It's A Bird ... It's A Plane ... It's Superman (1966 Original Broadway Cast)
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It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's Superman!! I've loved this album for about 40 years now. Thrilled to have it on CD....more info
Complications, accusations, cheap sensations, foundations I welcomed this score back into my life through the CD. This show was reissued by Columbia on vinyl in the 1970s. Listening to it, I couldn't believe it was a flop. (The overture is as good as All American.) My father suggested it opened just as the pop art fad was fading, and thus nobody wanted to see it just for the score, which is probably Strouse and Adams' best. The songs are almost insanely memorable, especially the ones written for Clark and Lois. The problem is that having two villians -- one of them Jack Cassidy -- threw the balance off, so the show isn't enough about Superman. This issue boasts some recordings of the writers singing songs deleted or slightly revised for the show, and thus it's a great gift for theater buffs. ...more info
A NICE AND RARE MUSICAL Considered a "cult" music by some specialists, this album is quite a treat. Some songs are beautiful ("It's Superman") and, as a whole, you have a nice, funny moment listening to it. Highly recommended to musical collectors since it is quite a rare and unique musical. I wonder why it flopped in New York......more info
Good music,but doesn't play on all players It's A Bird ... It's A Plane ... It's Superman (1966 Original Broadway Cast)
I like the CD, but it doesn't play on all CD players. Printed information in the CD case seems to be for the cassette version. People with older or fussier CD players may want to be aware of possible problems....more info
Broadway run NOT a Flop!!! Some reviewers below have attributed the short run of this Broadway musical to the obvious conclusion that it was a [commercial] flop.
NOT SO! It was a huge sell-out success [with an unprecedented four matinees per week in addition to the standard 6 nightlies per week], and would have continued for many years were it not for the ongoing suit between Superman's creators, Mssrs Siegel & Shuster, and DC Comics. Siegel and Shuster's lawyers served notice on the producers of the show that the profits would be frozen as being in question due to DC not having the right to option the character, and the legal situation was though so expensive to fight from the producers end that they folded the show. A similar situation forced another critically and commercial Broadway hit to cease: A Day In Hollywood A Night In The Ukraine, a musical revue which featured three young and brilliant actors succesfully playing the roles of the Marx Bros [especially the woman mime who played a male Harpo], was sadly sued out of existence by the heirs of the brothers.
As librettist/lyricist Dick Vosburgh puts in his liner notes to the original Broadway cast album, few could have dreamed that he, "a Marx [Brothers] obsessed New Jersey-born comedy writer living in England, would adapt [Anton Chekhov's play] The Bear as a musical in the [Marx Brothers'] Night at the Opera style, find a man capable of both playing the 'Chico' [Marx] role, and of writing the music [Frank Lazarus], open in a tiny off West End theater..., see it transfer to the West End..., win a couple of awards..., and wind up a Broadway hit directed and choreographed by Tommy Tune...." (Opening at the Golden Theatre in New York on May 1, 1980, the show ran a healthy 588 performances.)...more info
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a super CD! It's A Bird ... It's A Plane ... It's Superman (1966 Original Broadway Cast)has long been one of my favorite scores that wasn't a hit. In fact I directed an ill fated production in 1982. Comic stars Jack Cassidy and Linda Lavin out shine the leads of Patricia Marchand and Bob Holiday as Lois Lane and Clark/Superman but it is all a lot of fun.
Linda Lavin's "You've Got Possibilities" is an infectious treat. "It's Superman" is a very catchy Strouse tune. The whole show is a tongue in cheek gem. I especially love the overture....more info
Music Survives The Man Of Steel! Opening in 1966, the musical "It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman" ran for only 129 performances before disappearing into that great phone booth in the sky. Obviously it wasn't going to be giving "Cats" or "A Chorus Line" a run for their money but, to be honest about it, Superman wasn't really the most promising subject material for an on-stage musical.
Available on CD, the music for the production shows where most of the promise went. Especially in the Overture, which straddles the line between the basic jazzy and the attentively heroic. It makes for good music for changing into one's super-costume, as does the Entr'acte.
The rest of the music settles itself squarely on the talents of the performers, and it can't be denied that at least some effort went into gathering people who could sell songs with their voices. Bob Holiday's rich voice ably connects with the persona of The Man Of Steel undergoing a personal crisis, especially in the number "The Strongest Man In The World". And, in spite of all the competition available onstage, his clear tones can easily be heard in the Finale.
That competition, by the way, includes Lois Lane, here being assayed by Patricia Marand's full-bodied voice warbling its way through numbers such as the wistful "It's Superman" and "What I've Always Wanted". Much better for her, though, are the all-too-brief comedic jibes she exchanges with veteran actor Jack Cassidy during his number "You're The Woman For The Man" (listening to this song one can almost see Cassidy's patented Lothario grin as he tries to put the moves on Lois).
(The CD, by the way, also includes bonus tracks of songs which composers Charles Strouse and Lee Adams wanted for the play but which were subsequently dropped. One of them, "Dot Dot Dot", is worth listening to if only to imagine what Cassidy's voice and character persona could've done with it.)
Other pieces worth listening to include a reprise of "It's Superman" where most of the company hold forth on the subject of everyone's favorite Kryptonian, as well as the number "You've Got Possibilities" which bears mention if only for the fact that, out of all the numbers in the production, it achieved that Holiest Of Holies: eventually being used in a television commercial! And for a quick and undeniably unique lesson in Nobel Prize winners, it'd be difficult to top Michael O'Sullivan's rendition of "Revenge".
Admittedly the overall effect will be of severe interest for those with one foot firmly strolling down old school Broadway. And it won't make people forget the soundtracks of John Williams. But the music deserves to rise above the level of a curiosity and, as part of the overall Superman legend, cannot be entirely ignored. ...more info
Superman The Musical This is a weird little oddity to say the least. So let's take the world's greatest superhero and add all the classic musical elements and what do you get: "It's A Bird ... It's A Plane ... It's Superman". The more appropiate title would have been "Superman The Musical". Because that is exactly what this is.
Overall this is your typical Broadway muscial comedy. The music, lyrics, everything points to that fact. Not to mention the fact that the book of the play was written by none other then Superman The Movie screenwriters David Newman and Richard Benton. It seems to be nothing more then pure camp to me. Not that the cast can't sing. They certainly can. But the problem is (at least from listening to the CD and looking at the pictures in the booklet) that Superman is one of those things that never should have been a musical. The story makes even less logical sense then say Superman III (can't find a good plot summary on the internet and the one in the booklet is both copyrighted and too long for me to type)!
It's not bad as a musical. But honestly some of the lyrics make no sense example being Superman in the song "Pow! Bam! Zonk!" going "I could use a t-bone steak / I haven't felt this could sense Krypton knows when". What the heck?!?! This doesn't sound remotly like something Superman should say let along sing! As I said this is a weird little oddity.
Then there is Harold "Hal" Prince the direcotr. Now let's condier some of the lays of his illustrious carrer such as West Side Story, On the Twentieth Century, Evita, and the classic Andrew Llyod Webber version of The Phantom Of The Opera. How in the world did somebody as good as this guy lead up this turkey? After all the musical was by all accounts a dud, lasting only 129 performances.
My opinion is that this was a bad idea badly executed. Is it worth a listen? Sure if you're a die-hard Superman or Broadway fan. Otherwise, you probably want to avoid this. ...more info
SUPER DUPER!! I especially LOVE this album because I was a TOTAL Superman freak as a kid, AND my mother provided the wonderful treat of seeing the show, during its very brief run at the Alvin Theatre in New York ; I was 11.
The cast includes Linda Lavin, who played the single mom waitress and title character on TV's Alice from 1976 to 1985. Her character in this show, sensing immense potential in Clark Kent, sings what many would agree is the best song in the show: "You've Got Possibilities."
Jack Cassidy (he was married to Shirley Jones and was the father of the Cassidy kids who, with Jones as the mother, were TVs Partridge Family) plays an interesting permutation of Lex Luthor; he plays to the campy hilt Super nemesis Max Mencken, a jaundiced journalist who's sure he's much more deserving of all the attention Superman gets. He targets the hero's psuper psyche in a way that makes the show refreshingly down to earth in a very funny way ("So Long Big Guy") Cassidy's sweet, pure voice will make your ears smile from head to toe.
Bob Holiday (who now has a non-solitary fortress on the net) is The Man, and his big, booming, beautiful voice is perfect for the part.
Check out the song clips -- to my ears, the music is SUPERlative. Have a party.
It's Superman The CD is realy grate that is if you are a Superman fan. Why I realy lik It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman(1966 Original Broadway Cast)is because it dilivers all kinds of imochons while you listen to it. The other reson I realy like it is beacuse I am a big Superman Fan....more info
A Gem of a Flop There are so many things that could have made this musical really good. Too bad none of them happened! If you love farce, you'll HAVE to love this one....more info
Interesting Legacy Of A Broadway Misfire Because the book writers for this 1966 flop musical (only 129 performances) also co-wrote the Christopher Reeve movies, some like composer Charles Strouse have suggested that the idea was ahead of its time. Actually what this fails to take into account is that what made the Reeve movies a success were the elements that were totally lacking in the musical. The gritty straightforwardness of Superman's origins, and more importantly the faithful depiction of many Superman characters that the show also jettisoned (Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olson and the all but invisible in the show Perry White). The only element of the Broadway show that really made it into the film was the depiction of Clark Kent as a bumbling Harold Lloyd type. It's rather telling that when the Newmans became sole screenwriters for "Superman 3" the series tanked for all intents and purposes.
Back to the musical. There are some good songs, especially "It's Superman" and "You've Got Possibilities" but overall it's not one of Strouse's best. Also, the libretto suffers from serious structural problems, particularly in making Max Menken (Jack Cassidy) the centerpiece. If the show isn't first and foremost about Superman then you're ultimately cheating the audience. In addition, there is a very intrusive and pointless subplot of Lois becoming romantically involved with the villainous Dr. Sedgwick's assistant (note to the listener of the CD. This key subplot is totally missed in the liner notes making them very unreliable in terms of understanding the songs if one hasn't seen the show). All in all, Superman the musical seems to come off like an evening of fun but lacking the all important sense of understanding the character's background and the whole Superman mythos.
The bonus tracks of cut songs from an Adams and Strouse demo record are interesting not just for what they are but for what they tell us about how theater people sometimes haven't a clue as to the mindsets of their audience. The first song "Dot, Dot, Dot" meant for Max as a showstopping number that was also their send-up of Walter Winchell had to be cut after the first preview because it got no reaction whatsoever to everyone's shock. Actually listening to it it's easy to see why the audience didn't laugh or react because it is loaded with show biz inside jokes, naming people the average ticket buyer wouldn't have a clue about (case in point, a reference to obscure film producer Jennings Lang). Strouse and Adams forgot that what goes over with your friends at a cocktail party isn't going to be understood or appreciated by the mass audience who pays to see your final results performed on stage.
The Superman musical has lived on in a weak 1975 TV version, and is apparently still a favorite for the high school and community theater crowd, but don't ever expect Broadway to give it another chance again because this cast album reveals a show that for all its charms was seriously off kilter ultimately in its focus. ...more info
Supes flies on the Great White Way "Superman: The Musical?" You might claim it sounds like a bad idea. And as a life-long Superman fan, I would agree. But when I found out about this show, I rushed to find the soundtrack. Fearing what would happen to Superman without the music of John Williams. But the Man of Steel soars with the music of Strouse and Adams, the same composers of "Bye Bye Birdie." The music is delightfully simple, with no hard edges or philosophical meanings. The lyrics and melodies connote an age of innocence, a comic book culture in which simple actions offered role models and uncomplicated heroes. The CD is reasonably priced with 23 tracks, including 4 bonus tracks. The booklet comes with a synopsis of the show and pictures from the production. A must for fans of Broadway, obscure musicals, or Superman fans....more info
Not quite invulnerable, but a lot of fun! I had heard of this, this odd joining of comics and theater, but I never expected to get to hear the actual songs for a show that fizzled a few years before I was even born. I imagine its a testament to the enduring popularity of the character that even what was perceived as a mistake at the time can be enjoyed (yes, enjoyed!) nearly forty years later. I haven't seen the play (obviously), so I don't know the story. From the liner notes, I can tell that there was an evil scientist and a competitive columnist who teamed up to destroy Superman, and a group of Chinese acrobats who kidnap Lois Lane, but I can't quite imagine how all of it fits together. The songs, however, are mostly timeless and entertaining. Linda Lavin's performance of "You've Got Possibilities" is worth the cost of the cd. Most of Superman's dialog is two dimensional, but it is indicative of the character's development in the sixties. In fact, the only really oddball song is "It's Super Nice." It would fit in with an "Austin Powers" movie, but doesn't work here. I recommend the cd for musical buffs and comic book geeks alike. Being both of those myself, I got a real kick out of it....more info
Superman was a great show I was lucky enough to have seen "Superman" on Broadway and it was one of the most enjoyable times I've had in a Broaway theater. Yes, it had it's faults, but as a show that entertained an audience, it was (to use a cliche) SUPER. I left the theater smiling and humming the music. There were great flying sequences, break apart props as Superman accomplished his feats, great cheorography including the fights. There was one very funny bit during one of Clark Kent's songs, a telephone booth followed him around the stage waiting for him to get in and change to Superman. A really FUN show.
One of the biggest faults was that the starring role was NOT Superman, but that of an unscrupulous newspaper columunist. Jack Cassidy was given star billing for this part over Bob Holiday as Clark Kent/Superman. This pulled the show somewhat out of focus.Good as Cassidy was, it was wrong to emphasize his part.
Bob Holiday was wonderful in the title role. It's a shame that he didn't go on to other roles. He was every inch Superman and had a great voice and imposing presance. He was able to convincingly create two different characters - Kent and Superman - in one performance. However, the major musical numbers were given to Cassidy as the "star".
One of the true joys of the show was Linda Lavin. Her two songs were absolute show stoppers. "You've Got Possibilities" is a really great show tune. It was obvious she would be the major star she has become. Her performance alone, was a reason to see this show.
The other female lead, Patricia Marand, was also wonderful, again, she should have gone on to other Broadway shows. I did see her opposite Yul Brynner in a tour of "King and I" as Anna and she was magnificent. She is drop dead beautiful, a wonderful actress and singer.
There were many reasons "Superman" did not make it on Broadway - it should have - and for a complete run down check out Ken Mandlebaum's book on Broadway failures "Not Since Carrie".
It is wonderful to have this CD of a show that should have been a classic....more info
A Great Album of a Nearly-Great Show SUPERMAN is one of those flop musicals that was just so, so, so close to being a hit. It had all the right ingredients: A very funny book (by Robert Benton and David Newman, who would hit it big the next year as screenwriters of BONNIE AND CLYDE), a tuneful score with at least one obvious hit ("You've Got Possibilities"), a fine cast, a distinctive production, and a rave review from the New York TIMES. So what happened? Basically, the story was weak. (Story counts; Strouse and Adams' next show, APPLAUSE, had a disappointing score and book, but the strength of its storyline helped carry it to the hit column.) The main plot hooks -- Superman doubting himself; Lois Lane considering marrying someone else -- weren't particularly interesting, and the show was dominated to an inordinate extent by characters who were really peripheral: Jack Cassidy as a Winchell-type columnist and Linda Lavin as his secretary. Maybe some of the show's problems were due to Harold Prince's relative inexperience as a director. If Newman and Benton would reunite to strengthen the story just a little (without losing too many of the hilarious lines from their book), this show really could be the hit it should have been in 1966.
Until then, we have the album, and it's great. Except for one horrible number ("It's Super Nice," which apparently was even worse onstage), it doesn't sound like a flop; Strouse and Adams are at their considerable peak with wonderful tunes and witty lyrics (Lois sings of Superman: "Tell me please, when will he learn it's not some silly fly-by-night affair?"). The album is one of the best ever produced by Columbia's Goddard Lieberson, with great stereo sound, superb performances (especially from Cassidy and Lavin), and somewhat more dialogue than usual -- so we get such goodies as Cassidy's hilarious speeches in his two solos. Plus the CD has bonus tracks in the form of demo recordings of cut songs played and sung by Strouse, including the amusing (if dramatically irrelevant) "Dot Dot Dot." This CD was one of the best in the long-defunct Sony Broadway series, and it is one of the most entertaining cast albums of any flop show. It's too bad that the CD couldn't reproduce the brilliant back cover of the original LP (done in the form of an issue of the "Daily Planet"), but you can't have everything. Get the CD and enjoy....more info
Superman Hits Broadway and The Music Scene! "Superman"has been in every aspect of the entertainment industry.Radio,Movie cartoons,Two movie serials(that Featured the first actor to play him:Kirk Alyn),five feature films,two live action hit tv series,numerious tv cartoons.But Now? "The Man Of Steel"makes the ultimate leap to the legitmate stage in a musical comedy that pre-dates ABC TV's"BatMan"craze by a few weeks."It's A Bird,It's A Plane,It's Superman!"was a hit on Broadway.Due to the songs from it's two tunesmiths:Charlie Strouse & Lee Adams.And from the cast members.Who give the songs,meaning ,heart and a sense of fun.Though "It's Superman!"had a brief life at NYC's:Alvin Theater"(Now known as The Neil Simon Theater)in l966.The show's popularity with audiences can be heard again thru this wonderful CD edition of the production's orginal cast album.Bob Holliday is inspiring in his dual portrayal of "Clark Kent & Superman"As Mr.Holliday performs"Doing Good!"(A Superhero's Creado")and the tradgitic Ballard"Why Must The Strongest Man In The World?!"."Pat Merrand is charming as "Lois Lane"(Especially when Ms.Merrand performs"What I've Always Wanted!").Linda Lavin recreates her Tony award winning performance of the show's hit Tune"You've Got Possiblities!"and "Oh! Do You Love You!"(Ms.Lavin's sateric ode to Arrogance and Vainity).There are also some memorable performances from Don Chastian (Who performs:We Don't Matter At All! With Ms.Merrand),Mike O'Sullivan gives pogience to "Revenge!"and Shares a musical moment with Jack Cassidy for "You've Got What I Need Baby!"(The Super Villian's Anthem)and Jack Cassidy displays his charm ,witt and ego as Conniving,vendictive and ego tripping gossip collumnist "Max Menkins in"You're The Woman For The Man!"and"So Long Big Guy!".This Cd also showcases some tunes that never appeared in the original Broadway production"Dot Dot Dot..End Of Paragraph!"and some others performed by Strouse and Adams.For Anyone.Who has seen this musical on Broadway(and I was one of those lucky kids.Who enjoyed this show back in l966).It's trip back to classic theater.For those..Who have never seen "It's Superman!"or who enjoy anything connected to Segal And Shuster's imortal Superhero? This is a treat that You'll want to share with your family,friends and fellow "Superman"and Musical theater buffs.Kevin S.Butler Mamaroneck,New York....more info
A Great Slice of 60's Camp! This is one of my favorite cast albums, and one of those shows that I'll always wish I had been able to see in its original Broadway incarnation. Although there's nothing spectacularly good about it, to be frank, I do think the music is quite hummable and pretty and the lyrics are often very clever. I guess the main reason I like it so much is that it's just silly, campy fun that feels absolutely anchored in 1966 -- the year it ran on Broadway. Whenever I listen to it, I'm automatically transported back to the mid-60's -- an era of Lost in Space, Batman, the Pan Am Building, the great space race and super-groovy dance music.
To get a good feel for the style of the show, try listening to some of the tracks from it. (Since they're not available on this Amazon page, you might try doing an Internet search for "superman musical" and you're sure to find a few fan sites with audio tracks from the original cast album. However, make sure you buy it from good old Amazon.com!) Start with track 4, "It's Superman", Lois Lane's lament about how difficult it is to love a strong, silent type like Superman. It makes me smile every time I hear it, because even though it's a very pretty song with a silly, tongue-in-cheek lyric, it's sung in a completely earnest style, making it the height of campy sincerity.
The other track which I think really captures the tone of the show -- and firmly places it in its era -- is track 10, "It's Super Nice", the closing number of Act I. It's the authors' attempt to prove how contemporary and cool they were, by including 60's-style psychedelic dance music. I'm sure it was the height of Establishment hip back then, but today, it's more enjoyable as a campy artifact from a more innocent time.
This style of show may not be your cup of tea, and you might actually find it irritating -- I notice someone here refers to it as unexciting, boring and dumb. Ouch! If, however, you're a fan of mid-60's fluff, and are looking for something that is sweet and silly and fun, this is definitely a show for you. Enjoy!...more info
It's a musical, it's a recording, it's super, Strouse! Just received that recording and it's a pure delight! The Music's a mixture of Rock'n-Rollesque Motifs a l¨¤ Bye Bye Birdie and swinging songs a l¨¤ All American. The best Songs: maybe "It's Superman", "We don`t matter at all", "The Woman for the Man", "I've got what you need" and the greatly hilarious "You've got possibilities". And not to forget the bonus tracks with Strouse and Adams singing (mostly) left out songs. Strange: Strouse's voice sounds very differently to his voice on the bonus tracks of "Applause". Anyway: Go and buy it!!!!!!!!...more info
Big, Brassy and Brilliant Charles Strouse is one of the best composers you could ask for (even if he is a pretty average singer - as the bonus tracks of this CD will attest). The music he has written for Superman is very brassy, full of energy and quite beautiful in places. If the lyrics to most of the songs weren't so obviously confining (a song about Superman ignoring Lois can only ever be about Superman ignoring Lois) they would have major singers clamouring all over them. The lyrics are well suited to the topic, but one can't help wishing there was a completely instrumental version, just to hear the beautiful horn music behind Lois' first solo, or the smooth, sashaying music behind Linda Lavin's songs. Thoroughly recommended. A word of warning though, it gets in your blood, and irritates the hell out of the people around you (who might not want to hear it for the sixteenth time in a week)....more info
Superman? More Like Wonder Woman! Even though she only has two songs on this cd Linda Lavin steals the recording, proving why we all loved her as Alice. It would be worth it just for her, but fortunately the rest of the cd is entertaining. The lyrics are hilarious....more info
Fast, funny and hip musical If you didn't think that the tale of Superman could be turned into a musical, well, you are in for a surprise. This is an old-style musical with it's toungue firmly planted in its cheek-no melodrama here. Our high school performed this musical, and it was the most fun I ever had. The songs are goofy and funny, and the story is just as fun. This goes along side Charles Strouse's "Bye Bye Birdie" as a pure, fun-filled delight. It is a hip and cool musical, and this soundtrack is an excellent primer to the actual show....more info