Dorothy Reynolds

Actress/singer Dorothy Reynolds is best known in music circles for her work as a longtime collaborator with composer Julian Slade, most notably on the renowned Salad Days, one of the longest-running plays in the history of British musical theater. Reynolds and Slade had been collaborating since 1952, when they delivered (along with James Cairncross, who would also appear in Salad Days) Christmas in King Street for the holiday programming at the Old Vic in Bristol. They subsequently delivered The Merry Gentlemen and The Comedy of Errors, but it was Salad Days that put them on the map permanently. The light-hearted, nostalgia-tinged musical, about a young pair of newly graduated college students in the 1920s who cross paths with a magical piano that causes all who hear it to dance, took the English theater-going public by storm and ran a then record-breaking 2,288 performances on London's West End -- and as Slade recalled, it was from then on always running somewhere in the world. Oriole Records made a cast recording of the original 1954 production that included Reynolds. Reynolds and Slade -- who, in addition to composing, had been co-lyricist and librettist -- became the most-watched composer team in England for the remainder of the 1950s. Alas, they were never able to recapture either the bright-eyed innocence of Salad Days or the success it had enjoyed. Free as Air (1957) was far less successful, and their subsequent work, including Hooray for Daisy (1959), Vanity Fair (1962), Sixty Thousand Nights (1966), and The Pursuit of Love (1967), kept their presence on the West End stage, even if none performed as Salad Days had. Reynolds retired from writing at the end of the 1960s, though she continued to act, while Slade found other collaborators. A revival of Salad Days was successfully mounted in the mid-'70s in England, and a new cast album was recorded of this production in the early '80s. Both it and the original Oriole Records cast recording remained in print on CD. ~ Bruce Eder

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