The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Music By Leon Carr

 Lyrics By: Earl Shuman

Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Based on a short story by James Thurber, the musical adaptation of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty became an Off-Broadway theater production in 1964.  Running for 96 performances, it was recorded for posterity by Columbia Records.  For some time, this recording of the musical was unavailable, but on February 15, 2011, Masterworks Broadway has re-released the album, making it available digitally everywhere.

            The musical stars Marc London as Walter Mitty, an everyday sort of guy about to go through a midlife crisis.  He has just turned forty and the realization of his nagging wife Agnes (Lorraine Serabian), angry mother-in-law (Susan Lehman) and humdrum job have finally gotten the better of him.  Heading to Harryís Bar, he finds solace in a drink and a chat with an alcoholic nightclub singer, Willa de Wisp (Cathryn Damon).  His already imaginative mind takes off and he fantasizes about leaving his wife, his career, his home and his humdrum life and becoming a famous promoter, traveling the world without a care.  Of course, the dream comes to a crashing halt when Walter is reminded of his cherished daughter, Penninah (Christopher Norris), and realizes that his wife offers him stability and that his life isnít all that bad.

            The story is something that anyone can relate to and the theme is quite appealing, but itís the delivery that makes The Secret Life of Walter Mitty so much fun.  Walter Mitty is quite the imaginative fellow, imagining that facing his nagging wife and his annoying mother-in-law is akin to facing a firing line.  In fact, that scene, found in Prologue: The Secret Life / The Walter Mitty March, is the hysterical opener of this album.  The musical becomes more and more enjoyable and fun as Walterís imaginations become more and more fantastic.  The songs created by Earl Shuman and Leon Carr are funny and rather catchy.  One listen to this album and you should have learned enough to sing along on the second go-round.

            One could only wonder as to why this album remained unavailable for so long.  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an enjoyable ride from start to finish and Iím glad to have had the opportunity to take a listen to this fun soundtrack.


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