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Coming up RosesThe Broadway Musical in the 1950s$
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Ethan Mordden

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140583.001.0001

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The Street, 1956

The Street, 1956

(p.129) 9 The Street, 1956
Coming up Roses

Ethan Mordden

Oxford University Press

The problem with The Vamp (1955) was not Carol Channing. In fact, in this era, the problem with star vehicles was never the star. While Channing won unqualified raves, the musical itself was described as “the loudest, fastest, and most boring musical comedy in some time,” by Henry Hewes in the Saturday Review; “really no good at all,” said Wolcott Gibbs in The New Yorker. Even Ethel Merman had a financial failure, though it acted like a hit—Happy Hunting (1956), which ran a year, at first to soldout houses. If we except such obscure and unpardonable misses as Buttrio Square (1952), Carnival in Flanders (1953), Hit the Trail (1954), Shangri-La (1956), Rumple (1957), and especially Portofino (1958), by all accounts the worst musical of the decade, Happy Hunting must have the most terrible libretto perpetrated in this time. Other musicals during the period are discussed.

Keywords:   libretto, star vehicles, Carol Channing, The Vamp, Ethel Merman, Happy Hunting

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