My Favorite Year

My-Favorite-YearOriginal Broadway Cast, 1992 (RCA) 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) No two Stephen Flaherty-Lynn Ahrens scores sound remotely alike. Here, the flavor is bright, clever, and wonderfully varied. In adapting the popular film My Favorite Year to the musical stage, the team did first-rate work, from the dynamite opening number “Twenty Million People” to the hilarious and touching “Funny” to the warm “Shut Up and Dance.” Michael Starobin’s orchestrations reflect the show’s setting with just the right 1960s New York brassiness, and Ted Sperling conducts with great verve. Would that the cast were so consistently strong. Yes, Andrea Martin lands every joke, and Tim Curry’s self-loathing Alan Swann (read: Errol Flynn) comes through vividly on disc. But Lainie Kazan’s Jewish mama is over the top, Tom Mardirosian’s King Kaiser (read: Sid Caesar) should be side-splitting but is merely unpleasant, and leading man Evan Pappas tries too hard to be liked; his relentless niceness nearly kills the affecting “Larger Than Life.” Still, this recording shows off the work of two supremely gifted songwriters. — Marc Miller