Soundtrack, Show Tunes, Cast Recordings

Album Review

Milk and Honey was the first Broadway musical set in Israel, which gave songwriter Jerry Herman (making his Broadway debut after several Off-Broadway revues, notably Parade) the opportunity to use words like "Shalom" (a song title) and "Hora" as well as borrow some local musical styles as influences. But actually the music had two main parts. There were operatic ballads for the big-voiced leads, especially Robert Weede (of The Most Happy Fella), and there was special comic material for Yiddish theater star Molly Picon. The story concerned a group of middle-aged Jewish-American widows traveling to Israel in search of husbands (was there ever a better scenario to draw in New York area theater parties?), so the songs focused on characters seeking second chances at love, including Weede's Phil Arkin, actually a man separated from his wife who meets Mimi Benzell's Ruth Stein. "Let's Not Waste a Moment," he tells her, despite the little matter of his estranged wife. Picon's Clara Weiss, meanwhile, has to seek the approval of her dead husband to move on, which she does in her big eleven o'clock number "Hymn to Hymie." Herman, who had previously written special material for the likes of Tallulah Bankhead and Hermione Gingold, seemed more at home with such material (Picon's march, "Chin Up, Ladies" was also a winner) than he did with the ballads. But he clearly was a craftsman in the Irving Berlin mold, not particularly clever, but a natural melodist. As a result, Milk and Honey was a winning score, and it is well sung by this cast.
William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Overture
  2. Shalom
  3. Independence Day Hora
  4. Milk and Honey
  5. There's No Reason in the World
  6. Chin Up, Ladies
  7. That Was Yesterday
  8. Let's Not Waste a Moment
  9. The Wedding
  10. Like a Young Man
  11. I Will Follow You
  12. Hymn to Hymie
  13. As Simple as That
  14. Finale