A to Z Musicals ~ ♬ “C” is for CANDIDE


Candide, an operetta with music composed by Leonard Bernstein, was based on the novella of the same name by Voltaire (published in 1759). The operetta was first performed in 1956 with a libretto (the text used in an opera or musical) by Lillian Hellman; but since 1974 it has been generally performed with a book by Hugh Wheeler, which is more faithful to Voltaire’s novel. The primary lyricist was the poet Richard Wilbur. Other contributors to the text included John Latouche, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Stephen Sondheim, John Mauceri, John Wells, and Bernstein himself. Although unsuccessful at its premiere, Candide has overcome the unenthusiastic reaction of early audiences and critics and achieved enormous popularity. It is very popular among major music schools as a student show because of the quality of its music and the opportunities it offers to student singers. (source: Wikipedia)

There are so many great songs in this musical, but “Glitter and Be Gay” is one of the favorites. Here, in the New York Philharmonic’s concert staging of Candide in 2004, Kristin Chenoweth displays comic genius all while tackling the very difficult vocals. (And yes, that’s Patti LuPone as The Old Lady).


Bonus! See the wonderful 28-year-old Robert Goulet as Sir Lancelot in Camelot sing “If Ever I Would Leave You.” The original 1960 production ran for 873 performances on Broadway.

23 thoughts on “A to Z Musicals ~ ♬ “C” is for CANDIDE

  1. OML! Chenoweth nailed it! I wasn’t expecting that. I’ve never seen it but like the music. And I’m a big Bernstein fan. LOVE classical music because of him. And loved your Camelot video as well. SOOO familiar with that music. I had the fleeting thought when I was watching it how different it is to dress actors for Broadway as opposed to movies. Just struck me…

    Impromptu Promptlings
    A to Z Challenge Letter C


  2. Wow, Kristin Chynoweth in Candide. That was amazing. Funny and what a difficult song! I loved it but… oh… so jealous. My mezzo soprano voice won’t take me to the places that she went, so naturally. She made those runs on those high notes sound like music. I would sound like a cat in heat, lol. And then, Robert Goulet… oh sigh! Madly in love with his voice, with tears running down my face. It was heaven.


  3. You are bringing me back to a wonderful time in my life, Musical Theater The first musical I ever saw was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. After that I was hooked and I though what a great family thing to do. My oldest was in the pit orchestra on the piano. My daughter was a lead vocalist and the boys were dancer’s and every summer we were at the local college doing the summer musical. Great memories. That’s where it all started and took on a life of it’s own. I’ll give my good ol’ mom some credit. I believe that’s where the talent gene came out of her DNA. Love your challenge, looking forward to them all. Blessings ❤ I just love that little Kristin Chenoweth. We saw her live and she was amazing !!!


    1. Oh my goodness! I didn’t choose “Joseph” but have vivid memories of our college production. It was such a success that we ended up doing one show at 8:00 and another at 10:30 one night. There were so many people who wanted to see it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure you have many that will be good 😊 so much to choose from. I just love the narrator in that and all the kids. Musical Theater just makes me happy 😊. Matthew started out at a performing arts 🎭 high school in musical theater, but then the ballet mistress said,”No he must be a ballet dancer.” I was out numbered b/c I wanted him to be a triple threat. He’s an amazing ballet/performer now. They are only ours for a short while 💝


  4. I cannot hear “Candide” without thinking of The Dick Cavett Show. You probably know he used a bit of the overture, a jaunty piece of music, as his theme song. And like you, I equate this musical with the great Kristin Chenoweth. I must give both of these a listen later when it’s quiet.
    Inspired choice. Love me some Bernstein, one of America’s greatest geniuses.


  5. I saw Camelot on tour with John Raitt in 1964? I have the playbook around here somewhere. Never saw Candide, but saw on the news last night that the Prez’s daughter tried out for the part at one time.


    1. So many choices for C! But Candide was my first foray into musical theater in college (backstage), so I couldn’t resist. And Kristin Chenoweth!
      But I had to add Goulet’s performance as well.


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