The Most Happy Fella is a love story, if a bit of an unusual one. It goes something like this: boy (Tony, played by Bill Marshall) meets girl (called Rosabella, played by Elizabeth Reese) in a San Francisco restaurant and leaves her a tie pin and a love note instead of a tip, girl doesn't remember boy but begins a correspondence with him, boy is afraid girl will reject him so he sends her a photo of a younger boy (Joe, played by Aleks Knezevich), girl agrees to marry boy and arrives at his Napa farm, girl is disappointed that boy lied to her and has a dalliance with the younger boy, boy and girl fall in love, girl finds out she's pregnant with younger boy's baby, boy is crushed but ultimately decides he loves girl and accepts the baby as his own (that last bit is actually very similar to a current storyline on The Bold and the Beautiful). A little convoluted, but it's actually a very sweet love story.
The most well-known song in the score is "Standing on the Corner," which doesn't sound as much like sexual harassment when sung in sprightly four-part harmony. A few of the other songs seemed vaguely familiar to me, but most of the songs I had never heard before. The show skews towards the opera end of the music-theater spectrum, about which Loesser said "I may give the impression the show has operatic tendencies. If people feel that way - fine. Actually all it has is a great frequency of songs. It's a musical with music." There's definitely an operatic feel to the score - sweeping and romantic with soaring melodies. The hero of the story, Tony, is an Italian immigrant, so some of the songs are partly in Italian, which only makes it more fancy. But mixed in with this opera-like music are some down home Country-Western feeling songs, both on the Napa farm and when Rosabella's friend Cleo is talking about her hometown, "Big D (Little-A Double-L-A-S)." It's a strange and lovely mix of musical styles that's quite pleasant to listen to.
|the cast of The Most Happy Fella (photo by Second Fiddle)|
The Most Happy Fella marks the final show in Second Fiddle's second season. Hopefully next year will bring another selection of rare and delightful musicals "read" by super-talented artists. If you want to help make that happen, remember them on Give to the Max Day, coming up on November 12.