Concept Off-Broadway Cast – 1982 / Music by Gerald Jay Markoe and lyrics by Michael Colby
Starring: Mara Beckerman, Lynn Eldredge, Jeff Keller, Timothy Landfield, Merle Louise, Michael McCormick, Polly Pen, Christopher Seppe
Rate: 4 (from 1 to 10) / Photos by Elizabeth Wolynski
Review: Before THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD brought the British Music-Hall back to the Broadway stage, this small show did it a few years before Off-Broadway. Now, for the first time, the complete score was finally released (the early 90s CD include only selections of it).
Like they say on the CD booklet, this musical is “an amalgam of musical comedy, music hall, opera, operetta, and melodrama, not to mention the rhymed musicals films of the early 1930s”. Likewise, the music style is reminiscent of the work of Gilbert & Sullivan, of which I was never a big fan. This is one of those scores that I believe could work brilliantly on stage and by listening to the recording the actors were perfectly chosen. But this isn’t my cup of tea.
It begins well, with “At the Music Hall”, and the title song is sweet and funny. Lynn Eldregde leads the company with the entertaining “Quartet Agonistes” and she also has a good time with “Keep It Low”. “Bubbles in Me Bonnet” is deliciously sung by Merle Louise, who also nicely delivers an old fashion ballad, “Good Things Come”. Michael McCormick has a funny time with “Vegetable Reggie”. “It Could Only Happen in the Theatre” is a typical number of these kind of shows. In the title role, Mara Beckerman has a pitchy voice that is perfect for the role, just listen to her “Lonely Canary”.
Both the music by Gerald Jay Markoe and the lyrics by Michael Colby catch the true spirit of the British musical-hall and if you love this kind of stuff you’ll have a lovely time with this recording.