54 Sings Henry, Sweet Henry
By Joel Benjamin
Henry, Sweet Henry, the 1967 Broadway musical, based on Nora Johnson’s comic novel, The World of Henry Orient wasn’t a hit, but it also wasn’t a total flop. Admired by many for its smart book and wonderful songs, it has become a minor cult oddity.
Producer/director/adaptor Steven Carl McCasland and music director James Horan assembled a game cast, headed by original cast member Neva Small as narrator, to breathe life into a mini-version of the musical.
Just as in the film, the musical takes the story of two unpopular teens, Valerie Boyd (Beada Briglia, tough and big-voiced), a rich, neglected smarty and Megan Gilbert (a sweet Megan Moynahan)… The one that doesn’t bet away is Valerie’s mother, Mrs. Boyd (Corinna Sowers-Adler, singing and acting with her usual skill) which leads to a new closeness between Valerie and her too-often-absent dad, Mr. Boyd (a sympathetic Eric Knitel) who unite against the cheating wife/mother.