The original Broadway production of "The Most Happy Fella" opened at the Imperial Theater in New York on May 3, 1956, ran for 676 performances and was nominated for the 1957 Tony Award for the Best Musical. See more »
I'm updating my original 2006 review to say that I just finished watching the 2-DVD set that I recently purchased from Jim Berg, who has kindly made it available to us TMHF lovers. The DVDs are professionally printed and look quite good. Best of all, the quality of the recording itself is excellent! No, of course the video isn't up to today's HD/Hi-Def quality we've become used to, but when you consider that this was transferred from a Betamax tape; recorded at home by an amateur; from a live TV broadcast; made over 30 years ago; it's really excellent!
Almost the entire show looks and sounds smooth and great, but there's a kind of "pop" (I don't know what else to call it) around 20 minutes before the end of the show. Fortunately, the show still goes on to completion, albeit with a slightly different look and subtle sound quality difference -- still quite watchable, however. (I don't mean to complain; I just want to be as accurate and honest as I can. Anyone who was around in the Betamax days probably knows what I'm talking about here, since the taping process was dependent on mechanical means, rather than digital, so it was subject to problems unknown today.)
So -- that minor complaint aside, this recording is an absolute TREAT for the soul, with a production worthy of watching again and again. In fact, I'm going to order another set from Jim to send to my daughter, who's a big fan of Broadway musicals and will surely appreciate the rare genius and musical complexity of this unforgettable gem of a show.
I had recently been fortunate enough to see an excellent off- Broadway production in NYC of this great show just a few years ago. Short of being able to see such a live production whenever I feel like it, having this 2-disc set is the next best thing!
This was first shown on PBS in 1980 (before the widespread availability of home video recording machines) so I wasn't able to make a copy for myself. I'd always been a fan of the Original Broadway Cast double- LP album, but this production just about blew me away! I think it was done live on-stage by a community troupe somewhere in Texas. I know that PBS recorded it because it was shown twice that week in 1980...
Musically, this cast was as good as, or even superior to, the audio talent on the LP. Seeing it on the home screen also showed its wonderful choreography, dancers, lighting, costumes, scenery, direction, and musical direction.
Frank Loesser's music was and remains inventive, satisfying, original, and altogether wonderful. So many hummable tunes, such as "Standing On The Corner," "Big 'D'" and so many more! There is lots and lots of music, it having filled up 4 LP sides on the original cast album, which didn't even include a lovely balletic piece shown in this version.
Written in the 1950s I think, the story still holds up, as it deals with issues similar to online dating nowadays, wherein someone isn't completely honest in their pre-meeting communications. It deals with issues of loneliness, age, physical appearance, family, and even pregnancy. It has elements of comedy and tragedy, sin and forgiveness, love and acceptance.
It's a fabulous show I've never forgotten, and I'd give anything to be able to have a video copy of it to watch over and over again! 10**********!
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