This original Broadway cast recording of the underrated Harvey Schmidt/Tom Jones musical 110 in the Shade dates from November 3, 1963, during the show's run at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City. It features Robert Horton as Starbuck, Inga Swenson as Lizzie, and Stephen Douglass. Based on Richard Nash play, The Rainmaker, 110 in the Shade tells the story of a heat wave in a Texan Panhandle town and the magical stranger who brings rain to town and romance to a spinster. The score has its blustery moments (most notably on the fun "Lizzie's Comin' Home," sung by her brother and father as they await her arrival at the train station), but it's the air of melancholy in the music that really typifies 100 in the Shade. At the same time, the show isn't a downer since everyone ends up happy in the end. The group chorus on "Everything Beautiful Happens at Night" is a standout, as is Inga Swenson on "Simple Little Things." While 110 in the Shade was only a moderate hit upon its opening, overshadowed by big-deal events like Funny Girl, the show was revived in 1992 by the New York City Opera and did very well. Though the recording of that production is much grander in scope, this abbreviated version of the original cast still has charm since it came first. And Swenson, in the pivotal role of Lizzie, is really incredible throughout.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus