Frank Loesser was that rare Broadway composer, one who, like Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, wrote both music and lyrics for his shows, including Guys and Dolls, The Most Happy Fella and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. "A genius melodist and a supergenius lyricist, only he would ever rhyme "pelts' with "else' (Take Back Your Mink) or "India' with "been to ya' (They're Either Too Young Or Too Old) while simultaneously combining a crackling intellect with a heart as big as the moon," says composer-lyricist Maury Yeston.
Perfectly Frank is a revue of Loesser songs, and it is being performed this weekend by the MAD Theatre of Tampa, with shows at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Friday Morning Musicale, 809 Horatio St., Tampa. $12-$15. (813) 884-6500; www.madtheatre.com.
A handsome coffee table book recently published, The Complete Lyrics of Frank Loesser (Knopf, $49.95), edited by Robert Kimball and Steve Nelson, demonstrates the versatility of Loesser's work. The nearly 700 lyrics range from juvenile numbers to ditties he wrote to his wife, but all the classics are there, too, including songs from his Hollywood years that many people may not realize he wrote, such as Baby, It's Cold Outside and Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year.
_ JOHN FLEMING, Times performing arts critic