The First Meeting of the Patricia Routledge Appreciation Society

It’s pretty well-established among my friends that I adore Patricia Routledge. Her comic timing is a marvel, plus she has a singing voice blessed by the musical theatre gods. Her Tony win came for her portrayal of Alice Challice in the flop Darling of the Day, in which she sang the forgotten Jule Styne gems “It’s Enough to Make a Lady Fall in Love,” “Let’s See What Happens” and the rousing barroom eleven o’clock number “Not on Your Nellie.” At 31 performances, this was the peak of her Broadway musical career. Two other flops (Love Match and Say Hello to Harvey) both closed out of town; and her last main-stem credit, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue ran a whopping 7 performances.

However, she originated the role of Ruth in the Joe Papp revision of The Pirates of Penzance Central Park that proved overwhelmingly popular on Broadway in the early 80s. Unfortunately for theatregoers and cast album aficionados, she didn’t make the jump from the Central Park run to the official main-stem run at the Uris Theatre. Replacing her in the role was Estelle Parsons, who was recorded on the album. The 1983 film featured Angela Lansbury. Anyway, Kultur DVD released the archive video recording of the show live in its original outdoor run at the Delacorte. Here is a taste of the Routledge (with Kevin Kline, who would win a Tony for his performance when the show made its transfer and Rex Smith):