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  • Flower Drum Song (1958 Original Broadway Cast)
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Flower Drum Song (1958 Original Broadway Cast) Cast Recording

31 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, May 18, 1999
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$38.22 $3.98
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Editorial Reviews

Rodgers & Hammerstein wrote it, Gene Kelly directed it-audiences fell in love with it. Return to San Francisco's Chinatown!

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 18, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00000J28P
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,823 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
FLOWER DRUM SONG is one of the small gems in the canon of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. The score contains some fabulous numbers, including the well-known "I Enjoy Being a Girl", though there is also the heartbreaking 11 o'clock number "Love, Look Away" (which must surely count as one of the duo's best ballads), and rousing numbers like "Grant Avenue".

Miyoshi Umeki has charm and joy to spare in her performance as Mei-Li, the young woman who enters the United States illegally, in order to submit to a forced marriage. Pat Suzuki plays the brash Linda Low, a sexy nightclub entertainer. The cast also includes Juanita Hall (SOUTH PACIFIC), Arabella Hong, Keye Luke and Larry Blyden. The original Broadway production was directed by Gene Kelly but by all accounts it was choreographer Carol Haney who was the real creative heart of the piece. FLOWER DRUM SONG was a modest success, running 600 performances.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mark Andrew Lawrence on January 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Another example of how record producer Goddard Lieberson could elevate even so-so material and make it sound like a smash hit. The whole disc sparkles!
FLOWER DRUM SONG was NOT a smash hit. It got respectful though not terribly enthusiastic reviews and played out a successful run. The weakness was the book which borrowed too little of C.Y Lee's novel and is filled with weak (some say offensive) stereotype jokes. Hammerstein had a gem of a concept that is blown away in a few minor scenes...that the traditional immigrant parents want to hold onto tradition, while their americanized offspring want to follow modern local customs.
(FIDDLER ON THE ROOF would explore this theme much more fully.)
Still, the whole show was helped to no small extent by the songs and since that is all there is on the record, it actually makes for a highly enjoyable listen.
Miyoshi Umeki as the shy Mei Li contrasts nicely with brassy Pat Suzuki as nightclub singer Linda Low. There is less contrast between Ed Kenny as Wang Ta and Larry Blyden as Sammy Fong, possibly because the men get less of the score. The supporting cast, however, get a good share of the music: Juanita Hall leads the ensemble in "Chop Suey" and duets with Keye Luke lamenting the attitudes of "The Other Gereneration." Arabella Hong does a beautiful job with "Love Look Away" the show's standout ballad, though her character barely registers in the script. (In the novel, Ta's rejection leads her to suicide. In the musical she just disappears after her big number!)
There is a detailed synopsis in the CD booklet if you want to know how the plot ties all these songs together, but it is one of those cast albums where a synopsis is hardly necessary.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Cooper on July 24, 2001
Format: Audio CD
While this is certainly one of the lesser works in the Rodgers & Hammerstein canon, it is still head-and-shoulders above the work of many other composers of its time. The cast is wonderful and there is hardly a sour note among them (even from the inimitable Juanita Hall who was eight years on from her best voice). This show has the distinction of sharing one of the composing duo's most lovely and one of their most banal songs. "You Are Beautiful" is, in my opinion, one of the finest ballads ever written for the Broadway stage. Its sentiment is beautiful, as are its melody and performance. Unfortunately, most critics agree that "Chop Suey" is arguably the worst song R&H ever wrote. Bad, bad, bad! Otherwise, the songs are pretty much par for the course for the talented men. "A Hundred Million Miracles," "I Am Going to Like it Here," "I Enjoy Being a Girl," "Grant Avenue" and "Sunday" are all songs that are well-written and well-performed, but none of them really seem to stand out. Don't get me wrong, I love them all. But the overall score here seems to be lacking a certain vitality. Some of it is probably due to the material R&H were working with, some of it due to having Gene Kelly as an inexperienced (at least on Broadway) director and some of it due to the fact that Rodgers had just beaten cancer and Hammerstein was fighting the same dreaded disease. Taking all of this into account, the score is lovely to listen to and, as another reviewer pointed out, is period, not dated. Listen to the album and enjoy the experience of being a newly arrived Chinese immigrant in San Francisco, circa 1958.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dickson VINE VOICE on March 8, 2003
Format: Audio CD
FLOWER DRUM SONG was a respectable hit on Broadway, running for six hundred performances, making a national star out of the gifted Pat Suzuki, and cementing the celebrity of Academy Award-winning actress Miyoshi Umeki. The two actresses just shine in their roles: Umeki was a noted Japanese singer before "discovered" in the United States for the film SAYONARA (for which she won the Oscar), and her rendition of "A Hundred Million Miracles" is so haunting and lovely that when FLOWER DRUM SONG was turned into a film she was allowed not only to sing the entire song the first time it is heard but also to reprise it several times.

The amazing Pat Suzuki, inexplicably, was not retained for the inferior film version of the musical, which is an incredible shame: her brassiness not only wins you over on the famous "I Enjoy Being a Girl," but transforms the musically mediocre "Grant Avenue" practically into a showstopper. Arabella Hong, as Helen Chao, sings a lovely operatic rendition of "Love, Look Away," an oft-neglected R&H song of tremendous beauty. Indeed, this is probably their most overlooked score, with two clear duds ("Chop Suey" and "The Other Generation") but with otherwise real winners, including the liltingly charming "Sunday" (which should have become a standard), and the hauntingly gorgeous "You Are Beautiful," sung by Ed Kenney here, which is among the finest love songs R&H ever wrote. This cast album has become something of a classic--and it deserves to be.
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