CARMELINA is a musical with a book by Joseph Stein and Alan Jay Lerner, lyrics by Lerner, and music by Burton Lane. Famous for several Musical Theatre standards such as MY FAIR LADY, CAMELOT, GIGI, PAINT YOUR WAGON, BRIGADOON and ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER; CARMELINA was to be Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane's final collaboration. CARMELINA features the great Georgia Brown (Nancy in the Original Cast of OLIVER!) in the title role. The score features the timeless classic, "One More Walk Around The Garden."
Based on the 1968 film "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" (which also inspired the book for MAMMA MIA!) CARMELINA focuses on an Italian woman who has raised her teenaged daughter Gia to believe her father was an American who died heroically in World War II. Supposedly she spurns the constant advances of local café owner Vittorio because her heart still belongs to the man she tragically lost. In reality, she had affairs with three different GIs and has no idea who fathered the girl. Trouble ensues when the three veterans decide to reunite in Carmelina's small hometown in Italy.
After eleven previews, the Broadway production, directed by José Ferrer and choreographed by Peter Gennaro, opened on April 8, 1979 at the St. James Theatre in New York City, where it ran for seventeen performances. The cast included Georgia Brown, Cesare Siepi, Grace Keagy, John Michael King, and Josie de Guzman.
A nomination for Best Original Score was its sole recognition from the Tony Awards committee that year.
This cast recording was originally released in 1980 on Bruce Yeko's Original Cast Records label, which specializes in preserving musicals that might not otherwise be recorded. Produced by Bruce Yeko, the LP was made with the participation of original Broadway cast members Georgia Brown, Josie de Guzman, Grace Keagy, Gordon Ramsey and Howard Ross. Leading man Cesare Siepi declined to participate in the project, so his role on the recording is filled by Paul Sorvino - who is also featured on Original Cast Records' THE BAKER'S WIFE.
From The CD Liner Notes:
CARMELINA follows in the tradition of the great romantic musicals. It tells a charming and intriguing love story, and tells it with soaring melodies and delightful comedic scenes. With a score by Burton Lane, and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, and a book by Mr. Lerner and Joseph Stein, CARMLEINA was created by some of the most prestigious names in the American Musical Theatre.
The story takes place in the small Italian village of San Forino, about eighteen years after the end of World War II. Carmelina, the central character, is an attractive, highly respected lady, the mother of a lovely 17 year old daughter, Gia. The villagers know her as the widow of an American soldier, who had heroically died in battle, and whose family continues to support her and her daughter. But Carmelina harbors a painful secret.
Vittorio, the local café owner, has for years been deeply in love with Carmelina, but she refuses to return his affection, insisting that she will always remain true to the memory of her martyred husband.
In actuality, Carmelina does not know who is the father of her daughter. She knows who it might be - one of three GIs (Braddock, Karzinksi or Smith) whe were part of the battalion who liberated the town.