Monday, November 10, 2014

Henry, Sweet Henry

The film The World of Henry Orient gave Peter Sellers a star turn as the frazzled musician. The stage adaptation gave Don Ameche considerably less to do in the title role, giving the lions share of the songs to Robin Wilson and Neva Small as the two school girls.

Clive Barnes at the New York Times was blasting all musicals that season that didn't have pop or rock scores and his review was blamed for the shows early demise, but the cast recording indicates that there were other problems. Bob Merrill's "youthful" lyrics can't decide how young the girls are supposed to be. At times they seem teenagers, at other times toddlers. He could get away with this sort of thing in Carnival for plot reasons, but it's problematic here.

Alice Playten received the lions share of the notices for her two belty songs as the school bully, Kafritz. Even cranky Clive Barnes praised her for "belting out the music like a toy Merman."

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