(Stephen Holden’s article appeared in the New York Times, 1/10; via Pam Green.)
Only aficionados of Broadway musical history are aware that “Getting to Know You,” the classic teacher-student introductory song from “The King and I” that seems set in stone, had two earlier incarnations. Originally written for Nellie Forbush to sing in “South Pacific,” it was titled “Suddenly Lovely,” then renamed “Suddenly Lucky,” before it was dropped and later equipped with new lyrics for “The King and I.”
Such tidbits dear to the hearts of theater historians enlivened Saturday evening’s opening season show, “A Funny Thing Happened: Songs From the Road to Broadway,” of the 92nd Street Y’s Lyrics and Lyricists series. Kathleen Marshall, its artistic director, is steeped in Broadway musical lore, having won Tony Awards for choreographing revivals of “Wonderful Town,” “The Pajama Game” and “Anything Goes.”
The show, directed, written and hosted by Ms. Marshall, is a smart, streamlined survey of the mechanics of Broadway musical production in which trial and error often determines which songs in a score work and which don’t. Much of the time, she said, the audience is the deciding factor.