Free and Easy

New York: N.p., Circa 1957-1959. Draft script for the 1959 play. Copy belonging to producer Stanley Chase, with his name and address to a sticker on the title page. The script contains the printed lyrics for every musical number, with dialogue and stage direction interspersed.

Arlen's original 1946 musical, "St. Louis Woman," with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, was based on the dramatization by Arna Bontemps and Countee Cullen of Bontemps' 1931 novel "God Sends Sunday," and this draft of Arlen's subsequent and more adventurous project expand upon that source.

In August 1957, a 25-minute long "Blues Opera Suite," premiered in New York and was recorded by Andre Kostelanetz. Following substantial revisions and re-orchestration by a young Quincy Jones using a smaller jazz orchestra rather than a full orchestra, "Free and Easy" premiered at the Carre Theater in Amsterdam on December 7, 1959, continuing with performances in Brussels, Amsterdam, and Sweden in late 1959 and early 1960. The "official" premiere took place in Paris at the Alhambra Theatre on January 15, 1960 to glowing reviews, but attendance did not sustain a long run, and the production closed in February.

A sophisticated and nearly unknown bebop-era revision of a key African-American musical, giving insight to one of Arlen's most significant accomplishments, as well as into the mind of a young Quincy Jones. While the musical contains dozens of Arlen standards, it also has new work specifically composed for "Free and Easy."

Producer Stanley Chase produced numerous musicals such as "The Threepenny Opera" and "A Moon for the Misbegotten," later producing "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater" on NBC.

Pale blue untitled wrappers. Title page present, noted as copy No. 41, with credits for composer Harold Arlen and lyricist Johnny Mercer. 139 leaves, with last page of text numbered "II-2-27." Mimeograph duplication, with blue undated revision pages throughout. Pages Near Fine, wrapper Very Good plus, bound internally with a silver prong binding.

[Book #143679]

Price: $2,250.00