A Fiddler on the Roof in Paris… Sounds crazy, no? But here in our little village of Tumblr, you might say every one of us is a fiddler trying to scratch out our own version of a tune that was clearly meant to be sung in a different language by characters who, in reality, would be speaking yet a third language. Regardless, I love the way this cast makes the song sound like they’re leaving Anatevka because of ennui rather than persecution.
At the Paley Center on Saturday, Sheldon Harnick mentioned that one of the elements of She Loves Me that makes it special is how character-driven each of the songs is. He noted that the original kiss-off number for Jack Cassidy was a tour de force that drew a big hand, but it felt too much like a cabaret number and not enough like the character. So Sheldon and Jerry Bock approached Cassidy and asked him to learn a new number, even though “My Drug Store” was getting laughs and applause. He agreed, figuring he could always go back if the replacement didn’t work. Bock & Harnick wrote “Grand Knowing You,” and it tightened up the scene, and the rest is history.
Still, I was curious to hear the original song, and thanks to the wonderful people of the internet, now we can. Here’s the composers’ demo of the song — I believe that’s Jerry Bock singing I’m told it’s Sheldon Harnick singing. (Thanks, Robert!)
(Do you all know why it was called the flip side, dear readers? Because they were records. And you needed to flip them over to hear the song on the other side. Sometimes I feel like the goddamned man in the chair.)
A film version of She Loves Me did get made, in 1978, for British television. It starred Robin Ellis as Georg, Gemma Craven as Amalia, David Kernan (of Side by Side by Sondheim) at Kodaly, Diane Langton (Petra in the original London cast of A Little Night Music) as Ilona…
This used to be shown on PBS somewhat regularly, although I can’t remember the last time it aired. The whole thing seems to be on YouTube, though.
What I’d really like to see/hear is the ‘77 production with Madeline Kahn, Barry Bostwick, Rita Moreno and Laurence Guittard.
Since all my younger Tumblr friends are discovering Tumblr this week, it’s time to introduce them to Julie Andrews’s recording of “Dear Friend” and the sad tale of the proposed film version starring Julie that wasn’t to be.
I fell in love with Kate Baldwin through her first album, feelings which were confirmed by seeing her in Finian’s Rainbow on Broadway. Thrilled she has a follow-up so soon. And what a treat not only to hear Sheldon Harnick sing on this track, but to get some non-show lyrics to the song as well.