LP0171. WISH YOU WERE HERE (Harold Rome), Original 1952 Cast, w.Sheila Bond, Jack Cassidy, Patricia Marand, Sidney Armus, Paul Valentine, Harry Clark, Sammy Smith, and John Perkins. RCA early green label LOC 1007.
“WISH YOU WERE HERE is a musical with a book by Arthur Kober and Joshua Logan and music and lyrics by Harold Rome. The musical was adapted from Kober's 1937 play, HAVING WONDERFUL TIME, and revolves around a summer camp for adults.
The Broadway production opened at the Imperial Theatre on June 25, 1952 and closed on November 28, 1953 after 598 performances. Directed and choreographed by Logan, uncredited show doctoring was by Jerome Robbins, with scenic and lighting design by Jo Mielziner. The cast included Patricia Marand as Teddy Stern, Jack Cassidy as Chick Miller, Phyllis Newman as Sarah, Larry Blyden, Harry Clark as Herman Fabricant, Florence Henderson, Reid Shelton, Tom Tryon, Sheila Bond as Fay Fromkin, John Perkins as Harry ‘Muscles’ Green, Sidney Armus (as Itchy Flexner) and Paul Valentine.
Ken Bloom, in his book THE ROUTLEDGE GUIDE TO BROADWAY wrote that the initial reviews were not positive, and the creative people worked on strengthening the book. As good word-of-mouth built an audience, some critics returned to review the show again, and it had a long run.
According to Cecil Michener Smith and Glenn Litton (in their book MUSICAL COMEDY IN AMERICA), the original ‘warmth and unpretentiousness’ of the original play were lost in the ‘monumental stage spectacle. Their new wonder featured a center-stage swimming pool and every other extravagance for which they could invent an excuse:a basketball game... a fire...and a rain storm’.
In 1952, the original Broadway cast performed on The Ed Sullivan Show which, at the time, was known as ‘Toast of the Town’. This appearance by the cast played a major role in the show's ultimate success. An excerpt from the book, A REALLY BIG SHOW: A VISUAL HISTORY OF THE THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW notes: ‘The musical comedy, WISH YOU WERE HERE, was dead in the summer humidity until the producer sent its stars to rescue it on Sullivan. Ed even had one of the show's first sets constructed to accommodate those stars: a replica of a swimming pool, with mirrors to simulate depth. The next day, lines formed early at the theater, the closing notice came down, and WISH YOU WERE HERE lasted 587 additional performances’."
“Harold Rome was an American composer, lyricist, and writer for musical theater.
In 1937, he made his Broadway debut as co-writer, composer, and lyricist of the topical revue PINS AND NEEDLES. The show was a huge success, running for 1108 performances, and prompted George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart to invite Rome to collaborate on another topical revue, SING OUT THE NEWS, in 1938.
In the early 1940s, Rome wrote songs for several revues and shows, but it was not until after the end of World War II that he had his next real success with CALL ME MISTER. His first full-fledged musical was WISH YOU WERE HERE in 1952. Additional Broadway credits include FANNY (1954), DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1959), I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE (1962), in which Barbra Streisand made her Broadway debut, and THE ZULU AND THE ZAYDA (1965), which dealt with racial and religious intolerance.”