Composers' & Lyricists' Corner

Still: "Young & Foolish" is composer Albert Hague and his actress/singer wife Renee Orin's anecdote-filled recap of their careers in theater, recorded live at Hollywood's Cinegrill early in 1998. Hague wrote the music for the 1955 Plain and Fancy and 1959's Tony-winning Redhead, but may be more familiar to TV viewers as Fame's music teacher, Professor Shorofsky. An émigré from nazi Germany ("I grew up at Cincinnati's College of Music and met Orin at Cleveland's Caine Park outdoor theater when she was in his first musical, The Reluctant Virgin. they headed for New York City, where Orin supported the pair until Hague's 1955 show began paying their bills. (Orin had a small role on that musical and others, including 1964's Cafe Crown and 1970's Show Me Where the good Times Are.) They are a disarming pair, telling stories about theater people they've worked with, such as Gwen Verdon, Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse, and George Abbot, and singing Hague's songs (he also plays piano, with amusing versions of "Beer Barrel Polka" as it might have been written by classical composers). A medley of Redhead's "Look Who's in Love," "The Right Finger" and "Merely Marvelous" opens the program ( but isn't noted in the CD's track list), which also includes the musical's instrumental "Chase," and "Erbie Fitch's Twitch." Orin does a sensitive medley of Plain and Fancy's "It Wonders Me" and "Young and Foolish" (the latter slightly marred when she attempts an ill-advised big ended note). The audience gets a kick from Hague's "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," from his perennial TV holiday favorite How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Show tune collectors will savor "All of My Laughter," "Did I Ever Really Live?" and "We" from the short-lived 1968 musical The Fig Leaves Are Falling , and "Lizzie's Gin" and "I Had a Wonderful Time" from The Dutch Hill Mob, a new musical Hague is writing. Although Hague and Orin are engaging raconteurs, there may be a bit too much chat for repeated listening, but it has been indexed and can be deleted if one wishes to hear only the songs.