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Small Club, Small Show, Big Fun

Following what seems to be a snowballing trend, the new show at Down in the Depths, the pocket-sized nitery below the Hotel Duane, New York, features a full-length musical revue titled "Smalltacular." A cast of seven prances thru assorted songs, skits and singles, following closely, the timing of a TV spec in that the 90-minute show is broken into three segments, with the breaks between for drinks rather than commercials. Bonifaces Larry Tucker and Mort Raven are on the right track. They have selected experienced, talented pros to perform in the production conceived, written and staged by Jack Vaughan, who also penned the lyrics to original music by Bob Atwood. Comic Earl C. Hall, nitery and TV veteran, proves deft and versatile in sparking the proceedings. Jean Shepherd, WOR dejay of "Night People" fame, emcees from a stool, participates in a couple of sketches and tells one of his autobiographical stories. He has aired far better material than used here, for example, his droll tale of how primitive man gave up peaceful evenings and succumbed to the maddening urge to "do something" that remains with us today. Others in the cast include Dottie Love, who styles romantic ballads wistfully; Mary Harmon, a gaudily built blonde with a sultry voice; Nancee Ward, who shows a nice sense of comedy; Rudy Tronto, who has recorded for London and Mercury, and can dance and be funny as well as sing; and Elly Stone, hitherto known mainly as a folk singer (Tradition Records), who also shone in the sketches and the delightful Wolcott Gibbs-James Doherty "Declaration of Independence" of a child. The tunes are pleasant enough, albeit not of especially great pop potential, with one exception: a takeoff on rock and roll, the smash close of the second portion of the show could, with a minimum of change, become a for real disk hit possibility - it's that good. Sam Chase

Copyright: Copyright 1958 Billboard Magazine

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