Monday, April 23, 2012

How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying ***

(Please click the title to see the full review.)
After the string of disappointing plays I have recently endured, I decided I needed a musical break, so I picked up a TDF ticket for this long-running 50th anniversary revival. While it's not at the exalted level of Guys and Dolls or The Most Happy Fella, even lesser Loesser is a treat. The original cast is long gone, but the current leads (Nick Jonas and Beau Bridges) are fine. Jonas is a natural-born entertainer whose Finch, according to many, is an improvement over Daniel Radcliffe's. Michael Urie is hilarious as Finch's nemesis. The women did not fare quite as well. Stephanie Rothenberg was a bit colorless as Finch's love interest. In a shameless nod to Mad Men, Tammy Blanchard's Hedy LaRue is dolled up as a Christina Hendricks clone. The satirical book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert is corny, but that is part of the charm. Catherine Zuber's costumes are delightful. Derek McLane's attractive scenic design is a technical marvel, almost to the point of distraction. Rob Ashford's direction is smooth and his choreography is clever. Loesser's music and lyrics are fresh as ever. It was an enjoyable afternoon. Running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes including intermission.

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