This week’s “Stage” page has a review of Circle Theatre’s sometimes melancholy, sometimes zany comedy of infidelity Becky’s New Car, which has just one weekend of performances left. I thought the cast was uniformly superb – this is the kind of show where the script seems written for the actors who’re performing it – but unfortunately, the playwright chose to turn the play into a farce in the middle of the second act. The shift in tone and temperament was a little jarring.
Still, the show takes on the subject of cheating rather boldly. The title character loves her husband but she’s bored. She wants some passion in her life, and an adulterous fling with a millionaire billboard magnate proves just the tonic. Her initially nonchalant attitude towards a-dippin’ and a-dabblin’ — as some blues singers call it – is a little shocking.
With that in mind, here are three songs which either openly celebrate or at least justify infidelity. This is a rare and excellent 1970s outdoor concert performance by soul great Luther Ingram of what might be the all-time cheater’s anthem – “If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want to Be Right).” Here’s another rare performance, a TV duet between Linda Ronstadt and the late great Phoebe Snow covering The Roches’ “The Married Men.” (My favorite line: “Makes me feel like a girl again/To run with the married men”). And finally, Billy Paul’s lush and seedy “Me and Mrs. Jones” needs no introduction. If you haven’t sung this one at karaoke night, you’ve at least done a rendition or two alone in your car.