Monday, March 29, 2021

514. THE SUNSHINE TRAIN. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STAGE, 1970-1975

Carl Murray Singers.

THE SUNSHINE TRAIN [Musical Revue/Race] CN/D: William E. Hunt; S/L: Philip Gilliam; P: Jay Sessa; T: Abbey Theatre (OB); 6/15/72-12/17/72 (224)

Gospel Starlets.

A rousing, foot-stomping, joyous celebration of gospel music, with nothing but vigorously sung songs for the entire 90 minutes of the show. Accompanied by a piano and an electric organ, two groups, the Gospel Starlets (all women) and the Carl Murray Singers (all men), soared through heart-moving, pulse-racing, earth-moving rhythms and hymns, with scarcely a nod toward musical staging in the typical theatrical sense. The men wore slacks and brightly colored shirts, the women dressed in pink. The men were Carl Murray, Ron Horton, Ernest McCarroll, Joe Ireland, and Larry Colemen. The women were Mary Johnson, Dottie Coley, Peggie Henry, Barbara Davis, and Gladys Freeman.

Songs on the playlist included “The Sunshine Train,” “Near the Cross,” “On My Knees Praying,” “Wrapped, Tied, and Tangled,” “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” “Swing Low,” “Troubled Waters,” “Judgement Day,” “Stand Up for Jesus,” and more.

Howard Thompson averred, “It may be exactly what Fun City could use at the moment.” (Remember “Fun City”?)

Next up: The Survival of St. Joan