Leave It to Jane, the third collaboration of Jerome Kern (composer), P.G. Wodehouse (lyricist and co-librettist), and Guy Bolton (co-librettist) played 167 performances when it opened in 1917, a run that amounted to commercial success at the time, especially considering that the show was in a larger venue than the tiny Princess Theatre that had been the home of the team's previous shows. It was the classic "college" musical, in which the daughter of a college president successfully woos a star football player from a rival school to get him to play for her school's team instead. No Kern standards emerged from the score, but it was a well-written effort, boasting such sturdy tunes as the title song, "The Siren's Song," "The Crickets Are Calling," and the comic "Cleopatterer." There were no cast recordings at the time, but on May 25, 1959, an Off-Broadway revival opened and proceeded to run for two years, and that produced this cast album. The recording employs a four-piece band of piano, clarinet, percussion, and banjo, leaving plenty of room for the excellent performers. Kathleen Murray (later Kathleen Hallor) is the title star, and she is effective on the big ballads, but the standout performer is the comic second lead of Flora, played by Dorothy Greener (later Dorothy O'Ramey), who sparkles on "Cleopatterer" and "Poor Prune," the latter a song written for but cut from the original production. If only all Kern's shows had cast albums this good. In 1997, AEI Records reissued the album on CD, expanding it by including a couple of short tracks left over from the 1959 recording sessions along with a couple of historical selections. First was a performance of unknown origin of "The Life of a Peach" (a/k/a "A Peach of a Life"), a song from the 1917 production not included on the 1959 cast album. And, going back all the way to 1917, there was the Victor Light Opera Company's recording of a medley of songs from the show, the nearest thing to a cast recording that existed at the time. AEI billed the result Leave It to Jane: The Complete Recordings.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann