Playing at the St James Theatre located at 246 West 44th Street. It opens on December 11, 2011 and runs until July 8, 2012.
The musical premiered at the Mark Hellenger Theatre on October 17, 1965 and closed on June 11, 1966 after doing 280 performances. John Cullum and Barbara Harris were both nominated for a Tony Award for their performances. The score was nominated for a Tony Award and was done by Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane.
In 1970 it was made into a movie. Directed by Vincente Minnelli, it starred Barbara Streisand and Yves Montand.
Michael Mayer and Peter Parnell new version keeps much of the score from the 1965 version. They added some of the songs from the film score. "Come Back To Me", What Did I Have That I don't Have Now", "She Isn't You", "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever", are from the original musical. From the movie score is "Love With All All The Trimming" and "Go To Sleep". The new book by Peter Parnell is based on the original by Lerner.
The revised production had a developmental workshop at the Vineyard Theatre in the fall of 2009 and had a reading in July of 2010 at the Powerhouse Theatre at Vassar College.
Harry Connick Jr. was nominated for a Tony Award for "Pajama Game" and his music and lyrics for "Thou Shall Not". He last appearance on Broadway was in a concert on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre July 15-31 2010. He also has three Grammy Awards and an an Emmy Award. Mr. Connick has recorded over 24 albums.
The director Michael Mayer won a Tony Award for "Spring Awakening" and recently won a Drama Desk Award for "American Idiot".
The setting is 1974.
The stage curtain is black and white squares. There are circles in the center. When the overture plays the curtain changes colors, swirls of colors appears. During the show the walls change by going back and fourth off the stage, so does the furniture.
As the curtain parts Dr. Mark Bruckner (Harry Connick Jr.) who is a psychiatrist and professor come out and talks awhile.
The story revolves around David Gamble (David Turner). He is a gay florist who has low self esteem. David loves talking to his flowers and plants. His boyfriend Warren Smith (Drew Gehling) is a lawyer. Warren wants him to move in with him and maybe down the line they could marry. David smokes and he decides he wants to quite for Warren. His roomate and friend Muriel Bunson (Sarah Stiles) suggests he come to her class, maybe her teacher can help him quit. David easily falls under hypnosis. Dr. Bruckner believes David is the reincarnation of the 1940's jazz singer Melinda Wells (Jessie Muella).
Mark has his own issues. He has never gotten over the death of his wife. His fellow co-worker Dr. Sharone Stein (Kerry O'Malley) sets him up with dates even though she cares for him herself. He fall in love with the jazz singers spirit.
I found my self confused when the scene changes to the jazz singer. When I realized what was happening it flowed better. All three characters blend in as one it's amazing. Mark is dancing with Melinda who is really David, they all move in great harmony.
The second act is better done. The characters have more thrust and things pull together. The songs have more power to them. "On A Clear Day" (Harry & Warren), "Come Back to Me" (David & Drew) and "Love With All the Trimmings" (Drew) were the best.
Not only is the show a revival but it has been revised. In 1965 Davis part was "Daisey Gamble" who more or less had the same problems. In the 2011 version David is openly gay, going to live with his lover and even considering getting married. Wow can you imagine what the reaction would have been in 1965 especially the hot passionate kiss they had at the end of Act 2. Times have changed.
There is one thing that puzzled me and that is every one in the cast changed their costumes a lot but not Mr. Connick. He had on the same blue suit, tie and shirt the whole time. Why??
If you get pass the first act the second act is worth seeing. Though I must say I was a liitle disappointed in the show.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos By Annazor.