The Girl Friend

Girl-FriendOriginal U.K. Cast, 1987 (TER/no CD) 1 Stars (1 / 5) One of five Rodgers and Hart shows to open in 1926, The Girl Friend had a healthy run. In 1937, the show hit London, where two British writers, R. P. Weston and Bert Lee, replaced Herbert Fields’ entire original book with a new plot from a comedy called Kitty’s Kisses, which had been adapted as a London musical a year earlier. Most of the score was replaced with songs by Gus Kahn, Con Conrad, Will Donaldson, and Otto Harbach. Clear so far? A new version of this version was produced in Colchester, England, in 1987, with the old British script rewritten by director Michael Winter; it had a few Rodgers and Hart songs, plus some tunes that has been written by others for the 1927 production. In all, this cast album contains only three songs from The Girl Friend as originally staged on Broadway, plus a number that was cut during tryouts, two R&H songs from other shows, and four songs that, according to the credits on the album jacket, were collaborations of Rodgers, Hart, and Kahn. The cast is lackluster, and the orchestrations are distractingly busy. The original score’s biggest hits, “The Blue Room” and the title song, are here joined by another R&H delight, “Mountain Greenery,” sung colorlessly by Barbara King and Mark Hutchinson. The rarely heard but appealing “Sleepyhead,” “What’s the Use of Talking?” and “Why Do I?” are also included. — David Wolf