Half-Past Wednesday/Rumpelstiltskin

Original Off-Broadway Cast, 1962 (Columbia/no CD) No stars, not recommended. The success of Once Upon a Mattress inspired several other fairy tale musicals, including this one — but the authors of Mattress knew how to adapt their source material for the stage so that it would appeal to adults. In contrast, the writers of Half-Past Wednesday — Robert Colby, Nita Jones, and Anna Marie Barlow — took the story of Rumpelstiltskin and changed almost nothing. This is the original tale: straight, unadorned, and very involving if you’re six years old. The songs aren’t even run-of-the-mill in quality, there’s not  a fresh idea to be found here, and despite the fact that the score contains a number of supposedly comic songs, there are no jokes. Columbia tried to repackage and retitle this LP to sell it as a children’s album, but it’s not even clever enough for kids, and they’ll hate the soppy love songs. The most notable member of the cast is Dom DeLuise, most of whose mannerisms were in place by the time of this recording. — David Wolf