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Wildernesshave been made to change their tune by Robert Merrill, Joseph Stein and Robert Russell, the authors of Take Me Along, their adaptation for the Broadway musical stage 1. Nevertheless, male stars could play a strong role on the Broadway musical stage — even when middle-aged and hardly able to sing, or hardly able to dance, and even when quite unable to do either. Wilderness inthe role of Nat Miller was taken by George M. Take Me Along pushes the shift even further away from Richard, providing two important roles for middle-aged male actors not primarily associated with the musical stage.

Wilderness, — as a work of idealised national consciousness-raising, has important links with some works of Regionalist painting and other expressions of a Twenties and Thirties search for specifically American themes in art, themselves part of a wider artistic wave of nostalgia pushing through Western culture 5.

Wilderness-was adapted twice for the screen, in two productions made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

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The first adaptation came inand was a successful black-and-white non-musical version of the play, directed by Clarence Brown, using the original tide. The Anna Christie musical film project was never completed, but on the strength of his Hollywood score, Merrill was asked to do the music and lyrics for a stage musical play New Girl in Town, produced inwhich ran performances. InThe Iceman Cometh was aired in two parts over an American commercial television network in and « caused a buzz of interest not just among highbrows but across a broad spectrum of the viewing audience » Wilderness, that this play seemed made to become a musical:.

This sunniest of plays already is a musical, everyone singing out their longings, their pleasures, their satisfactions Norman Rockwell?

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Grandma Moses? Is his Ah! Wilderness, which does no justice to the dark undertow of the play, is perhaps a response to features in Married wife looking sex Eugene I offer this interpretation with all due respect for the author, in the belief that art is also a livelihood, and that artists have material needs and motives not necessarily incompatible with excellence in art. Like the Alcott adaptation, Ah! Wilderness is perfectly in harmony with the Hays code oftowards which Hollywood was tending throughout An adaptation of Ah!

Wilderness like New Girl in Town would use decor and costumes from a period around the turn of the century which, represented either in its rural versions or in treatments located in New York City, dominated the musical stage in the Nineteen Fifties. As Glenn Litton has said:. The same setting is maintained and roughly the same cast of characters. The same themes are developed, Literature and Life, sacred and profane Love, the joys and constraints of the inevitably beneficial state of Marriage, all discussed within a close group of young and old, happy and unhappy men and women.

Merrill and Stein changed the plot in a way that the adapters of Summer Holiday had intended, but been prevented from enacting because Ralph Morgan 15the actor playing Sid was too weak a singer to carry off the musical in which the plot change — a successful marriage proposal — was meant to transpire Richard is given to reading shocking European authors like Ibsen, Wilde and Shaw, from whom he quotes extensively as a kind of enlarging contrapuntal spice to the comfortable ordinariness of his own situation rather the way a youth of today might be constantly thinking of the titanic rhythm and galactic sound produced by upsettingly eccentric singers, which he hears on his walkman as he goes through everyday life.

Richard copies out baroque verses from Swinburne to send to his young and inexperienced girlfriend, as usual expressing his feelings through a quotation. Despair thereupon sends him into a barroom where he becomes drunk and gives his money to a prostitute in exchange for not using her services. The son asserts his love for and identification even more, quasi identity with the father. Nat Miller, here the crusading editor of the Centerville newspaper, has obtained a new fire engine for the population, who acclaim him in song as the play opens.

Praised by his wife and sister, he then assures them that they alone are the keys to his success. Sid returns from Waterbury ostensibly for the Fourth of July but in fact he has been fired from his job, which he confides to Nat who hires him back on to the Centerville paper. Sid proposes to Lily who accepts him, but then rejects him first after an alcoholic episode caused by the Fourth of July celebrations, and then again when she learns that, because of his bad temper, he lost the Waterbury job.

Progress toward psychological maturity is made by the father, Nat Miller, who undergoes a kind of mid-life crisis involving first denial and then acceptance of the ageing process. As Pidgeon gained in prestige through playing a role long associated with George M. It is possible to see Ah! Music is also an integral part of Ah! Part of the pleasure given by Broadway musicals depended on their flattering an audience by referring to many forms of Culture, and not least in their relation to the works of great literature or books considered near-great from which, in most cases, they were adapted.

Instead of through spoken dialogue, character is developed through music and lyrics. The ificance of the characters is directly determined by the of songs they are given to sing, each song highlighting a different aspect of personality or a step in the changes a character can undergo.

Sid and Lily, secondary characters in Ah! Wilderness, are the lead couple in Take Me Along. The celebrated Act Two luncheon scene of Ah! Wilderness which gives essential exposition to the Sid and Lily relationship, which was an important feature also of both film renderings, is completely omitted — the Sid-Lily relationship developed in the fragments of dialogue bracketing song, but chiefly in musical passages.

The musical play is, typically, a two-act structure which allows and requires an interesting kind of dramatic shorthand Married wife looking sex Eugene themes stated in Act One are inflected and developed in Act Two, at the same time developing and inflecting the characters and hence advancing the plot. By so deing these fragments that each aptly characterises the situation or person with whom it is first associated, he enables himself to bring particular thoughts and reminiscences to the audience at will A good illustration of this technique is how the theme of ageing, centred around the character of Nat Miller, hardly mentioned in the spoken dialogue, is presented almost solely in dramatic song.

Getting old, I guess, Mother-getting to repeat myself. Someone ought to stop me. Wilderness a counter-example it becomes a mirror to the Richard Muriel couple, allowing complementarity between old and young lovers. This parallelism is brought out in complementary duets given to each couple.

I sat and brooded about death. Honest, I would! I would die!

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Wilderness are given a twist by the use of a leitmotiv associated with character. At the close of Ah! NAT: You know Essie, spring is not everything. Autumn can be beautiful too Essie continues:. But you know, sometimes I think of being young again, and having some gay young blade carry me off on his white steed — Before even one minute went by— Essie, Mrs. LILY: Simply wonderful Later, in the Second Act, Essie expresses her doubts about the mothering she has bestowed on Richard, in a reprise of the same NAT: You a poor mother? Wilderness, is very much cut-down, and does not include a musical and the comic Irish maid, Nora, has disappeared.

The only important female role is that of Lily, far more so in Take Me Along where, in terms of on-stage time and musical s, her counterpart, Sid, is the leading male role than in Ah! These lyrics do not repeat spoken dialogue, but provide additional soliloquy dialogue in a totally different vein. How many times have I promised?

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How many times have I broken my promise? How many years of promises? And all of them worthless! Just like me! This contrasts with the plainness of the dialogue in the unsung parts of the book. After singing that. If you promise me a rose, I go out and buy a pot My imagination grows Into roses by the plotor If you even brush my hand Absentmindedly as this Just your touch upon my hand I can dream into a kiss idem. Later, the song sung, she says to Sid in the simplest possible words, devoid of poetry:.

Do you remember what you asked me, This morning, when you asked me to marry you? Well, I will, Sid, I will! First to allow Nat and Sid, who are going to the picnic together, to perform together a soft-shoe routine, establishing them as a team, two of a kind, musically linked despite apparent divergence.

As we have seen, it is again used as the tradition holds ever since the tide song was always thus used in the Princess Theatre musicals as the finale of the show, to close the gap between Sid and Lily as well as the play itself.

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Despite the gaps in outlook between Ah! Love in marriage is presented as the goal of life; Nat and Essie Miller are the archetype, the statement of the theme on which the two other couples embroider and to which they aspire. Take Me Along basically deals with the bringing into line of the deviant couples with the shining example of the Nat-Essie pair. Richard and Muriel are prevented by their youth from immediately emulating their example; but, at the end of the play, we can project this into their future.

Sid is unreliable because of his alcoholism and Lily has strict principles which prevent their getting married despite their love for each other but, at the end of the play, these obstacles have been overcome: he has stiffened his character, she has softened hers.

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Marriage involves a promise, and parallel promises to Muriel and to Lily are broken by their suitors who are ultimately forgiven. The stereotyping is important. When Lily first appears on-stage in Ah!

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