Marco Polo NTSC
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Alfred Drake and Doretta Morrow star in this made-for-TV musical about the adventures of Marco Polo, with songs and dance numbers based on themes by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Cast also includes Paul Ukena, Ross Martin, and Jerome Kilty. Hailed by The New York Times as an eye-filling version of a fascinating story, accompanied...by superior music, Marco Polo is rich in songs and exotic novelty numbers, and offers a rare opportunity to see the beautiful Doretta Morrow in performance. B&W, 80 minutes, 4:3, All regions
Music by Clay Warnick and Mel Pahl, based on themes by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Book by William Friedberg and Neil Simon
Lyrics by Edward Eager
Book Staged by Milton Lyon
Dances and Musical Numbers staged by James Starbuck
Musical Conductor: Charles Sanford
Arrangements by Irwin Kostal
Produced and Directed by Max Liebman
Marco Polo: Alfred Drake
Beggar Girl / Souchon / Kokochin / Chentu: Doretta Morrow
Kublai Khan: Paul Ukena
Nicolo Polo, Marco s father: Arnold Moss
Mafeo Polo, Marco s uncle: George Mitchell
Baron: Ross Martin
Baron s Son: Jerome Kilty
Featured Dancer: Beatrice Kraft
Chinese Plate Twirler: Bobby Chang
Sword Swallowers: Martin Bros.
Whirling Dervish: Bhasker
Pyramid Worshippers: Wazzan Troupe
Achmid: Ray Drakely
Philosopher: Arnold Moss
Servant: Jack Ringstag
Live telecast of April 14, 1956
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So it was not surprising that many of the "biggest" shows were NOT Movie oriented, but Broadway Show oriented.
For several years Max Liebman produced "Your Show of Shows" which, despite legend, was much more than just "Sid Caesar"! (Look it up. It was a full scale Broadway Review... Every week... written by half a dozen guys (of both sexes) with names like Reiner, Brooks, Simon, Diamond, etc.)
When that show ended, Liebman filled the slot with "Tab Shows" (abridged versions of Broadway & other musicals) like "Lady in the Dark", "The Yeoman of the Guards", "Desert Song", etc. and "original" musicals that played like EXACTLY what they were; Very good rip-offs of current/past Broadway hits.
"Satin & Spurs" was "Annie Get Your Gun" and "The Adventures of Marco Polo" (to give it's full title) was "Kismet".
Sure "Kismet" was "Arabian Nights" and this was China, but it had the same stars, and, where "Kismet' adapted music by Alexander Borodin, composer Clay Warnick here adapted Rimsky-Korsakov... quite nicely, actually.
The "book" has Polo traveling.... as he was wont to do.
That's the "plot"
But it has Alfred Drake, arguably the best musical performer EVER on Broadway.
And it has Doretta Morrow, who had the purest voice you'll ever hear outside of Barbara Cook
And it's got a great score
What on earth MORE do you want?!
It is fun and I am delighted with my copy . . .
Who knew then that about 8 or 9 years later I would stage manage a summer stock tour of "Kismet" for Lee Guber's theatre's in the round with Howard Keel.