Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Two musical comedy veterans, who neither use nor need mikes, appeared in "The Great American Musical Comedy" Sunday night as part of the Smithsonian's American Popular Song Series - Russell Nype and Lynne Stuart.
Written by Jerome Alden with Ethan Mordden as piano accompanist, the smooth survey must be close to the best of many like efforts, for Nype and Stuart have uncommonly solid, well-trained voices and excellent diction. While the Baird auditorium is fairly intimate, lesser artists use and need mikes. Not these two.
Though surveys often refer to "The Black Crook," the 1866 mishmash spectacle that is considered the first American musical, no one ever gives an example of its score. It was Stuart's first number, "You Naughty, Naughty Men," by T. Kennick and G. Bicknell, which was added to Giuseppi Operti's score. "Now you know," said Nype to the house, "why you don't hear music from The Black Crook?"
Naturally, many of the songs were reduced to but a few lines, but every so often a number would get the full, skilled treatment, Nype scoring with "September Song" and Stuart with another Weill tune, "That's Him."
For some in the enthusiastic house, there was extra feeling for the duet, "You're Just in Love." Nype had sung this with Ethel Merman at the reopening of the National, May 12, 1952. And Sunday night she and Mary Martin were doing their sold-out joint "concert" in New York.