This new musical comedy started its career in 1966 at an Off-Off-Broadway stage, and in 1968 opened Off-Broadway where it became a hit. The original score by Jim Wise and George Haimsohn & Robin Miller was a pastiche/tribute to the Warner movie musicals of the 30s and it was a delight. The success of the show took it to the London stage, where it opened in 1969.
The original Off-Broadway cast recording with Bernadette Peters has always been a pleasure to my ears and this London cast is as good as that one. Instead of Peters, we have Sheila White. Her sweet voice has a naïve quality and an old fashion style that makes her perfect for the role of Ruby, she also shows a funny side that is missing on Peters’ performance. Just listen to her renditions of “Raining in My Heart” or “Star Tar” to see what I mean. With Blayne Barrington she shares two irresistible romantic duets, “It’s You” and “There’s Something About You”. Alone, Barrington delivers a nostalgic “Broadway Baby” (not to be confused with the Stephen Sondheim song).
Joyce Blair has a great time with the contagious “Wall Street” and the torch song “That Mister Man of Mine”. She also shares a funny duet with Kevin Scott, “The Beguine”, where Scott seems to hold on a note for too long with good comic results. Rita Burton shakes the glooms away from the cast and from us with the rousing “Good Times are Here to Stay” and with William Ellis takes us on a melodious “Choo-Choo Honeymoon”. Later, Ellis gives us the musical tragedy “Singapore Sue”, a very Oriental number, and who could resist the charms of “The Echo Waltz”, the title song and “Let’s Have a Simple Wedding”? I can’t!
This recording is musical heaven for anyone who, like me, loves traditional musical scores and it’s so deliciously funny and melodious that it’s impossible not to succumb to its charms. Personally, I simply love this kind of stuff! This is pastiche at its best!
Rate: 9 (from 1 to 10)