Robert Morse

So Long, 174th Street [Cast Recording]

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A supremely charming and entertaining recording, So Long, 174th Street can only raise the question -- why wasn't the show itself more successful? Oh, the score by Stan Daniels (who also wrote the lyrics) may be a little less inventive than one might ideally hope for, but the cast, led by Robert Morse, Kaye Ballard, and Lori Ackerman, and also featuring George S. Irving, is as charming as any ever assembled, and Morse's and Ackerman's duets are totally beguiling, and the choruses and ensembles are catchy, spirited, and memorable with a vengeance. The failure of the 1976 stage production (which closed after 16 performances) is a mystery, but at least we have this 1993 recording, beautifully produced and lovingly and wittily performed. The musical was based on Joseph Stein's play Enter Laughing (which, in turn, was based on Carl Reiner's semi-autobiographical novel), and the travails of aspiring actor David Kolowitz (Morse) make for delightful listening. The annotation by Stein himself is more telling about the piece and the back-story than the production, but it's sufficient as an introduction. And the sound on the CD is impeccable. The only thing we'd like to see out of it would be another attempt to mount this as a stage production, to fully realize the work, but in the meantime this delightful CD will suffice.

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