Studio Cast – 2016 / Music by Sam Davis and lyrics by Arnold Weinstein and John Wulp
Starring: Kelli O’Hara, Brad Oscar, Josh Grisetti, Nikki Renee Daniels, Sam Bolen, Sarah Corey, Christine DiGiallonardo, John Morton, Greg Roderick, Leah Stuart, and Matthew Zimmerman
Rate: 8 (from 1 to 10) / Photos by Sara Krulwich and Carol Rosegg
Review: This new musical comedy opened in New York in 2014, but the score had to wait until now to be recorded and the result is a terrific studio cast recording that is one of the best releases of 2016.
The songs have the quality of taking me to a fantasy world where a song and a dance can resolve everything. It begins with the entertaining “Good Old O. O.” and ends with the best “ménage à trois” song I have heard, “Three is the Key Finale”. In between, there are some terrific big showtunes like “Seize the Opportunity”, “The Word on the Street” and “I’m Going to the Movies”, quieter songs like “Among the Navajo” and “Say, Fella”, beautiful ballads like “Rain” and “Yes, Well, Anyway”, delicious duets like “Open Your Eyes” and “Two Fat Cats”, the title song is a passionate tango and I simply love “How Much?” (strongly sung by Nikki Renee Daniels). I just wish they had written an overture for it, because it’s the kind of score who deserves an old fashion overture in the style of Jule Styne or Jerry Herman.
In the leading female role, Kelli O’Hara is at her best. Perfect in the dramatic numbers and in the funny ones. As her two love interests, Josh Grisetti and Brad Oscar sound like a match made in heaven, making this recording a high enjoyable one.
The music by Sam Davis, who I only knew from his interesting album “Love on a Summer Afternoon”, is the kind I wish there were more written these days. Helped by traditional Broadway flavored orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin, his songs take as back to a time were musicals weren’t supposed to be very serious and where you came out of the theatre humming a song or two. This is the kind of old fashion score that I love so much. Don’t miss it!