If you read the reviews in the New York Times, the New York Daily News and elsewhere of the Encores presentation of Most Happy Fella at the City Center, right about now you are kicking yourself for not getting tickets. I will add to those kicks.
This is such a glorious show that we have seen every version that comes to New York and each has been worthwhile, but this version captures the real Broadway feeling, with some wonderful voices singing and dancing the unforgettable Frank Loesser score.
As with most of the Encores shows, Fella employs the original orchestrations by the great Don Walker–orchestrations that you know well from the original cast album and maybe never expected to hear again. I counted the musicians and there were 35 of them–plus the two dozen singing dancers who covered the stage in literal leaps and bounds.
In addition, all six major roles had to have first rate singer/actors portraying them while there were at least another half dozen roles that had to be covered by fine singers–nothing less would do–and this show had them.
Given the musical demands, to mount this on Broadway would be very expensive, which may explain why it hasn’t come around as one of the regular revivals. But the audience’s joyous response to the music, the dance numbers and the jokes was so tremendous, somebody should think long and hard about doing this uptown.
There may be some tickets left for the next two days’ performances; sit in the rafters if you have to. And don’t forget to sign up for Encores next presentations–if you miss this one, don’t miss out again.
On the bus on our way home, our friends and we joined in a spirited conversation with other bus goers equally elated by the performance. This is the New York we love.