Wednesday, March 10, 2021

495. SOON. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STAGE, 1970-1975

Company of Soon

SOON [Musical/Show Business/Youth] B: Martin Duberman; M: Joseph Martinez Kookoolis and Scott Fagan; LY: Scott Fagan; SC: an original story by Joseph Martin Kookoolis, Scott Fagan, and Robert Greenwald; D: Gerald Freedman (“additional staging”); CH: Fred Benjamin; S: Kert Lundell; C: David Chapman; L: Jules Fisher; P: Bruce W. Stark and Sagittarius Productions; T: Ritz Theatre; 1/12/71-1/13/71 (3)

A number of stellar, but as yet unrecognized, young talents were involved in this misfortune of a “rock opera,” but they could do nothing except, like the critics, hold their noses as it sank into oblivion. Its thin plot concerns a group of musicians who meet at a rock festival and go on to New York, where they hope to become successful while retaining their artistic integrity. Unfortunately, they are forced by commercial pressures to sell out artistically to a mass audience’s tastes. 

Clive Barnes, who called this offspring of Hair of “purest cornball romance,” wrote that it had a “feeble it. . . cheap score,” a dull set of characters, and a clichéd story. Richard Watts thought it “a rather agreeable little concoction,” though, and one or two others found likable things in it. Still, the consensus was that Soon was “loud and empty” and couldn’t be gone soon enough.

No director was credited, suggesting serious production problems, Gerald Freedman’s billing noting only his “additional staging.” Soon clearly suffered from this lack of a strong helmsman. Among those who eventually recovered from its demise and achieved varying levels of stardom were Barry Bostwick, Marta Heflin, Richard Gere, Peter Allen, Leata Galloway, and Nell Carter.

A sample of the song titles: ""Let the World Begin Again," "I See the Light/Gentle Sighs," "Henry is Where It's At," "Rita Cheeta," "Marketing," "To Touch the Sky," "Sweet Henry Loves You," "Doing the High," "On the Charts," and "It Won't Be Long."

For those interested in such things, we here record that the onstage orchestra was called Pitshit. 

Given the reactions to previous posts, it's likely that someone reading this will actually remember not only seeing the show (it did have 21 previews) but claim to have liked it and to be a fan.