Jerry Herman is one of my favorite composers and is responsible for some of the more cheerful scores ever written for a musical. For me this is his best work, there isn’t one song that isn’t great and it’s difficult to understand why this show failed when it opened in 1974.
There are two cast albums of this show and it’s very difficult for me to choose one of the two. Both are wonderful and their casts are terrific, but since the London recording is longer I’ll go for this one.
The London cast has Howard McGillin as Mack and I confess that, although he has a better voice than Robert Preston, I still prefer Preston in the role. But it’s the ladies that really convinced me to choose this cast recording instead of the fabulous Original Broadway Cast. Caroline O’Connor is flawless as Mabel and I love her renditions of “Look What Happened to Mabel” and “Time Heals Everything”; as Lottie, Kathryn Evans sounds perfect and delivers the most riveting of all the versions I heard of my favorite song of this show - “Tap Your Troubles Away”.
Among the unforgettable songs, there’s the strong “Movies Were Movies”, the beautiful “I Won’t Send Roses” and the delightful “Hundreds of Girls”, that brings to the memory the movies of Busby Berkeley”. I always get high when I hear “When Mabel Comes in the Room” and “Big Time”, and a big time you’ll have while listen to this amazing score.
It’s sad that no ones writes scores like this any more and I only hope that one day this show will get the success it deserves. I think it would do great at the City Center Encores.