MOLLY: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL (1973)

BOOK by Louis Garfinkle and Leonard Adelson

MUSIC by Jerry Livingston

LYRICS by Leonard Adelson and Mack David

DIRECTOR: Alan Arkin (replacing Paul Aaron)

CHOREOGRAPHER: Grover Dale (replacing Bert Michaels)

PRODUCERS: Don Saxon, Don Kaufman, George Daley

Based on characters from THE GOLDBERGS by Gertrude Berg


Original cast:

Kaye Ballard (as Kay Ballard)

Molly Goldberg

Lee Wallace

Jake Goldberg

Daniel Fortus

Sammy Goldberg

Lisa Rochelle

Rosie Goldberg

Swen Swenson

Michael Stone

Eli Mintz

Uncle David


For additional production information: Internet Broadway Database
Al Hirschfeld drawing reproduced by special arrangement with Hirschfeld’s exclusive representative, The Margo Feiden Galleries Ltd., New York 


LISTEN TO SEVERAL SONGS FROM MOLLY

bullet Leonard Nimoy interviews Kaye Ballard and the MOLLY cast    MP3
This ten-minute interview was broadcast in November 1973 on the AM New York television program, with host Leonard Nimoy. In addition to sharing tidbits about the show, Ballard, Eli Mintz and Daniel Fortus, with Jerry Goldberg at the piano, sing the following numbers, which you can also hear separately:

bullet If Everyone Got What They Wanted (excerpt)  MP3
Vocalist: Kaye Ballard & Eli Mintz
Lyricist: Mack David

bullet In Your Eyes   MP3
Vocalist: Daniel Fortus
Lyricist: Mack David

bullet Appointments MP3
Vocalist: Eli Mintz
Lyricist: Leonard Adelson

bullet A Piece of the Rainbow MP3
Vocalist: Kaye Ballard
Lyricist: Mack David

The next four songs, with lyrics by Leonard Adelson, are taken from a cassette tape made from an undated recording session by uncredited singers and musicians. The recording was never commercially released and its purposes are unknown. The arrangements are overly brassy, but the charm of the music comes through.


bullet Sunshinny California   MP3
This song was cut from the Broadway show.

bullet I've Got A Molly   MP3
This one remained in the Broadway show.

bullet The Afternoon Of Our Years   MP3
A beautiful song that was cut from the Broadway show

bullet The Kinder  MP3
Another lovely number cut from Broadway.

The closing number from MOLLY appeared in my revue, FROM TIN PAN ALLEY TO SILICON ALLEY

bullet Go In The Best Of Health  MP3
READ THE LYRICS
Vocalists: Jody Ebling, Jan Peters, Tim Sawyer, Dane Vannatter
Pianist: Doug Hammer
Lyricist: Leonard Adelson
   

TED CHAPIN TELLS SOME MOLLY STORIES

If It Only Even Runs A Minute, created by Jennifer Ashley Tepper, Kevin Michael Murphy and Caleb Hoyer, was a long-running concert series devoted to presenting back-stage tales and rare songs from “underappreciated Broadway musicals.” On June 17, 2012, at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, one segment of the show featured Ted Chapin, assistant director of Molly, giving a candid and amusing account of attempts by himself and the new director, Alan Arkin, to improve the musical after it’s out-of-town tryout. He is followed by Etai BenShlomo singing “In Your Eyes," a lovely ballad from Molly. Caleb Hoyer is at the piano.

 

INFREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MOLLY

by Dennis Livingston

My father, Jerry Livingston, had a long and successful career as a songwriter, which you can read about at ABOUT JERRY. He made one attempt at achieving fame on Broadway by joining the creative team that put together a musical called MOLLY. Alas, it was not to be. MOLLY opened at the Alvin Theater in New York on November 1, 1973 and had a run of 68 shows (including previews) before closing. An original cast album was never produced.

What is MOLLY about?

The musical is based on characters created by Gertrude Berg for THE GOLDBERGS, a radio and television show that became an icon of American popular entertainment over the course of almost 30 years. Indeed, for many who lived through the Depression and war years, or who remember the early days of television, the indomitable Molly Goldberg, her husband Jake, Uncle David, and the children, Sammy and Rosie, were extensions of their own families. There was much about the Goldbergs that rested on a recognizably Jewish approach to the world, including the shtetl-like atmosphere of their Bronx neighborhood. At the same time, the problems, petty arguments and occasional triumphs of this family has always held universal appeal.

In writing MOLLY, my father and his collaborators presented, in effect, one compelling episode in the life of the Goldbergs, centered around the crisis created for each family member when Jake loses his tailoring job at the beginning of the Depression. The show revolves around Molly's frustrated attempts to make things right at a time when that is increasingly difficult - until "Mrs. Fix-It" comes up with one final entrepreneurial stroke of genius.

Why did MOLLY flop?

The usual suspects: Creative differences. Conflicting visions. Changes in the director and other staff. Mixed to poor reviews. Not least, the heartbreaking death of original lyricist Leonard Adelson while the show was in rehearsal for tryouts, which then entailed a substantial rewrite of the script and score when Mack David was brought onboard.

Is MOLLY worth a second look?

I can't really be objective about this, but: The show has a genealogy that reaches into the storied past of a legendary American entertainer. It evokes a slice of American life that resonates with many. It is still remembered fondly by those who saw it so long ago. It has songs worth rediscovery by cabaret singers and anybody else interested in "forgotten Broadway." A concert version, if not a fully mounted production, is doable. A revised book is possible and probably desirable. So, nu? Did Molly herself ever give up on anything?


MOLLY Discography

Kaye Ballard recorded several songs from MOLLY on her CD, THEN AND AGAIN, Original Cast Records (OC 9365).

For recording details and links to sites that sell this CD (if still in stock), go to CAST ALBUMS

For additional information about Ballard recordings from MOLLY, see Show Music on Record: Molly: List of Productions

CONTACT DENNIS to request further information and copies of surviving scripts and lead sheets. The message should include your name, institution, address, phone, e-mail and website.

MOLLY playlist for the New York opening
(lyrics by Mack David and Leonard Adelson)

ACT ONE

 

There’s A New Deal on the Way (David)

Angelina & Company

If Everyone Got What They Wanted (David)

Molly & Company

A Piece of the Rainbow (David)

Molly

Cahoots (David)

Michael & Molly

Sullivan’s Got a Job (Adelson)

Company

In Your Eyes (David)

Sammy

Cahoots (reprise)

Molly & Belle

High Class Ladies & Elegant Gentlemen (David)

Michael, Stella & The Goldbergs

So I’ll Tell Him (David)

Molly

Appointments (Adelson)

Uncle David

There’s Gold on the Trees (David)

Jake, Molly & Company

 

 

ACT TWO

 

The Mandarin Palace on the Grand Concourse (David)

Company

I Want to Share It with You (David)

Michael, Stella & Company

In Your Eyes (reprise)

Sammy

I Was There (David)

Molly & Jake

Oak Leaf Memorial Park (Adelson)

Molly

If Everyone Got What They Wanted (reprise)

Uncle David & Rosalie

I See A Man

Molly

The Tremont Avenue Cruisewear Fashion Show (Adelson)

Company

I’ve Got a Molly (Adelson)

Jake

Go in the Best of Health (Adelson)

Molly

MOLLY playlist from the earliest version of the script
(all lyrics by Adelson)

ACT ONE

 

I Had A Night

Molly with Mrs Cramer, Frazzini, Seidenschneer, Bloom, Housewives

You Remember

Molly & Jake

The Afternoon Of Our Years

Molly & Jake

I’ve Got A Molly

Jake

It Pays To Have Friends

Molly

Oh, There You Are

It Pays To Have Friends (reprise)

Company

Molly

Now That You Mention It

Molly & Zizi

Mothers

Now That You Mention It (reprise)

Belle & Zizi

If You Love A Man

Molly

What Else Is There To Do?

Boys & Girls

Before Your Very Eyes

You Remember (reprise)

Molly

Jake

Appointments

Uncle David

Cancelling

Company

Sunshinny California

Goldberg Family

 

 

ACT TWO

 

Peter Rabbit

Company

The Kinder

Jake & Sammy

Oak Leaf Memorial Park

Molly

Simon’s Song

Family

Maybe I Ought To Say

Jake & David

The Kinder (reprise)

Molly

Go In The Best Of Health

Molly

Yoo-Hoo

Molly

The Tremont Avenue Cruise Wear Fashion Show

Company

Molly (reprise)

Jake

Go In The Best Of Health (reprise)

Molly

Links for Gertrude Berg and The Goldbergs

As a scriptwriter, author, actress, businesswoman and force of nature in her own right, Gertrude Berg deserves remembering for her rich life and pioneering contributions to American entertainment. Here are some sites with further information:

Berg. Gertride Edelstein (Britannica Online)

Gertrude Berg @ FANSITES.COM

Gertrude Berg: Filmography

"Goldbergs, The" (1949) (TV series)

Goldbergs, The (1950) (movie)

The Goldbergs

Molly & Me (Amazon.com)

Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg (documentary about Gertrude Berg)

 

Other Jerry Livingston pages:

ABOUT JERRY

ASCAP AUDIO PORTRAIT

ABOUT MAIRZY DOATS

ABOUT MOLLY

LISTEN TO A FEW OF JERRY'S SONGS

JERRY LIVINGSTON HOME PAGE