All American (musical)

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All American
All American CD Cover.png
Original Broadway Cast Recording
MusicCharles Strouse
LyricsLee Adams
BookMel Brooks
BasisRobert Lewis Taylor's novel
Professor Fodorski
Productions1962 Broadway
 
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All American
All American CD Cover.png
Original Broadway Cast Recording
MusicCharles Strouse
LyricsLee Adams
BookMel Brooks
BasisRobert Lewis Taylor's novel
Professor Fodorski
Productions1962 Broadway

All American is a musical with a book by Mel Brooks, lyrics by Lee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse.

Based on the Robert Lewis Taylor novel Professor Fodorski, it is set on the campus of the fictional Southern Baptist Institute of Technology where the worlds of science and sports collide when the principles of engineering are applied to football strategies and football strategies are used to teach the principles of engineering. Hungarian immigrant Fodorski's techniques prove to be successful, resulting in a winning team, and he finds himself the target of a Madison Avenue ad man who wants to exploit his new-found fame.

Adams and Strouse, flush with the success of Bye Bye Birdie, and Brooks, still a relatively unknown television comedy writer, concocted an old-fashioned musical reminiscent of such lighthearted fare as Good News, albeit one with a gay subtext enhanced by director Joshua Logan, who filled the stage with his trademark beefcake scenes filled with flexing muscular men stripped to the waist. The show was beset with problems from the start. Brooks never completed the second act, leaving the task to Logan, a noted script doctor whose comedic sensibilities didn't jibe with those of Brooks, and the difference in writing styles was obvious. Additionally, Logan's emerging bipolar disorder was beginning to affect his work. Once Ray Bolger agreed to play Fodorski, the script was tailored to showcase his talents, but turning the musical into a star vehicle for a performer who no longer was the audience favorite he once was ultimately proved to be a mistake.

The Broadway production, choreographed by Danny Daniels, opened on March 19, 1962 at the Winter Garden Theatre, where it ran for 80 performances. In addition to Bolger, the cast included Ron Husmann, Anita Gillette, Fritz Weaver, and Eileen Herlie.

Tony Award nominations went to Bolger for Best Actor in a Musical and Logan for Best Direction of a Musical. An original cast album was released by Columbia Masterworks Records.

In 2006, Harbinger Records released a CD entitled All American Live Backers Audition, a recording of a session for potential financial investors featuring Adams and Strouse performing their score, including songs cut prior to opening night, with Adams providing a running commentary between the numbers.[1]

Musical numbers[edit]

Act I
  • Melt Us
  • What a Country!
  • Our Children
  • Animal Attraction
  • Our Children (Reprise)
  • We Speak the Same Language
  • I Can Teach Them!
  • It's Fun to Think
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Nightlife
  • I've Just Seen Her
  • Once Upon a Time (Reprise)
  • Physical Fitness
  • The Fight Song
  • What a Country!
Act II
  • I Couldn't Have Done It Alone
  • If I Were You
  • Have a Dream
  • I've Just Seen Him
  • I'm Fascinating
  • Once Upon a Time (Reprise)
  • The Real Me
  • It's Up to Me
  • The Fight Song (Reprise)
  • It's Fun to Think (Reprise)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Playbill Features: ON THE RECORD: Dream True and An All American Backer’s Audition

Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops by Ken Mandelbaum, published by St. Martin's Press (1991), page 56 (ISBN 0-312-06428-4)

External links[edit]