Adelaide's Lament

Adelaide's Lament

"Adelaide's Lament" is a show tune from the Broadway musical "Guys and Dolls", written by Frank Loesser, which opened at the 46th Street Theater on November 24, 1950. It was performed on stage by Vivian Blaine who later reprised her role as Miss Adelaide in the 1955 film version of the play; in its biography of Blaine, the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" describes her as "best remembered for her showstopping rendition of 'Adelaide's Lament' in both the Broadway and film productions of "Guys and Dolls". [ "Vivian Blaine,"] "Encyclopaedia Britannica" Online.]

In the song, Adelaide alternates between reading sentences aloud from a pop psychology book and commenting on what she is reading. The textbook discusses psychosomatic illness, and the singer posits that her constant common cold may actually be a manifestation of her resentment over her fiancé's constant assurances of imminent marriage, which he never fulfills. A reviewer in London's "Daily Mail" called it "one of the great songs of American musical theatre."Bamigboye, Baz. "One cold that will be worth catching," (review of Jane Krakowski's performance in a revival), "Daily Mail", December 17, 2004.]

In a 50th-anniversary NPR retrospective on the making of the original Broadway production, Blaine recalled the creation of Miss Adelaide specifically to fit Blaine into the musical after the creators decided she was ill suited to play the buttoned-up Sarah. In the same retrospective, host Scott Simon observed that "Adelaide's Lament" is "often considered a perfect comic song" and offered a clip of lyricist Fred Ebb's analysis of its appeal:

Recorded versions

*Vivian Blaine (1950, 1955)
*Norma Donaldson (1976), Broadway revival cast album (all-Black cast)
*Julie McKenzie (year unknown), 1980s London revival
*Barbra Streisand (1985), "The Broadway Album"
*Faith Prince (1992), 1992 Broadway revival cast album and "Broadway: My Favorite Leading Ladies" live recording
*Mandy Moore (2002, "Broadway's Best on Bravo" television specialElysa Gardner. "Pop Goes Broadway" (review), "USA Today", March 4, 2002, p. 3D.]
*Debbie Reynolds (year unknown), Sinatra's Reprise Musical Theater series

Notable live performances

* Jane Krakowski, 2005 London revival cast


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