Let My People Come

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Let My People Come
A Sexual Musical
Letmypeoplecomead.jpg
Advertisement for cast album
MusicEarl Wilson, Jr.
LyricsEarl Wilson, Jr.
Phil Oesterman
BookEarl Wilson, Jr.
Productions1974 Off-Broadway
1974 London
1976 Broadway

Let My People Come is a musical with book and music by Earl Wilson, Jr. and lyrics by Wilson and Phil Oesterman.[1] Subtitled "A Sexual Musical", the sexually-explicit show originally ran from 1974 to 1976 at The Village Gate theater in Greenwich Village, New York City. It began previews on Broadway on July 7, 1976, and closed on October 2, 1976 after 108 preview performances, technically never 'officially' opening for regular Broadway performances.[2] The score includes songs such as "I'm Gay", "Come in My Mouth", "Fellatio 101" and "The Cunnilingus Champion of Company C", and features on-stage nudity.

The show was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975 for Best Original Cast Album.[3]

Notable productions[edit]

Off-Broadway[edit]

Let My People Come opened Off-Broadway on January 8, 1974 at The Village Gate and closed on July 5, 1976.[4] A second New York City production opened in 1985, produced by Bernard Jay.[5] A third New York City production opened in 2013 at The Underground, produced and directed by John Forslund, and featured both new and re-imagined numbers from the original production.[6][7]

The show had a 10-year run at Grendel's Lair Cabaret Theatre in Philadelphia, and an 8-year run at the Basin Street Cabaret Theater in Toronto.[8] The show also had runs in Chicago[9] and London.[10]

Broadway[edit]

Originally produced and directed by Phil Oesterman,[11] with musical direction and vocal arrangements by Billy Cunningham, the show opened on Broadway in previews at the Morosco Theater on July 7, 1976.[12][13] The original cast included Yvette Freeman. Wilson sought a close order but was denied, and removed his name from the production. According to The New York Times, "Earl Wilson Jr. has asked to have his name removed from any credits for the Broadway production of Let My People Come. "I feel that the show has become vulgar," he said."[14] This production did not officially open, and closed on October 2, 1976.[15]

Musical numbers[edit]

  1. "Everybody Loves to Screw"
  2. "Give It to Me"
  3. "I'm Gay"
  4. "Come in My Mouth"
  5. "Dirty Words"
  6. "Linda, Georgina, Marilyn & Me"
  7. "I Believe My Body"
  8. "Take Me Home with You"
  9. "Choir Practice"
  10. "And She Loved Me"
  11. "The Cunnilingus Champion of Company C" (later replaced by "Whatever Turns You On")
  12. "Doesn't Anybody Love Anymore?"
  13. "Let My People Come"

Lawsuit[edit]

"The Cunnilingus Champion of Company C" was the subject of a lawsuit filed by MCA Music against Wilson, and which was decided in favor of the plaintiffs in 1976. The court found that the song, which openly borrows the melody from "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by Don Raye and Hughie Prince, "could not be construed as a burlesque of plaintiff's work per se", but was merely a "commentary on an era" and therefore was not protected by fair use. As a result, the defendants were found liable for copyright infringement.[16]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Let My People Come". RockyMusic. Retrieved May 16, 2021.
  2. ^ " Let My People Come Broadway" ibdb.com
  3. ^ "Grammy Awards 1975". Awards Shows. Awards And Shows. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  4. ^ "Off-Broadway" lortel.org, retrieved October 12, 2017
  5. ^ "Bernard Jay 1976 to 1989 (in the USA)" bernardjay.co.za
  6. ^ Wollman, Elizabeth L. "A ‘Sexual Musical,’ Now Middle-Aged" The New York Times, December 27, 2012
  7. ^ Healy, Patrick. "‘Let My People Come’ to Bare Itself in New York Again" The New York Times, December 12, 2012
  8. ^ Bradburn, Jamie (2009-06-23). "Vintage Toronto Ads: And So The People Came". Torontoist. Buzz Connected Media Inc. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  9. ^ "Let My People Come". Theatre In Chicago. Theatre In Chicago. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  10. ^ "Let My People Come Show Information". Broadway World. Wisdom Digital Media. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  11. ^ Sisaro B "Philip Oesterman obituary" The New York Times, August 4, 2002
  12. ^ "'Let My People Come' To Go to Broadway" The New York Times, June 26, 1976
  13. ^ " 'Let My People’ Postponed" The New York Times, July 26, 1976
  14. ^ "Wilson Objects To New ‘People’ " The New York Times. July 1976
  15. ^ "Broadway" ibdb.com, retrieved October 12, 2017
  16. ^ "Music Copyright Infringement Resource: MCA Music v. Earl Wilson 425 F. Supp. 443 (S.D.N.Y. 1976)".

External links[edit]