Another Evening With Harry Stoones
October 21, 1961
Gramercy Arts Theater
New York, NY
Stenod Productions, Inc. presents:
ANOTHER EVENING WITH HARRY STOONES
(a new musical revue)
Sketches, Music, and Lyrics by Jeff Harris
Directed by G. Adam Jordan
Musical Direction and Arrangements by Abba Bogin
Choreography by Joe Milan
Scenery and Lighting by Robert E. Darling
Costumes Designed and Executed by Ruth Wagner
Technical Director, Wade Taylor
Diana Sands, Sheila Copelan, Ben Keller, Kenny Adams, Dom De Luise, Virgil Curry, Susan Belink, Barbra Streisand
PART ONE: THE CIVIL WAR
- Carnival In Capri ... Entire Cast
- To Belong ... Kenny
- Waiter ... Dom
- Lulu ... Diana
- Jose ... Ben
- Cook ... Kenny
- Ballad to the International Business Machine Building ... Virgil
- You Won’t Believe Me ... Sheila
- The Wrong Plan ... Diana
- Wendy ... Barbra
- Michael ... Kenny
- Nana ... Dom
- Peter Pan ... Harriet All
- Bang! ... Susan
- Don’t Laugh At Me ... Virgil & Diana
- Museum Piece ... Dom
- Christopher Columbus ... Virgil
- Sailor ... Ben
- Indians ... Sheila, Susan & Barbra
- Indian Nuts ... Diana, Sheila, Susan & Barbra
- Uh-Oh ... Kenny, Virgil & Dom
- Ragtime ... Abba
- Minnesota ... Entire Cast
- Ballad of the Tree ... Virgil
- Value... Barbra
- Bonnie ... Diana
- Hillary ... Sheila
- Allie ... Kenny
- Isidore ... Ben
- Man ... Virgil
- My Doggie ... Dom
- Jersey ... Barbra
- Dancin’ Free and Easy ... Diana & Kenny
- Dr. Rosalyn Green ... Sheila
- Invitation to the Basketball ... Ben
- Party of the First Part
- Wendell Mootz ... Kenny
- Alfie ... Dom
- Nancy ... Barbra
- Arthur ... Ben
- Barbara ... Susan
PART TWO: THE ROARING TWENTIES
- Big Barry
- Ace ... Ben
- Jimbo ... Dom
- Barry ... Kenny
- Tina ... Sheila
- Jo-Jo ... Diana
- Nancy ... Barbra
- Miss Greenwich Village ... Susan
- Stephanie ... Dom
- Betty Simpson ... Sheila
- The Rage ... Susan, Virgil, Barbra & Kenny
- Upstairs at the Downstairs ... Diana
- Hail to Thee! ... Kenny, Barbra, Susan & Virgil
- Serena ... Sheila
- Butterfingers ... Barbra
- Human Side of the News
- Announcer ... Ben
- Dr. Willow ... Dom
- Miss Heinshlinger ... Barbra & Dom
- Strangers on a Train ... Sheila & Ben, Susan & Kenny
- Water on the Brain ... Dom
- Dream House ... Virgil & Entire Cast
Closed Saturday, October 21, 1961
(“Stoones” ran for one performance only)
* Streisand’s skits in bold
All About “Harry” ...
Barbra, working with her new manager at the time—Marty Erlichman—auditioned twice for Another Evening with Harry Stoones, which writer Jeff Harris described years later: “It was an anti-revue. All the sketches kind of made fun of everything.”
After five weeks of rehearsals, the Off-Broadway show had nine previews and one performance, then closed.
With a first act billed as “The Civil War” and a second act titled “The Roaring Twenties” (neither act had anything to do with those time periods), Another Evening with Harry Stoones was a mischievous review performed by eight young talents who sang and acted in the show’s various skits. Even the title made fun of theater conventions — there had never been a first evening with Harry Stoones!
Barbra's friend Barry Dennen wrote in his book (My Life With Barbra: A Love Story): “In this show, Barbra's role was more kooky comedy misfit than glamour puss. Her sketch performances were great: underplayed yet terrifically funny.”
Barbra was featured in several of the sketches. In “Indian Nuts” she played an Indian in a spoof of Columbus’ discovery of America; The song, “Value” (“I’m in love with Harold Mengert”), which Barbra sang in her nightclub act for years, came from Harry Stoones; Also, the short comedic number which Barbra performed before the Bergdorf Goodman section of her first television special (“I’ve Got the Blues”) was from Stoones.
“Big Barry” was a comedic sketch whose punch line was Barbra walking up to her boyfriend in the locker room and saying, “Barry, I’m pregnant.”
“Jersey” was a three-act song about a woman whose lover has moved to New Jersey. “It was a full-blast jungle number right from a movie,” Jeff Harris told James Spada. “She worries about all the dangers that can befall you in Jersey, and there are native jungle rhythms. She resolves to go after [her boyfriend]—even though she may die—and bring him out.” The song ended with Streisand vowing to find him: “I won’t yell, I won’t scream, I won’t squawk, for it’s better to die together in Jersey than be single in New York.” Barbra, with her Brooklyn accent, rhymed “squawk” with “York”.
Barry Dennen described the last number:
There was also one of the most hilarious numbers I've ever seen on the stage in this show, “I'm Gonna Build a Dream House,” in which the cast, some in workman's overalls with saws and hammers, tried to put together a honeymoon cottage for two but halfway through the number someone bumped into someone else, banging into the set and setting off a chain reaction: the house started to fall apart. As the set began collapsing and picket fences and ladders fell over, crashing to the ground, everyone tried to scramble for safety. Barbra was simply a scream as the cross-eyed bride being carried across the threshold.
Variety’s review mentioned Streisand as “a slim, offbeat comedienne with a flair for dropping a black-out gag. And she belts across a musical apostrophe to New Jersey with facile intensity.”
Jeff Harris wrote more songs for Streisand in those early years of her career: She recorded “Sweet Zoo” for her television show, My Name is Barbra, and “Marty the Martian”, which appeared on A Happening in Central Park. She continued to use Harris' song from Harry Stoones—“Value”—up until her Las Vegas act in the 1970s.
Here's the New York Times review (October 23, 1961) of the show:
One observation to be made without fear of contradiction about “Another Evening With Harry Stoones” is that there is plenty of it.
Jeff Harris, creator of the revue that opened at the Grammercy Arts Theatre Saturday night, i sone of those hosts who insists on stuffing his guests. Indeed, Mr. Harris seems to have been preparing for this event for all of his twenty-six years.
Writer of the sketches, music and lyrics, he has loaded the first half of the program with twenty-four bits and pieces and thrown in fourteen more in the second. Obviously there is plenty, but whether this is something to be thankful for is another matter. Quantity, even the ancients knew, does not necessarily mean quality.
Not that all of this minor contribution to the Off Broadway season is lackluster. Here and there it is possible to detect flashes of humor and point of view. “Dream House”, for instance, the final skit, has a touch of true farce. The tourist agency's rhythmic hymn to “Minnesota” is fun. But too often the sharp satirical edge is missing along with the authentic comic flare. Frequently during the evening there are lapses of taste as Mr. Harris becomes involved with human functions and homosexuality.
Fortunately he has some earnest and likable young people to carry his inventions. Diana Sands is one of them and she is a major asset. Miss Sands, remembered for her superb performance in “A Raisin in the Sun,” in which she was hilariously funny as Beneaths, the college intellectual, is full of vigor, grace and humor in whatever she does in this pot-pourri.
As a chorus girl bumping into the other girls in the line, as a cleaning girl at the Upstairs at the Downstairs, she is excellent. Sheila Copelan as one of those weather forecasting lassies from television, also a television consultant on affairs of the heart, gives a lift to these interludes. Dom de Luise, Ben Keller, Kenny Adams and the others strive mightily in Mr. Harris' cause.
No matter, “Another Evening With Harry Stoones”, if not exactly unbearable is nevertheless none too stimulating.
Here's the Wall Street Journal review of the show by Joseph Morgenstern:
In the absence of a marquee above the Gramercy Arts Theater, you might look down around your feet for a clue to the attraction within. There on the sidewalk, the producers have commissioned someone to paint a set of hopscotch squares leading to the entrance. The game is very much in the spirit of the show, which stresses genial child's play at the expense of mature humor.
It doesn't look like child's play. A lot of work has gone into “Another Evening With Harry Stoones,” and it is evident where it ought to be evident: in bright settings, clever costumes, witty music, and capable performances. no one has taken the easy way out with this revue.
On the whole, though, the show is callow. Not because the performers are young, but because their material is ingenuous. When it deals with children, as it does too often—in seven sketches—it verges on childishness. When it deals with adults, the material plows but rarely bites the already fallow ground of jokes about psychiatry, television and rock 'n' roll, turning up routines that are more antic than comic.
This is disappointing, especially since the cast has a lot to offer. Diana Sands, in particular, is all over the place as a droll hipster, a befuddled stripteaser, a woefully defatigable vaudeville hoofer and a young Amazon who has taken the wrong course at Vic Tanney's.
Dom Le Luise's glum humor is appealing. Kenny Adams is properly appalling as a pea-brained rock 'n' roll singer, and Virgil Curry manages a nice combination of insufferable savoir faire and desperate insecurity as he bellows the lyrics to ballads of nonsense or little sense. What's lacking in all of this is an original point of view, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the final sketch, a cleverly staged spoof of Hollywood musical production numbers.
There is Mr. Curry, clad in spangled coveralls and singing “I'm gonna build me dream house a million sunbeams high.” The lyrics are awful, the dream house falls down on stage as soon as it's built. But the lyrics aren't quite awful enough to make their point, and the collapse of the house, amusing as it is, resembles the downfall of the show—too orderly to be chaotic, too predictable to be inspired.
Just like she did for I Can Get It For You Wholesale, Streisand wrote an exaggerated bio for herself in the Harry Stoones Playbill:
Below: A rarity! Barbra's handwritten version of her Stoones Playbill bio:
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