Chris Peterson / OnStage Editor-in-Chief Over the next 60 days, everyday we will be featuring and reviewing a musical cast recording. The purpose behind this is to try to discover and rediscover pieces that deserve more credit, more productions and more attention. Plus we get to listen to a lot a musical theatre, which is always a good thing.
Day 9: "I Do! I Do!"
You're never going to have to twist my arm to listen or watch a Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt musical. I adore The Fantasticks, 110 In The Shade and "Orphan in the Storm" from Celebration might be one of my favorite show tunes of all time. However I have to admit that a show I have never listened to before was I Do! I Do! Since this series is about discovering musical theatre gems, it was a perfect time to listen to original cast album which starred the legendary Mary Martin and Robert Preston.
Background: For producer David Merrick, who initially presented the play on Broadway, I Do! I Do! was an ideal investment in that it had neither expensive sets and costumes nor a large cast. After four previews, the Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Gower Champion, opened on December 5, 1966 at the 46th Street Theatre, and closed on June 15, 1968 after 560 performances. Mary Martin and Robert Preston comprised the original cast. Carol Lawrence and Gordon MacRae played matinees starting in October 1967 and then replaced Martin and Preston in December 1967. Preston went on to win a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for the role.
The show is frequently presented by regional theatres across the United States, because of the minimal cost of mounting it. A production at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in Chanhassen, Minnesota ran for more than 20 years with leads David Anders and Susan Goeppinger, who eventually married during their run. This set the American record for a play running with the original cast.
Synopsis: The show begins with Michael and Agnes on their wedding day. Their vows behind them, they look forward to spending the rest of their lives together. We watch as they go through their wedding night jitters, raise a family, and negotiate mid-life crises. Michael eventually admits to his infidelity, and although Agnes is angered by his actions, she forgives him and the couple reconciles. They re-discover how much they really need each other. Then, after 50 years of marriage, the couple leaves their house to the next pair of newlyweds. - MTI
Review: While the entire score isn't their overall best, it's certainly their sweetest and most intimate. A two person cast with either one or two pianos, it's the perfect show for a smaller intimate stage.
The big hit from the show "My Cup Runneth Over," is a wonderfully sweet song. I have to admit listening to Martin and Preston sing it was a bit emotional. But that isn't the only good song in I Do! I Do! Jones and Schmidt provide a lot of musical variety, notably in the giddy "I Love My Wife," and the gleefully male-chauvinist "It's a Well Known Fact".
While the plots seems a bit thin and predictable, this would be a wonderful nostalgic show for any theatre season.