Theatrical producer Leonard Sillman had assembled three previous editions of his New Faces musical-comedy revues, the first, in 1934, having introduced Henry Fonda to the world, but none was as successful as New Faces of 1952, which snuck in at the end of the 1951-1952 Broadway season and became the biggest hit of the year, running over ten months. Among the new faces in the cast who would go on to bigger things were Alice Ghostley, Eartha Kitt, Paul Lynde, Robert Clary, and Carol Lawrence (not featured on the cast album), while the upcoming songwriters and sketch writers included Sheldon Harnick and Mel Brooks. The score was full of wonderful novelty tunes like Harnick's "Boston Beguine," "Monotonous," memorably sung by Kitt, and "Lizzie Borden," which became a singles-chart entry for the Chad Mitchell Trio a decade later. There were also some excellent romantic ballads, particularly "Guess Who I Saw Today." The cast album emphasizes some performers over others, particularly Kitt, who also gets to sing "Bal Petit Bal," and Clary, who went on to success in the 1960s television series Hogan's Heroes. On the other hand, Lynde, more a comedian than a singer, is not as prominent as he was on-stage, only getting a few lines of "Lizzie Borden." And Brooks' non-musical comedy sketch is missing entirely. Still, this is an excellent collection of varied material by a young and talented cast. European copyright law places recording more than 50 years old in the public domain, and the British label Jasmine wasted no time issuing its own version of the cast album, which was a benefit to show-music fans because the RCA Victor original had been out of print for decades. But Jasmine was not able to include the bonus track "Time for Tea" included in RCA's 1977 reissue.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|New Faces of 1952, musical revue|
feat: Alice Ghostley
feat: June Carroll
feat: Robert Clary
feat: June Carroll