Entertainment

Seventeen - Original Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Sunday Dec 2, 2012
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Looking at the credits of the 1951 musical, "Seventeen," one of the only names that sound remotely familiar is that of Milton Berle, one of the show’s producers during it’s 182-performance run. Beyond that, this innocent coming-of-age tale boasted no notable performers or creators, though the songwriting team of composer Walter Kent and lyricist Kim Gannon did pen the holiday classic, "I’ll Be Home For Christmas."

Booth Tarkington’s name rings notable among the more literate, as he was the author who created the story from which the musical is based. Tarkington, one of only three authors with multiple Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction, originally wrote this story of William Baxter, who believes himself to be an adult at the age of, you guessed it, seventeen. His perceived maturity is put to the test when a neighboring family brings in an "older woman," 18-year old Lola Pratt.

Masterworks Broadway has released the show’s original recording here for the first time. It contains some nice, albeit nondescript melodies, including "Things Are Gonna Hum This Summer," "This Was Just Another Day," and the culminating tune, "After All, It’s Spring." Some of the character numbers give us a respite from the mediocre "feelings" songs, including the opening "Weatherbee’s Drug Store" and the quite entertaining "I Could Get Married Today," featuring the wonderful baritone voices of Alonzo Bosan and Maurice Ellis.

"Seventeen" suffered from box-office attention not only from it’s own lack of high stakes, but by it’s being a victim of bad scheduling, as the year of it’s release produced a couple of other shows that would become cornerstones of American Musical Theater: "Guys and Dolls," "Call Me Madam," and "The King and I." With all of these obstacles going against it, it’s generous for Masterworks to give us a glimpse to this (very) lesser known title from 1951.

"Seventeen"
1951 Original Broadway Cast Recording
CD and digital formats
Masterworks Broadway

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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