Eileen Rodgers, Star of Musicals, Dies at 73
Born in Pittsburgh, Rodgers began her career as a nightclub entertainer. She became the lead vocalist with the Charlie Spivak Orchestra and was signed by Columbia Records, going on to record more than 30 singles and two LPs for that label in the 1950s and '60s. After appearing in the musical revue Chic in New York, she made a notable Broadway debut in the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Fiorello! (1959), belting out the show-stopper "Gentleman Jimmy." The following year, Rodgers was back on Broadway in Tenderloin. Both shows had scores by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick and were co-written (with Jerome Weidman) and directed by the legendary George Abbott.
The production of Anything Goes in which Rodgers starred opened at the Orpheum Theater in 1962; in addition to Hal Linden, the cast included Kenneth Mars, Mickey Deems, and Barbara Lang. This production of the Cole Porter musical was significant in that it established a new performing edition of the show that was licensed to professional and amateur groups for many years thereafter. The show later played in Las Vegas, and its excellent cast album has never been out of print.