Chapter

Musical Comedy Meets Its Masters

Frederick Nolan

in Lorenz Hart

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780195102895
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853212 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195102895.003.0031
Musical Comedy Meets Its Masters

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I Married an Angel — “With 50 Lovely Dancing Angels” — opened at the Shubert Theatre in New York on May 1938. To Richard Rodgers, it seemed the show was dying on its feet: the Edgar Bergen-Charlie McCarthy skit didn't work; Vivienne Segal's soaring soprano was muted by a heavy cold; the laughs were few and far between, the applause perfunctory. He left the theatre convinced the show had flopped. He could not have been more wrong. The critics raved, notably Brooks Atkinson, who declared, “Musical comedy has met its masters, and they have reared back and passed a Forty-fourth Street miracle.” Josh Logan recalled how they all rushed about gleefully quoting that one at each other: all, that is, except Lorenz Hart, who refused to believe Atkinson meant what he had said.

Keywords: Richard Rodgers; Angel; Edgar Bergen; Charlie McCarthy; Vivienne Segal; Brooks Atkinson; musical comedy; masters; Josh Logan; Lorenz Hart

Chapter.  3760 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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