Original Broadway Cast

New Faces of '56 [Original Broadway Cast]

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The 1956 edition of Leonard Sillman's musical revue New Faces, peopled, as usual, by Broadway newcomers, was dominated (to the extent that a show with a cast of 19 could be dominated) by female impersonator T.C. Jones, who pretended to be Tallulah Bankhead, Katharine Hepburn, and Bette Davis over the course of the evening. Jones served as a sort of mistress of ceremonies, as well as horning in on the skits and songs. Only songs appear on the cast album, but Jones is a constant presence here, too, and perhaps not as welcome a one as he is on-stage. Deliberately off-key singing, for example, is easier to take in a theater than on a record. Otherwise, the score, written by many hands with the team of June Carroll and Arthur Siegel most prominent, is a miscellany seemingly constructed of cast-offs from possible book musicals. There are sincere love songs ("Tell Her") and broad parodies ("April in Fairbanks") and some topical material, but nothing really impressive. The most impressive voice is possessed by John Reardon, who shows off a big baritone. In terms of both material and performers, this New Faces is not a patch on its 1952 predecessor.