Susan, Scott, Richard, and I saw *Dear World* at City Center on March 18, 2023.
It's a musical from 1969 with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and a book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E Lee, the same team who had done *Mame.* It's an adaptation of *The Madwoman of Chaillot.* it had a very short run, just under four months, though leading lady Angela Lansbury won her third Tony for her performance.
The story is about a nutty old woman, Aurelia, in the Chaillot neighborhood of Paris. She's not so much crazy as eccentric and dotty. She reminded me of Norma Desmond in *Sunset Blvd.* They both refuse to see the world as it is - - for Aurelia it comes from a place of love and a need to see the world as a beautiful place. And as much as I love Norma and feel compassion for her, in her case it honestly comes from a place of narcissism and an inability to face the fact that she's gotten older and the world has moved on.
The plot (such as it is) concerns a businessman discovering oil in Chaillot and deciding to blow up the neighborhood so he can drill, baby, drill. He's opposed by Aurelia, two other nutty ladies, and various members of the community.
The songs are often lovely and effective, though overly reminiscent of Herman's songs for *Mame* and *Hello, Dolly!* For me, the central problem with the show is that it deals with serious issues but in a silly way. That disconnect doesn't work. And I realized after the fact that the show itself has a similar problem as Aurelia - - *Hair* was another show on Broadway at the same time. *Dear World* has its head in the sand.
It would be pointless to do this show without someone extraordinary playing Aurelia and we had the amazing Donna Murphy in the role. She was grand and touching, full of brio and charisma. She made the show worth seeing. The supporting cast was wonderful, with special marks going to Christopher Fitzgerald as the Sewer Man. This number in the second act was a joy. One of the greatest pleasures of a City Center Encores production is hearing the whole with a full orchestra - - there were 27 people in the orchestra, conducted with love and savvy by Mary-Mitchell Campbell.
One more clip - - the great Angela Lansbury singing "I Don't Want To Know."