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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Call Me Madam is a pure adrenalin shot of circa-1950 zeitgeist, a screwball comedy pulled from the headlines with impeccable timing. The show was conceived as a vehicle for Ethel Merman, at that moment arguably the biggest star in Broadway musicals, and reunited her with Irving Berlin, composer/lyricist of her blockbuster 1946 hit Annie Get Your Gun. A red-hot ticket when it opened on October 12, 1950 at the Imperial Theatre, Call Me Madam proved to be the blockbuster Merman and Berlin hoped for. They were in the very best of hands: George Abbott directed, Jerome Robbins choreographed and the casting was supervised by Abbott’s new young assistant, Harold Prince. The cast included an Oscar-winning leading man (Paul Lukas), the bright new
presence of Russell Nype as Mrs. Adams’s lovelorn attaché and – as Merman’s underutilized understudy – the young Elaine Stritch. The capitalization for the entire show came from NBC and its record division, RCA Victor. Unfortunately a big problem loomed as Merman was under contract to Decca Records who refused to release her to star in what was sure to be a hit record. Ultimately, RCA Victor turned to one of its hottest singers, Dinah Shore, to step into Merman’s shoes for the original cast recording. It rose to No. 6 on the Billboard album chart but by the late 1950s, it had been deleted from the catalog. The recording got an LP reissue in 1977 but it disappeared again until this Masterworks Broadway release, and is the first and only authorized CD version of RCA Victor’s Call Me Madam digitally remastered from the original tapes.
Works on This Recording
Call Me Madam by Irving Berlin
Russell Nype (Voice),
Paul Lukas (Voice),
Dinah Shore (Voice),
Galina Talva (Voice),
Pat Harrington (Voice)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950; USA
Average Customer Review: ( 3 Customer Reviews )
Rare Original Cast (Minus Merman) of a great Berl March 22, 2013
By Alan E. (Glendale, CA) See All My Reviews
"Nice to have a beautifully-restored CD edition of the original cast recording of Irving Berlin's "Call Me Madam" with Paul Lukas, Russell Nype and Galina Talva recreating their stage roles. As most show collectors know, Ethel Merman was under contract to Decca and did her own studio version with Dick Haymes and Eileen Wilson, which is fine on its own, but this RCA version is the real thing. Dinah Shore, under contract to RCA at the time, does her best, but is no Merman. One other thing to point out is that this edition comes from the actual RCA masters--the recent bootleg from England on Flare is taken from a record and even worse, is at the wrong speed. Grab this new Arkiv edition!"
Worth the wait September 5, 2012
By J. Romano (Portland, ME) See All My Reviews
"We first saw this show at a summer theater many years ago and decided to buy the cast album ,but to our surprise only a Decca album titled Ethal Merman sings 12 songs from "Call Me Madam" was available and that a RCA album with Dinah Shore and the original cast singing all the songs from the show was only available for a short time and out of print. We manageed to get a transcription of this recording and settled for the pops, hisses and scratchy sounds until RCA re-released it on vynal with a few other "rare" original cast recordings many years back. What a surprise to have it available on CD with the original cover art. Broaadway masterworks has done a materful job remastering this recording considering it's age. The sound is clear, crisp and clean. Bravo!"
A Mixed Berlin Bag August 14, 2012
By William C. (Raleigh, NC) See All My Reviews
"it is nice to have this version available on CD of a near-great score by Irving Berlin. This version has many positives , including the original Broadway choral writing and orchestrations ( with those ocarinas! ) as well as the appearance of original cast member Russell Nype in a star-making role. The negatives of this version comes down to two words: Dinah Shore. Ms. Shore evidently made a career from singing consistently flat, a fact that went unnoticed by her tone-deaf fans that found her warbling to be "unique". It is macabre fun to listen to Shore's take on a song and then hear Merman's. A comparison can rarely have been so odious.However, the Merman DECCA CD is also flawed; the new orchestrations are only OK, the supporting cast is not near as strong as Shore's and Merman sings a few songs that were meant to be duets. I have not heard a studio recording featuring Tyne Daly in the title role. Berlin enthusiasts will have to have all three versions. If I could only have one , of course I would pick La Merm's , but don't miss out on the Shore CD; the one Berlin actually wrote and supervised."