It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman (Original Broadway Cast) Jack Cassidy
Composer: Strouse, Charles
Lyricist: Adams, Lee
Cassidy, Jack/O'Sullivan, Michael/Holiday, Bob/Marand, Patricia
Now Out Of Print. One copy in stock.
Original 1996 Broadway Cast Recording! Book by David Newman and Robert Benton. Based upon the comic strip 'Superman'. Starring Jack Cassidy, Michael O'Sullivan, Bob Holiday, Patricia Marand, Don Chastain, Linda Lavin and The Flying Lings. Digitally Remastered! 23 Track total.
SUPERMAN is one of those flop musicals that was just so, so, so close to being a hit. It had all the right ingredients: A very funny book (by Robert Benton and David Newman, who would hit it big the next year as screenwriters of BONNIE AND CLYDE), a tuneful score with at least one obvious hit ("You've Got Possibilities"), a fine cast, a distinctive production, and a rave review from the New York TIMES. So what happened? Basically, the story was weak. (Story counts; Strouse and Adams' next show, APPLAUSE, had a disappointing score and book, but the strength of its storyline helped carry it to the hit column.) The main plot hooks -- Superman doubting himself; Lois Lane considering marrying someone else -- weren't particularly interesting, and the show was dominated to an inordinate extent by characters who were really peripheral: Jack Cassidy as a Winchell-type columnist and Linda Lavin as his secretary. Maybe some of the show's problems were due to Harold Prince's relative inexperience as a director. If Newman and Benton would reunite to strengthen the story just a little (without losing too many of the hilarious lines from their book), this show really could be the hit it should have been in 1966.
Until then, we have the album, and it's great. Except for one horrible number ("It's Super Nice," which apparently was even worse onstage), it doesn't sound like a flop; Strouse and Adams are at their considerable peak with wonderful tunes and witty lyrics (Lois sings of Superman: "Tell me please, when will he learn it's not some silly fly-by-night affair?"). The album is one of the best ever produced by Columbia's Goddard Lieberson, with great stereo sound, superb performances (especially from Cassidy and Lavin), and somewhat more dialogue than usual -- so we get such goodies as Cassidy's hilarious speeches in his two solos. Plus the CD has bonus tracks in the form of demo recordings of cut songs played and sung by Strouse, including the amusing (if dramatically irrelevant) "Dot Dot Dot." This CD was one of the best in the long-defunct Sony Broadway series, and it is one of the most entertaining cast albums of any flop show. It's too bad that the CD couldn't reproduce the brilliant back cover of the original LP (done in the form of an issue of the "Daily Planet"), but you can't have everything. Get the CD and enjoy.