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Robert Goulet, 1933-2007 November 1, 2007

Posted by Jeff in In memoriam, Musicals, Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers, Theater.

Robert Goulet and Barbara Cook, from a 1962 Bell Telephone Hour, performing songs from that season’s Broadway hits, including Goulet’s best-known role, Lancelot in Camelot.

When I brag to fellow Broadway fans of having seen the original production of Camelot, it usually isn’t Goulet’s performance that they envy me for. Had Goulet been born fifteen or twenty years earlier, he might have been one of the Broadway male voices we remember from the Golden Age along with the likes of Alfred Drake, William Tabbert and Richard Kiley. But he didn’t have their acting chops or ambition, and he was too late for Rodgers and Hammerstein. So eventually he ended up in Vegas, making jokes about his own (sizable) ego a la William Shatner. I haven’t read the memoirs of his second wife, Carol Lawrence (the original Maria in West Side Story), but she’s not the only one to have revealed him as not a particularly nice person.

This Carousel soliloquy is from a series of Broadway classics he did as specials for ABC in the 1970s. They were my first introduction to Carousel, Kiss Me Kate and Brigadoon, but once again it wasn’t Goulet I was tuning in to see. The best thing I can say is that I was led me to the original cast album where I quickly realized how much better John Raitt was to this:

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