The show was called “Yes, There Were Giants,” and since the program at the Cape Playhouse late this summer on Cape Cod promised Kitty Carlisle Hart, John Raitt and Jo Sullivan Loesser, the meaning of that title was hard to miss: The theater once embraced giants like Moss Hart, Frank Loesser and Rodgers and Hammerstein; today we have to content ourselves with musical midgets.
Kitty Hart, singing a haunting “My Ship,” from “Lady in the Dark,” the 1941 show her late husband wrote with Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill; and Raitt, reprising the “Soliloquy” he introduced with “Carousel” in 1945 (as well as a lovely “More I Cannot Wish You” from 1950′s “Guys and Dolls”) were, I have to admit, awfully persuasive. Even Jo Loesser’s “Wish I Were Twins,” a novelty number her late husband wrote with Joseph Meyer, recalled an era that had room for such endearing silliness.
But two thoughts nagged me after “Giants.” First, the show was licensed jointly by the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and Music Theater Intl., the latter of which is co-owned by Cameron Mackintosh, renowned producer of musicals by dwarfs.
The second is that during her tour of life with Moss, Mrs. Hart – presumably because the estates of giants Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe declined to go along for the ride – never mentioned two of his greatest triumphs, “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot.” Don’t let it be forgot, indeed.