GIVE MY REGARDS…
It is bad enough they aren’t writing musicals the way they once did. And that we no longer have a Frank Loesser. Or a Rogers and Hart. Or a Rogers and Hammerstein. Or an Adler and Ross. Or a Lerner and Lowe.
Colony Records, the great Manhattan music store on the Great White Way, recently bit the dust.
In the mid-1950s, my family began taking car trips from Buffalo to Manhattan once or twice a year to catch the latest shows. Afterwards we would head over to Colony Records. My father bought me the song books of The Most Happy Fella, Carousel, The Pajama Game, The King and I, Guys and Dolls and whatever else we saw. Piano books from Colony Records were the souvenirs I brought home.As a New York resident and theatergoer since 1967, I became a regular there, stopping in when I’d go to the box office for tickets and before and after the shows.
I am not a browser or shopper except at stores that sell music and books. At Colony, I browsed and talked to the salespeople who enriched me with what they knew about composers, groups, and solo artists. Individual pieces and books of Rogers and Hammerstein, Debussy, The Beatles, Chopin, Sinatra and tons of others from Colony are piled high on and next to my piano. As a music teacher in a public school in the early 1970s, I got all my piano books there including “Great Songs of the Sixties.” I still play the songs from those at home.
In recent years, Broadway musicals, with few exceptions, have been devoid of heart. And catchy tunes. Only on rare occasions have I walked out singing or humming. Only on rare occasions, do the melodies and lyrics play over and over in my mind.
At least there was ALWAYS Colony Records. A visit there and a songbook purchase compensated for super expensive, uninspiring shows. Now that show has closed. An evening on Broadway without stopping there to schmooze, treat myself to a little night piano music, and fill up with what only this sixty-four year old establishment and one-of-a kind-store provided holds no allure. Musicals have lost their magic. Their oomph. Their freshness. Their spark. With the presence of Disney and the absence of Colony Records, the Great White Way has lost its soul.