Stop the World, I Want to Get Off was a vehicle Anthony Newley used to show off his many talents. With Leslie Bricusse, he wrote the music, lyrics, and book. He also directed and starred in this musical, which played in London for 15 months before coming to Broadway for a 551-show run. Newley used allegory, his favorite form of communication, to trace the story of the rise of the show's central character from a lowly teaboy to millionaire. He stands in the middle of the center ring of a circus as the various stages of his life unfold before him. Cleverly using a cockney accent, Newley vocally satirizes the events and mores he came across on his rise to the top, using humor, irony, or satire -- as the occasion warrants -- on such tunes as "Glorious Russian" and the hits from the show, the determined "Gonna Build a Mountain," the hopeful "Once in a Lifetime," and the regretful "What Kind of Fool Am I?" His comments on the British political system are bitingly narrated on "Mumbo Jumbo." While Newley is the centerpiece of the production, he gets considerable help from the feminine lead Anna Quayle, and very engaging occasionally jazzy orchestrations played by an orchestra led by Milton Rosenstock. Stop the World, I Want to Get Off is just one milestone of a Newley career that spanned more than 50 years. He appeared in more than 25 films, countless recordings, many TV programs, and in such musicals as Dr. Dolittle and The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd. The bright sound of this digitally remastered reissue is icing on the cake of a classic Broadway musical. Producer David Merrick's prescient liner notes from the original release are reproduced.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan
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