* Our Spring Musicals  (Click here for a complete history of over 50
years of OHS spring musicals from 1957
through 2009.)
Bells Are Ringing Book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Jule Styne
Presented May 12-14, 1960, by the OHS Music and Drama Departments
Starring Linda Feuerstein and Alan Lupi

  
Long before you knew them (telephone answering machines, voicemail and cell phones, that is) – when telephones had dials, and telephone exchanges had names instead of only numbers – there were telephone answering services, where operators would give and take messages all day for those who could not be near a phone.


            

                             


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    Announcement, March 28,1960:

 

    

Announcements from
(Click on the logo for more Beacon clippings.)

As you can see from the clippings, above, Bells Are Ringing was so oversold, that it became the first of our annual school musicals to offer a matinee in addition to the two evening performances.


According to a note received  from classmate, Ed Chilton (now deceased), one of our classmates worked behind the scenes "every bit as hard [as any of the foregoing] to make the entire event a success on the stage and in the hearts of the audience.” Ed wrote, “I know how hard he tried, and how hard he worked because I worked with him. I was the witness.”

“The person I speak of was Tom Castoldi. Tom was not allowed to be just a high school kid putting on a high school production. Tom Castoldi was the PIANIST.  Tom was not given a simplified version of the music, he was given the ORIGINAL BROADWAY MUSICAL SCORE, and he had to READ it and PERFORM it without error.”

According to our Bells Are Ringing playbill, Tom participated with another pianist, John Race (then OHS' Choral Director) in an experiment with the "technique of using a small music combination with two pianos back to back [that] has been used recently in many colleges and universities quite successfully."

Thanks, Tom.

Bells Are Ringing opened on Broadway at the Schubert Theatre, November 29, 1956, and ran for 924 performances. (See the 2001 Broadway revival notice, below.)

Our production of Bells Are Ringing was late in the school year, 1959-'60, after our yearbook print deadline. So there were no photos of it in our Spindrift. So class, you've waited 40 years for these – and now, thanks to Linda Feuerstein (our own Ella Peterson) and Jay Katz, here they are, below:

Plot Synopsis

Set around a telephone answering service suspected by the police of being a cover for a vice ring, it involves an illegal bookmaking operation, a heroine with a heart of gold and a musical dentist; it is a very entertaining show.

The story centers around SUSANSWERPHONE, a telephone answering service that fields calls made to clients when they are not at home.  One of its operators, Ella Peterson (Linda Feuerstein), out of sheer good-heartedness, is more concerned for her customers than the job warrants (or even more than the law allows).  She goes out of her way to help people who she thinks need a "break," in particular, a certain playwright, Jeff (Alan Lupi), who is rapidly losing self-confidence and with whom she falls in love. 

Ella unwittingly helps another client, Sandor (Marty Fuchs now decesaed), who professes to be a music publisher and owner of the Titanic Records Co. This man is, in fact, a bookmaker  and utilizes the services of SUSANSWERPHONE for the illegal purpose of placing and receiving bets.  

Sandor is able to do this by the ingenious means of providing his clients with musical code.   For example, Beethoven is the pseudonym for Belmont Park Race Course, Puccini is the code for Pimlico Race Course, Tchaikovsky means Churchill Downs, etc.  Therefore, when the message is received, "Order 500, 6th Symphony, Beethoven, Opus 3," it actually means, "Bet $500, 6th horse, Belmont, 3rd race."                                                          

"It's a Zimple Little Zystem"

Although the police are highly suspicious of SUSANSWERPHONE, they fail to detect any illegal activities, and the show has a happy ending.

The most memorable songs in the show are "Long Before I Knew You," "Just In Time" and "The Party's Over."

And for those of us in the class of 1960, in May of that year, when Bells Are Ringing played at OHS, our party was just about over.

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The voice you are hearing is not that of our own Linda Feuerstein but rather that of the late Judy Holliday, from the original Broadway cast album. But Judy sounded almost as good, don't you think?

On MAY 11th, 2001, several of our classmates went to see the


of 

         

Seven couples went to the show. The performances were outstanding, and the sets were breathtaking. The show was set in 1950s' New York, as was the original. (The critics said it was too dated.  Go figure!  What did they want, a show about voicemail?) And the music was delightful. But we were the only ones singing the songs on the way in to the theatre!! 

 Pictured below are the seven of us, after the show.

Left to right, Dave Schwarz, Marta Watts, Linda Feuerstein, Jay Katz, Doreen Silverstein, Rudy Hrubala and me, Howie Levy

Thanks to Jay Katz for having the idea and for making all the arrangements.

       

          

       

 

Copyright © 2000-2015 by Howard B. Levy and 1960 Sailors Association Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

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