This show was a flop, albeit an admired one, but it was an influence on several later hits, including The Drowsy Chaperone and <Title of Show>, in being the first Broadway show overtly marketed to a niche audience of hardcore theater buffs. The show is based on the biography of the late second-string musical-theater songwriter Edward Kleban, whose main claim to fame was writing the lyrics to A Chorus Line, and musicalized using about twenty of Kleban’s ‘trunk’ songs written for musicals that never got produced. The book was by all accounts quite interesting, with its portrayal of Kleban’s many fascinating personal acquaintances like Lehmen Engel, and the score, given that it comes from the never-produced work of a man who never made it as a solo songwriter, is surprisingly good. Kleban was admittedly a better lyricist than composer, but the lovely “Paris Through the Window” and the irresistible earworm “Gauguin’s Shoes” show that he knew how to write a good tune. “Better” is a genuine, bona fide showstopper, and the show’s two most serious numbers, the bittersweet ballad “The Next Best Thing To Love” and the reflective finale, “Self-Portrait”, are quite moving. The show also featured talented actor-director Lonny Price in the lead, making his first Broadway appearance since the Eighties, and he was a huge asset both as director and star. This was an intimate show on a small scale, and fine as Price was, he was hardly a bankable name as an actor, so the show’s failure is probably not all that surprising given the very specialized audience it aimed at, but few flops are as influential as this one proved to be, and it stands as one of the decade’s most interesting and meritorious failures.