Starring 57-year-old entertainer Danny Kaye, and featuring songs from 68-year-old composer Richard Rodgers, Two by Two opened on Broadway on November 10, 1970. Adapted from Clifford Odets’ 1954 play The Flowering Peach, based on the biblical story of Noah and the ark, the musical is a buoyant, comical and ultimately touching portrait of a man who learns that being God’s “Chosen One” doesn’t make life any easier. The supporting cast included Marilyn Cooper, Joan Copeland, Harry Goz, Madeline Kahn, Michael Karm, Tricia O’Neil and Walter Willison.
Despite mixed reviews from critics, the production ran a respectable 343 performances, earning back its investment and turning a profit. Though Clive Barnes of The New York Times wrote “The show seems so long that at times you feel it ought to be called Three by Three,” William Glover of the Associated Press called it “one of Rodgers’ finest musicals.” Hobe Morrison of Variety said Two by Two “has the sort of music only Rodgers can write and in Danny Kaye one of the great stars of his time,” and added, “It’s the best musical – or at least has the best music – in some time, and maybe for some time to come.”
Recorded on November 15, 1970, just five days after the musical opened, the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Two by Two featured 17 selections from the score by Richard Rodgers and Martin Charnin. With star Danny Kaye singing the lead role of Noah, the LP also included the talents of Marilyn Cooper, Joan Copeland, Harry Goz, Madeline Kahn, Michael Karm, Tricia O’Neil and Walter Willison. Produced by Thomas Z. Shephard, the recording featured orchestrations by Eddie Sauter. The show’s big ballad, “I Do Not Know a Day I Did Not Love You,” was also released as a single by Tony Bennett.