Cagney / Original New York Cast Recording
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2016 release. Not even five and a half feet tall, James Cagney's oversized talent catapulted him from scrappy Irish kid on the streets of New York to Hollywood legend on "the top of the world." A Vaudeville hoofer turned actor, Cagney made a splash on Broadway before Hollywood called and made him one of the Silver Screen's most iconic tough guys in legendary films including The Public Enemy, The G Men and White Heat. But it was his turn as song and dance man George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy that earned him the Academy Award and forever cemented his place as one of America's most beloved movie legends alongside the likes of Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, Jimmy Stewart, and Fred Astaire. Cagney's six-member cast stars Broadway's Robert Creighton (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Anything Goes) as the legendary James Cagney, with Jeremy Benton (Nat'l Tour of Irving Berlin's White Christmas), Danette Holden (Broadway's Annie, Shrek the Musical), Josh Walden (Broadway's Ragtime, La Cage aux Folles, A Chorus Line), Ellen Zolezzi (Seussical), and Bruce Sabath (Broadway's Company). Directed by Bill Castellino (Grumpy Old Men, Jolson), with choreography by Tony Award nominee Joshua Bergasse (On the Town, Gigi), Cagney features a book by Peter Colley (I'll Be Back Before Midnight) and score that blends original music by Robert Creighton and Christopher McGovern (Lizzie Borden) with classic George M. Cohan favorites, including "Give My Regards To Broadway," "Grand Old Flag," and "Yankee Doodle Dandy."
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The story of Cagney’s life, as well as the musical, follows much the same arc as the “Chaplain” musical. Both are song and dance performers who had considerable success in Hollywood. Both ran afoul of the wicked and misguide anti-American, anti-Communist subcommittees. Each had a lifelong spouse who provided the impetus for romance as a parallel to and part of the primary story. That aspect does not produce quite as much sweetness in “Cagney” as it did in “Chaplain”.
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