AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATRE {ALAN JAY LERNER, RICHARD BURTON, EDWARD MULHARE} (TV)

Summary

One in this educational public affairs series that traces the origins and development of the American musical theater and examines the careers and contributions of the creative artists who have made the musical a native American art form. In an informal workshop setting, New York City high school students meet the composers, lyricists and performers who have shaped the American musical and question them about their work. Lyricist/librettist Alan Jay Lerner and actors Edward Mulhare and Richard Burton are the guests on this edition, which examines Lerner's work on the musicals "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot." The program opens with the CBS Orchestra playing "I Could Have Danced All Night." Host Jim Morske introduces Lerner who divulges that what piqued his interest in George Bernard Shaw's play "Pygmalion" was not the "star" character of Eliza, but instead that of Henry Higgins; that the process of adapting that play to a musical involved retaining as much of the original play as possible; and that in developing songs for characters, he takes a single personality trait and expands it. Lerner confesses that he and composer Frederick Loewe did not want a trained singer for the role of Higgins because the character's principal trait is his love of speaking the English language correctly. Morske then introduces Mulhare who starred as Henry Higgins on Broadway for three years. Mulhare sings "Why Can't the English?" to illustrate Higgins's passion for the English language, and "I'm an Ordinary Man" to show his disdain for women. Next, Lerner speaks about how his interest in King Arthur led to his writing "Camelot," and of how he learned of Richard Burton's singing ability. Burton then joins the other guests and explains the difference between breath control for acting and singing; and why his role of King Arthur, the themes of the play, and the long speeches he recites are unusual in musical comedy. The program closes with the orchestra playing the title song from "Camelot." No commercials.

(This program contains technical problems. This represents the best copy of this program currently available to the Museum.)

Cataloging of this program was made possible by The Marc Haas and Helen Hotze Haas Foundation, 1998.

Details

  • NETWORK: WCBS-TV
  • DATE: May 14, 1961 Sunday 4:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:28:16
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:53170
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Interviews
  • SERIES RUN: WCBS (New York, NY) - TV series, 1959-1965
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Ned Cramer … Producer
    • Ethel Burns … Associate Producer
    • Neal Finn … Director
    • Frederick Loewe … Composer, For "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot"
    • Alan Jay Lerner … Lyricist, For "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot"
    • Irwin Kostal … Conductor
    • CBS Orchestra, The … Music Group
    • Jim Morske … Host
    • Edward Mulhare … Performer, Singer, Guest
    • Richard Burton … Guest
    • Alan Jay Lerner … Guest
    • Frederick Loewe
    • Laurence Olivier
    • George Bernard Shaw