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A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine

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A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine album cover
01
Just Go to the Movies
4:33
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02
Famous Feet
3:52
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03
I Love a Film Cliche
3:21
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04
Nelson
3:16
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05
It All Comes Out of the Piano/Ain't We Got Fun/Too Marvelous for Words/
12:22  
06
Best in the World
5:05
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07
Doin' the Production Code
3:00
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08
Night in the Ukraine
2:17
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09
Samovar the Lawyer
4:06
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10
Just Like That
4:16
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11
Again
3:32
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12
Natasha
3:51
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13
Night in the Ukraine [Reprise]
1:00
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Album Information

Total Tracks: 13   Total Length: 54:31

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Marx Bros. Murder Chekov!

CaptainKiddeo

Lots of fun for fans of old movies and the Marx Brothers in particular. The first half (through "Doing the Production Code") has a group of movie ushers (movie theaters had ushers back in the 1930s) telling us what they love in the movies. The rest--A Night in the Ukraine--imagines what the Marx Brothers might have done to Anton Chekov's "The Bear". David Garrison is exceptional as Groucho (Samovar the Lawyer). I loved almost every minute--except "Nelson."

They Say All Music Guide

A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine was one of those unlikely musical theater hits. As librettist/lyricist Dick Vosburgh puts in his liner notes to the original Broadway cast album, few could have dreamed that he, “a Marx [Brothers] obsessed New Jersey-born comedy writer living in England, would adapt [Anton Chekhov's play] The Bear as a musical in the [Marx Brothers'] Night at the Opera style, find a man capable of both playing the ‘Chico’ [Marx] role, and of writing the music [Frank Lazarus], open in a tiny off West End theater…, see it transfer to the West End…, win a couple of awards…, and wind up a Broadway hit directed and choreographed by Tommy Tune….” (Opening at the Golden Theatre in New York on May 1, 1980, the show ran a healthy 588 performances.) The adaptation to which Vosburgh refers takes up the second, “A Night in the Ukraine,” portion of what is actually a two-part musical revue with little in the way of plot. The first half is a tribute to and parody of Hollywood set at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and performed by some starstruck ushers that includes a musical recitation of the famous code that censored films of the 1930s to the 1950s and a lengthy medley of songs by movie tunesmith Richard A. Whiting (“Ain’t We Got Fun,” etc.). That isn’t the only interpolation; Jerry Herman of Hello, Dolly and Mame fame contributes three songs, among them one in which a Jeanette MacDonald soundalike questions the manhood of one “Nelson (Eddy, of course). The six-person cast handles the material well, even if David Garrison isn’t quite convincing as Groucho Marx, and the album, as the stage production did, works well as a small, two-piano musical effort that is both affectionate and mocking toward Hollywood’s golden age. – William Ruhlmann

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