The Madwoman of Central Park West

Original Broadway Cast, 1990 (DRG) 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) This show was a good time, but the cast recording — only 37 minutes in length — is of little help in bringing back the experience for those who saw it, or giving a good idea of it for those who didn’t. The Madwoman of Central Park West is about Phyllis Newman trying to get her life together. It begins as she drags herself out of bed, singing “Up! Up! Up!”, written for an unfinished Skin of our Teeth adaptation by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green (Newman’s husband). Other numbers included are “What Makes Me Love Him?” (from the Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick-Jerome Coopersmith musical The Apple Tree), Ed Kleban’s irresistible song “Better,” and a very funny version of the Bruce Sussman-Jack Feldman-Barry Manilow hit “Copacabana.” But the one item that makes this album essential is “Don’t Laugh,” written by Mary Rodgers and Martin Charnin for Hot Spot (which starred Judy Holliday), then doctored on the road by Rodgers’ friend Stephen Sondheim, who added the wonderful “show me” sections: “Show me a glass of water, I’ll show you a soggy dress / Show me a tube of toothpaste, I’ll show you a mess / Show me a fresh-laid sidewalk and guess where my footprints are / Show me a fire hydrant, I’ll show you my car.” (Note: There was a TV adaptation of The Madwoman of Central Park West, so you may be able to seek that out and see it for yourself.) — David Wolf¬†¬†