Great to see Shirley Jones' feisty "Maggie" back in print!
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 04/18/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hardcore show music collectors have a long list of titles they'd desperately love to see reissued on CD. We've been very lucky in the last few years (Decca Broadway has nicely furnished us with the likes of "Fade Out-Fade In", "I Had a Ball" and "Baker Street"; Sony Masterworks re-released their long-dormant Lincoln Center revivals of "South Pacific" and "The King and I"); but one particular album has been flagged for many, many years as possibly the Number One unreleased recording on every collector's list...MAGGIE FLYNN. It starred Shirley Jones, making her return to Broadway after an absense of twelve years, along with her husband Jack Cassidy, a Tony Award-winner for "She Loves Me" and a long-time matinee idol favourite.
The show--which notched up only 82 performances on Broadway--was crafted by well-known music producers (and sometime songwriters) Hugo Perretti and Luigi Creatore; and directed by Morton Da Costa, who had previously guided Shirley Jones through one of her all-time best musical performances in the film version of "The Music Man". The musical was dismissed by most critics, and audiences followed suit. With such a pedigree, how on earth could it have possibly flopped...?
The main reason why MAGGIE FLYNN failed was timing. Broadway was heading in a completely new direction in 1968. Yes, this was the year of "Hair", "Oh, Calcutta!" was on the horizon, and Sondheim's "Company" would blaze onto the stage in 1970. The story of feisty Irish immigrants and their experiences during the era of the New York draft riots was decidedly creaky by comparison. I think that Ms Jones would have been better-served doing a limited run revival of "The King and I".
To be fair, the score suits the respective voices of Jones and Cassidy extremely well. Ms Jones is a vivacious, exciting presence on disc; Cassidy--thankfully keeping his pesky "wobble" at bay for the most part--is at his best with the big number "Why Can't I Walk Away?". Sound quality is deep and crisp, as you would expect from an RCA cast album from this period.
For all it's problems, the score as a whole is a delight. Thankyou DRG for finally bringing it back into the catalogue."
A LOVELY SHOW
Julio Lopez | Santiago, Chile | 07/02/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was quite surprised at this musical. I had no expectations at all, but I had fun with the anecdote and loved some songs. It's not LES MISERABLES, but quite cute and enjoyable. The songs are very appealing and melodic. The story is interesting since it has a historical background (the Civil War). It reminded me of ANNIE and OLIVER!somehow, because it also deals with kids in a sort of orphanage. A warm, romantic subplot adds to the feel-good intention of the whole production. Technically flawless, it is ideal for a cold, rainy day at home."
One of my all-time favorites!
Susan Sloate | Mount Pleasant, SC | 06/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MAGGIE FLYNN came into my life as an LP, a gift my grandmother had received at a charity luncheon and passed on to me. I played it obsessively but knew, as the CD revolution changed the music industry, that I'd better hold onto the record, as it would never be transferred to CD. A flop show no one had ever heard of? No chance.
When I found the CD by accident on Amazon, I was thrilled, and ordered it at once. The result is the very same show I loved in the late '60's (probably pressed from the same original recording)-- wonderful, old-fashioned Broadway songs sung by full-bodied voices. While I have always found Shirley Jones deficient as an actress, her talents as a singer are beyond question, and showcased beautifully here. Jack Cassidy has long been a favorite of mine, and his humor and passion are all here, along with his outstanding vocal gifts.
My favorites on the album, still (after all these years!) are: "Why Can't I Walk Away?", "Nice Cold Mornin'", and "How About a Ball?" -- but virtually every song, including those sung by the children, is wonderful. A terrific score of a long-forgotten show -- this CD will be part of my collection forever, as the record was before it.
Thank you, DRG!!!"
MAGGIE FLYNN on CD at LAST!
Jeffrey Dunn | NYC, USA | 06/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A truly fine score with terrific performances. A must for anyone who enjoys the less successful Broadway musicals. A really fun listen. Some of the excitement of the show could not be captured on a recording, but this is one of those lost treasures which should get many replays if the score is new to you. Jones and Cassidy are in great form and there are many songs which could go into Audition Books. "Why Can't I Walk Away?" was once very popular with Baritones and is not overdone these days. You can also hear a very young Stephanie Mills (THE WIZ) along with Irene Cara (FAME) and Giancarlo Esposito (SEESAW) who are sadly uncredited among the Orphans."