Jeff Smith 6:35 p.m., June 27
Does the Musical Version of Nutty Professor Really Need Hamlisch's Score?
The passing of composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died last week at 68, may have caused the Broadway bound musical adaptation of Jerry Lewis' fun and funny The Nutty Professor to hit a reef.
Without the composer to guide them through the inevitable tweaks and modifications needed to bring a production to Grand Central City, the future of the show, currently holding its out-of-town tryout in Nashville, is uncertain.
Hamlisch and lyricist Rupert (Pupkin?) Holmes delivered a finished score complete with 20 songs. With all due respect to the late composer and his partner, by my count Jerry, musical director Walter Scharf, and Les Brown and his Band of Renown already did half the work for them.
Who will ever forget the use of Victor Young's Stella By Starlight as Miss Purdy's theme? Our servicemen have never been more proud to hear The Marine Hymn than when it sounds the hour on Julius Kelp's timepiece, actually. Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Field's lushly romantic I'm in the Mood for Love takes a frightening turn when used as the transitional song behind the film's big reveal.
How is this for a toe-tapper? Julie is suddenly carried away by the instrumentation of composer Les Brown's Leap Frog.
Mood is right! With Tubby's thumbs sufficiently rested, it time for Buddy to work Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen's That Old Black Magic (and his lower jaw).
And when it comes to all-out rhythmic nuttiness, Jerry and Les swing no less than the globe! (Who knew the Brownster was bilingual?) With music by Les' marvelous younger brother Lou and lyrics by über-pussycat Lil Mattis, get ready to fly like a kite through space, no wings!
Here's hoping the show makes it to Broadway. Better yet, here's hoping the show makes it to the Civic Theatre.