This is a ‘long lost’ musical – lost partly because when it opened in 1986, it was a big flop on Broadway and run all of four nights. But like so many musicals it comes back fighting – and this tidied up version is now very strong and made me cry a few times! It has that ‘wow’ factor: not least because I am always in awe of these Guildhall students each year when they do their ‘end of term production’. Here a cast of some thirty with a full orchestra does the work as well as any Broadway or West End production. This compares so much better with the lacklustre production of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium I saw earlier in the year.
The musical tells the tale of a young Russian immigrant mother, arriving in America with her son, sets out to find her husband and is forced to work in a sweatshop while she searches for him. The joy of finding him, however, soon turns to anguish when she discovers that he has rejected much of his ethnic culture. It is a classic culture class musical but done very well. The music is by Charles Strouse and the lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.