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PLAYGOER

At the Shubert

Musicals like "Lady in the Dark" do not appear often, but "The Day Before Spring" is similar to it in several ways. Both use sequences of fantasy, both contain a woman who cannot make up her mind, and both are superior entertainment.

Burdened by a book that gets it off to a slow start, "The Day Before Spring" is talky and dull in the first scene but the music and dancing make up for the book's faults.

In casting a musical, producers usually have a trouble, of either getting an actor who can't sing, or a singer who can't act. The singing seems to have won out, for both Irene Manning and Bill Thompson are ill at ease when not singing and find their outlet in excessive histrionics.

The music, lyrics, and dancing have been are woven together in the ballet to turn out several delightful sequences. Advice to the lovelorn waxes hysterically historical when Irene Manning, struggling to make up her mind between two men, is given advice by three sexperts, Plato, Freud, and Voltaire, who step down from their poses as statues to sing their solutions to her problem.

Using a "Harrison University" reunion as a setting, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loew have taken the eternal triangle, given it a new twist, added several fantasies, a hatful of songs and dances, and turned out a sparkling musical.

The Broadway critics have been crying for some time that this season so far is a failure, that good shows have not arrived, and that not even enough mediocre ones have appeared. "The Day Be for Spring" should make quite a difference.

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