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‘One Touch’ too much

March 3, 2011
tags: ,

Published in Metro

Before it even premiered, “One Touch of Venus” lost its leading lady. The musical was “too sexy and profane” for her. But that was 68 years ago. Today, sexual innuendos and leggy costumes don’t raise the eyebrows they once did.

“We have changed as a society so much that those things are now cute as opposed to naughty,” says Stacey Stephens, director of the Boston Conservatory’s new production of the show.

A provocative line about love being “the triumphant twang of a bedspring” scandalized the original’s second star back in 1943.

“She asked for it to be removed, because she thought it went too far,” Stephens says.

Audiences didn’t seem to mind it. The musical — about a barber who smooches a statue that then comes to life as Venus, the goddess of love — went on to great success.

“This show was written at a time when American musicals were really taking form,” explains Stephens. “You’ve got this wonderful mix of music — hoedown, boogie-woogie, barbershop, ballads. I think [composer] Kurt Weill was testing out the different styles of future American musical comedy.”

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