Inside notes and comments about Connecticut and New York Professional Theater
By Karen Isaacs
Three New Musicals: After a lean year — just one show — Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theater in Chester which features workshop type productions of new musicals will have a full complement of shows this season. All look interesting. The first up is The Theory of Relativity which was part of the 2014 Festival of New Musicals. It runs May 7 -31. Up next is My Paris which is based on the world and subjects of Toulouse-Lautrec and features music and lyrics by Charles Azavaour with English lyrics and arrangements by Tony winner Jason Robert Brown and book by Albert Uhry. It runs July 23 – Aug. 16. The final show will be Indian Joe, Oct. 22 — Nov. 15. It is about a homeless Native American man and a Texas beauty queen who develop an unlikely friendship. Subscriptions are now on sale but tickets to individual shows will be available March 30. Contact 860-873-8668 or goodspeed.
From Off-Broadway to Long Wharf: Next up at Long Wharf is last season’s off-Broadway comic hit Bad Jews from Feb. 18 to March 22. The play is about three cousins — two brothers and their girl cousin — who are attending their grandfather’s funeral. Add to the mix is the older brother’s girl friend. Rivalries emerge over family heirlooms, family stories and entitlements. For tickets, visit Long Wharf or call 203-787-7282.
Honeymoon in Vegas: If you want a totally silly musical that appeals to the proverbial “tired businessman,” Tony Danza fans, and those of the movie of the same name, Honeymoon in Vegas provides an enjoyable evening’s entertainment. The new musical at the Nederlander Theatre follows the plot of the successful film comedy closely. We meet Jack Singer and Besty Nolan, who have been dating for years, his dead mother who extracted a promise to never marry from him, and the gambler Tommy Korman who finds Betsy the spitting image of his deceased wife. Mix in a gambling debt, some Elvis impersonators and a Hawaiian seductress and you have silly fun.
Andrew Bergmann has adapted his film script, and the very talented Jason Robert Brown has provided the music and lyrics. Brown has captured the Vegas idiom in music in a good sense. It has that delightful “tackiness” of Vegas. The best love song is for Tommy and Donna, “You Made the Wait Worthwhile.” Director Gary Griffin has kept it moving and choreographer Denis Jones has added appropriate Vegas style dances and made room for Tony Danza to tap. Rob McClure is fine as Jack. He is a multi-talented performer who can charm an audience. Brynn O’Malley as Betsy is attractive and can sing and dance, but I didn’t feel the chemistry between the two. Tony Danza has both the look for the gambler Tommy and an odd charm. Despite his manipulations, you feel for this character. The rest of the cast, including Nancy Opel as the dead mother are very good.
If Honeymoon in Vegas did not wow me, it did provide an enjoyable evening of tuneful, colorful and silly entertainment. Sometimes that is what we need. Tickets are available through ticketmaster.
New York News: Tickets are now on sale via ticketmaster for the Broadway musical Gigi which begins previews March 19. Film star and Oscar winner Anne Hathaway will perform in the solo play Grounded at New York’s Public Theater April 7 – March 17. She plays a top-gun fighter pilot. Julie Taymor directs. Tickets go on sale Feb. 12 and it will sell out. Contact www.publictheater.org. Starting Feb. 1 you can get tickets to see Chita Rivera and Roger Rees in the Kander and Ebb musical The Visit. Visit Telecharge. Lin-Manuel Miranda who started writing the Tony awarding winning musical In the Heights while a student at Wesleyan has written a new musical — and he starring in it at the Public Theater. Hamilton, based on the life Alexander Hamilton, will run through April 5. Word of mouth has been good. For tickets visit www.publictheater.org . Also, you can get tickets for Something Rotten! a musical staring Christian Borle and Brian D’Arcy James about two Elizabethan playwrights who set out to write the first musical. Contact Telecharge.
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