Book and lyrics by Betty Comden and
Adolph Green, music by Jule Styne
Presented May 12-14, 1960, by the OHS Music and Drama Departments
Starring Linda Feuerstein and
before you knew them (telephone answering machines, voicemail and
cell phones, that is) when telephones had dials, and
telephone exchanges had names instead of only numbers
were telephone answering services, where operators would give and
take messages all day for those who could not be near a phone.
Announcement, March 28,1960:
(Click on the logo for more Beacon clippings.)
As you can see from the
clippings, above, Bells Are Ringing was so oversold, that it became the
first of our annual school musicals to offer a matinee in addition to the two
According to a note received from classmate, Ed Chilton
(now deceased), one of our classmates worked
behind the scenes "every bit as hard [as any of the foregoing] to make the
entire event a success on the stage and in the hearts of the audience. Ed
I know how hard he tried, and how hard he worked because I worked with
him. I was the witness.
The person I speak of was
Tom Castoldi. Tom was not allowed to be just a high school kid putting on
a high school production. Tom Castoldi was the PIANIST.
Tom was not given a simplified version of the music, he was given the
ORIGINAL BROADWAY MUSICAL SCORE, and he had to READ it
and PERFORM it without error.
our Bells Are Ringing
playbill, Tom participated with another pianist, John Race (then OHS' Choral
Director) in an experiment with the "technique of using a small music
combination with two pianos back to back [that] has been used recently in many
colleges and universities quite successfully."
opened on Broadway at the Schubert Theatre, November 29, 1956, and ran for 924
performances. (See the 2001 Broadway revival notice, below.)
production of Bells Are Ringing was late in the school year, 1959-'60,
after our yearbook print deadline. So there were no photos of it in our
So class, you've waited 40 years for these and now, thanks to
Linda Feuerstein (our own Ella Peterson) and Jay Katz, here they are,
Set around a telephone
answering service suspected by the police of being a cover for a vice ring, it
involves an illegal bookmaking operation, a heroine with a heart of gold and a
musical dentist; it is a very entertaining show.
The story centers around SUSANSWERPHONE, a
telephone answering service that fields calls made to clients when they are not
at home. One of its operators, Ella Peterson (Linda Feuerstein), out of
sheer good-heartedness, is more concerned for her customers than the job
warrants (or even more than the law allows). She goes out of her way to
help people who she thinks need a "break," in particular, a certain playwright,
Jeff (Alan Lupi), who is rapidly losing self-confidence and with whom she falls
|Ella unwittingly helps another
client, Sandor (Marty Fuchs now decesaed), who professes to be a music publisher and
owner of the Titanic Records Co. This man is, in fact, a bookmaker
and utilizes the services of SUSANSWERPHONE for the illegal purpose of
placing and receiving bets.
Sandor is able to do this by the ingenious
means of providing his clients with musical code. For example,
Beethoven is the pseudonym for Belmont Park Race Course, Puccini is the code for
Pimlico Race Course, Tchaikovsky means Churchill Downs, etc. Therefore,
when the message is received, "Order 500, 6th Symphony, Beethoven, Opus 3," it
actually means, "Bet $500, 6th horse, Belmont, 3rd race."
"It's a Zimple Little Zystem"
Although the police are highly suspicious of
SUSANSWERPHONE, they fail to detect any illegal activities, and the show has a
The most memorable songs in the show are
"Long Before I Knew You," "Just In Time" and "The Party's Over."
And for those of us
in the class of 1960, in May of that year, when Bells Are Ringing played
at OHS, our party was just about over.
The voice you are
hearing is not that of our own
but rather that of the late Judy Holliday, from the original
Broadway cast album. But Judy sounded almost as good, don't you
On MAY 11th, 2001, several of our classmates went to see the
Seven couples went to the show. The
performances were outstanding, and the sets were breathtaking. The
show was set in 1950s' New York, as was the original. (The critics
said it was too dated. Go figure! What did they
want, a show about voicemail?) And the music was delightful.
But we were the only ones singing the songs on the way in
to the theatre!!
Pictured below are the
seven of us, after the show.
Left to right, Dave Schwarz,
Marta Watts, Linda Feuerstein, Jay Katz, Doreen
Silverstein, Rudy Hrubala and me, Howie Levy
Jay Katz for having the idea and for making all the arrangements.
2000-2015 by Howard B. Levy
All rights reserved.