THE MOST HAPPY FELLA
Music, Lyrics and Book by Frank Loesser
A virus is beginning to infect the Broadway musical and its name is opera. Last season's Sweeney Todd strained to achieve operatic style with recitatives and songs structured like arias; this season's Evita dispenses entirely with spoken dialogue.
The revival of The Most Happy Fella (first produced on Broadway in 1956) most clearly reveals the imbalance that occurs in a musical when it opts for the operatic mode. A musical rests on a tripod of book, score and dance. Opera-oriented shows almost inevitably rely on only a monopod, song.