The legendary authors of Fiddler on the Roof - Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein - will launch the release of the York Theatre’s original cast recording of their inaugural 1958 Broadway outing, The Body Beautiful, in a special concert event at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble on Wednesday, September 17 at 5:30pm.
Singers on the recording scheduled to perform include Tony Award-winner Cady Huffman (The Producers), Tony Award-nominee Megan Lawrence (The Pajama Game), Laura Marie Duncan (South Pacific), Mike McGowan (The Apple Tree), Angie Schworer (The Producers), Jonathan Kay and Kerry Conte.
Mary Louise, who understudied Barbara McNair in the original 1958 production of The Body Beautiful and who also appeared on Broadway in the original productions of Finian’s Rainbow, Funny Girl, Sweet Charity, and The Apple Tree, will make a special guest appearance.
David Glenn Armstrong, director of the York’s 2007 revival, will host a conversation with the authors about the gestation of the original production. John Bell, music director of the revival and recording, will be at the piano and will be joined by Jordan Jancz on bass.
The cast recording also features the talents of Tony Award-nominee Brad Oscar (The Producers), Capathia Jenkins (Caroline, Or Change), Stephen Bienskie (Cats), Ryan Duncan (Shrek), John Eric Parker (All Shook Up), Patrick Richwood, and Jim Sorensen.
The original Broadway production of The Body Beautiful had its Columbia Records cast album contract canceled by the producers at the request of Columbia, who instead made a $5,000 payment to offset advertising costs of the struggling show.
Composer Bock reflected on the recording – “A sparkling new original cast album 50 years after the show opened? If that's not a first, I'll eat my notes while Sheldon eats his words! And if that's not a definition of The Fabulous Invalid, better known as The Body Beautiful, we'll both eat Joe Stein's book.”
The Body Beautiful opened at the Broadway Theatre on January 23, 1958 after a Philadelphia tryout and starred Jack Warden, Steve Forrest, Mindy Carson, Barbara McNair and William Hickey. The George Schaefer-helmed production had choreography by Herbert Ross and ran for 60 performances. There were no regional, stock or touring productions of the show. The York Theatre’s sold-out concert staging in October of 2007 was the first-ever revival of The Body Beautiful.
The Body Beautiful is set in New York City’s boxing underworld. The plot follows the misguided adventures of a wealthy Dartmouth College grad who yearns to be a down-and-dirty boxer and the girl he loves who disapproves of his ambitions. The lovers are surrounded by a colorful assortment of boxing world denizens: bleached blonde groupies, deal-making mobsters, addled heavyweights, vengeful ex-wives, and desperate fight promoters.
Bruce Yeko of Original Cast Records is producing the recording which is currently available at Original Cast Records (888-627-3993), Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble, Colony Records, and at the York Theatre. James Morgan is the Producing Artistic Director of the York Theatre, which is currently home to another Joseph Stein musical – Enter Laughing.
Reservations are not required for the concert, and admission is free. The Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble is located at the corner of Broadway and 66th Street (212-595-6859).