A young poet gets the brilliant idea to live in a department store, hiding by day, and courting his muse by night where it's quiet, and he can have all his needs met. But, to his surprise, he learns his brilliant idea's not exactly original; there are other residents who dodge the night watchmen, and who keep their existence secret at all costs. And one of them is a young woman who wants to leave, but is to frightened to go. And Charles finds that he wants to show her the larger world outside.
I'm not a huge fan of musical theater, but I am a fan of Anthony Perkins, and the idea of this story--a poet decides to live in a department store and discovers a group of people already living there--appealed to me. Anthony Perkins turns in a believable performance in a fairly unbelievable situation. He plays opposite Charmian Carr, who upon sight you will remember as the actress who plays Liesl in The Sound of Music. Her Ella is a lot like her Liesl, but that serves the story well enough.
Stephen Sondheim's unusual musical drama has just a handful of songs, and runs just over an hour, but in that time it takes us on an emotional journey about life, the universe, and everything, with a deeply affecting storyline and conclusion.
Charmian Carr lives in the darkness of a department store and its environs with a disparate group of people who have never ventured out into the world. When Anthony Perkins, a lonely poet, comes into her life and vows to free her a tragic chain of events is set in motion - the songs, including 'I Remember' and the poignant duet 'When' are superb in their own right, and the performances are spot-on.
This musical might have much to say about free will, suspicion, and in a way it reminded me of some cultures now who forbid relationships because of matters of honour. The fact that it survives from those early years of television is a matter for celebration.
Fascinating piece of TV/theater history. Stephen Sondheim wrote the music for this odd adaptation of the classic short story Evening Primrose. I've never read the original, but I've heard the radio adaptation, and I wonder how close each adaptation is. Certainly the ending of the radio show has been changed to a more musical friendly version of the tale. I found that the satirical elements of the tale come out more clearly in this version, while the suspense/creepy elements, so powerful when imagined on radio, are robbed of their power by the very nature of relatively low budget television. I was impressed, too, with the leads, especially Anthony Perkins, who I'd never seen in a musical before; I've often heard how his career was damaged by his Psycho typecasting, and that's in evidence here. Definitely worth a look by anyone who wants to see what a musical version of The Twilight Zone would look like.