Music By Sammy Fain
Lyrics By: Paul Francis Webster
Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In 1960, a two-act musical hit the stage. Christine, starring Maureen OíHara, Janet Pavek and Morley Meredith, was based on a 1945 novel by Hilda Wernher entitled My Indian Family. Written by Pearl S. Buck and Charles K. Peck, Jr., the musical didnít last long, but it did earn Maureen OíHara a Tony Award amongst others. On April 5, 2011, Masterworks Broadway made the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Christine available for digital download. Having never heard of the musical before, I decided to check it out.
Christine opens in Akbarabad, a little town in India, where the weekly train is coming in with two eagerly awaited arrivals; Sita Roy (Janet Paveck) who has been away in college in America and Christine Fitzsimmons (Maureen OíHara) who has come from Ireland to visit her daughter Maryanne who has married an older Indian doctor named Rashil Singh (Morley Meredith). Christine is surprised at her daughterís absence at the train station, but is warmly greeted by family members and is swept away to Rashilís home. It is here that she learns that her daughter has died in childbirth.
Christine and Rashil, bonded by the love they had for Maryanne, eventually become friends. Christine begins to become more involved in Rashilís clinic and the two begin to have feelings for one another. Sita Roy has also gone to work for the clinic and also begins to fall in love with Rashil. Realizing that their love can never be brought to fruition, Christine chooses Sita to be Rashilís next bride, knowing that it would be in Rashilís best interest and the best interest of the clinic he runs to marry Sita and not Christine.
I never knew that Maureen OíHara could sing, let alone what a powerfully beautiful voice she has. Each time Maureen OíHara sings on this album, you canít help but stop everything to admire that voice. Itís no wonder she won so many awards for this musical. There are quite a few enjoyable tracks on this album, but I found Freedom Can Be a Most Uncomfortable Thing to be my favorite. In this song, the elder women of India describe how Westernization is changing their ways and destroying their traditions. Yes, the women are offered quite a bit more freedom than they once had, but at what cost? The song is catchy and funny. I also enjoyed Iím Just a Little Sparrow, a missionary song performed by Jaya (Leslye Hunter). The song is sweet and the vocals are adorable.
The musical is quite easy to follow thanks to the lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. There is no mistaking what is going on in this story - the sorrow of love lost, the surprise of finding love unexpected, and the pain of sacrificing love. I have no idea why this musical lasted less than a year on Broadway. I found it to be very entertaining. The Christine Soundtrack is bound to make a perfect addition to any Broadway musical fanís soundtrack collection.