Man in the Moon

Original Broadway Cast, 1963 (Golden Records/no CD) 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) The puppets of Bil and Cora Baird were all over early television, as well as being featured in the Broadway musical Flahooley and the film version of The Sound of Music. In the 1960s, Bil Baird attempted a series of theatrical musicals for kids. Some of them were performed in his Greenwich Village jewel box theater, but Man in the Moon actually played on Broadway. The director was Gerald Freedman, the book was written by Arthur Burns (based on a story by Baird), and the songs were by composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick. They wrote five numbers for this one-act musical, all of them modest but delightful. (The second acts of Baird’s shows were puppet revues.)  In one of the songs, “I Got an Itch,” the gangster-villain sings about having “an itch for a rich, ripe rube I can rob” and tells us that “When night-time comes a-stealing, so do I.” The plot centers on a young boy who goes to the moon by riding a moonbeam but doesn’t realize that gangsters on the lam are right behind him.  The gangsters are defeated, and everyone leaves happy — except for Bock and Harnick’s numerous fans, who can’t help thinking about all of the other wonderful shows they might have written as a team if The Rothschilds hadn’t marked their last time working together. — David Wolf