And I'm singing, oooooh proud lady!
Larry Kert once said, "If Hitler were alive, he only wished that he might be out of town trying out a new Broadway show." And that brings us to The Bakers Wife.
In early 1976, Kurt auditioned for the new Stephen Schwartz/Joe Stein musical, the last new show produced by the legendary David Merrick. At the final callback, Kurt sang Home from The Wiz and was cast in the role of Dominique, the young man who steals the baker's wife. Happy to be part of an original show and thrilled with the songs he had to sing, he looked forward to the rehearsals, out of town tryous and the planned autumn opening in New York. The cast included Topal, the recent star of the film version of Fiddler on the Roof, and Carole Demas, who created the role of Sandy in Broadway's hit, Grease.
Long story short, the show was received with mixed reviews in Los Angeles, the director, Joe Hardy, and Carole Demas were fired, and Patti LuPone was hired in a messy transfer. The show limped along with way too many chefs in the kitchen and finally, a few weeks before the show was to open in New York, Paul Sorvino replaced Topal. On the final day of rehearsal, a cast member picked up a chair to hurl at the new director, John Berry, and David Merrick decided enough was enough and closed the show.
The story is true about Mr. Merrick hating the song Meadowlark. He often threatened to put poison in the birdseed and on one occasion, he took all the orchestrations for the song from the pit and locked them up.
Kurt loved his songs, Serenade and Proud Lady (which was cut in San Francisco) and was very pleased when they were recorded later that year. He also survived with good relationships intact with Patti LuPone and Stephen Schwartz, with whom he would would work years later. Shortly after the show's closing, Stephen invited Kurt to join him in a workshop of a new show called Working. He has always regretted not accepting that invitation.
"Kurt Peterson is virile, seductive and has an outstanding voice that makes his numbers two of the best in the show." — The Hollywood Reporter
"A full, good performance, musically too." — Dan Sullivan, The Los Angeles Times
"An excellent performance." — The San Fransisco Examiner
"An outstanding performance." — The San Fransisco Chronicle
"Superb satire... delightfully macho, a virile performer." — The Palo Alto Times
"Handsome, lusty, lively." — Elliott Norton, The Boston Herald
"Kurt Peterson's acting and singing are first rate and one regrets getting less of him." — Richard Coe, The Washington Post