Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Unclear Day Into Night

I was so looking forward to the revival of "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," because I had never seen a production of this show. Plus, I wasn't even scared, unlike most theater cynics, of the gender change of the ingenue that they are employing for the revision of Alan Jay Lerner's original book. I had faith in Michael Meyer, who did great jobs in "Spring Awakening," and "American Idiot." I even welcomed the addition of Lerner's songs from "Royal Wedding," because I love all those songs, especially "Too Late Now." But ten minutes into the first act, I knew this production would be a mess. Harry Connick Jr, upon whose shoulder this production rests on looks so bored on stage, and I had a problem with him singing "pop versions" of these songs I dearly loved. He seemed to not know and not care about how what he was doing there, and is directed to move front stage every time he sang, as if this was one of his concerts. I didn't particularly hate the revisal of the book but I thought it could have been better if Mr. Mayer (and Mr. Connick) were more adventurous in how they tackled the material. As it was, I fet their half-heartedness in the production, as if they were scared to fully commit to the changes in the piece. The talented cast is wasted, although there is still a lot of beautiful music being sung on that stage. Jessie Mueller is beautiful and she sings like an angel, and her 10:30 number "Every Night At Seven" wins heart, and David Turner really isn't bad, and at 10:45, his "What Did I Have That I Don't Have" is well-received, but by 11:00 Connick's "On A Clear Day" pales in comparison.  The music, the songs, the lyrics : they still carry the evening so it's not a total waste, but the production framing them do not do justice. 

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