Flahooley (Original Broadway Cast)

Original Broadway Cast / Yma Sumac

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Flahooley (Original Broadway Cast) Review

by William Ruhlmann

Flahooley was a failed Broadway musical that ended up being remembered for various elements, most of them musical, so that the original Broadway cast album became a treasured keepsake for theater buffs. In particular, it marked the Broadway debut of Barbara Cook, who would go on to much greater success in The Music Man, among other shows. Also, it featured a score written by composer Sammy Fain and lyricist E.Y. Harburg that combined their chief attributes: the music was tuneful and the words were witty and clever. Harburg was also the co-librettist with Fred Saidy, the same team that had written the much more successful Finian's Rainbow. As in that show, they combined a fascination with fantasy (here there was a genie in a magic lamp instead of a leprechaun) and an interest in left-leaning social commentary (here there was a critique of capitalism instead of racism). All that was to the good, but the story, concerning a toy factory making a laughing doll (Flahooley, of course) that gets mixed up with a bunch of people from Arabia (apparently as an excuse to introduce the multi-octave exotic singer Yma Sumac), was too complicated to follow. The show opened on May 14, 1951, and closed only a month later. Happily, that was enough to justify the cast recording, which demonstrates the charm of Fain's score (even if the influence of Richard Rodgers is apparent) and Cook's early talent, notably in the songs "Here's to Your Illusions" and "He's Only Wonderful." Sumac, whose special material was written by Moises Vivanco, wordlessly wails from a high soprano to a very low alto, her appearances seeming random and irrelevant. The album has been reissued periodically, demonstrating its long-term appeal to collectors.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Flahooley, musical
1 00:35 Amazon
2 02:41 Amazon
3 Barbara Cook / Jerome Courtland 03:32 Amazon
4 00:24 Amazon
5 The Executives 02:54 Amazon
6 Yma Sumac 03:15 Amazon
7 Barbara Cook / Jerome Courtland / The Executives 02:08 Amazon
8 Faye DeWitt / The Executives / Marilyn Ross 01:10 Amazon
9 Barbara Cook / Jerome Courtland 02:34 Amazon
10 Barbara Cook / Jerome Courtland 02:52 Amazon
11 Yma Sumac 01:19 Amazon
12 00:26 Amazon
13 Ensemble 01:41 Amazon
14 00:53 Amazon
15 Ensemble 00:54 Amazon
16 Marilyn Ross 01:40 Amazon
17 Yma Sumac 02:59 Amazon
18 Barbara Cook 01:48 Amazon
19 Irwin Corey 03:21 Amazon
20 03:24 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick