The answer to the obvious question, "Who is Johnny Burke?" is, Johnny Burke (1908-64) was a lyricist who wrote songs for movie musicals of the '30s to the '50s. Most of them starred Bing Crosby, and most of them had music by James Van Heusen, and they included standards like "What's New," "Pennies from Heaven," "But Beautiful," "Moonlight Becomes You," and the Oscar-winning title song of this Tony-nominated Broadway musical revue. Burke's words tended to be optimistic and romantic, though they could sometimes be whimsical in a way that suggested real heartache. Because he worked in Hollywood, he didn't become as well-known as peers like Lorenz Hart or E.Y. Harburg, but he could be just as clever and touching. It may be that "Swinging on a Star," which ran a mere 97 performances, works better as an album than it did onstage; in any case, the cast of seven succeeds at capturing the spirit of Burke's lyrics, even as they're trying to make you forget the definitive interpretations of Bing Whatsishisname.
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