I'd hate to be a kid nowadays. Laws are being passed by people to prevent kids from doing things that they themselves have done. Now we can't have the ice cream truck interrupting Fear Factor or blocking our view or, heaven forbid, having kids run down the street following them. Asshole law, created by assholes.
Magical memories -- and a Danny Thomas spit-take: Bravissimo to Dennis Brown for a well-written, thought-provoking article exposing the lackadaisical state of the Muny under the Paul Blake regime ["Muny Musings," August 20]. Over the last few years, I brought similar concerns directly to Muny management and staff, but to no avail. Management claims there is not enough new "product" available each season for this wonderful outdoor venue, so they have to go back and recycle the tried-and-true favorites.
When asked about the minuscule seven-week season, the Muny powers-that-be said they could not get enough concessionaires and ushers to work a longer season that would extend into the school year. Funny, but when I was in high school twenty-plus years ago, most of my cohorts had after-school and weekend jobs where we mopped floors and flipped burgers for three bucks an hour.
My follow-up inquiry about reviving the Muny's summer concert series was greeted with the equivalent of a Danny Thomas spit-take. After spending a ton of money on remodeling, the staff doesn't want to ruin their precious seats by holding concerts, even by artists perfectly suited to this venue. A 1986 Kenny Loggins concert at the Muny remains a magical memory for me to this day.
The Muny is an asset to St. Louis, but to constantly fill it with the same shows over and over again and to keep it open for a mere 49 days a year is a crime against the city and the theatergoing public in general.
Oh, and About the Muny...
The song remains the same: I'm curious about what might have compelled Dennis Brown to write that the Muny's current artistic administration's policy "seems to be that nothing good happened in Forest Park prior to 1990" ["Some Enchanted Evening," July 16].
It's hard to believe that anyone involved in the Muny's current artistic administration would say or even believe such a thing. Granted that in the twenty-year period prior to 1990 (and the arrival of the current artistic administration), the Muny had succumbed to an indifference that began to evidence itself both in production value and in box-office response. But surely you must know that for most of the first half-century of its life, the St. Louis Municipal Opera in Forest Park reigned as the most famous, the most successful and arguably the finest summertime producer of musical theater in the entire country. Perhaps that was before your time, but it's a history that still shines and one that continues to be worthy of our attention. As I wrote previously ["Letters," July 9], it's truly remarkable how once again the greatness that was the Muny's has returned -- along with its audience.
By the way, I'm surprised to see Brown write that Rodgers & Hammerstein's song "Boys and Girls Like You and Me" was originally written for Meet Me in St. Louis. It's common knowledge in the industry that this song was in fact written for the original Broadway production of Oklahoma! Arthur Freed, who wanted terribly to produce the film of Oklahoma! (but never got to) did manage to procure the film rights to this song. He placed it first in Meet Me in St. Louis, from which it was cut, and later found a more permanent home for it in Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Alfred Drake (Oklahoma!'s original Curly) recorded the song in 1943, and it was released with a supplement of additional material for that show's groundbreaking original cast album. The following year Judy Garland recorded (and filmed) the song for MGM. Her deleted rendition is included among the bonus tracks of various video releases of Meet Me in St. Louis as well as on its soundtrack recording. In 1960 it was added to the stage adaptation of Cinderella. First intended for Cinderella and the Prince, it was later given to the characters of the King and Queen. In 1996 "Boys and Girls Like You and Me" surfaced once again in the Broadway revival of State Fair.
Some songs just won't stay put.
Bruce Pomahac, director of music
The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization
New York, New York
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