Goona-Goona

Bibi Osterwald as a comically seductive siren from “Goona-Goona Lagoon”

1.  This New York Drama Critcs Award-winning musical opened on Broadway on April 20, 1954 and ran a disappointing 125 performances.

2.  The Golden Apple is a re-telling of The Iliad and The Odyssey re-set in Washington state just after the Spanish-American War.

3.  Written by Jerome Moross (music) and John LaTouche (lyrics), the musical is entirely sung and danced, with no dialogue.

4.  Though not set in ancient times, the characters retain names reminiscent of their origins, either directly (Ulysses, Penelope) or indirectly (such as Venus becoming Lovey Mars).

5.  Helen, the legendary beauty whose face launched a thousand ships, here becomes an overzealous local girl who is no great beauty but who, as the locals proclaim, “is always willing.”

6.  Paris, who steals Helen away, is a traveling salesman who neither speaks nor sings but expresses himself quite clearly through dance.  (You can get a taste of the Judgement of Paris at http://youtu.be/GCdOy8W-VgM)

7.  The original production was choreographed by modern dance pioneer  Hanya Holm, who later choreographed the original production of My Fair Lady. (There was more room for dance in this one.)

8.  One song from the score, the seductively gorgeous “Lazy Afternoon” (introduced in the show by Kaye Ballard),  became a minor standard.  (You can hear it at http://youtu.be/xVaEiPjLgtE)

9.  The original Broadway cast album is wonderful but contains only about half of the score.  It also features rhyming narrative couplets not found in the show which help make the story clear but become somewhat annoying on repeated listening.

10.  Ulysses’ odyssey home is complicated by such dangers as high finance (Scylla and Charybdis),  the lure of high  society (Calypso), sex (the Sirens) and the offer of power (Circe).

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