PE0349. ORIGINAL CAST! 100 Years of the American Musical Theater - The Fifties - Part 2, incl. Gwen Verdon, Judy Tyler, Julie Andrews, Stanley Halloway, Rex Harrison, Sammy Davis Jr., Art Lund, Jo Sullivan, Robert Weede, Judy Holliday, Sydney Chaplin, Robert Rounseville, Barbara Cook, Ethel Merman, Eddie Bracken, Robert Preston, Elaine Stritch, Pat Suzuki, Richard Kiley, Ellen Hanley, Dolores Gray, Eileen Herley, Mary Martin, Theodore Bikel, etc. Metropolitan Opera Guild MET 806, with 90pp. booklet. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! [Most rare to be found in NEW Condition!]
“These two volumes, two CDs each, with 45 songs and 41 songs each, respectively, are astonishing documents to the last decade in which the Broadway musical was unchallenged as the major source of America's most sophisticated popular songs. The material on Volume One, in particular, includes the familiar -- Call Me Madam, Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls, The King and I, The Most Happy Fella, Pal Joey, Can-Can, Kismet, Li'l Abner, Porgy and Bess, Silk Stockings -- spiced by two versions of Peter Pan. Boris Karloff is featured on one track from the cast recording of the Leonard Bernstein-composed version (starring Jean Arthur) from 1951; Mary Martin is in the more familiar adaptation. Some of the performers represented will surprise those listeners who come from a television background -- Stubby Kaye and Johnny Silver (visible in lots of episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show) in a duet on "Guys and Dolls" on Volume One, and Judy Tyler (better known to Howdy Doody fans as Princess Summerfallwinterspring, and Elvis' leading lady in Jailhouse Rock) doing "Everybody's Got a Home But Me" from Pipe Dream, Rodgers & Hammerstein's biggest flop, on Volume Two. The failures, as usual, are the most interesting parts of any collection such as this -- the topical comedy Flahooley, the John Steinbeck-based Pipe Dream, the Walter Kerr-spawned Goldilocks, the ultra-obscure Whoop-Up, and the 1920s throwback Ankles Aweigh. The latter's one cut, "Walk Like a Sailor," is a pop cultist's paradise, sung by old-time stage comic Lew Parker (best-known as Ann Marie's father on That Girl), Jane Kean (who at that time was part of an act with her sister Betty, was often seen in those days on the arm of columnist Walter Winchell, and later replaced Joyce Randolph as Trixie Norton on the Jackie Gleason Show's 1960s-era Honeymooners shows), and ex-Dead End Kid Gabriel Dell. The annotation is eminently readable, yet exhaustive in its detail on both volumes, and the mix of the pleasingly familiar and the astonishing rarities is in perfect balance on both volumes. And the sound ranges from good to excellent on these two fine collections.”
- Bruce Eder, allmusic.com
"The Metropolitan Opera Guild inaugurated a series of compilation albums of music from Broadway musicals with this two-CD set. The recordings come from the vaults of MCA, Sony, and Capitol, and 32 shows are represented on 45 selections in 141 minutes. That includes performers such as Ethel Merman, Pearl Bailey, Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, Barbara Cook, Elaine Stritch, Jack Cassidy, Rosalind Russell, Richard Kiley, Alfred Drake, Kay Ballard, John Raitt, Mary Martin, Ezio Pinza, and Eartha Kitt, and songs such as "I Have Dreamed," "They Call The Wind Maria," "No Other Love," "Never Never Land," and "You Took Advantage Of Me." But the real delight of the set is finding obscure songs and singers who illuminate the era. The anthology approach is of course somewhat jarring when it abbreviates shows that have already been edited down for their respective cast albums, but especially for the newcomer (and much of this stuff has been out of print for decades) this album will open up the world of Broadway during the early part of its golden age. (A 90-page CD booklet written by Paul Gruber annotates the selections.)"
William Ruhlmann, allmusic.com