The shortest running music ever co-authored by Alan Jay Lerner, Dance a Little Closer closed the night it opened (and was referred to derisively by Broadway wags as "Close a Little Faster"). That was probably a bit unfair, as the cast album reveals -- perhaps it was a bit ahead of its time, a musical adaptation of Robert E. Sherwood's Idiot's Delight being ahead of a pop culture curve that would turn such '30s-based properties as Chicago into mega-hits on-stage 15 years later, and the book was weak, as most critics pointed out at the time. But the Charles Strouse score has many virtues, and several of the Lerner/Strouse songs -- "Carmelina," "Dance a Little Closer," "No Man Is Worth It," "A Woman Who Thinks I'm Wonderful," "There's Always One You Can't Forget," and, especially, "Another Life," to name just six -- were deserving of a wider hearing, perhaps in a better show. Amazingly, for a widely anticipated flop, a cast recording was made, and is well worth tracking down. That's Entertainment Records has produced this CD very nicely, with good annotation (including recollections by Strouse of his collaboration with Lerner, who died soon after the production closed), and excellent sound. Len Cariou, Liz Robertson, and George Rose acquit themselves well throughout, and the mere existence of this artifact of a notable failure by two major creative lights of the theater makes it essential listening.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder