DRG Records releases the disc with a booklet that builds on an earlier RCA CD release that is no longer in print. The 15-track DRG disc also boasts a bonus track of Robert Goulet singing "Shalom."
The DRG booklet offers black and white and color production photos from the original 1961 staging that starred Molly Picon, Robert Weede and Mimi Benzell, original album art, synopsis, production history notes and an exclusive Q & A with Herman, who reflects on the creation of the show. The interview was conducted by Playbill.com's managing editor Kenneth Jones.
The original musical (with book by Don Appell) concerned a group of American widows who travel to the young state of Israel to sightsee, drink in the culture — a find men. Benzell's Ruth falls for Weede's married Phil, an American who is visiting his married daughter in Israel; Picon's Clara can't shake her memory of late husband Hymie, but she has advice for all of her friends — and ends up with a man, too. Tommy Rall played Phil's son-in-law.
With Milk and Honey, Herman went from Off-Broadway satiric revuer (Parade, Lend and Ear) to musical dramatist. He would flower further with later scores to Hello, Dolly!, Mame and La Cage aux Folles. The seeds of his Broadway future are in the score of Milk and Honey, which has tango, hora, robust up-tempo show tunes, honeyed ballads a comic numbers.
Herman, who was not yet 30 when he was writing the show, managed to convey the maturity, depth and longing of the musical's middle-aged characters. He said in the liner notes' Q & A that capturing the reality of those older characters is what he is most proud of when he looks back at the work. The DRG reissue is produced by Hugh Fordin. Associate producer is Jim Kelly. Mastering is by Alan Silverman at ARF! Digital.
The track listing follows:
Independence Day Hora
Milk and Honey
There's No Reason in the World
Chin Up, Ladies
That Was Yesterday
Let's Not Waste a Moment
Like a Young Man
I Will Follow You
Hymn to Hymie
As Simple as That
BONUS TRACK: Robert Goulet sings "Shalom"