When it comes to the songs of Burt Bacharach, you know more than you think you do. Bacharach, best known for his collaborations with lyricist Hal David, has written in a style that is very much a hybrid of pop, jazz and his own unique touch. His songs have surprising chord progressions and even more surprising rhythmic changes and yet they’re real pop tunes — catchy and sing-along-able.
For the movies, Bacharach and David wrote the theme from “Alfie” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” For Broadway, they wrote the score of Promises, Promises, which includes “I Say a Little Prayer for You” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” two songs that were big hits for singer Dionne Warwick. In all, Bacharach has placed 73 songs in Billboard magazine’s Top 40 music chart. We told you that you know more Bacharach than you think.
But can the quirky, catchy songs of Bacharach be refreshed for a new generation? That’s a question posed in the new off-Broadway musical What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined. The show, conceived by Kyle Riabko and David Lane Seltzer, and starring Riabko and a half-dozen other singer-instrumentalists, is directed by Steven Hoggett in a production at New York Theatre Workshop. New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood shares his impressions.