“Little Old New York” from Tenderloin
music by Jerry Bock lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
performed by Debbie Shaprio Gravitte and friends
Tenderloin is basically the exact same story as Best Little Whorehouse in Texas: Minister riles up the public to shut down a whorehouse—possibly for personal gain—people have conflicted feelings about everything. The big difference is that Whorehouse was set in the 70s and told from the hookers’ point of view. Tenderloin, on the other hand, was described by Walter Kerr as, “The most serious musical comedy I ever saw…Maurice Evans plays a crusading minister who wants to eliminate the production numbers.” The curtain rises on a hymn but soon gives way to a trio of prostitutes who sing this delightful Bock & Harnick gem (led here, of course, by the estimable Ms. Shaprio Gravitte). This is the New York song you DON’T hear at benefits.