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Peter Pan, part 2 December 25, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Comden and Green, Musicals, Peter Pan, Theater.

The 1954 Broadway production of Peter Pan got mixed reviews and only ran 152 performances, although both Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard won Tony awards. Some people have claimed that the show was deliberately closed so that it could be shown on television. However, the first TV showing on March 7, 1955 was the highest-rated television show up to that time, and Martin won an Emmy.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Peter Pan was never broadcast annually. This version was repeated in 1963, 1966, and 1973, after which the videotape was misplaced and considered lost until it resurfaced and was again rebroadcast in 1989.

Music was written by Mark “Moose” Charlap and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, for incidental songs for a staging of the Barrie play at Los Angeles Light Opera. For Broadway, at the insistence of director and choreographer Jerome Robbins, composer Jules Styne and lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green were called in to write almost half the final score, including “Neverland”, “Wendy”, “Mysterious Lady”, “Ugg-a-Wugg”, “The Pow-Wow Polka”, “Distant Melody” and “Hook’s Waltz”.

Peter Pan is narrated by Lynn Fontanne who is a character in my screenplay Equity, and Mrs. Darling is played by Margalo Gillmore who was the daughter of Frank Gillmore, Actors Equity’s first secretary.

(NOTE: today’s section runs 16:34)

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