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Posts Tagged ‘George Gershwin’


English: Matthew Broderick at the 2009 Tribeca...

Kelli O'Hara (South Pacific) at NYS ARTS Fall ...

Kelli O’Hara (South Pacific) at NYS ARTS Fall Gala 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This ’30s musical comes to life at the Imperial Theater on Broadway.  There’s a lot going for it, if you like these old-time musicals.  Costumes are colorful and gorgeous on a cast of talented dancers who make good use of a smaller stage.  Sets are effective and believable with most of the action taking place inside a mansion.  Voices are strong as they belt out popular ditties by the Gershwin brothers – “Someone To Watch Over Me,” “S Wonderful,” “Fascinating Rhythm” and others.  And the audience for our performance really seemed to like the show.  But I came away thinking – eh.. I hope the next one’s better.”

Matthew Broderick shares the leading role with Kelli O’Hare.  Here’s a sneak peek at one of their songs together.

Our matinée featured Ms. O’Hare’s understudy Cameron Adams in the role of Billie Bendex.  She was actually quite good – a strong performer with a lovely confident voice.  But Broderick was a different story.  We wished we’d seen his understudy instead, frankly.  He’s careful and tentative in his portrayal of this playboy, not at all believable in the part.  He’s light on his feet as a dancer but lacks any nuance to his performance.  His nerdy persona does not a playboy make.  And just about every singer was stronger than he.  Frankly, he was boring in the role.  We felt like we were watching a walk through of the show and not a scheduled performance.  Quite a disappointment since he received such glowing accolades in “The Producers.”  Ben Brantley loved “Nice Work,” but had similar sentiments about Broderick’s performance in his review of the show.

Direction and choreography for the show was so-so, rather lackluster and formulaic in places.  It lacked inventiveness even though Kathleen Marshall is a veteran director/choreographer on the Great White Way.  It almost seemed like she toned the show down to avoid overshadowing Broderick’s weakness on stage.

Obviously this wasn’t among my favorite stage shows, ranking with the likes of “Promises, Promises.”  But if you’re attracted to traditional Broadway flavor and singable tunes you’re likely to find “Nice Work” enjoyable.  It’s a predictable and formulaic production performed by a talented cast and executed by a professional production crew.

I’m glad it’s the first show we’re seeing on this trip and not the last.

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