Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ain't It Nice! (Stage Review: Nice Work IF You Can Get It)

When it comes to Broadway musicals, my taste skews towards the old-fashioned. "Nice Work If You Can Get It" is old-fashioned, alright, and I loved it. It is a glorious parade of Gershwin songs, and about ten minutes into it, I found myself with a silly grin, in a happy place, intoxicated with its fizz and sparkle. It's definitely a "throwback" to musicals of yesteryears: star leads, thin book, lots of madcaps, splashy production numbers? And what's wrong with that? For me, nothing. Today's audience may nto totally love its long-ish running time. If I may admit, some numbers could be cut. It's vaudeville-ish in a way: each character has specific musical numbers, and some minor characters may not merit theirs. But Kathleen Marshall's very specific point of view is great. So yes, more than a couple of things may be reminiscent of what she did for the Roundabout revival of "Anything Goes," but they work. I consider the two productions twin sets. They both work. And there's a low-key but effective chemistry between Matthew Broderick and Kelli O'Hara. True, Broderick is low-watt compared to everyone else on stage, but it seemed a perfect counterpoint to O'Hara's comedic foil. I was quite impressed with the latter - I hadn't realized she could be funny. Judy Kaye won a Tony for her performance, and she is fine if a bit underutilized (I would have given the Tony to Elaine Paige, though.) And can I talk about the wall-to-wall Gershwin songs. They really are tiemeless, and I could hear Kelli singing "Someone To Watch Over Me" for the rest of my life and wouldn't be bored by it. But my favorite thing about the musical: it made me feel good, it made me think about romance, it made me feel like dancing as I was leaving The Imperial Theater. very few things in the world can do that to me. 

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