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'We're Mostly Republicans': New Hampshire Voters Explained By 'Our Town'
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'We're Mostly Republicans': New Hampshire Voters Explained By 'Our Town'

Politics & Pop Culture

'We're Mostly Republicans': New Hampshire Voters Explained By 'Our Town'

'We're Mostly Republicans': New Hampshire Voters Explained By 'Our Town'
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After NPR's Bob Mondello used The Music Man to help explain the Iowa caucuses, he wished there was a musical of Our Town so he could do the same for New Hampshire. It turns out there is one.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

In honor of the Iowa caucuses last week, NPR's Bob Mondello offered a tongue-in-cheek look at Iowans from "The Music Man." And after that, a listener tweeted, if only our town had a catchy musical version, he could do New Hampshire. Well, guess what Bob found?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

FRANK SINATRA: (As stage manager, singing) You will like the folks you meet in our town.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Yep, that's Frank Sinatra playing the stage manager.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

SINATRA: (As stage manager, singing) The folks you meet on any street in our town.

MONDELLO: It was 1955, a one-time broadcast on NBC-TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

SINATRA: (As stage manager, singing) Pick out any...

MONDELLO: And it gets better. High schooler George was played by Paul Newman. His sweetheart Emily was Eva Marie Saint who'd just won an Oscar in "On The Waterfront." And the songs were by a brand-new team - Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn - who went on to write lots of Sinatra's standards, starting with one they gave him here to follow a commercial break.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

SINATRA: (As stage manager) The first act was called "The Daily Life," and this act is called "Love And Marriage." And since we're doing a little singing here tonight, Mr. Leader, if you please.

MONDELLO: Mr. Leader was arranger Nelson Riddle, and this is the first time anyone had ever heard this song.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

SINATRA: (As stage manager, singing) Love and marriage, love and marriage go together like the horse and carriage.

MONDELLO: You can tell it's the first time he's sung it because Sinatra keeps grinning at the rhymes. Thornton Wilder's play is mostly the same with music shoehorned in. There's a song describing New Hampshirites that includes the only vaguely political lyric.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

SINATRA: (As stage manager, singing) We're mostly Republicans plus some Democrats.

MONDELLO: Then, after a minor misunderstanding, George buys Emily an ice cream soda and confesses he kind of likes her.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

PAUL NEWMAN: (As George Gibbs) Would you be - I mean, well, could you be...

EVA MARIE SAINT: (As Emily Webb) I am now, George. I always have been.

MONDELLO: Paul Newman takes Eva Marie Saint's hand, looking terrified, probably because the next thing they're going to do is sing.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

NEWMAN AND SAINT: (As George Gibbs and Emily Webb, singing) We're going through the impatient years.

MONDELLO: Sinatra clearly had no reason to be worried. Others sing, too. It'd be silly not to sing about a wedding.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character, singing) Wasn't it a wonderful wedding? Wasn't she a beautiful bride?

MONDELLO: But by and large, the music doesn't add much, probably why this musical, "Our Town," played exactly once - Monday, September 19, 1955.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

SINATRA: (As stage manager, singing) You will lose your hearts.

MONDELLO: Take us home, Frank.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

SINATRA: (As stage manager) (Singing) I promise you.

MONDELLO: I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PRODUCERS' SHOWCASE")

SINATRA: (As stage manager, singing) In this, our two-by-four town. Welcome on the door town if you make it your town, too.

MCEVERS: You can't stream the musical "Our Town" online, but Bob explains how to watch it at our Facebook page. We are NPR ATC.

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