Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Legends of Broadway

In 1962, Carol Burnett was one of America’s fastest-rising comedy stars, having reigned on Broadway as a brassy princess in Once Upon a Mattress and endeared herself to the rest of America as a regular on The Garry Moore Show. Julie Andrews shared a stage pedigree with Burnett, a performer since childhood and the originator of iconic roles in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady and Camelot.  When Andrews teamed with Burnett as a guest on Moore’s program, the chemistry was all too evident.  Burnett told Good Housekeeping in 1963: “In the first five minutes of rehearsal, as eyewitnesses have since reported, it became quite clear to the whole company that one of those things was happening on stage that ‘ardly ever ‘appens between two female performers. There was no jealousy, no upstaging, no competition. Whether it’ sour chemistry or simply that we’re the same kind of nut – as Lou [Wilson, Andrews’ then-manager] said that night – we seem to be at our best in each other’s company.  The next morning everybody was on the phone persuading us to do a one-hour TV special, which eventually (in June, 1962) became Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall.”  The soundtrack to the special was released by Columbia Records, and briefly saw CD issue in 1989.  Come April 3, Masterworks Broadway will celebrate 50 years of the program’s debut with the new release The CBS Television Specials: Live at Carnegie Hall/Live at Lincoln Center, uniting the original 1962 special and the duo’s 1971 follow-up on 2 CDs.


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