Rita Gardner, who originated the role of the Girl (aka Luisa) in The Fantasticks in 1960, began presenting this one-woman show in 2002, and has enjoyed a long run with it -- and for good reason, as this CD reveals. Gardner's voice, like her talent, won't quit, and she can still glide across those girlish numbers from The Fantasticks convincingly 40-plus years later. With Alex Rybeck's deft piano accompaniment and a beguiling persona -- witty and charmingly self-deprecating, but always warm -- she glides, slides, and soars across several decades' worth of musical theater history, all the while recalling the off-Broadway world and her colleagues from the 1950s to the start of the 21st century. She's frequently funny and occasionally very poignant in her reminiscences, and it's all worth hearing and keeping. The repertoire ranges from Jones and Schmidt to Kurt Weill, Jerome Moross, Marvin Hamlisch, David Shire, and Jacques Brel, including a few unexpected choices that only liven up the proceedings even further.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder