Rita Gardner


“This CD feels like a present. Rita sounds vibrant and immensely likeable on this guided tour down theatrical memory lane.” – Talkin’ Broadway


Not long ago Rita Gardner, best known as the “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” girl in the original company of The Fantasticks, made a grand return to Broadway – nearly 50 years after her New York debut – in The Wedding Singer. The success of The Fantasticks first wafted Gardner to Broadway in 1962 when that show’s director cast her in A Family Affair, the first John Kander musical. Said director departed in Philadelphia – replaced by Hal Prince – but Gardner nevertheless got to the big street. Only briefly, though. Gardner’s Broadway career consists mostly of understudy jobs, with assignments from the sublime (covering Barbara Harris in On a Clear Day) to the ridiculous (covering Connie Towers in Ari). Her most interesting Broadway job, in retrospect, was singing “I Could Write a Book” in the two-week, 1963 City Center revival of Pal Joey. Interesting in that her Joey was none other than Bob Fosse.

The fact is, Gardner was an Off-Broadway gal. Appearances – besides The Fantasticks – included Jerry Herman’s revue Nightcap, Lorraine Hansberry’s To Be Young, Gifted and Black and Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well…. All of which suggested Gardner’s one-woman show, Try to Remember: A Look Back at Off-Broadway.

This CD, recorded live, is a tale of Off-Broadway in general (very general) and Gardner’s career in particular.


  1. Opening: Much More, I Can See It (from The Fantasticks)
  2. Welcome
  3. No Tune Like s Show Tune (from Nightcap)
  4. Your Good Morning (from Nightcap)
  5. Your Hand in Mine (from Parade)
  6. Off-Broadway Medley
  7. Mack the Knife (from The Threepenny Opera)
  8. Lazy Afternoon (from The Golden Apple)
  9. Carousel (from Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris)
  10. Larry Hagman
  11. Initials (from Hair)
  12. Lorraine Hansberry
  13. It’s You (from Dames at Sea)
  14. I Don’t Remember Christmas (from Starting Here, Starting Now)
  15. I Miss You (from Colette Collage)
  16. What I Did for Love (from A Chorus Line)
  17. Taking My Turn (from Taking My Turn)
  18. The Fantasticks
  19. Try To Remember, They Were You (from The Fantasticks)
  20. Joy (from Colette Collage)
  21. Playoff

Featuring Alex Rybeck, piano, musical direction and arrangements

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