In rebuttal to Dan Sullivan's unjust praises of "Most Happy Fella," recently at the Pasadena Civic ("Serious Production of 'The Most Happy Fella,' Feb. 24).
The casting of John Raitt for the role of Tony makes about as much sense as seeing Carol Burnett do Bruennhilde. He's a nice singer and has a fairly pleasant tenorish voice but he doesn't have the vocal quality for this vehicle. "Fella" is really a unique Broadway show and should not be produced by less than the finest talent, especially the lead.
I paid $25 for a show not much better than a college production where seats sell for $10 and less, and these $25 seats were on the side of this awkward auditorium where we could not see the scenery on the rear stage (although with the scenery we could see, I don't think we missed much).
Los Angeles needs productions comparable to New York or better. There is a tremendous pool of talent here--there must be a great singer for Tony's part somewhere in this area. Ditto for the set maker and the theater. The only redeeming value of this production was the supporting cast, who did great. But the play does center around the lead--doesn't it?