Album Review: SOME LIKE IT HOT & Indeed We Do. Hit Songs From A Hit Show Make A Hit OBC

Pardon Me… You’re Stepping On my Gender…

By: Mar. 30, 2023

Heigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, welcome back to Bobby's CD sandbox where we offer our broken-down breakdowns of new music releases. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

This week's album entry in the BobbyFiles comes from the hottest ticket in town, the latest Shaiman & Wittman show, that gender queer polit hit, SOME LIKE IT HOT. With a book by Matthew Lopez, the American who wrote the British import play of all plays, THE INHERITANCE, and the fabulously funny, funny lady Amber Ruffin (THE Amber Ruffin SHOW) PLUS direction/choreography by hit maker Casey Nicholaw, SLIH has been building momentum to be the smash of the season. But that's over there on the big street, so let's talk about the OBC, my lambs.

Without a doubt, this cast album captures and delivers the show to our ears, giving us song, story, AND DANCE from start to finish. From the opening Wah Wah Wah of the trumpets on track 1, WHAT ARE YOU THIRSTY FOR, following NaTasha Yvette Williams as bandleader Sweet Sue belting out this opening number, you feel the uplift of an old-fashioned musical comedy on the way. We are in the early moments of the Depression Era, with prohibition still in force and gangland-dominated Chicago in the thick of it. Sue wants to know what are you thirsty for, since her biz and her music are all about liquor, jazz, and the ladies of her band, and OOF what a voice. Williams is a belting powerhouse jazz mama who can out sing the entire orchestra, and putting her sound over the top for this rousing opening really sets the tone. Another Act I highlight is the very next song, YOU CAN'T HAVE ME (IF YOU DON'T HAVE HIM), where the show's leads, Christian Borle and J. Harrison Ghee, explain how a white saxophonist (Joe) and a black bass player (Jerry) became brothers. Joe sings of how his grifter parents had to "take it on the lamb" and leave him to be raised by Jerry's family - a gaggle of tap dancers. Young Joe was responsible for getting young Jerry out of fights when he was bullied for being... himself, and though this is a novelty number, it still does more than make you laugh, with its message of friendship that becomes an inseparable brotherhood despite a racial divide. Sweet in its sentiment and HOT in its rhythms... and there is loads of tap dancing and you all know TAPPY MAKE ME HAPPY - even on a record album.

"Whoa! Pump the breaks, Bobby! What is this show even about," We can almost hear you shouting. Well, after the prelims of tracks 1 & 2, which you can't help but love, we get to the heart of the matter in track 3, VAMP! Adapted from Billy Wilder's film of the same title, the story of SLIH involves our aforementioned bandsmen who inadvertently witness a "hit" - that's a gangster-style murder - and knowing that they have been witnessed as the witnesses to "the hit," and that witnesses don't keep their wits for long, they dive into their own make-shift witness protection by donning skirts and heels and joining Sweet Sue's all-female jazz band. Basically, Jerry & Joe have seen an infamous murder that sends them packing their cases and packing themselves into dresses, stockings, and all the lady trimmings, as Josephine & Geraldine, intending to VAMP to the music until they find a way out of this mess. This number is such Le Jazz Hot, with lyrics that admonish the pair to "Find The Doll Beneath The Gent." Here, Shaiman & Wittman's music delivers "Old Fashioned Broadway" through the glass of today's gender-queer psyche, and, so, the diverse fluidity of this musical is set in motion from a pebble rolling down the mountain. On the road with Sweet Sue's ladies, we are introduced to Sugar Cane, the band's canary (that's the singer in 1930s speak), played originally by Marilyn Monroe and reimagined for the FAB-YOU-LICIOUS Adrianna Hicks. Fans of the movie (and if you're not fans of the movie, leave this place at once!) will remember the famous scene with MM chipping ice over a tiny train sleeper car sink, talking about how she can't resist a saxophone player. Well, Hicks makes Sugar all her own with a paean to the pain of having sax, and with A DARKER SHADE OF BLUE, Sugar's got the blues and it's bad. All other instruments are not the answer, and Hicks owns her character and this song, belting way up into soprano-ville with pure power. She needs a SAXY man - which Josephine could be, if she could be Joe. Another great number in Act I is the title song SOME LIKE IT HOT, where Shaiman and Wittman's penchant for really naughty double-entendres and tight line-for-line rhymes throughout, coupled with Shaiman's music and the cast's performance, make this one rousing, uplifting, and oh-so-much fun.

To dive headlong into Act II could endanger you all with the possibilities of SPOILERS, and Bobby would NEVER! A word, though, must be said about Kevin Del Aguila as Osgood, a character we can't say too much about because... SPOILERS. Suffice it to say that being the comic relief in a big splashy FUNNY musical Comedy with a capitol C could well have been nigh on to impossible, but KDA takes on novelty numbers like POOR LITTLE MILLIONAIRE and FLY, MARIPOSA, FLY with the aplomb of a trumpet voiced Groucho Marx. Simply marvelous. Let's just say that Act II has romance for our leads, as well as running from gangsters and the law, loads of jazz-infused Broadway belting, and taps, taps, and more taps. Both Joe and Jerry find themselves as people and find someone to love, all because of their time as women. As you can probably guess, gender fluidity (Ghee is a Non-Binary actor - They/Them) is also a running theme, one that bumps this show up from garden variety musical comedy to something more... but still funny. This cast recording weaves a beautiful fantasy 1930s, one that we of today wish had been the case since the future (us) would have had an easier time as far as gender and queerness goes. Acceptance and finding your space to love and to breathe are the other themes of SOME LIKE IT HOT. Borle & Ghee have a chemistry that plays through the headphones, and they are simply marvelous. Both are terrific singers, with Ghee pulling off some wonderful vocal pyrotechnics. The ladies are FAB, FAB, and FAB and play perfectly opposite the shenanigans of the male-identifying roles. The score, with just the few touches of dialogue included, makes it very clear what is happening, from start to finish, and it delivers the show to the imagination so wonderfully that Little Bobby just can't wait to get a ticket... and for that, this terrific OBC ...

Gets 5 Out Of 5 Rainbows - Put this one in your collection/stream today.

Add This Show To your Spotifies: HERE

You Can See And Hear Everything About SOME LIKE IT HOT On The Webbysite: HERE

Album Review: SOME LIKE IT HOT & Indeed We Do. Hit Songs From A Hit Show Make A Hit OBC