In one form or another, I've seen more than 200 Broadway musicals. Yes, I've seen some of them in previews or on the road or in summer stock. But I've seen most of them on the Great White Way itself, the way they were meant to be seen.
Of course, it's near impossible to see every show, every season.
But there are some that I missed that I've never gotten over. Even now, years later, they gnaw at me.
In no particular order, here are ten that got away -- ten musicals I still long to see:
1) Mack & Mabel
Yeah, I know they say this Jerry Herman musical romance set in the early days of Hollywood was a flop. But the cast recording (with Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters) is brilliant and I wouldn't mind making up my own mind about the show, thank you.
It's said that Stephen Sondheim has been working on this failed Rodgers and Hammerstein show (a rarity, indeed) for years in an effort to fix it. But even the great Sondheim (who was mentored by Hammerstein) hasn't yet come up with the solution. I'd love to see what the puzzlement is really all about.
3) Sail Away
Did the great Noel Coward write many other musicals? I plead guilty; I don't know. But I do know that he wrote this one for the great Elaine Stritch and that's certainly reason enough to want to see it. Plus, book, music and lyrics by Coward. How bad could it be?
4) Aspects of Love
Even a "flop" by Andrew Llyod Webber is better than most, right? It ran for 399 performances on Broadway and more than 1,300 in London. They say Lord Andrew is still tinkering with this one and may yet revive it. I can only hope!
Michael Bennett, Michael Bennett, Michael Bennett. He's the one who dreamed it all up, choreographed it and directed it. And it had lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman -- one of only two musicals they ever did. Plus, that great song Fifty Percent. Wish I'd been there for the full 100% of this one.
6) Anyone Can Whistle
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and starring Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury and Harry Guardino with a book by Authur Laurents. Includes the title song as well as With So Little To Be Sure Of, There's A Parade In Town and Everybody Says Don't. We say, do, do do try it again!
7) No Strings
The first post Rodgers and Hammerstein show for which Richard Rodgers wrote both the music and lyrics. Not only was it the first modern musical to deal with an interracial love affair but it also introduced Diahann Carroll to the world, along with the haunting The Sweetest Sound and the beautiful title song. Wrap it in a brown paper package tied up in strings and send it back to Broadway!
8) Oh, Kay!
We're talking the 1990 version of the Gershwin musical produced by David Merrick which was technically Merrick's last solo production on Broadway. This version was set in Harlem and featured an all black cast. We were intrigued. But somehow, we never got to one of the 112 performances. Oh, damn!
9) Two By Two
The story of Noah and his arc set to music with Danny Kaye hamming it up as Noah. We would have loved to have seen the arc and, by the way, what about all those animals? Another post R&H show with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Martin Charnin. Noteworthy: The catchy title song and the ballad I Did Not Know A Day I Did Not Love You which was recorded by Tony Bennett.
10) The Pajama Game
The 2006 Roundabout revival of this classic Abe Burrows, Jerome Robbins musical starring Kelli O'Hara and Harry Connick, Jr. with three songs added by the original composer-lyricist Richard Adler and directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall was at the top of my list. But it was a limited run and I never got to make any of the 170 performances.