NOAH RACEY         NANCY LEMENAGER

KAREN ZIEMBA    PETER GERETY
EUGENE FLEMING    DEIDRE GOODWIN    DAVID PITTU
PETER BARTLETT    RON ORBACH    DEBORAH LEAMY

 

THE PLOT

Lucky, a tap dancer, wants to marry but his future father in law doesn’t think he is the right man for his daughter Margaret, specially when Lucky arrives one hour later to their wedding. In order to marry her they make an agreement, Lucky must go to New York and prove to him that he can make 25000 dollars without dancing; only then he can marry Margaret. Once in New York, with only a lucky penny in his pocket, Lucky can’t stop dancing and meets a dance teacher, Penny. They fall in love and soon both are chosen for a dance competition. Meanwhile he also meets a bum who turns his lucky penny into a fortune.

THE SHOW

It’s always a pleasure to go to a theatre and be dazzled with a simple but riveting musical. Based on an old Astaire & Rogers movie (SWING TIME), this is one of those shows that were made simply with the aim to entertain its audience and it does it without the use of grand sets or special effects.
The beautiful sets by Robin Wagner have an innocence that has been missing from the Broadway stage and the costumes by William Ivey Long are elegant and highly functional. A good example of all that is the breathtaking number “Never Gonna Dance”. In it, Lucky and Penny (in a lovely dress) dance among several mirrors while the lighting design by Paul Gallo creates an atmosphere of magic around them; it brings chills down your spine.

It’s true, the book isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s funny in its foolish way and it has the spirit of the movie musicals of the 30s. Michael Greif directs it with perfect comic timing and keeps the rhythm from the beginning to the end, never giving us a dull moment.

I believe he knew this could have been a great musical extravaganza but he didn’t take it seriously and preferred to keep it naïve.

Of course this is the kind of show that wouldn’t have work if it didn’t have a good choreographer behind it and Jerry Mitchell finally delivers a Tony worthy choreography (let’s hope he’ll win the award) that is imaginative, exciting and graciously danced by a wonderful cast. The fact that the score is by Jerome Kern is a sure guaranty of great songs, the kind that no one writes today. The best number is the riveting “I Won’t Dance”, but all the numbers by Lucky & Penny are terrific.

THE CAST

As the leads Nancy Lemenager and specially Noah Racey are amazing dancers who conquered the audience with their charm and open smiles. The always splendid Karen Ziemba is great as Mabel, Penny’s best friend, and it’s a pity her character doesn’t dance more and Peter Gerety, as the bum, remind us of all the fantastic character actors of the 30s. As the other dance couple Eugene Fleming and Deidre Goodwin show all their dance talent and, as the Latin singer in love with Penny, David Pittu is very funny with great support from his hot muchachos.

If you like to see good dancing and to have fun on the theatre this is highly recommend and I’m sure that Astaire & Rogers will have been proud of this lighthearted musical. Don’t miss it.

 

 

music by
JEROME KERN
book by
JEFFREY HATCHER
lyrics by
DOROTHY FIELDS   OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II   OTTO HARBACH
JOHNNY MERCER   IRA GERSHWIN   BERNARD DOUGALL
P. G. WODEHOUSE   JIMMY McHUGH
choreography by
JERRY MITCHELL
directed by
MICHAEL GREIF

Photos by Joan Marcus

Rated by Jorge: ++++

 

Read more about Karen Ziemba

Meeting the stars