Monday, May 05, 2008
"I'd Rather Be Right" is a little-remembered musical with music and lyrics by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart and a book by George Kaufman and Moss Hart currently running at the Hudson Theater on Theater Row in Hollywood.
Written in 1937 -- the start of FDR's second term -- it's a very political and topical show. FDR is strolling through Central Park (before America knew he was in a wheelchair) when he comes upon two lovers who want to marry but are broke. Phil wants to marry Peggy but not until he gets a raise so he can support her. But Phil's boss won't give him a raise because of the uncertainty in the economy and rules out a raise until "FDR balances the budget." Knowing this, FDR becomes determined to balance the budget -- all while singing and dancing about it.
Throw in cameos from Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of State Cordel Hull and Labor Secretary Perkins (the first female to serve in a President's Cabinet) along with finding members of the Supreme Court popping out of the bushes to say "no" to FDR, sprinkle in FDR's Mother and you've got a time capsule of 1930s American politics. And, yet, it seems so relevant today.
Working with very minimal sets and costumes this very talented, large cast performs its heart out and a good time is had by all.
This show was the first to suggest the radical idea of a third term for FDR. In fact, some credit this Broadway smash with turning around FDR's political fortunes which were beginning to sag in his second term.