James Rado, creator of ‘Musical Poetry’, dies at 90

Meanwhile, Mr. Radu and Mr. Rajni decided that their lyrics needed better melodies than those he had written, and set out to find a legitimate composer to improve the songs. This search yielded Canadian-born Mr. MacDermot, a highly unlikely choice: he was slightly older and straight arrow, with an eclectic musical background but scant Broadway experience. Mr. MacDermot wrote the tune for versions of “Aquarius” and many other songs, on spec, in less than 36 hours. It immediately became clear that it was the perfect choice to adapt Mr. Radu and Mr. Rajni’s lyrical meditations into rock music.

Soon a demonstration broke out in Mr. Papp’s office, where Mr. McDermott sang and played the trio’s new songs. Mr. Bab announced his admiration that he will open the audience with the song “Hair”.

However, having guessed himself, he quickly canceled his show, only to reconsider after a back office audition, this time with Mr. Radu and Mr. Rajni doing the singing. In fact, Hare opened the public theater on October 17, 1967, with 32-year-old Mr. Rajni leading the cast as George Berger – the nominal leader of the Hippie tribe – but without the 35-year-old Mr. Radu, who considered him The show’s director, Gerald Friedman, is too old to play the doomed hero, Claude Huber-Bukowski, even though the character was almost entirely dependent on Mr. Radu himself.

“Poetry,” the impressionist semi-fictional tale of a flock of flower children on the streets of New York, takes LSD, burns recruiting cards, shocks tourists and makes love before losing their disputed companion, Claude, to the Vietnam War, It ran for eight weeks at Anspacher’s brand-new theater for audiences, resulting in word of mouth and reviews that ranged from bewilderment to appreciation. A wealthy young Midwesterner with political ambitions and powerful anti-war politics named Michael Butler stepped in to move him, first to Cheetah, a West 53rd Street nightclub, then — much rewritten by Mr. Rado and his associates, and with a visionary new manager and Tom O’Hurgannow in charge – to Broadway, where Mr. Radu has been brought back to the cast as Claude.

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