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David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2007

No other Broadway musical recorded in the 1950's had such an ideal cast and recording of top quality, yet it almost never happened. Twice fate took a cruel turn, the original play of My Sister Ellen looking ready for cancellation when the young Eileen McKenny, the real life Eileen, was killed in a car accident four nights before it was due to open. She had been one of the two sisters who had come to New York seeking fame and fortune, the other half of the duo, Ruth, writing about her sister's comic exploits finding work on the stage. So having a big success with the play, a film was made and a Broadway musical scheduled. But just weeks before it was due to open the scriptwriters and composers fell out, and it looked like fate had returned. That was until Betty Comdon, Adolph Green and Leonard Bernstein stepped in and produced Wonderful Town in 35 days. With the famous film star, Rosalind Russell and Edith Adams in the leading roles, it looked as if the show could run forever, but with film contracts awaiting Russell had to bring it to an end. Here the fabulous original cast recreates the show on discs issued by Decca in 1953. This new transfer is completed by songs from the famous shows that used Comdon and Green lyrics, here recreated by the writing duo. Not great voices in classical terms but they knew how to extract all the fun. Maybe something to match the quality of Wonderful Town would only have gilded the lily.





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