Monday, September 19, 2016

Carnival in Flanders

I'm a big fan of Dolores Gray. She had the voice, the looks, and the talent to become a star. She had delightful comic timing which she could dial up to camp when required. Sadly she also had a penchant for flops. She's the highlight of several dull films and energized several flop musicals.

Dolores claims the choice to retire from show biz was hers. She left  to start a family. In an interview she said "I'd been working since I was a youngster,.. I loved show business, but it became everything to me. I wanted to have a normal life, to get married, and I waited a long time to choose the man."

Not much remains of Carnival in Flanders. Do a search on YouTube and you get a dance clip from the Ed Sullivan show and renditions of the breakout ballad "Here's That Rainy Day." There was no cast recording and there have been no Encores revivals. The show has a footnote in musical theatre books for Dolores Gray's Tony. As of 2016 she sets the record for the shortest lived show (6 performances) to win a Tony Award. It was her first leading role on Broadway.

In Kevin Madelbaum's book, Not Since Carrie, he writes "(The film) La kermesse heroique had musical possibilities, but Carnival in Flanders' flat plodding book, full of lame jokes, destroyed them. The score was considerably better, with a lot of opportunities for Gray to unfurl one of the theatre's best voices."

In 2005 Peter Filichia reported some backstage gossip from John Raitt and understudy Susan Johnson.

EDIT: Thank you to the gentlemen who pointed me towards two more songs from the score.
Lena Horne singing the opening number, Ring the Bell.
Bobby Short singing I'm One Of Your Admirers.

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