LP0104. TAKE FIVE, Original 1957 Off-Broadway cast, w.Julius Monk, Ronny Graham. Offbeat Records O-4013. TAKE FIVE opened 10 Oct., 1957 at Upstairs at the Downstairs.
“In a series of New York supper clubs and cabarets - the Ruban Bleu in the early 1940's, the Downstairs, the Upstairs at the Downstairs and, in the late 1960's, Plaza 9 at the Plaza Hotel - Mr. Monk was the host, or régisseur (meaning stage manager), a title he preferred. In the heyday of cabaret comedy, he was the most celebrated maestro.
A man of prodigious panache, he was impeccable in his clothes, taste, manners and wit. His clubs were salons rather than saloons. For decades, young comics and singers nurtured their careers in Mr. Monk's shows and then moved on to Broadway or television. Sylvia Syms, Tammy Grimes, Alice Ghostley, Jane Connell, Jonathan Winters, Mary Louise Wilson and Liberace were among the many who performed for him. His writers included Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt, Sheldon Harnick, Carolyn Leigh and Ronny Graham.
Mr. Monk's shows were marked by their topicality. Long before there was a ‘Forbidden Broadway’, he was first with a spoof of a trend, fad, best seller, hit show, popular film or poll-winning politician. The sketches and songs were insouciant rather than savage. In a profile of Mr. Monk in THE NEW YORKER in 1992, Whitney Balliett remembered the elegance of his revues: ‘The women performers wore black cocktail dresses or black evening gowns, and the men wore tuxedos. The shows had a fast, hide-and-seek quality. Heads and arms and gloved hands popped out of a paneled front cloth and disappeared. . . . The only props were stools of various sizes’."
- MEL GUSSOW, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 22 Aug., 1995