In 1966 I was cast as the First Concubine, Cherry Stone, in THE BROADWAY SHOW THAT COULD NOT FAIL.  Alternately it was called CHU CHEM and starred the King and Queen of Yiddish Theatre, Menasha Skulnick and Molly Picon, together on stage for the very first time! The music was by Mitch Leigh, direction by Albe Marre, choreography by Jack Cole, the triumvirate fresh from their same roles on the current hit,  MAN OF LA MANCHA. Book was by Ted Allan and Lyrics by Jim Haines and Jack Wohl.   The very handsome film star James Shigeta and TV and Broadway star Marcia Rodd would play the romantic leads.  The inestimable Cheryl  Crawford would produce, along with Mitch Leigh.  The eager audience had already purchased tickets that exceeded the cost of the show before rehearsals began!   What could possibly go wrong?

The Stars.  The Stars on stage and, it seems, in heaven!  The two on stage, the King and Queen of Yiddish Theater, could not work together and Ms. Picon walked out of our pre-Broadway tryout in Philadelphia.  Henrietta Jacobson, her understudy, went on, but the show, which definitely needed more work, faded into the wings.

Unidentified newspaper, Musical 'Chu Chem' Premieres at Locust Review by Jerry Gaghan, 1966.

Unidentified newspaper, Musical ‘Chu Chem’ Premieres at Locust Review by Jerry Gaghan, 1966.

I was in a Broadway show and I had my own song about the joys of being the first concubine.  And it closed in Philly.  Oy!

Cast:  Menasha Skulnik, Molly Picon, James Shigeta, Jack Cole, Marcia Rodd, Robert Ito, Yuki Shimoda, Virginia Wing, Buzz Miller, J.C. McCord, Reiko Sato, Joanne Miya, Tisa Chang, Franklin Siu, Alvin Ing, Maureen Tionco, Daniel Cartegena, Bill Starr, Chao Li, Haruki Fikoptp, Sumiko Murashima, Tom Matsusaka, Joel Galietti, Murphy James, Khigh Dhiegh.Heather-Jean Lee, Dana Shimizu, Mona Lee Soong, Tracey Michele Lee.