This afternoon, I listened to the delightful 2012 revival cast album of Gay’s the Word. The 1950 Ivor Novello musical was a 504 performance hit starring Cicely Courtneidge as the title character and the composer’s final show (he died three weeks after the show opened).
It’s a fun score for a frivolous backstage musical in which Gay Daventry, a stage star and producer by her ingenue Linda to open a drama school in an English mansion. Hijinks ensue.
Known as the “Champagne Soprano,” Lizbeth Webb, who passed away earlier this year, was a West End star of Bless the Bride and Sarah in the original London company of Guys and Dolls. Here she played Linda and sang this ballad toward the end of the show’s second act.
Irma La Douce | Dis-Donc, Dis-Donc
Elizabeth Seal and company on the original Broadway cast recording
Music: Marguerite Monnot
Lyrics & Book: Alexandre Breffort
Note: The show was first produced in Paris; English lyrics & book were done by Julian More, David Heneker, and Monty Norman.
This is one of the most joyous numbers on any cast album ever.
I do like the original London cast album, which also features stars Elizabeth Seal, Keith Michell, and Clive Revill. However, I have a preference for the Broadway album because of two people: John Kander and Robert Ginzler.
“Dis-Donc, Dis-Donc” was expanded for the NY production, with new choreography by Onna White. Kander created the dance music for the NY production, while Ginzler orchestrated the new material (and created the show’s delicious overture).
I enjoyed the piano-only presentation of the show at Musicals Tonight! in 2008, even though the principals weren’t ideal. I’m so excited to see the show again, and this time with the orchestration.