All American, the 1962 musical with songs by composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Lee Adams, was their follow-up to the 1960 hit Bye Bye Birdie, but it was a flop, running only 80 performances. An original Broadway cast album demonstrated that their score was adequate, with one song so far above the rest that the show was remembered as the "Once Upon a Time" musical. This album presents a performance of an early version of the score by the songwriters to demonstrate the show to potential financial backers. It actually succeeds in making the music seem more than adequate, in part because Strouse and Adams perform it enthusiastically and with a strong sense of the meaning of the lyrics, which seem cleverer here. Of course, the recording will be of interest primarily to musical theater fans, and what they will hear is a version of All American in which there's more going on in the first act, including a number of songs -- "Animal Attraction," "Back to School Again," "I've Never Seen Anything Like It," and "I Can Teach Them" -- that were cut before the Broadway opening, and less going on in the second act, which does not feature the songs "Have a Dream" and "I'm Fascinating," which were in the show at the Broadway opening. (Henderson, the character who sings "Have a Dream," does, however, have a different number here, "Pripoz Diva Se," that also was cut.) From Strouse and Adams' song introductions and summaries of the action, fans also will get a hint of one reason why All American failed: there seems to be enough plot for two musicals at least, a problem that was never solved.
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