Despite an impressive pedigree and a Tony award for lead actor John Lithgow, Sweet Smell of Success failed to light up the box office, ending its run after three months. This cast album reinforces some of the main criticisms against the show, including the lack of big, memorable songs and too much chorus. Still, taken apart from the show, the music works fairly well, presenting a cohesive underscore and persuasive performances. Though at times the music sounds a bit too much like one of those Broadway parodies so perfectly executed on The Simpsons, composer Marvin Hamlisch is enough of a pro to toss out a few gems along with the more run-of-the-mill material. "Don't Know Where You Leave Off" is pleasant enough, and the entire enterprise maintains a brilliantly orchestrated dark, jazzy, '50s feel that really suits the story. The packaging is indicative of the black-and-white tone of the stage show, with a clever synopsis and lyrics included in the liner notes. Fans of the Broadway production will get a terrific souvenir, while students of musical theater will appreciate the construction of the piece on a more theoretical level. All in all, it's a show that just may work better on album than on stage.
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AllMusic Review by Neil Shurley
|Sweet Smell of Success, musical play|
feat: Bernard Dotson
feat: Stacey Logan