Chick Clark
- Jordan Bentley ...Wreck
- Cris Alexander ...Frank Lippencot
- Jack Fletcher ...Night Club Patron
- Michele Burke ...Helen Wade
- Ted Beniades ...'Speedy' Valenti
- Isabella Hoopes ...Mrs. Wade
- Ray Weaver ...Shore Patrolman
- Gene Carrons ...Violet
- John Wheeler ...Officer Lonigan
- Don Grusso ...Fireman
On November 30, 1958, CBS Television broadcast a live special of the musical, with Rosalind Russell ( Ruth Sherwood ), Jackie McKeever ( Eileen Sherwood ), Sydney Chaplin ( Bob Baker ), and Jordan Bentley ( the Wreck ).
About the Show
Ruth Sherwood and her sister, Eileen, have moved to 1935 Greenwich Village. They're surrounded by colorful Village characters (including an out-of-work football player known as the Wreck, and Mr. Appopolous, a modern painter and their landlord) and embark on various New York adventures. Ruth, who's trying to make it as a writer, meets up with a sleazy newspaper writer named Chick and a kindly editor named bob, both of whom take an interest in both her career and her.
Wonderful Town is a musical (1953), book written by Joseph A. Field s and Jerome Chodorov , lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Leonard Bernstein . Its origins fundamentally come from the collection of autobiographical short stories by Ruth McKenney published in The New Yorker three years following the incidents portrayed where she and her acting bound sister seek out success from their basement apartment of New York City's Greenwich Village.
Fields and Chodorov's My Sister Eileen (1940 play) is based on the book and the musical results from the play. The only shared aspects of the book and the 1953 musical play plot are the two final two stories in the book which are heavily modified. The stories also served as the basis of two films and a television series.
Wonderful Town premiered on Broadway in 1953, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical , and spawned three New York City Center productions between 1958 and 1966, a 1986 West End production and 2003 Broadway revival. It is a lighter piece than Bernstein's later works, West Side Story and Candide, but none of the songs have become as popular.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.
Despite a pedigree that includes a score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and an award-winning original production directed by the legendary George Abbott, “ Wonderful Town ” has never truly been embraced as a classic of American musical theater. The show’s drop into relative obscurity can be traced, in large part, to an uneven made-for-television production.
About this Capture
As for the CBS production, a kinescope of “ Wonderful Town ” was preserved and circulated among collectors of 16mm film. The visual quality isn’t that pristine, but at least the original (and unintentionally funny) commercials were kept in the print.
Legend has it that Edie Adams, who originated the role of Eileen on Broadway, was replaced for the TV production because Rosalind Russell was jealous of the reviews and attention that Adams had received for her performance. Jacquelyn McKeever was chosen to play the role.
The original Broadway production of "Wonderful Town" opened at the Winter Garden Theater in New York on February 25, 1953, ran for 559 performances and won the 1953 Tony Award for the Best Musical. Rosalind Russell won the 1953 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and recreated her role in the movie version.
Columbia Records issued a best-selling sound track album in conjunction with the television broadcast. Rather than release the live recording from a kinescope, producer Goddard Lieberson brought the cast and orchestra into Columbia's New York studios to capture what would become the definitive recording of the score - in stereo, which the original Broadway cast album was not.
Run time: 120m
B&W / Color: B&W