Contrary to many people's suspicion that "Carmen Jones" would be just another Billy Rose spectacle, the modern adaptation follows Bizet's Carmen accurately and enjoyably. Carmen's music, if nothing else, would make it worth the admission, but the performance as a whole is surprisingly well-handled.
Oscar Hammerstein exhibits considerable ingenuity in transforming the original to a modern setting while still retaining the plot and characters.
The leading roles are competently handled, but neither draw the attention that Carlotta Franzell attracts as Cindy Lou. Her clear soprano was applauded almost as vigorously as if she had been the lead at the Met. Luther Saxon, as Joe, plays the victim of Carmen's seductive charm with convincing sincerity, but Muriel Smith's singing falls definitely short of excellence.
Certain parts of "Carmen Jones," such as the night club and country club scenes, border on typical Rose extravaganza, especially in the lushness of the costumes. Still, the total effect of it is in good taste and quite enjoyable.