Those who missed the limited Broadway engagement of Little Me at the Roundabout Theatre can experience the score -- and previously unrecorded narration -- on the cast album being released Mar. 9 on the Varese Sarabande label.
The company of the popular revival, which played four months at the Roundabout's Stage Right gathered in a studio to record the disc Feb. 1. The musical revival starring Martin Short (in multiple roles) and Faith Prince (in the title role) closed Feb. 7. Previews began Oct. 8, 1998, with a Nov. 12 opening.
A longer life for the musical was not a possibility with Short playing all the men in the life of rising star Belle Poitrine: It was known from the beginning of the run in fall 1998 that Short did not want to be away from his family in California for an extended time.
The disc preserves the Cy Coleman-Carolyn Leigh score and, for the first time, documents narration by Belle (Prince) as she journeys from Skid Row in backwater Venezuela, IL., to tony Southampton, NY. Narration tracks on the 24-cut disc include: "Chapter One: The Story Begins," "Belle Meets Mr. Pinchley," "Girl Guns Geezer," "Fame Is a Fickle Thing," "Belle Meets Fred," "Belle Goes to Hollywood" and "The Prince & I."
Of interest to those who only know the 1962 original cast album with Sid Caesar: The recording also includes the hip, newly-arranged title number (moved from Act One to the opening, sung by Prince, who is backed up by "boys"), the instrumental "Rich Kids Rag" (originally a Bob Fosse dance, not on the '62 album), "I Love Sinking You" (not on the '62 album). The disc also includes the show's best-known numbers: "The Other Side of the Tracks," "Deep Down Inside," "I've Got Your Number," "Real Live Girl," "Here's to Us" and "Be a Performer," among other songs. Bruce Kimmel is the recording's producer. Ron Marshall directed and choreographed the production. Orchestrations are by Harold Wheeler.
In Little Me, Prince played Belle Poitrine. Though Belle is the central character, the wildly different men she meets in her highly eventful life are played by same actor (Short), making it a tour-de-force for a male comedy performer.
In New York, the musical co-starred two veterans of Off Broadway's Forbidden Broadway revue, Michael McGrath and Christine Pedi. McGrath was showcased in the Broadway musical Swinging on a Star and was a well-received Groucho in Off-Broadway's The Cocoanuts. He was also an original cast member of Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know.
Also in the show were soap star Michael Park ("As the World Turns," Smokey Joe's Cafe) and Charles Busch veteran, Ruth Williamson (The Green Heart ), alongside Brooks Ashmanskas, Peter Benson, Michael Arnold, Jeffrey Hankinson, Ned Hannah, Denis Jones, Michael McEachron, Roxanne Barlow, Caroline Liadakus, Susan Misner, Cynthia Onrubia, Joey Pizzi, Josh Prince and Courtney Young.
Short, comedy star of "SCTV," "Saturday Night Live" and the film "Father of the Bride" and "Three Amigos," plays roles originated by Caesar and recreated in the 1980s by Victor Garber and James Coco, who shared the roles in the 1982 revival. Short appeared in the Encores!' concert staging last season of Promises, Promises He made his Broadway debut in another Neil Simon musical, the short lived 1993 The Goodbye Girl.
Other Simon plays include Proposals, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, The Sunshine Boys and Fools.