1943 Radio Cast

Something for the Boys

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Something for the Boys was greeted with positive reviews when it opened on Broadway on January 7, 1943, boasting songs by Cole Porter and starring Ethel Merman. It may be, however, that reviewers, and the audiences that kept the show running for a year and a day, were more dazzled by those names than by the work itself, particularly given that Merman was at the zenith of her Broadway stardom and that she was teaming with Porter for the fifth (and, as it turned out, last) time. The 1942-1944 recording ban called by the musicians union prevented anyone from recording songs from the score (and the original Broadway cast album was not yet a common item), so the music wasn't given much of a chance to live outside the theater. But it might not have, anyway. This was not top-notch Porter. Despite the best efforts of Merman to sell songs like the title tune and "He's a Right Guy," and leading man Bill Johnson's way with "Could It Be You?," there were no memorable compositions, with the possible exception of the novelty "By the Mississinewa." Merman and company performed the show on the radio during the run, and that is the source of this recording, in which original cast members Betty Garrett and Paula Laurence are absent. It's good to have a record of a Merman/Porter show that otherwise would be lost to history. Even second-rate Porter is pretty good, and Merman is, as usual, a powerhouse. But only theater music completists really need this disc.

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