Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Once in Love With Amy"

On one of their New York City dates in early January, June and Art went to see Where’s Charley? at the St. James Theatre, a Broadway theater located two blocks from Times Square.

Where’s Charley? was a smash hit Broadway musical starring Ray Bolger, now primarily remembered for his role as the Scarecrow in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.  Where’s Charley? opened in October 1948 and ran for 798 performances, closing in September 1950.  The music was by Frank Loesser, a composer of many standards (including “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “Heart and Soul”) as well as the later Broadway hits Guys and Dolls and How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Ray Bolger in Where's Charley?
Many years later, Art remembered that Where’s Charley? was a good show, a bit unbalanced by Ray Bolger’s show-stopping performance of “Once in Love With Amy” early in Act Two.  Art said he never saw anything like the audience’s outpouring of love and enthusiasm.  The crowd went absolutely wild, giving a seemingly endless standing ovation and demanding multiple encore reprises.  Art remembered it as the single most memorable performance he ever saw on Broadway.

Here’s a YouTube clip of Ray Bolger doing “Once in Love With Amy” from the 1952 movie of Where’s Charley?  It appears to be very close in style to the original Broadway production, including the built-in reprise and sing-along.  However, Art said that much as he enjoyed the movie, it didn’t come close to capturing the incredible charisma of Bolger performing “Once in Love With Amy” live.

© 2011 Lee Price

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