It's one of my favorite times of the year: Spring. Warmer weather. Blooming flowers. Red Sox Opening Day. And a new batch of TONY Award hopefuls hitting The Great White Way.
After seeing several of Broadway's latest offerings over this past month, I've come to the conclusion that I'd hate to be...a musical revival this year. This season, there are five musicals eligible in the Best Revival category: GIGI, THE KING AND I, ON THE TOWN, ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, and SIDE SHOW (closed). To date, I have been lucky enough to see three of these revivals and it is safe to say competition will be stiff. If you happen to be in New York this spring, definitely carve out some time for one of these three knock-out musicals.
1. On the Town: On the Town topped my Best of 2014 List from January and it should remain a priority on your must-see list. This pitch-perfect production is stacked with all-around terrific performances, boasts one of the biggest orchestras on Broadway, and features some of Broadway's best choreography. Performing in the 1,900 seat Lyric Theatre - there's no excuse for you to not be able to secure a ticket and see one of this season's best offerings. For more on On the Town, check out my Best of 2014 List.
3. On the Twentieth Century: On the Twentieth Century, adapted from Howard Hawk's hilarous 1934 hard-boiled comedy, Twentieth Century, left me grinning from ear to ear from the overture through the finale. Comden and Green's book and lyrics are still laugh-out-loud funny and director Scott Ellis couldn't have assembled a more perfect cast if he tried. Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher headline this madcap musical comedy as Lily Garland and Oscar Jaffee, respectively. While many film adaptations have had a hard time finding their voices in musical comedy, let it be noted, megalomania lends itself well to the medium of song, especially when it comes in the form of Coleman's varied (from operetta to vaudeville) score. Chenoweth and Gallagher's superb performances are supported by terrific turns by Michael McGrath and Mark Linn-Baker as two-thirds of Jaffee's desperate Three Musketeers, Andy Karl as Garland's brawny beau (showing a real sense of humor sadly hidden from last season's Rocky, even during numbers like 'My Nose Ain't Broke'), and Mary Louise Wilson as a nut on board for the ride. With David Rockwell's beautiful art-deco set, William Ivey Long's stunning period costumes, and Ellis and Warren Carlyle's clever staging and choreography, audiences are treated to one delightful surprise after another. This production is as bubbly as a bottle of Schramsberg and goes down just as smoothly. Mixing sophisticated wit with low-brow punches, this is a musical that is so well written and adapted that it should inspire young writers to go out and do the same. With On the Town and On the Twentieth Century running side-by-side on 42nd Street, Comden and Green are having a 'helluva' year with two first-rate revivals on Broadway this season, as is Scott Ellis (represented this season with On The Twentieth Century, The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper, and You Can't Take it With You). With a musical theater treasure like Chenoweth in the lead, this is a revival you don't want to miss as a train of this caliber doesn't make a stop on Broadway very often.