Although it is generally considered a classic, the relentlessly silly, fast-paced musical comedy “Little Me,” which sports a dynamic score by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh and a hilarious book by Neil Simon, has never really gotten its full due.
The original 1962 production with Sid Caesar ran only about half a year, and two subsequent Broadway revivals that tinkered with the show’s structure were flops. But as seen in City Center’s jubilant concert revival, its time may have arrived.
“Little Me” is essentially a jam-packed series of comic vignettes contained within a parody of a celeb autobiography. As the high-profile Belle Poitrine (Judy Kaye) narrates her life story, another actress (Rachel York) portrays her younger self as Belle grows up dirt poor, falls head over heels for the superrich Noble Eggelston (Christian Borle) and sets out to win him by gaining social position.
In the process, Belle runs across a zany collection of suitors, nearly all of whom are played by Borle.
While York plays up Belle’s sunny naivety and sex appeal and Kaye maintains a strong presence, Borle injects larger-than-life vitality and vaudevillian spirit into each of his many roles.
As staged by John Rando, the Encores! “Little Me” is an extremely appetizing feast of lively tunes, farcical scenarios and athletic choreography. One can’t help but wonder if it would succeed if it transferred to Broadway, where it might play nicely alongside its contemporary descendant “The Book of Mormon.”