[Flower Drum Song] Rodgers, Richard. (1902–1979) & Hall, Juanita. (1901–1968) & Umeki, Miyoshi. (1929–2007) & Luke, Keye. (1904–1991) & Adiarte, Patrick. (b. 1943)
Flower Drum Song - Signed Program
Original program from the 1958 Boston tryouts of the musical Flower Drum Song, signed on the first page by the composer, Richard Rodgers, as well as cast members Juanita Hall, Ed Kenney, Keye Luke, Larry Storch, Arabella Hong, Rose Quong, Pat Adiarte, Pat Suzuki, Jack Suzuki, and Miyoshi Umeki. Rather toned; overall fine. 6 x 8.75 inches (15.2 x 22.5 cm).
Tryouts of Flower Drum Song started at Boston's Shubert Theatre on October 27, 1958 to positive reviews. The producers had traveled around the country to find Asian-American actors to fill the cast—an idea considered risky at the time. The stars included Japanese actress Miyoshi Umeki (who had acted opposite Marlon Brando in Sayonara), Chinese-born actor Keye Luke (known from the Charlie Chan movies), and young Filipino-American Patrick Adiarte. African-American actress Juanita Hall, who had played Bloody Mary in South Pacific, took the part of Madam Liang. The role of Fong proved difficult to cast. Initially, it was given to Larry Storch, a nightclub comic, but during the Boston tryouts, it was given to another Caucasian, Larry Blyden, who was married to Carol Haney, the show's choreographer. The present program predates this change.
From the collection of Paul McMahon, a critic, photographer and artist who worked for more than 13 years touring with Marlene Dietrich as the icon’s stage manager, announcer, dresser, secretary and escort, and later spent 25 years as an arts and entertainment reviewer and photographer with Gay Community News, Esplanade, Tommy’s Connection, The Mirror, Bay Windows and other publications.