Music and Lyrics By: Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Book By: Al Morgan and Josť Ferrer
Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Based on The Captain's Paradise, a 1953 British comedy film starring Alec Guinness, the Broadway musical Oh, Captain! opened at the Alvin Theatre on February 4, 1958 and closed the same year after 192 performances. The musical, starring Tony Randall, earned a number of Tony Award nominations. Masterworks Broadway released the Oh, Captain! Soundtrack in digital format on April 5, 2011.
In Oh, Captain!, Tony Randall is Captain Henry St. James who lives with his wife, Maud (Jacquelyn McKeever), in what is considered to be a very proper town in Britain. They live very proper lives. Maud would love to go out with her husband and have fun, but the Captain believes in running a strict home, as tightly run as his ship. His crew complains at his swagger and pompous partying, while they do all the work of sailing the ship.
Once Captain St. James arrives in France, however, he throws caution to the wind, touring Paris with a sexy young woman named Bobo (Eileen Rodgers). Meanwhile, Maud wins a recipe contest and decides to surprise her husband by flying to meet him in Paris. But who will really be surprised when Maud finally finds Henry St. James in Paris?
Upon listening to the Oh, Captain! Soundtrack, I couldn't help but laugh. I never needed to really look at the book by Al Morgan and Josť Ferrer. All I needed were those telltale lyrics accompanied by the fun music written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans to tell me all that was going on in the musical. I instantly disliked Captain St. James and all he stood for and found myself rooting for Maud, hoping that she would discover her husband a fraud and set out on her own to find happiness.
The idea that Henry St. James might be leading a double life is nothing new, but the songs were fun and often times raunchy and that was something I didn't expect from a 1950s musical. Fans of Tony Randall will find that he performs the role perfectly. The soundtrack is a great deal of fun and it is surprising that the show didn't have a longer run on Broadway. Fans of funny Broadway musicals will enjoy the comedic components of Oh, Captain!