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Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled "Inner City" ?

Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled "Inner City" ?

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David10086
#1Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled "Inner City" ?
Posted: 7/6/23 at 1:17pm

I was just reading the new book by Matt Howe which covers Barbra Streisand's 60+ years recording career "Barbra Streisand: The Music,The Albums, The Singles" and for 1978's album "Songbird", he says the song "Deep In The Night" was originally performed in the Broadway musical "Inner City" from the 1971-72 Broadway season. The musical was based upon the book "The Inner City Mother Goose" and tells the story of living in Manhattan. Linda Hopkins (1924-2017) won a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for 'Best Supporting Actress in a Musical'.  The musical had a cast of nine. 

Does anyone recall this musical ?  Was it any good ? Has it ever been revived over the past 50 years ?  I found that it ran for just under 100 performances, so I'm guessing it wasn't a big hit - unless it was a limited engagement ? Thanks for any information ! 

This marks two songs on the album which Streisand covered from Broadway, the other being 'Tomorrow' from the smash hit musical "Annie". 

Dollypop
#2Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled "Inner City" ?
Posted: 7/6/23 at 4:37pm

INNER CITY is another show that I saw but have no recollection of.


"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)

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BrodyFosse123
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BrodyFosse123
#4Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled "Inner City" ?
Posted: 7/6/23 at 4:57pm

With the opening of Inner City, director Tom O’Horgan was represented by no fewer than four Broadway productions running simultaneously. Unlike Hair, Lenny, and Jesus Christ Superstar, however, Inner City was a critical dud. 

It attempted to theatricalize an amusing, satirical set of Eve Merriam poems about the pitfalls of inner city life within a dialogue-less, revue-like format. The 40 some-odd numbers, dealing with issues like drugs, crime, corruption, prostitution, and housing, were sung and danced by a nine-member company against an excellent Robin Wagner décor that incorporated the styles of various modern artists, including Jasper Johns and Claes Oldenburg.  The stellar performances in the racially diverse company were by Black soul songstresses Delores Hall and Linda Hopkins.

Martin Gottfried felt that the few Whites in the show seemed out of place, and that the absence of Puerto Rican performers was a serious oversight. To simulate the reaction expected from a Black audience, actors placed in boxes offered phony call and response enthusiasm.

Clive Barnes called the show a “deep and dreary monocolor,” while Walter Kerr said it had “a minimum of wit,” two-dimensional characters, “penny plain” sociology, and “literal” visual effects. This “disappointment” was “overproduced,” staged in “terribly busy” fashion, and crammed with “embarrassing” obscenities, thought Douglas Watt. Edith Oliver rejected its “phony black” idiom, and Martin Gottfried dismissed its score as “nearly atrocious.” 

Regardless of the show’s rapid demise, Linda Hopkins won a Tony for Best Supporting Actress, Musical.

Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled


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BrodyFosse123
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joevitus
#6Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled "Inner City" ?
Posted: 7/6/23 at 5:11pm

To be clear, because no one else is, it was based on one of the most frequently banned books ever, Inner City Mother Goose, which was a Black parody of Mother Goose rhymes, replacing wonder and whimsy with mayhem and horror. 

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David10086
#7Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled "Inner City" ?
Posted: 7/6/23 at 11:32pm

Thank you all for your responses. I guess there’s a reason it closed shortly after opening and was never revived. Thank you Joevitus for the detail of the show source. 

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noahseestheatre
#8Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled "Inner City" ?
Posted: 7/7/23 at 8:46am

It still needs a wikipedia page though!

Alexander Lamar
#9Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled "Inner City" ?
Posted: 7/7/23 at 9:56am

Here’s a clip of Natasha Yvette Williams singing a short number from the show at this years BroadwayBlack Awards

 

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David10086
#10Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled "Inner City" ?
Posted: 7/7/23 at 11:41am

Actually, it seems like under the right bookwriter, direction and talent, it could fit in for a brief / limited engagement revival today (can you imagine Audra MacDonald onstage singing 'Deep In The Night' ? Or DeBose ?)  I'm wondering if it was ahead of its time 50 years ago ?  Maybe this is a project LMM can find interest in ? 

 

I love finding these old, obscure projects on Broadway that pop up every now in then in the oddest places - this one on a 1978 Streisand album, of all places ! 

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lapinitsa
#11Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled
Posted: 7/7/23 at 1:19pm

David10086 said: "Actually, it seems like under the right bookwriter, direction and talent, it could fit in for a brief / limited engagement revival today (can you imagine Audra MacDonald onstage singing 'Deep In The Night' ? Or DeBose ?) I'm wondering if it was ahead of its time 50 years ago ? Maybe this is a project LMM can find interest in ?



I love finding these old, obscure projects on Broadway that pop up every now in then in the oddest places - this one on a 1978 Streisand album, of all places !
"

Streisand did that a lot especially on her early albums. "Starting  Here, Starting Now," "S/He Touched Me" and "How Does The Wine Taste" were also from short-lived shows, as were many others.

 

Updated On: 7/7/23 at 01:19 PM

Jarethan
#12Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled
Posted: 7/7/23 at 6:00pm

I saw it at the Barrymore.  It struggled to find an audience its entire run and never succeeded.  I remember enjoying it a lot and I still remember Linda Hopkins’ big number.  It was so damn good that it got a standing ovation in days when they were rarer than (whatever the cliche is), even at the end of the show.  
 

Thinking back, it had an impact on the 1/3 full house not dissimilar to Jennifer Holliday’s in Dreamgirls…they were standing halfway through the number.   I liked it so much that I wanted to see it again; unfortunately, it closed before I had the opportunity.  Must admit that I remember enjoying it, but don’t remember much beyond her big number.  I also think it MAY have opened in the same season that had three AfricanAmerican targeted musicals, but I may be wrong there.

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David10086
#13Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled
Posted: 7/8/23 at 4:37pm

lapinitsa said: " Streisand did that a lot especially on her early albums. "Starting Here, Starting Now," "S/He Touched Me" and "How Does The Wine Taste" were also from short-lived shows, as were many others."

I noticed that, too. Great observation ! 

She always had a tendency to go with the unfamiliar, not-popular songs on her albums (look what songs she chose for her album titled 'The Movie Album' - it took all her fans by surprise!!) .  I wonder if she did this purposely not to be compared to others (who were singing the most familiar songs from B'way shows ) or to make her album stand out among the others ?  No critic can say, 'Streisand is the latest singer to record yet another version of the Broadway hit...[insert popular song from the year she recorded her album] ".

 

I wonder if she will address this in her memoir - what made her choose obscure songs over the past 6 decades ? 

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David10086
#14Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled
Posted: 7/8/23 at 4:40pm

Jarethan said: "I saw it at the Barrymore. It struggled to find an audience its entire run and never succeeded. I remember enjoying it a lot and I still remember Linda Hopkins’ big number. It was so damn good that it got a standing ovation in days when they were rarer than (whatever the cliche is), even at the end of the show.


Thinking back, it had an impact on the 1/3 full house not dissimilar to Jennifer Holliday’s in Dreamgirls…they were standing halfway through the number. I liked it so much that I wanted to see it again; unfortunately, it closed before I had the opportunity. Must admit that I remember enjoying it, but don’t remember much beyond her big number. I also think it MAY have opened in the same season that had three AfricanAmerican targeted musicals, but I may be wrong there.
"

I love these first-hand memories from theater fans who went to see these musicals and plays over the decades; shows which didn't have a long run but are still memorable somehow. Thank you for sharing this ! 

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lapinitsa
#15Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled
Posted: 7/8/23 at 11:52pm

Never saw the show but "Deep In The Night" was performed on several TV shows, talk shows etc, in '71. I remember thinking how coincidental it was that it contained that repeated "I think about you" phrase when a few months earlier Follies opened and "Losing My Mind" had the same repeated phrase.

Jarethan
#16Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled
Posted: 7/9/23 at 12:32am

David10086 said: "Jarethan said: "I saw it at the Barrymore. It struggled to find an audience its entire run and never succeeded. I remember enjoying it a lot and I still remember Linda Hopkins’ big number. It was so damn good that it got a standing ovation in days when they were rarer than (whatever the cliche is), even at the end of the show.


Thinking back, it had an impact on the 1/3 full house not dissimilar to Jennifer Holliday’s in Dreamgirls…they were standing halfway through the number. I liked it so much that I wanted to see it again; unfortunately, it closed before I had the opportunity. Must admit that I remember enjoying it, but don’t remember much beyond her big number. I also think it MAY have opened in the same season that had three AfricanAmerican targeted musicals, but I may be wrong there.
"

I love these first-hand memories from theater fans who went to see these musicals and plays over the decades; shows which didn't have a long run but are still memorable somehow. Thank you for sharing this !
"

Just one of the joys of getting old, he said sarcastically.

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Blue_Lotus
#17Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled
Posted: 7/9/23 at 6:35am

Total Deja Vu that this show is being mentioned here now! I was cleaning the house yesterday and as I tend to do I was listening to my theater playlist when all of a sudden "Deep in the Night" by Linda Hopkins starts playing - - - and I stopped dead in my tracks and stayed there and didn't move a muscle until the song was over. What a voice and what a song! I had forgotten that I had the recording in my digital music library so it was a very welcomed surprise! 

 


...i am an infinite soul in a human body who is in the process of never ending growth...

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David10086
#18Does anyone recall a 1971 Broadway musical titled
Posted: 7/9/23 at 2:22pm

lapinitsa said: "Never saw the show but "Deep In The Night" was performed on several TV shows, talk shows etc, in '71. I remember thinking how coincidental it was that it contained that repeated "I think about you" phrase when a few months earlier Follies opened and "Losing My Mind" had the same repeated phrase."

OMG ! Now that I'm listening to it over and over again, I can pick up the similarities between this song and "Losing My Mind". I wonder why Streisand chose this song to record in 1978 instead of 'Losing My Mind' (which she recorded nearly 40 years later in 2016) ?  The theme of her album "Songbird" was about 'loneliness and memories ' which is why she chose these particular songs on the album. 


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