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Member Name: broadwaydanwi
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Web Site: http://www.memoriesofmelodytop.com
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Gender: Male
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Occupation: Designer


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"Chester Tate" as "Billy Flynn" in CHICAGO...
 Apr 27 2023, 05:50:44 PM

fashionguru_23 said: "Some of those costumes (including the Jury ones) make it look like if the cast of Godspell and Pippin told the story of Chicago! So cool!"

I agree! One of the things I miss about the current revival of CHICAGO is the fun a good designer can have creating costumes for those characters. Melody Top's costumes were designed by Mathew John Hoffman III, a New York native and graduate of Yale Drama School who, in 1980, was also the "Designer a


"Chester Tate" as "Billy Flynn" in CHICAGO...
 Apr 25 2023, 11:32:09 AM

A big "thank you" to everyone who visited my site. I appreciate your support.


"Chester Tate" as "Billy Flynn" in CHICAGO...
 Apr 19 2023, 09:03:57 PM

Now that CHICAGO is the longest-running musical currently on Broadway, I thought I would share a new page on my Melody Top website about a 1980 production of the musical that starred Robert Mandan (Billy Flynn), April Shawhan (Roxie Hart), and Louisa Flaningam (Velma Kelly). Click on the link below to see production and rehearsal photos, interviews, reviews, and four audio clips from a recording made through the tent's sound system. If anyone here is able to put me in touch with April or Louisa, I would be extremely grateful.

CHICAGO (1980) at Memories of Melody Top


THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE in 1982 summer stock...
 Jul 18 2022, 09:10:35 AM

Just in case anyone here wants to see it, I published a video of THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE from Melody Top back in 1982:

Doug Sheehan, Mary Ernster and Keith Rice in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

 

 


THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE in 1982 summer stock...
 Jul 3 2022, 09:36:29 AM

CarlosAlberto said: "Wow! Doug Sheehan - my crush from General Hospital and Knots Landing!!!"

This is for you, Carlos. (Sorry that my first attempt at including an image failed. I've put the image on my site and included a link below...)

Autographed photo of Doug Sheehan


THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE in 1982 summer stock...
 Jun 28 2022, 09:22:13 PM

Thanks for the terrific response to this new page. Almost 500 visitors in the first afternoon!


THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE in 1982 summer stock...
 Jun 26 2022, 11:29:10 AM

There's a brand-new page on "Memories of Melody Top!" Click on the link below to see and hear lots of treasures from THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE in the summer of 1982. By the way, I got to see this one! It was a thrilling production. If you decide to play the four audio clips at the bottom of the page, please be sure to listen for these moments: one, the trumpet solo after Keith Rice and Mary Ernster finish singing "Stay, Frederic, Stay!"; two, the wild audience reaction after every encore of "Come friends, who plough the sea"; and three, Doug Sheehan's sincere and solemn speech about the "fragile" and "rare" benefits of Melody Top to Milwaukee. Enjoy the memories from almost exactly 40 years ago...

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE (1982) at Melody Top Theatre


Mimi Hines as Molly Brown...
 May 20 2022, 08:10:02 PM

markypoo said: "So she too was a chandelier-swinger; along with Jane Powell."

Yes, I think that was a standard piece of staging for any production of THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN at Melody Top and many other summer stock venues.

And thank you to the 1,061 visitors who looked at my newest web page during the first week it was online. I really appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

 


Mimi Hines as Molly Brown...
 May 14 2022, 12:35:24 PM

Now that we are approaching summer-stock season, I thought I would share a new page featuring a 1975 production of THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN on my "Memories of Melody Top" website. Click on the link below to see production photos and to hear audio clips from this recording-setting staging of the Meredith Willson musical. An added bonus, located at the very bottom of the page, is the chance to hear producer Martin Wiviott present a Show Stopper Award to his two stars, Mimi Hines and Peter Palmer. Enjoy the memories...

Mimi Hines and Peter Palmer in THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN

 


SONG OF BERNADETTE musical
 May 1 2022, 03:01:45 PM

Milwaukee's Skylight Music Theatre announced that they will be producing THE SONG OF BERNADETTE as a finale to their upcoming 2022-2023 season. I recently attended Skylgiht's "season announcement" event, and one very attractive song was introduced to potential subscribers. Here's a video of the event. Frank Wildhorn's ballad starts at approximately 26 minutes into the clip:

Skylight's 2022-2023 Season Announcement


1776 in 1976 at Melody Top
 Jul 3 2021, 12:39:33 PM

As a way of observing the 40th anniversary of Ross Martin's far-too-soon passing on July 3, 1981 and celebrating the Fourth of July in America, I have made some updates to a page on my "Memories of Melody Top" website about a production of 1776 from the summer of 1976. In addition to publishing the scan of a window card created by Melody Top, I have also shared three audio clips from the show: "Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve," "The Lees of Old Virginia" and "He Plays the Violin." There are also larger versions of eight production pictures previously uploaded to my site. Of interest to fans of EVITA is that Robb Alton played Richard Henry Lee at Melody Top. Four years later, Alton would be cast as Peron in Chicago's sit-down production of EVITA, directed by Hal Prince, which would eventually become the musical's second national tour. Didi Hitt, Alton's wife, played Martha Jefferson at Melody Top; she, too, would also join the EVITA company as a Person of Argentina. Click on the link in this post to see everything I have described, as well as newspaper reviews and backstage shots.

1776 at Milwaukee's Melody Top


Nanette Fabray in CALL ME MADAM
 May 11 2021, 03:42:49 PM

As warmer weather finally reaches us here in Milwaukee, I would like to celebrate summer stock by sharing just one more page on my website about a 1979 production of CALL ME MADAM at Melody Top that starred Nanette Fabray. So much happened during the run of this show that I think a movie could be written about it: a feud between the venue’s management and the Journal over a somewhat negative review, a headliner with a hearing impairment who performed her role with both a speaking/singing voice and sign language, an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction on opening night, and a practical joke between two dancers in rehearsal that left the creative team in fits of laughter. I would really like to know if anyone here saw Guy Little escorting Ms. Fabray to the Wisconsin State Fair on her day off from performing on stage. I was told she enjoyed the animals. Click on the link in this message to see production and backstage photos from CALL ME MADAM, as well as autographs from three of its stars. At the bottom of the page, there are five audio clips pulled from a live recording of the show.

Nanette Fabray in CALL ME MADAM at Melody Top


Barry Williams in an anecdotic revue...
 Feb 26 2021, 09:07:51 AM

Because I'll reach 1,000 visitors to this page today, I decided to share just one more sound clip featuring The Head (of a fallen soldier) from Melody Top's production of PIPPIN. The Head was played by Clyde Laurents, another performer who deserves to be recognized for his Broadway appearances in PICKWICK, CELEBRATION, GANTRY and GIGI. Click on the original link in this post and scroll to the very bottom of the page to hear it. Thanks for visiting!


Barry Williams in an anecdotic revue...
 Feb 21 2021, 04:36:25 PM

The scene for The Head (of a fallen soldier) takes place between "Glory" and "Simple Joys." If I log 1,000 online visitors this week, I'll post the audio clip.

I just posted a new gallery of color images from Allen McMullen, Melody Top's assistant designer back in 1978. They represent the set-piece created for the "Grand Finale" of PIPPIN. Check it out!


Barry Williams in an anecdotic revue...
 Feb 20 2021, 06:43:29 AM

Let’s escape the brutal winter we are experiencing here in Milwaukee – and in most of the United States – by remembering the heyday of summer stock tents. There’s a brand-new page on my “Memories of Melody Top” website about a 1978 production of PIPPIN that starred Barry Williams. Click on the link in this message to see production and backstage photos, read newspaper reviews and listen to four songs made from a recording through the venue’s sound system. Williams’ take on “Corner of the Sky” may be one of the best ever performed, but I also love Alan Weeks’ mesmerizing singing of “Magic to Do.” Weeks’ Broadway career is impressive for his association with hits like THE WIZ and FUNNY GIRL. But he was also in some of the most fascinating flops of the 20th century: THE BODY BEAUTIFUL; HALLELUJAH, BABY!; THE FIG LEAVES ARE FALLING; BILLY; a revue, THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT; ROCKABYE HAMLET; A BROADWAY MUSICAL; OH, BROTHER!; THE TAP DANCE KID; and finally, BIG DEAL. This production of PIPPIN included a scene for The Head (of a fallen soldier), usually cut from current productions of the popular musical, which I may post if there is interest in hearing it. Let me know in your comments…

PIPPIN at "Memories of Melody Top"


Sarah Rice as Kathie in THE STUDENT PRINCE
 Aug 26 2020, 10:22:35 AM

Thank you so much!

According to this article, Keith has been performing at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater in Minnesota. Judging by the photo of him wearing a t-shirt, he is in great shape, too!

https://www.minnesotagoodage.com/living/features/2017/01/stage-presence/


Sarah Rice as Kathie in THE STUDENT PRINCE
 Aug 26 2020, 05:50:13 AM

Now that summer is drawing to a close, I thought I would share one more page on my "Memories of Melody Top" website. Exactly 40 years ago tonight, on Tuesday, August 26, 1980, the Top mounted a brand-new production of THE STUDENT PRINCE, the beloved operetta by Sigmund Romberg and Dorothy V. Donnelly. Jack Gilford received star billing for his comedic role of Lutz, a "gentleman's gentleman" to Prince Karl Franz at university in Heidelberg. Gilford last appeared in Milwaukee 39 years before his Melody Top debut, when he performed on the bill with Paul Whiteman and his orchestra at the Riverside Theater during July of 1941. Keith Rice and Sarah Rice, who are not related, beautifully sang the leads of Karl and Kathie. Sarah came to Milwaukee after leaving her role as Johanna in SWEENEY TODD on Broadway. Jonathan Freeman, who would find great success during the 1990s as a voice actor for Disney films and television shows, was cast as Hubert. Click on the link in this post to see over a dozen rare photos from this production. I've also shared four audio clips made from a live recording at Melody Top!

THE STUDENT PRINCE (1980) at Milwaukee's Melody Top


Call on – Dorothy Lamour!
 Apr 25 2020, 11:30:05 AM

Tommy Tune wasn't in that production of HELLO, DOLLY! His last appearance at Melody Top was the summer before HELLO, DOLLY! He played the Master of Ceremonies in CABARET opposite Elaine Cancilla (Sally) and Imogene Coca (Fraulein Schneider).


Call on – Dorothy Lamour!
 Apr 22 2020, 09:20:19 AM

What a great story! Not many people know this, but Jack Bailey was quite accomplished as a stage actor. He previously appeared at Melody Top in a 1969 production of OF THEE I SING. His credits in both stock plays and musicals are quite extensive.

And according to Dennis Grimaldi, who was in the cast of HELLO, DOLLY! at the Top, "Lamour did her traditional, Hawaiian 'thank you' hand choreography – which she had done on tour – thanking everyone for coming&qu


Call on – Dorothy Lamour!
 Apr 21 2020, 07:26:55 PM

I can't comment on Jack Bailey's performance at Melody Top because the show opened on my first birthday, but an online friend reported this story: He also did it opposite Patrice Munsel at Melodyland in Anaheim, Calfornia. I remember hearing that in that production, he really catered to the older ladies in the audience by saying at one point, "Dolly, you're my Queen for a Day!"


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