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I'm Getting My Act Together And Taking It On The Road
Original Cast Recording


Music: Nancy Ford
Lyrics: Gretchen Cryer
Performed by: Joel Fabiani, Gretchen Cryer, Margot Rose, Betty Aberlin and Don Scardino
Label: Masterworks
RRP: £12.99
Release Date: 12 August 2016

Its 1978 and Heather is celebrating her thirty-ninth birthday in Greenwich Village. Her manager comes over to see what she has been working on. She plays him her new stuff, music that is different to what had made her successful. Her manager wants changes, but Heather is adamant that her new music reflect the changes in her life…

I’m Getting My Act Together And Taking It On The Road is a show with a strong feminist bent, examining the way that men and women treat each other. The book and lyrics was written by Gretchen Cryer, music by Nancy Ford. The show was originally staged at The Public Theatre in New York in 1978 where it clocked up over a thousand performances. The show transferred to the West End in 1981 and saw a revival in 2016.

Although Heather and her manager have been together for a long while, Heather wants to break out of the sweet and submissive role that she had previously played. Joe is resistant partially because he as discovered that his wife has been cheating on him. The majority of the story revolves around whether Heather and her manager can find common ground as a man and a woman.

Some of the language the show uses now seems forced and a little old fashioned, but then again this show is just under forty years old and many of the themes remain relevant. The recording is the original New York cast including, Joel Fabiani playing Joe and Gretchen Cryer playing Heather, the other main roles are taken up by Margot Rose (Alice), Betty Aberlin (Cheryl) and Don Scardino (Jake). This also means that the recording is missing the song - 'If Only Things Was Different' – which was added for the London production.

The full listing is:-

01. Natural High (4:18). Gretchen Cryer and Company
02. Smile (2:11). Gretchen Cryer, Margot Rose, Betty Aberlin and Company
03. Miss America (3:47). Gretchen Cryer and Company
04. Strong Woman Number (2:08). Margot Rose, Gretchen Cryer & Betty Aberlin
05. Dear Tom (2:54). Gretchen Cryer
06. Old Friend (3:39). Gretchen Cryer
07. In a Simple Way I Love You (1:59). Don Scardino
08. Put in a Package and Sold (3:07). Gretchen Cryer, Margot Rose and Betty Aberlin
09. Feel the Love (0:37). Betty Aberlin, Margot Rose and Don Scardino
10. Lonely Lady (1:52). Gretchen Cryer
11. Happy Birthday (2:28). Gretchen Cryer and Company
12. Natural High (Reprise) (1:15). Gretchen Cryer and Company

I have to say this is probably a bit of a niche recording, it contains not a single standout number. The lyrics haven’t travelled well and the music verges on the bland. It may have played well in the late seventies, but historical relevance may not be enough to save the recording.


Charles Packer

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