Music Webmaster Len Mullenger



Jule STYNE Sugar [Book: Peter Stone; Lyrics: Bob Merrill] Robert Morse; Tony Roberts, Cyril Ritchard and Original Broadway Cast. RYKO/MGM RCD 10760 [48:01]




With the exception of a single very good song this disc simply demonstrates the stultifying lack of surprise and individuality that became the norm for the American musical. Time after time I thought of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies which seems at the same time to both caress and lampoon the mainstream from which Sugar comes. Follies stands far above this theatre fodder.

Sugar’s music is brassy, obvious and still-born. None of the light hand obvious from the film on which it is based (Wilder’s Some Like It Hot). Oh there’s no doubt that the music zips brazenly along like an Edsell on paraffin but the movement is the movement one expects from a decayed corpse when an electrical current is passed through it. I am sorry to be so dismissive but this is a dismal musical with one bright exception.

Let’s end on the positive. What is the exception? This is the song It’s Always Love (sung by Tony Roberts) and I cannot recommend it too highly. Do try to hear it. It is a sardonic celebration of love - regretful and tragic. This, with its minimal music and straight presentation, cuts through the thin tinsel and neon motor that passes for a heart in musicals of this ilk. This song draws blood! A treasure and the reason why this musical scores any stars at all. A five star song set amid a soulless wasteland.

Little background on the musical is provided in the leaflet although all the artists are well profiled. The presentation is well up to Rykodisc’s usual and exemplary high standard.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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