On The Town
Review by Casey Curtis
25 October 2014
There is a candy store in the lobby of the Lyric Theatre. It serves beautifully displayed and wrapped sweets. This is exactly what you should expect inside the Lyric Theatre as well when you see "On The Town." The whole show is a feast for the eyes and ears, a beautifully wrapped sweet. Eventually the sugar rush leads to a bit of a crash as the plot is thin as cellophane, but nonetheless this is a high quality confection.
Three sailors are on shore leave and have 24 hours to see New York City.
"New York, New York, a helluva town
the Bronx is up and the Battery's down
and people ride in a hole in the ground
New York, New York, it's a helluva town."
One of the sailors falls in love with the image and description of Miss Turnstiles, whose comely visage is plastered on a poster in the subway. The sailors search for her and all find brief relationships or flings of one sort or another. There, that's the whole plot. The show is really more of a song and dance revue.
Comden and Green's marvelous lyrics were unfortunately difficult to discern at times in the too-large theatre, but when heard, fabulous. Leonard Bernstein's music is a symphonic joy-ride. Director John Rando impressively finds comedy at every turn. Beowulf Borritt's use of backdrops and video in the set, especially in a taxicab ride, are delightful. The brightest light of all in this show is the dancing. Choreographer Joshua Bergasse stages one superb dance number after another - from full chorus shindigs to energetic trios to a breathtakingly beautiful ballet pas de deux.
The visual feast sustained throughout the show — although on the downside, the revue-like songs did start to wear thin in the second act. And for those who don't wish to shell out Broadway dollars, there is an alternative — a 1949 movie version with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
Candy is not nutritious, but there is a reason we love it - it makes us feel good. "On the Town" will make you laugh and bring delight with it's assortment of talented actors, singers, dancers, it's legendary composer/lyricist team, and above all, superlative choreography.
New York, New York is a helluva town and this is a helluva show.
"This merry mating dance of a musical feels as fresh as first sunlight."
Ben Brantley for New York Times
"Director John Rando has assembled a great cast for this fizzy and frisky revival of the 1944 musical."
Joe Dziemianowicz for New York Daily News
"The glittering gem that is 'On the Town,' with its delirious, high-energy score, seamlessly incorporates Tin Pan Alley, boogie woogie and even a Brecht-Weill pastiche."
Elisabeth Vincentelli for New York Post
"A gloriously messy love letter to New York, gushing with gorgeous tunes, endearingly nutty characters and some of the loveliest dancing on Broadway."
Roma Torre for NY1
"With sets and costumes that appropriately feature bold primary colors, 'On the Town' embraces the pure pleasure of dancing and singing, amusing characters and love at first sight. If you're seeking a break from modern 'problem' musicals, it's a show that offers reversion therapy."
Robert Feldberg for The Record
"A dynamic, sometimes dreamy iteration of a lustrous musical from Broadway's Golden Age, the new revival...is everything that popular American culture today presumably detests."
Michael Sommers for Newsroom Jersey
"It's the jagged blasts of brass, the languorously bluesy romantic ballads and the exuberant comedy numbers of Leonard Bernstein's jazzy score that make this vibrant Broadway revival such transporting entertainment."
David Rooney for The Hollywood Reporter
"Joshua Bergasse's choreography, classic in design and elegant in form, pays its respects to Jerome Robbins' groundbreaking choreography, and although the young and vital cast is light on acting chops, the dancing is sensational."
Marilyn Stasio for Variety
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