Theater: Monopod


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.

The book,...

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