Monday, August 15, 2011
CD OF THE WEEK: FINE AND DANDY
Written in 1930 by Kay Swift & Paul James and lost until now, this is the kind of score that makes me wish I was born during the golden age of musical comedy (“the most glorious words in the English language”). Of course this is an old fashion musical, with simple tuneful songs, a contagious joy of living and a freshness that is missing from almost all contemporary musicals.
A great cast was ensemble by PS Classics and they couldn’t have made a better choice. Carolee Carmello, Gavin Creel, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Andrea Burns and the rest of the cast sound like they were having the time of their lives and their voices are a perfect match for the terrific songs. The same can be said about the exciting orchestrations by Russel Warner, Larry Moore and Hans Spialek.
There’s something Gershwin and Porter about this score, but that’s natural since their shows belong at the same age. Some of the songs (“Etiquette” and “Wedding Bells” for example) could only have work in the 20s or 30s, but some of them are true jewels like the romantic “Can This Be Love?” or the great “Nobody Breaks My Heart”, sung with gusto by Carmello. She and Creel have a fine moment with the funny “Let’s Go Eat Worms in the Garden” and he delivers a perfect “Starting at the Bottom”. Martin is fantastic with “I’ll Hit a New High” and the dance sensation “The Jig-Hop”. And let’s not forget the comic title number and the tuneful “Rich or Poor”.
If today someone was able to write such a score, Broadway would be a much happier place.