So popular were Ziegfeld Follies that they continued to be produced well after the death of their originator, Flo Ziegfeld, in 1932. They were the vehicles to display the talents of many of the great musical performers of their day, including Bert Williams and Eddie Cantor. The 1936 iteration was no exception, featuring Bob Hope, Fanny Brice, and Eve Arden, later replaced by Gypsy Rose Lee. The lyrics were written by Ira Gershwin, and rather than George Gershwin as his usual writing partner, he turned to Vernon Duke. The 1936 edition ran sporadically for two years, trying to overcome several production and artistic difficulties. The only song which survived to become a classic was "I Can't Get Started," sung by Bob Hope to Eve Arden in the original and in this Broadway Decca recording of the revival -- produced at the City Center in 1999 by Peter Scolari -- to Christine Ebersole. Scolari is a veteran of the Bob Newhart show and many movies and TV parts. Christine Ebersole is a veteran of TV and was in the revival of 42nd Street. These two and their friends give a spirited performance, working very hard to reinvigorate skit material that pretty much has become dated. Outstanding individual performances include "Words Without Music" by Ruthie Henshall and a whimsical "The Economic Situation" by Ebersole. The music is lively and well orchestrated by Rob Fisher. Recommended for those who are interested in those glory years of the Broadway musical and variety shows, of which the Ziegfeld Follies productions were shining lights.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan