Original Cast Recording
|Basis||Early years of the Marx Brothers|
It provides a behind-the-scenes look at the early days of the Marx Brothers and their relationship with their mother, the driving force behind their ultimate success.
After an unusually long preview period lasting for sixty-four performances, during which the creators constantly tinkered with the troubled show, the Broadway production, directed by Stanley Prager and choreographed by Marc Breaux, opened on March 26, 1970 at the Imperial Theatre, where it ran for eighty performances.
The opening night cast included Shelley Winters as Minnie Marx and Lewis J. Stadlen, whose portrayal of Groucho won him both the Theatre World Award and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance in a Musical.
The score's one standout tune was "Mama, a Rainbow", which was recorded by Steve Lawrence and Jim Nabors soon after the show opened (The song is, ironically, sung by Adolph "Harpo" Marx, whose screen and stage persona was always silent). An original cast album was released by a somewhat obscure label, Project 3.
Groucho Marx received a playbill credit as the show's advisor; after the show flopped, it was revealed that Groucho had made no useful contributions, and had basically been paid off so that he would not raise any legal objections to the production. During its brief run, Groucho did help promote the musical by appearing on the Dick Cavett Show with the five young actors who portrayed the Marx boys in the show.