It Shoulda Been You

Review by Daniel Dunlow
21 April 2015

In the beginning there was Tyne. In the end there will be Tyne. There will always be Tyne. And she will always be the epitome of perfection. Amen.

Hie thee to the Brooks Atkinson theatre to witness Ms. Daly surrounded by a slew of delightful performances in what is Broadway's best cast comedy. It Shoulda Been You is the wedding from hell, but still heavenly theatre based on the joy in the actors abilities as comedians. Joke after joke, and the audience is rightfully in stitches. David Hyde Pierce's directorial debut has its bumps and snags, but what it does have is a material that allows the cast to soar. The musical is far from patchwork comedy, with just funny scenes and songs pasted together, rather it is a lovely afghan made by your Jewish aunt from Broadway-comedy past.

Direction by David Hyde Pierce is lovely. It doesn't distract and allows the comic moments to be funnier and funnier. He found a lovely momentum that keeps the production driving through the end.

Music by Barbara Anselmi was just as wonderful as the direction. It got out of the way for jokes to land. It was not distracting, nor was it boring. Everything you loved about the 80s and 90s is called upon by her reminiscent writing that keeps feet tapping and jokes flowing. She also found a lovely momentum through the piece with motifs that simmer under the drama, keeping these characters alive. Her song "Jenny's Blues" has audience's going wild and theatre students across America scrambling for sheet music. Her best show-stopping tune was "Love You Till the Day," that had me in laughter-onset tears. Go see it and you'll see why.

Lyrics by Brian Hargrove (Pierce's husband) were negligible. The jokes were good, but in order to get to them we had to suffer through rhymes that were less than brilliant.

Choreography was equally as dismissible. Josh Rhodes gives us one mildly entertaining soft-shoe number, but other than that its just clever musical staging.

Costumes by William Ivey Long literally make the audience gasp at their beauty. The wedding dress, the mother-of-the-bride dress, the mother-of-the-groom dress, and the bridesmaids dresses are proven desirable for any person planning their own nuptials. Bravo to the one and only genius of Broadway costuming.

Tyne is the best.

Other standout performances include a happily hilarious Harriet Harris as the mother of the groom. Her comic timing is golden. Josh Grisetti in his public Broadway debut is a comic genius. His role of the desperate ex-boyfriend will have your eyes glued to him throughout. BRAVO! Edward Hibbert as the slightly-effeminate wedding planner was given all of the sterling punchlines, and he made them even better.

This musical is everything you love about Broadway, comedy, weddings, Judaism, Christianity, and it's only 100 minutes long. All that in 100 minutes. You show up, you laugh, you're home in time for The Late Show.

Go see this gem... Tyne Daly. And see the gem that is the musical It Shoulda Been You.

(Daniel Dunlow)

"It's so aggressively bubbly it gives you the hiccups. Or do I mean acid reflux? In any case, it's not easy to swallow."
Ben Brantley for New York Times

"In the end, the show is a harmless diversion. But this is Broadway. 'It Shoulda Been You' shoulda been better."
Joe Dziemianowicz for New York Daily News

"These talented, hard-working actors are a joy to watch, and almost make up for the drecky writing. Almost."
Elisabeth Vincentelli for New York Post

"It is also very adeptly handled in both the writing and the performances, transforming standard sitcom fare into a rollicking farce with a heart-warming message."
Roma Torre for NY1

"Though the cake is stale, they decorate it well. It shoulda been better but it coulda been worse."
Adam Feldman for Time Out New York

"Even if you see many of the jokes coming a long way off, the sheer talent on display in "It Shoulda Been You" is worth snagging an invitation to this comically inventive wedding."
Jennifer Farrar for The Associated Press

"It's the sort of show that practically redefines the term 'guilty pleasure.'"
Frank Scheck for The Hollywood Reporter

"With impeccable instincts for finding their laughs, Hyde Pierce and his terrific ensemble players make this hokum seem terribly funny."
Marilyn Stasio for Variety

External links to full reviews from popular press...

New York Times - New York Daily News - New York Post - NY1 - Time Out - Associated Press - Hollywood Reporter - Variety

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