Take Me Along

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Take Me Along!
Take Me Along playbill.jpg
1959 Broadway Playbill
Music Bob Merrill
Lyrics Bob Merrill
Book Joseph Stein
Robert Russell
Basis Eugene O'Neill's play
Ah, Wilderness
Productions 1959 Broadway
1985 Broadway revival

Take Me Along is a musical based on the Eugene O'Neill play Ah, Wilderness, with music and lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Joseph Stein and Robert Russell.[1]

Background[edit]

The idea to musicalize Ah, Wilderness came to David Merrick when George M. Cohan came through St. Louis with the original production of the O'Neill play. (It was rare of Merrick to mention his hometown, as he hated it, and once he refused to fly TWA to the coast because it flew over St. Louis). While directing The Matchmaker in 1955, he began working on Connecticut Summer. Things came to a halt when lyricist/librettist John La Touche died suddenly. But in 1957, an adaptation of another O'Neill play, Anna Christie, came to town, called New Girl in Town. Merrick decided to ask the composer, Bob Merrill, to take another stab at it. On May 30, 1959, it was announced that Jackie Gleason was cast in Connecticut Yankee. Even though Merrick was sacrificing artistic compromise for the seat-selling Gleason, he was willing to give it up.

Productions[edit]

Take Me Along was directed by Peter Glenville with production design by Oliver Smith, lighting by Jean Rosenthal, costumes by Miles White, musical direction and vocal arrangements by Lehman Engel, dances and musical numbers staging by Onna White, ballet and incidental music by Laurence Rosenthal, orchestrations by Philip J. Lang; and was produced by David Merrick.[2] It opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on October 22, 1959 [2] and closed on December 17, 1960 after 448 performances.[3][4][5][6]

A revival opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theater in April 1985 closing after 8 performances following several months of successful runs at The Goodspeed Opera House, The Shubert Theatre New Haven, and The Kennedy Center. [7] Kurt Knudson scored a Tony nomination for the role of Sid Davis and Gary Wright received a Theatre World Award nomination for his role as Richard Miller.

The musical opened at the The Irish Repertory Theater, New York City, in a limited run, from February 28, 2008 through April 13, 2008.[8][9]

Use in advertising[edit]

In 1967, United Airlines and its advertising agency, Leo Burnett, adapted the title song for a massive ad campaign, anchored by a television commercial directed by Michael Cimino, who would later become a noted motion picture screenwriter and director. The ad campaign backfired when United offered a two-for-one "take me along" fare in ads encouraging (male) business travelers to take their wives with them on business trips. United then sent "thank you" letters to the wives of business travelers who had taken advantage of the promotion. Unfortunately, many of these wives had not been "taken along" on those trips.

Original Broadway cast[edit]

Sources:[1][2][6]

Songs[edit]

Source:[6]

Knights on White Horses was added for Lily (Beth Fowler) in the 1985 revival. The score of Volunteer Firemen's Picnic has been borrowed twice by the writers of Family Guy, firstly for the episode PTV as The Freakin' FCC. The song then returned for a special appearance at the Emmy Awards as If You Want It You Can Find It On TV, taking potshots at Desperate Housewives, Two and a Half Men and The Sopranos amongst others.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1960 Tony Award[6][10] Best Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Jackie Gleason Won
Robert Morse Nominated
Walter Pidgeon Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Eileen Herlie Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Peter Glenville Nominated
Best Choreography Onna White Nominated
Best Conductor and Musical Director Lehman Engel Nominated
Best Costume Design Miles White Nominated
Best Stage Technician Al Alloy Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mandelbaum, Ken."Ken Mandelbaum's Musicals On Disc: Remembering Bob Merrill" (partial cast list) playbill.com, March 1, 1998
  2. ^ a b c Atkinson, Brooks. "Theatre:'Take Me Along'", The New York Times, October 23, 1959, p. 22
  3. ^ Green, Stanley and Green, Kay."Listing, 'Take Me Along', Hal Leonard Corporation, 1996, ISBN 0-7935-7750-0, p. 183"Broadway Musicals, Show By Show, retrieved June 9, 2010 (books.google.com)
  4. ^ Suskin, Steven. Show Tunes: The Songs, Shows, and Careers of Broadway's Major Composers, Oxford University Press US, 2010 (Ed.4), ISBN 0-19-531407-7, p. 256
  5. ^ Prideaux, Tom."Music for Wilderness" , pp. 117-122Life Magazine, November 2, 1959 (books.google.com)
  6. ^ a b c d "'Take Me Along' listing, 1959" ibdb.com, retrieved June 9, 2010
  7. ^ "'Take Me Along' listing, 1985" ibdb.com, retrieved June 9, 2010
  8. ^ Saltzman, Simon "Review" curtainup.com, February 23, 2008
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Irish Rep's 'Take Me Along' Revival Opens Feb. 28 in NYC" playbill.com, February 28, 2008
  10. ^ "Tony Awards tonyawards.com, retrieved June 9, 2010

External links[edit]