Ella Fitzgerald combined forces with a studio orchestra conducted and arranged by Marty Paich for this 1962 studio session covering selections from hit Broadway productions, featuring compositions by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, Adler & Ross, and Frank Loesser. While the arrangements feature brief ensemble passages, the songs are a vehicle for the singer and are deliberately brief. Surprisingly, few of these Broadway tunes became standards for jazz singers. "Hernando's Hideaway" found favor with Fitzgerald and she added it to her repertoire for time; this version is entertaining with a prominent role for the bass clarinet, though it is somewhat hampered by its rather mundane lyric. The campy "Steam Heat" is inevitably associated with Shirley McClaine, but Ella makes a good effort on a number that would be considered a misfit by most of her fans. "If I Were a Bell" is fairly swinging; while the swinging "Almost Like Being in Love" is clearly the gem of the date, although both songs feature a distracting backup vocal group that should have been omitted. Ella's enthusiasm and spirited vocals carry the day on this fun-filled CD.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden