(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
While I have come to expect edgier fare from New York Theatre Workshop than an evening of Burt Bacharach melodies, their management just may be on to something. In their new soft-rock arrangements, Bacharach's songs seem to appeal to a new audience. The average age of the sold-out house was decades younger than usual and the crowd was wildly enthusiastic. The production is elaborate in the extreme: the theater walls are covered with a variety of rugs and acoustical foam, there are two overstuffed sofas suspended from the back wall, a dozen or so floor lamps with antique shades fill the stage, and a tower of guitars and other instruments is prominently featured. The lighting is often synchronized with the music in lurid colors and the stage has not one but two revolving platforms. Apparently director Steven Hoggett ("Once") thinks all this is necessary to hold our attention. In my opinion, the extremely talented group of seven young performers (arranger Kyle Riabko plus Daniel Bailen, Laura Dreyfuss, James Nathan Hopkins, Nathaly Lopez, James Williams, Daniel Woods) would be just as compelling on a bare stage. Basically, it's just a gussied-up concert, more suitable to a different venue, but, if you like Bacharach, it's quite entertaining. Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.