Then came the announcement that excited everyone – Clifford Odets’ COUNTRY GIRL. The movie with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and William Holden had been released 10 years prior and was still fresh in everyone’s mind. Aubrey Moore was cast in the Crosby role of Frank Elgin, Ellen Moore (Aubrey’s wife) played Georgie Elgin (the title role) that Grace Kelly had performed and I was Bernie Dodd, the William Holden role. Despite a little opening night “mishap” our production won kudos from a grateful press.
A year later Lee cast me as Sky Masterson in GUYS and DOLLS which included cast notables Bob Earle, Aubrey Moore, B.J. Hopper, Jess Hair, Carl Bruser and Flip Ross. The first four of these are no longer with us, but I’m not sure about the latter two.
I was redeemed the following year however when Lee cast me in the role of Billy Bigalow in CAROUSEL (inspired by Ben Jonson’s VOLPONE). My leading lady was Ina Claire Shirley (in the upper picture) who had one of Baton Rouge’s loveliest Soprano voices at that time. In the lower picture with me is Avis Barney in the role of the Carousel owner.
No mishaps with this production. If you are familiar with CAROUSEL, then you know how sappy and maudlin it is, but the Rodgers and Hammerstein music is utterly breathtaking.