Today, Harold Rome and Jerome Weidman's 1962 Broadway musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale is best-remembered as the debut of Barbra Streisand. The then-teenaged star portrayed secretary Yetta Tessye Marmelstein, best known as "Miss Marmelstein," and stopped the show nightly with the song of that name. "The evening's find is Barbra Streisand," wrote Howard Taubman in The New York Times, "a girl with an oafish expression, a loud, irascible voice, and an arpeggiated laugh. Miss Streisand is a natural comedienne, and Mr. Rome has given her a brash, amusing song, 'Miss Marmelstein,' to lament her secretarial fate." Streisand wouldn't be playing a secretary for long; in her second and final Broadway role, she would be above the title of Funny Girl as one of the world's most famous comediennes, Fanny Brice. Now, Stage Door Records is giving listeners a chance to revisit Streisand's star-making performance, as well as the musical's many other charms, with a 2-CD Deluxe Edition. It's due on January 28 in stores, but pre-orders are shipping now from Stage Door.
Set in New York's garment district and The Bronx circa 1937, I Can Get It for You Wholesale was penned by librettist Jerome Weidman (based on his own novel) and composer-lyricist Harold Rome of Pins and Needles and Destry Rides Again fame. The musical follows unscrupulous businessman Harry Bogen (Elliott Gould) on his way to the top - and then back to the bottom. "Abominable Showman" David Merrick was the producer, and Arthur Laurents (West Side Story, Gypsy) was enlisted to direct his first Broadway musical. Laurents assembled an illustrious cast also including Marilyn Cooper, Harold Lang, Bambi Linn, Sheree North, Jack Kruschen, and Ken LeRoy. Opening on March 22, 1962 at the Shubert Theatre, it transferred to the Broadway Theatre before closing after 300 performances on December 8 of that year. Streisand and Gould would marry in 1963.
Columbia Records snapped up Rome's flavorful score; label chief Goddard Lieberson - whose personal passion was producing its Broadway cast recordings - enticed the composer by also promising to record a new, stereo album of his score to 1937's pro-union revue Pins and Needles. Lieberson then wasted no time in signing the musical's Tony Award-nominated breakout star to a solo contract. Barbra Streisand appeared on that Pins and Needles LP and remains on Columbia sixty years later.
Stage Door's reissue adds eight rare demos to the first disc, while a second disc is filled with rare bonus material. First up is the CD debut of Sy Oliver and His Orchestra's album of songs from the musical, issued on Columbia to promote the score. It's followed by six pop covers including Robert Goulet's "Too Soon," Tony Bennett's "Have I Told You Lately?," Jerry Vale's "Who Knows," Frank D'Rone's "What's in It for Me?," bandleader Edmundo Ros' "The Sound of Money," and The J's with Jamie's "Momma, Momma" b/w "The Sound of Money." All other than the D'Rone and Ros tracks were originally released on Columbia, as the label endeavored to promote Rome's score and sales of the cast album. (D'rone's 45 was on Mercury while Ros' rendition was on Decca/London.)
The Deluxe Edition of I Can Get It for You Wholesale has been newly mastered from a reel-to-reel tape (this has been reissued pursuant to current U.K. public domain laws, so no master tapes were available) and features new liner notes by musical theatre historian George Dansker. Note that only 25 copies of this release (limited to 500 units) remain of the label's own inventory, so anyone interested should order now. You'll find pre-order links and the complete track listing below!
- Overture/I'm Not a Well Man - Jack Kruschen, Barbra Streisand
- The Way Things Are - Elliott Gould
- When Gemini Meets Capricorn - Marilyn Cooper, Elliott Gould
- Momma, Momma - Elliott Gould, Lillian Roth
- The Sound of Money - Sheree North, Elliott Gould, Barbara Monte, Edward Verso
- Too Soon - Lillian Roth
- The Family Way - Lillian Roth, Elliott Gould, Harold Lang, Bambi Linn, Ken Le Roy
- Who Knows? - Marilyn Cooper
- Ballad of the Garment Trade - Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Cooper, Harold Lang, Ken Le Roy
- Have I Told You Lately? - Ken Le Roy, Bambi Linn
- A Gift Today - Elliott Gould, Lillian Roth, Marilyn Cooper
- Miss Marmelstein - Barbra Streisand
- A Funny Thing Happened - Marilyn Cooper, Elliott Gould
- What's In It for Me? - Harold Lang
- Eat a Little Something - Lillian Roth
- What Are They Doing to Us Now? - Barbra Streisand, Kelly Brown, James Hickman, Pat Turner, Luba Lisa, Wilma Curley
Studio Demo Recordings
- What's In It for Me? - Demo Cast
- Too Soon - Demo Cast
- A Funny Thing Happened - Demo Cast
- Momma, Momma - Demo Cast
- Who Knows? - Demo Cast
- The Sound of Money - Demo Cast
- Have I Told You Lately? - Demo Cast
- Grab Them While You Can - Demo Cast
Selections from 'I Can Get It for You Wholesale' - Sy Oliver and His Orchestra (Columbia LP CS 8615, 1962)
- The Sound of Money
- Have I Told You Lately?
- Miss Marmelstein
- Who Knows?
- What Are They Doing to Us Now?
- Ballad of the Garment Trade
- What's In It for Me?
- Momma, Momma
- A Funny Thing Happened
- Too Soon
- Eat a Little Something
- A Gift Today
- Have I Told You Lately? - Tony Bennett (Columbia single 4-42395, 1962)
- Too Soon - Robert Goulet (Columbia single 4-42369, 1962)
- What's In It for Me? - Frank D'Rone (Mercury single 71939, 1962)
- Who Knows? - Jerry Vale (Columbia single 4-42304, 1962)
- Momma, Momma - The J's with Jamie (Columbia single 4-42422, 1962)
- The Sound of Money - The J's with Jamie (Columbia single 4-42422, 1962)
- The Sound of Money - Edmundo Ros (London single 45-9565, 1962)