Stephanie Pope, who appeared in Bob Fosse's last original Broadway musical, Big Deal, documents songs from that 1986 show's score — all of them Depression-era or pre-Depression tunes — on a new album, "Now's the Time to Fall in Love," getting released July 10. The Jerome Records CD includes fresh, swingy and jazzy arrangements (by pianist-producer Daryl Kojak) of such song classics as "Happy Days Are Here Again," "Ain't We Got Fun," Pick Yourself Up," "Me and My Shadow" and more. The entire score of Big Deal, a flop that lasted only briefly, was made up of existing songs, which Fosse staged in his singularly dry way — with a sense of humor, sex appeal and those signature isolated movements.
Pope, who starred in Broadway's Fosse, was the understudy for the character of Lilly and danced in the ensemble of Big Deal, the stage musical version of the film, "Big Deal on Madonna Street." It was her first Broadway musical. The show did not have a cast album.
The disc's arrangements are bluesy, jazzy and frisky. Ben Vereen penned the liner notes. Songs include "Ain't He Sweet," "Now's the Time to Fall in Love," "Everybody Loves My Baby," "Charley My Boy," "I'm Just Wild About Harry," "Button Up Your Overcoat," "'Taint What Cha Do," "Just a Gigolo," "Love Is Just Around the Corner," "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries" and "Happy Days Are Here Again."
Pope's other Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Will Rogers Follies, Chicago and Jelly's Last Jam.
— By Kenneth Jones