Androcles and the Lion
After his rocky collaboration with Stephen Sondheim on Do I Hear a Waltz?, Richard Rodgers chose to write both music and lyrics for his next project, Androcles and the Lion. In his memoir, Rodgers wrote, “I simply went back to my No Strings collaborator – me – and we got along just fine.” With a book by Peter Stone, based on on George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 dramatization of the familiar folktale, Androcles and the Lion premiered as a 90-minute special on NBC-TV on November 15, 1967. Norman Wisdom, Geoffrey Holder and Noël Coward starred, with Ed Ames, Brian Bedford, John Cullum, Patricia Routledge and Inga Swenson playing featured roles.
Reviews were mixed, with most critics faintly praising the score and taking issue with the book, but Jerry Coffey of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram called Androcles and the Lion “quite probably the best TV-originated musical ever made, citing the “tuneful and inventive” score and dubbing the program “a thoroughly delightful and engaging 90 minutes of television.”
Androcles, a Greek tailor living in ancient Rome, loves animals. One day, while traveling through the woods with his wife, Megaera, he finds a lion with a thorn stuck in his paw. Androcles removes the thorn, and the lion departs. Later, Androcles is taken with other Christians to the arena to be torn to bits by the lions. When the lion he helped recognizes him, the two friends dance off together, arm in arm.
Manager of Gladiators
Keeper of Lions