Must Close Saturday: The Decline and Fall Of The British Musical Flop, a new book by Adrian Wright, covers the short-lived 1983 show, Marilyn! The Musical. It failed to win over critics and closed after 156 performances, but its talented star, Stephanie Lawrence, won critical acclaim and that year’s Best Actress award from the Variety Club of Great Britain, as well as a nomination for the Society of West End Theatre awards (now known as the Laurence Olivier awards.)
“The show was intended as a tribute to another popular icon who died young, but it failed to capture the public imagination,” Michael Billington wrote in The Guardian. “The one person who emerged with credit was Stephanie Lawrence. She not only captured the externals of Marilyn Monroe – the wiggle, the walk, the passionate pout, the vocal breathiness – but conveyed the carmined innocence and soft vulnerability within. It should have been her passport to fame but the show failed to live up to its star.”
Her performance is fondly remembered by Monroe fans, and in 1995, she released an album, Marilyn: The Legend, featuring songs from the musical as well as covers of Monroe tracks. Stephanie, who also starred in more successful musicals including Evita, Starlight Express and Blood Brothers and acted on film and television, died suddenly in 2000. Michael Billington described her as “an actress of rare glamour” and “a pillar of British musical theatre”, who nonetheless “never fully achieved the 40-carat stardom that came to her no-more talented peers.”
The Some Like it Hot soundtrack has been reissued on vinyl by Not Now Music, with a new cover and sleevenotes by Michael Heatley (click on the image below to see full-size…)
Thanks to Fraser Penney
The soundtrack to Twentieth Century-Fox’s 1963 documentary, Marilyn, has been reissued on vinyl by Rumble Records. As with the original release, it includes a print of the cover photo. You can watch the documentary on Youtube; it was also reissued digitally last year, as part of the Fox100 celebrations.
“Released in the same year that America’s obsession died of an overdose of barbiturates in her Brentwood home, this Marilyn Monroe release compiles her tunes from the classic musicals There’s No Business Like Show Business(1954), River of No Return (1954), and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Here performing songs from such legendary American songwriters as Hoagy Carmichael and Irving Berlin, Marilyn may not have been the most classically trained vocalist in history but the voice is undeniably recognizable; she performed here as an American icon, and looked good doing it.”
You may recall that Marilyn was also recently included as a bonus CD on Soundtrack Factory’s Some Like it Hot reissue. Unfortunately, the audio commentary from the original Marilyn – and the introductory Fox fanfare – was omitted from the CD, and it doesn’t appear on the vinyl reissue either.
‘I think they haven’t had access to the original source tapes,’ says Immortal Marilyn staffer Fraser Penney. ‘In the commentary you hear ‘The Girl’ theme used in The Seven Year Itch and none of that is noted on the original sleeve or tracklist, so I think they’ve basically just gathered together the songs and compiled it from whatever has been available to them without actually knowing the commentary was there on the original album. The original LP was re-issued many times, most widely known as Remember Marilyn, up to the 1980s and always had that. ‘ However, Fraser also tells me that the versions of the songs on this LP are better quality than those versions included on the CD.
Hot on the heels of their Some Like it Hot reissue, the Soundtrack Factory label has released Alfred Newman’s music for The Seven Year Itch on CD, alongside his compositions for other Fox classics (including All About Eve) and including a 16-page booklet. You can listen to sample tracks on the Jazz Messengers website.
The complete music from Some Like it Hot has been reissued on CD by the Soundtrack Factory label. This new edition also includes songs from Fox’s 1963 documentary, Marilyn (minus the original audio commentary), and a 16-page booklet.
Thanks to Geoffrey at Marilyn Remembered on Facebook
Bombshell, the fictional Marilyn musical that is the subject of hit TV show Smash, is now available on CD and for download. And for fans of the show, Smash returns to US screens for a second season next week.
Episode 9 of Smash has aired in the US:
“Ivy’s prescription happy doctor had apparently prescribed a cocktail of meds to treat the various side effects that sprung from her original Prednisone prescription. Ivy had begun using her prescriptions to self medicate her heartbreak and after popping one too many pills, she found herself keeled over on the dressing room floor.
Ivy’s intoxicated fumble on stage was rather funny and although I realize it was humiliating for her character, I was enjoying the physical comedy and I liked seeing Ivy being a goofball. It quickly turned depressing when the perpetually perfect Karen showed up and happened to catch Ivy’s embarrassing performance in person.” – TV Equals
In other news, it has recently been announced that 1) Smash has been renewed for a second season; 2) a soundtrack CD will soon be available; and 3) Uma Thurman will appear in next week’s episode as a movie star hoping to play Marilyn.
Composer Conrad Pope has spoken to Film Music Mag about his score for My Week With Marilyn:
“We developed with the filmmakers a strand of music that was always Marilyn’s music. Both the Marilyn-as-movie-star, e.g. when she steps off the plane in London, and the Marilyn who feels abandoned by her husband Arthur Miller which is counterpointed against a strand of music which represents the innocent Marilyn, the little girl–Norma Jean, if you will. At the same time, there is music that conveys the era of the film (the 50′s) e.g. music for big band, and the popular exotica of the time, and very English music, which accompanies Colin and his entrance into the world of movies.”
The soundtrack will be available on CD from November 28. The tracklisting is as follows:
1. Marilyn’s theme (Composer Alexandre Desplat; Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
Performer: Lang Lang
2. ‘When love goes wrong, Nothin’ Goes Right’ & ‘Heat Wave’ – Medley
Performer: Michelle Williams
3. Colin Runs off to the Circus (Composer/Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
4. Colin Joins the Circus/Mr. Jacobs (Composer/Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
5. Driving through Pinewood (Composer/Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope) Performer: Lang Lang
6. Paparazzi (Composer Alexandre Desplat; Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
Piano: Lang Lang
7. Colin and Vivian (Composer Alexandre Desplat; Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
8. Memories Are Made Of This (Composer Frank Miller / Richard Dehr / Terry Gilkyson – Lyricist Frank Miller)
Performer: Dean Martin
9. Rushes (Composer Alexandre Desplat; Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
10. Lucy (Composer/Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
11. Uno, Dos, Tres (Composer Daniel Indart / Composer Jesus A. Perez-Alvarez)
Performer: La Tropicana Orchestra
12. Arthur and Marilyn (Composer Alexandre Desplat; Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
13. Marilyn Alone (Composer Alexandre Desplat; Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
Piano: Lang Lang
14. Arthur’s Notebook (Composer/Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
15. Vivian Screens Marilyn (Composer/Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
16. The Getaway (Composer Alexandre Desplat; Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
17. You Stepped Out Of A Dream Performer: Nat King Cole
18. Eton Schoolyard (Composer/Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
19. Autumn Leaves Performer: Nat King Cole
20. Overdose (Composer/Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
21. Colin’s Heartbreak (Composer Alexandre Desplat; Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
22. Colin and Marilyn (Composer Alexandre Desplat; Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
23. It’s a Wrap, I found a Dream – Medley (Composer/Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
Performer: Michelle Williams / Lang Lang
24. Such Stuff That Dreams Are Made of (Composer Conrad Pope)
25. Remembering Marilyn (Composer Alexandre Desplat; Orchestrator/Arranger Conrad Pope)
Piano: Lang Lang
26. That Old Black Magic Performer: Michelle Williams
The original soundtrack albums for Niagara and River of No Return have been released on a compilation CD by the Intrada label. Niagara includes The Starlighters’ version of ‘Kiss’, as requested by Marilyn in the movie. Marilyn’s own recordings do not appear on the CD, but these are already widely available.
The compilation was released in February in a limited collection of only 1000, and unfortunately, it has already sold out. However, used copies can be found on Ebay. Hopefully Intrada will consider a reissue?
“RIVER OF NO RETURN / NIAGARA
Label: Intrada Special Collection Volume 157
Date: 1954 / 1953
Time = 62:12
World premiere release of two soundtracks for classic 20th Century-Fox films starring Marilyn Monroe. RIVER OF NO RETURN is 1954 Otto Preminger river journey/adventure tale co-starring Robert Mitchum, Rory Calhoun. Rich, evocative score by veteran Fox composers Lionel Newman, Leigh Harline, Cyril J. Mockridge puts emphasis on action with raft rescues, Indian attacks, more. Presented in solid stereo from excellent condition master elements. Classic title song by Tennessee Ernie Ford appears as well. (Monroe vocals are controlled by another company and were not available for this CD.) NIAGARA is 1953 Henry Hathaway tale of murder set at famous falls, co-starring Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters. Sol Kaplan creates dark, lurid score for orchestra, emphasizing noir-ish climate. Presented in mono as recorded for film. Album produced by Nick Redman, informative liner notes by Julie Kirgo. Lionel Newman conducts. Intrada Special Collection release limited to 1000 copies! SOLD OUT!”
Thanks to Tony D at Everlasting Star
Alex North composed the haunting soundtrack to The Misfits, and other classic films including A Streetcar Named Desire, Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
A tribute to North, featuring a screening of The Misfits, will take place in the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre (the same venue where the Oscar nominations are announced each year), on Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, on Friday, September 24th at 7.30 pm.
As with all Misfits-related events, I wish I could be there. The soundtrack is available on CD.