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The Noel Coward Society is the trading name of Noel Coward Ltd, a company wholly owned by the Noel Coward Foundation, a registered charity. The Society is autonomous, run by an executive committee

Together with Music Mary Martin and Noel Coward
Record Company:
One of the great virtues of a recording is that it fulfils the important function of giving aural permanence to a musical or dramatic event. Unquestionably, that is the reason for much of the appeal of original Broadway cast or soundtrack albums. Yet invaluable though such albums are, they still cannot match the authenticity and immediacy of recordings made during actual performances, whether in concerts or night clubs, or on radio or television.

This fact alone would make the recording of Together with Music a prized facsimile of a memorable occasion. Except for the elimination of four commercial interruptions and the studio announcer's introduction and sign-off, this compact disc brings us the complete Ford Star Jubilee "colour spectacular" featuring Mary Martin and Noel Coward, exactly as they sounded over the CIBS television network on Saturday evening, October 22,1955. Nothing was on tape or on film. What was seen and heard that evening was what was happening that evening: two supremely gifted individuals, after two months of rehearsing, showed up at the appropriate time and place in New York before an invited audience (including Margot Fonteyn and William Faulkner), and performed for almost ninety minutes. Just the two of them, without guest stars, backup singers or dancers. Not even the orchestra conducted by Tutti Camarata or pianist Peter Matz was in view of the camera. All that was needed to keep America entertained that night was an elegantly gowned musical-comedy star and a formally attired multi-talented theatre genius who sang and cavorted as if nothing pleased them more than spending an hour and a half in the living rooms across the nation. What they offered was light, bright, melodic, civilised entertainment that managed at the same time to stand out from, and still be very much a part of, the mass communication world that existed at that time.

For despite its quiz shows and its normal amount of juvenilia, television in the mid-Fifties probably came as close as it will ever come to a Periclean Age. This was a time when young writers and performers were encouraged to utilise their skills in the creation of innovative, often daring projects that took full advantage of the opportunities inherent in the burgeoning medium. There seems to have been a crazy notion in Madison Avenue echelons that if networks had a right to turn a profit they also had a responsibility to strive for the highest possible artistic achievement. Only in a creative climate such as this could the team of Mary Martin and Noel Coward dazzle, delight and enchant an entire nation.
In her autobiography, Mary Martin revealed that she had been fascinated by Noel Coward ever since her early twenties when she saw him in the film, The Scoundrel. They did not meet, however, until late in 1943 when she was appearing on Broadway in One Touch of Venus, and they did not work together professionally until about two and a half years later. Coward, then in London, cabled the actress to inquire if she would be interested in appearing in a musical he was writing especially for her. Thrilled at the idea of acting in a play written by a man she had admired for so long, Miss Martin promptly said yes and shortly thereafter settled in London for what was expected to be the lengthy run of Pacific 1860. Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that her role, that of a worldly diva, was not quite right for her, and hostilities broke out between actress and playwright. In fact, they fought so furiously just before the opening performance that each refused to speak to the other during the entire four-month run of the play.

They made up a few years later in New York when Miss Martin was starring in South Pacific, which she also acted in London. During the West End engagement, Coward found an opportunity to resume their professional association. Asked to stage and appear in a benefit show for the Actors' Orphanage at the Cafe de Paris, where he had already begun his career as a cabaret entertainer, Coward succeeded in persuading the actress to join him as the only performers in the show. Their two-and-a-half hour musical revue was presented in January 1952, and proved so successful that they repeated it the following November.

But successes did not come often for Noel Coward in the post-war years. Beginning with
Pacific 1860, in which he lost a good deal of money, he experienced one failure after another. His
style of smart, sophisticated plays and sentimental musicals were now something of an anachronism in Socialist Britain, and he suffered from critical derision and public indifference. In 1955,
with his taxes rising and his income decreasing, Coward was forced to leave England and take up
permanent residence in Jamaica. Two offers that year helped restore both his fortune and his
popularity. One was from the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, where he was booked as a cabaret
entertainer for four weeks in July at a salary of $40,000 per week. In the unlikely setting of the
Nevada desert, Coward discovered a highly appreciative audience for his repertory of songs and
patter and suddenly became, at 55, the darling of what he referred to as "Nescafé Society. ',

The other offer came from CBS. For a total of $450,000, Coward signed a contract to write, direct and act in a series of three television programs. Two of these would be adaptations of his plays, Blithe Spirit and This Happy Breed, but before putting them into production, he was anxious to capitalise on his newly found fame as an entertainer by appearing in a show similar to the ones he had given in night clubs. What better way, he reasoned, was there for him to introduce himself to American home-screen viewers than by appearing in his favourite role of Noel Coward? He also felt that this would present a splendid opportunity for him to team once again with Mary Martin. Not only had he found her a joy to work with in the two benefit shows at the Cafe de Paris, but he also was well aware that the actress was then among the most popular entertainers on television.

Though never starred in her own regular series, Miss Martin had made three memorable appearances: in 1953 she and Ethel Merman had pulled up a couple of stools and went through a sparkling medley of 'T' songs as part of Ford's 50th Anniversary Show; two years later she scored an even greater triumph in Peter Pan, the first network adaptation of a Broadway production; also during 1955 she co-starred with Helen Hayes in The Skin of Our Teeth. (For his part Coward was also represented on the home screen about that time, though other writers were hired to make the adaptations of Tonight at 8:30, starring Ginger Rogers, and Cavalcade, with Merle Oberon.)

In preparation for Together with Music, Mary Martin, her husband, Richard Halliday, and pianist Peter Matz spent about a month with Coward at his villa at Blue Harbour, Jamaica. The major disagreement the two stars had was over the song, "Together with Music," which Coward had composed especially for the show. Miss Martin felt that the original version was not romantic enough and she eventually convinced the composer to change it. (Coward later confessed, It is better than the first, really, but it was bloody hell to do.") Two other musical casualties: a satire on Gilbert and Sullivan's "Tit Willow" from The Mikado, and Coward's "The Party's Over Now:'which had been intended to close the program.
Despite the fact that rigid censorship was then very much an accepted way of television life, Coward was allowed remarkable freedom in using lyrics that, had they been written and performed by artists of lesser prestige, might well have been banned from the air. Still, there were some compromises. Miss Martin had to sing a laundered verse to 'My Heart Belongs to Daddy," thereby eliminating the "go to hell line" (though the girl's relationship to her "daddy" could hardly have been mistaken). And in 'Anything Goes:'the pointlessly euphemistic three-letter words" was substituted for four-letter words." But Coward made no meaningful changes in his racy saga of the ex-missionary "Uncle Harry." Even Miss Martin was permitted to sing about sniffing cocaine in 1 Get a Kick Out of You." (The New York Times' critic Jack Gould would later write, in his delightful patter numbers, Mr. Coward went further in the realm of naughty wit on TV than perhaps any other artist. Yet the walls of Madison Avenue didn't tremble and there was no outcry from the self-appointed guardians of the medium's morals. This is progress of a high order.)

The experience working on the show, and especially its highly favourable reception, gave Noel Coward his greatest morale boost in over ten years. As he wrote to his biographer, Cole Lesley, It has been a terrific week, a heroic White-Headed-Boy week, a thoroughly wallowing week. Wherever 1 have walked or driven or lunched or dined ecstatic strangers have loaded me with praise and gratitude; one lady who meant well said,1 never liked you until Saturday night, but now 1 love you!'Another, with wild blue hair, rushed up to me on Madison Avenue and cried shrilly, 'You're out of this world and I'm from East Orange New Jersey! - Stanley Green.
Originally released on DRG as a 2 LP set, this features the audio portion of the entire TV Special. The CD release only features about 56 minutes' worth. This is unfortunate, as the entire 2 LP set would have fit comfortably onto one CD.
1. Duet: - Together With Music
2. Noel Coward: - Uncle Harry, Nina, Mad Dogs and Englishmen
3. Mary Martin: - I Only Have Eves For You , I Get A Kick Out of You, Les Filles de Cadix
4. Duet: - 90 Minutes Is A Long, Long Time
5. Noel Coward: - I'll See You Again, Dance Little Lady, Poor Little Rich Girl, Room With A View, Someday I'll Find You, I'll Follow My Secret Heart, If Love Were All, Play Orchestra Play.
 6. Mary Martin: - Dites Moi, Cockeyed Optimist, Some Enchanted Evening, Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair, Wonderful Guy.
7. My Heart Belongs to Daddy.
8. Noel Coward: - World Weary, What's Going to Happen to the Tots
9. Mary Martin: - London Pride
10. Noel Coward: - Deep In The Heart of Texas
11. Duet: - Get Out Those Old Records, They Didn't Believe Me, 'SWonderful, Time On My Hands, I Didn't Know What Time It Was, Anything Goes, Dancing In The Dark, Ballerina, I Won't Dance, Papa, Won't You Dance With Me?, Charleston, The Way You Look Tonight, You're An Old Smoothie, Young and Foolish, Always True To You In My Fashion, Stumbling, Japanese Sandman, Shall We Dance?, Continental.


Record Notes Index

1944-48 On The Air
20thCentury Blues
Ace of Clubs
After the Ball
Age of Style
Noel Coward on the Air
Apple Cart, The
Audio Biography
Best of Nole Coward, The
Bitter-Sweet 1988
Bright Was The Day
Cabaret Medley
Cavalcade - Play
Cavalcade - Songs
Cavalcade Suite
Compact Coward, The
Conversation Piece
Dear Madam Salvador
Girl Who Came To Supper
Got to Be Love, I'ts
Grand Tour, The
Great Shows, The
High Spirits
His Excellency Regrets
I Like America
If Love Were All
I'll See You Again
I'll See You Again
I'll See You Again
I'll See You Again
I'll See You Again
Invitation to the Waltz
At Las Vegas
London Morning
Mad About the Man
Medley - Noel Coward
In New York
Noel Coward Sings
Noel and Gertie
Noel and Gertie 1955
Noel, Gertie & Bea
Noel Coward Vocal Gems
One, Two, Three
Perfect Nostalgia
Poor Little Rich Girl
Poor Little Rich Girl
Poor Little Rich Girl
Pretty Littel Bridesmaids
Private Lives
Private Lives
Revues, The
Sail Away
Someday I'll Find You
Some Day I'll Find You
Songs of Noel Coward
Songs of Noel Coward
Songs of Noel Coward
Sophistication 2
Star Quality
Talent to Amuse, A
The Mster Sings
30 mins with Bea Lillie
This a Changing World
Together With Music
Tonight at 8.30.
Vocal Gems
Words & Music, The
Words & Music, Cole Porterl

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