Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012

Gentleman Prefer Blondes

By David Luhrssen
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  The Howard Hawks-directed film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) became a showcase for the rapidly rising Marilyn Monroe, but was also part of a well-established Hollywood trend. In those years, successful Broadway musicals were turned into movies. Nowadays, it’s usually the other way around.


The stage musical of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, with a book by playwright-novelist-bon vivant Anita Loos and songs by Jule Styne and Leo Robin, debuted in 1949 to long lines outside the box office. A recent revival, captured on a CD released on Masterworks Broadway, stars Megan Hilty as the titular blond, Lorelei Lee. The production has the virtue of making no doubtful concessions to changing times—no stumbling attempts to wean “Bye Bye Baby” on rap or rock-out “A Little Girl From Little Rock.” The effervescent melodies and lyrics still bubble like a freshly uncorked bottle of champagne.

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