Entertainment :: Music

David Merrick Presents Hits From His Broadway Hits

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Tuesday Mar 6, 2012
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"Gypsy." "Hello, Dolly!" "Oliver!" "Carnival." These were only four Broadway hits connected by the tentacles of their producer, David Merrick. Before Cameron Mackintosh brought his brand of British musical to the U.S. in the 1980’s, Merrick had successfully mastered the formula of manipulating the national press and finding the algorithms for making hits from the shows he produced.

Continuing the steady stream of digitizing LP’s from its vaults, Sony Music releases this audio tribute to Merrick for us to investigate. The brainstorm of record producer George Marek after the establishment of Merrick’s (and Jerry Herman’s) "Hello, Dolly!" as a bonafide hit in 1964, "David Merrick Presents Hits from his Broadway Hits" is a quick glance into the myriad of shows that Merrick brought to New York, establishing him as one of the most sought after, albeit not always favorably, producers in Broadway history.

The songs are given lush - schmaltzy by today’s standards - arrangements and are performed by John Gary, Ann-Margret and The Merrill Staton Voices. Most of the tunes come across as elevator music, especially those that became hits ("Small World" from "Gypsy," "Make Someone Happy" from "Do-Re-Mi"), but occasionally we’ll take in a lesser known piece ("Anyone Would Love You" from "Destry Rides Again"), or an acceptable performance of an old gem (Ann-Margret shines on her version of "As Long As He Needs Me" from "Oliver!").

This landmark recording was the first time an album had been dedicated strictly to the works of one producer, which entitles it to at least a curious listen. After that, only the Broadway historian or lover of Muzak will keep it on their ipod.


David Merrick Presents Hits from His Broadway Hits
CD / Digital formats
Masterworks Broadway / Sony Music

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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