Although I love Madeline Kahn, I’ve to confess that I was never a big fan of the original Broadway cast of this musical. So I approached this new recording with some doubts and I was surprised by how entertaining it is.
For the first time, I found myself humming songs from the score, so I returned to the original recording and I guess that it has something to do with the new orchestrations by Larry Hochman. The score seems livelier and more theatrical; usually, I don’t like when they record parts of the dialogue, but here it makes perfect sense and it doesn’t stop me of playing the score over and over.
Of course, the choice of Kristin Chenoweth to play Lily Garland was an inspired one. She sounds absolutely perfect in the role; it’s like it was written specially for her and she has the time of her life living it. The big productions numbers, “Veronique” and “Babette”, are terrific and she is hilarious in both. But she’s also great with “Never”, “Sign, Lilly, Sign/Together” and in her duets with Peter Gallagher, “Our Private World” and “I’ve Got it All”. I also love her, and Paula Leggett Chase, in the delicious “Indian Maiden’s Lament”.
Gallagher is at his best as the hopeless and deceiving Oscar, great in “Because of Her”, “Lily/Oscar” and “I Rise Again”, plus the already mentioned duets with Chenoweth. As the crazy Letitia Primrose, Mary Louise Wilson delivers an amusing “Repent”; as Oscar’s associates, Michael McGrath and Mark Linn Baker give the cast a strong support.
This is probably Cy Coleman’s more classical score and he found in the lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph a match made in heaven for this funny “madcap” operetta. This new Broadway cast, less operatic than the original, deserves a place in all musical fans music library!
Rate: 8 (from 1 to 10) / Photos by Joan Marcus