John Raitt and Dolores Gray 1953 Playbill "Carnival In Flanders" Signed Autograph
Playbill for The New Century Theatre-1953-"Carnival IN Flanders" starring John Raitt and Dolores Gray-6" X 9"-28 pages-theatre program.Carnival in Flanders is a 1953 musical with a book by Preston Sturges, lyrics by Johnny Burke, and music by Jimmy Van Heusen.Based on the 1934 French comedy film La Kermesse Héroïque, it is set in 1616 in the small Flemish village of Flackenburg, where a Spanish duke and his entourage descend upon the community. The mayor plays dead, hoping that his ruse will force the visitors to depart, but the duke sets his sights on the man's "widow" and begins to woo her.
Harold Arlen was approached to write the score, but the task ultimately fell to Van Heusen and Burke. Bing Crosby was providing much of the financing for the production and had great faith in the songwriting team, who had written several of his hits, despite the fact that their previous theatrical collaboration, Nellie Bly (1946), had been a critical and commercial flop. George Oppenheimer, one of the book's original co-writers, withdrew from the project during pre-Broadway tryouts in Philadelphia, and Dorothy Fields joined her brother Herbert to help with rewrites. Eventually all their work was discarded by Sturges, who replaced Bretaigne Windust as director and completely reworked the book before the show reached California for a series of stagings by light opera companies prior to the New York City opening. Choreographer Jack Cole was replaced by Helen Tamiris, and several cast changes were made before the troubled production finally limped to Broadway.Carnival in Flanders opened on September 8, 1953 at the New Century Theatre, where it ran for only six performances. The cast included John Raitt, Dolores Gray, and Roy Roberts. Critics were enchanted by Oliver Smith's sets and Lucinda Ballard's costumes, inspired by Breughel paintings, and Gray's lively performance, but universally panned every other aspect of the production. If remembered at all, it is primarily as the source of the Van Heusen-Burke standard "Here's That Rainy Day." The Playbill has been autographed on the front cover by John Raitt with a fountain pen in blue and Dolores Gray with a fountain pen in brown..................BOTH PLAYBILL AND AUTOGRAPHS ARE IN AVERAGE CONDITION............