New Faces of 1952
New Faces of 1952 is a musical revue with songs and comedy skits. It ran on Broadway for nearly a year in 1952 and was then made into a motion picture in 1954. It helped jump start the careers of several young performers including Paul Lynde, Alice Ghostley, Eartha Kitt, Robert Clary, Carol Lawrence, Ronny Graham, performer/writer Mel Brooks (as Melvin Brooks), and lyricist Sheldon Harnick.
The revue opened on Broadway at the Royale Theatre on May 16, 1952 and ran for 365 performances. It was produced by Leonard Sillman, directed by John Murray Anderson and John Beal with choreography by Richard Barstow. The sketches were written by Graham and Brooks. The songs were composed by, among others, Harnick, Graham, Murray Grand and Arthur Siegel. The cast featured Graham, Kitt, Clary, Virginia Bosler, June Carroll, Virginia De Luce, Ghostley, Patricia Hammerlee, Lawrence, Lynde and Bill Milliken. De Luce and Graham won the 1952 Theatre World Award. The revue marked Kitt's Broadway debut, singing a "sultry rendition" of "Monotonous", about how boring a life of luxury was.
The Equity Library Theater, New York City, presented an off-Broadway revival in 1982, directed by Joseph Patton and featuring comedic performances by Lillian Graff, Philip Wm. McKinley and Alan Safier in the roles originated by Ghostley, Lynde and Graham, respectively. (Kitt joined the cast late in the run to re-create her original role.)
Another New Faces, the New Faces of 1956 ran on Broadway from June 14, 1956 through December 22, 1956. It was also conceived and produced by Sillman, with direction by David Tihmar and Paul Lynde (sketches). There were seven "New Faces" in all: 1934, 1936, 1943, 1962, and 1968. According to Kay Green, of the seven "New Faces" revues, the 1952 revue was the "most admired, both for the talent of the performers and the cleverness of the writing.
The original cast album was released on CD in 2009 (New Faces Of 1952 [Arkiv RCA-04441]).
"Of Fathers and Sons", written by Mel Brooks, was a parody of the Clifford Odets drama, Golden Boy with characters Mae, Harry, Stanley and Policeman; a pickpocket is angry with his son for not wanting to join the family business. In "Oedipus Goes South", Ronny Graham parodies Truman Capote. Paul Lynde, wrapped in bandages, bemoans his African safari. The narrative ballad "Guess Who I Saw Today" has June Carroll telling her husband that she saw him with another woman. In "The Bard and the Beard" the characters- Miss Leigh, Sir Laurence, Call Boy and Maid- try to remember what play they are supposed to be in.
Film New Faces
Retitled New Faces, the film version was directed by Harry Horner in Cinemascope and Eastmancolor, and released by Twentieth Century Fox on March 6, 1954. Ronny Graham, Eartha Kitt, Robert Clary, Alice Ghostley, June Carroll, Virginia De Luce, Carol Lawrence, Patricia Hammerlee, Paul Lynde, and Bill Millikin repeated their stage roles. The film was basically a reproduction of the stage revue with a thin plot added. The plot involved a producer and performer (Ronny Graham) in financial trouble on opening night. A wealthy Texan offers to help out, on the condition that his daughter be in the show.
The song order was changed and expanded to include:
- "Crazy, Man!" (Lynde, Graham)
- "Time for Tea" (Carroll, Siegel)
- "He Takes Me Off his Income Tax" (de Luce)
- "Convention Bound" (Graham)
- "Uska Dara"
- "C'est si bon"
- "Santa Baby" (Joan Javits, Philip Springer, Tony Springer)
However, some songs were omitted, or had their lyrics updated. The song "Natty Puts her Hair Up" was omitted, however, an abridged version was used as an instrumental in a dance routine. The song "Don't Fall Asleep" was omitted. The song "Love is a Simple thing" omitted the final verse, being the Charles Addams character verse, because it was too outdated. Also, an extra verse was added to "Lizzie Borden". Some of the lines in "Monotonous" were replaced and updated, omitting the line "Ike Likes Me", and being replaced with writing the "Dragnet" theme instead.
- Peterson, Bernard. A century of musicals in black and white (1993), Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-313-26657-3, p. 249
- Wilson, John."Stage:New Faces Of 1952 Revived"The New York Times, November 2, 1982
- New Faces of 1956 Internet Broadway Database, accessed August 11, 2009
- Green, Kay. Broadway musicals, show by show (1996), Hal Leonard Corporation, ISBN 0-7935-7750-0, p. 154
- Suskin, Steven."ON THE RECORD: New Faces of 1952 and New Faces of 1956" playbill.com, May 17, 2009
- Parish, James Robert. It's Good to Be the King, (2008), John Wiley and Sons, ISBN 0-470-22526-2, p. 89
- Green, Stanley. Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre (1980), Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-80113-2, p. 165
- Atkinson, Brooks. "At the Theatre", The New York Times, May 17, 1952, p. 23
- Plot and production information, 'New Faces' tcm.com, accessed August 11, 2009