“They Should Have Stayed Another Week in Philadelphia” was the second act opening of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue during the show’s world premiere performance (which was, incidentally, in Philadelphia). Using theatrical metaphors, the actors of the show-within-the-show sang about how the Constitution could have used more work.
After the negative reviews came in, the song was one of the score’s first casualties. It was restored for the 1992 revision, but not A White House Cantata (which opens its second half with the equally obscure “Welcome Home, Miz Johnson”).
Marin Mazzie sings “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue”.
Marin Mazzie singing “Take Care of This House.” All’s right with the world.
The finale of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (as it played in DC and Broadway): a reprise of the opening number “Rehearse!”
Baritone Sidney Outlaw’s stunning rendition of “Seena” from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at NYCO’s Lucky to be Me: The Music of Leonard Bernstein.
Victoria Clark sings “Duet for One” from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in NYCO’s concert Lucky to Be Me: The Music of Leonard Bernstein.
(Also: Michael Cerveris is the Chief Justice and Cheyenne Jackson is the President).
The latest addition to my ‘1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’ archive: a Playbill from the Philadelphia tryout.
“They Should Have Stayed Another Week in Philadelphia” has been dropped, leading me to think this was toward the middle or end of the run.
Incidentally, the second act has only six musical pieces: “Bright and Black,” the showstopping “Duet for One,” “After Dinner Entertainment” (the minstrel show medley), “American Dreaming,” “Middle C,” and “To Make Us Proud.”
From the BBC radio broadcast of A White House Cantata, the concert adaptation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“Welcome Home, Miz Johnson,” the act two opener of the Cantata, is a reprise of “Welcome Home, Miz Adams” which is sung by the chorus to First Lady. Eliza McArdle Johnson arrives at the White House several weeks after Lincoln’s assassination to discover that a bereft Mrs. Lincoln hasn’t left.
The song has never been officially recorded. (On top of being listless and dull, the recording of A White House Cantata was also abridged to fit on one disc).
Ken Howard, Patricia Routledge and the company of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (1976) perform the show’s new opening (and closing) number “Rehearse!” during the show’s Washington DC tryout.
Leonard Bernstein recycled this infectious melody for this number for “Slava! A Political Overture” the next year.
Patricia Routledge, Ken Howard and the original Broadway cast of 1600 Pennyslvania Avenue.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue played a mere 7 official performances on Broadway before closing a financial and critical disaster. While Capitol was still willing to record the proposed cast album, Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner balked. Our loss.
Thankfully this live tape captures the score as it played on Broadway, a shell of the original metaphysical conceit (actors in rehearsal, stepping out and commenting) and ended up a sort of White House revue. The music and most of the lyrics are quite glorious, but the book is not.
Here is the musical’s delightful overture, which replaced the staid symphonic Prelude used in the Philadelphia premiere.
Some fun trivia about the music itself: The Prelude was restored for the revised A White House Cantata, and was recycled for Bernstein’s Songfest. The lively 7/8 piece in the beginning of the Broadway overture is the show’s replacement opening number “Rehearse!,” which was later combined with the act two number “The Grand Ol’ Party” for the orchestral piece “Slava! A Political Overture” in honor of Rostropovich’s inaugural season with the National Symphony Orchestra in 1977.