The Theater: New Musical in Manhattan, Dec. 31, 1945

Billion Dollar Baby (books & lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green; music by Morton Gould; produced by Paul Feigay & Oliver Smith) takes a cockeyed look, through purple-colored glasses, at the fantastic '20s. In a swirl of burlesque it lurches through speakeasies, totters through dance marathons, plugs racketeers, pummels gold diggers, plays hob with billionaires. Almost all of it is bold and un-Broadwayish, and bits and pieces of it are delightful. But as a whole, it doesn't quite come off.

For one thing, though Billion Dollar Baby has the broadness of burlesque, it...