The Nöel Coward Society
Ken Starrett, North American Director
Together with Music
Starring Nöel Coward and Mary Martin
1955 Television Special
The Museum of
Television & Radio
25 West 52nd Street
Between 5th and 6th Avenues
NYC, NY 10019
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 10, 2005
Press Release: “A showing of the 1955 television special, “Together With Music” starring Noël Coward and Mary Martin… presented exclusively for Society Members and guests at the Museum of Television & Radio. This 90-minute production is the only known footage of Coward performing his cabaret material and was last shown to Society Members in April of 2004. In response to many requests, we are showing it again…A reception will follow the screening.”
Together with Music, an elegant and touching, historical, black and white television special, included candid footage of Coward and Martin getting ready for this two-person show, with no scenery and few sets, but two exquisite gowns and numerous exquisite songs. The show opened outside the dressing room doors, and Coward and Martin sat on crates and swapped stories and a few songs, including one created just for this special, “90 Minutes Is a Long, Long Time.” There was a little dancing, a lot of singing, some duos, many solos, and incredible charm and warmth.
Martin sang songs from her signature Broadway show, “South Pacific”, and there were tributes to Cole Porter and other composers through the 50’s. Some of Coward’s singing included such rapid repartee and fast-flying humor, that one had to hover very closely to hear the innuendos and flashy wit. There was an obvious chemistry between Martin and Coward, one of friendship and respect, comfort and collaboration. They teased and taunted, but always with velvet barbs. I was quite surprised to hear Coward’s singing, a rare performance indeed. One particular enhancement was Coward’s body language, his gestures of hands and face, that feigned mischief, boredom, or just wild abandon. According to Ken Starrett’s onstage welcome and introduction, Coward and Martin had rehearsed this CBS special for extra hours, right through the day of the live performance.
The extra joy of the Museum of Television & Radio’s archive of old shows is the addition of original television advertising. In this case, the Ford Thunderbird was featured with experimental spills on the upholstery, live dialogues about pistons and gears, and actors pretending to drive away in new convertibles. For a nice day indoors, away from the winter cold, go to Museum of Television & Radio and watch an old show. Shows like these are just not made anymore, and they certainly are missed.
Richard Holbrook, Ken Starrett, and Guests at the Museum of Television & Radio, Noel Coward - Mary Martin TV Cabaret Event
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower