On this day in classical music: Jaromir Weinberger’s opera “Schwanda the Bagpiper” was given its premiere in Prague in 1927. Its use of Czech folk material made it known throughout Eastern Europe. Today, its rousing “Polka and Fugue” are popular in the concert hall, much more so than the opera itself. Listen to the “Polka and Fugue” performed by the New York Philharmonic under Dimitri Mitropoulos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgbhuQXNst8
On this day in the musical theater: It took 58 years for the popular 1940 film “Philadelphia Story” to make to the stage. In between came a 1956 film, titled “High Society.” The stage version, which went by the name “High Society,” featured a musical score that brought together Cole Porter classics from “Paris,” “Red, Hot and Blue,” “Can Can,” “Panama Hattie” and “Fifty Million Frenchman.” The Broadway version only lasted 18 weeks but native Oklahoman Stacey Logan was the standby for Melissa Errico’s Tracy Samantha Lord.
Musical musings: Turning movie musicals like “Victor/Victoria” into stage musicals rarely works, as illustrated by such examples as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Gigi,” “State Fair,” “High Society,” and the two dance movies turned into singing shows: “Footloose” and “Saturday Night Fever.” None of these shows intended to break new ground, but they also didn’t seem to know how to even if they’d wanted to. At best they did only decent business, which is not sufficient to keep a big show running long enough to pay off its initial investment. None of them managed to do so. – From “No Legs, No Jokes, No Chance,” by Sheldon Patinkin.